i think this space could do with a little bit of happiness…so.

in freshman year i was not a big believer in “hanging out”. actually i thought of it as social procrastination. the notion of spending time together simply because was very foreign & silly-sounding to me. i guess i brought a lot of arrogance into my time here. i wished more of fellowship time were given to detailed Word study & less meaningless icebreakers. i thought conversations were shallow and fake, and i developed a phobia of answering the question “so where are you from?” (because i didn’t know how to answer). maybe it’s true that we should study the word more, but i know that my heart was wrong and that i was very, very proud. i thought that i had nothing to learn from spending time with the people who were reaching out to me. it was more satisfying and predictable to throw my energy into schoolwork. who knows if the conversation i’m having at large group is going to grow into a friendship ‘worth’ my time? but i think there was also something more fundamental going on: i pushed community away because i was so uncomfortable with myself that i was always on edge and feeling like a failure. i habitually avoided my hallmates because i was convinced they would think of me as a freak for not partying & etc. i could never say the right things (or seem to speak audibly… actually this is still a problem but i’m working on it). i spent SO much time getting myself out of social situations it’s ridiculous. freshman year is a little fuzzy right now but i do know it was dark and lonely and sort-of my fault, i lay in bed a lot and cried a lot and missed home very terribly.

why i’m suddenly reminded of all this? i guess… i’m just incredibly thankful. God was a real and saving presence in my sadness freshman year, but i was still very isolated and found a perverse sort of comfort in my isolation. just looking at how today was spent makes me so glad and grateful that my heart has been changed and softened over the past two years. love comes alive in community. serving in rcf/sgp (and indeed being served A LOT, too) has opened my eyes to how awful i am at putting others first, how unnatural and painful it feels to have to give up my time/to invest energy in something that might not seem to be going the ‘right’ way. how counter-intuitive it is that i should actively pursue relationships that don’t automatically ‘click’, that are not smooth & easy. and then i wrestle with condemnation and guilt and feeling like i’m always disappointing someone. i look at other servants and envy their bigger hearts / ‘inside’-ness, wonder why i am so weird and detached and etc and blah but oh oh oh how much sense everything makes when you look at Christ. the kind of love (sensitive, sure, secure, true, pure, eternal, unbiased, UNCONDITIONAL) you find. it turns the way you look at people and community and yourself completely upside-down. knowing the truth sets you free because community and social groups cease to be a site of self-actualization – they become a pool into which His love can overflow. i am so affirmed in the love that covers me that it really, really doesn’t matter if i don’t feel like i have the same cultural upbringing or habits/interests. i can drop my self-consciousness entirely and love more fully. i can receive love more fully, and marvel at God’s grace in others’ lives when i see them growing and stepping up and giving when it is difficult. i can be completely honest about how frequently and intensely i battle with instability and anxiety and irritation. it’s not rainbows all day but seeing community striving and trying to love and serve one another & our campus a bit better day by day is …. like A FLOOD OF JOY, hehe. i am sure that God is faithful and that He is constantly working to make beautiful things out of fistfuls of dust.

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