A Pretty Good Place to Start

Ever since the day I returned from my time in Swaziland, Africa, my heart seemed to be missing a piece that (to this very day) I have not been able to locate. Ever since resuming my life here, I've felt a bit disadvantaged...as if though losing that piece of my heart was a bad thing. As if, for lack of a better word, my time spent there had wrecked me.

And then I went to college where I knew no one and no one knew me. I struggled through surface conversations and small talk while my soul desperately begged for a deep connection again. My best friend was suddenly +10 hours away. The boy I was crazy about went to another school. I spent my first few weeks counting down the time until I could go home again, thinking about sweet summer memories, and trying to preserve every last high school friendship I'd ever had...and it drained me completely.

For awhile, I tossed around the idea of applying to a spring break missions trip to Belize with a team at Bethel. "No," I thought, "I still haven't gotten that piece of my heart back from Swaziland. I can't give away another piece."

When I first started forming new friendships with people here at Bethel, my thought process was quite similar. "No," I thought, "I still haven't gotten the pieces of my heart back from the people who meant the world to me throughout my high school career. I can't give away another piece."

You see, I'm not a letter-goer. Never have been, never will be. I'm a hoarder of feelings and memories and I don't think I'm alone in being that way. So many of us crave new beginnings, the chance to be adventurous, and spontanetiy in its rawest form but struggle to fully enjoy those things or be intimately present in those moments because we are too concerned with clinging onto the past. Don't get me wrong. Remembering and reflecting are good and excellent things...but when those things get in the way of reality and renewal, we stop growing and our lives become plaqued with redundancy rather than opportunity.

One day not too long ago, I rolled out of bed and made some hefty executive decisions. I decided to apply to that missions trip. I decided to let new people in, I decided to let go of the friendships that were no longer valuable to me...and I realized something quite profound in the process. I realized that the beauty of giving little pieces of our hearts away to the things we are crazy about lies in the contingency that we will never the same again and neither will others. I realized that the beauty of never truly getting those little pieces back lies in the lasting impact and influence we leave by living our lives, sharing our struggles, and owning our stories.

I got accepted to that missions trip. I've formed some incredible connections and relationships with people I've known for just over two months. I've grown closer in the few high school relationships I chose to sustain and make a priority. I'm in the midst of praying about a return trip to the carepoint in Swaziland that sealed the deal on my heart for international missions work...and I am happy.

Am I exactly where I want to be? No. I still have to be intentional about being intentional in controlling my thoughts, giving what I cannot control over to God, and very simply being present in the moment. Is it easy? No. It's not. But, since doing the easy thing is almost never the right thing...I'll continue to deliberately make those executive decisions and trust that in doing so, the right opportunities - whether they be missions trips, relationships, or something in between - will present themselves.

I don't know exactly what I want out of life...where I want to be or what I want to do...but I do know that wherever I am, I want to love people with a wild, conspicuous, enormous kinda love that just doesn't make sense...and that seems like a pretty good place to start if you ask me.