Sunday, January 30, 2011

Like a Wet Baby

Mark Twain once said, "The only one who likes change is a wet baby." Well...I must be that wet baby then because all I want right now is change. I don't mean to be unappreciate or a complainer. My life is pretty great and I know that I am beyond blessed. But there is this stirring and restlessness within me for more.

Part of my unrest is about my job. I don't know if I want to return to ICS in the fall, continue teaching, move somewhere new, or just change jobs within the DC area. I have been exploring different options and I applied for a job with International Justice Mission. To my disappointment I got the rejection letter via email from IJM this week. I knew it was a long shot, but I was really excited about the opportunity. Even still, I feel very led and passionate to explore more of the organization's outreach. As I reflected over the week about why God closed this door I didn't really come up with any answers. But since they didn't want me for this job, I realized I can volunteer with them (big light-bulb moment, I know). So I looked at their volunteer opportunities and put in my volunteer application for the Hands-On Justice Team that does administrative tasks about once a month for three hours on a Wednesday night. A step in the right direction. Change in my life that will hopefully impact someone else's for good.

Even in this trite example, I can see that perhaps God is guiding me in the direction of change but not necessarily how I thought it would be. I want a job with IJM, but maybe He wants me to volunteer my time with IJM. I wish I could snap my fingers and be where I want to be, but over and over (because I obviously don't get in the first few times) I am reminded that where I want to be may not be where God intends me to be and what I want to do may not be His best plan for me.

Through the tears and wailing, I am that wet baby crying out for change. God is not ignoring me, he is answering my cries in His time and in His way. I have to continue to trust and hold onto the promises I know to be true. Proclaiming God's love in the morning and His faithfulness at night (Psalm 92:2), I have made my desires known to Him and He will lead me. And my God will continue to love me even when I'm acting like a baby.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

With an Open Hand

My four day weekend is coming to an end. It was only supposed to last three days with the holiday to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. yesterday. But, thanks to a wintry mix that the metro DC area, and Northern VA in particular, can't handle very was closed today. Believe me, I'm not complaining...I'm very thankful! But it's just seems ridiculous that less than a third of an inch of snow and ice can close school for the day. Anyway, it will be back to reality tomorrow (I think).

I tried to use my extra time this extended weekend well. I was able to spend quality time with friends and family, read and journal some, and also work on a job application. Part of this "change in the making" thing is that I'm exploring some options for a different job after this school year in a response to the discontent and stirring in my heart that I feel. I have submitted an application for one job already, and am working on a second now.

The job applications are challenging to me. Not so much in completing them, but in thinking about the prospects. As with anything new, there is an element of uncertainty and anxiety about putting yourself out there. As I write a cover letter or tweak my resume, I feel vulnerable. I am exposing myself and making it known that I desire something (a job in this case) that I may not get...I may not even get an interview. It's that way with so much in life...a new relationship, taking on a project or leadership role, training for a race, trying out for an athletic team, applying to college, auditioning for a solo, etc.. You make yourself vulnerable and open to failure or disappointment. Others know what you're trying for and what will they think if it doesn't happen? How will I feel if I fail or don't get what I want? But without taking the risk, there is no chance to experience something new and fulfilling.

This serves as a timely reminder to me to not hold too tightly to anything this world has to offer. Yes, I do have these aspirations and passions and want to chase after them. Yet just as quickly as something comes, it can also go. If I keep my hand open, I can welcome the new and take hold of it, but also let it passby if it's not right for me. If I do not cling to the things of this world, but rather hope and trust knowing that God already has the best planned for me, I will not be shaken even when I experience failure, heartbreak, or disappointment. So with an open hand I have peace knowing it's not really in my hands.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dream a New Dream

I've been thinking a lot lately of all that I'd like to try or accomplish in life. I find myself at a point where I'm restless, not sure which direction to take...or if there's even a path leading away from where I am now. If you'd asked my 10 years ago...even 5 years ago where I thought I'd be at age 28 it's not where I am. No where close. So, even though I cling to the hopes and dreams I've had for my life, it's time to dream a new dream for now.

My wise and caring dad suggested to me that I take some time to muse and think big about what I'd like to do in my life. Not necessarily things that I need to accomplish this year, but both short-term and long-term goals, and to also include things that seem completely out of the box. As I've been letting myself dream and imagine, here are some of the ideas I've come up with:

  • Travel more and often
  • Teach overseas
  • Work for a non-profit
  • Audition for a community theater production (sing/act)
  • Take an art class
  • Learn photography
  • Garden- flowers, fruits, vegetables
  • Own a small paper goods company
  • Marry my best friend
  • Have and adopt children, raise a loving family
  • Start and continue meaningful traditions with family and friends
  • Be a loyal friend, a faithful wife, and a compassionate neighbor

This list is not complete. As C.S. Lewis (love him!) said, "You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream." I hope that I will continue to live and dream, knowing that there is so much to experience in this life.

At no point do I want to feel stuck, or as though I'm hanging out in the visitor's center instead of climbing the mountain, as Gary Haugen describes it in his book, Just Courage. I want to experience life on this earth to the stretched and take risks, knowing full well that I can't do it all on my own. To live in the safe and comfortable and easy is just that. But what joy and adventure can be had if I stay in the visitor's center? So, it's time to dream new dreams and not be boxed in by the ordinary or expected.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

CAUTION: Under Construction

Under construction?

Yes. I am under construction. I am so thankful that I'm not who I am supposed to be yet because I am broken, selfish, impatient, and prideful.

But I'm a change in the making. I can feel, very acutely and in a very real way, God pruning me and growing me to be who He wants me to be. It's a process that has been in the works and continues. It's painful, but there is beauty in the breakdown.

2010 has come to an end, and 2011 has just crossed the threshold into our lives. I don't know what's in store for this year, but I do know that there is hope in redemption and that God is good. He's not finished with me yet.