Wednesday, October 11, 2017

So this is 22 years and 11 months

There’s something strange about being restless 
Feeling lost 
Out of touch 
Without direction  
It’s almost like getting tagged when you play octopus 
You end up flailing your arms around reaching for anything you can  
But never grasping a tight enough hold on anything 

People say to keep your options open 
More options means more back up plans means more choices when you give up on pursuing the others 
Now that I’ve finished my degree I guess I’m supposed to feel some sense of ‘accomplishment’ 
Like I’ve reached a milestone 
I’m successful 
I’m better now than I was before  
If that’s true then why am I the way I am right now? 
It’s not that I don’t value my education 
It’s not that I’m ungrateful for my privilege 
But it’s that I yearn for more 
And I know I was meant to

I may not be a millionaire 
Or own a home or a car or a stable job with benefits 
But I’d like to believe that within my demographic this is as close to the top as I can get 
And at this 'top' is emptiness 
You and I were meant for more 
And that’s why we yearn for more 

I don’t know what your situation is 
I don’t know how much you own, how much you make or how much you have 
You and I need to be reminded that beauty fades, money runs out, homes weather, cars break down, people fail and loved ones die 
Happiness is temporary  
Nothing is stable 
Everything is meaningless, utterly meaningless

What’s strange about restlessness is the fact that I can recognize it when it comes
What’s strange is that I know what it means to NOT be restless
To have peace
To be calm
To be okay
Or at least to suppress it for long enough to get through my day without being paralyzed by fear 

Imagine if restlessness was all I knew
If tomorrow was all I had to look forward to
If my hope rested in the expectation that the next five minutes, ten minutes, hour would go exactly as I planned
This life would be my only purpose
Thankfully, everything is meaningless in light of that which is beyond comprehension
Beyond imagination
Everything I now know as joy, peace and hope at their best will grow dim against the brilliance of holiness, perfection and justice

This is not home

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Heart vs Mind

The selfishness in my heart battles the selflessness of my brain 
You'd think it would be the other way around 
That my heart would be humble
That my mind would choose greed 
But let's be real here - that's not who I am 

No one ever wants to admit that their hearts are hard 
That their hearts are dark 
We're more willing to say that our minds are clouded with darkness
That our thoughts are the enemy 
And that it's in our hearts that lies our true selves 
But that's bs

People say that decision-making is a matter of heart over mind 
That would only make sense if our hearts were any more trustworthy than our fleeting minds 
Our hearts are inherently selfish 
We want what's best for us 
We want to be happy
We desire satisfaction 
It's our minds that wipe that rose-tint off of our heart's glasses 
You KNOW what you should do
You KNOW what's right
And yet your yearning heart controls you 
You give in to that desire 

In the end, does it even matter? (Thanks, Linkin Park)
Your BS-driven desires do not have to control you 
Your BS-driven thoughts do not have to control you 
It is from your heart that healthy thoughts sprout 
It is by a healthy mind that your heart thrives
Your mind both renews and is renewed 

When this happens simultaneously, your dead heart will beat for the very first time
What once was dead will come to life

So how do you get a beating heart?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Road to Recovery

You've got to start small.

Don't overwhelm yourself, thinking you'll get it right away. Righteousness is a journey. Though we have already been made new, the 'work out your salvation' part is neither automatic nor immediate. But our comfort is this:

Jesus Christ [is] our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.

Grace powers obedience, and since grace cannot be earned, isn't it amazing to know it is a gift we can never lose?

Nevertheless, it is a gift in which we must believe, trust and channel into deepening our faith and lives unto Christ.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Loneliness & Repentance

For someone who's pretty independent, it's hard for me to be alone.

Anyone who prefers to do things by themselves obviously spends a lot of time on their own - and has experienced loneliness.

The world tells you that it's bad to be alone. Be with people. Find a partner. Make friends. Spend time around others. Go out.

If you have friends, it's almost worst when you feel lonely. Why am I lonely when I have this person and that person? Sometimes loneliness hits you when you're surrounded by people, whether you know them or not. You could be with people you've known your whole life and still feel lonely.

I know that being alone does not always need to equate loneliness. Yes, there is a difference. Being alone is literally being by yourself with no one else. Loneliness, on the other hand, is a feeling. It comes from a deep longing in your heart for fulfillment, satisfaction and companionship. And you can turn to your friends, your family, your partner, your pet - you can have momentary happiness with all of these. But don't you want pure joy?

I recently witnessed a beautiful wedding. There was definitely joy there. When your sight is so focused on Christ, your mind reflecting on his word and emotions of gratefulness and awe overcome you, there's no room for loneliness.

In this case, you allow yourself to give in to the world's lies: that being alone is bad. But are we ever really alone? Loneliness should point you to the only One who can fill that emptiness in your life.

Repentance. Often it begins with guilt, though it really shouldn't. That's usually what happens when you realize you've done wrong. You feel stupid for wasting your energy on these thoughts or those actions. Then you get sad. You feel bad about yourself for how you weren't strong enough to do the right thing, how you made the same mistake again, how you let your guard down.

But that's not right. Repentance begins with recognizing our sin - yes, that's the easy part. You recognize that abandoning truth and believing lies pulls you away from what you were created for. But then what?

The unchanging truth of forgiveness, of renewal, of love never needed to be so real until we chose to destroy ourselves - that's sin. Jesus sacrificed himself entirely for every single sin you have and will commit - that's love. But do you believe it?

Unless you allow the Spirit and his word to speak truth back into your life after being deceived by your own thoughts, you're not repenting. When you believe what the Bible says, there's nowhere else to look but the cross.

When you begin to grasp this reality that we will never fully understand in this lifetime and you believe that you are forgiven and loved, that truth shapes you. 
But only if you allow it to.

This loneliness that you're facing. It's an emotion that you have control over. Either you let it run through your mind and down into your heart, or you allow truth to do the same.

You can't expect any change if you're not willing to be broken down in order to become perfectly new.


Don't you want that? It only comes from wanting the One who is perfection. And in case you forgot or are still having trouble believing, perfection loves you. Holiness found you. Righteousness seeks you.

Truth exposes the stuff you wished would never surface. And it hurts like a swish swish bish. Removing anything that has deep roots in your skin or your body is not painless. Use all the anesthesia you want today, numb yourself with alcohol, drugs, sex, fake happiness, whatever you want; you'll feel it in the morning.

Ask for change (not the money kind) and it will come to you, but only if you trust the truth. And you'll only understand how much you need the truth when you realize why you need it.

See that loneliness you're feeling? See that sadness and struggle you experience? See that pain and hopelessness and anger taking over? That's why you need the truth.

The truth will set you free. 
It may not look like this "freedom" is worth it to you now, but if this joy is supposedly real and life-changing, what do you have to lose?


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Monday, May 29, 2017

Am I a grown-up yet?

Today, I had my very first "grown-up" interview. A full-time grown-up job position.

Was I terrified? Definitely. Did it show? Most likely. 

The hardest part about trying out for things or even auditioning for roles is the fear of rejection. I bank a lot on my abilities, skills, talents, experience, that I go into that audition room or interview area thinking that my life is my own. Who am I kidding?!

If I ever only lived my life for myself, to please myself, to get myself as far in life as possible at any cost, I would be miserable, selfish, and perpetually dissatisfied with life. The moment I forget who my God is, I forget who I am. The moment I forget that I am a sinner redeemed by grace, saved through faith and NOT works, I become that miserable, selfish, dissatisfied person, always looking for accolades, rewards, and achievements to make myself feel like I am worth something. This is what happens when your worth is based on who YOU are.

I have the habit of defining my day by my circumstances:
Slept in - fewer hours to do things;
Ran for the bus - should have left earlier;
Twisted my ankle - why aren't you following your prescribed exercises;
Forgot something at home - damnit.

And when I put energy and effort into preparing for something that doesn't exactly turn out in my favour, I get tunnel vision: Why did I do that? Why didn't I do that?! How could I have forgotten this? What am I going to do now?

The common factor in all these thoughts: me. After all that hard work, shouldn't things have gone my way? I question all my abilities, my skills, my experiences - why didn't these things get me what I wanted?! Self-doubt and insecurity cloud my mind. My mindset of thinking so highly of myself switches into thinking the lowest of myself. And of course, the world likes to tell us that humility is thinking less of yourself. But this is so, so wrong.

You are beautiful. You are redeemed. You are forgiven by grace. And you didn't have to do anything to earn it! In light of God's mercy, there is no room to think lowly of yourself. You've been given a gift of favour that you don't deserve - there is only room for gratitude, praise and honour for God.

In these moments of applying for jobs, auditioning for roles, putting yourself out there at the risk of rejection, remember who your God is - then you'll know who you are and who you're called to be.

Put your best foot forward by denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Him. Lose your life to save it.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Dependent Independence.

Dear God,

I’m kind of nervous about my trip. Being my first time travelling alone, I don’t know what to expect. I know I’m good at hiding my nervousness, but this kind of feels like the time I went to Quebec. I would be away from home for 5 weeks, which didn't really terrify me until my parents left, which is when I burst into tears. 

Being independent is weird. I mean, I'm still dependent on my parents, completely, but becoming an adult, becoming self-sufficient, it's different. Scary. Good because I'm growing, but scary.

I feel like older people reading might think, 'Oh well wait 'til you get to my age!', and yes, I cannot empathize with people who've had more experience than I have but this is all I know, and like the self-centred youngin' that I am, this is the biggest problem in my own world.  

I'm not whining. I'm just trying to sort out my thoughts. Writing has a way of doing that. It helps lay out all the chaos and voices that are trying to overpower each other into a literal easy-to-read transcript. 

So yes, I'm nervous about flying however many feet up in the sky across 3 provinces by 2 different planes, and then having to do that all over again. Whenever I travel with my parents, my dad takes the lead, and I like to take it with him and act like I know what I'm doing and where I'm going. Is it lame that I'm a 21-year-old who wants to be treated as an unaccompanied minor? It is, isn't it? Rhetorical question.

But I know it'll be fun. I can't wait to see my friend. It will be a great experience, a time where I will be completely out of my comfort zone, taking on the role of an independent adult lady travelling alone... 

There's this tension between my independence and dependence, my self-sufficiency and my need, my anxiety and my being at peace, because in the middle of my racing heartbeat and shallow breaths, I'm reminded of whose hands my life is in. 

The God who you trust has given up his son's life for your good, for your salvation, for his glory, is the same God who runs your entire life, who is in control of every move, thought, and word you speak, and yet you're still responsible for your actions, your thoughts, and your speech. Compatibilism - look it up. It's a thing. 

Your Salvation, your Saviour, your Propitiator (woah, did not think that would be a word, I kinda just hoped it would be and now that it doesn't have a red squiggly line under it, I'm kinda proud of myself), your Justifier is the one who sent you his Spirit to be with you always. 

You don't know whether you'll die next week, tomorrow, or in the next 5 minutes. You aren't guaranteed tomorrow. You aren't guaranteed anything. The only one thing that hasn't changed, isn't changing, and will never change, is God himself. He is the same yesterday, today, an hour from now, forever. And if God is love, then there's absolutely nothing you can do to make him love you any more or any less than he already does. He is constant even when you can't even manage to keep up with your schedule or your responsibilities. Even when you run as far away as you can, even when you've cursed his name, under your breath and aloud, once you have Him and once He has you, it's for good. 

There is nothing that can separate repentant creation from its Maker. When you realize your need for Christ, when you realize your need for a Saviour, when you can admit that you are messed up and understand that nothing on this earth can ever satisfy, not even your best self, look no further than the cross - the death of an innocent man for the long-term good of those who trust in him and the glory of his Father who sent him. 

This is truth. Know that nothing else can or will satisfy you more than the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as your Saviour and being justified by his blood, freed from the power of sin, living dependently independent by the Holy Spirit for the glory of an even more powerful God.

What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own, 
   but belong with body and soul, 
   both in life and in death, 
   to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. 
He has fully paid for all my sins 
   with his precious blood, 
   and has set me free 
   from all the power of the devil. 
He also preserves me in such a way 
   that without the will of my heavenly Father 
   not a hair can fall from my head; 
   indeed, all things must work together 
   for my salvation. 
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit 
   he also assures me of eternal life 
   and makes me heartily willing and ready 
   from now on to live for him.
- Taken from the Heidelberg Catechism

So this is 22 years and 11 months

There’s something strange about being restless  Feeling lost  Out of touch  Without direction    Stuck  It’s almost like getting tagged...