I know what you're thinking - two posts in one week! We have been so starved for blogs, thanks Malia! ... I'm just kidding. But here it is, nonetheless.
When I said I was changing my life back in June, I meant it. And slowly but surely, things are indeed changing. I applied for an internship recently ((I still don't know about the exact status of my application, but I'll let you know when I do)), and in that application I needed to write a short blip about where I am with God. Now, most of you know I dislike the term Christian - not because of any affilation problems, there are zealots in every religion from Christianity to Hindi to Islam to Buddhism - but because of that word, religion. I dislike the word religion and therefore dislike the term Christian. Do I believe in God, sure thing. Jesus, you bet. Do I read my bible and scribble little notes all over it, absolutely. But I know nothing of religion, I think only of God and doing what's right. Do I succeed all the time? No wayyy. But I try, and that is the important part.
Either way, here is the end bit of my application. Just for you folks ((and obviously the people I already sent it to)).
"Where I am: I dropped out of University. That is really the first thing you should know about me because that action not only defines who I am on paper, but has also come to define who I am in actuality. I was good at school, I had a beautiful apartment, great friends, a full time job, and a boyfriend - all the key ingredients to the American Dream, the good life. And I was miserable. To go into depth of what kind of misery might get my point further across, but is inconsequential now. The important part is that I left. I dropped out.
For the first 6 months or so after I dropped out, I felt like a failure. I had failed at the all the things that are supposed to make up a successful life and, furthermore, I had failed at even wanting them. I had the label of "dropout" dancing around me and I avoided it like the plague. I would tell people I had left university and make it sound like it had been me breaking up with college, but no matter what permutation of words I used, I could always feel the word "dropout" at the edge of my mind. I buried myself in working two prestigious office jobs as if to counter the fact that I was already a "disappointment" by society's standards. I spent those 6 months not much less miserable than I had been at University.
Right after the new year I received a text message from a friend in California who was homesick and having a hard time not being surrounded by those of us who already knew, loved, and accepted her - so, like any normal person would do, I dropped everything. Or perhaps that is not so normal. I quit both my jobs, cancelled anything I had planned, got into my car and drove 19 straight hours to California Baptist University in Riverside California. Now, when I was a little girl I had this theory about how God is in the ceiling ((roof, sky, etc)) and the reason so many people don't have a relationship with Him is that we so often forget to look up. Somewhere along that drive, with my broken radio at 2-something-in-the-morning up in the mountains between Oregon and California, I looked up. And for the first time in a long time, I just talked to the stars and God in them. We had long conversations about where I had been, where I was going, and stretches of silent love. I spent an amazing God-filled two weeks all over California and driving home up HWY 101. And most of my time alone with my Savior, just chatting with Him.
To say that since then my walk with Christ has been amazing every step of the way would be a lie. I am constantly lying beaten and broken upon the shores of God. But after having spent the last year and a half here, I am coming to realize that this is where we all are. Every time I imagine myself to be stronger or more independent, God sends me a gentle wave to remind me that I belong on His shores - occasionally it's a tsunami. My walk with God isn't so much a walk as me continually trying to run when I've only learned to crawl. I could tell you I read my bible each day ((which I do)), that I have a strong community in Christ ((which I do)), and that I am constantly involved in various missions whether they are serving one person or hundreds ((which I am)), but those things are not enough. They never have been. What I can tell you is that God knows me. Not only because He knows all things, but because He is the One I reach for all throughout the day. The One I call on in the difficult and the beautiful times.
I have spent the last year and a half on the road. From Washington to California to Canada to Peru to the East Coast to Europe and back to the USA again. And all I can say about any of it is “Thank God!” For all, for everything - good, bad, or in between. He has seen me through all my travels and has been my Rock. Where ever I am, I am with Him. I find Him in the ceiling, stars, music, side streets, and hashbrowns at 1AM. And, more importantly, He finds me - broken, joyful, exhausted, and eating hashbrowns at 1AM. So as to where I am with God - I am everywhere, but so is He."
So that's me. Where I am. My younger brother gave a mini-sermon to some of the guys at his Summer Camp he works at about how God won't always give you what you want, and that we shouldn't expect him to. About how without suffering there would be no compassion, without darkness there would be no light, etc etc. My mum thought I might enjoy some of the passages from the Bible that he has been reading, but what's funny is that while I did enjoy them - the passages after those were the ones that led me home. I've always liked the idea that you can only know true joy through sorrow, that wasn't new to me. But the repeated verses of "come home! come home! come home!" That was new for me. Good for me.
I thought long and hard about posting this in my blog. Not all of my friends believe anything even remotely close to what I do and many of you read my blog devotedly like the amazing people you are. So, no worries, I understand, this is a whole lot of Godtalk to undertake in one go. Just know I love you no matter what your outlook on this genre is. And always will.