Posted in Devotion, Life

I know where my strength comes from

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

This week feels crazy busy, but I still feel calm and in control. I praise God because I that if I wasn’t relying on him I would be losing it emotionally. I’ll just keep trusting him to provide the energy, joy, and patience that I need to accomplish everything that must be accomplished, and I’ll trust he’ll give me the wisdom about when to say no. Finally I know if I keep my focus on him and his work, all will be good in his time.

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Posted in Life

But what’s wrong with me?

Throughout my teen years (and well into my ad, I wanted by to be liked in a large crowd, but I often felt overshadowed and unable to express my personality. It wasn’t until late high school and into my college years, I figured out what was “wrong” with me. I’m an introvert, which just means I gain my energy from being alone. For me it also means I do my best thinking when I’m quiet and alone, and this often translates into my thoughts being too slow to be relevant when I’m surrounded by a large group.

It was only through realizing and appreciating my personality that I began to figure out how to make it in this world where extrovertism is valued. Think about it. Group work is pushed in school, and team collaboration is a hot topic in most work environments. There is value placed on always being busy. Leaders get their positions because they speak up. Because of this societal standard, I have to adapt. Each day, I put on the guise of someone who thrives on being around people when I really crave quiet. This does not mean I can’t enjoy people time. In fact there are times I crave social interaction, but too much and I start to feel the need to be still and quiet even if all around me is bustling.

I often feel overlooked because I am introspective. In a crowded room, I tend to become the observer with an occasional comment. My senses become so overloaded that I just have to step back and let others take the stage no matter how badly I want to be noticed. This is one reason I write; in a world where thoughts are spoken loudly and fast, I often feel as if my thoughts move too slowly and are spoken too quietly to be heard. When I write, I have time to get my words out before someone else interrupts or speaks over me. This is also why I make walking a part of my schedule almost every day. After a day of teaching and interacting, I need that thirty minutes to an hour of just quiet. While I do enjoy walks with other people, I also need time with just my head.

The beautiful thing is that the world needs all types of people: introvert, extrovert, and everything in between. God created the world full of people with all kinds of personalities because humans reflect God’s character which contains both introvert and extrovert qualities. Sometimes God speaks loudly as when he created the world or sent storms. Sometimes he, in his human form of Jesus, was seen surrounded by large crowds. Other times though, God speaks very quietly in the stillness of our hearts. He tells us to be still. Even Jesus needed to get away from the crowds.
I encourage the introverts to value your personality. For a long time I felt as if something was wrong with me because I didn’t want to be at the center of the party or even at the party sometimes. I wondered why even when I wanted attention, no one seemed to be able to hear me. Then I started to be okay with who I am. That’s when I realized there are things people can appreciate about introverts. I’ve been told that, when I fully embrace my personality and stop striving, I can be very good at listening. Finally, while you’re appreciating your personality, do stretch yourself a bit to live in the extroverted world.
To the extroverts, I encourage you to continue being who you are but occasionally be quiet and let the introverts shine a bit. Appreciate those quiet beings as a needed contrast to your own vivacious personality. Finally reach out to an introvert who needs to get out of their head, but do be ready to spend different time together than you would with another extrovert.

(Many of my thoughts for this post were kickstarted my a series of Ted Talks on the Ted Radio hour by John Francis, Susan Cain, and Megan Washington. I suggest you check out their individual Ted Talks or the entire radio hour.)

Posted in Crafts, Life

Home


They say home is where the heart is, but they never say how many homes one can have. My heart is pulled so many different places because the people I care about are spread out. I call different locations “home” but the place always seems to lack a little something.

Maybe the problem is that none of these places are truly home because nothing on Earth can measure up to the home God has prepared for me in heaven. I just pray that each of the people in my earthly homes can join me in our eternal home.

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
(By the way, I painted this canvas! Also I think it’s time for some more recent pictures to grace my walls.)

Posted in Gratefulness, Life

Celebrating the Connections

“Woah oh we need each other.” (Sanctus Real) How true that statement is. Even as an introvert, I still need to get out and socialize. As I’ve been overwhelmed by classwork and other responsibilities this week, I’ve realized this even more.

This past week in class we read a story by Ray Bradbury called “The Pedestrian”. In this science fiction short story, a lone man walks the streets in a futuristic city. He’s stopped by a police car, questioned, and eventually taken to the Psychiatric Center for Regressive Tendencies. His “regressive tendencies”? He writes; he walks; he doesn’t own a tv; he isn’t married. These may not seem very “regressive” to our society, but in a society where people go to work and then come home to watch their viewing screens in darkened silence, this behavior is abnormal. In fact, the main character has not seen another person walking in the ten years he’s been walking the streets. The message of this story is clear: we can very easily allow technology to deaden and isolate us to the point that what was once viewed as normal begins to be viewed as regressive. The fact stands that people need each other.

I’m grateful for all of the people in my life, whether I met them 25 years ago, a few weeks ago, or somewhere in between. I appreciate the relationships God has give me whether I speak to certain people daily or only occasionally. This weekend I was especially grateful for the friends I made in college and maintained relationships with. Here are some highlights of our time together.

*The bottom two photos are borrowed from friends (Clare and Amanda). Kudos to these ladies for helping to document the trip.

Now get out and appreciate the people God has put into your life.

Posted in Education, Life

Kicking the Crazy

School has started, and the crazy has kicked in. Last week felt easy, but this week, between prep-work, actual teaching, sponsor duties, club duties, bookkeeping, and grad school classes, I feel like school is officially back in session. Oh wait, it’s only Monday.

Now more than ever I want to remember to do two things: breathe and trust God. If I can continue to do those two things, maybe I can keep my sanity among all of the items on my to-do list. Speaking of to-do lists, those two items are actually at the top.

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In an effort to actually breathe and trust God, I have tried to implement a few new/re-visited routines that will hopefully keep me focused and sane.

  1. Evening walks. Back in college, my roommate and I took walks together almost every night because it helped both of us de-stress from the day. While taking walks together isn’t feasible anymore and I can’t go right before bed like we used to (crazy skunks and other critters), I am trying to get some sort of walk in during the cooler evenings. As a bonus, I have gotten to see God’s masterpieces a few times this week.

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2. Morning Bible time. This summer my Bible reading slacked to an embarrassing place. With the start of school came a chance for a new routine. I usually read in the morning, but I have shifted a few of my other usual morning tasks around in order to make Bible reading a priority instead of a “if I have time” task.

3. Time with friends. I am trying to be intentional about contacting and seeing friends in a non-school kind of way. That’s a difficult one because I can very easily get caught up in work every evening. Also it’s difficult because of the much needed item number four.

4. Me time. Sometimes I need to say no to others in order to spend some time for just me. This may mean missing out on fun events or not going to every sports event at school, but as an introvert I am realizing more each year that I need time alone to relax and do whatever strikes my fancy.

Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to these plans as well as adjust to other new ideas in order to keep my sanity and joy this school year.

Posted in Life

The Weaver

God’s been weaving again. 

On a walk this morning, I started thinking about the tapestry God has been weaving in my life. Often I spend most of my time looking at the individual threads, but when I take a moment to step back I can see the entire beautiful masterpiece. It’s fascinating to ponder how he has guided me to various places and people at just the right point in my life. It’s hopeful to think he’s not finished doing that yet.

Posted in Gratefulness, Life

It all points to God

I’ll never claim to be scientifically astute or even intelligent, but as I toured the NOAA where my brother is working this summer, one thought kept running through my mind, well maybe two.

1. These people here are very intelligent and passionate to be able to spend their lives watching these computer screens and predicting weather and space patterns. I’ll stick with my line of work because I think I’d go crazy here.

2. I’m sure all of the work they do has value in my life somehow, but the tour really impressed on me that there has to be a Creator with an intelligent design. When the scientist was talking about the Earth’s electromagnetic field (or something like that) protecting it from some sort of something (my brother would be ashamed about how ignorant I still am of all these terms), it just seemed so apparent to me that God had it all planned out and he created a perfect place for us to live.

While this tour wasn’t my most favorite aspect of the trip, it definitely helped me appreciate all of the work of God. Join me as I pray for the scientists in this field who may not see God’s design when they look at the skies and for those who do believe and are fighting to protect their faith.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1