Wednesday, February 27, 2013

anything could happen.

i think i hate surprises. even just the thought of the unexpected, the unplanned, & the unforeseeable makes me kinda apprehensive. i think i'd rather stick with my tunnel vision and straight jacket that keeps me from wandering too far or dreaming too big. i think i love abiding by rules and having as few choices as possible as to avoid confusion or misdirection.  i say i think because these preferences naturally fit my type-a personality and makes me feel safe- and you know what safe means? boring.
the first twenty something years of my life were spent craving predictability. even as a young kid i reveled in planning ahead so much so that i picked my outfit for the following day and wore it to bed at night so there was no question about it in the morning. in college i finished writing 30 page papers the very first weekend the assignment was given although it wasn't due until the end of the semester. there are so many more examples, even some OCD habits that i'm still actively shaking off, but recalling all of this actually makes me really sad. i was consumed just thinking for so long that it paralyzed me. when i examine my life, i realize that the most liberating experiences were never prearranged or scheduled- the times when i thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest, or when there were uncontrollable butterflies in my stomach, or when i laughed so hard my abs literally ached the next day. i can't pinpoint exactly when it happened, but sometime right before, during and after living in hawaii & israel, i broke out of my mold and never turned back.
one of my best friends asked me last weekend when do i feel the most alive. without having to deliberate or weigh my options i replied, "when i'm singing & worshiping." i can't explain what happens within the five senses or sufficiently elaborate with words, but when i sing i'm free. when i'm standing in His presence, it's as if everything & everyone disappears and there's just glory all around. i'm literally high. there is no agenda. no ulterior motives. no pretension. i can't help but raise my arms up and lift my head to the sky as if i'm gazing intently into heaven with my eyes closed. you see, this has nothing to do with personality or temperament because worship is not about us, it's all about Jesus. it's only in this place where we are truly transformed and set free of all the tireless and vain thinking. okay this is so exhilarating because the Lord is just downloading revelation and wisdom even as i'm typing this :)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18

so i was seriously wrong. i don't enjoy stifling structure. i don't want to have the outline of my future before i get to live it. it's a far cry from the box i used to fit myself in, but i'm beginning to be a huge fan of the unknown- full of wonder & mystery & limitless possibilities. plus, He is a lot better at all of this planning . i am nowhere near as imaginative or creative.
i actually love surprises. i love it when i believe i have things figured out, God abruptly shows up on the scene, removes my blindfold, and opens my eyes to a whole new perspective. i love that He reinforces significant people back into my life at the most perfect times to remind me of my calling and destiny. i even love it when God so faithfully and mercifully blocks my path with thorn bushes and redirects me to greener pastures.

It's always like springtime with You, making all things new
Your light is breaking through the dark
This love it is sweeter than wine
Bringing joy, bringing life
Your hope is rising like the dawn

This is what You do, this is what You do
You make me come alive

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

happy endings.

“I don't want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings.” 

there's a handful of people in my life who compel me to love Jesus more. they sharpen me, motivate me to run harder after God and they hold my arms up when i feel like i'm losing the battle like aaron & hur did for moses. these marvelous comrades speak life over me, call me to a higher standard and fill my heart with love and compassion. then there are others, who have stormed in and stormed right out like a revolving door, whom i wish i never met at all. i would've been better off w/o ever meeting them. i can totally relate to tiffany in silver linings playbook as she tells pat, "You know, for a while, I thought you were the best thing that ever happened to me. But now I'm starting to think you're the worst."
 i know it may sound harsh to admit but sometimes i can't help but ask God why certain people were ever allowed to be part of my life- bringing disruption, causing stress & heartache and leaving me worse off than before. they lifted me up only to leave me at a higher distance from which to fall, so it seems. fortunately, there have only been a few, but they were significant enough to make an impact and leave scars & so much offense in my heart. this is in no way to blame God or hold Him responsible for the choices i made. but especially when decisions are made prayerfully, full of wisdom and confirmation, and it still screws me over in the end, it's hard to reconcile or make sense of it. 
i haven't personally felt this way about anyone in a very long time (thank God) & i hope to keep it that way. there is no sob story that still plagues me or an ex that i need to forgive or get over. i was just reminded of this because i saw silver linings playbook last weekend & thoroughly enjoyed it. this is going to make me sound like a lunatic but i loved jennifer lawrence's character, tiffany, so much because she reminds me of myself in many ways. haha. (hm...maybe more like how i used to be). "I do this! Time after time after time! I do all this shit for other people! And then I wake up and I'm empty! I have nothing!"
she's reckless & unruly and although she's experienced tragedy & loss, she's still so quick to let herself love again. tiffany went through unbelievable pain which led to a certifiably crazy phase but it didn't stop her from taking risks, even on someone who was as broken & messed up as she was.  i wouldn't recommend this sort of behavior for anyone and i don't commend or admire those who conduct themselves in such a way. it's unstable, dangerous and immature but at the same time there's such an ironic purity and innocence about it. love like you've never been hurt- sounds awfully nice. almost impossible to do. 
the thing is, we can't fully control who we let into our lives to ensure safety and peace. if we're in constant fear or paranoia of the bad guys & attempt to screen and weed out anyone who has the slightest chance of betraying and forsaking us, we'll end up all alone. no one, even our most trusted friends and cherished family members who have the best intentions, can ever promise to never hurt us. that's life. it happens. we can't change others, our circumstances or our past but we can choose how we respond. instead of becoming so easily jaded and slipping into bitterness and despair, we can still intentionally choose to believe in love. i've always been called a "hopeless romantic" which i always hated b/c it doesn't make any sense. shouldn't it be "hopeful romantic"? we're the most hope-filled ones, against all odds and beyond all reason. 

"The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier. Thank you. I love you."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

clueless but not afraid.

it's kinda funny, and still a little bit shocking, how disparately guys and girls view each other.

me: i'm an idealist
5:07 PM guy friend: Thats not being ideal
  Thats just being weird

not to say that i'm so mindful of what guys think or would dare to claim to know what goes on in that head of theirs, but i often forget that men don't typically share the same sentiments that i do. despite what my anonymous guy friend deems as "weird," i don't believe there's anything wrong or unreasonable about knowing what you want, how you want it to happen and not budging or settling for anything less- especially in life's most important decisions. quoting from clueless- Cher: "I just want to be absolutely sure! I mean, you see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet!"
although i left out the rest of the IM chat, one can probably gather that the subject matter was about relationships, specifically my relationship status and why i'm still single. somehow, wanting to marry my best friend- someone i already feel comfortable & safe with, whom i strive to effortlessly impress without being self conscious, and one who accepts me exactly the way i am, yet inspires me to grow and improve myself- is being too stubborn and unrealistic. i gotta admit though, it definitely limits my choices and further minimizes the already shallow and narrow pool.  i started to worry that maybe i was sabotaging promising opportunities and not giving myself a fair shot b/c i'm already so set on how this should play out. and you know what? that's precisely my biggest problem- i always already have everything figured out. i'm a chronic planner/organizer/controller.
one of the biggest lessons that the Lord has been continually teaching me the past couple years is just to let go, trust Him, and just chill the heck out. i feel like i blog about this topic too often. stop being so uptight and stop needing to define everything (also kindly suggested by my anonymous friend). even w/in the past couple weeks i'm discovering just how liberating and unburdening it is to die to insisting on my own way and giving it all to God. in a particular case recently, as quickly as i sincerely and fully gave up my own agenda and timeline and laid it before Him, He gave it right back in His perfect timing along with extra bonuses that i forgot i even prayed about. yeah, dying to my own will and denying myself of taking control of my life is as unpleasant as it gets. but i realized that's exactly what it means to make Jesus the Lord of my life. there's no room for 2 on His throne. it's frightening to think that i might be missing out on what the Lord has for me because i'm holding on so tight to my desires and rights.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

i love this passage in exodus 4. moses is protesting with God about how his inadequacies and fears disqualify him for God's mighty purposes. then He simply asks moses what he's holding onto- a staff- his identity, his future, his security. just by his own strength and imagination, i'm sure moses had a picture of what his life might look and feel like, and i honestly don't think he was losing any sleep over it- b/c he had no idea there was so much more. but as soon as moses threw down what he was holding onto so dearly, God took his ordinary staff, performed a miraculous sign with it, and gave it back to him full of power. he wasn't afraid anymore b/c he trusted God.
speaking of which, i never really understood why anyone would be afraid of God's glory. after all, isn't His glory supposed to fill us with awe and wonder of His splendor and cause us to fall on our faces in worship? what's so scary about that? yes, i know God is holy and our sinfulness can keep us from approaching Him with confidence, but there's more to this fear. it's a fear of throwing down our staff in order to take hold of His glory. it's a fear of letting go completely and trusting Him explicitly b/c we don't have a clue as to how it will turn out. i may be clueless, even weird, about many things, but i'm not going to be afraid anymore. but when i am, i know the answer- more love. SHOW ME YOUR GLORY.
    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, 1 John 4:18
I see the cloud, I step in
I want to see Your glory as Moses did
Flashes of light and rolls of thunder, 

I'm not afraid
I'm not afraid

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory, my God
Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

I'm awed by Your beauty, lost in Your eyes
I long to walk in Your presence like Jesus did
Your glory surrounds me and I'm overwhelmed

I'm not afraid
I'm not afraid

Show me Your glory, show me your glory, my God
Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in your presence, it's where I belong

Oh how we love you, Oh how we love you
Oh how we love you Jesus