Well guys, I’m still in Brazil.
Life here, what is happening here, is far more and far different from what I ever expected (Ephesians 3:20, anyone?) I feel like right now is one of those times in which I feel incredibly insecure and just dumb in my faith when in all actuality what is happening is that God is simply humbling me. Simply humbling, haha…I act like it’s a simple task or something. Anyway, I think that statement best sums up my spiritual state here so far. I know that in the times in my life in which I experienced most growth were the times in which I was the most convinced of my failure. That’s not to say that being doubtful or self-deprecating is good, but that for some reason a whirlwind of mystery and un-sureness seems to surround the most fruit-growing times in my life.
I have learned so much about things I thought I already knew about in the past 2 weeks. I think I know stuff, and then God teaches me the same things again to show me that I have no freaking idea about anything. It’s good – it keeps me interested.
Let me just tell you, writing a blog is hard…you never know what to include and what’s just too weird to say and whose name not to drop and whose name to most-def drop. I will say, though, life here in Brazil isn’t that much different. I mean, there’s plumbing, and electricity, people eat off of plates, and I can still use a computer. I knew I wasn’t going to be living in a hut off of the Amazon, but I think I secretly did think that…silly American. I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m not that much different in Brazil. Like, I’m not all of a sudden super humble, picking up babies everywhere I go and giving my life away to them. I still put makeup on everyday, I still use waaaay too much hairspray everyday, I still act rude and say stuff I shouldn’t and function out of my own insecurities – just like in the US. Brazil hasn’t changed me. It turns out it’s been God all along.
So yeah. I have discovered a lot of interesting things about myself and my future here. Vague enough for you? But in all seriousness, I feel like in the past week I have learned so much about how wrong I can be. Just in general. Talking to some of the girls I live with and my leader here, I just realized how much life has to offer and how little of it I take (holiday at the sea, anyone?)
I guess I’ll just get right to the point. I have been living with and functioning under this mentality that God doesn’t really want me to be happy. Why, you ask. Heck if I know. Because I’m human and wrong (Psalm 103:14). I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the way I live in the Gospel, and there is this huge gap between my confessional theology and my functional theology (or what I like to call the ideal world and the real world). Basically, I know a whole bunch of stuff about the way a Christian should be and all of the right answers and yada, yada, yada. But I don’t really believe I can live this stuff out. In doing this, I’m not only (obviously) not having any sort of faith in myself, but I’m also not trusting the identity that God specifically gave me.
And the question I’ve been asking God and myself is, What is that?!
It’s kind of funny. It’s so simple. The answer is, I mean. Just put my trust in Jesus, right? Duh. But that’s so much harder to live out than to just say.
And – being myself – I have been racking my brain about how I can fix this. God was very quick to answer that. Nothing is what I can do. In my own power, there is NOTHING I can do to solve this problem. I am a sinner! How the heck am I going to do anything about it? I’m the one who got myself into this situation in the first place. But He was also quick to give me another, much more hope-invoking answer, too.
Pray. Pray about it and pray for it.
And I have to depend on Him for that.
In all, I know I am here on a mission and that God has given me a heart for that mission while I’m here. In all of the tough times, not once have I questioned whether or not I should be here. And that’s nice.
I’ve seen, also, that I still have so much growing up to do. My leader here, Jen, was telling me today that the way my spiritual life looks here is much more similar to real life and I was so thankful to hear that. It has been hard – my time here is so much less about me and so much more about the 5,612,178,099,743 things and people I need to be thinking about on a daily basis. I realized that I’ve grown incredibly spoiled in my spiritual life. Thus far, it’s been mostly about me. In the past, when I felt wrong, weird, or just funny, I isolated myself and journaled about it. And don’t hear me saying that that’s not good. It most certainly is. But when you start feeling funny and journaling doesn’t seem to be helping and you’re in a group of people and it would be kind of weird for you to get up, isolate yourself, and journal about your sin, what are you going to do? I’ll tell you what you’re going to do, you’re going to get over it and trust God’s grace. See, I have always struggled with legalism – I want to do my faith. I want to fix it and make it look nice and pretty. But I have an ugly heart and sometimes people see that. And sometimes getting by myself and getting it all out is not how I need to fix it. What I need to do in those situations is to trust that God will still love me and that He will fix it. Because in the end, He’s the One making it all work, anyway. So, yeah…sorry for my time on the soap box. I’ll descend.
I think I’ve run out of things to say, but I want to leave y’all with a verse that has been in my heart for the past few months:
“Therefore, my dear friends . . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Faith isn’t easy.
P.S. Allison Preg, thank you for what you said on my wall – I needed to hear (read?) that. I love you, roomie.
P.S.S. Kimberly Allerton. I miss you. Steph and I talk about you. A lot. Let’s hang out at Beach Project? One-on-one, maybe?
P.S.S.S. Katie Sherrod, thank you for your encouragement and for reading – it really makes it all worthwhile 🙂