This blog is officially two days late.
I am sure it is bothering me more than it is any of you...
Alas. I am finally getting in front of my screen to jot a little something down.
FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA!
Yes. Yes. Another surprise location blog! This is the second stop on my "February tour "of sorts. I figured since I was already on the west coast and since lots of cool people happen to live in Phoenix, I should just stop by for a bit. I am oh so very glad I did. Lots of adventuring and quality time and yummy food and new friend making has happened in just a few short days.
I have re-realized something about myself on this little tour of sorts thus far. I say RE-realized because I feel like I must have already known this but maybe I had just forgotten. I LOVE LOVE LOVE exploring new places and making new friends. These are two of the most refreshing things I can do for myself. I guess I've always felt it, but I am realizing more and more that leaping out of my comfort zone is what makes me feel most alive. I am SO thankful for endless opportunities of this nature in my life. I think one of my worst fears is that I will never have enough time to visit all of the places I long to see or to meet all of the people I should or to read all of the books I would like to. (I know that last one wasn't really related, but it often plagues me when I am trying to fall asleep at night.) It just seems to me that there is so much exploring and adventuring and learning to be done and not nearly enough time to do it!
Anyways. Today I am coming to you from Phoenix, Arizona. This is really the first time I have actually gotten to spend any time here, and it has been so good for my soul. The sunshine, the views, the people, the vibes. This places marches to a beat all its own and it is all sorts of lovely. Talk about natural beauty, this place has got it in abundance. I mean, today I walked around in a floral sundress and sparkly gold flats...today I got a legit sunburn while my hometown dug themselves out of yet another foot of snow in the sub zero temperatures. A lotta sunshine and deep blue mountain outlines in the distance is just what this girl needed in the midst of surviving the arctic tundra of the midwest. Now I know why birds and midwesterners "fly south" for the winter. And more than ever I am SO anticipating two years in a warm weather-sunshiney place.
Something I read the other day in my favorite devotional (Streams in the Desert) has stuck with me all week and has served as continued confirmation in my life and my heart that I am indeed following Jesus and feeling His heartbeat. I thought I would share it in hopes that it would inspire and encourage all of you as well. This is the ending section from the recounting of a woman's dream. She had dreamed of three women all kneeling to pray. The first Jesus paid special attention to, the second he simply touched and the third he walked right past. This is Jesus' response following the woman trying to reconcile His response to each of their prayers. This was a great encouragement to me since throughout my wilderness season I have often felt neglected and ignored and have struggled to hear Jesus and to sense Him and mostly to see or feel where He is leading...
"Yet the third woman, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the purest quality. I am training her through quick and drastic ways for the highest and holiest service. She knows Me so intimately, and trusts Me so completely that she no longer depends on My voice, loving glances, or other outward signs to know of My approval. She is not dismayed or discouraged by any circumstances I arrange for her to encounter. She trusts Me when common sense, reason, and even every subtle instinct of the natural heart would rebel, knowing that I am preparing her for eternity, and realizing that the understanding of what I do will come later. My love is silent because I love beyond the power of words to express it and beyond the understanding of the human heart. Also it is silent for your sakes--that you may learn to love and trust Me with pure, Spirit-taught, spontaneous responses. I desire for your response to My love to be without the prompting of anything external."
-Streams in the Desert (2.9.15)
Wow. How often I am guilty of needing those external signs and promptings to trust and to obey. I know that feeling in my gut...the one that nags at me telling me that Jesus is speaking and that I need to follow. I know the process...questioning and doubting and attempting to reason and analyze my way through it. I know in the end I can't escape it and that I have to overcome all of the doubt and fear and questions and uncertainty and negative opinions (from myself and others) and I have to follow and obey. But how my heart longs to be like this third woman. Confidently hearing and confidently obeying with complete trust and confidence in who God is and what He is speaking to my heart. To not require all of the signs and reassurance and promptings in order to follow, but rather to follow in faith and in knowing how and when He speaks to my heart.
I feel like with each risk taken we get a little closer to this. I grasp onto His hand a little quicker and a little tighter and I leap a little further with a little less certainty. But as is usually the case, I still have so much more growing to do. He can and will make me so much braver and so much more loyal and trusting and fearless and daring if I will only let Him.
Today after a lazy morning in bed, we hiked a mountain just down the street. I really was dreading the climb, the sweat, and the exhaustion. Mostly I was dreading the uncomfortableness. But. I wanted to see that view. I wanted to see this new city from up high. I wanted a good Instagram shot. I knew that to gain a higher perspective and the reward of a lovely photo/memory, I was going to have to do the hard, uncomfortable work of climbing the mountain. One step at a time. I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other, focusing on one step at a time and the piece of path that I was stepping into. Had I turned around or looked too far ahead, I most certainly would have stumbled and slowed myself down or hurt myself. I had to be present.
And this I believe is a parallel to my life right now and always. I have got to embrace the uncomfortable, uncertain path and push through the often uphill, exhausting climb in order to gain the bigger perspective and the rewarding feeling of finally being where God has called me to. And I am going to get there one step at a time. Not by looking and planning too far ahead and not by focusing on what has happened behind me, but by being fully present and embracing the current piece of path and getting my footing there before I move onto the next.
This is why I adore traveling and adventuring and exploring new places. You never know how God will show up and speak and it's extra fun when our surroundings are new and He has another limitless amount of creative ways to reveal Himself to us!
Get out there! Live life! Take risks. Go on adventures! Embrace the journey one step at a time! Explore new places! Meet new people! Learn new cultures, languages, traditions!
Find the heartbeat of Jesus and get in tune with it and then run forward with passion and confidence to that beat, into whatever it is He has called you to!