Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shrieks and squeals don't even cover the half of it.

I'm having an excitement breakdown!!!  Seriously, I'm a total basket-case of squeals and shivers and spontaneous tears.  I shot awake at 4am this morning and haven't calmed down since.  Figured I may as well try and get some school work done.  Instead, I spent an hour stalking my own sisters on Facebook and getting more and more excited about stepping off the plane in 65 HOURS!!!

Oh, and that paper I should be working on... couldn't concentrate.  Too.  Much.  Excitement.  But I did manage to write a list of all things that keep distracting me from doing what needs to be done:

*hugs.  hugs.  and more hugs.
*mexican food.
*petting my wonderful-monster-of-a-dog.
*sitting on the couch with my Daddy.
*meeting Mooly for lunch.
*the quilting store.
*sonic happy hour.
*decorating the christmas tree.
*sitting on the couch with my sisters.
*all the places i get to go... Lubbock, Searcy, Atlanta, Tuscaloosa.
*all the people i get to worship with... at Highland Oaks, at University, at Passion.
*all the conversations i get to have... about God's faithfulness, about his love, about how blessed i am to see his mighty hand sweeping people toward himself.
*sitting on the couch with my bestest friends.
*my birthday.
*spending that birthday and christmas with my family-in-person, instead of with my-family-on-skype.
*more mexican food.
*lunch with Betsy.
*more fabric.
*doing a little sewing on a Bernina, with that awesome knee-bar i love so much.
*walking my wonderful-monster-of-a-dog.
*the right side of the road.
*hobby lobby.
*more hugs.
*more happy hour.
*sunday morning bagels at einstein's.
*drinking coffee with my sisters.
*shopping for jeans and knowing what size to grab.
*turbo fire and bodypump and crossfit and sweating with my sisters.
*more mexican food.
*more sitting on the couch with my daddy.  or in his office. or in starbucks.
*more places, more people, more conversation, more worship.

Only 64.5 hours left!!!

One more thing I'm super-excited about: electrical outlets in the bathroom!  i just might accidentally electrocute myself with giddiness.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dissatisfaction: When Culture distorts Creation

The following is a very brief excerpt from not-so-brief paper on "consumerism" I recently wrote for my Faith in Contemporary Culture class at the Irish Bible Institute.  I hope reading it challenges you as much as writing it did me.  Spoiler alert: it may cause you to re-think The List you sent Santa :)

God created humanity to consume.  Not even our most basic needs can be met without consuming external resources.  We need air to breath.  We need food to eat.  We need to consume to survive.  All of these processes remind us that we are not self-sufficient.  We cannot sustain our own existence.  We need outside help.  This speaks to the very core of our divine purpose.  God designed us to desire something greater than ourselves, something that can only be satisfied through a relationship with him.  But as a result of the fall, humanity’s first reach for self-reliance and instant gratification, our desires become misplaced.  We begin to search for the restoration of our lost satisfaction in material things, all the while drifting further away from the abundant life offered through the consumption of our Creator.

We trade-in God for the newest thing on the market.   We allow our desires to be manipulated and our identities to be distorted by the every-increasing yearning for more stuff.  We chase significance through material possession, becoming distracted from the promise of total fulfillment in God.  Our constant dissatisfaction makes us incapable of enjoying abundance in him.    

Finding fulfillment in the richness of our Creator provides a way for Christians to begin reversing the shifts caused by consumerism.  We can return from individualism to community.  From selfishness to sacrifice.  From consumption to discipleship.  In this way we become more than consumers, we become producers, “active and creative participants in the material world” finally realizing “our true vocation as sharers in the creative activity of God."

Friday, December 7, 2012

You can never go home again

What a horrifying thought!

I bought my plane ticket home on July 16th.  That was 144 days ago.  More than 20 weeks.  Almost 5 months.  I thought December 13th would never come!  I tried not to think about it too much.  Time never passes quickly when you think about it.  Excitement can make time hard to ignore.  Somehow, I did it though.  December 13th is only 6 days away!  Instead of weeks and months, I can finally count hours and minutes and heartbeats (approximately 570,800 in case you're wondering, although excitement does make my heart beat faster, so that number may spontaneously increase).

All I need to do is finish writing two papers for school.  That's all that stands between me and the joy of home.  So why can't I write them?  I've never been one for getting things done early, I've always preferred the last-minute.  But this feels different.  This doesn't feel like procrastination.  It feels more like hiding.

Then my Daddy sent me a picture of a sleeping Dakota.  The Dakota I left behind a year and a half ago when I came to Ireland.  The Dakota that I can't pet through Skype.  The Dakota that I can't wait to see in 6 days.  And the tears started pouring down my face.  What if my heart can't handle it?  All this excitement and joy and love for Home that I've been holding inside for so long.  Suddenly, 6 weeks at Home doesn't seem like long enough.

And then a rush of What If's overwhelms me:
What if I can't let go of my Daddy's neck at the airport?
What if Dakota isn't over-the-moon-pee-in-your-pants excited to see me?
What if I don't have time to see everyone I miss?
What if Mexican food doesn't taste as good as I remember?
What if I forget to drive on the right side of the road?
What if I can't say goodbye a second time?
What if I don't want to come back to This-Home-Here?

So I'm hiding behind 2 unwritten papers.  They're the only thing separating me from the excruciating mix of excitement and fear that is wreaking havoc on this heart of mine.  This heart that longs for Home.  This heart that's afraid Home won't be Home anymore.

But my heart cannot condemn me because my Creator is greater than my heart.  He knows everything.  And my heart is set at rest in His presence.  I belong to His truth.  He's enough Home for me. (I John 3:19-21)