when peace won’t be found

It’s funny, isn’t it, that in a year in which I’m supposed to be learning about peace, pursuing peace, so far there has been very little of it.

(there has been, in a way – I am ever the procrastinator, so instead of tackling my lengthy to-do list, there has been a lot of tv watching and reading and napping occurring.)

but a large amount of my time has been spent worrying. worrying about how I’m going to get everything done (ever the productive one), worrying about raising money for Africa, worrying about spending five months – five months – living in another country. worrying about traveling to Africa, worrying about come back. worrying about senior year and graduation and let’s not even start on what the heck I’m going to be doing after graduation (hint: I’m worrying about it.)

I’m trying to keep a list of gifts, blessings, thanks, to teach myself contentment with all that I have already. Most nights I sit there and stare at the page, suddenly realizing that I’m not sure what I’m thankful for. Some nights I don’t even bother to reach for the notebook.

I open my journal and sit on my bed, crosslegged with the pages splayed open in my lap. I pick up my pen, write the date, and usually little else. The words don’t come. Words of pain, frustration, joy, seeking, it doesn’t matter. Whatever is in my heart refuses to leave, refuses to let itself be brought into the harsh light of pen and paper and scribbled handwriting.

Peace, as it turns out, is a lot more complicated than it seems.

Peace means trust and faith. Peace means contentment and thankfulness. Peace means surrender. Peace means living life with an open hand, ready to give whatever is asked and receive whatever is given. Peace means obedience and willingness to follow.

I think it’s less about chasing peace and more about letting go, handing my life over, and waiting for peace to find me.

peace be with you (and me)

I’m trying this new thing this year, this OneWord thing. The premise is simple: pick one word, just one word, for 2013. No long lists of goals and resolutions. One word to focus on, to learn about and from, to guide your daily living.

I’m not really sure how I found my word, or how it found me, because I wasn’t even sure I was going to do this thing. I’d heard about it from past year, seen the blog posts and the links, but one word? To change your year? Really? How do you even pick a word?

Somehow it came to mind, and never left.

peace.

Peace is something I need, badly and constantly. My life is busy, everyone’s life is busy, and I get so caught up in my to-do lists and homework assignments that I forget to leave space, to breathe, to find peace in the in-between and the everyday and the painful.

So this year, I’m going to seek out peace.

Peace with the Lord, and peace from Him. Peace in the midst of chaos, of uncertainty, of uprooting and change. Peace with myself, all that I am and am not and wish to be.

It’s going to be a year of growth, of change, of challenge, and hopefully, of peace.

what’s your one word?

 

new year’s somethings

I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, because the only thing consistent about my resolutions is that I fail at them. The way I see it, if you want to make a commitment or a change big enough to stick to it – make it. Don’t wait for some magical date to make it happen, because time is just an arbitrary concept imposed by humans in an attempt to make sense of the world anyway.

But I can see the appeal. New Year, New You and all the that. The option of a blank slate is so tantalizing because dang, do I need it. And that notion – this is the year! This can be the year you change everything! Just wake up tomorrow to a fresh start, whole new person whole new life! – oh, there are things I’d like to erase. If I had it my way, I’d probably scrub at least a good 25% of my life away. Bad decisions, loneliness, emotional trauma I probably could have avoided.

I could use a new me new life, because I keep screwing up this one. But that’s the beauty of the cross, isn’t it? I am constantly, slowly being made new in His image.

Slowly. Really slowly. Reaaaallllly slowly. At least, that’s how it feels most days.

So this year, as per usual, I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions. (I am, however, doing a OneWord this year. I’ll blog about it…soon. ish.) 2013 has already come without me making up a list of things that I will change and fix and do better, because everything about me that needs to be changed and fixed and better – please, like I could do that on my own. No, all of the fixing needs to be done by someone much greater than I.

In a way, I guess you could say I’m making resolutions, setting goals for the next year, but I prefer not to look at that way. It sounds so incredibly self-sufficient and strong and UNGHHH-y. And I am so far from that. There are so many words: plan and goal and “I want to” and “I will” but really they all fall short so let’s just call them my hopes.

I hope to live this next year with arms wide open. With a heart full of love, ready to pour out onto anyone who comes near enough to let me hug them. With total surrender of myself, or at least total surrender of a tiny bit more of myself, and a little bit more dependence on the Lord.

It’s going to be an adventure, and I’m terrified and thrilled and nowhere near ready, but maybe by the time this year ends I’ll be ready for it.

(by the way, I apparently can’t blog without tea and John Mark McMillan. #clichechristianbloggerproblems)

looking back.

I usually don’t do this. I’m not a huge fan of the end-of-the-year-introspection-and-resolutions that the new year usually brings. I don’t really do the retrospection, and I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, so I usually greet the New Year with nothing more than the family tradition of Tripoley and a glass of sparkling cider.

But 2012 has been a big year, and 2013 is going to be bigger yet, and it strikes me that a little year-end introspection might not kill me after all (yeah, I’m late. procrastinator as always.)

2012 has been a wild ride.

The second half of my sophmore year wasn’t easy. Late-night homework sessions and too many classes brought stress, sleep-deprivation, and a healthy appreciation for caffeine. The end of my second year of college, however, comes to mind in glimpses of good times. A hiking trip full of ridiculous pictures and yelling “BOOM! HUNGAR GAMMESSS!” The feeling of success, joy, and the culmination of a lot of hard work when our dance was selected from the regional ACDFA conference for the national gala. Midnight Cookout runs, because milkshakes. Palm Sunday, the first time I visited the church that’s become my church home-away-from-home, and being terrified that I got the service time wrong when we parked and suddenly the congregation spilled out through the doors (in order to process in with palm branches, but boy did I panic). Waking up five days a week for 8 a.m. contemporary and yoga classes with a dance professor who is way more of morning person than me. Hitting the (hopefully) halfway done with college point.

Then the summer. That performance at the Kennedy Center (and roaming D.C. taking dance pictures everywhere). A conference with my student group that included an impulse decision to drive half an hour to Virginia Beach and jump into the ocean at 10 p.m. Watching movies way past midnight with my best friends. And of course six and a half weeks of camp, full of laughter, exhaustion, fun, band-aids, sweat, and co-workers that are better defined as family.

Back to Greensboro again, settling in for my junior year. Taking more credit hours than I should have been allowed to, and somehow surviving thanks to good friends, Starbucks, and pure stubbornness. More Cookout runs, because milkshakes. That one Cookout run in particular when a friend suggested (insisted) that I go to Africa. Returning to my Greensboro church and getting to know some of my now best friends, women that love the Lord, care for me, and constantly inspire me to pursue the Him. Dance teachers that pushed me emotionally and mentally as well as physically. Late nights in the library that consisted of more laughter and tweeting than work. The huge, scary, overwhelming process of applying to study abroad which has given me the huge, scary, overwhelming opportunity to spend next semester in Malta. Lots and lots of chai tea.

A year of laughter and love, and tears too. A year of heartache and soul longing, of searching and asking, finding some answers and many more questions. A year of realizing a million ways that I fall short, and appreciating a million times that I have a good Lord who stands in for me.

So, as we move forward into the new dawn of 2013, I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom…

BOOM! HUNGAR GAMMMMESSSSSS!