February 4, 2014
“I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up
I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go
but I am here to learn.”
-- Shane Koyczan
ever since i was little, i spent a lot of time alone. whether it was playing on the computer for hours at a time or reading through a stack of books as i listened to my favorite hilary duff cd on repeat, i enjoyed the time i had to myself. in college, spending time alone looks like hiding in the corners of my favorite cafes, running errands, going on walks, reading, and journaling.
somewhere along the years of having all this alone time combined with the hurt that comes from growing up and facing the messiness of people, i developed a very independent mindset. for a while, i swore to never depend on people ever again. i had been disappointed too many times; shared too much of myself with people who stopped caring. each disappointment became a brick that i used to build walls around my heart.
thankfully, God put it on my heart to find a close group of sisters as i headed off to berkeley for college. i have been so extremely and undeservedly blessed to have the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for. these are the relationships i will fight to keep even after i graduate and get older. over the past two and a half years, my friends were with me through every high and low--the good, the bad, and the ugly. some of them know me even better than i know myself. i learned to trust and share again.
but even then, i couldn't shake this independent mindset that i had. yes, i loved my friends, but i didn't want to depend on them--they had their own problems to worry about, how could i burden them with mine? i struggled to ask for help; usually, i had to hit rock bottom before i (tearfully) asked for prayers. this happened every semester--i tried my best to handle everything on my own--whether it was serving, school, family, or relationships. i thought i had to take care of everything by myself; i thought that was what it meant to be "strong." but really, i was just being stubborn and prideful. i also approached my relationship with God in a similar manner for a while. God called me to do certain things and i believed He gave me the strength i needed to do them--which He did, i just didn't realize that God can also send people to help me instead of expecting me to do it all on my own. i had a "dependent on God, independent of people" mentality, which God started to break down over time until i finally let go of it.
last semester, i didn't spend as much time with my friends. i was alone a lot more, and even though i talked about how much i love having alone time, it was different this time--i was lonely. i missed the constant presence of my friends in my life as we all got busier with school and work. it was harder to maintain relationships as we all struggled with different things. i let some of my relationships grow stale and bitterness crept in. i was tired; school was hard. i didn't want to try anymore. but truth be told, i think a big reason why everything was so hard was because i was disconnected from my friends.
the consequences of that semester didn't really hit me until i went home for winter break. within the first few days of winter break, i started missing all of my friends like crazy. i immediately regretted not trying harder, not apologizing sooner. then at onething, it finally hit me--i need people. not just want, but need. God created us to be in relationship--with Him and with each other. it's good to have alone time--needed even. but when you're so independent to the point where you can't ask for help until you hit rock bottom, like i was, that's just unbiblical. God created us to be a part of a community--the Body of Christ. He calls us to love each other until we hit each other's walls and messiness and then to love even more. it's in community where you learn how to love, how to show grace, and how to forgive.
the idea that being independent is strong and being dependent on people is weak is a big fat lie that has pervaded our society. this is the lie that leads people to isolation. this is the lie that prevents us from sharing, asking for help, and confessing our sins to one another. many times, God uses the relationships we have with people to heal us and teach us. we need to ultimately depend on God to satisfy us and lead us through this life, but He definitely speaks through the people in our lives. we just have to be humble enough to listen and receive.
so how can i practically apply all that i learned to my life?
well, i resolved to ask people for help before i hit rock bottom. to not only repent in prayer, but confess my sins to those closest to me so they can pray for me and keep me accountable and help me fight my sin. i am challenging myself to open up more; to share even the most random thoughts with people and trust that they do care and that they genuinely want to hear what i have to say. i am realizing that i don't always have to say the right thing; i can say what i feel--and that might be better in some cases--to just be honest. because those who are closest to me will love me no matter what i do or say. i am learning to actively engage in conversations by asking more questions instead of waiting for people to say things. i am also making it a point to apologize and forgive as soon as possible, whether i am right or wrong. it's obviously not going to be easy and there will definitely be times when i don't want to share because of guilt, shame, or pride. but my prayer is that God will soften and enlarge my heart and help me to love people; to open up and let people in; to trust them and to trust that God can and will speak to me through them.
i started this post because i really like that quote up there and i wanted to talk about how i am learning to open up more lately, but then all of these thoughts ensued. i want to believe that everything still kind of relates to the quote, haha. i know i rambled a lot, but i hope this made sense and helped someone in some way! if you took the time to read this super long post, thank you. really, it means a lot to me. :) and feel free to share about your experiences with this (or anything, really)--i'd love to hear about it!
at 9:59 PM
January 28, 2014
some more film pictures !
these were from a while back (october, i think?) when a group of us went exploring in sf.
san francisco has so many little gems to discover throughout the city.
i want to take the time to visit and explore more places this semester in sf and in berkeley !
"Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." -Jim Elliot
rediscovering this quote; it's one of my favorites.
learning the importance of being present in all things--every moment, every conversation, every relationship, every class (definitely gotta work on this one, haha).
it's been easy to get stressed out lately--thinking about the future, internships, studying abroad, school--but i'm trying to take things step by step.
remembering last semester, i already miss so many things that happened.
the present will become the past that i will miss in the future.
i don't want to fall into the cycle of worrying about the future so much that i forget to enjoy the present and then end up regretting it later on.
step by step, little by little, day by day...weeee !
at 10:12 PM
January 24, 2014
i finally got my roll of film from fall semester developed.
i've talked about this before, but i have such a love/hate relationship with film, haha. i love how the pictures turn out (light leaks and all), but the whole process of loading the film and taking the pictures is so nerve-racking because i can never be sure if the camera is actually taking any pictures (!!!). but i definitely prefer film over digital--so i guess it's a more-love-than-hate relationship. :3
so i worked on this roll all throughout fall semester.
one thing i love about working with film is that you forget what pictures you took so it's always a pleasant surprise looking through them.
looking at these pictures, i remember the meals and conversations shared with friends. i remember the different cafes i visited--spending time alone, studying, reading, journaling, people-watching. i remember thanksgiving break and socal and how much fun i had with irene's family.
all of this happened just a few months ago, but i miss it all so much already. i want to be more appreciative of the present--the people around me, the places i get to visit. i realized over winter break how much i take for granted. i'm so blessed.
this is just the first half of the pictures! i'll post the rest in a second post. :)
at 11:12 PM