I didn't realize this video of me dancing had gotten out. I'm the one in the back row.



i used to

i used to be a lot of things.

when i was 15 i was really good at loving people. i was really thoughtful. i went out of my way to do special things for lots of people in my life. i cried with people when they needed to cry. i made people laugh when they were upset. i created gifts from the heart and hoped that person would treasure them as much as i did. i was not so concerned with myself.

i used to be cool. "cool" means different things for everyone; for me it means that i'm not like others. today, sitting at starbucks across from a mall, i feel like everybody else. somehow, i feel like i've lost sight of God's thumbprint on me, telling me that i actually am different from everyone else. i used to feel like i had something to offer the world...something that no one else could give. i am not doubting God's unique design; i still firmly believe that we are all wonderfully and fearfully made... i just can't see my own at the moment.

i used to love God. it's not that i don't any more, but things have changed. what i mean to say is, i used to be really good at loving God (which made me good at loving people unselfishly). and i'm sure that if i still loved God that way and people that way, i'd realize that that isn't even my best offering to my Creator. i don't think that i was doing the best possible job of loving God, but i know i did it with a very honest heart, a very willing heart, a very (what was, for me at the time) sacrificial heart.

i know that in many ways i'm wiser and more mature now than i was at 15, but the 15-year-old me was smarter. loving God is simple. sure, it was probably easier for me to react to God with a child-like faith at 15 b/c i was not so far removed from my own childhood, but i think in recent years i've made my relationship with God too complicated (and perhaps even overly simplified at the same time, if that's possible). it was so easy as a teenager to fall at the feet of Jesus. now, however, even when i want to fall at his feet, i simultaneously feel worldly responsibilities pulling me in multiple directions, and the burdens that i carry pulling me backwards instead of allowing me to fall forward to the ground...prostrate...which is how i prefer to be in front of Jesus...

you know that cheesy church-camp question of, "if you could be anyone in the bible, who would you like to be?" ... my answer has always been the same: one of the children Jesus welcomed in his company.

i've never been one to remember my dreams very well. there are, however, two dreams i remember vividly from my childhood. the first was a nightmare. it involved characters from sesame street. don't ask me why it was scary; i loved that show, but the dream haunts me even today. the second dream i remember is one i will remember into my very old age. if i ever have alzheimer's, this dream is something i will still know and talk about. i was probably about 4. at the time, i didn't understand the difference between a dream and a memory, so the way i explained it to my mom was that i actually "remembered" this event; i remember believing that i had had this experience. maybe i did. the dream was very simple. it was spring-time sunny with beautiful clouds, a fantastically cool breeze, and i was on the greenest hillside i've ever known. i was surrounded by about a dozen or so other children. we were jumping around, giggling, chasing each other... it was lovely. and at the center of it all was jesus. and he was one of us. i mean, he was the grown-up-bearded with a white robe jesus, like the pictures i saw hanging on the wall in sunday school, but he was playing with us and loving it.

that's where i want to be. literally? sure. but figuratively as well. it's not that i've taken some drastically horrible turn in my life that's cut me off from God. it's just... i've lost sight of his thumbprint b/c i've lost sight of Him. the amazing and beautiful thing about God is that i don't have to do anything majorly different to change my focus. i know He's here. i know He knows what i'm thinking and feeling, and i know He welcomes my heart, and that is the most comforting thing.

lent is coming up. i don't always participate in giving up something. i only do it if i feel the need or call to. this year i feel both the need and the call. i've decided to give up all drinks except for water. john 4:13 - Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." this is from when Jesus was talking to the samaritan woman at the well. he knew she had been unfaithful to her husbands, but he welcomed her to be faithful to God. i need to be reminded of where my breath comes from and where i can find the reason to love people around me with God's love, which doesn't run out. i need to be reminded of not just my daily need for Jesus, but my hour to hour, my minute to minute need for Him.

if you've not experienced God's love, none of this will make sense to you. there's no way for you to know Him unless you allow Him to love you. and He's a gentleman. my ignoring God is a decision, and he will allow me to make those decisions; love is not love if it forced.

and so He waits. He waits on me. He waits on you. may we both answer the call.

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