I tend to look back, not forward, in and not out, not up, just down. But things are starting to finally flip.
Have you ever heard this quote?
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be.”
Despite all the things I disagree with about this quote, I’m beginning to see that it carries some weight.
I think we need to let people go, hold relationships loosely, and enjoy them fully.
There is something about certain friendships that will never go away. You still have the same spark, even if you only saw them once a year. I used to be saddened by this, wishing that I could spend more time with the people that I love so well, and love me all the same.
Now, I just enjoy it. I realize that God is writing a really big story, lives weaving in and out, and I just get excited when their lives touch mine.
I’ve seen friends go out and come back. I have done that to people. I think that’s why we have a constant God, so that friendships are just the icing on top to our friendship with God. I remember I used to think it was okay to have expectations when I was in a relationship with someone, but I realize now that you can’t, at least with the normal definition of the term.
Expecting them to love you is selfish. Appreciating love given is beautiful.
I love the Lord. He hears my cry and answers me.
He always has grace for seasons where community is lacking and where people let you down. He always brings the right people at the right time.
Oh, the amount of times I have tried to push or manipulate something into working, when I just needed to wait on God with patience.
So yes, let people go. Trust God. Memories don’t promise anything, they are simply meant to be enjoyed.
He always has a way to give you the pure desires of your heart in every moment.
It just may not be how you desired them to be fulfilled.
So many times I have wanted to talk to a certain person, but a random stranger ends up being the one that comforts me. Advice in my life has come from unexpected places. Love has come from even more unexpected moments, and the challenge I’ve desired has come in all the ways I never thought it could.
Moral of the story?
Enjoy it all.
We must be able to believe that we’ve been given a life to live and it’s a good thing.
We live in a society where life seems inherently bad, but we must learn to believe that breath in our lungs and people in our paths is a very good thing.
And it is.
A sunset with family, laughter with a friend, ice cream with a brother, it all deserves to be appreciated just as much as heartbreak from a lover, friendships gone down different paths, or jobs that stress.
When you are free from needing people, you just get to enjoy each one as the gift that they are.
For me, there is nothing more loving you could do for someone than writing them a letter and buying them dark chocolate almonds from target (I’ve scouted out all of the brands and target is the winner, trust me).
Chocolate covered macadamia nuts have a special place in my heart though.
I didn’t realize it while I was in it, but for the longest time, I didn’t believe I was loved, and just until recently, I realized I didn’t believe I was valuable. No one on earth can actually make you believe you are loved, no matter how well they love you. It took me 20 years to learn it, but the truth is even if you feel loved, appreciated, or accepted by others, believing you are loved is a whole different animal.
The feeling of being loved is quite different than the identity that you are.
Your husband will die one day, your friendships could be separated by different life paths, and people sometimes just leave just because they want to. Peoples’ love is the cherry on top, but the sundae is God. I have tried to put it the other way around, and trust me, it just does not work.
For the first time in my life, I am so excited to go back to California. I realized that if I had not gone, I would be a desperate, depressed, dependent girl who would be so incredibly attached to her friends and community that she would never be able to truly follow God above all.
God is really jealous for my heart.
In California I came face to face with myself. I had to sit down with no friends, no family, and no one. I had to realize who I was when no one was there.
Did I have value if people didn’t need me? Apart from everyone else, who was I?
Everyone has a different question that they have to come face to face with.
Your question might be something like this:
Do you have value if you aren’t doing anything?
Do you have value if you don’t contribute anything?
Do you have value if you aren’t making people happier?
Do you have value if you don’t do it perfectly?
Do you have value if you aren’t enough for everyone else?
Do you have value if you aren’t successful?
I remember sitting on a plane on the way back from Kona to LAX, finally finding the answer to these questions.
I remember the thought popping into my head ever so softly, realizing it was God ushering it in,
“Lisa, I will love you in all the ways you’ve always desired from people, even the physical things.”
In that moment, the flight attendant taps me on the shoulder, “Would you like a dozen more chocolate covered Macadamia nuts?”
I almost started to cry.
God got me chocolate.
I often hear friends say something along the lines of, “Yea, I know God loves me, but I just want someone who can hold my hand, buy me flowers, and I can’t put my head on God’s shoulder.” And I get it. God is not here in the physical, but I think that is part of it.
We’re always going to long for God to come back.
We’re always meant to realize that a part of our hearts will always be unfulfilled because we will want him here, now. Within that, however, I think we will find that when our hearts are truly filled with his love, his love will invade the physical.
We will start to experience it, when we start looking for his love more than others.
We will start to see his steadfast love in it all, the good and bad, and everything in between.
Yes, get to know him, but also don’t forget to enjoy him. Talk to him, go on adventures.
Life is thrilling with God.
I once asked God what that season in my life would look like and I remember the thought popping in my head, “free coffee and healing.” I didn’t pay for single coffee for three months and within that time I saw two sprained ankles healed in moments, cancer disappear, and a dozen other healings that to this day I could never explain. I look back on that season and realize that God doesn't want his love to just be abstract, he is constantly showing it.
Back in May, I had my flight home from California. I was reflecting on my year, realizing that this was the year that I learned to truly believe I was loved, and learned to truly love. All of a sudden, the guy I had chatted with in the seat next to me hands me a box.
It was full of chocolate covered macadamia nuts.
God loves me, and I know it. I see it when I jump wake in a jet boat down the St. Croix river, when I hop on a plane to South America with a ticket I didn’t pay for, or even when I cry over rejection on the couch in my dorm. I feel it to the fullest. God’s love is real. Don’t get me wrong, this year was a year of rejection, heartbreak, letting go, and many tears, but at the end of it all is freedom. I still fight some days to believe it, but at the core of who I am, I know it’s true.
It just is.
Because he said so.
And if we let him in, God shows his love with actions that speak just as loud as his word.
"the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord." - Psalm 33:5
Life is a beautiful, hard, chaotic, uncontrollable thing.
Do you ever look at the clouds? I feel like they encompass this to the fullest. The other day I was driving, watching lightning strike in various pockets throughout the sky. You could almost feel the anger and tension. I think back to earlier that day; there were blue skies that almost made my soul as clear as the sight of them. Later on the sun was peaking through the clouds and finally broke through only to be hidden once again by a batch of clouds a few minutes later. It was those very same clouds that made the sunset so beautiful that night. Isn’t that exactly how our life feels? There are the cloudy mornings and colors and storms, and clear skied afternoons and somehow it all swirls together to always be beautiful at the end of it all.
Even the sky that lies above us reminds us that we live in a world of seasons and changes. Our world lies far outside of our control. But it always ends up beautiful if we let it go. God's goodness is a promise.
I think the more and more we try to grab hold of control, the more and more our bodies will bring worry to our souls, for we weren’t built for it.
Don’t get me wrong. I think we have free will. In fact, I’m starting to think that we have so much free will. More than you could imagine. In it, we can try to control our world, and we might even be successful at it to a certain degree, but we will always in the end, find ourselves worn and stressed, trying to accomplish something we just weren’t built for. I think we’ll find we didn’t like the story we were writing for ourselves anyway.
When we let go and obey, abundance is the only outcome. For when we do finally give up control, it’s freeing.
Life may not always go our way, but it will go his way, and that is so much better.
Things won’t need to go our way anymore, because our souls will be satisfied. There's a joy on the inside.
Things can be going terribly wrong, but at the same time, terribly right.
The other day I was talking to an atheist and was reminded of why I actually came back to Jesus. Knowing Jesus, studying the Bible, and following God has given me the most accurate way to interact with reality; in my relationships, finances, studies, family, and heart. I couldn’t run from it, it simply is true.
I’m at this point where I feel no pressure to play the game of life anymore.
I am going to obey God. There’s simply no other way. I can try to control things, change my destinations, or figure it all out, but in my few 20 years all that has done has left me heartbroken, frustrated, and put a weight on my shoulders that couldn’t lift. I have let my identity be crushed by crying over friendships I couldn’t keep, ending up in the wrong places, and making all the mistakes.
But the reality is, I gave my life to Jesus. I gave him my will.
I no longer have to carry the weight of a life well lived on my shoulders. He does.
When life goes wrong, God's making it right.
When we've been wrong, he's covered our tracks.
With obedience there’s abundance of life on the inside, I’m starting to experience it.
I simply get to listen each morning, and do what he says, no matter how absurd.
A life with God is going to hard, challenging, breathtaking, beautiful, and impossible, but I realize we wouldn’t want it any other way.
We aren’t really patient people are we?
I seem to be patient in rush hour traffic or the on-hold phone call, but when it comes to visions, dreams, and goals in my heart my patience vanishes.
I always wanted to grow up. I always couldn’t wait for the next step of responsibility. There were times where my desires were dying inside as I waited to see dreams fulfilled and life to finally take its course. Sometimes, I held them so tightly I refused to let them go, believing that the good opportunities coming my way were good things, but not the things. Not the things I wanted to build my life on. I can see it now. Living my life, thinking that I haven’t really started living it until it goes according to my plan.
How often do we do this? We get a good job, but it’s not the job, so we get stuck in believing that our life is always a time of transition, waiting for our idea of what life should be before we enjoy it.
I think I’ve missed it.
This is the dream.
He is the dream.
Every job we get, relationship that comes in our life, and beauty we see, regardless of the location, is the dream. The moment is here, we don’t have to wait for it. Every place we go there is beauty. Every season is a time to grow, every location a place holding something to admire.
Things don’t ever work out the way we want them. But they always work out the way they should.
I’ll never forget this moment as long as I live. A late night, deep thoughts, and a future so unknown. Then, a little whisper,
“Lisa, I only have good plans for you.”
Quite simple, I know. However when I think of my life, that statement brings me to tears to my eyes every time. What if we brought to mind that whisper every time that a plan is fumbled, downsizing is required, and we feel our “dream” slipping away?
Our whole life will be in transition if we think the goal is the dream. Today. Today is the dream. Today you get to hear God, listen to his voice, and do what he says.
Practically here is what I have learned:
Be grateful for today, every little mundane part of it.
The dream is living in obedience to whatever God says. The dream is when your plans shift, but he works it out better than you could imagined. Sometimes, that takes a while. Sometimes years. Sometimes a lifetime.
But we so limit his timeline.
Our patience grows when our gratitude does.