Tuesday, July 30, 2013

losing control || life

How inconvenient. Anxiety and worries seem to find me at the most inconvenient times. Yesterday I was in between assignments when the reality of how little control I have over my life crept up on me. As the evening went on I couldn't just shake away this feeling. I couldn't understand why I was so burdened by this. I don't see myself as an anxious person. I like to be stress-free. 

But something didn't feel right. I felt like I was losing control of my life. Nothing bad was happening. The drive was peaceful, the sky was beautiful and things at work were fine. I don't know why I was feeling the way I was. All I know is that as much as I want to believe I have full control over my life I don't. 

I can't control my brain, I can't control the way others drive, or my future. I can't even control what happens after I pray. I can't control how God is going to respond to me. I can't control the way others think or even sometimes the way I think.
I can try. I can be as healthy as I can be but that doesn't mean I won't get sick. I can try really hard to impose my ideas, beliefs and thoughts on someone else but I have no control over how they will respond. 

This scares me. It's almost paralyzing to think about this. I want to have control over something. It's in my nature to control, to plan, to worry and fret about what's next. 
But I also knew that it wasn't enough for me to be so afraid of. Fear immobilizes. Fear rarely produces good fruit. Instead, it cripples you and you're stuck. I didn't want to be stuck. 

So last night as I'm having a mini anxiety/panic attack about how little control I have over my life a friend reminded me gently how I'm not supposed to do this on my own. It's like skydiving. The first time you go, you can't go alone. You need an instructor to go with you. It's pretty risky to entrust your life to someone as you jump out of a plane and pray that you land safely (actually I didn't land so well so my butt ended up hurting a lot and I threw up after, but I survived last year). 

If life is supposed to be this grand adventure or journey then I have to let go of the idea of having control over every little thing. I want to entrust (and I guess I write this to be held accountable by whoever reads this) my life into the hands of God and also the people around me. It means letting down my guard and the high walls I've built up to keep people out of my life. It means being ok when things get messy. It means having peace in my heart when nothing seems to be going right. It takes some faith and courage to let go of my natural impulse to control.   

And to know there is so much grace in the unplanned chaos moments of our lives is beautiful.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

overflow of love || life

"Sorry I've been so busy." It's a common reason for being unable to catch up with someone, spend time with people you love and do what you really care about. We work, we study, we have meetings to go to, we have to clean, take care of kids, we're starting businesses, we're beginning a new career and whatever else we're busy doing  -- we're doing it. When I'm busy I become lazy and complacent. I become quite robotic and drained. I don't want to be around anybody or do anything. I think I've become busy with the wrong things though.

"It's just not my personality." "It's not the way I do things." I know I've said this quite often when I don't want to do something or when I've been confronted about the way I do or don't do things. My old habits, personality and temperament are good excuses for me to use when I want to reason my way out of something. If I don't want to spend time with people, I tell them I'm an introvert. If I offend someone with my words, I tell them I like to say what I want to say. If I don't respond right away to an e-mail or text, I tell them I'm just slow at it. It's excuse after excuse rather than owning up anything.

Yesterday I was driving and it dawned on me that I still don't know what it means to truly love people. My love for my family and friends is weak. I have a limit and then I want to quit. It's much easier to talk about love than to actually have it manifest in every area of my life. Just like it's much easier to talk about faith than to live by it. It isn't that I'm being hard on myself, but I know that my love isn't enough. It runs dry and it has it's limits.

Do I do everything out of love? Has love completely changed me from the inside out? The times I'm tired or burnt out isn't because I've loved so much but because I haven't. Loving others shouldn't be draining or tiring; not when you know you're loved and not when you know who you are and what you were made to do. We were made to love and for love. Only when we lose sight of this do we become tired, selfish and unable to love. If I'm fully loved then there should be an abundance of it within me. When that fullness of love is in me it should overflow to others around me. When I lose sight of the good love I have in my life, I can't love others. I become like an empty cup trying to quench the thirst of others. It's counterproductive and useless. You might as well not even do it. Your cup needs to be FULL and supernaturally always full in order for you to give it away.

I've become so discouraged by my own ability to love. I've become so discouraged by other people's inability to love. I have high expectations when it comes to love because it is the most important thing we have in this life. We want to get things right and be right but we forget to love. We allow our ego and arrogance get in the way. But I want to see people overflowing with love; not talks of love and not blog entries of love, but actual love. I want to see it move powerfully in me and in people around me where lives are completely changed, flipped upside down and we're left changed with encounters of love through each other. I've become busy with the wrong things; things that don't matter in the end. I want to be busy loving and growing in that love. I want my personality to be shaped by love, not by old habits, reactions to the past and old wounds.

"Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him." C.S Lewis

Monday, June 24, 2013

good friend || life

Life has gotten extremely busy. I get tired easily with work, commuting and keeping up with family and friends. I have two more months of this and then it's off to school again. 

I want to share this with you. I've been thinking a lot about friends, friendships and how it all works. I'm still figuring it all out. Learning to be a good friend and wanting to be a good friend has always and will always be a priority for me. 

In grade 8 we had a huge assignment called the "HOW TO" project. We had to teach the class how to do something. People had things like "how to make the perfect cookie" or "how to write a good story" or "how to draw". I decided to do "How to be a good friend" I should go find that and see what my 13-year old self suggested in being a good friend because I can't seem to really figure it out. 

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” 
― Henri J.M. NouwenThe Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

“A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God's forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, "Isn't that beautiful," or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don't have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.” 
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

this love || life

“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience - it looks for a way of being constructive.
Love is not possessive.
Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
Love is not touchy.
Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. 

On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.”

- Elisabeth Elliot