Saturday, February 28, 2009

stunning seventeen

This past year has been just stunning. Yes, go ahead and take stunning both ways. Seventeen has been both beautiful and surprising. God in his uncontainable grace has blessed me greatly.

I'd like to share a few reflections upon seventeen and a few resolutions for eighteen if you'd like to listen.

A few things I will probably remember best about being 17 are:
~Attending Nationals in Alabama
~Learning to drive (and feeling embarrassed about the bright yellow sticker on our minivan which broadcasted my driving incompetence to the world)
~Praying for and finding a new debate partner (and an very awesome one at that! God most certainly didn't forget about me.)
~Flying on 12 different planes and visiting 15 different states for some amount of time

Wow, just thinking back... when I turned 17 I didn't expect to do any of those things. Even with driving, I somehow tricked myself into believing that 17 was not the year for it.

Knowing all the different things God has taught me and the ways he's stretched me, I'm not even going to try to sum up what the biggest lesson I learned in 17 was. What I do know is this: God has met every single one of my needs and nearly all of the desires I've had this year. I am making a list of them all in my head and it is long. Going to Nats, RSAing at MASTERS... it has all been wonderful!

For this year of 18, there are several things I'd like to work on. I'm not sure if they are resolutions or goals, but they are definitely aspirations. I want to:
  • Become such good friends with Jesus that I cannot do without Him. I know a relationship with Jesus is much more than friendship, but this is something I want to work on. I want my confidence and identity in life to come only from knowing Him.
  • Live with open my eyes. Yesterday, I took my mom's laptop downstairs for a while. I didn't know she needed it, so I just left it there when I was done. Then she just quietly used my dad's computer, which has a shorter battery life and is harder to use. If I had watched what was going on, she could have used her own computer, especially since I wasn't using it. In addition, there are so many ways I could help around the house more if I only opened my eyes.
  • Talk to people as the living, breathing individual they are, not who they seem like. The fact that I judge people and put them in boxes annoys me to no end. Getting beyond what I think people are and into who they really are takes time and effort. I'm enjoying the process and hope to continue it.
  • Give people eye contact and peer into their hearts. It appalls me how much of my debate skills I keep in the debate round. I recently started thinking about eye contact a great deal. When you look some one straight in the eye, it's like you can see straight down into them. You both are thinking the exact same thing; you connect. It is beautiful.
  • Learn to ask questions. Listening is something I thoroughly enjoy. I get to hear what somebody thinks and learn about them. However, listening can be the easy way out. Listening means I wait for somebody to talk. Instead, I want to be able to initiate meaningful conversations and ask questions that show I care.
"Things never happen the same way twice, dear one." - Aslan

My stunning seventeen is over and I am ready for the challenge of eighteen. I don't know what things will happen this year, but I am going to trust God and seek to make His name magnificent through it all. During these next 364 days, I want take these ideas off my blog and put them into practice in my life. But more than that, I want to be available for God to use me and I want to be ready to do His will cheerfully.

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." - 1 Cor 2:2

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sleeping in

Good morning!!!

I have been meaning to wake up my blog for a long time. Now I am finally doing it! Many of my friends have recently created blogs or have been blogging very frequently, which kind of reminded me about mine. :)

October 7, 2008 was the date on my last blog post. Wow. I'm trying to figure out why I haven't blogged for a long time. The main reason, I think, is because I've been sleeping in. No, I don't mean spirtually. I am very much awake spirtually. It's my virtual life that's been sleeping. 

In October, I gave up facebook for a month. Most of my extra time was spent on the ICC Alumni Program, speech, or debate. I began to ignore my communication in the virtual world. Sure, I was still "allowed" to chat and blog; I just didn't do it for the most part.

My facebook fast ended months ago. However, I wonder if that disconnection from the virtual world is still lingering with me somehow. I check my facebook and chat all the time now, but I don't blog. One of my big three in virtual communication is missing. 

It's as if I had taken a real fast from food and, when I returned to my normal eating habits, I forgot about my vegetables. My non-vegetable foods, like grains, protiens, fruits, and snacks, are all "easy," so I put them back into my diet. However, vegetables take longer to prepare and require chewing to get through the fiber.

Basically, I decided to opt-in to the easy things about the virtual world like chatting and facebook and forget about the things that take time and thought. While fasting certainly was a good thing for me, it may have indirectly caused me to become lazy in my virtual communication. 

After my fast was over, I didn't take the trouble to communicate on my blog. I saw I could do without it, so I didn't feel like spending the time. 

However, by not blogging, I am sleeping in. Nevertheless's song "Sleeping in" inspired this whole concept. The song talks about how we would rather sleep in than face the world outside. Sure, it makes us feel lame, but it's just easier. 

Sometimes, I agrue back and say that I prefer face-to-face communication better and so blogging isn't important for me. I mean my brain type has wired me to like people, not computers. 

But...

If I am really trying to communicate with the cultural, if I am really hoping to win others for Christ, I need to know how to relate to people over the internet, as well as in person.

So, here I am, waking up my blog and my blog life. And singing the last few lines of "Sleeping in"...

Open up my eyes. 
I'm tired of sleeping in 
In a world that's dying to wake up.
{and hope does not put us to shame}