Saturday, March 29, 2014

Because I’m happy

I've been reflecting on happiness a lot lately and what it truly means to my life. How does it make me feel? How does it affect my day, my personality, my other ambitions? These are just a few of the questions that keep going through my head.  I think about a moment I can clearly remember feeling true happiness that filled my whole body and soul. This memory is not one I have to ponder over for long because I'm quickly taken back to my trip to Zimbabwe/Zambia, which I briefly wrote about here. To truly put this experience into words is near impossible because the beauty of it can't actually be expressed; it can only be felt by the soul. I wish all of you could feel that, so that you could grasp why I never want to stop talking about my year away. Why I refuse to let it become something of my past. Why deleting saved photos of elephants, children, and the savannas off of my phone is a dreadful thought. 

Through my reflections, I started to decipher why this trip trumped so many other life events, and I have come to believe that these four days are the closest I have ever been to the person God designed me to be. Free. Complete. Gracious. Spontaneous. Loving. Just writing that my heart skips a beat, making me long for a walk to the market in Zim to speak with the locals about life and southern Africa. 

When I traveled to Zimbabwe with Emily and Mallory, I was given the opportunity to see life from another different perspective. I was able to be who I wanted to be without the world around me already determining that based on their assumptions. I was free to truly exude the real portrait of me. Quirky and a little awkward. I was complete through the love I felt by others and the love I willingly wanted to share.

I'm longing for that pure bliss that came with walking from one country to another. I'm dreaming of the next day I feel that alive.  I'm wondering how to make it a part of my everyday life.  But then I think that maybe it's not a part of every day life, but rather a glimpse of the majestic home that we truly belong to, and I think of that as what I'm working towards.  I'm constantly working towards feeling more free, complete, gracious, spontaneous, and loving, because it means I'm that much closer to my Father.  I'm that much more aware of the beauty of grace.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear High School Me

This weekend I had the opportunity to go through a bunch of boxes that were packed up during the move.  I guess I have always been a person who writes out my emotions, because what do you know, I discovered all kinds of writing samples of mine from middle school and high school.  Sadly, I’m embarrassed to say that 95% of them were regarding some boy who “broke my heart” or was “confusing me.”  If I dated you from the ages of 13 to 17, there’s probably some journal full of scribbles about you and our relationship.  If not that, there was probably a stack of letters from my girlfriends giving me suggestions on what to do.  They were humorous, but just a little bit sad and desperate, which got me thinking. 

What would I have told my high school self in these situations?

First, pull yourself together.  Yes, break-ups are painful and they always will be, but any boy who is going to hurt you that badly probably isn’t a boy you want to be with for a long time.  Any boy who is confusing you enough for you to fill pages and pages with your emotions probably does not care about you to the same extent, so you should reconsider why you are making such a big deal about him.

On top of that, the future you is going to realize that none of these boys were really quite what you were looking for.  They may have filled your high school days with laughter and fun, but the woman you will turn out to be is going to be looking for much bigger things in a relationship.  You will be seeking more unique qualities.  

A God-loving man. A man who will not run in trying times. An adventure junky. A man moved by missions. A man who has a heart for orphans. A man who enjoys snuggling up with a good book. A man who loves animals. A man who truly accepts your family and wants to be a part of it.

You will one day move beyond the cute athlete and the musician, although those things will still make you swoon from time to time.  

If high school Taylor was to come to me crying and asking for help today, I would stop her and ask her if she has taken it to the Lord.  Have you prayed about the situation?  And not to bring said boy back, but for clarity and acceptance?  Afterwards, I would suggest that she not only pray for this new ex-boyfriend's future relationships, but for her own.  I would tell her to fervently pray for her future husband and his walk with the Lord.  Pray for the man that has already been set aside for you, the man that God knows will be the one to complete you.  There's something beautiful about the thought of marrying a man you were praying for before even meeting him.

Lastly, I would tell high school Taylor that in the future she probably won't date for years because there are other things in life that are weighted more heavily at that stage in her life.  She will be distracted by ruins in exotic locations, languages, children in Africa, and airports.  Because of that, I'd probably tell her to grab a notebook and head to Barnes and Noble.  Go to the travel section and go crazy!  Choose a location, learn as much as possible about the culture: food, traditions, clothing, top sites.  Then, save up that money and go!  Grab your girlfriends, your sister, or your mom, and explore another culture.

Live.  Don't let some boy keep you from truly living.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Passion Vs. Money

I've been doing a lot of job searching in the past month, looking for a position that I am both qualified for and passionate about. A lot of thought has been put into what I essentially want to do, but said job isn't found easily because it's a small niche. 

I recently went to a job recruiter in order to get some guidance and a little extra help getting my name out there since I find it awkward to promote myself to others when I meet them. During our meet up, she asked me an important question...

What would be your ideal job?

I've put a lot of thought into this and I have discussed it with my parents and a few select, dear friends, so I had a fitting answer. As I drove home though, I realized that although my answer was true to me, it didn't really embody what I deeply want to do. I want to love those (that feel) less loved. Obviously I realize that this isn't a true career, but that is what I feel called to do in life. I feel called to be active in communities that others turn a blind eye to or have written off due to financial predicaments, addictions they face, the language they speak, etc. I feel most me when I am serving in such an arena. I feel most comfortable when I can put focus on others and their special traits. 

Knowing this about myself, I continuously keep finding myself asking the same few questions. How do I combine this knowledge in order to start my career? Does a career need to be something I'm passionate about or is that what hobbies are for? Why do companies that speak so deeply into my soul not financially have enough money to hire employees? Why can't I just start my own non-profit and travel the world while loving precious people?

All of those questions tend to come back unanswered, requiring me to put all of my faith into God's timing and God's planning. I thought after a year of being completely out of my element that would be easier, but it hasn't been. With everyone else talking about their current jobs and all of what that entails, I find myself sometimes, keyword sometimes, being not very relatable to others. Im currently unemployed and the job I had was so unique, that many people can't fully fathom what I was doing. That, or I've found some people just don't care to ask. 

So what's the key to getting a job? Many people keep saying to take what you're offered and pay your dues. In many ways I agree and have spoken similar words to friends, but what I'm finding is that it is easier said than done. What if I want to pay my dues while working towards something I'm incredibly passionate about? What if I don't allow myself to be dictated by money and go after what I truly love? Ah, but there's the problem, right? Money... I need to financially be able to support myself, a lifestyle I'm comfortable with, and any unforeseen dilemmas that could potentially arise. 

Wouldn't it be peaceful if we weren't ruled by such worldly factors?