Thoughts on Discipline

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After  a walk in the woods, I phoned up a friend to talk to her about some things that have happened in my life recently. And somehow she saw right through it all and told me to tell her what was really on my mind. So, I asked her why I didn’t feel God as much these days as I used too. Since graduation, I could feel my faith slipping slowly from grasp. It was like sand—the harder I tried to grab a hold of it, the quicker it slipped. So, I asked this older woman in Christ why that was. She asked what’s been different since graduation, that we should see if there is a root cause for this issue.

 

Since leaving college I have not attended church, I haven’t prayed consistently, and I have opened my bible once. I don’t talk to people about faith related things. It was like leaving the community of believers drove me to leave my belief.

 

So, her answer to my problem was that I lacked discipline. Merriam Webster defines discipline as the “ability to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.” The word discipline comes from the Latin word disciplina which means instruction or knowledge.

 

Since I had left Houghton, I had not been disciplined in my faith. Even just saying the word discipline makes me cringe. It’s probably because that word carries negative connotations in our society. We hear discipline and we think punishment.

 

I think that discipline goes much deeper than that though. To be disciplined means to develop those habits. It means setting the alarms to set time aside. It means digging into the word even when it feels dry and bland. It means seeking out the community and investing in them… even if it’s for a short amount of time.

 

Discipline means getting your hands dirty and putting in the work. It means realizing that the consequences for not being disciplined are far greater than any earthly punishment. It means missing out on a lifetime relationship with the Creator of the universe, with the cosmic father who knows each and every one of us intimately.

 

For me, this means praying more and opening my bible up. It means finding moments of peace in turmoil, to seeing God in every tree and creature and person, to having hope when everything seems lost. It means showing up to support people who have supported me and to finding love on this earth. For me, discipline will be training myself to develop this as habit so that turning to God in the times of trial and times of goodness will be nothing else but a pure joy.

 

So, here’s to learning discipline: to dipping our hands into the waters of life, to getting dirty and putting in the work, to meeting God where we are- no more and no less.

 

A prayer to share: Lord, help me to want to know you more. Give me a taste of your love that leaves me thirsting for me. I don’t want this love if it’s only half there and I am all in if you are. Thank you for a heart that beats to learn discipline and grace, to be completely myself in your sight.

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From Beautiful to Abandoned: The Warning They Don’t Tell You That You Needed

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(pic credit: Lily Brunner)

The other night I experienced one of the most gut-wrenching moments of my life: when someone stops choosing you. I really can’t put into words the emotions I was feeling. Through the course of the phone call, I felt mad and scared and sad and everything in between. Honestly, I still feel those things. Nobody warns you about the pain of your first real break up. Nobody warns you about the emptiness and confusion it brings.

 

I dated this person for basically 8 months. Ironically, that day would have been today. I loved this person… the first time I met them at a picnic in the woods with a group of friends, I had this feeling that this was the one. I had never really believed in “the one” until this moment. Until I saw them—the way they were kind to each and every person, the way their smile made me feel like I was staring at a star, the way their laugh put everything right in my life.

 

I saw her and everything bad melted away in my life.

I saw her… and my only thought was “I’m going to marry this girl one day.”

 

Of course, I wanted to be sure. So, I befriended her. I supported her over the summer and swapped crazy camp stories. Then school started up again and I sought her out… not because I wanted to date her. Not because I had a second agenda. I sought her out because she was such a good person, such a good friend.

 

And eventually, I realized that the feeling I had in the spring at the picnic was still there. I liked her… kinda a lot.

 

Everyone tells you about the amazing feeling of your first love. They boost it up in stories, they make it larger than life. But honestly, I think they have it wrong. The feeling of your first love is subtle. It comes on gently and builds you up like a beautiful building—foundation, to walls, to roof. It builds you up and makes you stand tall, it makes you feel like everything will be okay.

 

This first love turned a reckless, live in the moment girl to a thoughtful, awaiting and planning the future woman. This first love… it came sweeping in and softly molded me into the person I always wanted to be.

 

And yet, the other night, it ended. And I feel like a hole has been punched through my chest with a jet plane. It’s the worst feeling imaginable—to see your future ripped from your grasp and tossed aside like it didn’t matter. To be asked for space when all you want is to speak to them about the process they went through, to try to understand the decision so that you can respect them and love them through it (even if from afar).

 

And so, my only advice to those who haven’t been warned about your first break up is this:

 

It will hurt like hell. You’ll wake up every morning and forget the peace you had while asleep. You’ll cry in the kayak aisle of K-mart because they are currently on a kayaking course. You’ll try to breathe like you used to but everything is different and you need to learn to live and be again, by yourself.

So you’ll feel desolate and broken, abandoned, like a building that’s been tossed aside. You’ll cry and you’ll hurt and you’ll wonder about where things went wrong, but ultimately you will stand. And the lesson will continue to teach itself to you: love is a choice and there is always the chance that they will stop loving you.

 

People aren’t things and you can’t keep them against their will. I miss her more everyday… but I miss the friendship the most. I miss the laughs and the support. I miss my best friend.

 

Of course, I still feel the “I’m going to marry this girl one day” feeling. And maybe that is true. But for now, space and time and friendly love is all that I have to hold onto.

 

And that is more than enough when I think about the countless people who are loving me through this… even if it can’t be her.