18 rocked my world.

I’ve been back and forth on the second book. Fear has been restricting. Doubt has presented speed bumps. Selfishness has been creeping. I want to want this desire for me. Not for anyone else. I want God to put this desire back in me so I can have those feelings, not for anyone else, and that’s selfish. “The book that’s waiting to be written is still being fed,” and, “If you can take them [the people you tell about the truth of these creeping insecurities] straight to the heart of God with that, that’s the gospel.” That was the advice I was given this week. It was all like a slowly boiling pot of water, and all of the bubbles of insecurity just boiled over yesterday. I didn’t even know it was there, and you can’t address something if you don’t even realize it exists.

What’s to say what I have to say to people is the best thing to say or the best way to word what I want to articulate to people? Insecurities feast. I have a seat at the table, but I continue to let insecurities eat away at me. And they aren’t always evident or super obvious, which are the worst ones, the quiet ones. The ones you continue to build your life over.

Patience. Waiting. Staying. Not running. I am learning to be patient. Very very very foreign concept to me. I like to just get things done and plan and move the heck forward. I’m like a bulldozer. I just like to plow through things and move the heck on. I’m a thinker. I’m a planner. I’m a doer. I’m not a sitter. I’m not a waiter. I’m not a let’s-see-what-happens-while-I-wait kind of person. That’s just not in my blood. Sometimes I’m even too quick to jump to do things, and that’s where the mistakes step in. However, I know I’m quick to jump because that doesn’t give the insecurities time to cut in for a dance. I dance alone. And then I break my ankle or make a fool of myself, whatever dancing metaphor you want to insert right there. (Metaphors are our friends).

You are perfect in all of Your ways. 

You are perfect in all of Your ways. 

You are perfect in all of Your ways. 

I want to do what is good and pleasing to Him. I want to be patient in pleasing Him. I want to love like He has loved me, and I think that also involves patience. I want to extend grace upon grace to every person I interact with, and that involves staying. I want to love well. Loving well includes selflessness, patience, and staying. I trust that these are the things the Lord has called me to be. He is perfect in all of His ways, so I have to trust that this is exactly what He wants for me.

The reality of my morality slammed into me like a train yesterday. We have staff lunch once a week, and my boss always says she wonders what we will talk about, but it usually just starts rolling out of God-knows-where. Yesterday, we talked about how messy our brains get, and she said, “Just wait until you start thinking about eternity. That’ll get you.” And it did. Eternity led to Heaven led to me beginning to understand my own morality. But you blink, and 19 years have gone by. 19. 

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I love talking about Heaven. It actually makes me tear up when I imagine it. No more tears. No more pain. No more sadness. No more mourning. Heartache will be gone. The old will pass away and the new will come. You won’t miss people anymore. You won’t be angry about death. More importantly, you won’t be angry with God. You won’t feel like God isn’t listening. You won’t feel the need to hold grudges. You won’t be anxious. You won’t worry about messing up. You won’t be a people-pleaser. You won’t strive anymore. You won’t have voids to fill. You won’t have doubts. You won’t have fears. You will have a full heart. You will have joy. You will be with your Maker. Heaven. These are the things I hope to be true.

I don’t know about you, but I just ripped away about half of my person by eradicating some of those things that fall under the “won’t”s of Heaven. What does that tell you about you and I? We belong to a God who isn’t of this world. We belong to a Creator who doesn’t dance with these “won’t”s. What are we made up of if not the striving and people-pleasing and the anger we’ve placed our identity in? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to quit wasting time and find out. I want the full heart and the joy and the Kingdom here, but that doesn’t happen when you mix in all of the other things. Fear and joy can’t coexist. Jesus tramples on all of that. All. Of. It. Jesus and joy just meld together. I’d like to be worked into that equation. I’d like to be sandwiched between Jesus and an overflow of joy and love that comes with knowing Him. I know there’s a better metaphor somewhere out there, but that sounds pretty satisfying to me. I want to know my Deliverer and Creator intimately and deeper than I know any earthly thing. 

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And tomorrow. 19. A whole year of “adulthood.” I was just talking to a dear friend about this the other night. When did we get to the point where we were allowed to make “grown up” decisions, like what we want to do with the rest of our lives or who we want to spend it with? That’s insane to me. Who entrusted me with this? I think sometimes I can get way too caught up in those details and then it feels like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, but that’s not what God brought us here to do. It’s not what He sent Jesus to do. He sent Him so we could have freedom for free, freedom in full, debt-paid-no-weights-capital-f Freedom.

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18 rocked my world. In the best and worst ways. I wish I could sum up all of the feelings I am feeling when I say, “18,” because the blood, sweat, and tears that went into 18 are indescribable. I can’t imagine being in the same place I was a year ago, and let me go all nostalgic on you for a little bit. 18. Lots of goodbyes (too many in my opinion). Lots of hellos (all have changed my life in good ways). Completely new world in the bubble. Photography kicked off fast, which I am super grateful for (the people I’ve met in the photog world are incredible). I’ve continued to learn how to find joy in the small things. Life is beautiful. God was gracious in transitioning and revealing His will for my life, even in small bits & pieces. God was gracious in teaching me how to love myself, again slowly but surely, and not without pain. And in that, He has transitioned me into learning how to love others well. And these are my people, the people who God so graciously allowed me to cross paths with in my 18 years here on this earth. These relationships have been cultivated with love and thankfulness and a joy that goes beyond my understanding, and I also don’t have the capability to even be able to put that joy into words. God did me a solid when He placed these people in all the right places. I can’t imagine doing life without them in the world. His love surpasses all knowledge. His power is immeasurable. His mercies are innumerable, and I can testify to that. Every single morning, I’ve chosen to do life with God in it.

You see, if I can even begin to help bring His Kingdom here on earth, I’m living life to the best of my abilities. And that is my strongest desire: to know my Creator intimately and to continually strive to bring His Kingdom here. I continue to pray that He would use me as a vessel, broken as I may be, to pour His love and Word onto this earth. That is my greatest prayer. Use me, Jesus, until the day I get to meet You face to face. And I have to believe that a God who loves this deeply and this relentlessly will continue to pursue me. He has carried me this far, and I have faith that He will carry me Home and into a beautiful eternity with Himself.

“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” // Isaiah 62:5

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