Thursday, August 21, 2014

thoughts on moving on.

"dear Father, let me look for Your grace in everything. let me want Your love more than anything. and let me hear Your voice above the noise."
-from may 15th.

i remember writing that prayer. it was the beginning of a new habit. it was a turning point in my thinking.

even the short while after school ended and summer began, i felt that it was going to be a hard summer. the reality of me not working at camp and being alone and over-committing myself didn't hit me until halfway through june, but my heart felt it much earlier than that. the healing that came this summer came only through my seeking and God's willingness to be sought out. i have learned repeatedly that He provides. i have learned of my worth as an individual. and i have learned to tune out the cacophony of negativity around me and hear the loving voice of my Father. needless to say, a huge amount of healing has taken place this summer.

as i face this semester and the close of my career as an undergraduate student, i am excited. i'm excited that my life will be moving on so rapidly. i'm excited that david will be back. i'm excited that my classes are all super interesting.

but most of all, i'm excited for this new season of celebration. i feel like a new, rejuvenated person. this new self hardly recognizes the exhausted, lonely, and defeated young woman i was when i wrote that prayer in may. and hallelujah for that!

i'm not one to make predictions, but i have a pretty strong feeling about this semester. i feel that it will be so full of peace. i feel that it will grow David's heart and my heart closer together. i feel that grace will abound.

so i'm dubbing this semester as the semester:
-of love
-of joy
-of yes
-of flourishing
-of sharing
-of new
-of Jesus
-of fearlessness
-of humility
-of strength
-of accepting weaknesses (ones of myself and others)
-of meditation
-of breathing deeply
-of less sad tears and more happy ones
-of picnics
-of camping
-of mountains and bonfires and hammocking etc.
-of newly found healthy life.

so as you and i shed our summer skin, let's lift our heads with courage and celebrate the coming of a new season.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

a response.

in light of Robin Williams's recent suicide, i guess i have some thoughts to throw into the large sea of opinions being shared on social media. i don't have much to say about the actor himself that hasn't been said. he was a brilliant man who played some of my favorite characters in my favorite movies (everyone should watch Good Will Hunting and Dead Poet's Society) (i mean everyone) (really, go do it).
however, as a person who has first hand experience with depression, anxiety, etc. it pains me to read all the misguided remarks about his death. there are people glorifying his suicide and there are people criticizing it. those extreme opinions are equally as troubling to me. the thing we're discussing is not some abstract condition. it is a hunger for death and an abandonment of life that has been in our hearts since the beginning. literally everyone is born with it. it can be eased by medication (maybe) and counseling (usually) but can only be cured by a healer so beyond this world. even that perfect treatment cannot be fully completed on earth. this issue is complicated, nuanced, and as old as man, so i guess it's a little disheartening to read sweeping statements about it.

(i'm really inefficient at making transition imagine this is a witty and smooth introduction to my next thought)

the common mistake people make about Christians is that we are ignorant of the pain this world offers. the media portrays us as happy-go-lucky idiots or angry proselytizers. however, the most genuine believers i've ever met have been deeply in tune with the darkness of this world. the people who say (when reading about people like williams, plath, hemingway, etc.), "I don't understand how someone could do something like that," are commonly people who have turned away from spiritual things. as a Christian, i completely understand "how someone could do something like that"  because i am encouraged by Scripture to live joyfully in light of pain. not in ignorance. God knows the task is daunting, and so He tells humanity repeatedly to "take courage" and "not to fear." He also reminds that the task is worthwhile. we were born empty and with the continuous ache of isolation. we have grown older and have striven for fulfillment only to repeatedly realize that we have been "striving after the wind." if you really do some thinking about the average life of a human, it's a hopeless situation. i truly believe that artists of all kinds are more prone to come face to face the vanity of life because their lives are dedicated to exploring the flawed human experience.
that said, it is so clear that there is hope. whether it is seen through the gorgeousness of words, nature, movement, or emotion-it is so clear that there is hope. God has been telling all of mankind this from the beginning.

if you're not sure about where your heart is with God or if you're not sure He exists or if you're positive He exists but you hate Him or if you're positive He doesn't exist and you hate Him or if you think He might exist but you're too prideful to get to know Him,
stop doing those things and start searching. God is wanting to know you and wanting to be known. the hope that He offers is real, tangible hope. and holy crap it is good. like eating ice cream in july or snowy mountains in winter. except better than that. you are offered the opportunity of an abundant life. you are offered salvation from death. and you are offered the continuous companionship of Christ.

if you're a believer and you think you're sure about where your heart is with God, keep searching and realizing the amazing responsibility you have. isaiah 61 clearly states what we need to do and who we are. some of those tasks include: binding up the broken hearted, freeing the captives, and restoring devastations of previous generations. i mean, we're called to be the sidekick of the Savior of the world's heart (so cool). it's important to note part of binding up the broken-hearted is recognizing the fact that our hearts break. part of freeing the captives is knowing the nature of captivity. part of restoring devastations is observing the wreckage with empathy. we conquer, but we understand.

yes, i am so saddened by Robin's suicide. and yes, i want to do what i can to love others and encourage them (and myself) to turn away from death as the answer.
but really, i'm more interested in the enhancement of lives through the redemption of souls, not just the saving of them.