Digging through the Mountains

I went camping  a week ago! Yep, I like camping. There is a lot to be said about being one with nature, even if it is just for a few hours, and getting to press that refresh button. I needed that! I was emotionally frustrated, physically and mentally exhausted and really just in need of some reflection time so the timing of it was perfect. Through reflection I was taken back to a moment I experienced over the winter break, here goes the sharing!!!

So, while I was in the beautiful land of the Swazis (Swaziland) I did a lot of dirt-road driving. I had to stop multiple times to appreciate the mountainous terrain. Now, if you’ve grown up around this it’s not that much to appreciate. In fact, you probably don’t like it very much because you, most likely, have had to walk it A LOT!!! But, having been in Oklahoma for a couple of years, the hills and mountains are that much more significant… See, PERSPECTIVE!!!

If you have driven on dirt roads, especially Swazi dirt roads, you know how frustrating it could get… Those potholes though!!!! But then it hit me, the dirt road I was on used to be a mountain. My perspective changed as I appreciated the fact that trucks (lorries, or whatever you call those vehicles that dig..hehe) had to grate through the mountains, a little rock and soil at a time, to make the road what it is now.

The trucks had to do the undone, go where no one else would dare to go. I’m sure there have been roads grated in other parts but in this new mountain, this act is the undone. Forming the road meant that trucks had to pave the way, literally; removing trees and shrubs, spending countless hours in ‘nothingness’ until there was light and the road was built. Think about that for a second. Isn’t it funny how we often find it hard to go where others haven’t gone and face the forests head one. We go through the motions and fear what is in our wilderness. We hide behind conformity, and fear breaking down the trees and shrubs that are between us and the goal. Isn’t it high time we all start to grate through our own forests – regardless of what they look like – and take a chance at making something out of the nothingness?

The dirt road we drove through had mountains on the side, rock and soil with different chemical make-up. Not to get technical or anything, but with the different pressure and composition of soil at different areas of the mountain there is bound to be variation. These differences do not change the fact that the road exists, they don’t change the fact that this used to be a mountain. I was there like, ok the HS, what are you saying? And he was like, you better stop acting like the different parts of where you are at – where your struggles are right now – convince you they won’t be over. He said, in digging through the mountain, the trucks attacked all the rock types with full force and that’s what you have to do. Of course, you may need different tools for different problems but they shouldn’t scare you. I was like, ayt then. Got you!! Seriously, I couldn’t argue with that.

The funny thing is, driving down the dirt road, the only thing I could do was complain. Complain about the potholes, complain about how rough the road was and everything in between. My first thought wasn’t to appreciate the job that the trucks (and the construction workers) did to get the road there. I did not appreciate how much work they must have put into it and how they successfully converted a mountain to a road and how much work was put into it. Humankind is configured that way though. I am sure we can all think about a moment, or moments, where blood and sweat was put into something and the final result was met with complaints from others (or even ourselves really). We (or they) didn’t realize how much it took, the risks that had to be taken, the trees that had to be uprooted. However, that doesn’t change the fact that work was done. Just take that in for a second.

As the semester comes to an end (my undergraduate career with it) I have been having a lot of ‘those’ moments. I have been wondering if it’s worth bringing down the mountain, whether the ‘nothingness’ can be something. I, and others, have feared grating through because of the uncertainties, the possibility of failure, the complaints that might come because of ‘potholes’ . But, here is the thing, it is all worth it. We are all working (and walking) our own mountains. The path to road construction may be long and tedious, the work may not seem worth it sometimes but it is. It is all worth it. Like the little truck that could, we too can!!!

Go ahead then, dig through that mountain. Make something out of nothing!!!! 

 

#Lessonatthemovies

So I thought of calling this post “Expectations- where’s the fun in that?” then I thought nah…I mean, hashtags are waaaaaaay cooler and the “expectations” title would have been too long anyways.And who likes long, right?

I am learning, daily, that there is so much to learn from each and every moment that I get to live, that each experience, action and even random small occurrences are opportunities to grow. That being said, how many times have you watched Mockingjay yet? I’m at 2 – and counting – and let me say, I’m en route to learning all the words the actors speak.hahaha

I got to watch the Mockingjay for the second time a few weeks back- if you are unaware, the Mockingjay is a movie in the Hunger Games series. While it was still fun, the fact that I had seen it already meant that I knew what was going on. I knew what scene would come next, when to close my eyes, and when to prepare for a laughter or a tear. More the laughter than the tear though, the tears were all gone by the time I got done watching it the first time. Knowing the plot also meant that there were some scenes that I was looking forward to, which meant that in some parts I was bored because I knew already there wasn’t much “drama” in those parts. On the flip side, I may or may not have started singing the song two seconds before Katniss did… You are very welcome movie theater people, you can hate me now…

In those moments, the Holy Spirit laughed at me hard, in the nice way that only the Holy Spirit can. I truly felt like he was like, hey, that’s how your life would be if you had answers to everything or even if God showed you the whole plan from the very beginning. I felt like a couple of things were highlighted for me…

1. Sometimes I want to know what will happen.

This comes in many forms: Relationships, friendships, school-focused decisions, the future – where I will live, will I have kids, those kind of things. I always feel like I need to know exactly what it all looks like before I take a leap. Just like in watching Mockinjay a second time, it downed to me that if I was given the opportunity to know every nitty-gritty detail of my life story then there will be parts that I just won’t embrace as much because I know exactly what they will look like and I am not excited about that. Like, where is the fun in that? I realized that there is so much to be enjoyed from jumping off the cliff and letting the wind take you where you are supposed to go. I realized that, being the person that I am, it wouldn’t be fun to go through the motions knowing exactly what it all entails. It is fun to discover things as you move along, to learn and unlearn things, to walk a certain direction and then figure down the road its better to turn left than to keep going straight on. I have realized and now, I am in the process of embracing that notion.

2. It is important to say yes

One of my friends usually says “don’t over think”. For him, it’s more about going for it, without letting your mind over analyze every situation. Two claps for him, he has the idea right there. In looking at the second play, it is very easy to refuse to say yes to parts of the story. You already have an idea of it, you know what you like and what you don’t like. There are parts to it that you realized you didn’t like the first time and so are not willing to give it a second chance. Imagine living your life like that. Imagine God being like, fine I’ll play out your life for you and then you will get to live it after that. There will be things that you will refuse to entertain because you know already what that would look like, you would miss out on opportunities, and failures, that would grow you and mature you because “they were boring and weren’t worth your while”. That would kill the faith and, more than anything, would limit the number of yeses your give – it’s hard not knowing anyways, why make it harder? So for me, it is appreciating that not knowing allows me to say yes to the adventure, to say yes to pursuing a friendship that has uncertainties and that may die off down the line. It’s taking every moment fresh and allowing everything to be new and living a life that is unpredictable. Now that sounds like fun to me!!

3. Say no to fear!!

In the Mockingjay, Beetee makes a very powerful statement. He says, “Fear is the most difficult emotion to overcome- we’re hardwired to remember fear.”…Imagine watching the movie of your life before you actually live it and then getting so scared that you do not want to relive those moments ever…Or even, imagine living through your life RIGHT NOW and being so scared of what your decisions will entail and what the results will bring that you don’t get to live it to the fullest!! Fear is real, but fear need to be broken…I am deciding to say no to fear in my life and to make decisions, acknowledging that they may not be successful but also knowing that I will get to enjoy the adventure more if I let go. I am DECIDING to live in he moment and allow everything to happen organically, with Jesus in charge of course, and allowing myself to negate fear and embrace opportunity.huuuzaaaah!!!

All this was a reminder to me that, sometimes I feel like I want to know exactly how things will turn out, I want a reason not to be afraid, to keep moving forward. I want something to hold on to. But really, the knowledge that the Lord is on my side should be good enough for me. In fact, IT IS good enough for me, and that’s that!!

“And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” – 1 John 4:16,18 [AMP]

He Knows How to LOVE!!

Oh yeah he does!!! So I’m betting you were all like oooh, there she goes spilling the beans about her lover friend. We wanna know who he is and all that sort of stuff… Well… His name is Jesus and man does he love me well!!!Haha, got you there (or if you saw that one coming, I apologize for being predictable to you). But seriously, I am in a season where the Father is reminding me over and over again how much He wants to love me and how I can learn from his love how to love others. This post is pretty much an entry from my journal, meaning that it might be more of a ramble than anything else but I sure hope it resonates with some. Also, be nice, journal inspired entries = personal stuff = oh my goodness I opened a window into my deepest thoughts = the Holy Spirit just telling me to “let it go” (can’t hold back anymore!!!) – see what I did there? Ha!!! here goes…

          Expectation creates disappointment. We are always so quick to place expectations on other people, to define them, who they are, based on what we see them as – how we expect them to love us, how we expect them respond to us. There is so much to be learnt in the way the Father loves us. He knows who we are, that we will disappoint Him, that we are not perfect and that we may deny Him sometimes – often times actually – but still He insists on loving us. So blessed by the love of the father towards me, the friend that he sees me as. He is one who never disappoints…

          That being said, putting expectations on people creates limitations: it limits who that person can be to you and how they can partner with you in this journey of life (I have come to realize that I enjoy using the word journey so of course it has to be in here somewhere right?). Also, putting expectations on people creates room for letdowns when they do not match up to the standard you have set for them, the expectation you have resolved, internally, they can ascribe to.

So the principle of love for you this morning, Nosi:

Love Unconditionally

Just as Christ loved the world with all its evils, which he hates by the way, you should not have to validate the love you give to others based on what they do or don’t do. Just go love, no limitations, no checks and balances.

Expect nothing

Because no one but the Lord is meant to fully meet an expectation. I mean, when it comes down to it, He is the only one who can read your mind right!!

Appreciate everything

Appreciation yields encouragement, which yields upliftment, which leads to joy and that breeds so much more!!!Appreciating everything including, but not limited to, the small things allows you to see the value in everything and, in turn, gives value to everything!!!

“And every second, every minute, every hour of every day I’ll say. My unfailing love for you will not be moved for you will not be moved. My unfailing love for you. And though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you” 

Jimmy Needham – “Unfailing Love”