Month 5

My day-to-day, my friends, my conversations, my relationship, my face; they seem so different. I’m different. How far I’ve come in the last 5 months… Let’s recap:

Occupation/Calling

It’s been a little over a month since I quit that full-time job after those panic attacks. I’m starting to wonder if it was a mistake. Mostly because I feel like a burden to my parents. But when I think hard about it, I know it wasn’t a mistake. Things would probably be worse if I had stayed there. Even though I’ve only started my Graduate School apps about 3 weeks ago, I feel like I’m not progressing fast enough. But I’m practically finished with them. Just one more letter of recommendation and paying the app fee and I’m good! Still, I don’t know how I’ll feel about the waiting game after that. Hoping for the best.

This season is a lot about trusting God about my calling and my finances. If there’s anybody that actually struggles with having too much time on their hands, that’s me. My friends think I’m ridiculous. Enjoy the freedom while you can – they say. And I think I do. Most of my days consist of climbing, cafes, and hikes with Bear (my husky), things that I was too tired to enjoy several months earlier. Lots to pray about but as long as I trust in God, I know he’ll give me direction.

Serving / Community

It’s been 5 months since I walked through the doors of Renew Church. What a turbulent half year of re-encountering God, fearing rejection, fighting cynism, building amazingly deep and edifying friendships, struggling to love hard to love people, and being so much more aware of the scars I inflict on myself and others.

ServiceI’m officially on Host Team! The entire month of April, I’ve been running around trying to learn how to set up stuff, trying to remember how to spell everyone’s name, and greeting every person that walks by me. It’s tiring and stressful, mostly because I’m stretching my extrovert muscle more than I have in a while. But I’m enjoying it. Finally serving in the church has been a blessing for the most part and I’m glad. I don’t know if this means that I’ve decided to make Renew MY church. I told myself I’d give it 6 months before I make my final decision. I love it there, but there’s still some doubt in my mind that I rather not get into here. Either way, I rather be serving God’s kingdom than not.

Growth. Ever since Maurice introduced me to A Praying Life, I’ve been talking more and more with God. It’s done wonders for my prayer life. I pray about everything. I thank him for everything. I still yell and scream like a dumb little child, throwing tantrums about stupid problems equivalent to not getting a cookie before dinner or dropping an ice cream cone before the first lick. But nonetheless, I’m lifting my life up. Every conversation I have with anybody, I pray. I pray to not say stupid things, to be encouraging, to be loving, to be truthful. I pray to leave people better than they were before the conversation. Okay… Maybe not EVERY conversation. I didn’t in a phone call I had last night… and now I’m thinking it probably would have gone better if I did pray…. But let’s not get into that. The damage is done and if anything, I think I’m more scarred by it than the other person is. I could be wrong. It’s not like I can read hearts.

Community. It’s a double-edged sword. They matter to me. A LOT… More than I thought they would. I love it and hate it. They bring me so much joy. I’ve been fed fat with these soul spurring conversations, crazy laughter, too many hangouts, and watching them live their God-given lives. I love getting to know them. I love being a part of their story. But, the closer I get, the higher the risks. Heartache . Fear . Scars . It’s undeniable that we feel more hurt from the people we love than by the random strangers that deal you insults, cut you off on the road, or hate you for no reason. It stings because we care. If cynic Kelley had it her way, she wouldn’t care for people. She wouldn’t love or want to be loved by her community. She would be perfectly content loving herself. But a Kelley that has her eyes and mind set on Christ could want nothing more than to have a sacrificial and unconditional love for her community… An infinite emotional capacity to care.

And it hurts so much…. It’s as if my senses are all heightened. Underneath the facade of fun, of friendship, of unity, I can see and feel the cracks of disunity. I find people worn out and burdened. I see people becoming passive about their issues with each other, holding onto pride, holding onto anger, holding onto anything but the truth. I feel the hurt that isn’t healing. I hear logic that is illogical. The discontent is brewing. The me that wants to be passive, that wants to hold onto my pride because I’m a little self-righteous, that doesn’t want to be the bigger person, wishes so badly that I was once again a cynic. It would be so much easier. Some have gotten a taste this salty beast and it’s not very pretty. People are hard. They are imperfect. Actually, worse than imperfect. They are sinners. I’m a sinner. God does a lot of good with us. But sin does a lot of bad too, and it’s usually a scarring kind of bad.

I want to leave as little scars as possible. Hurt as little as possible. But I find myself always failing, always discouraging, and always inflicting some kind of damage, intentional or not… Can I love my community and be humble enough to not hurt it?

 

2016: The Bad, The Good, and The Waiting

2016 was a year of changes. We’ll not THAT much. I’m still at the same admin job, I’m still 5 foot 3, and I still like the color blue (if that matters at all). But, 2016 is also the year I started writing, the year I dyed my hair blonde, and the year I put away my demons and danced again. I also hiked at Yosemite for the first time, went kayaking in San Diego, and I jumped off a big rock in Hawaii. Check, check, check off my bucket list.

Not to mention, it’s the year I graduated and became an adult. And I’m not going to lie, it was scary. I was supposed have spent the last four years preparing for adulthood. But, like a soldier who just got out of bootcamp and was expected to be equipped for the blood and trauma of the war zone, reality hit me with a bang. I spent the better half of 2016 scrolling thru job sites hoping to move up somewhere. I threw myself into the battlefield of applications and interviews, and like the newbie who just had his reality shattered and shifted, I came back from the battlefield with ringing in my ears and the weight of despair hanging off my shoulders.

Am I being overly dramatic? Probably. But, I’m a scared millennial, who’s been told her entire life that if she stuck to the status quo, did the grind, finish school, go to college, get good grades, and have multiple internships and jobs by the time she gets out, then everything will be fine and stable and comfortable. That there would be little to worry about… That I would make it… WHAT TOTAL B.S (excuse the language). And we’ve all heard it from our older friends that post-grad life is depressing and nobody has any direction in their twenties. Still, I was not prepared for this. I braced myself for the reality shock and yet, I couldn’t deal. Maybe, I just really need to accept this fact: I’m a number. Even to my current employer, whether my manager is nice or not, I’m a number. To all the industries out there posting job listings all over the internet, I’m a number. Just a number with the same qualifications as the other millions of numbers out there.

Knowing this, all I want to do is lie there for the rest of 2017, and maybe the rest of my life. Again, I’m being dramatic. I know, I know. And maybe 2016 crumbled down on me because I kept this unrealistic exception to be at a certain place in my life by the end of the year, and I just didn’t meet the standards I had set for myself. And I never thought about what to do if all of my plans, my backup plans, my back up for my backup plans fall apart.

Life Lesson: Sometimes life throws you a storm you can’t avoid. You can’t plan for disasters. Be as prepared as you can, and sometimes it won’t be enough. But it’s okay because the goal isn’t to conquer the storm. It’s to survive it. And that’s all the human race has ever done. Survive. That should be victory enough.

On a better note, 2016 was also the year I changed my perspective on relationships. I used lone-wolf everything. I wanted to handle my own problems, share very little, and I viewed my friends as people who only wanted to pry into my life. I didn’t see them as a support group and I didn’t want to depend on anyone. And of course this was all from some trauma of being hurt by people. But 2016, was the year I wanted to mend some of my broken relationships. The result is another Life Lesson: Some relationship are meant to last and some should be let go (case may vary).

But, even if some friendships don’t out, it doesn’t mean that there is room for new people to come into your life and lift you up. I look at all the people I’ve met in the last year, and all of them have touched my life in some way or another. We may not be close or have known each other very long, but history isn’t always the defining factor for who you consider a CLOSE FRIEND.

I’ve been so hung up on my present problems that I forget that every day brings new opportunities and new people. Change is always happening. Some good. Some bad. But, sometimes I’m not always aware of that.

My last Life Lesson is this: Everything is a waiting game, and sometimes you have to be patience.