Thursday, January 26, 2012

Transition and Trails.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a road trip with friends to SF and spending some time up in LA. It was a great time being able to be in the company of good people and just live in the moment.

But now I am back in San Diego.
And reality sets in...

As I left LA. I realized two things:
1. What is next?
2. Have you even prayerfully considered your next move?

The answer unfortunately was no. Since I graduated my life I found myself living a a life of waiting for the next big event. (Christimas, New Years, My birthday, etc) I wasn't considering my future. I longed to be back in LA and finding anyway i could to be back up there. Why wouldn't I? My friends and my solid community were all up there.  But I wasn't praying about it.

My mind has been conflicted. Do I try to continue my post grad life in LA? Or do I stay in San Diego and begin a new life here?

It would be a no-brainer to stop and pray about it. But I think I was fearful of what the Lord might be calling me to do. I kept putting it off. And off....and off....

Leaving LA I realized that it marked an end of a chapter in my life. I realized that I needed to really think about my future, I couldn't put it off any longer. As silly as it may sound, as I close this chapter in my life, I can't help but feel a sense of grief.

I soon came to the realization that my time in LA was a season. I had the privilege of forming amazing friendships, and finding a great community. It was also during this time that the Lord stretched me in ways I couldn't even imagine. I learned what it looks like to risk and be known by others and love others deeply.

I think a part of the reason I was so eager to move back up to LA right away was because I am fearful. I had grown acustomed to my life in LA, it was comfortable. I was known, I had a sense of belonging. I am a little fearful of being home in San Diego, where my community is very limited. I am scared of the loneliness that may come. The thought of stepping out and finding a new church community and being known by a new community scares me.

As I start my new life in San Diego. I know that the Lord is calling me again to risk. Trusting in him that he will provide me with a life-giving community that will continue to strengthen me, something that I deeply desire. Trusting that he will put new people in my life that will encourage and love me. Trusting that he will provide the right opportunities in order for me to make ends meet.

The thought of starting fresh is a very exciting and scary thought. I am excited for what may come and am open to wherever the Lord takes me. But I know that in the midst of excitement and optimism, I will be tested in my faith and patience. I pray that whatever happens the Lord will strengthen and stretch me and use me as a testament to his kingdom. 

While I will deeply miss the relationships that I have formed in the past 3 years. I am learning that relationships evolve and change. I cannot hold on tightly to these relationships and what they used to be, longing for them so much to the point that it cripples me. I have to be intentional as well as having open hands that allow change and evolution to happen.

So here is the tentative plan: Get rooted in good church community in SD, look for part-time work, volunteer with various programs within the city, apply for various community/leadership development fellowships in the LA.

While I do desire to one day make LA my home. I honestly do not know where the Lord will take me. I can only be responsible for the things he has chosen to reveal to me now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking Back...

Yes. I am a couple days late, but it's better late than never.

2011. A year of significant growth and changes.

Time seemed to fly but at the same time it seems like it was a long and taunting process. Reflecting here are some of the things I'm taking away.

Finding out who I am in Christ
The past year has been one of tremendous personal growth. I find myself more comfortable with who I am. This definitely comes from me fully realizing my belovedness in Christ and knowing that I am his child. In the past year the Lord has shown me what my gifts are and how I can apply them to his kingdom. It has been and continues to be a sometimes difficult journey as  I learn what it truly looks like to receive his love and grace in my life.

Coming back to the source
Even though I experienced times of great joy this year. I also had my fair share of trails. Dealing with the end of a relationship, grieving the sudden passing of my grandfather and all the emotions of dealing with that. I found myself struggling with extreme heartache and loneliness. It was during these times that i learned that I have to come back to the source. Jesus. He is the ultimate comforter. I realized that it was unhealthy to try to turn to people or things to somehow heal my pain or fix me. Yes, i believe that friends can be instruments in the healing process but without coming to Jesus real healing cannot take place. When we are able to sit and be still with the lord and live in our pain we can experience true healing and ultimate freedom.

Importance of Solitude
2011. Marked my last year as an undergrad. And this is where the freaking out began. My mind raced with questions about my future and where God wanted me. Learning to take the time to break away from the business of everyday life and be still before the Lord and find rest in him has become a vital part of my life that I have reaped the benefits of greatly.

Taking risks and being vulnerable
This is something that I am still working on, but nevertheless I have made great strides in this area. As I learned more about my identity in Christ, I became more aware of my weakness and struggles. In the past year and a half I have realized how important community is and how vital it is to have Godly brothers and sisters come alongside me. I still haven't pin pointed the source but I have a fear of being known by others. It is a scary thing to let people in and see the real me. All my strengths and weaknesses. The good and bad parts of me. But thankfully God has put amazing people in my life that have encouraged me to in my ability to risk and be vulnerable with others and also being vulnerable before the Lord.  It has been a difficult process but I am beginning to see the fruits of this.

Guard Your Heart and learning to love deeply
As I learned what it means to take risks in my life, I also had to learn what it means to guard your heart. And yes, this phrase became some what of a funny joke, but it is true. The Lord calls us to guard our heart. Even now, I still find difficulty articulating words but I am learning to be careful of who I share my heart with while maintaining a balance of being open with my heart to love others deeply.

 The Lord's Calling
In the past months, I feel like the Lord has shown me a glimpse of where he wants me to be. And that's with people. As I finished my time as an RA, one of the things that I loved deeply about that job was being to invest in the lives of others and coming alongside others and help identify and develop others potential. It was such a tremendous blessing. My passion for helping others only continued to grow once I stepped out of that role and I could see the Lord deepening the passion within my heart to minister to others, specifically youth and the poor and underprivalged. Though I am still not sure of what the Lord has planned I trust that he will use these passions within my heart to advance the kingdom.

Patience in the Process
The biggest lesson that I am taking away from this year is PATIENCE. I am a work in process. A process that will never be completed until I am with Christ. As I think about this lesson I often meditate on 1 John 3:2

Dear Friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

My Hopes for 2012

2012. Marks a new beginning for me. I am no longer in college!!! And this is truly where it begins to  count. I am no longer bound by academic schedules or contracts. No one is breathing down my neck to make sure I finish my assignments, go to chapel, or behave myself. I have a choice. My time in college has been one of great growth. I have grown deeply in the Lord. I can either choose to continue to diligently seek the Lord or completely abandon it. Unfortunately i have seen many people go the latter route and become stagnant in their faith or even completely abandon it. I pray that I will continue to seek the Lord with fervor and diligence, growing in my relationship with him and becoming more and more like Christ.

Finding a New Community/Intentionality in relationships
This past year I was blessed tremendously with finding a solid community at City Church. I saw the benefits of living life with such amazing people. But as I transition into moving back home, I know that I have to leave this community behind, at least for a little while. I pray that I will be able to find a new Church that will continue to foster my spiritual growth. It is also my prayer that I will continue to be intentional and invest in the relationships I formed during my time at Biola.

Being Bold in my faith
Pretty self-explanatory. But especially as I reconnect with old friends from home.

Taking risk/Vulnerability 
Yup. I just need to do it. 

Learning to forgive myself
As I have mentioned for what it has seemed like a million times, I have grown tremendously in the past year alone. And you know what that means. Growing pains. At times it has been a painful process, but nevertheless and process that needs to be done. I am realizing that I can no longer dwell on my past mistakes or beat myself up when I stumble. To fully see the beauty of God's forgiveness and grace in my life. I have to be able to let go and forgive myself. 

Job/Clarity in my calling
Student loans don't pay themselves. I pray that I will be able to find a job that will not only pay the bills but also will be a valuable experience as I try to navigate my way into job in the counseling field. 

2012. You should be a interesting year. 

PS-I should also update this thing more often...