Wading in Tension

A few months ago, an acquaintance of mine shared a thought that I had to chew on for a couple days:

An artist has to wade through the tension in life, but really, the tension is the gift.

The tension is the gift.
Do I ever look at it like that? I don’t know about you, but I spend my days striving to rid my life of tension. Solving problems, knocking things off my to-do list, trying to free up as much time for myself as possible. Toil free, work free, problem free, tension free.
And yet, tension always seems to show up. In relationships, in my schedule, in my work. It is always there. Like the pimple that just won’t die!
preppy bohemia lens clouded womanAt least, that’s how I’ve been seeing it through the glasses I’ve had on for most of my life. But through a new lens, tension begins to look a little different.
For the past few weeks, I have been going through the interview process for a job I would really enjoy. I am optimistic as I wait, but just over my shoulder is the fear that I may not get it. It seems like the perfect fit for my current employment needs and my experience, but a lot of things in the past few months have looked so positive and then fallen through. So that niggling voice in the back of my voice keeps saying ‘If you don’t get this, you’re not going to find anything else. This is the only job that will fulfill your needs and desires. Don’t get this, and you’re stuck, kid.’
There’s the tension: hope and fear, truth and lies, success and failure.
So I’m in this holding pattern. Waiting. Interviewing. Hearing from references called. Everything looks really good, but there is still that chance it may not work out.
This is the tension I wade through. I’ve become super jumpy, waiting for my phone to ring with a number I don’t recognize…which has happened and it has not been the employer. Lots of near-cardiac arrests without much reason.
But this is the gift.
In these two weeks, I have got to put to practice what a friend calls giving up ‘material for sacrifice.’ I have been given a good desire–to do good work that encompasses my gifts. And I have no control of that desire being satisfied. I can get really drawn up in fret and desperation if I let myself. But it’s not supposed to be that. That’s not what tension is for.
Tension is the gift. It’s the offering.
When I trust in God, offering my desires up to him, that is when I experience the freedom and peace he offers. I am able to look towards either outcome of this process with courage. I am learning to trust my father and his good gifts.
This tension of being so close, but not close enough to know is my playground right now. It is a season that is hard, but full of rich discoveries.
Tension is the gift.
Dwell on that. I hope you find it true.

Why is the Rug Gone?!

A few weeks ago, I had written about heading into the next chapter. About my dream internship and moving on and growing up.

…And then I stalled out.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, some things fell through at the company and there was no longer a job for me there.

The wind was knocked out of me.

I was back at square-one. Back at my old job. Back in that stage I was ready to be done with.

Even three weeks later, I am still a little stunned. I’m not really sure where to go from here. The rug has been ripped out from under me and now I just feel stuck.

It is in these moments that I feel more than a little confused. What was the point of  going through that if the experience wasn’t going to be substantial? Why did that even happen, God? 

I’m lying here, back to the floor, rug now askew, and I have nothing. No idea, very few prospects, and empty hands.

Remember when I said I wanted this year to be about godliness and contentment? God answers prayer.

So I’m here. Back where I started: job that’s not my favorite, future uncertain, and loans to pay. Am I going to thank him for this. Am I going to learn to trust him in this. Because I have a job in which I get flexible hours and work with some awesome people. Because I have a God who has promised to fill my needs and guide me in a story he is writing to his glory. Because here is not such a bad place to be “stuck.”

I have been given a talent here. Am I going to invest with this little and prove myself faithful for more? Am I going to be obedient and learn to live fully where I am placed? Is there really anything else I can do? Godliness and contentment. That I what I have asked him for. This is how it is being given to me right now.
So I can scramble to get the rug back where it was, or I can trust it was moved for a reason.

I really feel God calling me to stay put for a month or two. Some opportunities are arising that I would not have been able to look into had I still been at the internship or another job. (Don’t worry, I’ll let you know once they’re set in stone.) I have more time to devote to my novel and was just given a wonderful plot twist only yesterday. I have time to invest into my small groups and writing group and my friends. I have been given an opportunity to enjoy what I have been given. Even if it was not given in the way I would have preferred.

So, yes, the rug has been ripped out from under me, but with purpose. Even if the purpose is not yet clear, I am going to trust that I have been placed where I need to be. I’ll tell you how it goes from here.

xo,
        –Lex

P.S. Tune in Thursday at noon. I’m trying something new and want to know what you think!

The Weight of Wait

Patience is not my virtue.

Moving quickly. Getting things done. Rushing. Worrying. Griping. Those are my virtues.

I don’t do waiting.

At least not well.

bd637-58939a7305c7c0e4c04bbe0f927d7dbeAnd yet the answer to everything right now is ‘wait and see’. The house we put a bid on—wait and see. My dream internship—Wait and see. the publication I sent some work to—Wait and see. Having that guy I met get in touch with me—Wait and see. Having a job out of school—Wait and see. Everything—Wait and see.

The point of waiting, I don’t see. Instead, I wallow in self-pity because I may or may not get hired. We still may not be moved by Christmas. I may not get published. I may never hear from that guy again.

Heck! I may never get a real job and have to live in the musty basement of my parents current house, own a cat I hate, writing stories no one cares about only to die alone in the end.

Or I may just realize the truth: I am not in control. Of anything! The fact that these things are not working out in my time frame is glaring evidence of that.

You see, often when we aren’t getting what we want, we are being offered God instead. I have forgotten that this week.

As a result, I have spent my days moping, impatient, and fretful.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
Lord Almighty,
Blessed is the one who trusts in you.
-Psalm 84:11-12

What I have been offered is a life guided by God, my heavenly father. He is not holding out on me. As part of that gift, I have been given this season of waiting.

It will not last forever so I must reap the lessons laid out for me here. Is it easier to pout? of course! That requires no effort. Absolutely no giving of self. Bu that calling is beneath me.

I have been called to wait an consider it pure joy. I am called to embrace this season–this portion with grace and gratefulness.

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
Apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will duffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
–Psalm 16

Here’s to the journey.

Who’s Planning This Thing?

This May I finished my last full semester of college. I still have one class left and I won’t walk until May of 2014 (long story) but for the most part, life as I have known it is done.
And this is scary to me. I no longer have the pattern of summer, school, break, school, summer. I just have… life…

And frankly, there isn’t really a plan. This is frightening because I am a planner. I keep endless lists, schedule my life from here to eternity, and always have a vague idea of how things should probably go. but not anymore. Right now, I know what is going on up to December. That is approximately six months of knowing what’s up. Then… I don’t know.
And that freaks the crap out of me.

In my mind as a kid, I always figured there was going to be college and then some time and then marriage. I never really wondered what was going to happened in that “some time” phase. It was just supposed to be this magical period of traveling and “finding myself.” Now, there is this big blank void that stretches from now until the end of the world. (Frankly, marriage is a vague dotted line at this point.)

There are so many options, dreams, and possibilities, it just seems so overwhelming. I need a job, I want to travel, I want to invest myself more at my church and my community. I want to stay in my comfort zone, yet grow as a person. Those things don’t happen simultaneously. 
In this stage of life, it seems so easy to be displaced. I’m an adult, but I’m clueless. I have a degree, but no experience. I have dreams, but I have no way to get there, monetarily or otherwise. This is the age of “getting there” mixed with “not yet.” 

It is in this period of tension that God is found. He has a plan, though I have no clue what it is. I have to trust in that plan. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. But in my limited experience, whatever He’s got up his sleeves is better than anything I’ve thought up. I can dream up all the plans I want. It is not until I’ve committed them to God that anything seems to work out.

So this is post-college. I sit here in my grubby running shorts, trying to write, never knowing if anyone will read my fiction, dreaming of the day I can actually be a “grown-up.”

A beautiful prayer from Thomas Merton’s book Thoughts in Solitude has brought me great comfort in these last couple of months:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does no mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doin. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

This has been my prayer for a while now. God is good. God is God. He’s in charge right now, so I guess it’s about time I buckle in and prepare for the ride.
Here’s to the journey!

xo,
         -Lex

Greetings from No-Man’s-Land!

Travelling is one of my favorite things in the world. It is also something I don’t get to do very often. (Alas, being strapped down with student debt does not get you on a plane very easily!) If I cannot travel, I love to get postcards from those who can. Postcards are such lovely thing. You get a small snip-it, a sliver of a moment, complete with a picture of where the person was and what they were thinking at the time. It’s a beautiful blip of a person’s journey and a wonderful gift that they would extend it to you.

So as of right now, I am on a journey. And you are as well and this post is my first postcard to you so that we may share the journey together.

I have recently wrapped up my college years. (For the most part, but we’ll get into that later.) I am in no-man’s-land. That strange place of limbo between college and who knows what. I have reached the end of the map, where there is nothing but ocean and a scrawled message reading: There be monster’s beyond this point.

It’s frightening. It’s thrilling! It is what it is and I have nothing to do but hike my backpack further up onto my shoulders and step forward into the unknown.

I takes guts –  guts I don’t know if I have –  and positivity – which is hard for a sappy cynic to hold on to – and a trust in something bigger than myself – someone I can’t even begin to wrap my thoughts around, let alone my trust. These are uncharted waters. I don’t know what lies ahead here, but we are sure as heck gonna find out.

On the way, I will be posting thoughts, musings, recipes, DIY biz, writing samples, and maybe even some poetry!… (my poetry is not very good so there may not be much of it… I hope you’re not holding your breath…) My goal is to post once a week, on Mondays, with bonus posts showing up on Wednesdays on occasion. We’ll see how this goes.

So start checking you’re mailbox. Postcards are on their way!

xo,
               — Lex