Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Do Life 2015: Haiti (Intro)

To see things from a different perspective is helpful, insightful and necessary.

It's been 10 days since my place touched down in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. It's been 10 days since my friends and I joined in prayer for the week ahead of us. It's been 10 days since I ate meals and worshipped with my new friends, Marckenson, John Dennis and Israel.

10 days since my perspective shifted. 

As I prepared for my trip, the Lord kept telling me not to have any expectations. He told me to be open and just absorb a world that I truly knew nothing about.

Sure, I had briefly read about the earthquake that took place almost five years ago, but I didn't lose any sleep over it. 

And while that sounds like a calloused and selfish statement, it doesn't make it any less true. 

I didn't lose sleep because the event that changed so many lives didn't affect mine in the slightest.... 

However, as I sat in the box truck during the ride from the airport to the training center, the visual proof of someone else's reality was incredibly sobering.

I honestly expected to immediately feel guilt. A friend had shared that she struggled with guilt when she returned from her first mission's trip.

But, my first emotion was more of an internal statement regarding what I was seeing.

"holy crap....life just got real...."

Because, how do you look around you at months worth of trash rotting on the sidewalk and not be immediately jolted into a world you didn't truly realize existed?

I saw children wandering  in the streets. Women selling spoiled food and random smartphone chargers on the sidewalks. 

Cars so old and broken down - dark, black, billowing smoke poured out of their exhaust pipes.

Running water? Not for most. Women take large buckets to a filling station, fill them, and carry them back to the tent cities on their heads. And as they do, the buckets filled with those precious droplets slosh onto the pot-holed, unpaved roads beneath their feet.

What I look at as ultimate poverty, these people accept as their destined reality.

What I see as unbearable, they see as normal, daily existence.

What I see as discouraging and uncomfortable, they also share those sentiments.

Yet, through it all, I saw a beauty, a joy and an unbreakable zest for life from the people I know call my friends.

And what didn't affect me in the slightest five years ago, now seemed almost personal. 

As I realized that the people I now called "friend" had been in the midst of the chaos, pain, agony and loss. 

My protective fish bowl was shattered. And I had never been so glad to see broken glass.

I could so easily feel guilt, but instead I seek perspective.

Guilt won't change anything. 

Perspective might. 

Action will. 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Do Life 2015: My Pinterest Life

This morning at work, we did a really powerful exercise. 

I found to be thought provoking, directionally challenging and personally motivating.

We were posed the following question, in relationship to goals:

 "are your actions matching and supporting your intentions?"

Interestingly enough, I had asked myself a similar question about a week ago when I was working on my theme for 2015.

You see, I am part dreamer/part overachiever/part devastatingly depressing realist. 

The struggle is real guys...

When I was initial planning and brainstorming about this coming year, I immediately thought, "GRAND ADVENTURES!!!"

And then the thought process took the following downward spiral.....

  1. Grand adventures needs to be pursued?
  2. How many should I pursue?
  3. 2,015? Because of the year?
  4. Yeah, that's a great idea!
  5. Aforementioned adventures need to be documented!
  6. Wait, that's like 5-6 adventures a day...
  7. That means I have to write every single day....
  8. What if I don't have that many adventures?
  9. Oh my gosh, I'm going to fail and I haven't even started yet!!
  10. This is just too much, I'm going to pin to my "Adventure" board on Pinterest....
It's quite pathetic how dramatic my inner monologue can be.

A week goes by and I started to rethink my plan, and ask myself if my action steps were really putting me closer to accomplishing my goal.

I asked myself if writing every single day was going to push me closer to my goal or just feel like an overwhelming chore.

I asked myself if the number of adventures is important, or if just having them would enough.

I asked if I even knew what the adventures would be, or if I just needed to practice saying yes.

I also asked myself what was motivating me to get off my butt and stop making excuses.

The crazy thing I came back to was how I immediately turned to Pinterest when the thoughts in my head became overwhelming and the goal seemingly unattainable.

It hit me that my Pinterest life is far more exciting and adventuresome than my actual life, and I'm no longer okay with it continuing along that vein.

I would much rather live a life full of adventures, worthy of being 'pinned' on some one's board; than continuing  to live a life where my only adventures are the ones I dream about on a media platform that might be gone in 5 years.

Life will be far more satisfying and fulfilling when I stop living my Pinterest life and embrace this chance I have to "DO LIFE!"


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Do Life 2015

As I sit here and write, I can't help but feel a tiny bit morose. The Love Project 2014 was such an amazing journey and I almost hate to see it end. It was filled with laughter, love and important lessons learned. 

One unexpected aspect I am realizing as I sit here reflecting, was how grounded it made me feel. How settled and focused I was able to be, as well as motivated to see the bigger picture alongside the small details. 

As I drove to a friend's home for New Year's celebration, the glorious sunlight reflecting off the snow covered peaks of Mt. Rainer completely took my breath away. 

Still, as beautiful as my view was, I struggled with verbalizing my personal theme for 2015.

I mean, I have a plan, or at least the startings of one, but no definitive way in which to describe or express it. 

In my mind and on paper there are a decent number of fabulous things happening this year.

One of the first things I am going to do is accompany some friends on what will be my very first foreign mission's trip. We will be going to Haiti and serving for one week through Cross to Light Ministries.

I should probably mention I was asked to go in October, decided to go in November and now I am leaving in 14 days. What the heck....

As of about 5 years ago, just jumping in with both feet would have sounded exciting and liberating, but I never would have done it.

Why the change now? What happened to make jumping in with both feet less terrifying?

The more I thought it, the more I realized The Love Project lit a fire in my heart unlike anything I had ever experienced.

There is something so incredibly powerful and freeing about intentional love coming to you in the purest form possible. The motivation and inspiration stemming from answered prayers is more liberating than I ever thought possible. These things give you strength and an ability to stop letting anxiety and 'what ifs' make your decisions for you.

For my inspiration, I wanted to look at what I learned all last year and apply it. Apply it every single day - in both large ways and in small ways.

For example, going to Haiti is kind of a big deal. A life event requiring planning and preparation. But the decision to do, that is instantaneous. 

And I notice within myself, it's the execution of the decision that gets me all tangled up in my emotions and worries. 

And what's sad, is more often than not, the execution of so many decisions is where I get stuck. For instance, I love to read. I will choose a book in a nano second. But actually sitting down and reading it? That can be a year long process. 

This year, I don't want to just plan stuff, I want to do stuff. I don't just want to choose to be involved in something, I want to experience it. 

Fully, completely, all the way.

In 2015 I want to "Do Life". I want to seize every fabulous opportunity that comes my way. I want to create hilarious shenanigans and have grand adventures that will make my head spin.

And the thing is, if I am looking to the ONE who creates all and wants the absolute best for me, those wants are totally possible.

2015 - you are going to be so epic and I can't wait to live every day to the fullest.