part 2: my most perfect friend.

continuation of this.

so, the more that Jesus overflows into my whole life, the more he becomes my best friend.

like any friend that i start hanging out with a lot, i’m starting to think more like he does and care about the same things he does. i’m understanding more how he sees the world. i want to be just like him. i want to tell him everything. i want to be with him all the time.

unlike any friend that i start being around more, he doesn’t make me anxious. i trust all of him. i don’t have to wonder if he’ll get tired of me. i know he isn’t going anywhere. i’m not cautious about what i tell him, because i know he’ll understand it.

like my other best friends, he makes me happy to be myself, because he loves me best that way. he listens patiently when i just need to talk, and knows what to say when i need answers or encouragement. he never lies to me, but always tells the truth in the most loving way imaginable. he’s good at surprising me, and does it often.

and unlike any other friend, he never makes me wonder what he thinks about me. he always listens with his full attention. he knows me better than anyone else and always knows the perfect thing to say to make me feel better. he never hurts me, will never leave me, never has moods where he needs me to not be with him.

not that any of those things are terrible about my “real” friends; they’re just human things. they can’t help them, and neither can i.
and the most beautiful thing about it is that since i have a perfect friend in Jesus, none of those minor imperfections about my human friends bother me.
plus, he makes me want to be an even better friend. i want to show people the best example i can of the kind of friend he is to me, because i want everyone to want that kind of friendship with him.
because unlike anyone in the whole world, i am 100% fine with sharing him.

seriously. he’s the best. give him a try. =)

part 1: thinking=praying.

yesterday, i was thinking about how i’ve been much less bothered than i expected to be about all the time i’ve spent by myself the past few weeks.
and i said to God, “thanks for finally making me slightly more introverted. i’ve only been asking for years.”
“do you really think that’s what i did?”
it was one of those times where i hadn’t expected him to answer. more like, i hadn’t needed an answer, so i didn’t purposely listen for one, making it a surprise when he gave me one.
so i thought for a minute.
i thought back to saturday, when i’d been thinking about how happy i was after spending the whole day around people, but realized i hadn’t been overly lonely all the times i’d been alone the week before. i wondered if i was possibly growing that introverted side i’ve always wanted, but didn’t give much thought to it.
now i gave it some more. and i decided that it isn’t that i haven’t wanted to be around people; there hasn’t ever been a time where i was in a crowd and i felt like being by myself.
so i said, “no, that isn’t it. but you did something. why’s it different?”
“because you like being with me.”
[said like lucy in a charlie brown christmas]
THAT’S IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

i talk to God more when i’m alone, but i don’t even really feel alone much anymore.
before, if i was by myself, i’d talk to him because i was lonely. he was just a comfort source. he would make me feel less emotionally alone, but i was still fully aware of my physical alone-ness and still didn’t like it.
then, so gradually that i didn’t even realize it, i started talking to him more and more. when i’m walking up the hill to class or work, instead of excitedly thinking to myself about who i’m going to see when i get where i’m going, i’m continuing me and God’s conversation. not that he couldn’t hear my thoughts before, but it’s different when i’m consciously letting him in on them.
i’m so much more aware of his constant presence that i forget to be lonely. i’m still happiest around people, and i do still have a God-given physical and mental need for human interaction in order to function best. the giant E in my ESFP was on purpose, after all. but when i have to be by myself, i don’t feel empty. i feel complete and content. and when i’m with people, i’m even happier now, because God is still with me then.

God isn’t in a box anymore. he doesn’t sit on the shelf next to my Bible, waiting for me to pull him out and spend time with him. i just do life with him.
and.
it.
is.
awesome.
=D

insomniac ramblings.

1. WHY?
i feel better about all my various conditions after reading everything i can about them. being able to understand things comforts me.

but my insomnia does NOT make sense and i’m ill about it. there is NO reason for it. not that it ever has much of an excuse, but especially not now.

i’m not stressed or anxious about anything; my workload is so hilariously small, it’s almost like i’m not in school.
i’m not depressed right now, i’ve been happy since saturday. and even in the weeks before that, i slept fine.
i haven’t been through any recent trauma. i mean, earlier i couldn’t find my favorite highlighter, but it showed up and i got over it pretty fast.
i haven’t had caffeine since the day before cross country started(and when i do have it, it helps me sleep; one of the many joys of ADD).
i. don’t. get. it.

2. ain’t nobody got time for that…
in a perfect world, i’d just live with it and sleep whenever i can. if it’s 4pm and i’m actually tired, i’ll take a nap even though i’ll ideally be going back to bed in six hours. if i can’t fall asleep until 5am, i sleep in til 11 or 12.
but my semester doesn’t really allow for that. if i can’t sleep on a tuesday or thursday night, and my brain decides at 11 am the next day that it finally wants to catch up, no luck; i’ve got five places to be from 11:30 to 6:30 and no breaks in between.

3. it’s lonely.
i don’t like being the only one awake. any unpleasant thing isn’t so bad when there are people to talk to during it, but that doesn’t work here.
i can’t think by myself. even if the people around me are quiet, just having another presence in the room keeps me focused. so i can’t even put my being awake to good use. it doesn’t stop me trying though.

4. i lose the point.
the same cycle repeats itself for hours on end. make scrambled eggs, feel sleep coming on, get back in bed, jump back awake just as i’m almost asleep, read awhile, repeat steps 2 through 4, watch tv for a spell, repeat steps 2 through 4…i get sick of trying after a while and end up just staying up for the whole night.
i haven’t yet done that on a school night and don’t plan to, plus i can’t think of a better ending to this somewhat pointless post…so i’m doing my usual plan B, which is to lay in bed and do nothing until one of two things happens:
A. i miraculously fall asleep, or
B. the clock strikes a decent time to be “awake.”

writing myself to sleep.

i used to write these stream of consciousness type posts all the time, and i just realized that i can’t remember the last time i did.
i usually write them because i’m bored, and i haven’t had time to be bored…but tonight i’m writing because i haven’t written anything good in such a long time, and usually at least one of the thoughts out of these things gives me an idea. also because insomnia is creeping back up on me, and i don’t have time for that right now, and writing helps me sleep.

1. my car is so much like me: small and cute on the outside, a complete mess on the inside. and she complains when she’s told to move fast. every time i get onto the interstate, i understand more how coach feels having to deal with me at practice. =p

2. i hope i’m never sad enough that videos of cute animals won’t cheer me up; i can’t think of a time in my life when that hasn’t worked yet. except maybe when i was so little that youtube wasn’t around.

3. my campers weren’t born when youtube wasn’t around…most of them weren’t even born in the 90s. i’m getting old.

4. i love hanging out with freshmen. not just because my brother is one of them; they’re just fun. and they have time to have fun. they make it so much easier to be a supersenior with all easy classes, while all the first time seniors are too busy to do anything or talk to anyone.

5. and finally, i think i can sleep.

rest and contentment.

i was such a happy extrovert yesterday. i’ve been alone so much the past few weeks, and been too busy to complain about it, that i’d forgotten how much i need(and of course want) to be with people.
it was one of those days where everything was literally perfect, and even the little things that would usually annoy me just a little bit didn’t. everything i planned to do was even better than i’d expected, and totally spontaneous fun happened in between all of it. i wasn’t anxious or tired or sad or angry for a single minute.

since camp ended, i’ve been so restless. that’s the best word i can think of to sum up everything i’ve felt. for almost every hour of the past three weeks, no matter where i am or what i’m doing, i felt like i’m not supposed to be there. i never have any idea what else i’m supposed to be doing, but my brain is convinced that i’m missing something big. which is exhausting to say the least…then when i finally get in bed at night, i can’t sleep.
but yesterday was the first full day that i’ve felt content. i spent almost every minute of it around people and i felt completely wanted, never invisible. i didn’t do any homework, but didn’t feel any need to beat myself up for it. i ate at cookout without feeling like i needed to skip four meals or run nine miles.

then as i was going to sleep and noticed that my glow in the dark stars on my ceiling were actually glowing(they haven’t been), i just laid there, laughed out loud, and thanked God for all the tiny, individually insignificant blessings that added up to such a hugely blessed day.

i think i’ve been waiting for a big thing for too long. watching for some major, sudden switch to flip in my life and make me feel better. but i forgot that God prefers to work with little pieces. he doesn’t sell me a whole car at once; he lets me watch him build it one part at a time, and i never realize what he’s doing until he finishes.

but the best part is getting to see where he’ll drive me in it. i can’t wait for the rest of this semester. =]

here, have a smile.

no matter how horrible of a day/week/year you’re having, whether you’re determined to be mad at the world or desperately searching for something to put a teeny bit of joy in your life, it is physically impossible to see any of the following and not smile.
you’re welcome. =)

why i run.

this year, cross country has been so much harder for some reason.
not that it was ever easy. but i at least enjoyed the challenge last year.
i used to love to hate it. now, i just hate it. and i hate hating it.
last year, running was a fix for everything else. this year, it’s made everything else worse.
but i realized i can change that.
this morning i woke up and decided i want to love it again.
i know that i hadn’t developed asthma yet last year…but that’s not a reason to quit. that’s an explanation as to why “doing my best” means doing less than what my best used to be.

every morning i’ve woken up and asked myself why i’m doing this.

so today, i made a list of answers.
why AM i doing this?

1. to give me motivation for everything else in life.
2. because i need community.
3. so i can share it with scott.
4. because my coach wants me to, and he is the best.
5. to be healthy.
6. so people will know who i am.
7. so i can encourage people.
8. to make my lungs stronger so i can do everything else i love.
9. because people think i can do it.
10. because i hate giving up.
11. because i want to.

the universal language of the world.

the night before i left for costa rica, a family friend called me to pray for me. he asked if i knew what the universal language of costa rica was.
i said i thought it was spanish…he said, “God’s love.”
i thought, aw, that’s really cheesy and sweet.
not that i doubted it was true. i just didn’t realize what that truth meant.

then i met two precious children who showed me exactly what it meant.

this is kenneth. (there used to be a picture of him and me, but a lot of them got lost in the ocean, so this is the only one i have of him. :p)
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we couldn’t understand a word each other said(he didn’t even get it when i told him my name was linda; i knew how to say “my name is linda”, but that confused everyone down there because they’d think i was saying “pretty”).
but i understood that he needed love, and he understood that i had plenty of that.
while the rest of my team painted benches and chopped down weeds, me and kenneth just played. he reminded me a lot of myself as a kid: if someone would push me on the swings and give me piggyback rides and hugs, they would become my hero. and so we did just that, all morning.
when we were both exhausted from running around and laughing so much, i sat down on a bench and patted the spot next to me. but instead he climbed up in my lap. i gave him a big hug, and he looked up at me, smiled, yawned, and said, “mi amiga.”
then he fell asleep on me. he’d squeeze me anytime i tried to get up, like he didn’t want me to let go of him yet. so i just stayed there awhile. i ate my entire lunch with him still asleep and clinging to me(he woke up long enough for me to share half a mango with him).

part of me felt bad that i hadn’t done any “work” like the rest of our team had. but most of me knew that the work God had for me that day was to love on this sweet boy who needed a hug.

this is maria angel.
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i literally could have fit her in my suitcase, and i wanted to so badly.
we couldn’t understand each other either. she found that really funny; at one point when she’d repeated the same sentence three times and i still didn’t know what she said, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “gringa.”
we played until it was time for kids club to actually start…and then kenneth discovered her.
neither was happy that i had two favorites.
Image
kenneth was yelling “mi amiga!” and maria angel would yell, “no, MI amiga!” they carried on like that for a good while, until some other kid came up, pulled them away from me and said something to them. somehow after that, they seemed okay with me being both their friend.

i was sad to leave them both. partly because i knew they didn’t get loved very often, partly because i loved being the one to show them that, but mostly because i didn’t know how to explain to them that it was the last time i’d see them.

i didn’t feel like i’d done anything significant.
but i think that’s the beauty of God’s love. it can shine through anything. as long as it’s the driving force behind whatever it is you’re doing, people are going to see it.
and eventually, they’re going to be transformed by it.

before this trip, i was so nervous because i didn’t think i had anything to offer. some of my teammates could play instruments. some were good speakers. some knew a little bit of spanish. some were good at building things.
but God doesn’t need you to have everything. he just needs everything you have.
all i had was love. and that was enough.
God gives everyone different gifts. but he wants us to use those gifts to love.
it’s the same dish, just served on a different plate.

you don’t have to wait until you have a seminary education.
you don’t have to learn a language.
you don’t even have to “grow up” first.
all you need is love.