already mid-June

writer’s block
more restless than rested
nervous about upcoming summer internship
imposter syndrome
lots of time wasted, I think
little breakthroughs (like spontaneous and candid conversations with my sister)
frustrations with self and questions
what’s He teaching me? am I learning anything?
inbred feedback loop and spiraling thoughts
must hold on
He’s holding me

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

ocean5
via Google images

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another plea

I’m asking for longevity. Lately the place of prayer feels dry; my well of tears is quick to crack open but quicker to run out. I bend my knees before the King of the universe and sing out of my heart…communion is bliss and I know He knows the words that’ll come out before they depart from my lips…and then, and then…

then I turn to tweeze my brows.

TWEEZE MY BROWS?! Really? of all things…but this is what I mean. Why is it I can spend fruitless hours scanning through photos and reliving the past or imagining/comparing realities when I could be communing with the greatest Reality and working to change others’ ?!! If this prayerlessness is not just my own sleepiness but a means of teaching me something, Lord, please open my ears, my eyes, my heart, and make me receptive to what you have for me. I want to know what it means to worship you in spirit and in truth. I want to know what it means to pray in the Spirit! Surely not only praying in tongues, surely not only “easy prayer” that comes without striving, that’s easy on my flesh, too. But teach me perseverance; for it is in the desert, the wilderness, that you choose to allure even the adulteress. Jesus, please, sustain me and keep my faith — you founded it and you will finish it.

“Okay”: the beginnings of my relent. Okay if I am not “on fire” or a “super Christian” as others would perceive it, okay (please, okay!) if there’s no vision or revelation to share in the sanctuaries…only make me to love you, that is my greatest good. Make me fall deeply in love with you and keep you first forever. Please, or else my life is wasted. Please, or else I lack true joy, true peace, true hope. Please, or else I’ll wander. Please, unless you grip me tightly, jealously, ferociously, please.

with You

and just when I thought humility was one thing, you change my mind, make me grateful to be washing dishes after every meal, grateful for things I grumbled about before.

I almost laugh.

always newer meaning with you. always depth with you. you’re not impressed by the things others are impressed by. always something more with you.

2017: seventeen firsts

  1. went hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
  2. took a biology course (albeit for non-majors)
  3. learned how to film + edit, and created two 5-min films
  4. shared about my faith with a professor
  5. auditioned for/joined an a capella group
  6. tried beignets at the Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans (among other things)
  7. painted two homes
  8. initiated more conversations, smiled at more strangers
  9. rode on the metro at NYC (also lost $10 after swiping multiple times)
  10. read Infinite Jest (well, most of it)
  11. lived with two different roommates
  12. visited Chinatown in Boston
  13. shared my writing with close friends, which I find harder than sharing with strangers
  14. biked in the rain until I was soaked to the bone, and wrote a poem about it
  15. visited a friend I hadn’t seen since high school
  16. went to a football game at our #1 rival college
  17. said goodbye to college graduates, hello to first-years, cried/laughed/prayed with new and old friends (firsts and lasts because I and they will never be who we were in that moment at that time, for better or for worse)

Beginning this year I’d yearned to live into the freedom I believed God had promised for me (Galatians 5:1, John 8:32, 36). Going into college I’d had to confront a multitude of insecurities and fears I hadn’t even realized had bound me. I internalized everything, felt paralyzed, and beat myself up over seemingly insignificant scars that ran dangerously deep.

Praying and pleading, I made small promises to do that which I didn’t feel ready to do. To put words and feelings into actions. To take small steps of faith. And even as I wince to admit it, these go entirely against my timid, unsure self.

2017 began with a trip to the White Mountains in NH, a trip I embarked on never having climbed an icy hill, let alone a mountain, a trip I took up with eight older, more experienced strangers. More than the foreboding email that described a 4500 ft elevation gain over 9 miles of hiking and “temperatures below -20 F and wind over 60 mph common at the summits,” I feared meeting new people (read: insecure). Unfortunate, yes, but true. Still, in the confines of a dusty room, close to one year ago, I signed up to go.

It was breathtaking.
Hard, too, as expected. I clobbered into multiple peers, slipped, sweat, and probably passed some gas… and I didn’t make it to the summit. But a year later, I’m still so thankful for the experience. It was a specific moment I chose to do rather than dream, and though I’d do a whole lot more dreaming for the rest of the year, I also felt encouraged to get more uncomfortable, more often.

And despite (perhaps because of) much discomfort, darkness, and dryness, 2017 has been an answer to prayer. I experienced more freedom and fullness of joy than ever before and fought to be more myself, more who God created me to be, in various contexts, in various spaces. I got to visit new cities, meet new people, taste new foods, cry new tears, gain new skills, and ask lots (lots!) of new questions. I am so thankful.

Even writing this now, I’m in awe of the ways in which God moves mountains and teaches me to climb them.

Needless to say (maybe), I still have many insecurities, many fears, and many ways in which to grow. Being home for the holidays is a reminder of that. I’m humbled by my own inability to love my own blood brothers and sisters, my irritability and impatience, my inclination to disobey. My flesh is wretched and I writhe in it. And it’s easier to self-condemn than it is to look to Jesus, to ask for forgiveness and help, even knowing that is what he readily and most lovingly gives. This is why I need him. Today as I sat and reflected, he reminded me again that whenever my heart condemns me, he is greater than my heart, and he knows everything (1 John 3:20). The truth really does set me free. Free from the cages I construct for myself, free from a performance/perfectionist mentality. Free from sin and the shame that follows it. Free from myself.

I remember certain quotes from Infinite Jest, and one comes to mind now: “life’s endless war against the self you cannot live without.”

This life is a war, but I know who has already won it. In 2018 I wish to lose myself and find myself in Him. It is He who has created me, who knows me better than I know myself, who has written out my life for me and loved me when no one else did, when I was alone in that dusty room, making promises I felt afraid to keep. When I, riddled with guilt and self-hatred, and hatred about my self-hatred, fell at Jesus’ feet, he knelt beside me and washed my feet, knowing full well I should be the one washing his, if even considered worthy to untie the straps of his sandals.

So aside from sharing new experiences and looking forward to a new year, I know one thing that will remain the same–the newness of God’s mercies for me every morning. With that in mind, I entrust 2018 to the lover of my soul, unready for the coming mountain highs and valley lows, but also again promising to do things I’m a little not ready to do. “I think that is how you grow.”

why i’m writing

is it really impossible to tell another all that I am thinking/feeling/wishing for?
yes, you’re right. we move from one silence to another. they taste different.
also I’m an idealist. my Myers-Briggs personality test results say so.
but still,
weren’t we created for greater intimacy? or am I erring.
yes, you’re right, it’s impossible.
impossible, the un-mailed letters;
they’re all written in my head.

 

after rehearsal

after all that was said and done and sung,
there was a sorrow still unsatisfied, all those layers of sin and selfishness.

silence

got to sit still, so still in your presence,

eyes closed now, silence

all the aching inside from an unmet love and self-absorbed feelings,
shame about desire and dangerous dialogue.
the red face of a boy I feared would never want me for lack of things I couldn’t help but lack, and the nervous hiding, afraid of getting caught.
the annoyance, stretched thin and taut, you just can’t sing! the screaming repeated
over and over inside my head,
the distrust,
the ambition,
the covering up with false smiles and blushing, the fussing with hair,
the stooped arms.
the fatigue, the fear of being myself,
the fear of being myself, fully.

everything laid at your feet tonight, a sinner unsatisfied apart from you. I wept in your lap and you loved me. in your lap and you loved me. I wept and you loved me, that’s all.