Monday, July 10, 2017

The Social Gap

We are living in the 21st century. A time where anything is available at the tip of your fingers.

Food delivery, a new outfit for that party you have this weekend, movies, music, a ride to a restaurant only a few blocks away, a new relationship... you name it it's there.

It's an incredible period for information and research since pretty much anything you desire is just a Google search away.

And yet though we virtually have it all, we're completely missing it.

I recently traveled to Charleston, South Carolina with my sister and cousin. It was an amazing few days filled with exploring, great food, and fun times.

And then I got home and just like everyone else I caught up on blogs, Instagram, etc.. scrolling to see what's new.

I wish I could tell you that scrolling through it all simply just inspired me (most times it does).

But instead, it left me wanting more.

I was now mentally planning my next trip, where to go, what to see... the places are endless! Meanwhile, I literally just got back from a trip.

Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with wanting to see this beautiful world, explore the cultures, people, foods.

I too desire to see so much in my life and absolutely love visiting new places.

But what I'm noticing is that the human condition dating back to the beginning of time, of wanting more is a vicious cycle that never ends.

When Eve was in the garden of Eden and the serpent (aka the devil) tempted her to eat the fruit, he told her it would open up her eyes and she would be like God knowing all things.

She saw it looked good, wanted more than all God had already given her and so she took it.

When King David was in reign, he saw Bathsheba (Uriah's wife, one of his Soldiers) and wanted her for himself. After he did take her, David had Uriah killed.

Centuries have passed, and yet the cycle never really changed. The human heart always wants more and more. 

We go on vacation, and then we want to go another one soon after. We buy the perfect dress, and then we need another one because obviously, that one was already worn.

I'm now coming to understand that we'll always want more. And then after we get it, we want something else.

But the truth is, we'll never be content with the things we can buy, or how many vacations we can go on. We'll just want more after the last one.

Because nothing on earth can ever quench us or be enough. Only God through Jesus can ever fill that gap.

Solomon (David's son) was the wisest and richest man to ever live and had everything and anything a man could ever want. And even he stated that all things under the sun are vanity, pointless like chasing after the wind. {Ecclesiastes 1:14-15}

And so my hope is that in following the desires and dreams that were placed on our hearts... we don't let it define our joy.

You were made to enjoy the beauty and wonderful things that God gave us in this life. And so go! Do those things that open up your heart and mind.

// And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God. // Ecclesiastes 3:13

But always remember God is the only thing that will truly bring us a lasting joy that will never end.

// Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. // Matthew 24:35

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ancora Imparo

They say that there are many seasons in life we'll go through. But some in particular for the purpose of changing our hearts.

The other day was the last official day of school for me. Teachers put away books, cleaned up the last of their classrooms, and I walked down the quiet empty halls one last time.

It all felt surreal. It was just last June and I was having a panic attack asking God whether this is what I should take or not.

Teaching was always something I said no to simply because I thought I was only meant to do other things.

And I fought it with every ounce of me. 

But if there's one thing I've learned (and believe me I've learned plenty this year), is that sometimes the things you resist the most out of fear are the things that you need to jump right into.

What I didn't realize is when you constantly ask God for something... He actually listens.

I just never thought He would literally give me something that was exactly was I asked for... but in the direction I was always running from. 

But against it all, I stayed.

I now understand what it means to hold on until the final scene. 

That through the dozens of failed lessons, after-school breakdowns, a million pencil sharpenings, late night lesson planning and construction paper cutting, but I can't leave out the sweet cheer me up notes from certain students after class... I get why it was so important to hold on until the end. 

I was proven wrong. 

This opportunity didn't just show me I could do it, it changed me and everything I thought. 

God literally took my heart streched, squished, beat, rolled, and stuck it back into my chest. And He knew it would change me all along. I just had to make the choice to stay.

I’ll end with this. That life is a series of situations... but if you pay attention closely, there's something you can take from every part of it. 

The good, the bad, the sobbing 'til my head feels like I pounded it on a cement wall, the days where you feel on top of the world.
I totally failed somedays. But I totally won. 

When God opens a door for you, know He already has the toolbox you need for it. And then you run with it. Run and don't stop until you cross that finish line.

I taught my students about Michelangelo this year. He worked until days before his death, continuing his passion. His words stuck to me when I came across it.

"Ancora Imparo."  

After an entire year of trials, mishaps, and successes… I’m still learning. Those kiddies taught me more than they'll ever know.

All I have left to say is, thank you. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pure Gold

I sat there in my car, the skies were cloudy and gray, it seemed to match my mood. The day finally came to an end, but not without a battle.

I was defeated. Dozens of papers all scrunched up in my bag of a failed lesson I attempted to teach.

I just don’t understand what you’re trying to do through me, God? Why am I going through this, I just don’t see what can come from this.

I know that everyone faces trials here on earth. We’re humans, I get it. But why this one, why me? I just didn’t understand what God was trying to teach me. Where was the underlying lesson of this season?

There are many seasons in life. Just like there is the fall and then winter and spring… then finally the long anticipated summer.

But before the beautiful warmth and the sunshine that comes with the summer, we usually have to go through a brittle winter and those nasty spring allergies.

I can’t help but think, God must have rooted a lesson in here somewhere. Before beauty… pain. Before fully appreciating the light… we have to experience the darkness.

Much like the process of refining gold. Before it is molded into jewelry, it must be refined and melted. Borax and soda ash are added to separate the precious pure gold from the other metals so that it comes out pure.

// But he knows the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. // Job 23:10

I suppose just like the gold, we go through various trials too so that we could be refined.

That though this season in time is not exactly my favorite, every situation is changing me and molding me.

That thought makes me start to see it in a different perspective. How is God using this trial to refine me?

It isn’t about what we go through, but rather how we come out of it. It’s a purifying process. No doubt about it, bad times will come and go. But how we respond changes everything.

In the hardest of times, we need to keep going. We need to remember that this whole season isn’t in vain. We are being purified and molded every step of the way.

So that all of the stubborn, messy parts of us are being stripped away… and the pure gold is left. The gold that God knows we have somewhere in that tangled mess of our hearts.

He’s making us more like Him.

So chin up. Keep trudging forward. This part is only for a little while… but the beauty that will come from it is eternal.

// That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ// 1 Peter 1:7