“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
– C.S. Lewis
It’s kind of crazy what God does when you slow down, take a deep breath, and surrender. When you open your heart, make yourself vulnerable, and say “here’s my life, take all of me, I will trust in You.”
The beginning of this year I was a mess. I was tired. I was worn. My skepticism about the coming months was not a secret. I was openly hostile. I approached each new day expecting the worst, and thus negatives were all I saw. My classes were nothing like I wanted, my social life was non-existant, the dread I felt on my birthday cemented in my mind the hopelessness I believed I was destined for. “This world is not my home” was the motto I mumbled. Yet, I wasn’t surrendering myself to God’s perfect plan, instead I was making myself into a martyr and using God as an excuse to hold on to my pride. I was lonely. A disappointment. I became hard, cold, and stony in order to protect myself from the world. I never cried. I felt like I had lost my soul. An empty shell of a girl, lost in a sea of faces and clinging desperately to myself.
Then something beautiful happened. I let go and I let God take control. It took this action, this moment of truly realizing that people and things would never make me happy and that I could only find true joy in the arms of my Savior, for everything to change.
It was only when I let go of what I thought I wanted and found my contentment in Christ that my heart was transformed. It was through this change of heart that I was able to allow my life to change as well. A door I thought I had closed forever because of my own stubbornness, a door I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go through, suddenly opened and I found myself in a place in life that I didn’t think would ever be possible for me again, and I realized how wrong I had been all along.
I’m not wandering though a valley anymore, the way I have been feeling for the past few years, and specifically the past two semesters. Instead I suddenly find myself halfway up the mountain. And I’m still climbing, but I’ve almost reached the top. The sky is clear and blue up there, and I’m alive, and free, and loved.
After my bout with pneumonia in March, and my trip to the San Diego seaside, I returned to school and decided to surrender my depression, loneliness, and worries to God. It was kind of freaky how quickly afterwards things started to change.
I was elected to a leadership position I was certain I would not receive. I was given an internship in NYC for the summer I was sure I had applied too late to even be considered for. And then, most magically, most unexpectedly, this happened…
It has been two years and five months since I moved to the desert wasteland of Arizona, leaving behind those who (outside of my family) I love most dearly in the world. And it was hard. It hurt. A piece of my heart was left behind in an eastern, gulf-side town near the Everglades, never to be recovered. The feeling of community. People who know you and accept you, not because that have to, but because they want to. People who see your morning face, witness your midnight hysteria, experience your deepest mistakes, and love you anyway. People you can be human with, unashamedly. People who you can love other people with, and best of all, love Jesus with. People who will call you out when you’re wrong, and rejoice with you when you miraculously get it right. People who sit in a circle and pray for each other, and talk about their favorite things about Christ, and hold you while you cry in the wee hours of the morning. This was something I never thought I’d have again this side of heaven. It was something I prayed for, ached for, and missed more than anything else. Yet, it was not something I truly believed I would find again.
I’m a grumpy person, a selfish person, and it took me 17 years to find a community like this the first time around. I didn’t think it would be possible to ever find it again. At least, not for a very long time.
How silly, right? For me to doubt the mighty God we serve?
He said “stop worrying, searching, wrestling with my perfect plan for you. Surrender your life, your hopes, your dreams to ME and I will give you rest.”
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
– C.S. Lewis
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
– L.M. Montgomery