Restoring Hope

I just spent the last five days in San Diego with my best friend growing up. She moved away from Denver 7 years ago, and to be honest, we barely kept in touch. It just happened that we struck up a conversation a few months ago and I decided that it would be best for me to get away for a few days during break. Not that I don’t love going home and wouldn’t love seeing my family and friends, but I needed to go somewhere, anywhere, that wouldn’t remind me of what I’ve been trying so desperately to forget.

Anyways, I got off the plane and met up with her. We gave each other kind of an awkward hug, asked the basic questions “How’ve you been? What are you up to?” Conversation flowed naturally, when we hit all the “big” topics. We really got to talking and come to find out, we’ve been facing all the same struggles for the past few years now. She had almost the same thing happen with her ex-boyfriend, she’s struggled with drinking/partying, and all sorts of other things that I struggle with too. Even though we hadn’t really seen each or really gotten a chance to talk in almost 7 years, it was like we hadn’t missed a day. She was the same best friend from seven years ago that she is today. Crazy, right?

I’m not a big believer in destiny or fate or any of that nonsense, but I find it so amazing that God put her back into my life right here, right now. Right when I needed someone who didn’t know all the details of my past, and who wouldn’t judge me, or try to put some kind of personal input in, I got her. We only talked about our ex boyfriends for about 5 minutes, but she told that I shouldn’t worry about it, because it’s just a waste of time. The way she said it, and the way she believed in it, was really compelling. She told me that even though we had been together for all of about 24 hours when we had this conversation, that she knows I’m a strong, successful, beautiful person and I’ll find that beauty again in something else. It’s gonna be hard, but she said that I’m showing more strength than I think that I am. I don’t know, it was just really…encouraging.

I got to wake up every day for the last 5 days and stand on the beach and drink my chai tea latte. Every day. She made some comment about how people don’t really come to the beach as much when they live here because it’s always there, and people, including herself, have taken that for granted.

I know it’s going to be tough to go back to school today, knowing all that waits for me there, all the memories and pain, but for some reason, it doesn’t seem as daunting. I feel like I’m really successful there. I don’t  want to take my college  years for granted. It’s the “best years of my life”, right? Who wants to spend that upset and depressed and toiling over some stupid boy who made a few bad decisions. He’s going to have to live with those, not me. I got out of that for a reason. Now, I see more brightness in the sun. I see more hope in the future. Yeah sure, what has happened to me sucks. I lost a lot of the good qualities I once had and a lot of the bubbly personality I used to carry. But, time passes and people change. And although things are different now, I’m not blaming anyone for wasting my time except for me. The rest of my college career is going to be awesome, because I just decided it is.

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If Only God Knew…

I was laying in bed last night struggling with my thoughts. It seemed to convict me that I thought obeying God is hard. Because, let’s be honest, it is. It’s the hardest thing to do. At least for me, it’s a daily struggle to remember to take up my cross and remember to follow God all day. If I speak out, I’ll get criticized by my friends. If I don’t speak out, I get drowned by guilt of having let God down. I always feel like whatever I do just isn’t enough. Not just for God. I mean for everyone. I can’t be enough. I obviously wasn’t for my ex. I’m not enough for my family, there’s so much more I could do. I’m not enough for my friends. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve given all that I can, and when I feel like I’m finally helping other people, or improving my own life, I get knocked down. If only God knew how freaking hard it is to follow him.

If God wanted us to follow him so earnestly, steadfastly, and purely, why are there so many obstacles between us and Him? It’s like I have to push through every day as a struggle just to maintain my sanity, and by the end of it, I realize that I wasn’t nearly “Christian” as I should have been. I mean, isn’t that what we’re called to be? First, we’re converted (or perhaps raised in a Christian church and with a Christian family). Anyway, there’s that moment where we first just “get it”. It all makes sense and we’re filled with this emotional and spiritual high that we think will never dissolve. I remember mine. I was at a church lockout in the fifth grade. For the first time, I really fully understood what Christianity meant. And for the first time, I felt like I really accepted Christ for myself. Not for my family. Not for my friends. Just for me. I became known as “that girl who wears the WWJD bracelet” and quickly became a social outcast.

Affected by the pressures of society, I sought out to fit it. I became friends with three girls in middle school and I thought I had found it all. Ultimately, these friendships tore me apart. There was no love or caring for each other. My faith had all but disappeared by that point. I went on church retreats, and was instantly re-energized what that same spiritual high, and thought I had it all figured out. I figured, God knows exactly what I’m going through, and if he really knew how I was feeling, He would know how much I missed Him and just expected Him to take over again. But it’s not that easy, is it? Just to say “Oh hey God, I’m in a rough spot, mind throwing me down some favor?” I was ignorant to the idea that God was waiting for to truly give myself to Him. Don’t worry, I still haven’t figured out how to do that.

I guess that where I’m finding myself today. Still struggling with the idea of understanding how God works. Can He really know everything? And if He truly does, which I believe He does, why isn’t He taking these pains and struggles away from me? I pray every day for God to take them away. He ultimately knows my heart, even better than I ever could. But it’s not like I’m holding onto this pain and heartbreak to keep it away from God. I think that I honestly want him to take it away from me. I pray every single day. Yet it’s still here. God, are you hearing me? What else is there for me to do? If You are made perfect in my weakness, am I to be eternally weak so that You are made eternally perfect?