March 2, 2011

dream speak grow

"Are you a morning person?" The question hung in the hotel breakfast room as I paused to answer. I had been chattering and laughing with my table, and it was barely 7am.

My mind quickly shifted between possible responses: I am awake in the morning, yes, but I can stay up late, too, and there isn't really a time of the day when I'm any better or worse, so the final answer must be...

"I think I'm a life person."

It was the only truth that made sense, and I think my new friends on the Bring It tour understood. I came into this European experience with even higher energy than I normally have, and nothing was going to stop me from at least giving everything my previous 25 years had taught me.

I haven't always been this way, as my family members can probably best confirm, and God has more or less dragged me through sorrow and shoved me toward joy. I don't claim to have experienced deepest sorrow or highest joy, but I do acutely understand how joy exponentially increases in the face of despair. He continues to knock me out of my comfort zone to prove my human weakness, force growth, and direct my focus to view life from His lens.

I like control; God requires trust - to prove His wisdom. I like independence; God requires dependence - to prove His constant care. I like being powerful; God requires weakness - to prove His grace.

I would have laughed in someone's face if they had painted this picture of my life for me 10, 5, even 2 years ago. But that's why we aren't in control. Life is best experienced when lovingly orchestrated by the Power outside of ourselves.

We won't always be thrilled with our situations (I recall a certain year as a P.E. teacher for that one), and we won't always feel like we are getting our way (I hated that my high school never offered French...and I just hated my high school), and we definitely won't ever know exactly where each day is going to take us. It took just one match out of a 34-match season to challenge and eventually shatter my current life plan and now I'm living in another country.

We had a chapel speaker at Master's once (out of the 3x a week, 9 months a year, 4 church steroids and, yes, I am still detoxing) who encouraged us to pray that God would "break my plans." A lot of plans were broken when Marc and I decided I should attempt this endeavor. Not just my plans, but the plans of our families, closest friends, our various employers, and our Simpson teams.

Life isn't perfect. It's not fair, it's tough, and living is no easy thing. We are all faced with decisions and fears everyday that grow each of us - and others - toward the final version of ourselves.

Be open to change. It's impossible to stay the same, anyway, so we may as well accept it as good. Be open to the growth, and it doesn't have to be painful. This change for Marc and I just means you now have a free place to stayover while you plan your new vacation to Europe. Not all bad, ay?

I am overwhelmed by this second chance at an experience I always wanted but never dared to speak of until this year. It's not just getting to play volleyball. It's the freedom to travel and explore. It's having books and writing in my life again. It's learning a language I thought would never cross my path. It's having to do things I have tried to avoid - driving stick-shift, public transportation, eating new foods - all these things and more push me to be grow everyday.

I never thought I could do this.

Now I can't imagine never trying.

Be brave enough to dream outloud.

Glee - Sing (My Chemical Romance)