Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Sometimes life just seems like this series of disconnected, unrelated moments. Often these experiences are ones we gather simply out of necessity or convenience. I need money, so I get a part-time retail job. My college roommate is attending this event, and I have nothing better to do. Creating a blog sounds like a fun hobby, let’s try it out. But when we take a step back, each one seems to have somehow led to another and a deeper interconnectedness reveals itself. In the grand scheme of things, there is a general theme that runs throughout many of our experiences. It’s all about connecting those dots.
Now, I should probably mention I didn’t come up with this idea. Steve Jobs did in his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. But what he forgot to mention was the driving force behind the stringing together of our experiences. He forgot to identify the being that draws the dots that create our life pictures. I believe the Lord had decided on His dots for me long before I entered this world.
Recently, a dramatic, yet very gradual shift that happened in my career path – given I’m nearly 20 and my career path is still very much in its developing stages. But one day, I looked around at all of the experiences and the various opportunities that have fallen on my lap during the past several months. And on that day, things began to make sense through the noticeable pattern that seemed to magically appear. All the closed doors, the ones that slammed in my face and the ones I pounded on for days, seemed to make sense. Though I may not ever fully understand what the Lord had in mind when he created me, I’m beginning to get a grasp on some of the great things I know He believed I could do.
Having plans and goals is great. Having an extensive list of things you want to do and places you want to go is great. There is nothing wrong with working for something and seeking an end result. But I think it is also important to remember who is in control. To remember that, while you may have these desires so established in your heart, He will be the one who will guide you to the finish line – whether it looks the way you thought it would or it’s something a little different. I graduated high school wanting to be a journalist (the Rory Gilmore type), but I now see myself pursuing a career in restoring human dignity to the homeless and the helpless. All because a series of moments changed my world. My picture arose out of an internship, a few volunteer experiences, and a Christian ethics class. So connect the dots, my friends. Find your picture.
A little bit ago, I took to the city with one of my favorite people, so I thought I’d post a little photo diary for my own personal memory. It also turned out to be quite a photogenic day. I love getting to be in the city, and getting to live in it is beyond anything my 16 year-old self could imagine. But I love wandering around the city with the people I love more than anything. We hit mainly the tourist spots – the Bean, the Art Institute, and Wicker Park – but I’ll take any opportunity to resort back to my tourist ways.
Now my experience in the relationship department is limited – in fact, we won’t explain in any further depth quite how limited because it might just undermine any value in the words that follow. But I do know one thing for certain: the ideas of young love and the way these feelings are being pursued are nothing more than a perfect testament to the brokenness of this world.
I go to a university with what is often described as a hook-up culture. Let’s sit on that for a second. A culture is simply the behaviors and beliefs of a specific group. Now, hooking up is a little more vague; it could mean a number of different things to a number of different people. Though, in it’s simplest interpretation it means interacting, often physically, with someone of the desired sex to some degree. There are behaviors and beliefs at these institutions built hundreds of years ago with the pure intention to produce better, more educated members of society that focus much attention on interactions of “hooking up.” And I’m beginning to believe there is no wrong in questioning how in the world we got here.
At what point did we decide it was not only socially acceptable but socially encouraged to begin these relationships and these actions of affection at such a young age. When did abstinence become synonymous with prudish and sexual activity become a measure of success. How did high school boys start convincing high school girls that they will feel worthier when they send photos of their uncovered bodies for the world to see. At what point did working towards a relationship become more appealing than working towards a college degree or a world-changing business venture. When did parents start allowing their children to believe their fulfillment can and should come from the opposite sex, and at what point did sex come to mean just about as much as a hand shake. How did we override the desire of God for us to “be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor” (Thessalonians 4:3-4).
Really, the best answer and the only answer I can give you to this never-ending list is that we live in a broken world. And as much as I wish I could move mountains and convince every 15 year old girl that they are worthy of so much more, all I can do is pray. And write.
So here I present some words in a half-hearted attempt to savage the most broken of individuals. To the girl who can’t exit a relationship without a new one lined up, know that your happiness is not defined by a relationship status, rather it is by the comfort in knowing that the Lord knows the deepest desires of your heart and will open up the doors to help you achieve your greatest goals (Psalm 37:4). To the boy who flips through girls, using each one simply to get some sense of pleasure, know that females are not your toys to play with and none can provide a permanence of pleasure like a relationship with Christ. To the girl who wants nothing more than to be in a relationship and is willing to do anything to get there, know that there is Someone who wants a relationship with you more than any boy ever will. So be confident in your love for the Lord and find your delight in him, my friends. Work really really hard and serve the Kingdom to your greatest ability, because, in its due time, He will bring the right people to come knocking on that university dorm door – or at least that’s what I’m betting on.
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