Friday, August 26, 2011

laugh

In the last couple of days, I've had multiple people respond to similar situations in the exact same way. It's given me a chuckle.

"I'm going back to Hawaii in December! I can't waittttt!"-me
"Again?! You're going back to WHO in December? What's his name?!"-everybody else

"I'm going down to Santa Barbara this weekend!"-me
"Santa Barbara? Who's in Santa Barbara? What's his name?!"-friend

Sunday, August 21, 2011

scattered

Random thoughts from this weekend:

I've written about how I feel like I've lost a sense of boldness in my ministry. That my love for people is expressed in a much more reserved, some would say timid, manner. I was reflecting on it yet again, and wondering if I was being a selfish Christian by focusing more on myself than on pursuing others. As I was having a quiet time, I felt like Jesus was assuring me that it was okay that my focus have turned inward. Instead of trying to make others feel loved, now I'm getting to experience God's love. I'm living out what I want others to have. It is so comforting to have that revealed to me.

What is up with people thinking it is okay to invite themselves along to everything they hear about? Seriously, people. Let others extend the invite to you, or just suck it up and realize that just because you're not invited along to that one thing doesn't mean you're not a friend anymore. And on the flip side, people who continually talk about events in front of others who aren't invited, realize what an insensitive jerk you're being and feel the atmosphere in the room.

It was literally a breath of fresh air to have an old friend come visit me for a week. There's just a level of comfort and ease that isn't always there with my college friends, who have really only known me for a handful of years, albeit important and transitional years. Having someone who really understands what I've been through and where I've come from takes a lot of pressure off of me to try to communicate my emotions clearly. It makes it so much easier for them to understand my reactions and thoughts of present situations. It was nice to not have to explain myself, and yet still feel more understood than if I had explained it in the first place. I felt like his advice for me just meant a little bit more than anyone else's.

And lastly, I realized that I've become much more introverted over the years. Though I am still very sociable, I've found that in general, the larger the group, the quieter I get.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

redwoods



There is nothing sweeter to me than seeing the redwood tree forest.

I can't quite explain it, but a sort of irresistible joy, peace and sense of safety falls over me. I have this urge to stop and stare at and maybe even hug the trees. It's like being a camper all over again. I wish I could stay there forever.

The redwoods have been a symbol of God's love for me throughout the years. Every time I come back to the redwoods, they stand tall and straight and majestic as ever, even though I've changed and grown and experienced so much life. Those redwoods represent the Lord's steadfast and never-changing love. When I was 10 and ecstatic to be back at summer camp, the sight of the trees along 17 made me squirm with anticipation of a week of childhood fun. When I was 16 and heartbroken by the death of a friend, those trees offered me comfort and hope. When I was 18 and my last time as a camper at Mount Hermon, those trees gave me courage and strength to leave the people I knew to make a life for myself in SLO. Now that I'm 21 and I've been away for a while, the redwoods reminded me of God's faithfulness and devotion to me.

Those redwood trees are God's way of romancing me. He makes me swoon sometimes. The tenderness with which He interacts with me is better than anything I could have ever asked for.

Standing in front of the redwood forest today reminded me of how great His care is for me. It reminded me that just as the redwoods are always in the same place, God's always there for me, but while I'm going through my life in SLO, I'm not always present to sit and enjoy Him. But when I take the time to meet with and enjoy Him, He will always be there and there is always peace and safety in His presence.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

progress

Sometimes I feel like I don't know how to love, because I spend so much time trying to protect myself. I don't necessarily like it, but it's how I've learned to survive.

I've experienced traumatic moments and have seemed stoic, robotic and cold, even. This is how I learned to cope. Emotions come later, or maybe never at all, if I'm really good about pushing it down.

I know that I have a long way to go with learning to love people. But (and this is what gives me hope), I don't ever stop trying.

I fall off the wagon sometimes, because sometimes it costs me everything I have to just feel okay. Sometimes I just need to get through stuff, you know? But I want to love deeply and genuinely. And that desire is greater than my desire to keep my fragile heart safe. Most of the time, at least.

I think it's hard for the people around me to see me grow and fall stagnant, time after time. But we all have our own learning curves. Unfortunately, mine is a little slower than others at times. I need grace for that; and I need people to trust that I'm still trying. I haven't given up and I'm still fighting my own stubbornness.

I also think that sometimes it's hard for me to feel even qualified to care for others, when I have such a lousy track record. I've hurt a lot of people, inadvertently or otherwise. I think that I'm learning that I don't need to love perfectly in order for me to still love. I think that's one of the most beautiful things about this life. We don't need to love perfectly; in fact, we can't love perfectly. But love despite our imperfections is what makes us beautiful.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

hard

This may be the most frank and detailed post I've written about so far.

Usually, I try to keep my blogs at least somewhat vague, so as to minimize the characterization of the people I encounter and to keep the focus on me (hey, blogging is inherently selfish; hate the game, not the player), lest the very person I'm writing about stumbles across this very blog.

I don't know why it has changed with this particular post, but I just want to be real, and I want to stop feeling like I have to protect the people that hurt me. Their actions should stand alone and they should take credit for it.

I often say that I have "Daddy issues." Most people wonder what that means. This may give some insight into my situation.

The last time I was home, I got accused of putting a scratch in my mom's car. When I tried to stand up for myself and say that it hadn't been there 2 days ago, when I thoroughly inspected the car before coming back to the bay, I got interrupted, yelled at, cursed out, and made to get out of the car so my dad could "show me" how to drive.

No joke.

It's hard for me to feel like a family is a safe place to be myself. It's hard for me to believe my family when they say they love me, when hours ago my very father screamed "Fuck you, bitch" to my face. It's hard for me to rely on myself for emotional support, even when I've had to do it all my life. And it's hard to write this blog and post it in a public place, not knowing the faceless readers who will sit here and judge me/my family without appreciating the complexities of imperfect Christians living in an imperfect world.

And people wonder why it is so hard for me to trust.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

becoming

You know, amidst all my internal struggles, many of which I share on this blog, I think I'm becoming more and more okay with not being perfect. Not in a complacent way, but in an accepting, optimistic way.

It's hard to feel like I'm not being judged when I talk to people who have read my blog, because I bare so much of whatever is on my heart at the time, Godly or not so much. But I don't regret it. No, this outlet has become a diary that I can look back on, sometimes cringing, sometimes smiling. Many times, it has started off as an emotional release and become a prayer. It is evidence, however feeble, of my ever-deepening walk with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

I like that I can be an open book. Looking back on situations where I thought I was never going to forgive somebody, or where I was stubborn and foolish aren't exactly fun to relive, but it keeps me humble. It reminds me of how God tenderly disciplined me, much the way a father does for a wayward child. It reminds me that I'm not alone and that my life isn't a finished novel. No, it's simply a part of my life. All the things I've written about are a part of me, but they don't define me.

For all of you who read these words, know that I am a sinner, in need of grace. Sometimes I struggle to accept that I am in sin, sometimes I struggle to accept grace offered to me. Please be patient with me.