(Blog Contribution from my best friend Ella, who I love so dearly.)
Life is a pretty foggy place. I’m not exactly sure what I did 2 weeks and 3 days ago, but if you asked me to pinpoint something I did, it would most likely be attached to an emotion… but here it goes, last week, I can’t say I had any prevalent memories, since I didn’t do anything worth retelling. Sure, I cuddled on the couch, watched too many episodes of Madmen, continued on with my same routines, enjoyed a few nights on the patio with the love of my life, had a few lunches with some great friends, but nothing worth retelling. Why does this bother me? Well, because I shouldn’t be this comfortable in life. I shouldn’t be soooo….. unmemorable. I’m pretty sure growing up we all wanted to be like a super hero, make a difference… but then we get lost along the way. I feel like I’ve been trying to go upstream, but somehow I get lazy along the way and find that I’ve drifted 100s of miles away from where I wanted to be.
I’m absolutely not perfect, but know I can do better. I don’t want to look back on my life and just say… I drank a lot of good wine and made a lot of great friends. Sure, that sounds amazing, but is it really? You know what a good memory to me is? The time where I saw an old sad woman working in a restroom handing out napkins, and I gave her a $20 dollar tip. I’ll never forget her eyes getting really big and her jumping up and hugging me. She really hugged me. I remember saying to her, “God put it on my heart to give it to you, God bless.” I’m not sure why that memory always pops into my head, it happened years ago, but if I had to guess, maybe it’s because I did something for someone besides myself all while bringing the glory back to God. You know what’s funny? … How I waste $20 dollars daily… on… who knows what, but one day I unselfishly gave it away to one sad woman, and it’s a memory that lasts forever. It’s not foggy… it’s clear… it’s memorable…. it’s real. And then… I stop. I never do it again…. and I go back drifting downstream…
My real question to myself is… Why do I rarely do anything that brings true meaning to my life, when in actuality it brings me the most joy? I feel like I spend my life walking around with nothing — absolutely nothing in my head… or at least it feels that way. I wish someone would just shake me sometimes and say “WAKE UP!”
What’s upstream? God. Definitely, God. What’s downstream? I’d say every little selfish thing I want to do… every distraction… everything that keeps me away from the true joys in life.
There have been so many times in my life that I’ve found myself 100 miles downstream… maybe further. In college, I’m pretty sure I managed to find myself on the other side of the country —- if that’s even a metaphor… I’d go through the daily steps of either ignoring God or…. going to church and ignoring him there… Strange? Yeah. But, somehow I managed to do that. I’d go to church, follow the motions, shake hands, smile, act perfect, sing the songs… and meanwhile I’d be thinking about my hair… friends… the daily events to come… and everything I needed to do… Meanwhile, I was probably even hung over from the events from the night before. Sometimes I’d even say, “God please forgive me” then go out and do it all over again that night. SERIOUSLY?!?! WHAT WAS THAT!?!?! Talk about downstream, that was more like falling down the waterfall and crashing into the rocks. I was a mess.
Crashing into the rocks is sometimes what it takes to realize your direction isn’t right. But the truth is, I don’t want to crash into the rocks every single time I stray away from God. I want to keep pushing in the right direction, because I want to do meaningful things – I want to be memorable – I want to make a difference…. I want to make my Father proud.
God forgives me, time and time again. He died for me so that I can have eternal life– forgave my sins…. And I didn’t do anything to deserve it. Which is why I want to glorify Him. I’m a mess without him. I’m not a nice person without Him – I say pretty stupid things when I’m not focused on Him — and to be honest, I do not like who I become when I’m downstream…. Heck, whoever said sin is fun is lying to themselves… because the truth is — even if you’re not a believer, you know when you’ve made a mistake. You know when you’ve gone too far… and you know that the happiest people are the people who follow something so much GREATER than themselves…. Because this world…. It’s nothing in comparison to what waits ahead….
From this moment forward I’m making a pact with myself to start living and to stop just existing. I’m saying goodbye to my selfish, self-centered ways. I want, scratch that… I NEED to actually do something with my life that will make a difference. I know I’ll get distracted throughout life, but I just pray that I’ll remember that woman in the bathroom handing out those napkins… and I hope that she’ll be the reminder that true joy comes from glorifying God.