And Now You Choose

Sometimes. You arrive at a place. And it is definitely new – you haven’t been there before. But when you look around everything seems oddly familiar.

And you think. Yeah. This very much resembles square one.

Square one. The one you like to skip over in hopscotch. Because who wants to land there? Not me.

A little girl (not me) once told me (and by once I mean two days ago) that I was too big to jump from square one to two to three to four. I needed to jump from the starting line all the way to square five. And I thought. That’d be nice. To skip the first four squares. Go straight to square five, where the path is set and I can see the end.

But life doesn’t work like that. So here I am. Not on the same square one where I began. On a new square one. A new starting place.

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I couldn’t exactly tell you how I arrived here. I started on a different square one. And moved on to a different square two. I imagined a path for me to take. Step by step I made my way down that hopscotch course. Jumping over obstacles to get to the end. Like the ‘lava’ (a mixture of clumps of grass and weeds) my sweet little friend placed in my path when we hoped around on the newly colored concrete.

And I was so focused on getting to the end. The final square in my path. Where I could be who I wanted to be. And do what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize I’m not the only one who controls the course I take. And sometimes that course plops you right down on a new square one. When you really want to keep hoping down the path you are already on.

Even though it’s frustrating. And I don’t always understand why I can’t have the same square three as her or square ten as him. I know my squares and their specific sequence were picked purposefully for me.

So now I have a choice. I may not have the final say in where my square two ends up. But I get to choose to leave square one and go to that unknown square two. Which is exciting. And scary. And feels a lot like dreaming.

I can see all the places I can go with square two, and all the ways a square three can form from those square twos. I can see the pathways I want to take. The ones I’d love to journey down. The chalk-drawn pathways to my dreams.

So today I’m working on advancing over to square two. I’m daring to start over. Daring to dream. And even if I unexpectedly get dropped down on a new square one. I’ll dare again.

-A

(P.S. This image was inspired by Dallas Clayton! Go check out his instagram page @dallasclayton – it’s full of doodles and super fun things)

I am become life.

I am become life, restorer of worlds
Reviving ground beneath my feet
Land quakes with every step
Rebuild from rubble, land and sea
Raised up I have emerged set free

I am become life, abolisher of falsehoods
Stand tall in truth like age old trees
With rings threaded in wisdom
Dismantle small lies between my ears
But keeping the memory souvenirs

I am become life, apart of all I’ve met
Owning the story written out for me
Margins fade into the deep
And when my sea is set ablaze
I can now breathe under the waves

Because I am –
I will unbecome death
I am become life

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-A

Humble Beginnings

Humility was something that was always very confusing to me.

I didn’t really understand how someone could be truly humble, or even, what it meant to be truly humble.

Humility hung out in a gray area—it definitely wasn’t pride, it was sort of like confidence but not the arrogant kind, it absolutely wasn’t thinking less of yourself, so maybe it was thinking of yourself less?

Who knew? Hello, definitely not me.

Because I didn’t understand what humility was, I never sought it out. I was content with not knowing and simply nodding my head when someone brought it up. Even though this was sheer laziness on my part, the Lord didn’t want me to lack understanding about humility—so He began to teach me about it. He allowed me to fail.

At first I was super frustrated—I had absolutely no idea what was going on and I kicked and screamed 85% of the way.

“I am not a failure! This isn’t like me—why am I not succeeding? What is going on??”

I was seemingly failing in all sorts of areas—school, friendships, family relationships, and even basic day-to-day tasks.

Coming from someone who loves being in control, this process of defining humility first seemed like I was doing something wrong. Even though I tried, and tried, and tried to make things “right,” I was still unsuccessful. I thought my relationships were failing, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fix it. My confidence was still in my ability to make things right.

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I don’t believe the Lord wanted me to question my identity or believe lies about my relationships or myself, but He used His redemptive process to take these failures and turn them into something constructive, something worthwhile.

The turning point in all of this happened when I dropped a full water bottle on a $1,500 computer in one of my classes. The number one rule, virtually the only rule when in a computer lab is to responsibly handle your water (for obvious reasons).

He used me dropping a water bottle on a $1,500 computer to show me that I don’t have control—even over the simplest of things.

I realized that my efforts and constant trying didn’t amount for anything apart from God. I slowly became aware of His power compared to my own, and began to realize He’s someone that I can trust.

Humility in and of itself is a deep awareness of God.

It’s clearly recognizing who He is, and believing it without hesitation.

It’s having an awareness of your shortcomings, knowing that in the midst of your iniquity He has the power to redeem. He has the power and trustworthiness to take care of you.

It’s letting go of trusting yourself and your own ability, and sitting back and relaxing with Him.

As you continually make the decision to trust Him, you realize you don’t have to rely on yourself to fight your battles. The confidence in your own ability now transfers to confidence in God’s ability.

So try letting go. Trust that He has the power to redeem the biggest and smallest of things. Really believe He is who He says He is.

-K

I’m a good quitter.

I’m great at quitting. No seriously… I am a really really good quitter. Or I used to be.

Growing up I tried (and quit) most every sport imaginable. I constantly started things that I knew in the back of my mind I wasn’t going to finish. Countless times I would get halfway through school projects and give up – quit – and pray for a B (while a mix of b.s. and genetic favor usually earned me an A).

If it wasn’t easy. If it didn’t come natural to me. If I was tired. Or bored. I quit.

Sometimes I would start again. Most of the time I wouldn’t.

It’s so much easier to quit than to finish, and we have constant opportunities to do so. Every time we fail. Every time we mess up. We slip. Or fall. Every time I failed I went back to what was familiar. What was easy. What came natural.

Pursuing a relationship with God is not always easy and does not always come natural. So instinctively I’ve tried to quit that too. Numerous times I’ve told God: “This is hard… I’m tired… This just doesn’t come natural for me… So I think I’m done.”

So I would quit. And things would stay hard. And I’d still be tired. And I would still mess up. And eventually I would realize I shouldn’t have given up on God so easily, because God was still pursuing me even when I wasn’t pursuing Him.

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A wise person I know once said, “If you don’t quit – you win.” SO if I fall, but get back up – I win. If things get hard, but I choose to keep going – I win. If I don’t give up. If I push past the exhaustion. I win.

I’m trying to do that. Persevere past the difficulties. And the more I invite God into the times I fall, the times when things are messy and hard – the more natural my relationship with Him becomes.

So, I am working on becoming a bad quitter. And a good winner.

-A

Impatience and Anxiety

Have you ever had a moment when you are thinking about two seemingly unrelated concepts and all of a sudden they snap together in your head. You see a relationship that is almost so obvious that you feel a little ridiculous because you haven’t previously made the connection.

I had one of those moments recently. The monkey banged his cymbals together and the two-dimensional cartoon light bulb flickered above my head. And in that moment I knew – most of the anxiety I’ve recently faced was born out of impatience.

Patience is hard. No one really likes to wait. People don’t just pop their head into an over populated waiting room and think, “this is my jam.” We just aren’t waiting people. Except that we are.

woman-689896_1920If you love Jesus – you are a waiting person. You are waiting for a person, the son of God, to return. So I lay in wait.

But if I have dedicated my life to waiting on the King of Kings, why can’t I wait in a five-minute line at the grocery store? Why can’t I wait when figuring out future plans? Why can I can tell God all of my current thoughts and anxieties, but I can’t patiently wait for Him to respond?

So I’m learning patience. What that means, looks, and feels like. How to take a moment to breathe and persist through the uncertainty. How to be content in the assurance of a future that has been promised to me.

I’m learning why waiting is sometimes the best thing for me, and how to listen to God with a new-found patient expectation. How to be secure not knowing what tomorrow or two years from now will bring.

I have found when I’m content with being in-between – in the land of wait – I can be fully confident in the promises God has for me. And suddenly anxiety has less and less room to rule my mind. But more than that – patience sanctions peace to replace fear.

-A