This is a mishmash of some things that have been on my mind as we’ve moved from June into July. June was full of VBS songs and ice cream and concerts/night swimming with friends, and it was so good; but it was lots to process, too. And somehow Forsyth County schools start in less than a month (what??), and July is going to fly by, so I figured I should try to organize my thoughts into some kind of coherent order. For posterity. Or something like that.
Lately I’ve been thinking about identity. I guess I’ve always struggled with it, but lately more than ever. My problem is that I change, ever so subtly, depending on the people I’m around. Some days I want to feel like–or, more accurately, I want others to see me like–an athlete, so I wear UnderArmour (because, let’s just be honest here, it’s hands down much better than Nike) and jump into any pickup games being played and make sure to talk about “my hard workout this morning” or “that one game at our last tournament.” I used to want people to view me as a musician, as a classical pianist. Sometimes I identify most as a writer, or I want people to know that I work with kids. It doesn’t really matter how I want to portray my identity on any given day; the point is that I shift my behavior, looks, and actions to try to fit in (or stand out) in a certain group of people. Reading articles about finding your identity as a child of Christ is all well and good, but it’s a lot harder to actually do in practice. I want to go around telling people about what God is teaching me because that’s who I really AM, not just because I feel like identifying as a Christian that day. I was stargazing the other night (wow, that sounded cool. Oops, am I doing that identity thing again?) and thinking–I’m so small, and God is so huge and so infinitely good. In light of eternity–why does it matter if people think I’m an athlete or a writer or if I’m good or bad with kids? Lord, let me internalize that it doesn’t matter what people think of me. That’s what this whole identity thing is boiling down to, and I hate that I’ve started putting so much stock in what humans think. It’s natural, but I also think it’s wrong. I should only worry about what One thinks of me. Help me to truly find my identity in You.
On to the next stop along the crazily scattered train ride that is my brain. I think that my generation, myself included, has romanticized the idea of “wanderlust.” I like just as much as the next person to travel and see new places, but from what I’ve observed on social media lately, it seems that a lot of teens and young adults these days seem to feel that they can’t be happy unless they’re going and moving and seeing new places. I’m definitely not trying to judge anyone, because I have so been there. I’ve spent so much time wishing I was in Colombia instead of Cumming. I’m a homebody, but I started off this summer wanting adventures–hiking mountains and enjoying the view from an eno, taking mini road trips around Atlanta, finding cute little restaurants with friends. Only a few have happened. They’ve been great, but so have the days at home that, somehow–caught up in the prettily edited Instagram pictures of friends’ adventures–I forgot I’ve always loved so much.
“Wanderlust” is defined by dictionary.com as “a German word for the irresistibly strong desire to travel or wander.” It reminds me of the C. S. Lewis quote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world,” which makes me think that we’ll always have a little of this “wanderlust” until we reach heaven. That we’re wired to be nomads. But for the here and now, I don’t want to let wanderlust consume me. I want to have a heart for reaching the world for Jesus, yes. However, I also want to learn to be content in my own country, my own community, and my own bedroom when circumstances prevent me from being elsewhere.
This kind of goes along with the whole desiring-elaborate-summer-adventures theme, but I have spent SO MUCH TIME planning lately. I mean, I’ve always been a planner, but it’s gotten kind of overkill. I spent so much of my spring planning for summer, and now it’s about to end. I’m spending much of my summer planning for this fall. I’m so busy planning that I can’t seem to stop and appreciate this season of life that I’m actually in. Does anyone else get stuck in this rut?
Next week I get on a plane and fly to Miami. Then Bogota. Then Pereira. It hasn’t even sunk in yet that it’s just over a week away. I’ve been going on mission trips to Colombia for years, and I absolutely love it there; but somehow, this year, I’m not even excited, which sounds awful to admit. In case you missed it, I’ve been struggling with lots of health problems the last several months–basically, I can’t breathe and I’m always sleepy/fatigued even if I haven’t done anything. Since our Colombia trips generally require things like playing soccer with kids in the Andes mountains, my current health condition is obviously not very compatible with our planned activities (of course, the plan always changes, so who knows?). I haven’t really been thinking about the trip because every time I do, I start worrying about surviving it. Earlier tonight as I was listening to “Come to the River” by Housefires and doing laundry, I scribbled, “God, You are so good but I just don’t feel it right now. I feel so selfish because I know I’m blessed in many ways, but I’m just fixated on this one little thing. You’ve always been good. Let me truly truly taste and see that You are good. I’m trying and trying to feel You and be joyful but it’s just not happening. Maybe that’s my problem; maybe I’m trying too hard. I need stop trying and let You. Oh please, let me really feel You.”
You’ve brought me to the end of myself
And this has been the longest road
Just when my hallelujah was tired
You gave me a new song
I’m letting go, I’m letting go
I’m letting go, falling into You
I confess I still get scared sometimes
but perfect love comes rushing in
and all the lies that screamed inside go silent
The moment You begin
and I’m letting go, I’m letting go
I’m letting go, and falling into You
You remind me of things forgotten
You unwind me until I’m totally undone
And with Your arms around me
Fear was no match for Your love
And now You’ve won me
As I’m writing this blog post tonight, I have “Letting Go” by Steffany Gretzinger on repeat (see lyrics above). I want and need to take that leap of faith and throw myself wholeheartedly into Colombia like every other year. I want to be SO excited about the trip, because I get to hear Spanish being spoken and eat bunelos and see New York friends and mountains, oh, the mountains. Most importantly, I get the amazing opportunity to show God’s love to a beautiful indigenous people group. Basically, all of my very favorite things. I just feel awful because everyone else on the team has been planning and praying for months, and I have, too. But this year, somehow I’m not as into it. As I sit at my desk right now after a windy day on the lake, my body still feels as if it’s being rocked side to side, which is a convenient parallel for how my mind feels–rocked with worry. I’m in the corner focusing on my petty little needs when really, this trip is NOT about me at all. Where is my faith? Oh please, Lord, help me truly let go of all these things that are holding me back and trust that You will give me a new song when I am tired. Help me to blindly, trustingly, fall back into Your arms. Change my life again through this year’s Colombia trip, and change the lives of many others.
P.S. I’ll be blogging (hopefully somewhat consistently) from South America, so stay tuned. Prayers also appreciated. July 14-22. Tony, Hailey, Misty, Joyce, Paul, Josmel, Julissa, Ruben, Rosdaly, Mike, Tiarra and missionaries Mike, Tisha, James and Heather.