Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Joy Rant.

Dear world,

I just want you to know how happy I am today! It's actually amusing to notice how happy I have been literally every single day. Even though each day has not necessarily been easy or free from stress I have been bubbling over with joy. I remember over a week ago there was one day in particular that began with tears and ended as one of the best days I've had here.

It is hard to explain this happiness. I think the best description is the biblical term, "the joy of the Lord." It is this deeply rooted internal satisfaction that is just straight up awesome. I'm so gracious for all this joy as I'm still so new to this place. I can't even get over it! Ha! Oh if only I could articulate all of this well enough for you to feel it too.

I'm about to start studying on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Yet, I'm squirming in my seat, tickled by joy.

Random: I'm currently listening to Mae's The Everglow album. So good. Old, but doesn't get old too quick.

Okay. Done with this silly little rant. Time to focus. Augh, the part of my brain that is used to school feels so rusty & it hasn't even been that long. Goooottttta focus....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Wellspring of Life.

2nd blog post from AU. July 25, 2011

Guarding Our Hearts.

Why is it important to guard our hearts? With all the new relationships I am building and all the old relationships I try to maintain, I cannot help but think about how much people have to do with my life and its purpose. Relationships matter more to me than a lot of things, but with all of these relationships come a lot of complexities. New or old, I find that every relationship requires a level of discernment, sensitivity and wisdom. Vulnerability is one of the scariest but most refreshing necessities to relationships. We are essentially carrying the hearts of others. We allow others to carry our hearts.

I am by no means a professional at handling relationships. Much of why I am writing this, as with other posts, is for the sake of processing how to think about various things.

Tonight I asked myself the question, “Why is it so important to guard my heart?” Scripture obviously states that we should guard our hearts for it is the wellspring of life. But what does that mean to me? What does that look like for unique individuals that we each are? Where is the balance between guarding our hearts and letting people in? How do people even go through the process of falling in love and getting married? Although falling in love is a seemingly common practice or concept, I find myself constantly marveling at it. Is it simply by choosing to press through fears? How much of it is faith and how much is confident understanding and trust? When do we know it’s okay to give people more of our hearts? When is it wisest to hold back and not let them in?

Last Sunday, the guest pastor told us the story of meeting his wife and the journey to their marriage. She, a Chinese Malaysian with an American accent, and he, a pure-blooded Englishman. A combination of cultures I have never heard of in my life! And yet they work. After she had finished her studies or work in the UK, she went off to live in Africa for an entire year without him. He actually flew to her to propose! That just blows my mind. The love, commitment, and trust extended between the two of them. They trusted and loved each other so much that the distance and difference of cultural influences was something they simply learned to work through.

I am just so in awe of that story. Probably because I find it encouraging for someone like me who is multi-cultured by default. I’m never really sure whether people feel they can relate or if relating in that respect is even relevant. I think purpose, and being able to partner in that purpose, trumps cultural identity. So in the end, relationships require a lot of prayer and an equal amount of discernment. Once it is established there are three C’s: Christ, Communication and Commitment. I find that relevant to any type of close-knit relationship, not solely marriages.

The heart is the wellspring of life. It is not just something to be given away nor should it be kept to ourselves. It is the storehouse for our deepest desires, ambitions, and vision. The heart carries the depths of our uniqueness; therein lies our purpose. Perhaps that is why it is so precious to guard. We can easily lose sight of all our heart carries when we hurriedly give it away...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Think I'll Move to Australia.

First blog post from Australia.

Where do I begin? So much has taken place over the last month, let alone the last two and a half weeks! Have I really been here for eighteen days already? As the Australians exclaim, “crikey!” It feels like I have been down under for forever and for no time at all simultaneously. I am stalling for thoughts as I ramble in type.

Sensory overload: I have had it frequently since my arrival. There is so much about Sydney to take in. First, it was adjusting to people driving on the left side of the road. Then it was the crisp, cool, wintery air after leaving America’s summer temperatures. Next I found myself dealing with waves of culture shock and nostalgia as the sound of American pop music would play in shops around the city.

However, of all there is to take in, the mass amounts of culture groups filling the streets is undoubtedly the greatest cause for sensory overload. All this time I have felt like I am so cultured. Now, I am seeing how much there is still to know about the world and the people residing in every corner of it. In my short time here, I have met people from across the nations: Italy, Japan, Colombia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Denmark, China, Sudan, Spain, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and it continues on. Of the 50,000 student population at this university, 11,000 of us are international students and 130 countries are represented within that portion. How incredible. I wish I could sit down with every international student and hear their story; where they come from, what their home is like, why they came, what they want to do with their lives. People I would have otherwise never crossed paths with are now gradually leaving footprints in my life story and I in theirs.

In some ways I feel a little more capable of relating to the people who find their way onto this continent. Many of them have their own unique ethnic or cultural mixtures that are unique to their own lives. I connect in the general area of being the child of immigrant parents. In other ways, I feel entirely incapable of relating or that I am sometimes too ignorant and clueless so I am not sure how to be culturally sensitive. To my knowledge, I haven’t insulted anyone by crossing any cultural boundaries yet. Hopefully I can keep it that way!

Overall, it has been one very large learning experience as well as a lot of re-learning. Learning how to communicate. Re-learning how phone companies and internet work. Re-learning how to be a tenant. Learning a foreign education system. Maybe eventually I will learn how to drive on the other side of the road!

Through it all, God has been faithful. He has been beyond faithful: omnipresent. I depend on Him more than I can on anything or anybody else. That is the way it should always be. Perhaps that is why- through the mass amounts of rain, stress, confusion, and homesickness- a smile has covered my face each and every day. The joy of the Lord is my constant source of strength. My ever present Help in time of need. My Best Friend and Savior. The Hope I hold on to every morning. The Prince of Peace who gives me rest each night. He will be exalted among the nations.