Monday, July 18, 2011


It's been a long time since I really walked on water.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 14:25-29

It's never really been a lack of faith in who Jesus is that has caused me to sink. It's my inability to trust that even though people aren't always good, God is good. For some time now, every time I hear that word "come," I start out steady then see the winds of "what if this person doesn't come through?" or "what if things are too messed up to be fixed?" or "I don't know if I can change, or if I can let go" and I take my eyes off of the promise for good things and feel my ankles get wet.

So, to anyone who feels like they can relate, and to myself I say these wise and true words:
God makes beautiful things out of the dust.

Perhaps you have heard those words before, most likely in the form of Gungor lyrics. But I have been giving them some deeper thought over the last few days. I don't mean to speak for you, but I would imagine that most people take this song to mean that God can make beauty from nothing, and God can make beauty out of us. This is absolutely true, but I think it goes deeper.

I've just been thinking about dust a lot. Yes, God can make beauty out of the simplest thing like a piece of dust. But I think we lose faith in the fact that God can make something beautiful out of the dust and debris of our disasters. The particles that float through the air after everything has finally just exploded, I believe that God can make beautiful things out of that too. In certain situations in my life, I am terrified that there's been too much ugly for anything beautiful to blossom again; like we've uprooted all that was once so good, and those thirsty roots have nothing from which to grow. This I no longer feel to be true. I believe that God can make something new and wonderful out of the wreckage of our catastrophes. Sometimes what grows isn't what we would have expected. But maybe we ought to be expecting daisies instead of roses. Or maybe we just shouldn't hold on to some kind of expectation. Maybe we should simply let ourselves believe that something good can really grow, let go of the ugly, and just work on being whole.

So here's to faith!
to dry ankles.
to letting go of things that keep us from being beautiful.
to daisies.
and to the promise of restoring our beauty.

You are beautiful!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Different Kind of Freedom.

The theme of my thoughts the last few weeks has been centered on the idea of freedom and potential. I've been spending a ton of time lately reflecting on my actions, both now and over the last year. In a humbling and rather raw awakening, I realized that I had very minimal personal growth between this time last summer and just a few weeks ago. I look back and I feel as though I was living in the bondage of my desires, trapped by my vision of what I wanted life to be and consumed by the frustration that my reality and my fantasy didn't align. Instead of spending time working on myself, I spent time dwelling on what wasn't, and praying for change in others when I had so much room for improvement myself. This post is in no way meant to whine about not having a good year. I had a fine year; plenty of good things happened. Rather, I am pointing out the fact that I let the last year go by without taking the time to come out of it better than when I went in. For that I apologize. To everyone who noticed, to everyone who didn't notice but was still affected by it, to everything I half-assed, and on behalf of all the opportunities I forfeited: I am sorry.

Here's the thing, though. We can't live in regret. I may have let several months slip by me, but I can't have them back so all I can do is move forward. I can't be my best yesterday, I can only be my best today. I have had several changes of heart in the last few weeks. Issues I was unaware that I was living with have surfaced, and I am working on scrubbing myself clean of them. I see the real me peaking through, and though not quite fully visible, I have the sincerest faith that I will soon shine again.

I feel free. I feel like I have finally removed the padlock from the cage that I put myself in, and I have the freedom to be happy regardless of what happens. I've been reminded that my joy is not some dependent variable in my life, determined only by the value of other people or how much they value me. And I believe that my absorption of these truths will be reflected in my actions. As of yet, I have still relapsed a few times, and found myself reacting irrationally to matters that hold little to no importance. However, I think after a weekend away from visual reminders of who I was over the last year, I might finally receive a beautiful replenishment and the opportunity for genuine change.

So here is to new beginnings!
to remembering that you are great and believing in your greatest potential.
to letting go of the past.
to letting go of (expectations for) the future.
to healing.
to self love.
and to all of the people who inspire me to be great.
And a particular shout out to the most wonderful couple I have ever met. Who welcomed me into their home the night before their anniversary, and, coincidentally, the night before one of them left the country for two weeks. Who have exemplified love in every part of their lives. Who bought me sushi, blew up an air mattress for me, and provided me a weekend away when I needed it most. To two of the greatest people I know, Andrew and Sarah Beard, happy anniversary and thank you for teaching us what it is to love by loving each other. Also, thanks for the gummy worms on my bed.