Sunday, August 28, 2011


Dude. I'm feeling a little gutsy. Beware of what's about to come out of my mouth fingers.

Week one of school. Check.

So I get back to my room tonight, take my first breath of the week (chyeah, it was THAT busy), and fell apart. Not because it was bad either. How's that for being a girl?

My mom on numerous occasions has told me that this is the time of life where the concrete things that I've known about life become abstract. And this week more than any has made me wanna put all the pieces back together. To make sense of the abstractiveness. But that's breaking the rules I guess, because no matter how well I coach myself (and I'm a pretty good coach if I do say so myself), I'm still super confused.

I like college. I like being around people my age, meeting lots of new people, and having a social life available to me almost whenever I want. But man, it's hard. It's hard being around 2,000 people all questioning life....and if they aren't, feeling annoyed by their lack of care in it when I'm suffering so much from it. How dare people have it more together than me.

It's gotten dang-near impossible to be okay with questions for me. I don't know how to do this, to ask so many questions and feel as if I'm gaining no ground on finding answers. It sucks.

One of the big ones has just been stupid insecurity. I'm sick of feeling inferior because I can't be okay with how I am. Now most girls I know have the IfIjustlose10pounds mentality disease, but it's nearly impossible to think rightly after that guy settles in (think Mucinex commercials). There is a part that has to ask the question about being healthy, but is it worth doing it if you're mind goes Black Swan on you and distorts the good? And in that case, do you not do it at all for fear of messing it up? And even then, where does being satisfied with who you are come into all of that? mind just never stops.

The other big question guy lurking around these days is about balance. How does that work man? How do I pick and choose? Classes are kicking my butt right now, and it's only been a week. So much homework and learning that I don't feel capable of. On top of it all, there is the extras that I'm super excited for, but right now just seem kinda ominous. How do I decide what's "best"? I think I can handle it, but how am I supposed to deal with feeling overwhelmed sometimes?

So. Many. Questions.

And they aren't going away, I feel like the nature of EVERYTHING right now is question after question and a lot of ambiguous answers, if any. And I'm terrified of getting it wrong. I'm scared of not knowing too. How does that work?

Man, I'm feeling overwhelmed right now. Sometimes, it just doesn't make sense, and I don't know how it's gonna in the end. God help me.

I just need to vomit up all the scary stuff. I'm sick of putting a brave face on when I'm scared cussless. It's cathartic. And it makes me feel like a real person. I love reading blogs where they're honest, it makes sense to me to be scared, and messed up, and to just believe God will come into it. That just makes sense. So maybe that's a comfort to you. Maybe not.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Help, I Need Somebody

It's the beginning again. I'm back in the same room, with the same roommate, on the same hall, amongst (many of) the same people (how's that for prepositional phrases?), yet it feels so different. That's the odd thing about life these days, the only consistent thing is change. And I honestly haven't had the best attitude about it.

A lot of things excite me about this year, I'm excited for trying new activities, getting into my major more, being with my roommate, and my small group. But the fear of moving into the unknown scares the cuss out of me. I am not the best at jumping aboard the change ship. I'm trying to be better about this. The honest truth is that I would rather stay in my not-the-best comfort than risk that for better. Better means scary....and I don't do scary.

Like I said, I need an attitude adjustment.

The past 4 days I've been here I've noticed my fear unabashedly rearing it's ugly head and taking over me. It's frustrating. When I'm scared like that I'm usually not very nice, and that's frustrating too.

I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day reading "don't let comparison steal your joy." It goes beyond comparison for me, I let a lot of things steal my joy. And I'm tired of it....I feel robbed by my inability to fight for my joy and truth. I admire people who are so good at dreaming and looking forward with hope and taking today as it comes with peaceful, contented hearts....I so deeply desire for that to be me. I desire for a restful dignity that allows room for people to be and figure out their messes. I want a heart of mercy and compassion that chooses to look for the God in things rather than whether or not I get my way or if it's going to be easy.

I feel like I say all this a lot, I want to live life fully. In "The Cave," Mumford and Sons says, "I need freedom now and I need to know how to live my life as it's meant to be," it's actually written on a gorgeous painting on my wall. For months I just have wanted to find how to live well...and I'm just asking God about it a lot right now. The thing at this point that I'm absolutely sure of is that I need God...a lot. I need Him to come into this, to help me see things well, to help me walk into my anxiety, and to help remove my just help.

I'm frustrated of needing help this desperately, but part of me just wants to see where this leads to. I am being faithful to His goodness. I guess sometimes I write to remind myself. I forget what I know about Him, I forget to believe in the big picture. And that's a huge reason why I have this blog, to document moments when I know that I know; to be able to see the glimpses of His persistence in my life and bringing me to good places. Even though I don't see the good place yet, I am choosing to believe in it anyway, and I'm asking to be able to keep my joy.

I bring this up a lot, but the Lion Chasers Manifesto is something my best friend sent to me a few years ago, and it's my constant reminder to keep moving I'm ending once again with this excerpt. May it bless you.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Criticize by creating. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Van and Davy

Rainy days are my favorite. They're days for leggings, soup, reading, and blog writing.

I was telling my mom just now about how I always have to grieve the end of books. It almost feels like getting broken up invest time and emotional energy into them and then one day it's just over, and you don't know where to go from there. Don't laugh. The characters or authors become friends, people who speak to my heart and I enjoy learning and watching them as it progresses. This week, I finished two books, so I'm a little sad, because they were really good.

One of them was A Severe Mercy, and ohmygosh, a must read in my standards. Sheldon Vanuaken writes of the deep, all-consuming love between him and Davy (his wife) and amidst what he calls their "pagan love," their conversion to Christianity. The depth at which life, love, Christianity, and grief breached his reality is rich and compelling.  Enough with the book review.

Van, as his dear friend C.S. Lewis referenced him, bespoke of joy so much in this book. I've had this thought before about how so much of our Christianity has become a process, a progression of steps to get to an end result. Goal-oriented. I'm so fearful of that methodical mentality for the sheer fact that we get so caught up in going about the process correctly that we completely lose the reason behind why we do it. Van completely echoed, or I guess I echoed him, this thought in the book.

Pondering Lewis' thoughts about joy and my own thinking about time and eternity, recalling the tendency of Davy and me to substitute the means for the end, not only the yacht for the time-free existence it was to make possible but also other glimpses of heavenly joy--joy through love and beauty--that we were allowed and what we made of them, especially the Shining Barrier (read: the covenant between themselves to always pursue love and complete sameness between one another over anything else), I came to wonder whether all objects that men and women set their hearts upon, even the darkest and most obsessive desires, do not begin as intimations of joy from the sole spring of joy, God. One man's intimation of joy through beauty and his longing to be. somehow, one with that beauty may lead him to painting and thence, the beauty half-forgotten, to advocacy of nothing more than an artistic fashion....

My feeble self does this all the time, it becomes less and less about the end joy, the desire for myself and others to love Christ better,  or creating a place for others to be safe, or pursuing beauty for rest, or reading for the love of it, and it starts becoming about the "rightnesss" of my love/pursuit of it. It begets arrogance much of the time. It happens in the bible all the time. Look at the tower of Babel....these people wanted closeness with God and ended up substituting the desire of closeness for the achievement of a tower to God. 

It is so easy to lose purpose in the pursuit. I've come to find that so garishly true in my life this summer. And all I know to do once I glimpse the egotisticalness of my need to be better, righter, more kind, more patient, the one that everyone likes, is to just cry. It's always one of those moments where I come back to the reality of my frailty, my complete inability to get it right short of the mercy of God to help me. 

Earlier in this book, when Davy is dying, Van prays, and as he's sitting by her hospital bed, he just asks for her best good. He said that was all he knew to pray in rightness. And coming to that place he realized that he didn't know what her best good was, all he knew was what he wanted her best good to be (staying with him). Her best good meant Van losing her here. And I ached for him. But the ability for him to remember the depth at which there is a "best" we don't understand and to choose to believe that for her despite the agony it caused him, was a slap in the face to me. He talks about how God taking Davy from him was a severe mercy, a fierce and cutting glimpse into the reality that sometimes God's best good for us isn't the "good" way in our minds. That it can take a gouging out of what becomes our intermediate substitute for the joy we initially were pursuing. 

To be honest, this book brought me back to a vicious truth about myself, I am of split ambition. I have this minute longing for the eternal, this ache for timelessness, but it is often overtaken by the ease of succumbing to Now. Hebrews is an entire book written on remembering the end goal....looking constantly ahead and pursuing future promises despite circumstances. 

That's the kind of life I want, to be able to see merit in Now, but always to be living for future promises. For me, I have to ask for help all the time, I suck at looking forward. I pray for the ability to believe in future good regardless of my situation, and that's divine folks. I need God for that. And I'll be honest, this past year I haven't looked beyond my situation. I was engulfed in the temporary and treated everyone around me as if it was their fault. But God is faithful to ripping that stuff out of me, and little by little, I'm starting to see that there is a future grace I get to hold on to. He is faithful, in that nitty-gritty, I know that I know sorta way.

I just hope we can ask to see His severe mercy in our circumstances. And that's hard man, it's not a simple choice, it is supernatural, but geez, I want so badly to believe in His best good for me in that, and that begets hope that I so desperately need in my life all the time. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Reminder

So we're in Branson right now. Family vacay--partaayy. Although, we don't "Branson" like other people do, we're sit at Starbucks, rent a pontoon, wine (well Diet Coke) and dine, and nap kinda people.

Well, let me tell you, I just spent the last 20 minutes writing a post about the garish absurdity that is Branson. But as I was writing I was trying to think of ways to soften what I was saying for the sake of the people who like the entertainment down here. And then I got that dull ache in my stomach as I realized I was being rudely judgmental towards people who may actually enjoy the shows down here. You know what? I'm rudely judgmental like that all the time.

I'm gonna let you in on the nitty gritty of myself a little bit. I am wildly and sheepishly insecure sometimes. I can belittle myself to the point of eradicating any semblance of worth. And with that comes this over-arching need to convince myself that I am better than everyone else.

Sick out.

**Note: if you're a boy, please continue on reading with grace, if you care to continue at all. This post is not all-encompassing, girls only post, it heads in a different direction in a bit.

Lately, the Lord has been sticking one word into my mind a lot. Dignity. Last summer during my internship, I led a girls bible study on Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity. It was a very sweet summer spent digging into some of the nasty reasons why we act so hatefully towards each other (guys and gals) for the sake of self-preservation.

One of the big butt-kickers to me was this idea of dignity. Bethie talked in the book about the way we unabashedly will strip dignity away from other people for the sake of adding to our own self-worth. And y'all know just what I'm talking about. It goes a little something like this...

"At least I'm not THAT big." or

"I'm so glad that I don't act like that..." or

"they may have ______, but at least I have ______."

There are a million other ways it manifests itself in the way we think, but the truth of the matter is that manifest itself it does, most ways schneaky schneakier than those. It completely pinpoints our incessant need to find some manner of being okay with ourselves, regardless of the cost to other people.

I do it all the time y'all, and I'm sorry if you have been a victim of my disgraceful warpath.

Dignity is one of those weird words that we don't use correctly often. My computer defines it as "the state of being worth of honor and respect." In fact, it used the spelling "h-o-n-o-u-r," you know, the fancy British way that exudes regality, and begs to be spoken with an English accent.

It really doesn't mean you have to stick your pinky up as you're drinking your Dr. Pepper. But it does mean treating people with equal value, regardless of any circumstance. It's the ability to have God's eyes for people and looking beyond current situations, looks, desires, and actions to seeing the eternity within each of us.

"There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never talked to a mere mortal." C.S. Lewis

It's easy to look at that as a simple reminder, but I find that this whole thing runs core deep. I've been reading Hebrews. Now, the author in Hebrews is writing to these Jews-turned-Christians. And these folks have been having moon-light chats about the "old country." Remembering the easy way when they were under the law, when they weren't ruffling anyones feathers and they didn't stand out as being an enemy, they just went about their Kosher business. But the whole book is the author reminding them of how horrible that life was, the constant need for sacrifice because the animals weren't good enough. He spends chapters of this book re-explaining why they needed Jesus and how He bridged the gap so they didn't have to live the insert-one-dead-sheep-for-30-days-of-goodness life anymore. He tells them that they need to keep looking forward, to remember the end goal, to remember their hope.

And that's exactly where this roots back to. I get so engulfed in this temporal, in my need whet my appetite for secular (if you will) acceptance. I don't belittle that either. Man, we are a part of a very real world, and that way of thinking is not to be denigrated, it's reality to all of us. We all succumb to a simple standard of cheap values that runs blood thick in some way.

Bringing this full circle, I need that reminder all the time. One Sunday long ago, Kevin at Redeemer preached about Leviticus, I ended up writing about how the point he made about what sacrifice did for the people then. The constant sacrifices were reminders of their own reality. The graphic mess of goat entrails, and putrid organs was meant to bring them back to the knowledge of their own crappy messed up selves.

Realizing the way I think about other people and myself has been one of those frustrating reminders of how terrible I am at remembering eternity and my place in it, even more so, my lack of deserving a place in it. I don't really bring anything good to the table.

But God is good. And He is good enough to punch me in the jugular with Truth when I need change in my way of thinking. So may we be reminded of our sameness and choose to believe and seek goodness for ourselves and others.