Confession: I'm a quote-collector. I love reading quotes and songs and prayers from other people because I can always find one to describe how I feel at any given moment - usually more eloquently than I could express it myself. My best friend and I started sharing a document of quotes a long time ago which has now grown a bit out of control. In college, I had post-its all over my desk with quotes I had found - I suppose I'm a bit of an old soul because it took me a while to realize I could keep them electronically instead of sticking them all over creation.
If you read the paragraph I posted yesterday about transitions, or if you know me at all, you already know that I'm in a transition-phase in my life. I thought this would end when I finished my "first year out of college," but alas, here I am and I'm still in transit.
I realize that we never really stop transitioning. There's always somewhere to go and something to learn. I don't ever want to reach a point where I've "arrived" and can't grow any more. Life happens when we're stretched and pushed past our limits and out of our comfort zone. Sure, it's scary, but anything less would be dreadfully boring, and I don't want to live a boring life. I'd rather be uncertain and a little nervous but challenged and surprised at how far I've come when I look back.
This philosophy has been drilled into my head and my heart for as long as I can remember. My dad always reminds me that even when things are hard, I'm doing well because I'm growing. It's become a joke in our family that we're always "doing so well," but I think there's truth in it - it just depends on our perspective. When we're going through challenges and transitions and pain, we can't recoil and hide from it because then we're running away from our potential. I'd rather put on my big girl pants and face whatever is happening so I can learn as much as possible.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. I know myself well enough to be able to admit that yes, I have moments where I want to curl up and hide from the world (don't we all?), but that can't be a permanent state of being. I don't want to be timid. I don't want to stay inside my comfortable bubble and miss out on life at the edge. We all have that natural hesitation when it comes to facing challenges and pain, but pushing through can only make us stronger and I think that's what God wants for us. It's not that He likes watching us struggle, but He knows the rewards are so much greater when we're challenged - He knows our potential and wants us to realize it too. And in all that struggle, we seek Him more fiercely and are able to see His power (2 Corinthians 12:9-10....amen) and love in our lives. So if I have to choose between my comfort zone with lukewarm love or life on the edge-of-who-knows-what with God's love and strength...I'm sure you know which one I'd choose.
So, back to quotes. I looked through my quote document (I should think of a better name for it) this morning and pulled some that jumped out at me and, spoiler alert, they're all about transitions and challenging oneself. Even if you don't feel like you're going through a "phase" like I am, remember that we always have chances to push ourselves, even if they're little ones. But take them! Try something new and see what life is like on the edge.
I'm also including some drawings from earlier this week - I've found that sketching these images has been my form of retreating into safe territory for a little while (introvert alert) before before facing the world again.
Adventure can expose your deepest thoughts about yourself. You might find out that you’re not as brave as you thought you were. Or, perhaps, just the opposite, that you’re much braver than you ever imagined. Or, most likely, that you’re both brave and not brave. And it’s ok. You’re still standing. You might come to realize that you are incredibly hard on yourself. Far harder than necessary. You might come to realize that you always give yourself an out or an excuse and don’t take responsibility for your life and that’s got to change. You might find out that you have no idea how to really be with yourself. You have no idea how you really feel, what you really want. And, you might also find out what has been the greatest desire of your soul all along. What has always been down there and needed some breathing room to bloom.
|My mom gave me the cutest set of conte crayons this weekend - quick sketches look pretty cool in sepia tones|
All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.
Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.
|The original sculpture is Danaïd by Rodin|
I have come to realize that life is actually so much more about the process. Entering into the process is nearly always a mess. We will never be able to do things perfectly and glamorously all the time. What we’re talking about here is walking into the mess and being gentle with ourselves as we do so. That’s the miracle...It’s about walking with ourselves into imperfection and, in the face of fear, participating in life. It’s called being brave.
|Her eyes are fixed on the floor, but I am sure they do not see it—her sight seems turned in, gone down into her heart: she is looking at what she can remember, I believe; not at what is really present. [Jane Eyre]|