28 June 2009

moving forward, not knowing where to go

it's that time again.

i'm pretty convinced that "I'm at another turning point..." is a phrase that might not ever be exempt from my vocabulary, but, instead has become an essential statement to describe life.


although, while talking to my best friend, i realized something. if i'm always at another turning point, then, in reality, i'm just going in circles. hmmm. that's not really the direction (read: direction-less) i want to be walking towards.

well, neither here nor there.

i'm at another turning point. it is a vulnerable place. a place that has become quite familiar but no more comfortable than when i first encountered it. my job at IJM is over in September. i'm unsure of what is next, and, although, i do not want to be overly concerned about what is next, i am realizing that is inevitable. my nature bends that way. the way towards worrying, preoccupation about the future and fear with a little touch of schizophrenia.

i know my dear Father calls me to a different way. a way that is full of peace. a way towards freedom. i know he calls me to rest. i know he calls me to not be concerned with man's voice or man's approval, but with the Kingdom of Heaven. However, it is so easy to be concerned with the things of this world, even good things. i find myself spending hours that turn into days of pondering different scenarios of life, of "ifs" and "whens".

i had dinner with a good friend the other night. she asked me, quite directly, "Emily, are you more concerned with what you are doing than with who you are becoming?"

i didn't have to blink before i knew the answer to that question. conviction comes like a sweet perfume, begging to overcome the stinch and allow itself to pour over me. i needed that perfume. you see, i've been trained my whole life to care more about what i am doing more than who i am becoming. this world begs me to care. we attend colleges for a certain training in order to do a job. we move across the country for jobs. i am trained to care about what i DO.

do we as believers move to places, to colleges, to communities because we feel that by moving there it will shape us? it seems that this is usually an afterthought. Are our decisions about life based on the desire for our person, our soul, our mind, our being to be shaped more into the person of Christ? i want my decisions to be based on this. (obviously, i'm not saying that you shouldn't make decisions based on what you do--but, perhaps, put the same amount of preparation and thought into how that decision will change WHO you are.)
I want to ask myself, who do you want to BE Emily? Isn't that what this is all about? this life--be-coming more like Christ? showing Christ to the world? i fully understand that what we do is in direct correlation with who we are, but let's face the music--i'm most certainly putting the cart before the horse. furthermore, and more importantly, i want to focus my attention on WHO trasforms me, restores me, changes me. i want to pursue and seek after my Father. i want to know Him more fully. i want no other distractions from my one desire to know Him. no doubt that if i live on that vine, my fruit will follow. unfortunately, i'm concentrating too much on what field i want God to plant me in, instead of the fruit he wants to produce in me--regardless of where i am planted. (i'm reading Galations at the moment, hope this analogy is making sense...)

i say often that i am waiting on God. waiting on what? should be the question that follows. then the truth would come out. i would list a number of things...i'm waiting on a job, a place, a person, an opportunity, more money, a direction...

See, i'm a very silly tree.

Didn't i just claim that i was waiting on God? whom? God. ah, yes.

Him. God. Father. Jesus. Lover. Spirit. Speaker. Stir in me. Stir up WHO you have called me to Be.

alli rogers' song echoes close to my heart today. could you please pray that i will trust my Daddy God enough to be brave? pray that i trust his still small voice above the deafening screams of the world around me.

I will find my place
I don’t know what’s going on today
but lead me down
whatever path has led me here
I may never conquer this fear

But you have never left me
I have sunken inward and scattered out again
And you have never left

And if I’m brave I will find my place
Maybe courage is not all they say
Cause I have found
that the sweetest moment on this road
is moving forward, not knowing where to go

And you have never left me
I have broken down
and danced around your truth
And you have never left

If I’m brave I will move through fear
Through circling around and nothing’s ever clear
I will find my place, through jumping up and down
and I still can’t see your face

But you have never left me
I have run away and denied your name
and you have never left
You have never left me
And if I’m brave I will, if I’m brave

15 June 2009

vague stirrings

(excerpt from Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott)

...A memory came to me then, of our pastor telling us just the week before how she gets direction from God in prayer; she said that when she prays for direction, one spot of illumination always appears just beyond her feet, a circle of light into which she can step. She moved away from the pulpit to demonstrate, stepping forward shyly into an imagined spotlight, and then, after standing there looking puzzled, she moved another step forward to where the light had gone, two feet ahead of where she had been standing, and then again.

"We in our Faith work," she said, "stumble along toward where we think we're supposed to go, bumbling along, and here is what's so amazing--we end up getting exactly where we are supposed to be."

But I couldn't discern even what direction to face. And I didn't understand why as usual God couldn't give me a loud or obvious answer, through a megaphone or thunder, skywriting or stigmata. Why does God always use dreams, intuition, memory, phone calls, vague stirrings in my heart? I would say that this really doesn't work for me at all.

Except that it does.

11 June 2009

what do you want to say?

what i want to say is stop. just stop and enjoy where you are. soak in the people around you, soak in the smell, soak in every conversation. don't wish you were somewhere else.

what i want to say is if you do wish you were somewhere else, then take the plunge and go there. yes, it will probably be difficult, but it will be a wonderful difficult experience.

what i want to say is listen to patty g. before falling asleep.

what i want to say is the grass really does seem greener on the other side. sometimes it actually is, i've found that it usually is not.

what i want to say is i wish i could eat an avacado every day.

what i want to say is read the psalms. over and over again.

what i want to say is knowing God is a really uncertain, joyful, frustrating, ironic process.

what i want to say is i really don't know anything. i'm just learning about everything.

what i want to say is i'm scared, of many things, but mostly being alone.

what i want to say is dance, dance often.

what i want to say is try something you know you will fail at. yes, something you might fail at--you might not fail :)

what i want to say is our God is a God of JOY, JOY uncontainable. This Joy erupts, it spreads, it multiplies, it is profoundly central to the gospel i cling to. This joy is experienced, is expressed, is fostered through many ways, people, activities, moments, thoughts, places...

what i want to say is good food + good people is one of the best combinations.

what i want to say is i wish i could live in daingerfield and in d.c. at the same time.

what i want to say is probably what you want to say.

what i want to say is life really is completely unpredictable.

what i want to say is i could probably talk on the phone all day long. oh wait, i do.

what i want to say is He is my faithful witness.

what i want to say is soul be stirred. soul be stirred. soul be stirred.

01 June 2009

in the news...

human trafficking news across America:









Feels so unreal...Researching and reading articles like these opens my eyes to see the reality of what is happening around us, even in the land of the free. I am continually shocked at what I learn on a daily basis through IJM of what is happening in the realm of human trafficking across the globe and always caught without words to see what is happening only a few streets away from me.

Most likely, girls and boys are being trafficked and sold for sex in a city near you. Did you know this? I know this question gets tiresome at times, but how can we, normal everday people, aid in the fight against this injustice? How would you want someone to respond if this was your niece or your daughter who found themselves in this situation?

I recently attended an anti-trafficking forum put on by World Hope International, a wonderful organization that is doing great relief and development work all over the world. Obviously, this problem is very complex. It is overwhelming to see the multiple factors that play critical roles in this type of organized crime and thus make it very difficult for me to even begin to see how I can play a part in advocating for the victims. The forum brought together professionals in this field and concerned citizens to brainstorm innovative ways to fight human trafficking. I attended a couple of breakout sessions, one entitled "The Role Men Play in Sex-Trafficking" and one centering on research in Cambodia on sex tourism and the part pornography plays. [i wanted to run out of the room during this session, it was utterly terrifying]

A lot to digest, but I do have to say that in the midst of what is a very sad and unsettling situation, I do see hope. God's people are doing something and it's exciting to see those in bondage being set free.

If you want to learn more about human trafficking, let me know-- (emmaleeseybert@gmail.com)-- I, personally, am just learning, but I can email you about some great organizations that will offer you much more information.