Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Time to Start Stirring Things Up!

I am a very loyal and committed person. When I do things I do them whole-heartedly and with every bit of passion that I have inside me. When I love people, I love them with a strong, genuine affection that embroiders itself into my heart. This is why goodbyes are not my strong suits. I have a hard time letting go of past memories because at some point or another they have made a huge impact on my heart. So I cling to them and cherish them…. but I don’t like living off of memories. I like making memories.

This morning's church service reminded me that lately, that’s all I’ve been doing…living off of memories instead of making them. I’ve been clinging to what isn’t there anymore to avoid having to start anew. Starting over is hard. It’s hard to get out and make things happen. It takes work to get to know people, time, and energy. I’ve had some of the best friends ever and when we all had to move on it was so hard to let go. I told myself that I wasn’t going to let myself make friends like that again until I finally got settled and could stay put to where nobody would have to say goodbye. I tried my best to close myself off to others when I had short term stays in different towns, but that didn’t really work. It was hard to not love people. So…I made more friends and held onto them…and once again when it was time to move on…it hurt.

So here I am. I’ve been in Atlanta for 10 months now and have yet to get settled. I still have unpacked boxes in my apartment, I still haven’t committed to a church home, a bible study, or any type of small group. I still haven’t allowed myself to get close to people…. All because I’ve trained my heart to stay closed. NOW…I’m finally in the place that I feel I’m going to stay at for a while (because I’m praying for my job to prosper) and I just can’t bring myself to let go and finally settle. I’ve been moving and moving and moving for six years, so yeah… it’s understandable to be afraid to dive in and get involved because I’m scared I’m gonna have to pack up and leave again. But this time I don’t. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can finally commit again. I can make new friends and let them into my life. I can pursue fully what God has planned for me. I can start making things happen right here where I'm at, because this is where I've been called and by letting fear rule in my heart...I'm missing out on the best days of my life. It's time to stop being safe and making excuses.... it's time to stop going out of town to live my life as if it were someplace's time to start shakin' things up right here in Atlanta. Granted I had absolutely no intentions of ever living in Atlanta.... but God had different plans.... and He has put me here, so now I need to open my heart and embrace it and I'm sooooo ready to do that. Living a life that's based on what use to be... is stopping me from living a life based on what could be.

So here I am Lord, I'm ready to start living out life here in Fayette and Fulton county. I am ready to start getting involved again and meeting people an stirring things up. I'm ready to start taking better care of myself and embracing the fullness of life... and that includes the people that are only in it for a season. I declare that I will not be scared of being hurt, because happiness and sadness are apart of the bigger picture.

So here are my early New Year's Resolution (I guess, since it's so close to 2011)
*I am going to start working out in the mornings before work again.
*I am going to start attending the same church regularly (and stop church hopping)
*I am going to sign up for a Women's Bible Study that starts in January
*I am going to get involved in a co-ed small group and start meeting new people and opening up life for brand new adventures...and brand new friendships filled with true compassion.

Well there it is....I've shared way more information than I wanted....but it's true. I have to stop living as if this season of life and it's location is temporary. So what if it is? The fullness comes from soaking it up. I'm about to do that.... in more ways than one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Character Building Years

Ah yes…. The Character Building years


The years of early adulthood where you learn that the key to survival is simply to survive. It’s the years of sacrificing your wants for your needs…. or sometimes your needs for your wants. It’s the years of car payments, eating Indian style on the floor because you don’t have furniture while you watch the same movies over and over again because you don’t have cable. It’s the years of sitting in the parking lot of McDonalds to use their free Wi-Fi so that you can log onto the internet to pay a bill because you don’t have the money for the stamp to mail in your check or the gas to drive directly to the place. Then you pray that the site really is secure so you don’t have to deal with identity theft. Not that they would have much to steal anyway. It’s packing everything that you own into a small little car and going to the next adventure because God says so. It’s sleeping in your car on long trips, because you’re exhausted and can’t afford a hotel room. It's living on a dream and doing what it takes to make your dream a reality.

Along with that… it’s the years of learning who you are. There’s a lot of trial and error of who you want to be in life. It’s making up your mind and changing your mind. It’s dreaming of where you’ll be in five years when you’re (hopefully) out of the character building years. It’s a lot of living in the moments and absorbing the innocence of beginnings. Just the same…it’s living out of the moments and planning for the future. Daydreaming takes up a lot of your time. You have a vision of your future and you're doing everything you can to get there.

But the best thing about the character building years is what you learn. You learn that money really isn’t everything. You learn that being with people is one of the best medicines to a lonely heart. Friends come in and out your life. You lose touch with old friends and gain touch with new friends. You find yourself turning to God for everything, and you rely of Him for directing your next steps. You learn that humility is one of the best things to keep your heart genuine and getting everything that you want is over rated. You learn to love what you have and to cling to what you love. Pride goes out the window in the character building years. You have to swallow it down without any water. There are many things that you need help with, and you have no choice but to graciously accept an offer from someone who lends it….then immediately brainstorming of the way that you want to bless them back for helping you. It’s giving and taking. It's encouraging others when they're's listening to others when you're discouraged.

It’s the years of making mental notes of all the paying it forward that you’ll be doing once you’re finally able to stand on your own two feet. These years inspire you to want to be that person who helps other people, because of all the people who have helped you. It’s training for understanding how others feel, because you’ve been there. They’re years of embarrassing moments, lots of laughing at yourself, and just knowing that you’re living in the moments that you’ll one day tell your grandchildren about. It’s the years of being molded by the Refiner’s fire, and then being the vessel that sails in the wide open waters and reaches the destination. It's loving life and EVERYTHING that comes with it. I wouldn’t change these years for anything, they’re a part of my life and who I am and who I’m going to be. These are the years that truly build your character.