A Melancholy Summer.

A Melancholy Summer.

I recently found a note in my phone. All it said was the following.

Weary travelers

Light rain

A melancholy summer

I don’t know what prompted this little note, but I do know that it seems to describe much of my summer. After finishing a very daunting school year, I was excited to kick back and relax. My summer would be spent lounging by the pool, reading lots of books, and maybe even doing some roadtripping. This summer was not what I expected. I had hoped for it to be brimming with adventure, fun, and great memories. And while I’ve definitely had a few wonderful adventures, it’s been overall kind of… *whispers* boring.

Gasp.

Boring seems like such a horrid word in our culture. “You’re … bored?” People stare at me blank faced when I say it. Some roll their eyes as if I shouldn’t be wasting my time. But boring isn’t bad.

In an age of fast-paced interaction and instant gratification, it’s so so easy to get caught up in the midst of this mindset. I find myself constantly thinking why isn’t my life as exciting as theirs? Why has my summer been so lame? Am I not cool enough?

Listen, no one is a winner in the comparison game. You can look at other people’s lives through little pieces of glass (which is all humanity has ever done anyway) and see how much smarter, funnier, prettier they are. But you will always be left feeling unsatisfied. Until you take a step back to realize that your life is your own to live, you won’t be happy with the seemingly boring moments.

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In The Middle Of It All.

In The Middle Of It All.

“The unpredictable has found a hand to hold.”

Citizen, In The Middle Of It All

I’ve been getting a little overwhelmed by my mind recently. My tendency to internalize my thoughts and emotions has proven to add much more stress than needed to my life. I’m just so exhausted.

Exhausted by all the hurt my friends and family have experienced.

Exhausted by the feeling of being a passive participant in this life I’ve been given.

Exhausted by my own bitterness and anger and never ending questions.

Exhausted by the hatred and evil in the world. 

However, tonight in the midst of all the paralyzing thoughts and feelings stirring in my soul, I heard a still, small voice in my mind saying, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” God in His goodness immediately reminded me of that beautiful verse from Galatians 6.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

When it all falls apart,

When people hate you,

When you are utterly alone,

When you encounter those who defend immorality,

When you feel intimidated by the happenings of this world,

When those who profess to be Christians do not reflect Christ in any capacity,

When you feel like you can’t go on,

do not grow weary in doing good. 

Weariness of mind and heart makes sense for me right now. My life is on the brink of change. New things await, old things still beckon. Everything is in flux.

One song that keeps replaying in my mind during this season of life is “In the Middle of It All” by Citizen. I don’t really like the band, actually, but I love this song. My friend showed it to me while she was struggling with some similar things I am now. The band uses this song to proclaim despair and hurt and confusion. And then right before the chorus they sing, “In the middle of it all, I found you there.”

While it’s very clear the artist didn’t intend for it to be a spiritual song, I think God continues to show me more of Himself through things like this. In the middle of all my stress and anxiety and bitterness and resentment and excitement and confusion, I found Him. I found God in the storm of my life. And He alone is worth the pursuit. That alone gives me peace and calms the storms of my mind.

5 Things I Learned About Waiting That Are Probably Common Knowledge But I Feel Smart For Realizing Them

5 Things I Learned About Waiting That Are Probably Common Knowledge But I Feel Smart For Realizing Them

“All human wisdom is contained in these words: Wait and Hope!”

Alexandre Dumas, Le Comte de Monte Cristo

I’m an indecisive person. Which, in theory, makes waiting seem not all that bad. No decisions to make, right?

The worst part comes when I finally decide something.

That’s it.

Game over.

When I set my heart on something, I want it. And I want it right then.

Recently I’ve set my heart on too many plans, life paths, and fantasies that have yet to become realities, and I have been very humbled in the past few months.

I cognitively knew there would be stretches of my life in which I was forced to sit and wait. But I expected it in the form of waiting in line at the grocery store while a lady pulls out a bag of 274 coupons she cut out of the newspaper. Not waiting for months as I glide into the unknown of my future. Which is still unknown, by the way.

However, if we don’t recognize the expansiveness of the unknown, we cannot recognize the boundlessness of the opportunities before us. So here are five things I’ve had the privilege of learning in my time of waiting. 

The Beauty of Unpredictability

As much as my heart loves spontaneity, my mind yearns for structure. My fun, sporadic side always comes home at the end of the day, exhausted and ready to cuddle up next to the somewhat bland personality of my evening routine. It’s kind of cute actually. They sit and watch Jeopardy together and then are in bed by 10pm.

Not knowing what’s coming next has seriously threatened my boring side (she’s very offended), but it has also calmed my control freak mind and allowed her to understand that the beauty of life lies in its unpredictability.

The “Grand Narrative”

I like to think of my life as a story that is still being written each day upon waking. And though things haven’t gone exactly the way I want them, I know there is a grand narrative that will allow me to look back on my life with a series of ooohs and aaahs as I realize why I couldn’t have exactly what I wanted in the moment I wanted it. And I continue to see that all the previous experiences I’ve had–both good and bad–made me who I am today. I am so immensely thankful for every single person who has been in my life, even those who have deeply wounded me, because they have afforded me the opportunity to grow. To love deeper. To analyze more thoroughly. To pursue knowledge and wisdom more wholeheartedly.

The Things I Can Control

Pretty much all I can control right now is me, my thoughts, and my actions. Which I guess is true of most humans for the majority of their lives. But in my panic (and realization that my life was so often out of my control), I took my hair and stripped it of the rich, deep brown hues it once had. I not-so-patiently waited for graduation, as I had promised myself, and then I chopped it all off. And when people asked what caused this sudden external change, I tell them the truth. I just did it because it was one of the only things I could actually control in my life, and I wanted to remind myself of that. And though it sounds silly, finding control in the little things is actually a big thing.

The Work

Waiting is work. Lots of work.

And there is always something new to work on. Which is both exciting and exhausting. But while seemingly stuck in my waiting, I’ve learned that God is working way more than I am. He is working with me, “guiding me in his truth” (Psalm 25:5). He draws near to my heart, comforts me, and reassures me that “I need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).

For the longest time, I felt like a little child wrestling in the arms of my loving Father as He tried to hold me tight and show me His unending love. But after trying time and time again to force my way into a situation with a stubborn heart and mind, after being disappointed countless times, after feeling hopeless and lost, I finally just gave up. I stopped pushing away and kicking. I sat and cried and allowed God to hold me and love me. And I’m still learning to embrace and hold tight.

The Reason

The anxious nights filled with praying and crying will be worth it. I know without a doubt in my mind that I will look back and realize the beauty of this period of my life. My future self will not be able to exist without first experiencing these formative moments.

Everything is meaningless.

Everything is meaningless.

Mankind speaks the language of change. We are always seeking the next, the better, the unknown. Even if we prefer to hold change at an arm’s length, it is inevitable. The seasons shift, the stars fall, our numbered hairs fall out, and our hearts undergo the only constant we know—change.

She Reads Truth

My favorite book of the Bible is the one that many people deem the most depressing.

I’ve always been drawn to the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon’s philosophical analysis at the end of his life brings me so much comfort and joy (perhaps because I’m in the midst of my own philosophical journey).

This past week, however, has opened my eyes to the truth of Ecclesiastes in new and refreshing ways.

Photo Courtesy of SheReadsTruth.com

While my daily reading is usually spent in Genesis, Job and/or Galatians, it seems as though almost every conversation I’ve had this week left me echoing the words of Ecclesiastes.

The spark that really set my mind in motion this week was a She Reads Truth devotion I read called “God is Immutable.” It highlighted the ever-changing aspects of our lives and how God is solid in the midst of them. Solomon affirms this in Ecclesiastes 3: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

In learning to be okay with change, I am learning to trust God more and more in the everyday. Realizing that God is the only constant in my life is simultaneously the most terrifying and comforting realization I’ve ever had.

God is so unbelievably good when we are so unbelievably not. His grace extends to the deepest wounds, the hardest to reach places and the worst of sinners. And for that, I am overwhelmed and in awe every single day.

I was wrong about God.

I was wrong about God.

Much of 2018 was spent unlearning everything I thought I knew about myself. I viciously analyzed my thought processes, habits, and relationships–most importantly my relationship with God.

For a very long time in my life, I saw God as a sort of genie in the sky–a being who saw everything I did and punished me accordingly. I had a paralyzing, all-consuming fear in my heart thinking of the ways He might be disappointed in me.

I tried and tried to be good enough.

To do more.

To be more.

But I always ended up more fearful of and ultimately more distant from my Creator.

The extreme efforts of essentially trying to earn my salvation only muddied the waters of any sort of relationship I had with God. They ruined my vigor, my confidence, and ultimately my faith.

Going to a university with vastly different views than my own only worsened my anxiety regarding my spiritual state. I ended up spiraling into a constant cycle of guilt, silent questioning, and doubt.

At the beginning of 2018, there were really only a couple things I knew for a fact:

  1. I am a born-again Christian.
  2. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

These two realities kept me focused and determined. I took the advice of Proverbs to heart and sought much counsel. From people I admire. From those I cherish. And my notions of God were shattered as a result of it.

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Proverbs 19:20

In my discipleship group, we have been studying the book of Galatians. We’re also reading Galatians for You by Timothy Keller to supplement our Bible reading (I highly recommend).

Disclaimer: I haven’t finished Keller’s book yet, but I really recommend it if you’re looking to study a book of the Bible more in-depth.

Keller breaks down each chapter of Galatians verse by verse, allowing the reader to dive deeper into the book. The book (along with a personal study of Galatians, obviously) has radically changed my view of God. It has shaped my view of the Gospel. It’s allowed me to step back and breathe.

For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to rest in the fullness and freedom of Christ.

Here are a few points I’ve come to realize, thanks to my discipleship group’s study so far. Maybe if you’re in the same boat I was, you can garner some insight from this.

  1. There is one true gospel, and (surprise!) it’s not about us.
  2. The gospel provides cultural and emotional freedom in the lives of Christians.
  3.  As followers of Christ, we are compelled to live in accordance with Scripture.
  4. You cannot combine merit and grace to reach salvation.

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.”

Galatians 1:11

I’ve tried to use my merits as a means for salvation. I’ve tried finding fulfillment in the things this world has to offer. I’ve gone from one thing to the next, looking for acceptance and validation. No amount of compliments, people-pleasing, or new clothes/makeup/whatever can give me complete joy. Only Jesus.

Just the other day I began listening to a sermon series by John MacArthur for my morning devotions. At one point in the message, MacArthur talks about the times Paul tells us to call God our Abba, or Father (Romans 8, Galatians 4). This term isn’t merely poetic or cute. It has deep and powerful implications for our relationship with God. 

Abba is personal. It is endearing. It is loving. With a single word, Paul paints the image of a perfect Father, full of infinite love, longing to have a relationship with His child.

And I now feel fully free to run to Him, despite my past mistakes or my fear of future ones.


P.S. If you have any questions about Keller’s book (or about anything really), I’d love to chat. Feel free to leave a comment or hit the contact button to talk!

A Small Reminder (to Myself Mainly) as Winter Approaches.

A Small Reminder (to Myself Mainly) as Winter Approaches.

One of my favorite songs right now is Seasons by Hillsong. I just love hearing it. I love singing it in church.

And it’s exactly where I am right now. If we’re being honest, it’s what I’ve been trying to run away from for so long. I don’t want to use the Christian clichés of “being in a valley” or “the winter of my life,” but it’s so true.

I’m convinced God created seasons to remind us of the ever-changing facets of our own lives. And with every passing season, He is always faithful to reveal to me what I need to learn and how I need to grow.

My favorite line in the song is the following.

Lord I think of Your love
Like the low winter sun
As I gaze I am blinded
In the light of Your brightness

It may be freezing in my heart, but the blinding light of Christ reminds me of His warmth. May I never lose that gaze.

Sunday Musings.

Sunday Musings.

I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but I really dislike reading Christian books.

You know which ones I’m talking about. The ones that can’t stop saying “sister” and “y’all” and talk about Jesus like he’s a sweet, Southern boy that grew up right around the corner from your house.

In all honesty, I think they’re horribly written and often somewhat shallow. But right now I’m reading this book called “Uninvited” by Lisa TerKeurst. And it’s actually really good.

Of course there’s still the cheesy writing style, but I can look past that aspect of the book because it drives me back to Scripture and forces me to realize things I’ve been ignoring for years.

Something the book has brought to my attention is the idea of living loved. TerKeurst talks about how keeping a constant mentality of being deeply loved by God can fuel us in every aspect of our lives.

What struck a chord with me was when TerKeurst said the following:

“Giving with strings of secret expectations attached is the greatest invitation to heartbreak. That’s not love. That’s manipulation. And it’s all so unrealistic… No soul can soar to the place of living loved when it’s a performance-based endeavor.”

Wow. Talk about a reality check.

Have I been doing things for God only to expect something in return? Do I desire to walk with Him only because of what I can get out of it?

For the majority of my life, the truthful answer (though one I wouldn’t have admitted) would have been yes. But praise God for His work in my life. He has changed my heart and mind. He has drawn me in with His overwhelming love. I now seek Him solely to know Him. To love Him more deeply. To bow before Him and worship His majesty.

I now live every day wholly and completely loved. And l find fulfillment in the love of Christ.