Monday, January 10, 2011

What Lies Within

It's been so long since I've sat down to write nevertheless blog. With the busyness that is about to crash into my life, I felt I should give my blog a little attention before it's too late. I love to write, but too many times I neglect my passions for going, doing, and serving others. I think we all do...that's why I've heard sermons on it my entire life.

Since I last blogged, I've celebrated Christmas, New Years, basketball season, admission to grad school, and the best Christmas present ever. All of these would typically spur an entire blog of their own, but none of them are the reason I sat down to just delve into writing tonight.

For over 2 years I've lived on my own. Sure many people do this, I'm not discrediting that. But if you aren't one of those people who have ever experienced this solitude, then let me catch you up. I wake up on my own every morning just in time to leave my house for work. I teach middle school kids all day long, my only break being a 30 minute lunch. After work, I may keep gate or go watch a ballgame. Then I come home, heat up a TV dinner, call my mom, make myself laugh. I take a lot of bubble baths, research all types of master's programs, and read. Reading saves my life most days. Finally, I go to bed, wishing myself a good night and tucking myself in with the indulgence of having my heated blanket on high.

Pitiful, you might think. How terribly boring. Or lonesome. Or desolate. But living on my own has been a far cry from any of that. It's been the most enlightening, challenging, reflective time of my life. I've done a lot of self-discovery. I've learned how to cook, albeit only a few things. I've grown into my true passions. But most importantly, I think, I've enjoyed it.

My friend Amy has been thinking about moving in with me, and I'm just ecstatic about it. We have so much fun together! But it's really made me start reflecting on my time alone and what that has meant to me. I've started realizing that there is no season in my life that will ever quite be like this season has been. When you have yourself to rely on, you learn what yourself can do.

Sometimes my sister will tell me she's mad at my brother-in-law for not changing a light bulb. Or I have friends who wish their husbands would go change their car's oil. And I've heard wives say of their husbands that he never takes the trash out. To be honest it burns me somewhere way down deep inside. Because I don't get that. I change my light bulbs. I send my car to get the oil changed. I have my trash out on Mondays.

I hear all the time that when I get married one day that I'll want my husband to do those things as well. I can't say I disagree with that, but I do hope that I recognize that I can do it still. I never want to lose sight of what I've learned living on my own.

Despite all the obvious reasons living on your own can be hard, i.e. chores, finances, boredom; I think the thing that has stuck out to me the most is the complete solitude. I can be as private and lonesome as I choose to be. If I want to be bored, I can be bored. If I want to not talk for 3 weeks, I don't have to talk for 3 weeks. But it's the challenge above the obvious that dig into your gut. It's the challenge that makes you realize what type of character you really have in you. Sure you can change a lightbulb, but can you...will you...make your life wonderful?

I believe I can answer yes to that question. A lot of my friends have amazing husbands and precious children, challenging careers and lakehouses. All of those are great things for them. I'm in no way saying they can't answer yes to that question too. What I'm saying is that with the life I've been given--singleness and living alone--I can say yes too. I've found passions in politics and crafts (they don't go together, I know) that otherwise I would have never focused on. I've learned that I can be outgoing and fun even in the most awkward of circumstances. (That one has been hard and the most challenging, but definitely the most rewarding.) But above all I've learned that no matter who or what is in my life, I never want to lose focus on my relationship with God.

A preacher once told me to go for God with all your heart, and one day you'll not look ahead or behind; you'll look to the side, and you'll find someone going for Him alongside you. Saying that, I see a lot of people who just looovee God and worship and praise and adore Him...until they find something else to patronize. However, in the past 2 years God has given me the freedom to go and find other idols. At times I fulfilled those selfish desires with false gods. But at the end of the day, I luckily found my way back to my simple yet deep relationship with Christ. I've learned how to love God. How to really love Him from the depth of my soul.

One day I'm sure I'll look at my life and find myself in a different season. But I'll know I would have never made it there without this one. I remind myself a lot of the Brad Paisley song "Letter to Me." What would you say to you? I'd tell me to savor the moment. Enjoy these ups and downs. Soak in these days of quiet and still. It's going to be different one day...just sit and listen right now. For what lies before us and what lies ahead are only minor in comparison to what lies within us.

**And say a prayer for my buddy Wes this week as he has surgery on his heart Thursday. He is set to graduate from the Naval Academy this spring. His commission depends on this surgery. I know his family would appreciate the support.**

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