Thursday, July 30, 2009

boxes

I know men in a box, who will stay within the box...
Why?
Because they haven't the courage to break freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I am a girl in a box. I have my warm, smiley, free-spirited self which I like very much. I don't know if I am really like that, just I imagine I am.

All of the interns at prep week have been working on an Evening Program to present to the community. I was assigned a part that required me to break out of my box. I didn't like that. I was very stubborn about it at first. I had my box and it worked for me. Unfortunately for me, I'm not in charge of the program... and so I've had to learn to get out of my box. In all truth, its good for me. I realize that now.

If only the rest of my boxes were that simple! I don't think I have to tell you that I have placed most of the interns in boxes too, only to find, day by day, that I was wrong. I am constantly learning new things and realizing my own foibles.

Then of course, I put God in a box. I thought I wasn't. Really. I thought I was doing okay, but I'm not.

I've known for a long time that I can develop relationships with others and learn many truths about God through discussions with other people. This week, I've realized that discussions aren't the only way to grow closer to others and to God.

At home, discussions are my primary form of food for the brain. I usually don't participate in discussions as much as I listen. I rarely have anything to share, but I learn so much! I love it!

Now, coming to prep week, I knew I was going to get to talk to some very amazing people. I really really really want to get to know them. More than that, I want to seek God. I want to understand!

So, naturally, I assumed that we'd be having lots of deep, wonderful discussions all the time because everybody wanted to get to know each other and God better. I was correct that everybody wanted to know each other and God better. However, I got the part about the discussions wrong. I have had some absolutely amazing discussions, but not as many as I expected.

A few nights I went to bed feeling like nothing had happened. I had this giant desire to connect with people and to understand God, but no way to meet that desire.

There are a few people here who I have decided are perfect for discussing life with me. I have tried to make some sort of discussion happen once or twice. [I apologize if you have been a victim of my attempts at discussions!] I am a terrible discussion facilitator. Besides, I argue, I am no good at having discussions. I just want to listen. I don't know what to ask people, I complain.

This evening, I saw two people having just the discussion I wanted to be part of. It reminded me of home and of Reg10n. It was perfect, except that both of them were guys. I decided it was probably a discussion I wasn't welcome in and watched from the sidelines...

"If I only I knew everybody better, so that I could participate in the discussion without it feeling awkward!" I thought to myself.

What I desired was just out of reach. I went to bed rather crest fallen.

"Things never happen the same way twice, dear one." - Aslan

So, I have been thinking about and this is the conclusion I have come to. Maybe it's a bit simplistic, but: there is more than one way to get to know people and glorify God.

Looking over the past days, I discovered that I have built relationships and learned about God while dancing in the rain, singing, listening to the crickets, watching the stars wink at me, playing Frisbee, reading the Bible together, praying together, hugging people goodnight, swinging on a hammock, eating meals, working on projects, and memorizing.

Wow.

It's been just amazing. I've sought to understand people and God better and I am understanding more and more every day... all outside of my box.

Boxes tend to rule my life, telling me how to act and how things are supposed to happen. It stinks. But I don't want to leave my box and try something new.

I miss my pre-tour life. I miss you all.

But I am here now, suffering from an overabundance of boxes. I've got to break free.

He man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
-2 Cor 8:2

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

a walk in the park

[Most of this was written Sunday evening...]

I am leaving in two weeks. Exactly. It isn't hard for me to admit that I am nervous.

Today, I was taking a walk outside. The weather simply mandated that I stop what I was doing and go outside. So I did. It was lovely, as always.


I went by myself, which is quite out of the ordinary. I took my camera and snapped photos along the way. When I left the house, I knew walking by myself meant walking with God. Usually, I just enjoy His presence. However, today He used his creation to remind me of his faithfulness.

Truthfully, I don't think I was planning on doing anything but enjoy His creation. For half of the walk, I stopped every little while to take a picture. It was fun, but slightly pointless. Then, my camera said its battery was low, so I stopped taking photos and began communing with God. [I hope you don't mind me borrowing your word, Becka.]


Walking along the river, with the breeze fingering my hair and the sand tickling my toes, I sang. Tripping along the grassy path, with the grass brushing up against my legs and the sun casting shadows on the way ahead, I recited some of the verses I was memorizing. Sitting under a great tree, with the leaves rustling and the birds' song in my ears, I thought and listened.

This is what I heard.


While I was lying out on the grass, a fly was buzzing around my head. Three times... buzz, buzz, buzz... and three more times... buzz, buzz, buzz. God said to me, If you wave your hand, this fly will go away. I am more faithful than this little fly. Even when you try to wave me away, I surround you. I am always there.


Then I looked up and saw the leaves on the tree above me. They grow in the spring, florish in the summer, dance in the fall, and then die. That's it. God whispered in my ear, Child, you are a leaf. Life is much, much bigger than what you can see and what you think. You are nothing and your life is nothing. I am forever.


Examining the leaves brought me to the tree. Trees take a long time to grow up as tall as this one was. Much can happen to prevent that growth. But, God grew it that tall. He told me, I will do the same with you. I will make you into the person what I want you to be in my time. Trust me.

As I thought about that, I felt the wind on my face. I love the wind. It makes me feel carefree and at the top of the world. I think, "So this is life!" Then God nudged me, A cool breeze makes hot days feel cool. The wind doesn't depict reality, but fantasy. The world is like the wind. It will tell you of things that seems and feel good. Your eyes will be opened to new things and you say "So this is life!" But the world lies. It makes evil seem like good, good like evil. Like a windy day, the world prevents you from hearing the truth. Listen to me.


It was about time to go home. I walked out of the shade into the bright sun. Wow, it was warm. It doesn't matter if it is raining or storming or cloudy: the sun is still there, He said. Just because the circumstances might hide the sun doesn't mean its gone. The sun will be back. It always is. In the same way, Jesus never fails. Circumstances don't change God's faithfulness. Trust and be content.

Wow, it really was warm. Try standing up to the sun, looking it in the eye and refusing to move. You die, you wilt. You might not immediately, but it will happen. God said, You can't change Me any more than you can change the sun. I have the authority and the power. My will shall be done. Your rebellion is foolishness. He will endure. I will fail. Having no strength of my own, the only thing I can do is be humble.

Little things in God's world reminded me of big things about God's nature. I am thankful for my perfect, infinite, loving God. He is faithful.


When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

- Ps 56: 3, 4
{and hope does not put us to shame}