What makes you happy?

Today, I had a great conversation with my hall mate, Shannon. She has such a caring, loving heart and a beautiful soul, and she asked me this question today: “What makes you happy?” It actually took me a while to answer the questions — I feel like we, as people, don’t spend enough time considering what makes as happy and doing it. She is a living, breathing example of one of those people who actually does. So, this is goes out to her.

This is what makes me happy.

  • Helping other people and seeing them succeed
  • Sharing my faith and talking about God
  • Singing songs of worship
  • Taking care of kids and playing with them
  • Seeing beautiful landscapes
  • Wearing a new outfit that fits me well
  • Getting compliments from strangers
  • Making genuine, real friends
  • Having deep, meaningful conversations with people

 

Standstill.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” 
 Sylvia Plath, Bell Jar

Round Two. Begin!

There’s just 4 days left until I head back to school. It seems as though everyone on social media is super pumped to get back on campus, be reunited with their friends, dive into clubs and organizations, and fall into the hectic, unique college paradox of a routine again.

Yet…I can’t help but feel this overwhelming dread at the very thought. 

Based off of my previous posts, it’s obvious that I had a rough freshman year (to say the least). Friendships were broken just as quickly as they were formed. Principles I had sworn I would uphold before college started were blatantly ignored. Priorities became all jumbled up. Homesickness was a constant, dull pain, as I faced a sea of unfamiliar faces each and every day. 

Everything just hurt. 

All the days leading up to heading back, I’ve been trying to muster up the enthusiasm and hope for the future I had as an incoming freshman. It’s been difficult when I reflect on what I’ve already experienced so far. 

I just don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I want. I keep on putting on different hats of values and trying on different suits of interests, but nothing seems to fit so far. Every time I try something different, a little bit of myself is lost in the process.

Sure, it’s great to try new experiences and put yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s how you grow and mature, and I’ve been so thankful for that.  But the thing is…it’s just been a long, long time since I’ve been in my comfort zone.

Going into sophomore year, almost nothing is certain — I don’t know who my friends are going to be this year. I don’t know whether I’m going to get into the Business School, the School of Public Health, or neither. I don’t know what clubs and organizations I’m going to commit myself to. Rowing? A sorority? Campus Y? Tramping club? Who knows…

There’s just one thing that comforts me in this process. I know that my hope and trust in God is renewed, for real this time. Throughout the pain of freshman year, He stuck by me throughout the entire thing (despite all my attempts to spurn Him). He was there by my side when I essentially failed all my classes, lost my so-called friends, and didn’t have my family or hometown friends to comfort me. He was there for me when I was hazed and humiliated. He was there when I felt 100% alone, completely defenseless and utterly unloved. 

He was there.

I can’t make this mistake again. I really can’t do this again for a second year. As much as I want to convince myself otherwise, my heart and soul just can’t take it. 

From this point on forward, I vow to surrender myself wholly to Him. No more living a double life. No more avoiding and faking.

This is the year. This will be His year.

Awakening.

All this time, I think I got it all wrong. I’d been actively pursuing God, searching for Him in nooks and crannies. Trying to figure out what it meant to be a Christian and behave as a Christian, based on what others have done. Even emulating Jesus Christ was still a bit far off-base (not that it’s a bad thing to follow his teachings!).

You know how sometimes when you wake up from a long slumber, you wake up to a sticky crust on your eyelashes, glueing your eyelids shut? (Bear with me on this one, yes I know, it’s kind of gross and my writer-ancestors are probably rolling in their graves).

One of the devotions that I’ve read recently from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers has absolutely opened my eyes. You can’t chase God. You can’t make Him work according to your schedule. You have to let Him work in you. When the time comes, He will open your heart and do wonders in you. There isn’t anything you can do. He will instill the Holy Spirit into you, gracing you with a thirst for His Word and a desire to know Him more. Everything else will come so naturally — the prayer, the devotions, the worship, the praise. I think that for ages and ages, many people have tried to replicate the effects, when they hadn’t fully experienced the cause. I say that because I was one of those people.

It’s like someone scratched all the gross stuff away and splashed your face with rejuvenating water, leaving you young and fresh-faced and dewey-eyed! (iiii probably could’ve used a better analogy. Sorry! I’ll leave it to that and maybe come back later.)

So, what do you do in the meantime? Well…I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m not sure. Aside from urging all to opening your mind, ears, and heart to the Word of God from Him and his disciples, I don’t think I have the jurisdiction nor the knowledge to offer any other advice. No single man or woman’s journey is the same as another’s. Don’t give up and don’t lose hope, however, just because someone else’s experience/relationship with God is radically different or seemingly “faster” than yours!

Anyways, I have to hit the hay now (it’s 1:35 AM! Yikes!). I’ll come back to this and perhaps edit it a bit, but I got all that I was thinking out there 🙂 If anyone of you readers are out there, let me know what you think! Tell me if you think I’ve got it all figured out completely wrong, or on the flip-side, if you’ve felt this way too. I want to hear what you all have to say about it! Thank you and gute nacht.

Midnight Musings: Eye Contact

There’s sometime to be said about eye contact. 

I have a theory that just by looking deeply into someone else’s eyes, very genuinely, very sincerely, and holding that gaze for 3 seconds straight, there will be an inexplicable stirring. A moment where both parties seem to feel this sense of…understanding. If not intimate, it is, at the least, vulnerable. 

It’s fascinating what simple sturdy eye contact can do. It can cause friends to become lovers. It creates respect from superior to inferior. It conveys longing and mystique, without a lone utterance. It stops the beating of a heart for just a moment.

This is something I never would’ve grasped before. That is for certain. Insecurity and self-consciousness would have caused me to dart my eyes away, flitting away from anything longer than a split second of eye contact. 

To be vulnerable, you have to have a certain kind of confidence (isn’t that slightly ironic? I used to think vulnerability was for the gutless, for I was just that). 

I thank God for that. I don’t know if that’s what He meant for to happen, but I thank Him for that.