Hey, did you know that if you get enough sleep during the night, you’re more awake during the day? Who knew!
Even though I didn’t have class until two in the afternoon, I still woke up early and refreshed. Bree was still asleep, so I grabbed a blanket, my Bible Study, my journal, and my Bible, and headed to the lounge. I curled up on the couch nearest to the single large window and welcomed the wide sun rays pouring in. God was saying good morning.
The one verse out of the many I looked at this morning that stuck out to me was Isaiah 30:15. “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
I just feel like this is the exact opposite of how the world sees salvation and strength. Salvation comes through work, career, multitasking, not through rest. It comes through moving away from what causes unhappiness, forsaking what’s difficult, running from the past and from what’s really good (like a relationship with God), not through returning. Strength comes from how loud you are, how perfectly you can use your words and how sassy or pithy you can be in your arguments, not from quietness. It comes from self-protection, from hardheartedness, not trust.
When I read this, I was really surprised, because I had half-bought into the world’s way of salvation and strength. I sort of meshed my salvation through Jesus Christ and His grace and gift of the Holy Spirit with worldly strength, that hardhearted, tough guy act, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
This verse was paralleled with Acts 3:19. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
When I think of the word refreshing, even when I use it, I think of one of the last scenes in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Sauron has been defeated, the armies demolished. The eagles have rescued Frodo and Sam, who are now in Rivendell. Frodo wakes up wearing pure white clothes and wrapped in spotless sheets. Sunshine is streaming in through the windows and doors, his injuries and cuts and bruises have been tended to, and everything around him is clean and pressed. It’s in those moments before he’s overwhelmed with joy upon seeing his friends that I can feel his refreshment, his relief and security. That’s what I imagine when I think of refreshment.
I mean, I could say something like, “a glass of cold water,” “a swim in a spring,” “the smell of daises,” but I’m gonna go with Frodo on this one.
While looking over these verses and doing my Bible Study, I was talking to God about a frustration of mine. When I look back to when I was choosing a college, even just a month or so ago when I was contemplating leaving Pratt, I get very disappointed with myself. I Just get frustrated whenever I don’t listen to God, or even when I hesitate, like He’s failed me before and I have a valid reason to distrust Him. I just want to be able to listen and then do instead of listen, worry, and then maybe do. As I talked to Him some more, I was reminded that God loves me, that while sometimes He is disappointed in my decisions and is hurt by my distrust of Him, I have to believe that sometimes, when I question Him, He just grins and says, “Just you wait.” Because even when I doubt, even when I move forward in His will with hesitancy in my heart, He still blows my mind every time.
I imagine my journey with God, at least up to this point, like a child walking with his father through Wal Mart. Dad hasn’t told him what aisle they’re going to, so it could be the toy aisle or it could be the tire aisle. Either way, the child can’t see. So, to distract himself, the child touches and looks at everything he can along the way, and Dad constantly has to stop and remind his son that he has to keep moving.
I prayed that I would get to the point (and hopefully far beyond it) where I no longer question or contemplate what He asks me to do, but rather I just do it, trusting Him wholeheartedly and pushing through fear and frustration, worry and wondering. I want to follow Him without feeling like I have to see and touch everything. I know I say this often, but He’s doing things, God is. Something’s happening to me, but I don’t know what it is. All I know is that it’s good 🙂
When I returned to my dorm, the door was locked and I didn’t have my key, so I had to wait for Bree to come back from the bathroom (thankfully she hadn’t left the building) to open it. We shared breakfast before working on our mountainous piles of homework. Around 12:30 I left to go have lunch with Charlene. I couldn’t believe how energetic and awake I felt! It’s amazing what happens when you sleep! 😀
Charlene and I had lunch and talked. Last night, I came to a realization: I had thought for a while that freshman year would be the most difficult year of college. But last night, I realized that this was so untrue. It’s only going to get harder. Or at least I’m prepared for it to get harder. But I suppose there’s no need to go on to chapter two when chapter one isn’t even over yet.
And now comes the main part of the day.
In Studio today we were workshopping our short stories. I had been struggling to figure out what to write for some time and finally settled on writing off a short story I wrote last semester. The short story is slowly growing into a novel, and it’s extremely fun to write 🙂
Anyway, I was very nervous about the critique, but I normally am. Everyone really enjoyed the piece….I even had some people ask if they could read the next chapter when it was written. All of my classmates were very honest and very helpful. They were willing to be enthusiastic about the parts they liked and firm about the parts they disliked. Needless to say, I came out of class knowing exactly what I needed to fix and knowing exactly what worked.
But that’s not even the best part. After we finished workshopping my piece, my professor, in order to encourage me and show me how he wanted me to write, to construct certain aspects of my piece, to work in the realm I’ve created, he played the first six minutes of The Fellowship of the Ring, which is Galadriel’s introduction of the history of the Ring of Power and Sauron’s defeat and the happenings in Middle Earth up to Frodo and Gandalf’s meeting.
I tried not to show that I was mouthing the words to the movie. I’m just so tickled that my piece brought Lord of the Rings into the classroom. I no longer need to go to college now because I’ve officially accomplished I need to in life.
Okay, just kidding, but ya know 🙂
After class I had a lot to think about. I had the story of Ell and Chaviva running through my brain, the desire to fix it all and improve and the passion to drag my readers into the world I’m living in was coursing through my veins. This is why I had to go run.
Bible Study at Sam and Maria’s was canceled tonight, so I had time to work out. I ran a mile and a half before a shooting pain in my right ankle made me stop. I normally won’t stop running for pain, but ankles are sensitive things, and it would be a shame to get injured on a treadmill. I did arms and then I went to Zumba.
Afterwards, I felt great, like I’d gotten a really good work out. My body was sore, and I knew it would be sore in the morning, but the pain would be worth it. I took a hot shower and changed into comfy clothes, heading to the lounge and taking a large crack at my story and getting a good clear idea of where to start in its revision.
So, I was invited to Maria’s baby shower…but I’ve never bought a present for a baby shower. I have absolutely no idea what to get, what’s useful, what’s preferred. I guess that’s why there’s a registry 😛 Anyway, THAT will be an adventure. Tomorrow I will tackle the looming term paper and wrestle it to the ground, hopefully keeping it down long enough to knock it unconscious.
God is good. I live in New York City….THE New York City. I get to write and learn how to write better every day in school. I have wonderful friends who bless me every time I’m with them and even when I’m not. I have a strong, supportive church family and a loving family back home. I have plenty of food, comfy clothes that fit, and a warm place to sleep. And above all I have Him. I’m a privileged, adopted, royal child of the King of Kings. Even now as I think about what this means I’m laughing to myself, because I know it’s a miracle. It’s an absolute miracle.
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
—Psalm 16:11, ESV