Thursday, May 23, 2013

current crossroads

I mean, this time in my life doesn't have to be a crossroad point; I could very well continue to do everything that I'm currently doing, moving at a steady pace, making small attempts to progress out of the mud pit known as school debt.  My job is okay, my commitments are alright, I only give so much of myself so my soul is not in drought.

For a good number of people, this predictability is ideal.  And I'm surviving alright. Except.. I'm fidgety. Where passion should exist in my heart, restlessness multiplies in my mind.  If my heart is not fully alive, I will drag my feet through the smoothest pathway.  I will be my own obstacle.  However, my heart, when fully alive, will find strength for the most menial, absurd tasks - the ones that demand the most and earn the least.

Now all these things said...
It's funny (not really) - every career move I've made in order to pursue my dreams has successively increased my knowledge and understanding, but has also successively provided less and less.  And right now I'm on the brink of making a greater decision that will give me even greater strides in fulfilling that dream.  Yet, it makes me so nervous - I mean, SO NERVOUS - that I've been losing sleep, crying while I talk, eating everything.

And the question hasn't been so much, "Should I do it?" but, "Why am I so controlled by the approval of other people?" Yes- the one gargantuan hindrance, more than the provision factor, is this anxiety of getting rejected for making this choice.  It is an immature obstacle, but it is still an obstacle.  Apparently, my heart has found something right about this decision, to want courage and faith this much.  If I didn't believe in this, I wouldn't wrestle as much as I am.

Pray for me.
I'll have to make this decision, this commitment, very soon.  And I cannot be afraid of man's opinions, when God's opinion shifts atmospheres and galaxies.  And I cannot be afraid of being in need, or being in want.  Abba provides for the journey He brings me through.  And I cannot be ashamed of walking by faith, and living from my heart- God is the strength of my heart, and my portion (my inheritance) forever.


currently listening: "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," Page CXVI

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Story on Kindness, and Thoughts on the Future.

Alternate title: "A Story on Future Plans, and Thoughts on Kindness."

at the end of today, this reminder of faithfulness

Three years ago, I left the Special Ed field to pursue my childhood dream - a mix of coffee, art, and community.  The whole miraculous story of transition has unfortunately been lost in cyberspace.  It ends with me landing a job at CL's - blessed that my first cafe experience was under leadership who loved the Lord and who were set on this service as ministry.

I quickly found out that a lot of my "ministry" was being kind, and being a listener.  Sure there are customers who are "compulsive talkers," and don't notice whether or not you are listening (they just like a human being to talk at - so I let them talk as I worked) (of course, all situations take a dosage of wisdom and moderation).  But there are also those people who, when your heart His Spirit are in tune, God highlights and says: "This person.  I want to share with you My heart for this person."  So then God gives grace with His mandates; God gives grace to listen closer, to listen with compassion, to listen with intercession rumbling in your spirit.  

I did a lot of listening in that season, sometimes to a fault.  On occasion, they would ask me the little bit of my thoughts, and I would echo what I felt the Father say.  And it would lift my spirit that I had that one chance to minister.  It brought me joy.

I soon became convinced that if God gave me all those dreams and all those aspirations, only to take me on the numerous paths that led me to minister to this one person, I will be satisfied.  If tomorrow comes and all my aspirations fall apart to no rescue, I will be content knowing that I had the opportunity to reach out to even this one person.  And I still have that blooming in my heart.  I am pressed to live this moment to its fullest, and ask the Lord for His heart for the people I encounter.  I try to treat each person as if they are that "one person."  Am I consistent or successful?  No, I'm a failing human with filters and pride and offenses.  But I have a willingness to love more.

It also doesn't mean I've disposed of all my plans.  I believe it's still wisdom to live in the faith that these dreams could and will come to pass.  I still prepare as if tomorrow, someone could knock on my door to jumpstart these dreams (with funding? My business plan better be ready) - even though tomorrow is not promised.  I cannot live with my head set on fulfilling tomorrow; so living each "now" with ardor has freed me from the fear of: "what if it doesn't happen?"  My hands are open.

Three days ago, I had the above conversation with a friend who asked me how work has been going.  I am no longer at CL, but I've adopted the same mission when I began to volunteer at SCB.

Two days ago, while volunteering at SCB, I drew this chalk art:

This morning on the bus, I was meditating with this song in the background: "Give Me Your Eyes" by United Pursuit Band.  It was also my resounding prayer for that day.

Nearby CL's is a drug rehab/therapy facility.  It's right to say that we have had our share of caution (also why I need a lot of wisdom in being a "listener").  About 18 months ago, there was a young man who would always walk through CL's and ask us for a cup of water.  Honestly, he was a gentle soul.  He was a good man with a bad problem.  But in kindness, we all offered him that cup of water.  Some days, he was worse than others.  I gladly forgot those bad days.  I recall him wanting so terribly to return to his home on another Pacific Island. But we encouraged him to stick with the program.. Encouraged him, and gave him that cup of water.  On his good days, he offered to put things on high shelves, or carry the ice chest, or clean up small messes.  After a while, I recall him coming in simply to say "hello," tell us about his progress, and we were the ones who asked him if he'd like a cup of water.  He was like an adopted brother.  Around Christmastime, he was finishing up his program, and picked up a small job making money on the side.  The last time I saw him, he came into the shop and bought something from the drink merchandise.  He was so proud.  And I didn't see him for over a year.


This morning, I saw him.  More like, he spotted me working downtown and rushed in to say his grand hello.  And he improved so much!  He told me that he's finally working, and not only that, an organization had offered to pay for his college tuition.  Yes- this young man was going to school, working, and supporting his family back home.  And he remembered those cups of water.

It made me want to weep.  He made me so incredibly proud.  I don't think those cups put him through college, but I think that the bits of kindness were enough to make him assured that he was in a safe place; that despite his problems, we saw him as a person who needed to be treated like a person.  His gratitude was genuine.  And I thought - you never really know how much your kindness, or words of truth, or acts of generosity can impact the heart of someone.  It made me think of the passage when Jesus said:

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in.
- Matthew 25.35
My heart overflows with so much joy.

The funny thing about working with coffee is that it's not a necessity, it's quite the luxury.  Sometimes people spend a few bucks every day for that cup of coffee.  You can do the math, and I try not to judge.  So if they are going to spend, then they might as well have each cup with a dose of kindness.  It's the one moment in their day when the "how are you?", the conversations, the smiles are all genuine.  And if they don't have a cup of coffee, only a cup of water, then you can do the math, and we all try not to judge.  But they will have that cup of water with a genuine greeting, a genuine conversation, a genuine smile.

I've gone through today wondering if that young man was that "one person."  God, did You bring me down all those paths for this?  If it is a yes, I am, quite honestly, satisfied and ready if He called me to do something extremely different from the direction I am taking right now.  Any which way, my heart is content whether or not my dreams are fulfilled.  So whatever my lot and destiny, I will continue to live every day as if I have not yet met that one person.

Everyone deserves kindness.