For the last couple of weeks I have been trying hard to be more proactive in my relationship with my Lord. So often I find myself slipping down the slippery slope into "doing stuff"- trying so hard to do the right things, acting the right way, saying the right things, attending the right places, that I get caught up in that, and I no longer am "BEING", just merely "DOING".
This past weekend (November 5-8) I was visited by my good friend Katie Beer and her friend Lydia. They were on a roadtrip from Detroit, Michigan, where I grew up, to St. Louis and further into Missouri, where Lydia's family lives. In these short three days I have been taught so many things about myself and the life I have chosen to live than I have learned in a long, long time.
On Friday, I was preparing myself to go do Squatter Camp, a homeless simulation that I had signed up for a long time earlier, with one of my good Moody friends, Katie Koopman ("Small One"). Katie and Lydia were on their way into Chicago, and they were only a few hours to arrival. I didn't realize how much I relied on plans and expectations until my RA told me I couldn't do Squatter Camp with my friends here, because they couldn't be in my room while I was sleeping out on the plaza. So change of plans.
"Small One" went off to do Squatter Camp on her own, and I was left sitting in my room, waiting for my friends to arrive. When they did, we meandered over to Ed Debevick's with my friend April, and then around Downtown, the City Night Lights shining bright and beautiful over the streets. Up and down Michigan Avenue lead us back to Chicago Ave, and then back to school, where we enjoyed Midnight Pancake Night on my floor (Smith 7) and I introduced K + L to my RA, Noelle, and some of the other girls on my floor.
I was so worried about my Small One, outside in the cold, so I left my friends up in my RA's room and ran down to Smith 4, where I talked alittle with ANOTHER Katie, Katie Holmes, Small One's roommate. UGhk... caring about people is HARD. I was reading Isaiah at the time, and came across this verse: Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
I was dealing with some severe anxiety attacks that day and the couple of days after, and reading that verse gave me strength and peace of heart to not worry about Small One, or anything else. I slept well that night.
Saturday rolled around with alot of things to do. We woke up- THEY woke up late and we skipped out for a day on the town. I gave them a taste of the Red Line and the Chicago busses, caught up with my friends Amber and Small One and went to the Water Tower for lunch at FoodLife, sifted through the American Girl Place and Hershey's World, Ghiradelli's and the Disney Store, and then landed squarely at CB. CB (standing for Chicago's Beloved) is the homeless ministry I do every Saturday afternoon, walking down Lower Wacker, doing a biblestudy in Millenium Station, and eating chili at the Thompson Center are just a few things I LOVE doing with my CB family. K+L, Small One, Amber, another friend of mine named Tayte, and Small One's entire Squatter Camp participants attended CB that day with the other regulars.
After a great biblestudy and a quick bite of chili, K+L went to Navy Pier (with careful directions dictated by muah) and Small One and I went down to Lower Wacker with Pat Hecker, Josh Tikka, John Lee and a new friend named Brian. After a long walk through LW (Lower Wacker), we split off from Pat, Josh and Brian, and we Moody-ers went back to school. I met back up with K+L at the Cheesecake Factory for a late dinner and then took the bus back for a good night's sleep.
Sunday was alittle less hectic. We slept long into the morning again, then went out to Giordanos for lunch (Chicago style pizza! Yay!)... took the SkyDeck tour on the Sears/Willis Tower, and rode the 'L' around the Loop, pointing out landmarks along the way. We took the Blue Line out to Wicker Park for church with my friend Brian, and then back to school to relax and read, listening to the echoing Lecrae Concert in the tunnels. We migrated to a warmer spot in the tunnels and were met by Andrew Webb and Josh Tikka, Small One, and DRoc, and just had a fun time laughing and being together. The night ended with a couple of good conversations, and some more chapters of Isaiah finished.
Monday morning was quiet and after work and a morning class, we meandered around Old Towne in search of a cafe. Tayte and Small One helped me see K+L off, and as they left, I thought all this through in my head.
I know this recount is long, and I intended it that way. Although I'm sure I could have put my point accross through less elaborate terms, I wanted to be honest when I say this- I didn't realize how much of my life is surrounded by PEOPLE until I re-read these paragraphs I've written above.
I'm not saying that the things I did this weekend were in any way wrong, or that I regret them, in fact it's the opposite, I don't regret them, because I am learning from them. I've learned that my life has been made better by people- they litter and scatter my posts like confetti- they speak into my life and change my mind. They make me remember that love is possible, strength is acquireable, honor is achievable, virtue is reachable, honesty is desireable. They keep me sane, keep me level, keep me protected and safe. They help me, they make me, they teach me.
BUT, I also realize that too often do I rely my life on them. Too often recently have I let them determine my days, whether they be good, or they be bad. Not once this weekend have I stopped my business, gone off by myself and spent time just me and the Lord. People were more important. PEOPLE WERE MORE IMPORTANT.
Sure, I prayed. Sure I read my Bible- but to what means? Why? Because I needed to? People, the people around me, they are my world. My LORD should be my world, not PEOPLE. Not human beings. Lord, forgive me!
I love my friends. I LOVE THEM. I would die for them. But I also need to learn how to balance my life- I need to stay grounded and rooted in the relationship I have with my Father, my Creater, my Lover, my Protector, my Friend. He needs to be the main influence in my life. PERIOD.
While I praise the Lord for the people he's brought in my life;
I praise him for the new friends and the new family-away-from-family;
I praise him for the lessons He's teaching me through their interaction in my life- forcing me out of my bubble and my shell, forcing me to be vunerable, forcing me to be proactive in their lives and mine, forcing me to be trusting, forcing me to expect;
I praise him, I praise him, I praise him; every day, every minute, every second...
I also need to praise him because He is God. Just because of that. He is my God. I need to learn to live with him by myself. I need to learn how to be home in him. I need to learn how I need him, I need to learn how I want him... I need to learn how to be in a relationship with him- one that's just him and me. And that scares me. That scares me.