Wednesday, May 26

if only (part 2)

i spend a lot of time in the "if only". thinking about what the future can hold, ways that i wish life was different, comparing myself and my life to what i perceive others around me to be and do.

this really robs me of the here and now. each moment presents an opportunity to mean something. no second has to be wasted. living life caught up in these thoughts also robs me of the things God has planned just for me. sometimes i wrestle with whether that is really true; that He really has plans for me, that He really wants to bless me, but His word says it is true so i must just drench myself in that truth. 

a lot of those thoughts up there? i have a lot. or they just seem obvious at this point. don't waste today. don't waste today. don't waste today. ::broken record:: 

the thing i'm really wrestling now with is that this mindset doesn't have to just take something away. these dreams and ideas... well, what if i were to actually chase after some of them? i don't want an ordinary or less than ordinary life. but i'm scared to try for something more. what if i fail? what if i can't pay my bills? what if people walk out of my life because of what i'm doing? what if i actually make a difference? what if life doesn't have to be the way it is now... seemingly purposeless?

i carry a void in me. i. want. more.

what if i let the "if only"'s make me do something? to become something? to change something? 

i can't be afraid to dream. God has created us to be dreamers. dream long enough and you'll inspire passion. be passionate enough and you'll find yourself driven. take that drive and turn it into action. as long as my heart is surrendered to Him and open to where He might want to take me, i think i need to dream. i pray God will delight in my dreams and even give them to me. the risk is so worth it to share in His story.

Wednesday, May 19

if only (part 1)

if only...

i made just a little more money so that i could afford a little bigger apartment and a little bigger couch and maybe a little newer car and feel a little more financially comfortable.

i spoke a little more like this person and could tell stories a little more like that other person and was a little more comfortable in my own skin like this person seems to be and a little less afraid to ask that person to hang out which might actually lead to, gulp, becoming friends.

i was in another stage of life than the one i'm in, i was married and didn't have to pay all the bills on my own, and i could maybe even be free to not have to work full-time and have more time to invest in other dreams and passions.

i knew exactly what those dreams and passions were and how i can explore and use all those things together for a purpose, and had a little more confidence in simply who i am.
i was not afraid to dream and be passionate, laughing in the face of fear.

...if only.

Thursday, May 13

re-post: to love and be loved

When we go to a wedding, maybe we’re so moved because we want this new couple to succeed. We intuitively know that their "success" is somehow tied to ours. Their making of love makes the world a better place to live, a place where there is more love for all of us. Maybe this is why we always notice great marriages. When their love is growing, it inspires us. Their life together gives us life.

When "two become one"… it’s a connection and it’s cause for celebration. Of "God. Life. Creativity. Potential. Shared partnership in caring for the world. Strength for weakness, weakness for strength. A new family. The ongoing creation of the world."

The passage ends with ‘the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’

No shame or embarrassment.

No apologizing for who they are.

No covering up or pretending.

No masks or secrets.

Total acceptance of each other.

That’s what we want, isn’t it?

We want someone to see us exactly as we are and still love us.

It’s terrifying to let people see who we really are. To see the darkness in our hearts, our bad habits, all of the things we’ve done in the past that we regret. Our biases, our shortcomings, the things we aren’t good at.

Being naked is terrifying.

What would it be like to be with someone who loves you exactly as you are?

If you see me for who I really am, the me that no one else has ever seen, the me that I wouldn’t dare to show anybody else on the planet, the parts of me I’m not sure I want anybody ever to see, if I give you that kind of glimpse into the seat of my being, into my soul, will you still love me like you do now?

It’s our question for each other, and it’s our question for God.

Unconditional, absolute acceptance.

From a lover, from God – it’s what we crave.

This is why a marriage is always about something bigger than itself. It’s two people, in their unconditionally loving embrace of each other, showing each other in flesh and blood what God is like. These two are naked, and they feel no shame.

(Rob Bell, Sex God)

This, to me, is truly beautiful. To give yourself fully to another, to reveal all of who you are, to show yourself completely to another, and to be met with love. Vulnerability requires unconditional love. And how beautiful are two people loving each other for who they are, through the good, the bad, the better, the worse, the beautiful, the ugly, the exciting, the mundane?

There is an empowerment that comes from knowing we are accepted. When we know we are loved for who we are, we feel free to be who we truly are. Think about how much potential that holds. When we know we are loved no matter what with another being, we have established a relationship where we can be us. And that's just the start. I think this awareness inspires us to be the "best" us; the new creation we are in God.
I’m finding it hard to put all of this into words because when I think about it, I have more of a feeling than words. I feel joy and excitement and anticipation and hope at what a life lived in and giving of unconditional love looks like. 

Unconditional love is infectious love. Being loved makes you want to love others. It's contagious. And the true beauty is that love is a reflection of God. It points directly to the One who is unconditional love. He is the source; the only way that we can live a life of love.

Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God [. . .] God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us. (1 John 4:7,16-17)

Wednesday, May 12

today is not yesterday

i am not a morning person.

yet i find myself, like millions of others, rising before the sun over half the year and with the sun the other half to make it to work by 8.

beginning each day brings the same tasks - get out of bed, shower, wash my face (or, in my lazy case, wipe a garnier fructis face cloth over it), moisturize, blowdry my hair, get dressed, put makeup on, and straighten my hair.

i have thought many times while hitting snooze or resting my out of shape arm on the counter after holding the blowdryer how much i wish i could just skip it all.

i find it tiring doing these things day in and day out. yet, because i place so much emphasis on the outward appearance, i do it.

but in those moments, when faced with what often seems like the daunting task of facing a new day, it often seems so pointless.

as i thought about that this morning, hope emerged.

'His mercies are new every morning.'

this morning is a brand new start.

each day is an opportunity to start over, to start fresh, to begin again.

so i wasn't having a good hair day yesterday. today i have a new chance to get it to cooperate. if i didn't really like my outfit the day before, i can wear something i like better today or even try to come up with a new one. if eating poptarts for breakfast yesterday made me sluggish an hour later from a sugar crash, i can eat something healthier today. 

God gives us opportunities every day as well. He invites us to put our yesterday behind and start the day fresh with His new mercies and joy. the sorrow that came with the night can be replaced by joy in the morning. the sin that weighed us down can be wiped away by His forgiveness and we can start this day with a clean slate. the weariness with which we walked can be given in exchange for His yoke. the negative labels we gave ourselves yesterday can be replaced by the ones He gives us... daughter, son, friend, beloved. you can have hope today.

today is not yesterday.

Friday, May 7

this can't be good

i noticed something recently.

when i get in my car in the morning, i find that i have to adjust the rear view mirror up.
when i get in my car at the end of the day, i find that i have to adjust it down.

read: i start the day with proper posture and end it with slouching. 
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