Monday, February 28, 2011

Faith Arriving at the "T"

Life is a journey. A journey full of winding roads that, at times, abruptly come to a "T". There is no more moving forward; all that's left is a choice. Shall I turn right or shall I turn left?

Sometimes we don't have time to think clearly before deciding which way to turn. We are left to follow our gut feeling, hoping the decision made will provide the best outcome.

Over the past couple weeks, I find myself having arrived at that dreaded "T". There is no road ahead, only road on either side. I must choose. I have to decide. I can't stay idle, or I will for sure run out of gas. But what to do!? Either way provokes a slight sense of fear. I can either turn the wheel to the left and be "______" or I can maneuver to the right and be "_________". Grrr.... Nothing seems too promising in my mind. I realize my inclination to try and bury this dreadful decision, hoping that it may just vanish before my eyes.

Yet, reality is, it lingers. Frustrations arise. Stress reaches a new high. I pace back and forth wondering, just wondering. I feel so constrained. No doors are being opened, but at the same time doors are not necessarily being closed.

Finally, I feel a slap across the face. Reality check numero uno. "Turn to me!!! Let me give you peace. REMEMBER me!" In the midst of my tears, fears, stresses, and messes I forgot to turn to my heavenly father. My mind calms down just enough to hear the holy spirit whisper the softest, but most powerful words, "Trust me." At once, although faint, a sense of peace washes over me. "Trust me."

Although my walk with the Lord has some deep valleys, I have boldly stated that my faith doesn't teeter. I may not be on a mountaintop, feeling on fire for God, but I have never once believed that he is not there or that he does not care. My faith is so strong-I believe!!! I know!!

However, arriving at this "T" took me back a step last night. Even though my faith never died, I realized I was far from depicting a woman of faith. Worry. Fear. Stress. Frustration. + relying on myself for answers did not equate to faith. I was reminded ever so clearly that faith means FIRST and FOREMOST  leaning on God and expressing my fears, frustrations, and worries to him. For I find rest in him and him alone.

You see, I believe I have faith half right, but the other half is a work in the making. True, I never once have doubted my faith in the Lord. I believe that he is real, that he is good, that he is love, that he is peace, that he came for you and for me, and that he cares about every detail of our lives. I got it; 100% got it. I believe! (Step one.) On the other hand, though, faith is action-oriented. To be a person of faith, you must act. To act in faith means to act on what you believe. It's the next step. For me, it would mean to approach a situation resorting to God first because he is a God of peace who is GOOD. Turning to him, because I have faith (believe) that he is in control and wants the best for me, will result in my best interest because God has my best interest at heart. In a nutshell, faith is believing, but beyond believing faith is doing.

So to continue on in my journey of faith, I want to refresh my mind with some verses to remind me of God's faithfulness and his promises:

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." Psalm 23:1-3a

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

I could go on and on, as there are countless verses teaching us about God's faithfulness. However, I will stop here and encourage you to, instead of breaking down and stressing out....

have faith arriving at the "T" in your life.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Beauty of Transparency's been months since I have posted. Inspired last night by my beautiful sister who "picked up the pen", I decided maybe I should try and restart what I thought was going to be my new hobby back in September. Like my sis, I believed blogging could be a therapeutic escape. Yet, my seemingly great idea soon fell face first on the ground. A total of four posts and my awesome, "therapeutic" hobby came crashing down! Oops...

Thanks to "happy bean" I'm going to brush off the dust and pick myself back up! So here we second attempt at a great journey....


If I were to ask you to share your first thought after I said the word transparency, how would you respond?

Fear? Beauty? Impossibility? Freedom? Arrogant?

Maybe these words came to mind for the following reasons:

Fear- Unveiling yourself might make you want to curl up in a ball and hide under a desk, hoping never to be found.

Beauty- Showing the true self to another, might have proved to be the most beautiful aspect of one of your relationships.

Impossibility- There is no way someone can be completely transparent, I mean, some things you just have to keep to yourself.

Freedom- Being real gives you a sense of freedom within relationships.

Arrogant- A person who exposes their core seems arrogant to me, like they are striving for attention.

I find that in life I have probably held all of the previously mentioned thoughts and feelings. However, over the past few years, one word has proven to be real in my life more so than any other. Beauty.

I love honesty. I adore realness. I thrive on knowing people to their core. I cherish depth in a relationship. I find beauty in transparency.

I have a beloved friend whom I met in college, EL. She and I have the most transparent relationship I have ever experienced. We share our fears, our joys, our struggles, our accomplishments, etc. with one another without hesitation. There is no shame. There is no judgement. There is only love, encouragement, and a listening ear. EL is transparent with me and I am transparent with her.

There has been immense beauty in our friendship because of the transparency we both possess. Now, don't get my wrong, I know transparency isn't easy and sometimes there are prices to pay if we choose that path. For example, we could be rejected. We could be condemned. We could be the brunt of coarse jokes as well as many other horrible things. However, when transparency is proven right, there is such beauty in the outcome.

Lately, I have been blessed with another friend ST who has shared her heart and her life with me in such an amazing way. She tells me her struggles, her boundaries, her fears, her thoughts, her confusions, her joys, her silly moments, her crazy dog stories, EVERYTHING. She has been transparent in our deepening friendship.

Both EL's and ST's stories have allowed me to see the beauty of transparency. Our relationships have blossomed in tremendous ways. We have connected far deeper than that skin deep, superficial connection many acquaintances and some friends have. We have exposed the depths of who we are, risking being ridiculed and condemned, in order to chance being loved and accepted. Let me tell you, being loved and accepted after exposing your struggles, mistakes, fears, and failures is the most joyful feeling you will ever experience. It is at that point you know you have a true friend.

Everyone needs that person to lean on whom knows them inside and out. I believe girls need other girls and guys need other guys. We need support. We need encouragement. We need to be loved despite what may be going on in our life. We are not meant to be in life alone.

I am thankful for having such a transparent conversation with my friend ST today. She is a gem whom I will never forget. I love her with all my heart. Thank you, ST!

I encourage you to be wise, but to offer the gift of transparency to a friend today. May you find the beauty of transparency that I have!