Hello again, dear blog.
I'll skip the lengthy preamble about how sorry I am to have been absent & neglectful of this blog (though I am), simply because it feels like a waste. It has been f o r e v e r since I've written here, and to attempt to catch up the Internet on all that has happened since I've last written would be crazy, so I won't be doing that either. So, let's just get to it!
Normally, I would talk myself out of writing here at the end of a long day because this isn't a mindless activity, and often, after such a long day during such a high-stress time, that's all I'm really interested in doing. Now, don't you worry about me. The Voice AND The Bachelor are on tonight, so while I address some envelopes, I'll be getting plenty of the mindlessness. Rest easy.
But I know that I need to start writing here again for a few reasons; some are just practical (like giving myself deadlines and specific topics) and some are more cathartic and less tangible--therapeutic, if you will.
So, I'll lead with the big news: I get the opportunity to travel to Thailand this July on a mission trip with the church I attend and I am out of my mind excited about it. eLife leadership has cast vision that the people of Thailand are our specific focus internationally, and have challenged everyone to pray toward what our specific role in that mission will be. Which, I've been doing without feeling like anything specific was happening. I know people adopting from Thailand, hosting exchange students from there, and going to Thailand for long-term missions. But I haven't felt called to go long-term, and based on my current life situation, those other two options aren't really available to me presently. Then came this opportunity to go on a 10 day trip to Bangkok with 9 other people from eLife--to learn about the culture by experiencing it, link up with mission partners there, and basically soak up as much as I can, and be as vulnerable to Jesus as I can.
I'm out of my mind excited. Also pretty nervous to raise support to go, but it's fine and Jesus is greater and it's going to be great.
Anyway, this segues nicely into the next portion of events where I talk about how Jesus has not been messing around with me and my just ridiculous human-ness (read: sinfulness). It's hard when you realize something about yourself and your relationship with Jesus as an adult person. I find that it's much, much more difficult to ignore.
For instance, and I know this isn't ground-breaking stuff, but I have recently been confronted with the reality that I am suuuuper into receiving grace from people. Honestly, even sometimes feel entitled to it (hah.) but it turns out that I am not so great at giving it to other people. The tough part about this epiphany I've had is that if you were to ask me, I would honestly tell you that I want to show other people grace the way that I'm shown it, and that I really do try. And I think that is true. The problem is that my initial reaction to things that 1) don't go the way I planned them 2) don't happen the way I would have done them or 3) where I am not or my feelings are not consulted, ya'll, it's not pretty. It's ugly, and lacking grace, and totally selfish. And I hate it. I think that this manifests itself in a bunch of different ways, not always outward but definitely sometimes outward; I know I'm not the only person to struggle with it, but I know that regardless of whether my lack of a grace-reaction is my singular problem or a bunch of peoples, it doesn't justify it. In the last week I have been constantly reminded of my own imperfection, specifically when it comes to showing other people grace, loving people like Jesus loves me--and let me tell you: it is pretty unpleasant.
The upside is that this conviction, the need to apologize to people I've been harsh with, the awareness of my words and my facial expressions, and my general reaction to people has been so good for my soul. Does that even make sense? Maybe not, but I can tell you that it sucks at the same exact rate that it feels nice knowing that I'm not so jacked up that I'm unaware of my own mistakes. I can consciously think about my reactions, my words, my capability to show grace, and I can do better each time.
I love to be heard, and be right, and be validated, but I love Jesus more. I'm working through acting like it more often--not for the perception it gives people about me, but because I think Jesus is refining me for a purpose. I think that purpose plays out daily, but also because Thailand is just around the corner. I want to look more like Jesus, react more like him, think more like him, be more like him.
And I'm working on it.
Until next time, friends!
*If you've made it here thanks to my support letter for Thailand, hey! Also, thanks! Check back--I'll be updating more than the random you'll find below this post.