Wednesday, February 20, 2013

love that's better than life

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land
where this is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!

I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.

Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.

--Psalm 63:1-8

Valentine's Day can be a challenging holiday for numerous reasons.  It can bring up memories of happier days that are no longer here.  It can remind you that you want to be in a relationship when you are 100% single.  It can make you compare the love you get to the love that others get - only to figure out you got the short end of the stick.  It can leave you longing.  Leave you feeling lonely.  Sad.  Maybe even unloved.

Even for people in a relationship, I think the holiday, as a whole, makes you ask the question, "Who do I love?  And who loves me?"  

I found myself so deeply sad this Valentine's Day.  I knew I wasn't going to get that bouquet of roses and cute little note from my dad that says, "To my Special Girl, I love you!  Will you be my Valentine?"  And my heart longed for it.  With all that was in me I wanted to reverse time and re-live my last Valentine's Day with him.  Hug him a little tighter.  Smell those flowers.  Kiss him on the cheek, and tell him I loved him.

That was replaced by other loves this year.  I was so blessed by a early morning walk and new mug from one of my besties, a single rose from my sissy in law and brother, a bag of goodies from my mom and a big bouquet of flowers from my lil bro.  Shoot, I even got a Valentine chocolate from my yoga instructor!  It wasn't like all the years past, and I missed my dad like crazy, but I noticed how much love I DO have.  So much love from family, friends and my super sweet God.

I realized two things:

1. GOD + LOVE.  Love needs to come and go, first and foremost, to/from God.  I really believe that if we can be content in God's love, we can be content with anything life throws at us.  Enjoy being saturated in His love.  Have a longing heart for HIM and He will satisfy.  Cling to your love and He will hold you securely.  

2. ME + LOVE.  I need to love myself AND THEN love my neighbor.  Once again, it is great to be a servant and love up on people, but if you're neglecting yourself, what's the point?  If you can't take care of yourself, you shouldn't be taking care of other people.  Love yourself!  Take some time and do something that makes you happy.  Go buy yourself some roses.  Set up that doctors appointment you've been putting off.  Make time to exercise (you know you'll feel better afterwards!).  Shoot, get some new shoes or clothes if you need it!  Stop trying to be a servant to everyone while neglecting yourself.  

You deserve some lovin'. 
Let God fill you up.
Love up on yourself.

And then maybe you can give some of that reserve lovin' to the vast amount of people that love you.

this was my present to myself: cute nails!  It makes me happy.  To see the adorbs tutorial, click HERE

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

taking a holiday, setting new goals

I went back and forth.

I prayed, made a list of pros and cons, asked people for advice.  And then I bit the bullet.  I pulled out of school.  Dropped all my classes.  So there you have it: in a matter of seconds, with a few clicks of the mouse, I made (what seemed to be) a monumental decision.

And this is what I learned

Society is all about doing.  Everyone asks, "What are you up to?"  or "What are you doing?"  It's all about the go, go, go in the US of A.  To us, a week long vacation seems like such a looooong time to take off.  It seems so sacred to be able to do that.  Seems completely unreasonable - unfathomable, even - to take off longer than that.  We don't go on "holidays" for weeks at a time.  When do we ever take time for ourselves?  Stop.  Breathe.  Enjoy life.  Rejuvenate.  And savor what we have in life.

Well, I for one can say that I've never done that.  I've never put aside time to focus on me.  It seems like a totally foreign concept.  I have no idea what that would even look like!  But, like it or not, that's where I'm at.  For this semester I'm being forced - in a way - to slow down.  No job.  No school.  No set schedule. 

Most people I've told that to sigh deeply and say, "You're so lucky!  That sounds so amazing!"

It's true.  I'm blessed.  And this time will be blessed.  However, I've gotta admit, it wasn't easy making that decision.  I'm all of the sudden asking myself: what is my purpose, what am I working for, and what do I really want to do?  With nothing to "work for" I find myself wondering how much weight I put on my achievements.  Do I find my joy and my purpose in things that actually matter?  At the end of the day do I find my true joy and purpose, my fulfillment and truth, in Christ? 

For me, I found that I don't always do that.  I sometimes I have tunnel vision: I'm going to get through school, somehow find out what I want to do with my life, get a job, travel, marry, have kids, etc.  All of that is fine, admirable, and even good.  However, if my ultimate goal isn't to seek God, His purpose, His Kingdom, and His face, then I've got it all wrong.  That's not to say those things weren't my goals before, but I don't think I truly put them in the forefront.  If my biggest dream isn't to be with Him in heaven, I think I have my desires a little mixed up. 

So I guess this is my "holiday" to let God show me...uhh...whatever He wants to show me.  

To guide me through grief.  
To show me that true joy is in Him.  
To tune my ear to hear His voice.  
To set my feet on the path that goes straight to Him.  
To find contentment in sitting quietly by His side.  
And to find fulfillment in His word.

P.S. I'm planning on going back to school in the Fall to finish up my degree :)