Quiet

I spent two hours in the outside world today. I smiled at the library lady, was quite friendly with the women in the Target fitting rooms and checkout counters, made small talk with the guy at the credit union. I genuinely like to be friendly and sweet, wanting Jesus to shine through my actions and words even if He doesn’t come up in conversations about depositing checks and whether or not my coupon app works with the sale (it does.). But when my truck pulls up our long, winding driveway, I turn it off and sit in the silence for 10 minutes before I even open the door.

Last week, my alarm went off early and I visited my favorite smoothie shop before driving the hour to my boyfriend’s grandma’s old house, where we ran errands and moved furniture and packed glassware while his parents ran the garage sale and sister and grandma cleaned. His family is wonderful, but constant communication and continual doing ran me down into almost utter silence and complete loss of appetite by 9 o’clock at night. My boyfriend drove me halfway home because he didn’t want me driving like that. (and by the time we reached his house, time with just him had me more energized and slightly alive again.)

I am an introvert.

A full-blown, completely shut down when overstimulated, make-myself-sick-sometimes introvert.

This can make things exciting when I’m around people for more than 4 straight hours. Yet, I’ll be spending 16 hours a week at college, 18-22+ hours babysitting, along with church and spending time with my family and oh yes, my boyfriend would like to see me occasionally. Friends? Um, how does Christmas break sound? I’ll meet you for white chocolate peppermint mochas then.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to give myself time to “be still and know that [He] is God” while gearing up for a crazy busy schedule that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. At the same time, I need to not be continually withdrawn or distracted, closed up in my room. The people in my life deserve my love whether or not class was completely exhausting or H only napped for half an hour. When it comes down to it, it’s not about me. That statement probably infuriates a large portion of the population, but it’s true. It’s not about me.

It’s not about me.

It’s about taking time to notice my little sisters and how our conflicting schedules hardly give me time to see them. It’s baking cookies or reading stories or just listening. It’s about being fully present at dinner and not just heading straight upstairs afterwards. It’s about a phone call with my boy or going out with him and not letting everything I have to do hang over my head. It’s about loving people with the love of Christ, because when my strength is gone, His is the only thing getting me through. He is the reason why I can’t hide, can’t dwell in my selfish wanting to be alone and alone 90% of my time.

This might sound messed up to some people. And yes, there’s definitely a balance between working/overstimulating myself to the ground every day. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and need to be wise with how we handle our bodies. But the Christian life involves giving up your desires, for the sake of others and for being Jesus to everyone you encounter. He Himself had times of wanting to be alone, and instead ministered to the people around Him. He also withdrew to spend time with His Father consistently. I want to learn from His example. I want to find balance the way Jesus did.

Some nights, I’ll turn off my phone and shut the door and just plug away at school all evening in the quiet. Some nights I’m going to seriously mess this balance thing up and cry in the shower before bed. Some nights, I’m going to feel like I’m drowning in homework and housework and noise.

But I know a Lifeguard. He’ll pull me up and stand me on the Rock and wrap His arms around me as He whispers “Rest, my child. You are Mine. It’s going to be okay.”

He made me to be quiet, so quiet in His arms I shall be.

(written a few weeks ago before fall began.)

Advertisements

Freedom

Wednesday morning, my business professor told me, “Some people say money doesn’t make you happy. That’s crap. Money makes you happy. And it gives you something you can’t get anywhere else. It gives you freedom.”

My instant thought was “I’ll take my freedom from Christ, thank you very much.” As I pondered his words throughout the day, I considered how binding living by them would be, how the continual pull for “More money! More freedom! More happiness!” would drive and overtake you. How thankful I am that I don’t have to live that way! What a blessing it is to be free in Christ, and to rest in the assurance that He is enough, His death is enough, that He has paid it all. We don’t have to buy our freedom. He purchased it with His blood. I can never earn it, and that’s the pure, incredible beauty of it all.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” 2 Cor. 2:17

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5

Whirlwind

I feel like almost every part of me is changing/ has changed in the past year. People aren’t kidding when they say 18 is all about change and decisions. It’s been a whirlwind and my feet barely seem to touch the ground before I’m spun around again.

I graduated.

We moved from the house I grew up in.

I finished with the theater group that’s been so influential in my life. (18 shows! Such a gift.)

I went from a potential nursing student at the big university in town to not being a student at all to taking up accounting at our community college.

I’ve been saying goodbye to so many of my dear friends who are following God’s plans for their lives at colleges around the country.

And… I started dating the boy I’ve had a major crush on for years.

It’s been a wild, beautiful year. It’s been a journey of learning how weak I am and how strong He is, how He is my steady place, my rock, my shelter from the storm, how no matter what happens and all life’s changes, my identity is in Him, He never lets go, and I am His precious daughter. Because….

When the scheduled first eighteen years (elementary school, then middle school, then high school) of my life are over, He’s known every plan from the beginning.

While my residence changes here on earth, my heavenly inheritance stays the same.

My theater group may have been a huge part of my social life, but God has woven a beautiful story of trust and patience and people will enter into and walk away as He wills.

Fulltime college may be overwhelming, but I have strength from the only source of Real Strength.

My friends may find new homes and new adventures and new friends, but the True Friend will never leave me or forsake me.

And as crazy and wild as this blending of hearts and planning for the future is, my First Love keeps my heart in His hands and loves me always.

///

As I start this new adventure of fulltime college + part time job + maintaining relationships and my sanity through it all, I’m looking forward to a consistent schedule and finding time to write. I’m pulling back from what drains me (Facebook, certain blogs, continual texting and checking my phone) and drawing nearer the things that bring me life (my Bible, stillness, prayer, healthy food, Instagram, writing, quiet deep evenings with my boy), in hope of being filled with the joy and rest of Jesus as I work hard.

I want to live life well, to finish my days tired and happy, to squeeze every bit of blessing out of my life that I can. My version of living fully is a lot quieter and slower than most people’s, and I’m learning to accept that. I’m learning that that’s okay. I’m learning that people can see Jesus reflected in my life not because of my striving, but because of His goodness and His Spirit in me. The Holy Spirit speaks in whispers.

May every moment of my life whisper His Name.