May 30, 2012

Abandon Clamour

Let me hear. 
Let me listen. 
Let me change my perspective. 
Let me become dedicated. 
Let me abandon clamour. 

God's voice is still and quiet and easily buried under an avalanche of clamour.
--Charles Stanley

May 22, 2012

Slowing the Run for God

Day 1 of my frustratingly relaxing nothing to do no matter how much I want to be doing something week. Let me give you a brief play by play of the day. 

 Wake up. Drive to Lake Hefner. Take off for a long run. 
I haven't had a chance to run the entire lake in a long time, and I decided to kick off my week with a good, long, run. 10 miles. Easy pace. Enjoying the motion. I wanted time to think today. The first mile was rough, I was mentally fighting the idea of running the whole lake, and I was struggling. 
Lake Hefner is a mental challenge for me. It always has been. It's my favorite place to run, but there's a difference between an out and back run and doing the full lap. You have to commit to the full lap. There's a point where there's no turning back. Mentally, I have to get over that obstacle every time I attempt to run the lake. I've shortened my runs before. I don't always make it the full 10 miles. That's why I love it...because for some reason or another, I have to fight for these runs. But I fought today. After the first mile I started flying. Feeling great. And I finished. Covering long distances is where my passion for running kicks in...runs like today are why I run. 
Except...a new thing happened. A not so great thing. I've been enjoying the last bunch of weeks running pain free. It's been a really big deal for me because that battle lasted so long. And then today, right as I crossed the mile 9 marker...something popped on the outside of my knee. It hurt more to walk than to run, so I finished off my last mile. It hurts now, especially anything that involves any sort of movement.
Here's the ironic thing. This morning before my run I thought to myself, "You know, I could really get a lot of stuff done today. I'm going to take advantage of this free time and get a ton of errands done." 
The IT band thing has kept me basically in my room all day to avoid having to walk around too much. It's like I'm being forced to be still, whatever it takes to get me there. 
So I'll be still. I'll rest. I wish it was through any other way than another injury. Even though I have high hopes that this one will heal up in a day or two. It's a day or two of rest that I haven't wanted. But I'm getting the hint. 
I need to rest. 
I hear ya God. I'll slow down. I'll listen. I'm dropping all of the other distractions, and once again...I'm all Yours. 
I must be really stubborn these days for this to be such a hard lesson to learn, but I'm not going to ignore the obvious. For some reason or another, I need to be quiet. It's time to listen. Time to pray. Time to refocus. Whatever it takes to get there, I'm going. 
I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.

--Abraham Lincoln

May 21, 2012

Quiet in a Thunderstorm - God?

I should be asleep right now. 
An hour ago I could barely keep my eyes open. 
But tonight has been one of those nights when my head is spinning and the only way to slow it down is to write out scattered words
I don't like being worried. 
Or stressed. 
Or feeling ever so slightly foolish. 
I am in a place where I am having to trust that my decisions were the right ones. 
Trusting that staying in Oklahoma City for the summer was what I was supposed to do. 
Because I'm here now. 
My problem lies in an annoying factor. 
I have the job that was such a God thing as far as opportunities go. 
But the thing about it is that sometimes opportunities aren't dreams. 
The job is incredibly boring. 
I've been told to bring books to pass the time. 
(Side Note: Any good book recommendations?) 
But that's not what worries me...
what worries me are the hours. 
The hours that don't start until June. 
Work is disorganized. 
A little too easy going. 
"We'll get you here sometime soon..." 
when I want, "I need to be there tomorrow." 
I'm used to efficiency. 
I'm used to a job where I worked...hard. 
Long long hours. 
Never worrying about the dollar amount on my paycheck. 
Busy days. 
Problems to solve. 
A non-stop flow of people to interact with. 
A world to shake hands with every day. 
All of that...minimized. 
A different screen pulled up. 
A screen with a few people, a few easy tasks, and not nearly enough hours.
That's what worries me.
Not enough work.
I've been running pretty hard for a long time now.
This summer is the first time I've had time to be chill since the summer of 2009.
That's 3 years of a minimum amount of time away from school or work.
That's overload.
That leaves me being left in the dark when I have no other choice but to take a week off.
Last week I had training and babysitting jobs.
This week...I have a clear slate.
This week (which hasn't even really begun yet)...I feel like I'm going stir crazy.
But God is whispering at me.
It's right there on the edge of my ear.
Be quiet.
For some reason, I have time to be still this week.
It's driving me crazy, but I think I need this time.
I need to remember who I am serving.
I need to remember to listen.
I need to focus on everything that I haven't had a chance to focus on in a long time.
I am stressed, but God keeps saying,
"Remember the lilies of the valley, they don't work or worry, but don't I clothe them? And the sparrows? Don't they eat? I've got you Mandy. I've given you this time. Don't waste it."
I don't want to waste it.
I want to cherish these small moments.
The insignificant ones.
The moments where who I am comes crashing up against where I thought I would be, and reality is battled out before me.
The moments of identity tension that I am usually too busy to even notice.
I want to meet God this week.
I want to discern his voice from the thousands of other voices that are still twirling around in my head.
I want to trust Him.
Even when everything goes quiet.
Especially when everything goes quiet.
This is strangely hard for me.
Hard to come to terms with the fact that right now, it's me and God and nobody else is in the way of that picture.
But that's what I want.
I want to grapple the lessons learned in the still moments.
I want to encounter God in a secret and quiet place.
If this week is the week when the noise in my life disappears and only the voice of God remains...then I am learning to trust that I need this week.
I want to be quiet.
I want to learn to listen.
I want to know God more.

May 13, 2012

Summer Daydreams and Ramblings

Pitch black.
Typing in the dark.
Remembering the letters on the keys.
Clicking the right words.
Spotify playing "Feels So Right" by Matt Wertz in the background.
I ran a free 6 miles tonight.
Free from time and distance.
Free to praise and free to pray.
I have a few days of summer before work starts.
I just killed a mosquito with my bare hands and I feel gross now.
My friends are scattered.
The world over.
The summer beginning.
New things are just around the corner.
I am soaking in the change.
Smiling at thin air.
Running under a midnight sky.
This will be the summer when I pick up the guitar again.
I'll run a few hundred miles in the next few months.
Listen to a thousand good songs.
Fall for something worth falling for. 
Risk it all. 
Laugh every day. 
Dive deeper in my faith. 
This is the first time in a long long time when I have a chance to breathe really deep. 
I'm taking advantage of it. 
Soaking in the sweetness. 
The after effects of accomplishing goals. 
The moment when you realize that you get to rest.
It's pitch black. 
Sunrise is about 7 hours away. 
And these are the first words out of a million that will spill out this summer.
Letters on the keys. 

May 8, 2012

No Longer a Freshman - Hello Summer

The campus is quiet.
I've paid my dues to the library.
Spent my hours doing work.
And now...
finals week.
My hardest final is completed.
It's clear sailing from here on out.
I just had the most unexpected conversation with a relatively new friend.
It was sweet.
One of those, "God has led me here for a purpose" moments.
It's hard to believe that this school year is two days from being over.
A few more tests.
I made it through my first official year of college.
I've learned a few lessons here and there.
Things like, "Don't use super sticky tape to put pictures on the walls."
Or, "If you value you perception of seafood, avoid eating in in Sodexo."
Bigger things too.
Good moments, hard moments.
God is always sufficient moments.
I was telling my story about Disney a few moments ago.
It's been on my mind recently.
One of my favorite things about those six months is the fact that in hindsight, I can so clearly see the hand of God on my life through it all.
But it's hard to explain.
It's hard to tell all of those stories without a sense of loss.
It's hard to think about all of those friends scattered around the world.
The thousand stories that I heard.
The faces that flash through my mind.
It's hard to tell all of those stories and ache for everything that I've left befind.
But on the other hand, it's not hard to be so completely happy exactly where I am right now.
Crazily enough, I am so content right now.
Two usually elusive syllables.
Life is so good.
So sweet.
Summer is a day away.
A million memories await.
And my first year at SNU was a million times better than I could have imagined.
Amazing friends.
Crazy memories.
Cars fulls of people road tripping every night.
Adventures like only college can produce.
I'm so very thankful for this year.
The campus is quiet.
It's about to get even quieter.
The days are about to get hazy.
And it's so good.
Happy summer everyone!