Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 // what i learned

that trusting God is way harder and way more important then I thought
how to drive a car, which was pretty darn cool.
what an ISP essay is, and how to open a combination lock, and that people are weird and kind of wonderful and I enjoy spending every day with them.
to take small steps. God first, control second. Always.
that picnics are beautiful and should not be underestimated
not to let my emotions control me
that I'm not a very patient person...especially not when the future is uncertain.
that somehow, in the growing-up process, I started to read books the wrong way, devouring literature instead of enjoying it, and that needs to change.
to pray all the time...and that every single prayer matters

I learned a lot about who I want to be someday and I started to realize that the future is almost now... and maybe I'm not way off-base, after all.

Back in September, when school started, I was struggling.

Not because of the work itself, because that was easy, or because of the people, because they were great, and it wasn't even the change itself, because honestly I loved every minute of it...
It's just that...when situations change, sometimes other, smaller things change, too. And it was one of those small ALMOST un-related things that threw me for a loop.

See, there were people at school. Lots of them, actually. But only one of these people had a big impact on my life, and I didn't really know how to handle it at the time. I wanted complete control of the situation, I wanted to have it all in my hands and make all the choices and force the chaos all around and inside me to look like the perfect picture in my head. And this was kind of a problem, because ever since the fall retreat, I'd sensed God quietly asking me to give more and more of my life to him.

And that was really, really tough for me. I don't really know how else to say it. It meant about three months of internal war - trying to do what I knew God wanted, but at the same time feeling pulled in the opposite direction...trying to trust him with my life, trying to convince myself that yeah, he really did know best, trying to be okay with whatever his plan was for me.
And that was hard. Sometimes I'd come home in the afternoon and be okay, and other days it wouldn't feel so great. Sometimes there would be tears, me sobbing into my mattress and getting soggy mascara stains on the sheets. Sometimes I'd scrawl furious journal entries, thinking "screw this, I'm overthinking again."

And all the while it was me with my fists pressed to my chest, holding so tightly that my knuckles were white and my fingers ached, so tense, thinking "mine." My life, my hopes and dreams, my beautiful perfect plan. Just stay out of the way, God. Don't mess this up for me.

And he just waited.

I did a lot of praying in those three months, maybe more than in my whole previous 16.5 years combined. And very gradually, I began to relax. The knot in my chest started to loosen, fingers slowly uncurling and easing until I was able to actually dump my big beautiful messy dream at his feet.
And then I snatched it right back, but after a while I was able to let go again. And again, and again. It became kind of a routine, until the snatching-back became less frequent and my dream spent less time pressed against my heart and more time in his hands, and then, finally, I was ready to let it stay there.

This has been my life for the past few's the "five-month dry spell" and "my mantra" and all those other mysterious references I keep making because I've been too lazy/tired/involved to write about it until now. This has been my biggest 2013 learning moment...when I think of 2013, the year in review, this is what sticks out to me. Not learning to drive, or getting a phone, or starting school or picnics or cottages or even tea! this year hasn't been about any of that, not really.

I began the year with my baptism in March, and then almost immediately dropped into a spiritual desert...and I stayed there for the spring and summer and right up until September, which was hard. And then there was this, and now, 2014, and I'm just breathing. Still breathing. Still hanging in there. And this time I'm not going to say it's been good, because it honestly wasn't for a lot of the time. It sucked. a lot. And I'm not done yet, just sort of between. I don't know what's coming next, but I know where I've been. I know what I've learned and I know God is there and he's got this. So I'm hanging on to him for dear life, hanging in there...waiting to see what 2014 will bring.

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