Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Chance to Breath

Tonight I had the chance to do something I feel like I haven't been able to do in a long time. Relax! Not that I haven't had an occasional nap here and there. And for those of you who are rolling their eyes, thinking I still take a nap every day, you are wrong. Those days are over... they only happen about twice a week now ;)

Anyway... This past month has been a little busy that I realized tonight that I haven't realized how few nights I have just chilled out and not done anything. Between a jr. high retreat the first weekend in October, a wonderful and fun visit (that deserves more attention than I'm giving it now) to North Carolina, my friends bachelor party, his wedding last weekend, and a funeral this week, I feel like I have been on the go constantly all month, and for good reason. I have been.

Though I haven't been overly worn out this whole time, I simply forgot what it is like to just take a step back and have a night where I am not up late writing a paper or preparing for Sunday School, rather, simply sitting with my close friends at dinner only to come back and lounge around, watching a movie. How often does that happen?

I started off the evening of relaxation around 2 with a little nap. Then I got up and read a little bit. I have grown into a reader, I just wish now that I had more time for it. Then I went with a good friend of mine to play racquet ball, which is something I don't get to do very often now, but I still love playing for some reason (if anyone is wondering, I did win 2 games in a row:). Came back, took a shower, then off to dinner it was, Cancun Mexican Restaurant! After that begins the night of watching a movie and having good relaxing times with my friends, not thinking about everything I am going to have to do this weekend or next week, but simply enjoying the moment.

It reminded me of a clip I saw from a Rob Bell video, Everything is Spiritual. He said that in the book of Exodus, chapter 24 (I think), God tells Moses to go up on the mountain and wait, or be, on the mountain. The reason Rob offers for why God says this is because the whole time you are climbing the mountain you are thinking about getting to the top of the mountain, but then the minute you reach the top of the mountain you start thinking about how you are going to get down the mountain. God doesn't want Moses to miss out on the experience of a life time. This sounds really simple, but so often, we think we are working toward something and we probably are, but once we accomplish the task we are on we move straight to the next task without ever soaking in everything that has happened... without giving ourselves a chance to see how God has worked in our lives.

This whole month I have been doing just that, going from one thing to the next without allowing myself to process what has gone on lately. I go from going somewhere to doing homework, right back to going somewhere else and I never look back. When I think of it, my night just Wednesday, I left my step-grandma's funeral to go almost straight back to school and finish homework until about 11:30, only to get up at 7 the next morning to squeeze a little more homework in before I went to a full day of class (9 am - 6 pm). Thursday night I was preparing for a test and a presentation I had today, followed by a meeting for a youth ministry summit, which I found myself having very little, actually no input for. I realized that it is time to take a breath. Look back and see God at work in my life. So I don't go on to the next season of life without ever stopping to see and praise God for the work He has done. I have so much to be thankful for, and I am thankful, but I haven't really soaked in who God really is or what He has done lately.

I think it is time to look back a little bit and remember. Please, don't miss out on the little things that are really very big things if you would just allow them to be. Go on top of a mountain and be on that mountain even if it is just for an hour or two. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Silver Lining

Whenever things get tough people usually say that there is a silver lining somewhere. Well things have been a little rough around here. My step-mom, Anita's, mom is not doing well, she was just taken to Hospice a couple days ago, my mom's basement flooded about a month ago, then just this past weekend the water heater broke and released water over the carpet that wasn't wet, and I just found out that my step-brother's house was broken into just a day or two ago! Not much good sounding stuff there.

Well, for those of you who don't know, I am going on a short term missions trip to England in May. Today was our first team meeting for that, so I was able to meet the people on my team for the first time, I think I'm going to like this trip!

When I got out of the meeting, I was getting ready to leave the building to go back to my dorm when I saw one of our professors, whom I am friends with, he is also my small group leader, his name is Steve Carr. He waved me into the office he was in and informed me that he was just in a preachers board meeting for the school and they were discussing scholarships and he brought my name up to them and mentioned that I was a pretty good kid. Then he told me that they decided to give me an $800 scholarship! Who couldn't use that?

Now this would be good news any day, but the timing of it was just great! That is what we call a silver lining. Though it doesn't replace or fix everything that is going on, it is a little wink from God letting me know that He is still with me! It feels pretty good.

Just an encouraging scripture for anyone else going through anything difficult right now:

Romans 5:2-5: "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom His has given us."