Give me a billboard.

“You can’t continue to pour into other people or give to other people if you can’t take care of yourself first.” HJ

(A.K.A. a lesson I need to relearn on the daily & something I need to hear all the flippin’ time)

What is life? I’m sure we all ask ourselves this question at least 25 times a day (maybe in other forms). Things have been crazy lately. I mean, phone-shattering, coffee-wired, NSYNC-dancing crazy. So many opportunities & blooming friendships & decisions to be made. And I am soaking it all in & learning how to meticulously take it as it comes.

Tonight, as I pine over different pictures to plug in with these carefully thought out words, I realize how many important things have happened over coffee. Some of the greatest friends I now have started with a cup of coffee (or two). It holds significance. Some of my strongest relationships have been cultivated over cups & cups of coffee. I have a long list of names going through my mind right now. Many of these new college relationships started over Swift & Finch coffee (is there any other way?). Conversations of truth or big decisions or big meetings or gospel-driven conversation. All of this fills up my soul. If you’re reading this & we have met over a cup of coffee & had some dang good conversation, I want to know what you remember from it. I am really curious. I think we all remember different things in the same situations, and I love that. What do you remember about our coffee conversation? E-mail me. Text me. Call me. I want to hear it.

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God loves you too much to keep you where you are. He knows the plans He has for you. Plans to prosper you. All too often, I have been the one giving these comments so easily to other people, but I have never been the one to receive them. I know though, making a hard decision, I would probably not want to hear these things. While they do hold a weight of truth, they would irritate me to no end. And I feel sort of crappy for admitting to that, but it’s so true. To these comments I would say, “Have you lost sleep over this? Have you made pros and cons lists that still haven’t ended? Will my decision alter your day-to-day life? Is people-pleasing an issue to you? No? Congratulations.”

I had a VERY dear friend give me the most incredible words of wisdom this past week & here they are:

  1. You heart goes where your mind is.
  2. Your identity is formed by the things you tell yourself. If you tell yourself truths, then they will become true. If you tell yourself lies, then that is what you will become.
  3. Sometimes God isn’t going to give you a billboard & you have to trust that you know His voice.

I’ll write that one again:

“Sometimes God isn’t going to give you a billboard & you have to trust that you know His voice.”

First off, Katie Jo, you are an incredible person & I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I am to have someone who will speak this truth into my life, day in and day out. You make my heart sing in the most unique way & everyone deserves a friend like that.

Second, I once had a friend tell me a story about how she really liked this guy, but the idea of him was starting to sort of consume her mind & she was crushing on him so hard. She was driving back to school and really praying to God to give her an answer. Should I be with him? Should I let this go? She was so focused on this prayer that she zoned out a little bit, and when she came to, she looked up and saw this billboard. It just had this boy’s name in HUGE letters. And that was the only thing on this billboard. Just his name. Huge letters. And her mind was racing a million miles an hour.

How nice would it be for God to just post His answers to your big life decisions on a billboard? Well, I hate to say it, but this rarely happens.

I want to know His voice. I want to learn His unforced rhythms of grace & make them the rhythm of my daily routine. “Sometimes the devil sounds a lot like Jesus telling me I’m not enough.” Ben Rector has been serenading me a lot lately. “If You can hear me, I could use You right about now. If You can hear me, I could use some peace. Because the devil’s walking in my soul, and all I really want to know if You can hear me.” That was playing in the background while I wrote this post. What a coincidence.

So I have these big decisions to make. I know it’s better to have more opportunities than not enough, but this is difficult. It will change the entire trajectory of these next four years for me. I have prayed & prayed about this a lot. Sought out advice. Listened. Read Scripture. God is already placing peace in my heart. I know I will not cling to both of these things, He has made that much clear. I will choose one & I will be at peace. And I think He’s making clearer which one it will be. And that makes my heart happy, but sad at the same time.

I remember asking someone this week, “Can’t I just do it all?” Wouldn’t that be nice? Doing it all without being exhausted or run down. I am game. Put me in. And if you should know one thing about me, know that I LOVE being busy. Every ounce of me wants to be active at every minute of every day, and if I’m not physically moving, I am mentally. I want to do it all.

And while my clarity might not come in the form of a billboard, it does come in Scripture & it does come in waves. Some days, I need the Lord to bind my wandering heart to His, but other days, I feel more reassured. I want to be bound to Him always though.

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Do you know what’s funny?  I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a letter, there is something inside of me that lights up more than any part of me ever will. I often tell people that letters (sort of falling into words of affirmation…take the 5 Love Languages Quiz) & coffee are my love languages. Whenever I get a letter in the mail, I will pine over that one letter for DAYS, rereading it over & over again. A person took the time to meticulously pick these words for me & I am going to suck the marrow from these hand-crafted thoughts.

Do we do this with God’s Word? Think about it. The Bible is a compilation of His love letters to us. The greatest love story to ever be written. But how often do we pine over it? We probably read a few verses or a chapter & call it fuel for the day, right? Or we hit those patches when all we want to do is soak in His Word. But how often do we completely suck the marrow from God’s Word? How often do we soak in this Living Water? Think of how He hand-crafted & spoke these words into existence. That is beautiful to me.

And since having this realization, I have started to write down verses & chapters at a time & tuck them throughout my chaotic day-to-day life. Dorm room. Notebooks. Planner. Backpack. Journal. Everywhere because I know I need these reminders of Truth more than anything in the entire world.

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

// Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 //


And I’ll leave you with this.

What fills you up?

What makes you want to dance? What do you want to scream about from the rooftops? What make you feel like you are glowing? What makes you sing-song, narrate things that are happening around you? What makes you fall more in love with the Star-Placer, Universe-Creator, Difference-Maker? What makes you happy? What makes your soul sing? What makes your cup overflow? What fills you up?

You should go do that.

Happy late Monday night, friends.

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