Tag Archives: destiny

The War of 100 Adventures

A late night ramble.

 

They made it sound easy through all the tears and muddled congratulations. Parties were thrown and cards were given telling me all the tales that my life would hold. The world was at my feet they said. Life before me with a merry greeting just waiting to see what I would do next. Gosh it sounded so romantic at the time.

I was 18 and had just graduated high school – I remember what I felt like it was yesterday. The deep hope  and vivid imagination that unpacks brilliance in a series of vibrant daydreams. Slideshows flew through my head of love, foreign countries and legendary adventures. Like life was gonna be one big road trip.

Then I started college. Suddenly I was faced with a million decisions. What was I gonna do? Who would I date? What were the goals and next steps? I went into college as a neuroscience major and left with a degree in political science. If I had no respect for reality, I would still be there racking up degrees. ‘Cause its hard to rule things out. How can I be a modern-day version of Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa’s Smile without an art degree?

But that’s just it. I will never be an art professor. I will never be a lawyer or doctor. Not a historian featured on documentaries. The Food Network will never make a pilot episode for me and medical school? That ship sailed long ago. My life isn’t big enough to hold each single dream the way I see it this side of heaven.

Maybe I can be whatever I want, but I can never be everything I want.

At some point I had to choose.

Telling me that the world is at my feet does me no good if I don’t know how to walk. Opportunity means nothing without vision and purpose that point these little toes in the right direction. Even now I can easily lose track of where it is that I am supposed to be going.

There are hundreds of adventures in life that vie for my time. From dreams to careers to families. Some days I totally sit unsure of what move to make. What if I make the wrong choice. To say “yes” to something requires a “no” to another thing. Juggling all the bits works for a while but then my hands cramp and I let it all fall apart like a teenage romance. Good for a while, but it could never last.

I struggle with what I assume most other millennials do as well. Endless opportunities and options from growing up in an online world. Constantly reinforced with the idea that my destiny is hyper-individualized and my path can lead me anywhere. Except I don’t quite know where to head at times.

Options are like currency for us. The more we have the richer our lives feel.

At the drop of a hat, we could pull out and jump onboard with something better. Switch paths based on the most photogenic for an Instagram post. Our online audience needs us to keep things interesting. No sleep till Brooklyn as they say.

So many adventures call our names. Noble ones with a strong sense of duty behind them. Hilarious escapades that generate countless hashtags of inside jokes. Adventures that seem to fit like a glove for one hand but don’t come with a match for the other. Which are we to follow?

A dreamers dilemma.

A million places I’d like to go, but no certain guidance. That’s the problem with options I suppose. And while I am thankful to have the privilege of so many choices, I have recognized that what I am after isn’t really choices at all.

What I crave is consistency. A sense of mission that follows me through each choice and helps me navigate this war of 100 adventures. ‘Cause they are fighting for my time, attention and committment. Try as I might, I can’t live them all.

I can’t tell you which adventure to choose, which calling to obey, or dream to pursue. I do know that in the noise of the process and the ideas that heckle you when you put them down – I do know that there is a hand we can hold.

The hand of the One who is prompting us to step out in the first place. It’s okay if we slip up and don’t get it right the first time. There is more Grace than we know for the decisions we navigate.

In the war of 100 adventures not all dreams make it out alive. And that is how we live. How we live the things we are meant to. A courage to stop being afraid of missing out, of not picking the attractive thing, or worrying that none are the right fit. We hold the hand of the One who guides us and trust that close to him is where we are to be.

And He will guide us. Like He always has.

Subscribe to Lark & Bloom in the sidebar.

Leave a comment or share via social media by clicking here.

 

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under Faith

To all the has-beens and wannabes

It’s not about “that moment”. It never has been and it never will be. 

I used to think that life was more clean-cut. That a few singular events would mark me. I imagined them playing out over and over again in my mind. Rehearsed the lines and planned the details of how this party was gonna go down. I used to dream of the moments that would define me. Marriage, motherhood, career goals, levels of fame and recognition.

Clouds would surely part and rainbows would light the way for me. People would stand to their feet and acknowledge the finish lines I crossed. I’d get a trophy of some kind because, hey, I just had a “moment”.

This is the nature of the myth we believe.

A myth that life has a defining moment in which we reach our peak, our purpose. The big thing we were born for. The world will cheer for us and time will stand still to acknowledge that we have arrived. Our achievement. Our coming into our own. This is the moment we can rally around and cling to in order to make sense of our existence.

Life is less science and more art. It is about the sequential experience of collective moments.

And yet most of us view our existence in this linear chart of “life-changing” events. We live from dot to dot on the graph because in our minds that is way our lives are graded.

Some of us look towards the blank, flat line in front of us. We squint our eyes hoping to see a big mark in the future that documents one of those big events of life. The time our dream came true. A big break in our career. Getting asked out by that guy you have been crushing on all semester long. We chase big social media platforms because one day something significant will happen to us and we want to be able to share it with as many people as possible. ‘Cause somehow we have begun to believe that validates our experience.

We are hungry wanna-bes. Looking at our future selves and dreaming of what we will become. We anxiously wrestle through discouraging gaps between where we are and where we want to go. There is a vision we have of what we will look like when we are significant. Until then, we are nobodies. Just a faceless person in a crowd waiting to be launched into our lives. Just shuffling wanna-bes competing for a moment in the spotlight. A moment to be seen for our real value. A day in the sun.

Wanna-bes live in the future, but not in a dreamy sort of way. More like we don’t have permission to be awesome yet because we still lack a few things on our resume. As if there is a list with boxes to check before we can officially “arrive”.

Some of us have had those big moments already.

Like the guy who was in a popular band when he was in his early 20s. Now what? Life is all downhill from here? You are the guy who used to do and used to be?  The only gig you can get is an off the beaten path casino somewhere.

The warm sunlight we were basking in has moved on to another person with a fresh accomplishment and a newer idea. Now it starts to get a bit chilly in the shade and we bundle ourselves in blankets in an attempt to recreate the warmth we felt in the spotlight.

Watching the people who have taken our place on the pedestals we once owned. Today seems like a dried up version of yesterday, so instead of watering it with new vision? We let the present go to waste, and devote ourselves to the static shrine of who we once were.

 If the wanna-bes feel like their lives are on hold until “someday”, then the has-beens relive their “back in the day” over and over. Broken record status.

What if that isn’t the way it works at all?  What if our defining moments lie in our ordinary days. The days we practice again because one day we hope to stand on the foundations we are building today. What if who we once were is actually the foundation for us to become who we are supposed to be today?

Thing is, I know a secret about you.

You carry wild dreams in your heart and neon hope in your soul. —> click to tweet

What you have done or what you will do is not what defines you. No single moment creates your legacy. It’s a lifetime. A series of ordinary days that build into an extraordinary story. A life with ups and downs threaded together by a greater purpose. You and those wild dreams you carry in your heart. The neon hope you bring into a dark world. The world needs you. Every day. It needs you to show up and give what you’ve got.

Cause life doesn’t start when we finally “arrive”. That finish line is really just another day in the journey. And life doesn’t end when we reach the peak of something. It shifts us into new territory if we let it.

We are the ones who show up. On the best of days, the worst of days, and the days that seem to blend into everything ordinary around us. We show up because we believe that every breath is a testament to our purpose. We are still here. And we still have life to live. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Today.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox. ***

Sharing is Caring

Did you know? Blogging is a team sport. Leave a comment or share this post via social media by clicking here.

 

14 Comments

Filed under Faith, Fire, something bigger, Whimsy

Hope Is The New Black

 Consider this your Monday morning pep talk. 

the new black

Hope: to expect with confidence (Merriam Webster)

We have each felt it. All of humanity since the creation of dreams. Hope. It elevates and stabs simultaneously. The desire for something to come. The expectation of an unfulfilled promise or destiny. Or perhaps simply a wish. Despite the size or seeming significance, our lives somehow hang in the balance of this anticipation of the things we are waiting for.

The belief that we are made for SOMETHING BIGGER. Something bigger than this pain, this fleeting joy, this small thinking and this box which can no longer hold all the parts of us. Something meaningful that makes a difference and does a small part to change the world. We hope that there is more to our lives than where we are right now.

We hope our dreams were really worth risking on. That we won’t be left with bitterness in one hand and a stack of bounced checks in the other. That love would really last and our imaginations would craft beautiful, safe places for us. That despite the opposition, all of our shots would be a bullseye. 

Hope goes with everything. It’s the new black. —> click to tweet

If we are going to really expect good things with confidence then we have to grab onto hope with both hands. An all in kind of commitment.

Just like our ambitions, we have to invest in hope.

Investing in hope will cost you. It will cost you the recurring dread, the excuses you replay, and your list of failures. Hope will require you give up your fear of failing and all the ways you justify your wounds. Investing in hope will cost you all of your mediocre living.

There are the obvious upsides to hope.

Some days hope is like a peppy Ellie Goulding song that makes you want to roll down your windows and drive until you land in a new city. A place that has been waiting for you to arrive since it was built. A place that you somehow intuitively know your way around in already. Hope makes us want to jump ’cause we believe where we land is gonna be better.

There are also painful sides to hope.

In fact, hope hurts. 

A friend of mine recently lost her daughter. She isn’t trying to conquer the world right now, she is just trying wake up in the morning and somehow stumble through the day without breaking too badly before nightfall. With heartache this heavy, her hope is to be able to breathe. To expect with confidence that someday, the weight will be lighter and easier to manage.

Hope is just like the color black. It goes with everything. The joyful weddings and the crushing funerals. Hope is always the best accessory regardless the scenario.

Situations, projections and fears don’t matter. If you feel like the wicked witch or the fairest of them all – you can put on hope. It looks good on you. Hope brings out the best parts of who you were meant to be and calls you out of all your excuses.

One of my favorite Bible verses says, “Those who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed.” (Psalm 25:3)

Whether this Monday finds you fist-bumping at all the possibilities or drenched in self-doubt…it doesn’t really matter. Those things ebb and flow. Hope doesn’t. Hope is the rock, the stability, the center.

Go ahead. Invest in it. Hope is the new black.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox. ***

Sharing Is Caring

Did you know? Blogging is a team sport. Leave a comment or share this post via social media by clicking here.

6 Comments

Filed under Faith, Fire, something bigger, Uncategorized, Whimsy

Get out of bed, dreamers. It’s time to go.

Somewhere beautiful

 But, really. We never signed up for this.

We never signed up to be taunted by our dreams – to be teased for all that hasn’t happened yet. Peeking out from the covers each morning wondering if this day we will fail just like we have in the long succession of days before. Or maybe, just maybe, today we will be someone great. The kind of someone we crave to be.

Then doubt gives us a fresh dose of  reality and reminds us of all the days we never got where we were going. Best efforts that never quite lifted us out of our ditches. Wheels spinning, flinging dirt all over our hearts and coating us with shame.

We haven’t been enough yet.

Or maybe we go into the world with our shiny new shoes, but the world doesn’t seem to want us. Our freshly unpacked visions and breathtaking ideas – no one has time to see our beauty. So we pack up, go home and crawl into our beds. Under the sheets we go where it is safe and we await the coming of another morning.

This isn’t what we signed up for when we decided we wanted to be dreamers, doers and original gangsters. We didn’t expect to lose or be broken down. We never expected to stop fighting.

And yet , we did. We stopped fighting for the things in us that we want to do and become. We stopped believing that Something Bigger is out there and we are meant to find it.

Each day we dull down our dreams to soften the blow of life. Each day we expect a little less because we can’t stomach the thought of coming up empty again. We sell our dreams for the comfort of our sheets. Where we hide and wait for something to change.

The thing is, I don’t want to be a timid dreamer anymore. I don’t want to stay here in this muted world I’ve created for myself.

I want to break out, have brawls with doubt and lay back with my bloodied nose knowing that I didn’t surrender. I didn’t quit. I fought and I got free.

I’m ditching this joint and I’m inviting you to come.

Remember how good cold rain felt on your face as a kid – when you weren’t worried about it ruining your makeup or your suit? The smell of honeysuckle in the summer and excitement of a new box of crayons? Remember when you expected to make beautiful things? Dreaming of seeing the world – the actual world – instead of just pinning it on your Pinterest board?

Remember when you thought you could do or be anything?

Let’s go back there.

We were meant for something far greater than this, far more grand than we have been told.

Wake up dreamers, doers & original gangsters. It’s time to go. —> click to tweet 

Life will have it’s hard days, and sand will be thrown in your face by people who don’t believe in you enough. Some circumstances won’t change no matter how hard you yell and push on them. But those are the places we simply pass through, not where we have to remain.

Let’s head somewhere beautiful again. To a place where we work hard and make things happen. Where we sit with neighbors on front porches and connect to humanity. Where dreaming makes us smile at the possibility instead of cringe at the defeat.

It may take us awhile to get out of our habits. To crawl out of our beds that we have come to seek comfort from at the start of every morning. We will trip over our own feet more often than we’d like. But, we will get there.

I don’t care how long it takes us. Let’s go somewhere beautiful again.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox.***

Blogging Is A Team Sport

Did you know? Blogging is a team sport. Leave a comment or share this post via social media by clicking here.

19 Comments

Filed under Beauty, Faith, Fire, Going Places, Lifestyle, something bigger, Whimsy

The Narrative of Grand Things and Ordinary Moments

c5e215f1e9246257d74f352ee3ec628f

via polyvore

Tomorrow morning I will pack up my suitcase and board a plane with my husband and another woman for Washington DC. If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell you what we will be doing.  Actually, let me back up even further. In addition to writing this nifty little blog, I also am a director for an anti-trafficking organization called UnBound.  Titles aside, I am a stay-at-home mom and my life as a writer and abolitionist are just my side hustle.

Why am I going to Washington? On Friday we have meetings with several members of Congress to talk to them about our “Your No Is Her Hope” campaign. Later  that day I will meet with delegates from almost every African country to educate them on human trafficking and UnBound’s work. Saturday my co-worker and I will be training DC public school counselors on human trafficking and how to spot it in their schools.

Sounds so impressive, doesn’t it?

Want to know a secret? It isn’t impressive. My life is just an ordinary life made up of ordinary days. Emails sent with typos, dinner flavored with too much salt, hours spent in preschool pickup lines and numerous trips to the grocery store. It is just a normal life.

This narrative that God writes within our stories is nothing incredible when broken down day-by-day. We don’t notice the small secrets that are woven into our errands, phone calls and family dinners. And yet when I tell you what I am going to be doing this weekend, I realize that something beautiful is happening in belly of my very normal stay-at-home mom life. The hours spend chatting with my kids in my minivan are deceptive.

In the middle of my seemingly uneventful days, my story is being written.

Grand acts never seem grand in the moment. They are simply hidden in the events of ordinary days. —> click to tweet.

I am beginning to learn the gift of average days. On their own they seem unimpressive and boringly simple. And yet, our lives are lived in one long succession of individual days. When we look back at their sequence we can see our destiny unfolding…

Perhaps your life seems like mine. Routine and average. Spilled coffee, dishes, bank statements, and unreturned phone calls. Let me encourage you. Don’t toss aside your ordinary days for within them lies your story.

*** Want to get posts sent directly to your inbox a few times a week? Subscribe via email in the sidebar! ***

Sharing is Caring

You can leave a comment or share this post via Twitter or Facebook by clicking here.

8 Comments

Filed under current events, Faith, human trafficking, Kiddos, My Life Thus Far, Politics, Uncategorized, Whimsy

The Dirty Gospel : Hope and Disappointment

I think it is impossible to talk about the Dirty Gospel without talking about hope.

” Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.” – Isaiah 49:23

madewithover

I don’t know about you, but hope and disappointment seem to go hand in hand for me. In fact, journeying with God is basically one big “hope”.

hope – to expect with confidence (Merriam Webster)

Hope elevates and stabs simultaneously. It is the desire for something to come. An unfulfilled dream, promise or destiny. But along the way we get weary.

I take God at His word only to begin to wonder if He has forgotten what He said. I hoped for a healthy baby. But I got depression instead. Bethany shared her hope for God to do something big, but she got a child with special needs and a husband with stage 4 cancer.   

I hoped for God to meet my need, but He isn’t fair. In the dark nights and wild days we hope that God will be there. We pray He doesn’t disappear. 

We are all hoping for something. Maybe it is family, finances, health, freedom from addiction, self-confidence, or a grand dream in your heart.

In the Bible we look at Abraham who believed “hope against hope” and all that. But this doesn’t feel like some great sermon illustration. It’s my life. It just feels like waiting. The days turn into months…turn into years. And still I am left hoping.

At some point doubt creeps in all of us. What did we do wrong? Is God punishing me for something? At what point do I throw in the towel? Hope hurts because we have to believe.

We begin to wonder if we sound ridiculous. ” I know that we have prayed for 5 years, but my son is going to be healed” , “God promised a wife for me. I know that someone is coming” , “Sure, this economy is bad. But God said to start this business”. Hope hurts because we have to risk.

We are forced to revisit disappointment over and over. Fight off discouragement and bitterness at unfulfilled desires. Our best efforts start to fall short. Rallying enough inner fight we face another day. Praying that this is the year of breakthrough. Hope hurts because it is exhausting. 

Usually when hope reaches the point of pain, we have been in the fight for years. Our resources and lives have been spent. Placing everything we are on the promise that God will be faithful. We make decisions on the premise that our hope will be fulfilled and our hearts will no longer be left wanting. Hope is all we have left, because we let go of everything else. Hope hurts because it is all on the line.

Our ability to control outcomes is removed. Circumstances and environments are not interpreted with worldly wisdom. Often we don’t know what else to do but stand where we are. Praying that God moves something somewhere.

Facing a mountain range with a cardigan and sandals. Unprepared in the natural to tackle the spiritual. Abilities and carnal strength are no match for the promise. Our fleshly nature dies. Hope hurts because it kills us.

That is where the Dirty Gospel comes in. It reaches into my disappointment and reminds me why I hope. When I am too stubborn to look up, Jesus comes in after me. He gently pulls my face upword. Where my help comes from. Where my hope comes from.

I hope because despite the immediate situation, I know something more of Jesus. I understand the comfort of a generous Savior.

I hope because when there is nothing left in me there is always more of God.

Disappointment distracts us from the dream. Hope reminds us to endure until we reach the promise. —> click to tweet.

 We cry in the process, but are ALWAYS victorious. In my need He is glorified and I am satisfied. I hope because this Gospel may be dirty sometimes, but it is always true. The One who makes the promise is the One who keeps the promise.

*** Want to get posts sent directly to your inbox a few times a week? Subscribe via email in the sidebar! ***
 

Sharing is Caring

You can leave a comment or share this post via Twitter or Facebook by clicking here.

4 Comments

Filed under Faith, Fire, The Dirty Gospel

The Dirty Gospel : When God Disappears

IMG_5124We are well on our way into the Dirty Gospel series. If you are new here, grab your coffee and catch up on loss & depression, a severe mercy, and why I believe God is not fair.

*********

This is a picture of my living room and in many ways what my relationship with God feels like sometimes. It is empty and God is not to be found. Sure, there are reminders like boots on the floor that He is here somewhere, but I can’t see Him.

Back in college it seemed that God was everywhere I looked. His voice sounded so near and His presence was unmistakably close. I didn’t have to look for Him. He was just everywhere. I have had other times in my life since then that God has been beyond evident. I love those seasons where I can feel God with me.

But, something happens between those obvious moments with God. He seems to disappear…God hides.

Sure, He is around still. I just can’t find Him.

I read the Bible and it feels dry. I pray and can’t seem to go more than two sentences before I completely loose my train of thought due to disengagement. God’s voice begins to feel more like a rumor than a reality.

Is this some cruel joke? Did God manipulate my emotions and then check out?

What used to be endless journaling trying to catch all the dreams God was putting in my heart turned into blank pages with nothing to be written. God is silent.

These dips in my relationship with God used to throw me for a loop. I would get confused and doubtful if anything I had previously experienced had been real. How could I depend on a God that seems bi-polar at times. Is God flakey?

I’ve come to discover that these silent moments where God appears to be missing are when the Gospel does a deep work in me. I need the “highs” with God, but I need the depth too.

Experiencing God produces a desire for Him, seeking God produces faith in Him. —> click to tweet

When God disappears, I have to make deliberate and non-emotional steps to seek Him. My faith becomes stronger and there is a steadfastness that builds up like a deep anchor in my soul. I learn how to believe that He is with me when I cannot see Him.

I need that skill on weeks like this one. My friend Stevie died of brain cancer. Our adoption hit a new snag and it appears to be delayed even longer…

Times like these, I am thankful that God seems to disappear from time to time. I have learned the defining truth that when I seek Him I will find Him. I will find Him late in the night when I don’t think I have what it takes to obey what He is asking of me. I will find Him in the pain that seems unbearable.

The Gospel is dirty because it makes us dig deeper into the scary, painful and fearful places. And in that process of digging we realize that God has actually never left.

*** Want to get posts sent to your inbox a few times a week? Subscribe via email in the sidebar! ***

Sharing is Caring

Leave a comment or share this post via Twitter or Facebook by clicking here.

13 Comments

Filed under Faith, Fire, The Dirty Gospel, Uncategorized