Unsure of Much & Sure of One

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I am pitiful. After what felt like a few weeks of inactivity, I finally logged on to find out that I haven’t written in 53 days. 53 days?!?! What have I been doing with my life?

I wish I could advertise that I’ve been working on a book that is set to come out next year (titled “Content & Satisfied to the Max”). But the truth is that I’ve been largely uninspired and unmotivated, and I’ve realized that as much as I write about the topics, I have still NOT learned to be content or satisfied.

But I’m writing. Because I need to. Because I’m bored. Because plans got cancelled and I’m lonely. Because you (whoever “you” might be) deserve to hear from me since you decided to follow my shameful blog.

What have I been doing with my life? I’ve been learning and realizing there’s so much I don’t know. I’ve been wrestling and realizing how far I am from the condition I want to be.

For a good month after I came back from school I needed to rest. I needed to separate myself from people. I needed to simply breathe. And I did. I spent two weeks catching up with a select amount of friends, sleeping in too late, and trying to de-stress in the competition fueled place I call Nova. Then the real recovery happened. I spent the next two weeks, surrounded by the people who love me unconditionally, breathing in salt air and washing off anxiety in the ocean. I felt alive.

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” – Isac Dinesen

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Now I am back to the grind. My internship is a crazy incredible opportunity to work among bright minds in the nation’s capital. I am stimulated, challenged, and rewarded. The first week I was completely in awe, asking myself almost every day “Is this real life?” Now the daily commute, quiet lunches, and long hours feel like a job (a wonderful job, nonetheless). I’m grateful. Yet I’m also searching for a new place of contentment. Through the past 3 two-week cycles of processing, I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve felt pulled back and forth in the cycles of transition, adjustment, and continued self-discovery. My life since finals has been a series of tensions.

I’m learning that…

I desire to let go, but I hold on tight.

I tell myself that I won’t miss certain people, but I really miss those people.

I feel like I need a break from constant community, yet I crave and need fellowship.

I have mastered the “I’m tired and grumpy; don’t talk to me” look on the Metro, while cringing at the hopelessness I witness in the faces around me.

I have a hard time trusting people, but I tend to (or want to) believe the best about people.

My dad is my hero for working long hours in the office every day and still having energy to share with his family, and meanwhile I barely have the energy to be nice to people.

The more I discover that I enjoy, the less I know what I want out of life.

My burning desire to be independent and make my own decisions is crippled by not knowing what I actually want and desiring opinions around me.

There are glimpses of hope in the world, but often I am simply an observer with no one to share those observations with.

I find joy in helping people, then I go and lose my patience at my perceived incompetence of those around me.

I am drawn to grace yet desperately in need of it.

I am stimulated by intellectual discussions, but lose energy at their inconclusiveness.

I crave time to breathe and think, yet I get bored and unmotivated in the quiet moments.

I claim to be strong, opinionated, and confident, yet I don’t know how to express myself and am rarely satisfied.

In the good moments it is easy to ignore God, and in the hard moments it is challenging to feel close to Him.

If I were to narrow down what I’ve learned since I’ve gotten home, it would be this: I am not certain of anything in this world anymore; the only thing I am sure of is Jesus. 

Over the weekend I read a thoughtful article about the trap of cookie-cutter Christianity and legalistic Christians. (You can read the full article here.) The last few sentences of the article struck me with their resounding truth, and I want to share them with you. These words have met me in my place of transition and self-discovery where I sit face-to-face with my own limitations.

If God’s scandalous relationship with the 12 thugs means anything, then we should expect a variegated spectrum of righteousness and be patient—or repentant—when such sanctification doesn’t meet out expectations. God meets us in our mess and pushes holiness out the other side. Not anti-mixed-bathing holiness. But the real stuff.

The holiness that serves the poor, prays without ceasing, redeems the arts, loves enemies, elevates community above corporate success, and preaches the life-giving Gospel of a crucified and risen Lamb in season and out.

I’m learning to let go of the expectations I have set for others and for myself. At the same time, I am striving for the mission that is laid out through real holiness. And so this blog post is far from publishing quality, but this is me…… the end of the day, exhausted, irritated, confused, struggling, searching, hopeful me….. in my own stage along the variegated spectrum of righteousness.

— Phebe

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