week seven: finding myself
this post has been swimming around my head for the last two weeks or so but i haven’t been able to figure out how to get it out of my brain into words. there are so many directions i could go, so many things i could relate this back to, so many tangents i could go on… which is why i’ve waited until saturday to actually write anything for week seven. before you read i ask for grace in what i’m trying to get across and i hope you can see where my heart is coming from.
let’s do this…
i love reading; i always have. and maybe that is why i have learned to enjoy expressing myself through writing. i’m convinced my middle school teachers didn’t even know what my face looked like because it was in a different book everyday. i vividly remember bringing 12 books on vacation to breezy point during spring break one year. in college, you lose the luxury of reading (at least as much as i would like to) unless you are reading for a class — which, let’s be real, is rarely appealing. i decided to use my time in spain as an opportunity to crack open a few books. some are digital, some are actual books — i’m not going to get into any arguments of which is better. but let me tell you, there’s something magical about reading pride and prejudice under a palm tree in parque de los principes.
lately we’ve been taking to the city bus to school — because sometimes is raining or you’re not feeling well or it’s monday and you’re pretty sure if you take a 40 minute walk to school it WILL kill you. about two weeks ago, after a vulnerable conversation with a friend, i downloaded ‘the pursuit of god’ by a.w. tozer on my phone and i’ve been reading that during the 25 minute bus ride. i have learned so many things from this book in the short amount of time i have been spending in it, but the number one thing is — when you spend the beginning parts of your day learning about the Lord, it’s really hard to have a bad day. the number two thing — the more i learn about our Father, the more i seem to learn about myself. in chapter three, tozer says, “then by His prevenient working with us He moves us to return [to His Presence]. this first comes to our notice when our restless hearts feel a yearning for the Presence of God and we say within ourselves, “i will arise and go to my Father.”” (if that didn’t give you chills, please read it again until your skin is crawling, because DANG — that’s beautiful). it is a feeling that he has placed on our hearts. not something that we found ourselves. this could lead into the theological debate of free will and calvinism — but we’re not going to go there. simply, i have been reflecting on this and the beauty of the heart of God. our souls are literally on a journey to the Presence of God. that’s why we are here — on this earth, in this season, with these people. it’s why i’m in spain, it’s why you’re at northwestern, it’s why your dad passed away and why your aunt has breast cancer, it’s why everything seems to be going right or why everything seems to be going wrong. it’s apart of your souls journey, a journey back to the Presence of God. If that doesn’t make the troublesome things of this world worth it i don’t know what does.
now onto a slightly different topic that i hope will make a full circle back to where i started, we’ll see.
i was blessed with some dang-cool parents. other than the fact that they wouldn’t let me wear jellie-shoes growing up, they never once stopped encouraging me from reaching my full potential. i think back on all of the crazy things they let me do — many of which helped me discover who i am.
“hey mom and dad, i know i’m fifteen, but can i spend a month doing missions work in ecuador with 20 other strangers from around the united states?”
“you’d be great at that!”
“can i learn how to decorate cakes, become weirdly good at it (for a 16 year old) and invade the kitchen every weekend to create art with food?”
“you’d be great at that!”
“hey guys, can i take my cake decorating skills to colombia and do missions work there by creating art with food?”
“you’d be great at that! we’ll come with!”
“guess what, i’m adding a second major — spanish education!”
“umm, you studied french in high school… but okay! you’d be great at that!”
“hey i’m gonna go to spain now for that second major thing… see ya!”
“wow you’ll be so good at that! we’ll come visit you!”
“mom, i think i want to write a book with my best friend about the beauty of laughter!”
“if anyone could do that — it’s you. you’d be great at that!”
most parents tell their children that they can be anything that they want to be when they’re young. what’s that, sweetie? you want to be a dinosaur-ballerina-in-space? hahaha okay! but here’s the thing: you actually can’t be one of those. and eventually they stop telling their children that they can do anything they set their minds to. they tell them that they don’t support their career choices and that the can’t make money being an artist, and it breaks my heart. i have been so blessed with two parents that love the Lord and their children so much that they will let them become music majors and sit in dirty bars to watch them do something that they are passionate about. they have never stopped telling us that we can do whatever we set our minds to.
i’m going somewhere with this — i swear.
the combination of this type of parenting and the fact that i grew up with only brothers, mixed with the presence of really passionate and powerful women in my life has given me a pretty feisty spirit. i’m extremely competitive and have always believed that if you want to change the world you simply can… regardless of your gender. through recent experiences i’ve learned that i become extremely frustrated with girls my age who play the “ditsy” card or the “that’s what my boyfriend is for” card. no no no no. bad idea. you are strong. you are capable. you are intelligent. your soul is on a journey to find the Presence of God, and if you are able to find another soul to compliment you in a way that pushes your soul even closer to His Presence, then by all means marry the crap out of that person. get your ring by spring, make your souls become one with a pinterest inspired wedding (and invite me, because i freaking love dancing at weddings, and crying at weddings, and being in weddings, i just really love weddings), and go on this journey together. but NEVER tell yourself that you have less value because you are on this journey by yourself. don’t let the fact that you don’t have a man by your side hold you back from being everything that you are — happy, powerful, complete — those are all things that come from the Lord, not another human.
and that’s my attempt a full circle. that’s a glimpse of what’s on my heart for quite sometime, so thank you for taking the time to read, and thank you for having grace with me while i am figuring this all out in another country. and by all means if you need to yell at me because i’m wrong and ignorant and young and i have absolutely no idea what i’m talking about…….then you can buy me a cup of coffee and we can sit and talk about it, because, holy crap, i would love to have that conversation with you. please hear me when i say this — i do not want anyone who is in a relationship to take offence to this. this is not supposed to be accusatory in any way. heck, i love boys and i genuinely hope to marry one someday. it just breaks my heart when my dear friends miss out on living life because their lives are centered around the wrong things during the most adventurous years of their lives.
i know this doesn’t have much to do with spain or what i’ve been doing here. the last week hasn’t had much going on other than classes and homework — which was very much needed after our hectic weekend backpacking across the entire country. speaking of which, here are some photos from that grand, grand adventure.