It is my birthday week, so blog presents for everyone! This is a post I wrote early in my 26th year. Enjoy:
I’m twenty-six and it’s a Saturday night. Maybe I should be out with friends, dancing at a night club, meeting guys probably. Instead I’m in my pajamas on my bed surrounded by a bag of Crispy M&M’s, Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love, remotes, phone, pens, and Celestial Seasoning’s Cinnamon Apple Spice tea. It’s my Mama’s favorite, so I drink it when I need a piece of home.
It was one of those weird days – an introverted day for an extroverted person. I had breakfast with my best friend and then spent the day alone. I sat on the couch for a while and took turns reading and watching Netflix. Then I moved to my room and did the same thing. I suddenly got the urge to be pretty and girly, so I drove myself to Target and spent too much money on lipstick, nailpolish, earrings and said bag of M&M’s.
I put the lipstick on in the car afterwards, drove home and continued my evening with Netflix, M&M’s, and nail-painting (but classy because of red lips). I’ve always felt that in some ways I am eternally five years old, and in others eighty. Today was an eighty-year-old day. It was refreshing to the soul in a lot of ways, however in the back of my mind I always know that true rest won’t ever come unless I empty my brain of the million words and feelings that are white water rafting around in there, taking them to the LORD and allowing Him to help me wade through the mess and beauty of it all.
There have been a lot of emotions since the start of my new year of life, and it is easier to surf social media, Pin a million hairstyles, snapchat my new lipstick and binge watch Private Practice for the third time than to sit down and slow down and clear my head and heart. But here I am, even after a Facebook distraction, writing. It is days like this that help me slow down and see clearly. Time and space give us the opportunity to see what we really want out of life.
I want to have a strong voice. Not strong in the sense of the number of people listening, but strong in the sense of it having a foundation of courage and belief and confidence. I want to speak truth and love and grace into the people God places before me without hesitancy or trepidation. I want to put words to how I feel in my heart about the God I follow and the people I love. I want to speak clearly and piece stories together that inspire, convince, and encourage.
I want to love people well. I want people to walk away from our conversations believing more in themselves, in God, and the beauty of the world. To give people a reason to hope, to dream, to laugh, to trust. I want people to hear my faith in my words, to see it in my actions, to feel it in my hugs. I want to listen well and long – a million times more than I speak. I want people around me to feel heard, important, and whole.
I want to make a difference where I am. I have hopes and dreams for where this life will lead me, but my life could end tomorrow (probably will with the amount of M&M’s I’ve eaten). I want to take advantage of each and every day, every moment. Every conversation, laugh, cry, conflict, friendship, celebration, struggle should be fully embraced and absorbed. Don’t run from fear or failure; don’t worship fun or success. God is in it all.
Between the ages of twenty and twenty-six, I have lost my desire to stay up until 3am, dance with strange men, or watch the Bachelor. I do still love late night heart to hearts, dance parties (in PJs) and a good Netflix marathon. Sometimes things only change a little bit. I’ve seen Jesus lead pretty clearly, and I’ve felt how hard it is when we ignore His leading. I’ve seen people make devastating life choices, and I’ve experienced the blessing of friends who walk with me towards the Lord. I’ve finished school, and experienced learning for its own sake. I’m still young – very young according to that college freshman in chapel who asked me what grade I am – but I am gaining years. Gaining experiences, setbacks, successes, heartaches, laugh lines, scars, and so much more. My prayer is that my voice would be strong but gentle, my words thought out but authentic, and my love generous but personal.
At twenty-six I am still fairly suspicious and scared of boys. I think a lot of you are cute, and would love to know you, but it seems we still are somehow stuck in that playground phase of life where we are chasing or running away from each other and not communicating honestly in any way, shape, or form. Some of my friends have married some of yours, and that is great. I’ve stood beside them on their wedding days and watched them pledge their lives to each other. I’ve read books about how hard that is. I experience a constant pendulum swing in my heart and mind about how easy it is to be single and how profoundly I desire to love and be loved. Dear Future Husband, I can’t decide if when you propose I will cry tears of JOY and hug you, or slap you straight across the face and yell, WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?! I have realized that I can focus my pent up frustration with the male race towards teaching these college boys how to be real men, and I am humbled by and grateful for that opportunity.
At twenty-six I am so deeply aware of my brokenness, but so profoundly sure that God doesn’t see that when He looks at me. I am so convinced that He loves every part of me; I am fearfully and wonderfully made and He knows that full well. I am bothered at a soul level by our obsession with our sin and navel-gazing and so underwhelmed by the idea of spending our lives ridiculing, hating, and belittling ourselves.
At twenty-six I am feeling the deep, resounding heartache of the hurt in the world. I could cry because of my confusion at why we are SO freaking terrible to one another. Why do we hate people who are different than us? Why do we start wars? Why do we blame, accuse, enslave, and reject each other? How have we arrived at this place where we are so blind to the Imago Dei within every person with whom we share this earth? Sex trafficking, slavery, hate crimes, injustice, overindulgence, self-centeredness. While we have so much goodness within us, so much of God in us, we chase after the things that make the world so ugly, so scary, so in need of saving. We have already been saved – we are all (not just Christians – but atheists, Muslims, and the rest too) so consumed with pointing fingers, blaming, and force-feeding our beliefs (or lack thereof) that we are literally destroying ourselves. We need a paradigm shift; we need new glasses.
At twenty-six I so strongly believe in the Resurrection, and that it is the theme of our lives. I believe in what Jesus did for us, and that our response isn’t a should or a have to, but a deep excitement and willingness to follow a God who loves us enough to sacrifice His one and only. Life is a constant death and Resurrection, brokenness and redemption, and we grow and are made whole in this beautiful process.
At twenty-six these are my values: loyalty, friendship, celebration, depth, learning, transformation, chocolate, beauty (seeing it not being it), and commitment. I’m learning them, practicing them, and holding tightly to them.
I have high hopes and big dreams – and I hope that years of life won’t diminish that. I hope that Kallie at twenty-seven, thirty, forty, and so on is always a dreamer, a hoper, a feeler, a believer, and a Jesus-follower.