this and that (originally posted 12/17/08)

i’ve been really freaking out about finances lately- like all semester long, actually. i got rushed into moving into a new place this summer that i knew i couldn’t afford, and have been paying the price in stress for the last few months. it has worked out that my roommate wants to buy a house, so i was free to move without penalty- but that brought its own stress. trying to find a place that i could afford, that wasn’t sketch, with roommates that i would get along with was proving to be a challenge. i had looked at a place last week that sounded promising, but got strung along for a week only to be told ‘no’. but that same afternoon, one of my good friends called me to say that there was an open bedroom in their house, would i be interested? to my credit, i didn’t actually break down on the phone, but i came pretty dang close. i don’t think i had realized how stressed i was about it until then. since sunday night, we’ve confirmed the fact that i will be moving in, and gotten some details worked out. i can’t believe what a huge blessing this is . . . and i can’t believe my lack of faith. another friend- soon to be one of my roommies- texted me to say how excited she was that i’d be moving in, and she reminded me that god knew the situation and the timing, and took care of me. i’m so often reminded that i don’t know best- my timing is probably among the worst on the planet, and my idea of great is god’s idea of barely tolerable. reminds me of something c.s. lewis said: “we are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. we are far too easily pleased.” i am far too easily pleased with what i think is good- but my standards are getting higher each time i am reminded of the deep and infinite goodness that personifies my father god and all he wants to give me.

kind of a bunny trail, but related …
i was asked last semester to join some friends who are planting a church in palm beach, florida. they plan to move there in may, and immediately start groundwork for this new church. i know and trust this couple, and promised them that i would pray about it; but in truth, at the time florida sounded horrible to me. humid, hot, hurricanes, expensive, no job, far from my best friends and my family … the only thing good about this was the church. but its something i haven’t been able to get out of my head, so i have laid out some fleeces before the lord (borrowing from gideon). i need a real job- a grownup one, with benefits, and i’d love to actually have a job that i enjoyed. ( although i don’t know that i would know what that looked or felt like, since i don’t think i’ve ever had one of those before …) i also will have one more semester of school at that point, and i have a tuition scholarship right now, so i feel very irresponsible walking away from that. so i also need to finish school, and finish for free. smaller fleeces include an affordable place to live, and a good blender so i can make and live off smoothies during the ridiculously hot and humid summer. i talked with my friend the church planter last week, and still can’t get this out of my head. as much as i try to talk myself out of this, and come up with plenty of reasons i shouldn’t go, it looks like i may very well be florida bound in six months. and a random encounter with a classmate from word of life has added another layer of cement to the permanency of that feeling. while he professed that he and his wife are doing well, and he assured me that he is ‘relatively happy’, he mentioned that he sometimes feels like he is ‘missing something’ and can’t seem to find that ‘right place, and right thing’ to be involved in. this sentiment echos so loudly with so many people i know, and with my life in my early twenties! and while i am stressed and crazy right now, i have so much joy and peace knowing that i am working for and toward something that will become the life that i was created for. finals sucked, i hate retail at christmas, i am really poor right now, etc, etc. … but i am filled with such a sense of purpose. i made a decision when i started seminary that i would be the busiest person i knew, because i wanted to take full advantage of all the opportunities that i would get. and while i am now having to learn to say no to some things, i don’t have that same feeling that my friend does- i don’t think i’m missing anything! i don’t exercise my faith to the extent that i need to, but i know that i have done things this year that i would have been terrified to even think about last year. what i find unbelievable is that i keep being given more and more- my ‘place’ is so much more all-encompassing than i could ever have imagined. is this what c.s. lewis meant? i’m no longer pleased with existing- i’m tired and disgusted by mud pies and playing in the slums. i’m ready for the beach.

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