A Full Heart, but Sometimes… an Empty Head.

It came to my attention the other day that I tend to slack off. I do what I know I have to… I seem to get by alright. Now, I’m talking about school here, not my personal life, but that’s questionable as well. I didn’t receive the news well at all. In fact, I was surprised to hear it! Sometimes I think I’m really good at disguising my laziness, but I really have no talent in the area what so ever. I ignored the reprimand and decided I knew better. I don’t, clearly. Today, while reading our devotion in small group, I stumbled across a line that was speaking about being scolded, but not for punishment’s sake. Being corrected and rebuked is in preparation for being in Heaven! How amazing is that?!? I still don’t think I’ll enjoy being corrected… but when I do, at least I know it’s for good! Anyways, back to the real point. I SHOULD be putting %110 into my work. I SHOULD strive to be a leader. I SHOULD be content with where I am and make the most of my time here. I can’t say that my heart will be this joyful from now on. I know there are times coming in which I won’t feel like being scolded is a good thing. I understand that being a leader won’t always seem like the best idea. But, I know now, in a really good time, in a time where I am SO blessed, just how wonderful it is to look at life through the lens of an optimist. I get to go to school in a place where people actually care about our success. We are prayed for, blessed, and loved. That is UNBELIEVABLE!

To be the best would be great… but to be someone who puts all they into their dreams… that’s even better!


But when I look back, wil it all’ve been worth it?

Life is short, too short. I realized today that’s been almost 20 quick years since I made my first appearance on this Earth… And what do I have to show for it?

Ouch. That’s a tough thought. I can’t look back on my life and say I’ve done anything other than sit back and watch life pass me by. I’ve been comfortable for my entire life. I am not, nor are any of my family members, millionaires… not even close! But I’ve lived a happy life, I’ve never been in need of anything.

And I think that’s my problem.

I have NEVER had to struggle. Emotionally? Yes. But that struggle is nothing compared to what other believers in this world have to struggle with. That is nothing compared to what non believers have to struggle with.

The US is a blessing. I don’t mean to say that life isn’t hard hear, because it is! Some people have life conditions that I cannot even imagine, and maybe I need to make myself aware of these conditions… but for me, at this point of my life, the subject of missions seems to be a broken record, spinning repeatedly in my head.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have uttered the statement “God didn’t make me a citizen of a 3rd world country for a reason.” It’s true! I am exactly where He wants me to be.

Even so, I know I was called to go out, into the world. Far from my 3G phone connection, my digital cable, my dressers full of clothes. And the hardest part of it all, my family. Those people that have been there for me for EVERYTHING. There is no greater gift than those wonderful people in my life. I would leave them. It would be the hardest thing I will ever do… but I would go.

Tonight we watched The End of the Spear with our youth groupers. It challenged me. No, it bashed me over the head. I know that I’m not made to do the ordinary 9-5 job thing. I know I wasn’t made to do the easy thing. I know that I was made to be the exception.

So now the question is, where do I start?

How do I start?

I have a list. A list of things that I want. That everyone wants. I want to experience life. I want to love. I want to be loved. I want to learn. I want to teach. I want to ask questions and seek answers. I want to change, be challenged, and be the challenger to others. I want to grow up and become an adult focused on what the Lord would have me do, not what I would decide for myself.

Does my list coincide with what God has in store for me? I sure hope so.

So would you do this for me… Would pray that the Lord would make it clear to me? Would you pray that when I look back on my life it will be evident that I followed the Lords plan, and didn’t let my willful self get in the way? Will you pray that I am a true follower of Christ?

And I will pray for you. I will pray that it will all’ve been worth it.

The Prodigal Son Returns

Life is stressful. School is hard. People are sinful. Music distracts. Minds fail. Time goes by too quickly. Hearts break. Physical health takes a back seat… and laundry NEVER gets done.

Excuses, I realize.

I’ve taken a break from life for the past few weeks. What is that?, exactly, you may be wondering. I wish I could put into words what exactly that means, however, there are no words. My mind turned off. My mouth zipped closed. And my heart turned to stone.

Remember when everyone and their brother loved vampires? It was basically like living in a coffin, alone, and cold.

Alone… solitude, I have found, is an issue for me. If I spend too much time in the comforts of my own mind without the steady reminder that others exist, I easily forget that my world is no the only one that holds importance. Friend grade for the month? F-, along with all of my other grades. School, it turns out, is not sensitive to your emotional state. Nor should it be!

Cold. This is the bothersome part. Yes, it is cold outside. No, my physical temperature is not the subject to be discussed. Rather, that of my spiritual life. How in the world is it possible for me to become numb to spiritual things at a BIBLE college? It’s simple really, I stopped letting things soak in to both head and heart… and I would love to say I let them soak into just my head, but that would be a lie… I gave up.

BUT! My dear friends, I am happy to announce that the Lord has restored my broken soul because He is faithful and just and will complete the work He began in me.

Now, I have to be faithful to His purpose and His cause.

The vampire-like state has passed… and I’m pretty sure it’s time for the vampire analogies to end… sadly.

My Character was Shaped, My Life was Changed… But was My Purpose Found?

The last 9 months of my life have proved to be the most challenging I have faced yet… Freshman year. I know that I wasn’t completely new to the college game, but can you ever really be used to pushing your brain to the limit on a daily basis? Actually, I sure hope so because if not, the next 7 years of my life will be the end of me. Emmaus has a slogan repeated so many times you think your ears might bleed if you hear it again… But then you stop. You think about it. Emmaus is a place where character is shaped, lives are changed, and purpose is found. On an average day you hear it then move on. Today, I stopped and thought. How was I shaped? How did my life change? Did I find my purpose? As an inside observer I would say that I am the same person that graduated from high school a year ago and left for an entire summer on an island outside of Seattle, Washington. I hope that’s not true. I spent hours reading, learning, writing, planning, and praying… to what end? In a perfect world I would be able to tell you that I understand the Bible to the fullest, I can teach a class of 35 kids with ease, I can treat a clinically depressed person with little more than a prayer. It’s not true. I learned that learning, in it’s purest form, is difficult. Gone are the days of straight A’s with little to no work. I learned that I have to rely on strength that no human can possible posses. I learned that college students that need less than 8 hours of sleep a night have been given a gift that I will never have. College is a challenge. I am proof that high school gives a false idea of college life… sadly. My life changed. How? That I can’t tell you. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know what happened, but it happened. I am not the 18 year old who romanticized life in the dorms. (FYI- one year of that was enough for me.) I no longer expect my best effort to be good enough. There are real expectations in life. Dead lines aren’t open to interpretation… why I ever thought that, I don’t know. I am different. I am older. Purpose found… that’s an easy one. I know what I was made for. I was made to glorify Christ. I was made to spread the love of Christ. Exactly how I will do that… well, I have 3 more years to figure that out.

So, I guess what I’m saying is this: Emmaus isn’t a joke, like so many people think. Character is shaped, lives are changed, and purpose is found.

The Fig Tree: This is My Life

What’s in a name? Well I can tell you, mine is not so sweet. House of desolation, place of unripe figs. Yup- that’s me! I don’t actually know what it means… but it cannot be a good thing. I don’t blame my parents for naming me this… I think my name is odd, but I like it. At least, I did until this evening. In ancient times trees were given certain meanings, for example, apple trees signified love, the chestnut tree stood for honesty, the cedar tree was known for its confidence, the maple tree for its independence of mind… and then there’s me. The fig tree. Under normal circumstances I would be honored to bare the name of a fig tree, the tree of thought, however, I’m an unripe fig. I’m not really sure if this is full of negative connotations but I take it that way. Not to mention the fact that teasing was ceaseless as a young child. (Don’t get me wrong- I loved it, and I still do.) Okay, so here’s my train of thought: The fig tree is the tree of thought, but that only comes with ripeness, I am an unripe fig… therefore, I’m kind of a flake! Guys- this is so great! I’m a ditz, and I have an excuse! Mom and Dad, thanks guys! What’s in a name? Apparently your mental capacity.


My Faital Flaw

Recently I have discovered something about myself. I HATE compliments. I find any way possible to avoid them… or discourage them. Seriously. What is my problem?!? Being your own psychoanalyst is not an easy job, so here’s a warning, don’t try it! Every time something positive is thrown my way I find some way to brush it off quickly and move on with life. Is that wrong? Half of my brain tells me yes (probably the creative half, its the most sensible of the two), but the other half tells me no. Encouragement doesn’t always need to come in the form of “Hey! That sweater is SO cute!” or, “Those shoes are adorable!” However, it often does. I can’t tell you how many times a day I find myself thinking that complimenting hair, outfits, GRADES, or just about anything else that touches surface level and goes no further will build someone up. NEWS FLASH! It doesn’t! (Well, it does… but there are things that could be much more effective). So the question is, am I just generally a negative person? I sure hope not! Where to go from here… that is the tricky part. Starting now (and by now I mean tomorrow, because it’s late and I should be in bed) I will view life in a positive way. The world is fallen and sinful, LIFE IS STILL GOOD! GOD IS STILL GOOD! Martin Luther has a list of ten points to help the depressed person. For those of us who do not struggle with this illness, I think we can use it to our benefit as well:

1. “Avoid being alone”- Maybe not super applicable to this, but still.

2. “Seek out people or situations which generate joy.”- So true. Guys, if all you do is listen to depressing music and find sorrow in everything, realistically, how joyful can life really be?

3. “Sing and make music… rather than simply listening to it.”- There might actually be some people in my life would like me to participate in less of this… but good ol’ Martin told me to, so I’m doin it!

4.”Dismiss heavy thoughts.”- Being philosophical is great, but give your brain a break. Think about simple joys. Take a vacation from your brain once in a while.

5. “Rely upon the promises of scripture.”

6. “Seek consolation from others.”- So… not always compliments. Be willing to be deconstructed.

7. “Praise and give thanks”

8. “Think of other depressed people.”- This may not be the best if you are looking for joy, but we can take a tip and think about others!

9.”Exercise patience with yourself.”- Tough pill to swallow. We’re told not to be prideful… but we are God’s creation. Take some joy in what He has given you.

10. “Believe in the blessing of depression.”- My apologizes for this one… but for those struggling with this, it is very true!

Maybe those 10 things don’t really apply at all, or maybe they apply more than I know. What I do know is this- I have an amazing role model, Daniel H. Smith. He once lectured in class about loving life, not because of what it can do for us, but because of what we can do for others. If I need to step up and accept a compliment to help someone else, then I just need to do it! I think it’s time to realize that maybe my distaste for these things might, in itself, be a prideful thing.  Or maybe I need to take a hint from Martin and vacation from my thoughts for a day.

In any case, school ends in 4 weeks. It’s basically like looking up from the bottom, but He sustains and gives grace.

To be a Profound Person… And to be quoted on websites.

I read a quote the other day. Simply put, it was profound and meaningful. Life changing, one might say. What was the quote, you ask? Great question… I don’t know. I can’t even find it on Google. In summary the quote stated that one looks back on a piece of their life and tends to forget the hurt. A man (or woman… because they exist as well) begins to forgive a place once they leave it. So I have been thinking, why not make the most of place when I am in it and try my hardest to not have to make up an alternate reality when all is said and done. This is just one quote that has changed my life… think of the thousands of words that haven’t been captured and shared with the world as of yet. What a magical gift it would be to observe every conversation. To discuss life’s greatest questions. To hear profound and life altering words. Take note of the words, let them sink in. Treasure the wisdom bestowed upon you. Basically, listen to what people say. Write it down and read it everyday. Let the positive words of other transform your very being. 

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7 (NIV)