Global Dating Part 2: She Said

The “she said” story begins with the array of circumstances preceding my trip to San Francisco in January (2013). The year 2012 was rough, but beautiful as I saw the Lord’s faithfulness displayed through some intense physical and emotional journeys. In pursuit of fresh escapades and with a passion to experience the truths I believed intellectually, I set out for my favorite city. It was crazy to be sure, but I couldn’t silence the unexplainable desire I had to go and adventure with Jesus. And adventure I did!

sailing in the SF BayThe four weeks I spent in San Francisco were a time of healing, of beauty, of repose. It was priceless. Jesus met His little princess there in the heart of San Francisco. He whispered His love to me again and again until its reality seeped deep into my very being. He provided for me. He sent dear friends to me to share more of His goodness. One of those friends was Joey.

And in case you suspect I was swept off my feet during that trip, allow me to set the record straight. No one did any falling (or catching). Joey and I did, however, have a surprisingly great time reconnecting and reminiscing about days gone by. In hindsight, the first day we hung out couldn’t have been a more perfect date. But we weren’t dating and I was quite persuaded we were nothing more than good friends.

Borel Hill

The San Francisco chapter in the story of my travels ended all too quickly. Then began the emails. More emails. And longer emails. And then another visit. This time Joey was in Atlanta for a mutual friend’s wedding. I was emphatically prepared to give the “we’re just friends” speech since I had suspicions that Joey was more interested than I was. But in an unexpected turn of events, lunch segued to coffee and I found myself lost in conversation with Joey. Somewhere between the drive rehearsing my speech and the end of the 3- or 4-hour chat I had trashed the “just friends” illusion and decided if Joey ever asked me out on a date, I would say yes.

Several weeks later Joey texted to say he would be in Atlanta over the 4th of July and if possible to “keep your schedule open.” What in the world?! I admit, I stressed over my response. Should I be sassy? Play hard to get? What if he was only coming to see family?

Surprised

My questions were put to rest a couple weeks later when Joey called and officially asked me out on a date. But he didn’t just ask for one date, he asked for the entire weekend! I was surprised and delighted. The weekend plan was impressive. And I had no idea the half of what was in store those next couple of days. Magnificent waterfalls, coffee, wonders of the sea, a family birthday event, a movie night, and a candlelight dinner (cooked by Joey himself) were all part of the whirlwind. It was a month’s worth of dates squished into 4 awesome days.

This time he did sweep me off my feet.

piedmont park

The adventures and stories continue as Joey and I date across the U.S. We are increasingly grateful for technology when we’re apart and savor every moment we get to spend together in the same time zone and in the same city. Long-distance challenges are real, but facing them together makes it worthwhile.

In the words of Agnes from Despicable Me 2, “I’M SO HAPPY!!!!”

minion party love

The Truth About Being Shy

I’m an extrovert and I’m shy. It’s true and I’m not proud of it.

Please allow me to explain.

Most of the time, meeting people is a hobby for me. I actually thrive on encountering new names, faces, stories, and journeys. Each new friendship is an adventure.

But there are moments where I find myself surrounded by unfamiliar faces, attempting to selfishly hide behind my shy side. What will they think of me? They’re intimidating! What if I am supposed to know who they are, but I don’t? What if I can’t relate to them? What if they don’t want to talk to me? They look weird or boring… or both. What if I get stuck talking to them?

Photo Credit: Edge of Space via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Edge of Space via Compfight cc

In less than a minute I can be completely consumed with doubt or fear or prejudice. All of my excuses seem to stem from a central source: selfishness. Shyness demands that others take the initiative in beginning a conversation with me. It forces someone else to ask me questions and discover my interests. It’s easy to be shy and let someone else make the effort. Focusing on myself blinds me to the fact that the people around me are human too. They are created in God’s image. They have a story. And they are part of God’s story.

We are explicitly instructed to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than [ourselves]; do not merely look out for [our] own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). What better way to begin living out this command than in conversation? We have a plethora of opportunities on a regular basis to esteem the [cashier, barista, client, coworker, professor, receptionist, etc.] better than ourselves.

It’s time to stop pretending that being shy is excusable.

It’s time to regard others as more important than myself.

It’s time to smile, say hello, and meet someone new.

Adventures in San Francisco

I recently spent 4 epic weeks in the beautiful bay area of San Francisco. The adventures, memories with friends, lessons learned, and breathtaking scenery will soon be put into words (probably a series of blog posts). But until then, here are a couple pictures to give you a sneak peek. 🙂

Cliff house

Cliff House, Ocean Beach

Golden gate from ft mason

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Mason

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Philz CoffeeBest drip coffee. Ever. (aka Philz Coffee)

Bodin

Boudin San Francisco Sourdough

danger trail closed

Trail to Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park

from 36,000 ft

From 36,000 feet. I seriously ❤ mountains. Especially snow capped mountains.

Pier 1

Pier 1 / Financial District, San Francisco

Stillness in an Over-Stimulated World

Chatter, music, movies, advertisements, social media, and a plethora of electronic devices ensure our lives are, at a minimum, noisy. Life has become a perpetual stream of consciousness fed by the loudest digital source at the moment. We have an epidemic condition commonly referred to as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). We can’t sit still. We can’t be quiet.

paris driving

Do we even remember what silence is? It’s the complete absence of sound.

When was the last time all of your electronic devices were simultaneously in the off position and you were not flying? Perhaps we’re afraid of missing something. Or maybe it has been so long since we were truly quiet that the idea of a world absent sound terrifies us.

The question naturally arises, why do we need to be quiet when there is much to do and see and talk about? The answer is simple: to know God.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Stillness is an opportunity to learn who the Lord of Hosts is. It forces us to listen. Unplugging from the constant entourage of stimulation allows us to focus entirely on the Creator of the universe. He is a self-revealing God who desires for us to know Him intimately deeper than our 30-second-microwavable devotionals.

The Amplified version phrases the admonition, “Let be and be still, and know that I am God.” Knowing God requires time and stillness. However, retaining an unmoved posture does not automatically equate with the knowledge of God. Stillness is a conduit that allows the Word of God to seep into our minds and penetrate our hearts. Silence prepares our heart to learn.

Being still is rare because it is difficult. Well, let’s be honest- it’s almost impossible in our over-stimulated world. But the reward for intentionally silencing the commotion around us to know our God cannot be measured.

Will you join me in taking the challenge to be still and know our God? To completely unplug from the world and listen to the Lord of Hosts?

Whether it’s thirty minutes, 2 hours, or the whole day, let’s set aside time today to be quiet.

Be still and know that He is God.

When God is Silent

Earnest, desperate prayers have been brought before the throne of grace.

Yet God remains silent.

We double and triple check our motives and our requests.

Yet God remains silent.

In our feebleness we persist asking, seeking, knocking.

Yet God remains silent.

We question if God heard. We confess every known sin.

Yet God remains silent.

Could there be something more? Something bigger than we can imagine?

In response to this perplexing dilemma, I would like to share a couple excerpts from a tremendous book by Oswald Chambers titled “If You Will Ask.” The thoughts are based John 11:5-6 when Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead to visit. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He had heard therefore that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the same place where He was.”

“God’s silences are His answers. If we only take as answers those that are visible to our senses, we are in a very elementary condition of grace. Can it be said of us that Jesus so loved us that He stayed where He was because He knew we had a capacity to stand a bigger revelation? Has God trusted us with a silence, a silence that is absolutely big with meaning? That is His answer. The manifestation will come in a way beyond our comprehension…

“That is what prayer means – not that God may bless us. As long as we have the idea only that God will bless us in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give us the grace of a silence. If He is taking us into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, He will give us the first sign of His intimacy – silence. The Devil calls it unanswered prayer. In the case of Martha and Mary, the Spirit of God called it a sign that He loved them, and because He loved them and knew they were fit to receive a bigger revelation than ever they dreamed of, He stayed where He was. God will give us the blessings we want if we won’t go any further, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing us into this marvelous understanding of Himself.”

Is this the case with you? Is God trusting you with silence? Then take heart, my friend! You have not been forgotten, rather, our Father is inviting you to experience Himself in a deeper, fuller way. Embrace God’s silence.

Go adventure.

Life happens fast. Whether categorized by survival, maintenance, or sheer delight, time escapes without return. Seize every moment. Stop postponing your “someday” plans because someday is never guaranteed. We have today, this moment. What about the vacation to Santorini, Greece you’ve been dreaming about?  Or the dance lessons you always wanted to take? The Tough Mudder you purposed to conquer? The friend you promised to meet for coffee? The course you wished you could take? Buy the airfare and block your calendar at work. Sign up for a dance lesson. Create a Tough Mudder team. Call your friend. Enroll in the course and secure your books.

tough mudder

Be intentional about your life. Start living this moment to the fullest instead of fantasizing of an alternate life in a world of somedays. Break your comfortable norm and take a risk. Go adventure.

What risk will you take today to start living your someday dreams?

Don’t waste your wait!

Waiting for a callback, waiting for the doctor, waiting on the perfect job, waiting to get pregnant… life is filled with moments of waiting.

waiting

The question is, what are you waiting for? Or perhaps an even better question is, who are you waiting on? Are you waiting on the event (whatever that may be)? Or are you waiting on a Person?

It has become increasingly apparent to me that when we wait for the event, our waiting is wasted on worry, anxiety, and impatient complaining. Because when we wait for the event, suddenly the wait appears needless and the destination paramount. However, if we shift our focus from the event to a Person, namely, the Lord, the wait becomes time well spent. It is an epic journey and even an event itself where God is revealing more of Himself to us.

So don’t waste your wait! Wait on the Lord and watch Him turn a seemingly needless delay into a personal encounter with Himself.

“Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You [O God].” Psalm 25:21

“Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him, who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness.” Psalm 33:18