Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Classes Have Begun!

The fall semester is here!  My university town is bustling the the activity of students, new and returning.  With this, my schedule will be pretty busy, so I don't know how much time I'll be able to devote to this blog of mine.

For today, however, I leave you with a link to Darling Magazine's latest post Breaking Up With Your Ideal Self.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Goodbye, 19, you have been good to me :)

As I embark on the last 24 hours of my teenage years, and prepare to bid adieu to 19 (a year in which I learned so much!) I thought I'd share some of my most important life lessons (thus far :) ):

1. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.  You are so much more receptive to life when you are vulnerable.  Vulnerability opens your heart up to love and teaches you so much about yourself and others.  Don't waste your time and energy being too proud to be vulnerable.

2. It's healthy and recommendable to embarrass yourself at least once a day... it teaches you to be brave and take yourself (and life) a little less seriously

3. You do not need to be perfect in order to be loved.  The things we'd like to change the most about ourselves are what make us unique, so don't apologize for your imperfections.

4. Similarly, a weakness is not something you necessarily need to change or get over.  It's just a strength that needs to have some light and truth shed upon it to reveal its potential.

5. Cultivating gratitude may just be the most important thing in life.  Don't go a single day without finding at least 3 things you are grateful for and on a bad day find 8.

6. Even in your weakest moments, you are never given more than you can handle - and no prayer goes unanswered.

7. Struggling is not a sign of failure or even weakness, it's a sign of growth

8.  Never let yourself become jaded.  Hold on to your dreams, because they hold the key to how you will change the world - in other words, they hold the key to true joy.

9.  There are few things better than putting a smile on someone's face.  And don't be selfish with your own.

10. And of course, the one facet of truth from which the other ones have come:  You are enough.  You are doing enough.  And in fact, you have always been and always will be enough :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

A bit from Anne

"I'm just as ambitious as ever. Only, I've changed the object of my ambitions. I'm going to be a good teacher-- and I'm going to save your eyesight. Besides, I mean to study at home here and take a little college course all by myself.
Oh, I've dozens of plans, Marilla. I've been thinking them out for a week. I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return. When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it.  
I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does.
It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on."

-Anne of Green Gables

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you will be more 
disappointed by the things you didn't do 
 than by the ones you did do.
  So throw off the bowlines.  
Sail away from the safe harbor.  
Catch the trade winds in your sails.  
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.

-Marc Twain

Monday, August 5, 2013

There is no fear in love

These past 10 weeks... have they been real?  Or am I to awaken to the sound of my alarm... once again 15, obligated to drag myself out of bed and into the banality that was so characteristic of high school?

Right now, as I sit on the steps of a landmark quite representative of my university ;) , admiring the peaceful sunset and watching families and pedestrians stroll by, I am tempted to believe that it has all been a dream.  Everything has fit together so well and I've been given so much... how could it not be?

Yet, my experiences this summer are marked by one distinctive attribute that is particular to real life alone:  imperfection.

To which I could add struggle and pain... but also peace and joy.

You see, my dear readers, this summer I experimented with a few things that had been quite foreign to me:  vulnerability and courage.

No, it hasn't quite been the fairytale my romantic nature so would have desired it to be, and yes, there was in fact hurt involved, but the truth is it is only when we test our boundaries and limitations and reach out for those somethings that always seemed out of our grasp that we truly experience life.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

 I must agree with good ole T.R.  If we let fear dictate our actions because we are so scared to be vulnerable, we end up suffocating our souls.  We are never sure of our true potential.  We spend each day just trying to survive and we are never capable of thriving.

However, one truth must stand out in the midst of fear:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
- 1 John 4:18

Perfect love drives out fear.  

We are all broken.  We all have wounds and sins that mark our souls.  We all question our worthiness at one point or another.  But when we question ourselves and afraid of vulnerability, we must look to Christ on the cross.

It's so hard to fathom... God came down and suffered for US.  He endured ridicule and pain and ultimately died for US... individually.  How could we doubt ourselves, our worth, after that?

How much must God love us to have done all of that?  It's inconceivable (yes, Inigo Montoya, I do know what that word means ;) ). And the most amazing truth:  His love is there for ALL of us to experience, but we alone must choose to reach out to Him.  We must choose to be confident in His love and have faith in his healing.

Again, I recall the story of the hemorrhaging woman:

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Matthew 9:20-22

So the take away message?
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable, because it is the key to experiencing life, growth, and most importantly love .  
And Christ's love in time will heal your wounds.

Live.  Be open to love, for after all, as C.S. Lewis so wonderfully put:

 “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summertime Blessings

Image from http://consumer.media.seagate.com

Summertime is laden with growth,
Joys and sufferings - always both.
As the seeds of spring start to take root,
As flowers blossom and begin to bear fruit,
I sit back with inspiration and awe,
At the beauty before me I never foresaw.
I bow my head in gratitude and praise,
My God, truly, You never cease to amaze.

August Update

The month of July is up and gone and less than 10 days remain of my teenage years.  In a matter of time, I will, as my roommate from Beijing put so nicely earlier year, begin "running towards thirty"!

Thankfully though, I am unafraid.  The Lord has done so much for me in the past few months... He has been so good and taught me so much... There have been many blessings, and yes suffering too, but He's been guiding me through it.  Seeing in hindsight how much He's taken hold of my life in the past few months makes me realize that I can't even imagine what the next decade has in store.  One thing I've realized, though (despite the fact that I've heard it many a time) is that as long as you walk with Christ the path may not be easy but, boy, it is totally worth it.

So as to a foresight of what is coming soon..!

Two verses that have been speaking to me:

Psalm 139: 13-16:
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb. 
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 

(Can anyone say posts about self worth...? ;) )

Peace, love, and God bless!