Taking Up Space

This morning at my internship I’m making Excel documents.  And thinking about taking up space.  One of my YoungLife leaders Lauryn said the other day that “YoungLife is not a ministry for warm bodies.” And today I read a blog about not “just taking up space”.  Both are saying the same thing.  If you’re gonna be here, wherever ‘here’ may be [summer job, internships, ministry, school…] do something with the space you occupy.

We went out to Thai food for lunch today with some gals from the museum where I’m interning.  They’re so fun.  And sitting back here at my progressing Excel document, I realized that I may feel like I’m just taking up space and biding my time here in Salem, VA this summer, but the building of relationships over lunch and the building of my relationship with my Creator is what my space is being used for.

Sometimes the best space I can use is the silent space. Just listening. As friends talk of school and sports and friends and weights on their chests.  I know for me at least, I don’t always want your input right away. I just want you to listen to me.

Avett Brothers (love em) have this song  called “The Perfect Space”:

I wanna have friends that I can trust,
that love me for the man I’ve become not the man I was.
I wanna have friends that will let me be
all alone when being alone is all that I need.

I wanna fit in to the perfect space,
feel natural and safe in a volatile place.
And I wanna grow old without the pain,
give my body back to the earth and not complain.
Will you understand when I am too old of a man?
And will you forget when we have paid our debt
who did we borrow from? Who did we borrow from?

If I can be that friend that gives you space to be alone and creates, even if just for a moment, enough space for the world to fade and the Spirit step in, then I have done my duty as a friend.  But it is always a reminder to me that this terrestrial ball is not our ultimate space and home.  “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it’s own, but I have chosen you out of the world.” John 15:19 “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 This space is temporarily filled.


The Quarter-ish Life Crisis

I have backwards commitment issues.  Usually when someone is said to have ‘commitment issues’ they don’t commit to anything.  But I, I commit to EVERYTHING and with gusto.  If it catches my interest or I feel obliged (more on this later) I’m doing it.  And I’m gonna do it all the way. Go big or go home. I should alter that to “Go big for God, go Home to God”

This is probably why I think I should be at my internship 5 days a week. And that I should be able to pick up any hosting shifts that people need covered.  And help lead a book study this summer.  And make bread weekly to distribute to friends.  And why I applied early decision to William and Mary.  

Many of these things, I am beginning to think, I throw myself into because other people expect me to.  Or they think it’s best and I value their opinion so I go for it.  I’ve always known I was a people pleaser.  But now I’m beginning to see that it’s a problem.  I’m not gonna start being mean, but just because you want me to do it, doesn’t necessarily mean that I will.

In learning these things, a bit of an early-onset quarter life crisis is occurring.  Am I really on the track of what God has laid out for me? Yes, I know that He makes all things work together for my good and that He is faithful no matter what.  But there is still a good, better, best.  

I’m reading this book called “Let Your Life Speak” and read this lovely bit today talking about vocation: “That concept of vocation (that it comes from outside us) is rooted in a deep distrust of selfhood, in the belief that the sinful self will always be “selfish” unless corrected by external forces… It is a notion that made me feel inadequate to the task of living my own life, creating guilt about the distance between who I was and who I was supposed to be, leaving me exhausted as I labored to close the gap.”  To snag another idea of the author’s, I’m wearing faces more and more like my own, but they are still the faces of pother people.  

So now the trick is knowing the parts of me and the things I can’t NOT do for unexplainable yet compelling reasons.  One thing I do know: I can’t not take care of people.  Another gem talking about being who God created you to be [seriously this book is great] : “But be they virtues or faults, these are the simple facts about my nature, about my limits and my gifts.”

Last one after talking about Roas Parks’ refusal to move even though she would be arrested: “No punishment anyone might inflict on them could possibly be worse than the punishment they inflict on themselves by conspiring in their own diminishment…And the converse is true as well: no reward anyone might give us could possibly be greater than the reward that comes from living by our own best lights.”  So I’m sorry if I have or will hurt anyone in my figuring out of myself and God.  I may leave I may stay I may continue I may quit.  But your punishment is no worse than my own and your reward is no better than the reward of my God saying “Well done good and faithful servant.”  Yet I still hope that me may untangle our webs together and clean off our spectacles so that we may see clearly the Glory awaiting us.  

Hoping in a Legacy of the Lord

One of my all-time favorite Bible verses is Hebrew 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful.”  unswervingly. It just swivels off the tongue.  But unswerving HOPE?  Only capable of that when what I hope in has been the same FOREVER and never backs out on a promise.  Our good good God.

I’ve always loved hope, but now hope is real.  Based on someone who is worthy of our expectation.  Not my own capabilities  many they may be sometimes.

My unswerving hold is tested when family members get diagnosed.  When what I thought was right isn’t.  When I want to run away.  When holding on gets hard.  Sometimes my hold slips and I drop.  But when I call out to Christ He picks me up. I hate sounding so Hallmark, but at least they got something right.  When Peter begins to walk on the water, his focus is on Jesus.  But when he looks away he sinks.  Peter calls out to Jesus and He “immediately” reaches out a hand to sinking Peter.  So is my life of walking and sinking and walking.

I went to my “babies” last band concert tonight and it was a glorious occasion.  Yeah, the music was well done, and they looked great.  Most of all, though, was being able to watch them for 2 hours and praise God for the men and women of Christ they are becoming.  I started thinking about legacy.  People usually want to leave a mark, a legacy, a part of them behind in something that means much to them.  What I realized tonight though, is that the best legacy is a legacy of the Lord.  Which is the only legacy that matters.

My babies are only 2 years younger than me and we all began our walks with the Lord around the same time.  Before that even, I took them under wing in band, brought them to YL club, and claimed them as my own.  I went to college almost right away, and so have watched on from a geographical distance as Bailey, Josh, and Kristin fell in love with Jesus.  Now they are leaders of their peers, going off to college, leading YoungLife, and introducing their own babies to Jesus Christ.  Legacies of sports, band, and popularity fall away when the wonder of God shows up.

Today was a day of love. A day of hope. Real hope. Hope and promise in He who is faithful and unswerving.


^^babies. Josh Bailey Kristin (more commonly known as Krittin or Kittin)

This is a Story…

I’m not a storyteller. But I do love stories.  Especially the stories of people.

When I did Summer Staff at Rockbridge young Life Camp last summer, we told each other our stories of how we had come to know our Lord.  Everybody’s story was different.  I learned surprising things about people.  Things I never would have guessed.  Because, unlike our 6th grade yearbooks asking us not to change, we do change.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17  We shared stories not necessarily of what happened to us, but of who God is shaping us to be. 

I’ve been learning how important stories are.  Learning stories.  Being a part of stories.  Recording stories.  Writing stories worth reading.

I hope to sift through my story.  Not to pick out the high-lite reel, but to pick out the important, shifting things.  I’m learning that I’m growing up.  I’ll be 21 this summer (ew) and a junior in college (ew ew).  Adulthood is catching up, and I never thought I’d be nervous about it coming.

This is a story.  Not about what I do day in and day out.  But about who I am becoming day in and day out.