September 10, 2012

growing up

oh, life:

you can never seem to please everyone, ever.

encouragement is so rare but so precious to me. to anyone who has ever sent a quick note of encouragement to me, thank you. i hope i do the same for others. i've been inspired more to write letters and cards of thankfulness and thoughtfulness to those around me.

for those of you who have moved away from home, do you ever find it hard to balance that old life with the new one? whether it's friends, family, or acquaintances, it just never seems to be perfect. either you're neglecting your present life, or you're neglecting the ones who are now further away.

don't you wish there was just a little more understanding in the world? a little more forgiveness, a little more flexibility? maybe i've learned too much flexibility in the last year, and now it's coming off as neglectfulness. Lord, help to balance it all with grace.

communication is a tricky thing. you know why? because it's not just about you - it's a two-way street. either you feel like you're the one always communicating, or the other person perceives that you are ignoring them altogether. how many things are lost in translation, because we don't communicate clearly? and how many people can we expect to communicate perfectly with? which relationships are the most important - the ones you're in at the moment, the new friendships forming around you, or the ones that you're tied to by long and well-tried threads?

materialism will never, ever satisfy. in the past 2 months, i've gained a new laptop, a new iphone, a new living space, and three pairs of TOMS (those are a big deal). you may have everything you've ever dreamed of, the things that have been sticking to your wish list for years, and then the disenchantment fades, and there are new wishes, or problems with the new things. and so you want more, and more. you know what? you'll never be satisfied. only Jesus satisfies.

i've learned a lot about rest in the last year, but you know what the hard part is? constantly putting those lessons into practice. i can never seem to get it just right. either i'm resting in God and feeling complete in His presence, or i'm managing life and running myself to the ground without Him. in our society, the latter seems to be favored. people want to see that you're busy, see the fruits of your labor, because if there's no achievement, then you must be lazy. you know what? our world is so screwed up, our country especially, Southern California in particular. you know what kind of economy God designed? a space where every person rested in Him, found fulfillment and joy in His presence, it did not strive and strive and strive for perfection. and if we were all in the place, then we could maybe all show each other a little more love, a little more grace, because we had been filled by God's love first. but the tricky thing is being in that place with God and being surrounded by people who aren't, because then you're in a dilemma. do you please others, or do you rely on God first and please Him? He says to seek Him first and then all those things we worry about will be given to us.

you know what else God says? he says not to worry. not about a single moment of your life, "for who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?" God is so smart. seriously.

i guess i'm struggling with this whole balance of resting in God, being in His presence, enjoying His peace, and then being thwarted on all sides by those who feel i'm neglecting them. do you ever feel like that? they say, you're never alone in what you're feeling, so i know there's someone out there who asks themselves the same question. is it ok to put the to-do list on hold in order to retreat into God's presence? Jesus tells us to love God first, with all our heart, mind, and soul, and then to love others as we love ourselves. maybe that's the part i'm missing, the bridge between loving God and loving others. loving God is great, it's the most important thing, but do i love myself next? or do i love others next?

there are days i wish my days were absolutely free, where i had all the time in the world to fill myself up with God's love, pour out love on others and spend time with them, and also take care of myself. but the world has placed so many, many demands on us - you must work. you must educate yourself. you must stay up to speed on the times. is there anything we can cut out? anything to declutter our life? if there is something, we must do it. we must make room for God and others. not others like that blogger you don't know, but others like your best friend, your family, your close friends. the people, right here right now.

i think we all have to meet in the middle. all of us, a little more loving on each other. could you imagine a world where every person extended endless amounts of grace, but where each person also knew how to love perfectly and selflessly? that's God's world. right now, we're in a messy world that operates on selfishness.

am i ever doing anything right? and what matters most? that my relationship with God is right, or that i'm pleasing everyone around me? i think that if I was fully reliant on Him, i'd be ok with the world crashing down around me, because He is my guide, my King, my confidence, my peace. He will direct my paths, and only He can.

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