Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sunsets, stars, and saltwater

Listening to: "The Spoils of Warring Hearts" by The Walla Recovery
I love NoiseTrade and random song discoveries via the shuffle feature on my Zune. I always manage to find songs that are so fitting for my current situation. God knows me well. :) You can get this one, along with the rest of their With Trembling EP, here.

According to Isak Dinesen, "The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea." Judging from this past week, I think he might be onto something. Sort of, anyway.

Without going into too much detail, these past couple of weeks have definitely not been the ideal way to begin summer (see my previous post for a more on that, even if it is a little vague). Basically, God asked me to make a decision that I honestly didn't--and still don't, really--understand. However, I've learned over the past almost-21 years that my understanding is not important; obeying God is. Either way, decisions always have their consequences, and I've been dealing with the repercussions of mine for the past 2 weeks.

To get my mind off of things, my family ended up going on a spur-of-the-moment vacation to Mexico Beach, FL. Kristi got to come with us, which was awesome. I am sooo glad I got to go--especially considering I haven't been to the beach in 4 years! It certainly didn't solve all of my problems or anything, but I suppose it was somewhat therapeutic. I mean, really, how can such beautiful sunsets be anything but?

Seriously--so gorgeous.
The first night was especially beautiful, at least to me. After a stunning sunset (see the pic at the beginning of the post), the sky was so clear. Kristi, Darren, & I walked about a mile down the beach to the pier and I stared up at the stars for about an hour. There's something very peaceful about sitting in silence, listening to the waves crash on the beach, with a clear, starry sky overhead. I like it (though I have to say, as much as I enjoy the beach, it still doesn't compare to being in the middle of the mountains next to a river. Personal preference, of course). The only real downside to the trip was the crazy sunburns that both Kristi and I got on the very first day. I'm pretty sure it was the most painful sunburn I've ever had. It was even hard to sleep because it hurt so much. At least I got a nice tan out of the long as it doesn't decide to all peel off. Ugh. So far, so good.

Still, as good as it was, it wasn't the usual beach trip for me. Typically, I feel nothing but contentment while watching the waves, seeing the sun set over the ocean, etc. Although I did enjoy all of the above this past week, the thing I felt most was pure frustration. Frustration with life, frustration with myself, frustration with God. It was getting to the point where I was becoming almost angry. I was constantly thinking, "God, seriously. What are You thinking? How am I supposed to do this? How am I supposed to do that? Blah, blah, blah, blah." (Well, maybe not in those words...but you get the idea.) He was finally like, "Brittany, stop. You need to chill. Whatever happened to being content with wherever I put you in life? This is where I have you now and you need to deal with it. Being upset isn't going to get you anywhere."* Then, me still being me, "Yeah, but really, I don't understand how you expect me to [insert some specific action here] or even [another specific action]. That just doesn't make sense. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I've already proven that it's literally impossible, and..." And God, once again, "...I don't recall ever asking you to do those things. I asked you to obey Me in this one thing and trust Me for the rest." And then...

"Be still and know that I am God."

Stop planning, stop worrying, stop being frustrated. Just be still.

Over the past few years, I've begun to discover that I don't know anything. Can't know anything, with the exception of one thing: God. God is faithful, God is trustworthy, God is good, God is perfect. No matter what else is happening in my life, no matter how crazy or uncertain, even if everything I thought to be constant falls apart completely, I can trust that He will always stay the same. Instead of striving and trying to fix everything on my own, He only asks that I simply be still...and know.

And really, when it all comes down to it, what else can I possibly do? He is the only one who can solve any of these problems, so why am I wasting so much time worrying and being frustrated over something that I don't even have the power to change? Answer: because my name is Brittany and that's what I do. Heh. Seriously though--that's probably my number one thing to work on right now.

Just be still and know.**

*Sometimes, God has to be kinda blunt with me to get the point across, as can be seen here. Heh.
**I kinda feel like I sound like some random inspirational devotional or something. Sorry about that--totally not my intention!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trust and obey.

Listening to: "Light Up The Sky" by The Afters
(It's amazing to me how God can use a simple song to be so comforting. This song has made it to the top of my iTunes most played list within the past couple of days. It's a good one.)

"There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul."

- Elisabeth Elliot

It seems to be the number one recurring theme in my life, a lesson I'm constantly learning in various degrees, in a variety of ways.

Sometimes it's exciting.
Sometimes it's scary.
Sometimes it's painful.

And then there are the times when it becomes so frightening and excruciating that you feel like you can't survive, when understanding is nonexistent, and you feel as if God has completely blindsided you for no particular reason.

Now is one of those times.

I never expected to be here, but since when does God work within my expectations? If there was any other way, I would have chosen it, but in this case, God gave me no other option. Once again, I had to come to terms with the fact that I have to trust Him and obey whatever He tells me, even when it hurts. Even when doesn't make sense. I have no idea what's coming next. I've never been very good at predicting the future (case in point) but I always seem to try anyway. This time, though? The only thing I can do is take life one step at a time, because everything is completely out of my hands at this point. All I can do is trust. And, somehow, that has to be okay.

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."
- Hebrews 10:36

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Summer, summer, summer!

Reading: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
(I've been intrigued by this book for awhile, so when I found it at Books-A-Million for $4, I decided to go for it. I'm a little over halfway through. I'm not quite sure what I think of it, but I'll give it this: it's interesting.)


I am so relieved. This finals week was the most stressful yet--4 big exams and a time-consuming final project, combined with job-hunting (fail), definite lack of sleep, and packing up/cleaning for my twice-a-year move (gotta love living on campus...). Oh, and my dog died. Great week, let me tell you! BUT, I survived, and am now basking in the fact that I HAVE NOTHING TO DO FOR A MONTH! Granted, I'm sure I'll be sick of this within the week, and I do wish I could've found a job, but then again, I think I needed a break from life in general. Maybe this is a good thing.

One thing I've been doing like crazy lately: reading. I don't even remember the last time I was in this much of a reading mood, but I have missed it immensely. I forgot how good it feels to hide away by myself and just read sometimes. After these past couple of weeks, it's been somewhat therapeutic. I'm hoping it keeps up, so if anyone has any book recommendations, feel free to send them my way!

Anyway, I don't have much to say other than that. I mostly just wanted to express my joy and relief over summertime. Everything else is irrelevant at this point (well, mostly).