Standing water encourages stillness

So here I am, sitting outside, enjoying the sunlight and the breeze and realizing that I don’t feel guilty at all for doing so. I may have nothing to do today, but I’m not wasting time. In fact, I filled out another job application today, and now, with the time remaining to me in my day, I am meditating on Scripture and relinquishing my worry to God’s care. It’s rather wonderful actually.

Here’s an odd observation: it’s during times of stillness and relaxation that I most wish I could be spending time with a friend and it’s during times of stress and busyness that I wish people would just leave me alone. But there are times when I absorb the moment and attempt to appreciate where I am and who I am with for the sake of appreciating what I can not control. Somehow, regardless of what I want, my circumstances are a blessing and tailor-made for my personal growth. In the stillness and in the busyness, Abba, be near to me.

Here’s my latest attempt at writing poetry. You can find more of my poems in my books. You can also find my latest book in Apple’s iBookstore by searching for “Snapshots”.

Greater

I have no more to say.
You have come and overcome
my spirit with Yours,
my spiritual moors
are strengthened by Your presence.

O God, I ask for greater faith!
All I’ve seen and all I’ve heard
reignites my trust in You,
reignite my trust in Who
You have shown Yourself to be.

Greater God of greater worth
than lesser trust which I possess,
may my hope in You give birth
to such a faith as won’t regress.

Have Your way in me, O God.
All of You in all of me
will surely satisfy the hole,
the hands of the LORD make whole
and bind up what is broken.

Art in the wilderness
This is where creativity begins.

This summer is shaping up to be a wilderness for me. I have no idea where I’ll be living during the next couple months, and I may not be going back to school in the Fall. The things I’ve been enjoying, learning, and looking forward to—all of my hopes and plans for the future—have been unraveling. This is the picture I am left with: a wilderness. I’m not afraid: I’ve been here before.

It is at this place I am reminded that during times of transition, creativity also has the potential to be at its highest. As I look desolation in the face, I do not see hopelessness, but endless possibility. We are made in God’s image, and just as He created something from nothing, we are able to take what seems worthless and dead and give it life and meaning.

All right, God. It seems like for this season of life, You are clearing the canvas and giving me a wide expanse to create on. I’m still grieving the loss of what was already being created, but maybe there’s something more important I need to work on. Maybe You want to weave these projects together later on down the road. Maybe You’re simply moving me over to a part of the same picture that needs defining. I’m nervous working with a blank canvas because I have no idea where to start, but I’m determined that while it is mine to work with, I will make it as beautiful and intricate as possible. This canvas of life is going to bring You so much glory.

Have you ever been in a place where you’re overwhelmed by a deluge of truth? It’s like the facts of life are rolling in today and I realize how much I just need to trust God. Thank You, Jesus for opening my eyes.

I feel like I have been given new information on my immediate future. It’s information that is hard to accept joyfully, because on the one hand, it reinforces the fact that I might not be coming back to school in the Fall. On the other hand, it is information that I do joyfully accept because it makes it so much easier for me to let go of the situation and trust that God has my back. He is my rearguard, defending me from the enemy behind me and tying up all of the loose ends in life situations where I feel things have been left unresolved. God is so good. Thank You, Jesus for protecting me.

So where does this leave me? I am free to live alive. I am free to pursue the gifts and abilities that God has given me. I am free to drink from the fountain of joy that bubbles up in this lowest place. Thank You, Jesus for giving me joy.

The expanse of the sky symbolizes freedom.

Lately, I’ve been consumed with looking up. Literally. Here’s a picture for you.

Beams from a converted warehouse (i.e. Jessup's dormitories)

I think my obsession with looking up has some meaning to it. I’ll get to that in a little bit. I’ve also been enjoying gazing at vast expanses such as this one.

The preserve behind Jessup's campus

There’s something inspiring about wide-open spaces—something freeing that beckons you to run wild and take ownership of and responsibility for all that you see. Maybe that’s just me, maybe it’s not.

I’ve found that when I am depressed, the still small voice of God tells me to look up. He never tells me why, but I think I understand. You see, when I look up, I see the heavens and realize that life is comprised of so much more than I am experiencing right now. I begin to reflect on the tapestry of my past and all of the places I’ve been as I pursue relationship with God. I realize that things are currently not as they used to be and things will not always be as they currently are. Did you hear that? Change is a foundational ingredient in life. You cannot have life as we experience it without change. Praise God!

I think the sight of wide-open spaces reminds me to look at the big picture of my life and not become utterly consumed by all of the details of why my life is or is not working right now. This is where hope springs up. This is where the future inspires goals and dreams. This is where the tragedy of the past loses its power to control today. Thank You, Jesus!

Okay. Spring break is over. It’s a sadness and relief wrapped up into one. Sadness that I couldn’t have more time to rest my mind from schoolwork and delve more into creativity. Relief that the semester is almost over and that my circumstances are continuing to change. I like this about life—things will always change, sometimes painfully slowly, but consistently nonetheless.

This first week back after break has been fascinating so far. I came back a day before school started and took advantage of the [mostly] empty campus to pray over the school and rededicate myself and the school to God’s purposes. It feels good to tear down strongholds of spiritual oppression, and there is so much more work to be done. I take joy in knowing that God has established His own stronghold here too!

I think that’s what I really love about life right now: I am seeing the kingdom of heaven break open increasingly often. From the glory-fall (sunshine) to the hopefulness of flowers to the endurance of the man-made buildings around me, I’m beginning to see that a huge part of living in the kingdom of heaven is all about intentionality. When you live and move and interact with other people, the important thing is not necessarily what you do but why you do it. Are you intentionally living to please God in everything you do? Are you intentionally living to pursue goodness, love mercy, and do justice? Amen and amen! Let it be so in my life! I want everything I do to speak life in someway. Renewal. I want my life to be a testimony of renewal from hopelessness and abandonment to joy and belonging.

So, for now, it’s back to the grindstone, but this time with an undercurrent of abundant, renewing life.

Flower bed behind the student union
Here's "hope" for today. The flowers look expectantly toward the sun as we look expectantly toward the Son.