What About the Change?

After graduating from college, she went to China and spent a year there teaching English. It had nothing to do with her major, but she still went, and it was an incredibly rewarding – and growing – experience.

As I read her story in an alumni newsletter today, I felt something that I hadn’t felt in a month or two, since talking with several YWAMers about their DTS experiences.

I felt excitement, a yearning for adventure.

I love to dream. I love the possibility of new, exciting adventures in untested waters. New cultures, new languages, new travels that are all my own. The prospect of finally finding myself and becoming the person I want to be.

I’m restless here at home and, to an extent, at school. Life in my small town continues on at the same pace as before I left. Not much has changed, except that I now know fewer people here.

I don’t know what I want to do with my life, not really. Oh, I have interests, but how many of them are really mine? How many of them are just my latching onto other people’s visions and thinking – hoping – they are mine too? Would I still be drawn to this or that country after the novelty wore off? Will my media interests fade, like history, like journalism, like fill-in-the-blank, on further exposure? What about missions?

The more “different” the opportunity, the more likely I am to dive into it, hoping for it to change me, to teach me discipline and point me in the direction I should go. But the changes I seek tend not to follow me home. It’s something I’ve experienced time and time again, but I’m still restless, chasing dreams as if they’re the gateway, the only gateway, to a happily-ever-after.

But life isn’t a fairytale. Sure, there are such things as life-changing experiences – hopefully my DTS will fall into that category – but usually, it’s the choices of everyday life that reveal one’s true character. My travels have left me with beautiful memories and a strong wanderlust, but they haven’t been the be-all and end-all that romantic me still hopes for.

And meanwhile, as I dream, real life continues on, latent with a different kind of possibility.

I’m still, it seems, waiting for tomorrow’s adventure to make me the person I want to be.

All or Nothing

At around 2 this morning, I started cleaning our apartment kitchen. It took three hours. I may not touch the dishes for days — or even weeks — on end, but when I do, well, watch out bread-crumbs-hiding-in-obscure-places.

This all-or-nothing mindset permeates (too) many areas of my life. The further I get into this semester, the harder it is to find the motivation to do my work. And when that motivation is absent, the “nothing” side often wins.

Now if this were just a homework-related issue, you’d call it procrastination or senioritis. But unfortunately, it has infected my spiritual life too.

In my mind, the ideal devotion time is my sitting in a quiet place with a Bible, a Chuck Swindoll Bible commentary, and one or two other books stacked up next to me. I read portions from all of them. I have an amazing prayer time. I spend at least an hour with God.

Those kinds of quiet times are few and far between, and there hasn’t usually been a middle ground. Even my last resort of breezing-through-a-chapter-when-I-can-barely-keep-my-eyes-open-at-night has fallen by the wayside.

On the rare occasions when I have had my ideal devo time (or pretty close to it), there’s a sense of satisfaction and joy … and foreboding. Will I spend this time with God the next day, or will I fall again? And after each fall, each mismanaged day, each me-centered decision, my motivation slips and I’m much more prone to “nothing.”

I don’t want that. I don’t want to have one rockin’ devo time every two or three weeks but virtually nothing the rest of the time.

Just because I can’t always be “all” doesn’t mean my only other option is “nothing.”