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Just a few hours ago the view outside my backyard was chaos. Hail, torrential downpour, sirens, dark black skies.  A few hours later this is the view from my backyard. Peace. Beauty. Still.
God is above sunsets and thunderstorms. Seasons change, weather changes, circumstances change. But our God never will.  Whatever you are facing right now, know that you are not alone.  Know that it will not last forever. And know that God will redeem you and heal you. The  clouds that were in the storm were the same clouds contributed to this sunset. God makes beauty out of pain.

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A poem for the Twenty Something’s

You see, the last month i have felt out of place.
I’m 22 and just graduated college.
the real world is like a party and that wasn’t invited to.
But i was forced to go anyways.
I walk through the door and every glance and conversation confirms my fear: I don’t belong here.
Analogies aside, tell me you’ve felt this way too.
We spent twelve years as students, life with  peers and writing papers.
And in one day it all ends.
“adulthood” begins
full of potential employers and long applications. I’ve realized something.
We’re walking dichotomies:
Proving ourselves  to the world
while simultaneously feeling so unsure of ourselves.
We are told to follow our dreams but to be realistic.
We have a degree but zero experience.
We can solve quadratic formulas but can’t do our taxes.
We are called young and adults in the same sentence
We are done learning but only just beginning to learn.
We know everything, but we know nothing. 
We are Connected virtually,  but diseased with loneliness and depression.
We are Passionate about changing the world and finishing that show we’re binge watching on Netflix.
I can’t speak for everyone; but I feel like a walking dichotomy.
The world opened the doors to the party, but remember. 
we are all invited. 

The problem with FOMO and Wanderlust

I was talking with some people in London about travel, and my experiences. I don’t know where or how it happened but I got up on my high horse named Harry the Jerk and started saying things along the lines of:
“Yeah, some people in Texas are born, raised and die in Texas. They never leave. They never travel. They miss out on so much. I feel bad for them.”

I’m still kind of embarrassed.

There’s two cultural phenomenons that shaped my judgmental thinking: FOMO and Wanderlust.

1. FOMO

Look,  the sweet old lady who was born, raised and died in the same house but spent time with Christ every morning is better off than any well-traveled person who doesn’t know Christ. When we die, what’s going to  matter? How many stamps are on our passport? How many souvenirs we got? How many times we traveled on a plane? No, none of it will matter. The old lady didn’t miss a thing because she had Christ. And if we miss Christ, we miss everything.  1 Cor. 13 doesn’t mention travel, but I can just hear it “Even if I had traveled the whole world, seen every city and every world wonder, if I did not have love, I would be nothing.”  If we don’t love, pursue and seek to know Christ better we’re missing the point. Don’t let the world convince you that there are “better things out there.”

2. Wanderlust:.

God created the world, and sometimes I believe we worship the world instead of Him. We idolize a  country, an experience, a trip. We expect a vacation to Disney World to satisfy us but we leave Orlando with empty pockets and weird tan lines. As far as what I understand wanderlust to be, it’s a desire to travel the world. Which is great. nothing wrong with that, but it can be dangerous. Just like trying to find satisfaction in money, food, acceptance: we’re going to end up empty handed if we try and fill the God-shaped hole in us with traveling. It might be fun, it might ‘wet our whistle’ but traveling with the intention of finding “that place” or having “that experience” might just leave us empty handed, frustrated and tired.

Let me just kick wanderlust in the butt right now. There’s nothing, no country,  no city, no community, no experience that is going to satisfy you more than Christ will. That trek through the Himalayas? No. that 7 day cruise? no. The 5 day all paid expense trip to Europe? Nope. Are those things wrong? No. But it’s important to check your motives before you travel. What are your expectations? Why are you going? No vacation is going to save a family, no new place is going to solve your problems, no new experience is going to satisfy you in the same way that Christ can.

So what does this mean, marlie? You want me to sit in my room and read my Bible all day, all night, and never leave the house? Of course not. I have good news.

God is everywhere. He’s in your math class, he’s at your 9 to 5 job and in your church, He is in London, India, Indiana, Texas, He’s everywhere. As you travel, you can and should seek to experience God in new ways. My favorite part of my 3 months in London was the time I spent in Glencoe, Scotland. We were in the Scottish Highlands and we stayed in a hotel that was in a valley between snow-capped mountains. I spent my time by the river, surrounded by God’s creation and God himself. That time with God was better than any show, any food, anything I experienced that whole 3 months.

Did I have an amazing time abroad? yes!  And that’s okay. If I see the World and can travel more in the future then awesome, but if not that’s fine too.  Because God is not bound by walls or barriers. And that is great news. He is everywhere and we can experience Him wherever we are. Trust that He has you exactly where you are for a reason.

Seasons of Change

A few years ago, I was attending an orientation for my summer mission trip to Orlando. Around me during the session on Culture shock were students who were going to China, Africa, Asia, far more exotic places than Orlando, Florida. I almost tuned out during the whole session, because really, what’s so shocking about the culture in Orlando? They have air conditioning and toilets just like we do. I am so glad I listened though because I received the best piece of advice that day:
“It’s not bad, just different.”

There’s a point in the culture shock process where the butterflies and romanticism of the new environment has faded, and in its place comes frustration and anger at everything that is strange. This could range from irritation at a person who speaks different, disgust in new type of food, or just anger at the weather. The guy speaking at orientation told us to say to ourselves during those moments, : “It’s not bad, just different.” I used that phrase a few times in Orlando, and even more in my semester abroad in London. I used it again today, and I plan on using it many more times the next few  weeks.

Over the last four years, I have not spent more than 3 months in one place. I was in school, home, school, home, orlando, school, home, school, London, school, home. Graduation, home. That’s a lot of culture, a lot of adjusting. Through it all, I was a student and I did adjust overall to this season of my life, a season of college. And for the last 12 years or so, i’ve been a student, inn the season of learning, writing, reading, researching, growing, being around my peers, being mentored, and mentoring, volunteering, serving, studying,, procrastinating. Well, I graduated college yesterday. My season as a student is over. That chapter is closed. As I think about this next part of my life, I know it will be nothing like college. College is unique, and amazing experience, Post-college life is different, its not bad, just different. I can’t live my whole life in on-campus apartments (that’s illegal…and expensive), I get to learn how to live alone, start a career that the last 12 years has been preparing me for, I get to learn all the adult things that adults do (although, I’ll feel very much like a child in adult clothing the entire time.)

I’m going to miss college so much. I already do. I miss the people, the professors, the environment. I don’t miss the homework. There will be times when this post-college season sucks, and is irritating and frustrating. However, I plan to remind myself that this part of my life is not bad, it’s just different. And that’s okay.

I’m thankful for this new season, the new faces, the new challenges and opportunities that will come

(And also I don’t have to write any more 15 page papers…so that’s a plus.)

–A recent college graduate,

Marlie

Real Talk: Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

I’ve only seen like one episode of this show, but I feel like I’m stuck in the twilight zone. Or the Matrix. Or what’s that movie called with “i never got an oscar” guy and the dreams? Oh yeah, Inception. Okay, I don’t really know how i feel. But I feel stuck. Like my feet got cement poured over it and I’m struggling to get free. Before I finished school, I had dreams and goals and ideas of what I wanted to do. And now that i’m done, I feel like i’ve been struck by stage fright. People ask me what I want to do and I freeze, stutter and blurt out something. Or just shrug and wait until they forget what they had asked me to begin with. I was once willing to jump on any opportunity, I had my head on straight then. Now, its just hard for me to get up in the morning and to stay focused enough to get  a task accomplished. I’m way too obsessed with my phone. I realize that, but I can’t shake it. I haven’t read my bible in weeks, and I haven’ prayed in a month. I realize I need to, but pride is one hell of a wall. Worst than all of it, is the constant nagging I’m getting from my own self. Nothing’s good enough. I’m constantly beating myself up. I’m not allowing myself to rest. I don’t feel like I deserve rest, or that I earned a few weeks off. Oh God, and the loneliness. It’s killing me.(i feel like those are lyrics to a song, but i can’t figure out which one…)   I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what i want to do with my life. And I feel like everyone is waiting, even me, to just make up my mind and pick a road to go down.
( Afternote:Whenever  I run out of words i start rhyming. Cause everything sounds nicer in a rhyme. So this is me calming myself  down)

It’s not my road, and it’s not my choice.

It’s His path, and His voice

This uneasiness I feel, this anxiety

Is not mine to bear, not mine to carry

He has me right where I am, in this season

for a purpose, and for a reason.
I dare not rush into this or that
if I do and I fall flat

God is there to pick me up.

I’m empty and poured out, Lord, fill this cup.

Help me know, it’s not where  I go

or what I do, no,

It’s Who I serve and who I love

Everywhere there is a need

For your love to be seen.

fill me me up and pour me out
every day and every hour.
(all out of rhymes…)
Deep breath, Marlie. You’re almost 22, and no one knows what they’re doing at this age. Or at any age.
You’re going to be okay.

After, after note: This unedited rant, and corny poem is where I’m at. Just wanted to be honest and authentic so to let anyone else in my boat know they aren’t alone .

This too shall pass,

Marlie 🙂