Forever 21

            I am 21…for one more day. It feels sad somehow. I know there is nothing inherently important about your twenty-first year aside from the cultural significance of this random number symbolizing the commencement of adulthood, but it is still disappointing to have passed it already. Perhaps it is sadder to me because the past year has been difficult for me and I have often felt lonely and apathetic. My usually intentional personality has been quenched and I have so missed the deep relationships that I left behind this time last year that I have found it hard to receive refreshment from friends in my home town who have continued on with their lives.  

            Twenty-one has been my gap year. The year between an incredible college experience and (I hope) a wonderful cross-cultural teaching experience. The year I have so little to point to that I have done or experienced. The year I have so much to regret. The year that went by without my even realizing it.  

            And yet, God is faithful. I have a loving family and I am learning to love them better. I have imperfect friends, but I’m imperfect too and I’m learning to forgive and give myself for them and be humble so that they can do the same for me. I have an incredible church with incredible leaders and I cannot wait to see how God uses their humility and obedience to make an impact in our city and in the world. I have learned some practical skills like mending and cooking and I have gained excellent experience while working with children through my wonderful job. It has not been in vain, but it has not been my best. I guess when it comes down to it, I’m grateful that I am not forever twenty-one. Our lives are meant to move on and I am going to move on too. Here is to being twenty-two and living a life full of joy.

A Waste of Time

            Why does that bother me so much? Nothing aggravates me more than spending time on something with nothing to show for it. Today, I spent almost an hour trying to upload something, which repeatedly failed even when I tried several different ways. Time is so precious. I was trying to spend it wisely, but it betrayed me and now that time is gone. I was frustrated and complained to my mom and then I realized complaining is the worst possible option.

            Complaining leads to regret, further frustration, and more wasted time as you vent about your problems without fixing them. I recall that in Numbers 11, the people of Israel were struck down with fire for complaining against the Lord. Complaining is clearly quite offensive to God. So, I went outside on my porch and painted my nails, purposely “wasting my time” to help me cool off a little bit. When I messed up on my nails, I would wipe it off and start over again, until I was happy with them, even though it took a while.

             I think I am going to try to do that more often, intentionally put myself through something that is bothering me, so that I can approach it with a different and hopefully more thankful attitude. So if I find myself sitting impatiently at red lights, I’m going to try to take the longer way home. If I really wish I could avoid talking to a certain person, I’m going to try to say something briefly the next time I see them instead of going the other way or claiming the “I’m busy” card.

            Lord, please forgive me for being selfish and complaining when you have given me every moment according to your mercy.