Ok, last week. On Thursday we had a community meeting with all of Mercy Ships where they showed one of Rob Bell's nooma videos, Today. I more or less cried through the last 5 minutes of it (for those of you who laughed at this because you are aware his videos are only 10 minutes long, its ok, I understand)
Basically he talks about a whole bunch of stuff including not living in the past and living for today. I have always backed this line of thinking and have always strived to apply it in my life. The three days before that left me examining my S/C personality and although they tell you not to consider the terms negative I found that nearly impossible. Basically I was looking at myself under a microscope. My relationship with God, readiness to ever be in a relationship again, the quality of friend I am, if I am ready to be a missionary, if God was happy with how I am living, absolutely nothing was safe from my self-imposed scrutiny. I continued my day Thursday with a lump in my throat that practically choked me until I could just sob when I got back to my dorm. I went to bed around 6 and nearly slept through until 7 the next morning. I felt a little refreshed and my mind eased a little in talking with some friends here who expressed the same grief. Friday was one of the prettier days we have had here and I felt a strong pull to return to my quiet sun drenched spot after class and talk all of this over with God.
I could hardly hold back tears as I neared the fence, I craved the quiet and aloneness with God so much it ached. As it turns out the tears didn't flow like I thought they would. Within minutes I leaned up against the cold metal and felt the sun on my face. I felt absolute stillness, followed by what I can only describe as God speaking into my heart. More or less this is what I knew I was being told~
Lets go. Pick yourself up and be confident in me and yourself. You don't have to have it all figured out. When the times comes for something new I will be there with you, leading you each step of the way. Stop dwelling on things you cannot change. Stop thinking about your past, if you need more lessons from that I will show you then when you need to learn them. Right now its time to get up and get going.
This was not exactly the gentle prodding I am used to. I don't know if it was because I was standing on the border of big field in Texas, but I kept thinking about the phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps", haha. What are bootstraps anyways??
I walked away feeling lighter and overall pretty well-adjusted. I am learning about confidence, and honestly its pretty freakin' awesome. I was saying to someone I can't wait to get to Africa so God can start stretching me and challenging me. The person I was talking to was like "oh, you mean you want to start living?" um, yup.
As I reflect on the last few days I realize that I have slowly started to live more and more. It is strangely liberating and simultaneously scary to leave behind everything I know and follow a God I know is there but cannot see. What I am realizing is this is what living is. Here are some marginally comical illustrations of how I have been "living" lately:
~Singing worship in a old hippie commune in E. Texas before class every morning.
~Driving down country rd 724 at 2:30 am listening to daft punk with a fellow American, a Brit, and an Australian all of whom I have met in the last 3 weeks.
~Finding God by an old rusty fence.
~Singing and fully participating in the hokey pokey around a campfire with a bunch of people, none of whom were children.
~Praying corporately with a group of people who all have hearts desperate to see change in the lives of the poor.
~Real, raw conversations with people who also admit to not having everything figured out and desperately seek to trust God.
The list goes on, and I am loving and living for every moment in each day.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."