Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Different Type of Leaving

I grew up in California and I go to school in Indiana. I remember the time when I was deciding what college I would attend. In that time, I looked around the place that I made so many memories and said to myself, "I have to go." So, I packed up my things, said my good-byes and flew across the country to "go" to school. I had that feeling so strongly that I had told my mom years in advance that I was going to leave

A little sidetrack now. I called my sister and was talking to her about some future plans. We were just chatting and I was going through my normal routine of verbal processing/planning. And I finished that conversation, with, "I think it's time for me to come home." As I was saying the words I found myself choking up. As I was typing that sentence I started to choke up. For a long time I didn't know why every time I said those words I got emotional, but I think it's starting to fall in place now, especially in light of the next big decision (graduating from college) I have to make. When I was leaving home the first time, I was running from my past, who I was, and what was in that place. I ran because I wasn't brave enough to face my issues. As the years have passed I have found the strength and courage in God to walk through those things and am a radically different person now. I am no longer running a race to try to stay just one step ahead of my brokenness and shame. I am learning the power of staying and of rest. But, that whole term "coming home" is a hard one for me because I have spent my whole life focused on "leaving home". Because home is what I know, it is what I am familiar with, it is what formed me, and it is a deep part of me. And for a long time I hated everything about myself, home included. But now, I am a Daughter of God. One who is fought for and loved unconditionally. I am a Woman who fights for grace, mercy, and compassion. I am valued for who I am in Christ, not what I do or don't do. And now I know I have a God who is saying, "I think it's time for you to come home."

I have no idea what that means, or what I will face in the journey of "coming home". I have a feeling that it will encompass me walking alongside God and in His Will a heck of a lot more. I feel like I've been on this journey so far, out to sea, away from everything that I have known, learning what it means to be me, what it means to embrace pain and to seek hope in the extreme darkness. I have been on a journey to understand what it is that I really believe and which thoughts and emotions are in Truth and which ones are in deception. I have journeyed into my lands of judgment and malice and sought to understand the roots from which they grew. No matter how changed you are, no matter how "strong" you have become, it is scary to walk the halls where tragedy and heartache has occurred, and that is all the more evident in light of the shooting here at Purdue. But now, it's time to come back to the places I ran from and begin to walk once again in the desolate land that I left so long ago. It's time to stand up in the lands where I once was weak and begin to fight for those who are in the same place I once was. It's time to get my hands dirty, it's time to "come home" to this world that is broken, but with a renewed hope and a strong heart full of identity, purpose, and grace.

So, yes, I will go, somewhere and somehow. When I graduate, I will go someplace new and be surrounded by new people. I will leave behind everything I worked for on this campus, the familiar sites and the places that I called home for so long. I will pack my bags, say my good-byes, and get on a plane to I don't even know where yet. I will be the only one who knows my past, my tendencies, and my memories. But, my leaving is no longer about me and my fear, and that is what makes all the difference. So, this time I will leave not to run, but to "come home".

Monday, January 6, 2014

Love Without 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.

Okay, so there's the verse that inspired the thoughts and here's the set-up as described to my little sister, Jenelle, and her good friend Nikki. We are now in a citadel and it is of the most elegant design that you can think of, I've leave it to your imagination to fill that one in and while you're at it fill in the subjects of the citadel as well. But there is a great harp band and perhaps some flutes and even a little piccolo if you would want to throw it in. All that to say that I've been reading a lot of the Lord of the Rings and I can't stop thinking in the following language and I fear that if I don't make a slight joke of the post that I would of die of suppressed ridiculousness.

Love without fear. What fear often holds us back in love? The fear of pain, betrayal, or simply of exposure? To love without fear is to have an identity in pure eternity, to leave shame behind in a quest into glory and worship, to forfeit what is "ours" in this world and to lose focus on the ever growing self-obsession. Safety, Security, and Settling are no longer words of happiness or a means to the end, but instead they are sweet words of the enemy. For it is my understanding that in this world we are driven to love one another out of fear and thus brokenness arises. We deem that in that love our fears of worthless invisibility are gone and importance is obtained. We pick up a title to falsely ornament our hearts with purpose and suddenly our identity is wrapped up, like a prisoner, with the fear of love. Or perhaps the fear of lovelessness. We place the highest importance in the cracked conduit and look not high enough to see the source.

Love may not be what it seems and often I've found my version of love to be shamed and fruitless. It becomes a combination of lust and longing; a heart in a barren land willing to attach to the first voice that is heard. But now I see that love is a heart in a flourishing garden and the companionship is simply to provide another set of eyes to discover the awe and grandeur of the land it resides within. Then, we may describe and demonstrate the land of love all the clearer as the length of our stay continues on and on.

I think it may be time for a move...