Monday, November 22, 2010

"It is better to lose your life than to waste it"

"Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity."
-John Piper

(The title quote is also John Piper)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Upcoming: Life

My ideas seem to come alive as I'm walking, driving, or biking through everyday life. It's only when I finally get to my computer at home that they seem to leave my head entirely. Or else they don't sound so well-formed anymore, even to me. I think there's a filter on my front door that sifts out all that I might be intending to do or write in a day. Perhaps that's why I get work done so much better outside of my apartment. But no matter, even though I'm quite at home, fan in front of me and all, I think I'll try.

There have been several things on my mind, though, lately. For one thing, I have been thinking long and hard about life after undergraduate. It's just so sudden to be a senior in college that to think about afterward is something that can take awhile. I like where I am now. I mean, I guess I've only made it through week one of classes so far, but I really feel like I'm in my element. I've gotten into a good groove, I love my classes, I love learning new technical details from them, and I'm excited to learn more throughout the semester. Last year was a season for me of apathy, and irresponsibility. I think I needed to go through that to be so committed to the opposite now. And I am. I love being challenged and rising to it. I thrive as the underdog sometimes, whether it's in a dance class, a genetics class, or with my finances. Part of me comes alive when there is a slight element of the impossible at stake. I like being able to say 'no' to myself and honestly to other people. Not as a control thing, but because I am a people-pleaser, and I will easily let you walk on me if I don't. Learning boundaries has given me freedom in many ways.

I feel more ready than ever to launch out into real life in a matter of months, although I don't yet know what "real life" will look like for me. I just have a sense of readiness and anticipation about me lately that is invigorating and thought provoking at once. I know that God has good plans laid out, and I'm excited to live them, even if I don't get to know what's coming up as I do. You could say I just feel good about life right now. I am busy, challenged, and well-stocked with things to be doing, but I am at peace, and I like it that way.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back in Action

Hi all. Currently, jetlag is fueling my current state of alertness. It's the middle of the night and I don't get the feeling that I could sleep a wink if I tried. So here I am in blogworld again...surprise.

There are so many thoughts and reflections that I have regarding my time in East Asia. They may or may not come out here. But for now, I just wanted to say that I am back and intend to continue blogging again soon.

My best wishes for you all!
Love,
Christy

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gone Fishing

Well, not fishing, but I'm going to be away from my computer for the next couple months. As it is, I'll be traveling to East Asia. Woo hoo! But this means that you shouldn't be expecting a blog from me in this time. I promise to be back eventually. Till then, take care!

Love,
Christy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breezy

Hi :)

Today is one of those mystical breezy days here in Tucson, complete with warm gusts of wind, swirling leaves, and the subtle presence of spring lingering in the air. What a day. That alone makes it good!

In view of the general lightheartedness of today, I want to write something lighthearted. Mostly because, well, I just want to. So there. :) I think I feel free, something like the wind messing up my hair. It's days like these where I look around and just sense that there is a lot in life to feel good about. Perhaps my inner idealist is showing, but I really think that. It might not be readily apparent, but it's very easy for me to sink into ways of thinking that focus on what is deep and hard and conflicting about life. There's something in this heart that relishes the pained depth of the soul because there's a triumphant kind of beauty about struggling and fighting through life...and winning. But days like today remind me that sometimes it's just good to be, well, good. It's good to laugh, to be simple-hearted, to look at a flower and smile because it's beautiful, good to be with friends for no other purpose than just enjoying their company, good to take it a little slower...just good. There doesn't always have to be a reason for things, or at least we don't always have to understand it. Sometimes life just is. I like that about life today.

I get tunnel vision sometimes. Today I woke up and thought about some of the "tunnels" under construction in my life currently and suddenly didn't care about them so much. I may have even laughed aloud. I like bungee cord moments like that where you snap back to reality :)

So anyway, I found this picture the other day and I adored it. Maybe it will make you smile too.




(from yogaheals.wordpress.com, found via google images)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dodging Glances

Inhale. Sigh. I am vexed for this world today. Disheartened maybe. The world didn't do anything to me. I don't really have any reason to be flustered with it. If anything, I just finished with a wonderful weekend. Couldn't have asked for better! I guess now it just feels like I'm going back to business or something. I do have some things that rubbed me the wrong way, though, and some unfinished reflections regarding them.

I made an effort to look nice today. Not that I don't on a given day, but I just felt like putting a little extra into it this time. Anymore, I don't seem to wear a whole ton of makeup, if any, and today wasn't really that different. But you know, a little more effort didn't hurt. I wore a skirt, a polo, earrings. It was a nice outfit, not extravagant. Modest, but cute. When I do things like that, I do them for me. I dress up because I just want to dress up that day. It's not to get attention, but just to express myself and enjoy being in the skin I'm in. If anything, getting too much attention for stuff like that puts me on edge because I just want to go about my day being Christy, not Christy-and-then-some. I'm expressing myself, not something else.

I'll put this out there, because I feel that it's strange, and because I promise that eventually it's related. But I have never struggled with feeling like an object, as a woman. I just never have, personally. I feel like culturally, many women speak of this, or feel as if they have been used, or are often used. I don't relate to feeling like men look down on me. I'm strangely not offended when people (strange men, specifically) say inappropriate things to me, as long as they are not directed at anyone else. Say it to another girl and it's absolutely a different story, but when someone says something dumb and degrading to me because I am a woman, it just doesn't bother me, and I can't say why. To be clear, I certainly don't like it, or get anything from it at all. It's just, well it just doesn't really do anything for me. So disillusioned womanizers exist. That doesn't have to ruin my day. End of story. I know my value, if random strangers don't.

But today was different. In looking nice, it was like suddenly I had all this attention that I didn't want, and it uncharacteristically bothered me. I was modest, my outfit definitely wasn't asking for it. I didn't go out of my way to impress, I wasn't "showing skin" anywhere, my makeup even was little more than I wear on a given day. I can't say what it was today. But after a day of being legitimately creeped on by an elderly man at the bookstore (no lie, my mom's a witness), getting the look-up-and-down from random strangers, and then being called out to by random guys about taking off my clothes...you could say I'm over it.

It was just a strange day. It would be completely different if I had been asking for it with my wardrobe choice, or if I had deliberately been seeking attention. I don't feel that any girl who does that really has grounds to complain. But it was disheartening to me because I felt like the assumption was just floating out there that because I am young and because I am beautiful, that I'm somehow this thing to be snatched up, or used, or taken from. I felt a little less like a person. And that doesn't make me sad for me, because I know who I am. This is no pity party. But it made me sad for a society that just views people that way. The word that came to mind when I was thinking about how it made me feel was simply "tired". I and any other woman that you will ever meet just want to be cherished. Not used. Not looked at like we have something to give you. Not just something, but someone.

I don't know. Like I said, things like this usually don't bother me, as perhaps they should. But it just rubbed me the wrong way today. Because women are beautiful, in both body and heart. But it seems that young women in culture begin to believe that the best they can offer the world is their body, is their looks, is their carefully manicured and culturally relevant personality... That's what everyone wanted right? Isn't that what their eyes said? Isn't that what the magazines said? They forget to be themselves, forget that they have something much deeper and much more powerful in their heart to offer. And a world that forgot what true Beauty is also forgot what it is to desire true Beauty, or that such a thing can exist. Supply and demand, I suppose.

Anyway, that's getting much deeper than I really wanted to go tonight. And I have homework to do. These are reflections on culture, with my own random day's experiences used as an example. I suppose as I have time (that's a laugh), I'll write more on this. I really do think there is a lot to this issue. But for now, I'm going to have to call it a night.

Farewell, friends.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lovin'

This isn't a typical 'have a nice day' blog. But I think it is important for our hearts to care for other hearts. I've written in another note somewhere that when we humanize another person, we are ourselves made wholer. Regardless of my own heart, though, I can't be ok with being the rich kid on the world stage, I can't be ok driving my little car around singing to my music, far more concerned with my own social scene than the very survival of the homeless in my neighborhood, living in my own little world, on my way to have my own little career, to I can buy myself more of my own stuff. I...I can't. My heart is cracking at the reality of the world, at the cruelty of poverty, the stinging presence of hatred, the suffering of the many so the few can have a comfortable life...what can I do? I'll do it. What can I give? I'll give it. I will love, from the lovable to the impossible. I will hold poor children in my arms. I will humanize. I will be kind. I will not lose my patience. I will fight for justice. I will be intentional. I will not be apathetic. I must, I can't back down now.

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." (Helen Keller)

"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, there is no hurt, only more love." -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time to Write

I realize that it's been an eternity since I've last written. I also realize that by choosing to type out these words, I'm choosing to create another late night for myself. But what better time to write than when I have no time to do so?? That seems to be the general trend in my writing, anyway :)

But even though I have neglected to blog, that doesn't speak to an absence of thoughts running through my head. Actually, quite a few things have happened in my life recently that have sharpened my reflections and have taught good things to my heart. Namely, good things have happened within my family. I have spoken briefly and vaguely regarding a sticky past of mine with certain family members. I want to say that in the past month, all of that has been released. The "stickiness", that is. It's miraculous, completely unforeseen. Without going into too much detail (again, out of consideration for those relationships in my life), I want to say that there has been a good deal of healing. It's not perfect (are relationships ever?), but much groundwork has been laid. My heart, for one, is at peace.

As that was happening, and as good things were coming from it, I wanted to write a blog about being an incredibly lucky person. Some of you know my past, and some of you know that it hasn't been peach pie all the time, but I look around me now and I see so much blessing, so much unanticipated restoration, so much joy, so much....goodness. I don't say that to flaunt so much as to just stop and recognize that I can't possibly complain about anything. I have been given so much! From an ugly divorce has come two families. From misguidance has come long-searched for wisdom. From devastation has come hope. At the very very basic level, I look around and see that I have family, I have beautiful friends, I have a little niche in Tucson to come home to at the end of the day, I have enough money to buy food for myself, my body is strong and in good health, I have the ability to engage my mind in challenging classes, even my walk home every day is peaceful and beautiful. (It's perhaps my favorite time of the day....mmmmm). This life is so beautiful! It can be very easy to want what you don't have, but I'm finding a very certain joy in what I do have. Mmmmm :)

Another blog idea that came to mind regarded the idea of sacrifice, and occurred through a series of brief interactions. I'll only get into a couple here. I had the wonderful excuse to return home to my parents for an evening (going to the dentist is good for something after all!). While we were eating dinner and watching the Olympics, the announcers began to talk about what some of the Olympic parents had done so that their child could chase their dreams. One Turkish figure-skater's parents had left aerospace engineering careers and the ownership of several restaurants to move to Canada and scrub toilets so that their daughter could be properly trained. Ok, rewind. Wow. On the same night, before driving home, I swung through a drive-thru Starbucks. The gentleman I encountered at the window, in five minutes time, had completely changed my day. He was middle-aged, your "average joe" so to speak. But he had this joy about him. He took time to ask me about my studies, and with a twinkle in his eye told me about his daughter who was also at UA. That's why he was working there, he said. Again, wow. This man must work I don't know how many hours between his "real" job and evenings at Starbucks so that his daughter could study. And he was perhaps the friendliest person I'd met all day.
I want to be that way.

I want to be the kind of person that can change someone's day, simply by choosing to look at life in such a way that sacrifice is not sacrifice, but joy. It occurred to me by this man's joy, that I am perhaps not particularly joyful. In the same thought pattern, it occurred to me that kindness goes out of its way. Kindness is not shy. This man could very easily have been impolitely passed over by another college girl getting her Starbucks for the evening. College kids can be that way, myself included. But that didn't stop him from congenially asking me about myself. Hmmm. Food for thought.

I've also been confronted recently with stories of restoration. I'm so struck by the beauty of people coming alongside one another. This idea of a community that carries each others burdens, that looks each other in the eye and speaks life....sigh. I'm digesting this currently.

Anyway, I don't have a poetic or well-crafted way to end this, other than saying thanks for listening. See ya.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Please Help Haiti

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

Even if you go with a different organization, do something! Time is critical.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Adventure In My Bonesies

I just recently went to see the movie Avatar. I for one, liked it. Not that it has a new story to tell, but nonetheless a powerful one, and so beautifully presented.

But one thing that struck me after watching Avatar (which perhaps had little to do with the movie itself) was that I am not ok with not having adventure in my life. There's something in me, and maybe it's in you too, that aches to be part of something big, important, and dangerous. I think adventure is in my bones, and somewhere coursing through my veins is a certain fearlessness that has been reawakened. For that matter, 'fearless' is a word that I really want to define me. Life offers so many things to be afraid of, tiny threads that together become a rope, and a rope a chain. I want none of them.

And as to the adventure, what does that even look like in our office-working culture? I'm not talking about thrill-seeking - that takes guts perhaps, but not courage. I want to live a life defined by true courage, obstacles overcome by graceful and relentless perseverence...I guess I just don't want life watered down. Sign me up or sign me out. I'm not ok with half-truths or half-lives.

Maybe I don't know what this looks like yet, but you can bet I'm just saddling up. I feel as if the sleeping giant underneath has been awakened, but with passion, not fury. Sometimes I feel like the most poisonous atmosphere I can possibly find myself in is an overly-easy one. It lulls you to sleep and tells you to forget what ought not be forgotten. So bring it on. What can man do to me?


2010 and maybe a couple other not-so-itsy-bitsy thoughts

Happy New Year! For that matter, happy new decade. I have a very good feeling about both. Maybe I'm not alone when I say that 2009 was a bit of a doozy. I'm not so sheepishly happy that it's over. But I see a lot of renewal on the horizon in 2010. I see strength, hope, and focus. I think 2010 and the years to come will have a lot of new and exciting dawns in them, and will hopefully see the conclusion of some of the harder obstacles of their predecessors. Now that I can handle :) Not to say they won't be well-stocked with challenges of their own, but something in my chest tells me that these years will be good years.

It's been kind of a hard decade, to be honest. Not like you want my sob story, and I'm not really offering it, but there are times when life throws you some hard balls and doesn't seem to care how many times you've struck out. I guess those are the times that make you a better athlete. We're just getting started here.

But on to different things, I think I am perhaps ready to offer you some of the stuff I've been processing through. Maybe just a little. :) I feel recently as if my whole focus has been fixed, as if everything else on the planet that might try to drag me down, and has succeeded in doing so formerly, has fallen away. Now they hit me like gnats. I was writing to a friend and described it like suddenly realizing that the irons that have clasped your wrists and ankles are really made of cheap plastic. It's like the difference between Johnny Depp's chains in Pirates of the Caribbean and the $2 plastic "bling" you buy in the toy section at Target.

I came to this focus by realizing a series of things, not the least of which is that my identity hinges on nothing in the world but God. Second, by realizing that the only thing that matters is His mission. I have long tried to gather pieces of fulfillment - atta-girl's and the like - from my earthly dad, and from relationships. But these things, for better or worse, will only string me out. I will never be enough for them. I'll never be "enough" for my dad. I'll never be "enough" for a boyfriend, because ultimately I can't fulfill him. Either of them. And they will never be enough for me, because they can't fulfill me either.

If I gain them both, or lose them both, either way God is sovereign and He is good. No matter what happens in my life, my God is God and His mission stands. I pick those two examples because they hit close to home for my woman's heart. Those things might be different for you, but the principle is the same. Even trying to get some of my fulfillment from those things is too much. They will disappoint. In a sense, they matter very much. But in another, completely different sense, they have no lasting value at all.

Because who am I? Does it matter? Yes and no. I am God's. I, as a person, as an individual, as God's creation, am irreplaceable. But as far as my role, what I can "do" for God, my usefulness, it's irrelevant. I can do a great many unique and beautiful things for the work of Christ, but God does not "need" me. What can man do to me? Kill me? Ah, but man cannot kill my soul. And anyway, stopping me does not stop the movement of the Lord. He can and will raise up someone new to take my place. In a sense, I am absolutely irrevocably vulnerable as soon as I am untouchable. I can be defeated, but God cannot.

I speak of this in battle terms, but I think it applies spiritually and emotionally as well. In realizing that the only reality in this world that matters is Christ - I mean truly realizing that - suddenly the things that were such puppet-masters over me are like discarded gloves. Not that I don't deeply love them and care for them, it's just, I can't let my worth come from them. My identity doesn't belong to either of those situations, but to God. So what next?

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."
-Philippians 3:12

Love.