God Welcomes the Mess and Brokenness

I’m back here with lots of thoughts. I’ve been kind of lost in my head these days. I’m a big dreamer. I’m always thinking; I always have ideas. But in all honesty, I haven’t liked to think much lately. Especially when that thinking involves myself, my life, my emotions, or my thoughts. Why? Because it has been a dark place recently.

If you know anything about me, you know that I love people and being around people. It is a rare occasion that I don’t want to be with people, but that is what has been happening more often lately. I have a lot of moments went I just don’t have the energy to be with people. I’d rather hide away. I don’t respond to texts or messages. Everything takes so much more effort. I don’t feel like I can be my “normal” self with people so I’d rather not be around them at all. Instead, I spend a lot of time sleeping.

On the other hand, sometimes I go to the opposite extreme. I attempt to fill my time with things to do. I like to work as much as possible because it keeps me distracted from my thoughts. I work on school. I spend time with friends and attend every event that I possible can. I spend way too much time scrolling through social media losing myself in other people’s “perfect lives,” not interacting with anyone. The “busyness” helps me to not think so much.

But I’m realizing that no matter what I do, I can’t stop myself from thinking entirely. I try to push it all down and move on with life, but it still creeps in. It effects my mood, attitude, and emotions. I am very frustrated and irritated all the time. I feel like crying so often and I can’t be entirely happy because my thoughts are still “there.” It effects my energy levels. I am constantly tired and would rather sleep than do anything productive. It also dictates whether I want to be around people or not.

What’s worse is the fact that I know it’s there. I know that my thoughts are dark. I know that it’s effecting everything. I know there are things that I need to address and process. There are things that I need to work out, but I don’t do that. I avoid anything involving having thoughts. This entire cycle makes me angry with myself.

To tell the truth, turning to God has been the last thought on my mind. I have distanced myself from him just like I have tried to do so with my thoughts. Thankfully, I can never truly distance myself from God. I try to though. Why? I know what I should do. Why do I not do that? I believe the answer may lie in the reality that I’ve never felt this broken. I’m a broken mess. I always have been. Everyone is a sinner and broken to God.

But I believe this is the first time that I’ve felt so deeply broken. To the point that I question God and his planning. How is he working? Can he fix this mess? Does he even want to fix this? Everything happens for a reason, but I’m not seeing any kind of point to all of this. God is good and he desires the best for us, but sometimes I wonder if that’s true.

Here’s what I’m learning though. God delights in us. We are a blessing to him. Is that not a crazy thought? That we are a blessing to God? There is so much talk about how God blesses us, but we are also able to bless the Lord. We are a blessing to him. Another aspect of God, he does deliver us from our struggles and suffering.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

-Psalm 34:17-19

God does deliver us. He knows our mess and brokenness more than we know ourselves. Despite how deeply and fully he knows us, he still desires a relationship with us. He welcomes the mess and brokenness. He is near to the brokenhearted. He sees us. He hears us.

“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!”

-Psalm 40:17

More so, God thinks of us. He wants us to bring everything to him. He truly wants us to live our best lives and we can’t do that without him. While we do not always understand God’s timing or plan, it is still good. It will always be good. Though we may doubt how something or other can be good, our definition of good is limited by our sinful human nature. That is not the case with God. God is perfect and so his definition of good is perfect.

Knowing this and believing this are two different things though. That’s something I’m working on. Trusting God with the mess and brokenness. God can and will deliver me. All I need to do is run to him and bring it all before him. I’m not too far gone.

Hoping to lighten your burden,

Gabi

Invest Where You Are

Hi. It been a long time. I’ve come to this blank page multiple times, always planning to write a new post, but words have failed me. It’s been almost four months since I’ve left Taiwan, but it feels like years. I miss Taiwan. I miss what was “normal.” I miss my friends. I miss my students. I miss teaching. I miss church. I miss the struggle of using Chinese. I miss the convenient transportation. I miss bubble tea.

Now, I’m trying to adjust to this new “normal” in the United States. In almost four months, I’ve lived in three different states and I’m about to move to another state. I haven’t really settled down since Taiwan. Things have been kind of up in the air since then. I don’t know how long I’ll be in any place right now. Everything is very temporary.

I’m tired. So tired. I have ideas and dreams, but I have no thoughts onto how I’ll attain them. I don’t even know if any of these things are things that I should be pursuing. Where should I be? What should I be doing now? These questions cross my mind all the time. There’s this overwhelming pressure to just DO something, anything, but I find myself doing nothing.

Then I was brought back to my word of the year. Invest. Investing is probably one of the hardest things to do right now, but it’s probably now one of the most important things to do now. With COVID-19 that puts so many restrictions on what were “normal” activities and with my living situation being very temporary, making commitments and investing is hard.

Community is what we all need, especially now. As a Christian, it is even more important. We all need to invest where we are and find community. God has put each of us where we are for a reason, for a purpose. Sure, how we invest and make community will look different for each person, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

-Hebrews 10:24-25

I love these verses. Don’t we all want a community like that? One where people love one another and encourage each other? One where people can reply upon each other in time of need? That’s the kind of community that we could all use no matter where we are in life.

So that’s where I’ll start. I don’t know where I’m headed or what God has planned. I feel so very lost sometimes, but thank God that he is capable of using a broken mess like me. I don’t have to know everything, but I am capable of investing in the people around me. I am capable of building community.

Personally, it’s extremely hard for me to be present. I’m always looking towards the future. And I’m not saying it’s bad to look towards the future, in fact, it’s good to look ahead. But it’s also so important to be present. And no one should be looking so much towards the future that they miss the present, that they’re not really “there” to the people around them.

In this time of transition after transition, that’s what I’m going to work on. And I hope that this encourages you, wherever you are in your community building, to continue investing. No human being is perfect, but it’s encouraging to know that God continues to invest in us despite that. What an example we have to follow.

Hoping to lighten your burden,

Gabi

So This is the New Normal

time just flies by and now it is april. time is like sand. i try to hold on it, but it keeps slipping between my fingers.

things have changed a lot in the last few months. i know. it’s on everyone’s minds lately. the virus. the coronavirus. or COVID-19. whatever name you put to it, you can’t go a day without hearing about it (much less a few hours).

an unknown virus has changed life as we know it. everyone has been effected, whether in big or small ways. we can hope that things will go back to “normal” soon, but for now this is the new normal.

unfortunately, so many people are struggling in this time. we have people working in the medical field or working for the government or working in the food industry. there are more, like all the first responders out there. i could go on.

these people are essentially risking their lives day in and day out, some more than others. either way, there is always a possibility, always a chance that they could come into contact with the virus. they still work though, because they are needed and necessary.

then there are all the people without jobs. people who are trying to figure out how long they can survive like this. how will they take care of their families? their relatives? themselves? no one knows when things will get better. everything is up in the air.

but while many struggles are visible, there are some struggles that go unseen. those who have mental health problems. for many people, they now have to practice social distancing. they have to stay at home. if they go out, it’s only for necessities or the occasional walk…by themselves. for those who struggle mentally, i can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.

(thankfully, here in taiwan we have yet to practice social distancing. we are just trying not to travel a lot or associate with too many different people. and we’re always wearing masks and washing our hands.)

and lets not forget all the plans that were cancelled. weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and more. some of these were monumental events that people only experience once, but the virus changed that.

people are stressed. worried. anxious. the list goes on. and what is God’s purpose in all of this? i’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. and honestly, i’m not sure that i’ll ever know, not until i see God. that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use this time for good.

there’s a lot of fear in the world right now. people are scared. while they have no hope, we, as Christians, do. we have hope. we may be scared, but we can act despite the fear. we know there is someone who is greater than this virus and he is in control. even if we can’t see him, he is with us. we may not know his plan, but we know that he is good.

“i pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

-romans 15:13

in this dark time, let’s be that light to others. send a text to that friend that you haven’t heard from in awhile. call up that person you’ve been meaning to talk to. it can be something as simple as that. you don’t know fully what people are struggling with. you never know when something as simple as a message saying “i care. i see you.” may make all the difference in his/her life.

Christ poured out his love for us. we can definitely take the time to show that love to others. small acts of kindness really do make all the difference.

and i hope that when things do go back to “normal,” that we, as a people, won’t. we will be changed. i hope that we learn something from this time. that we appreciate the small things. that we don’t take for granted the time we have with our families and friends.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what have you been doing during this hectic time? what have you learned or taken away from this time?

You Have Meaning; You Have a Purpose

the rain continues to pour outside as i start to write this post. it has been cloudy outside ever since i woke up this morning. apparently the weather is like this because of a typhoon.

don’t worry about it much. typhoons are kind of a common thing here. it’s just another day of life in taiwan. typhoons are nothing special here. haha.

i love the sound of rain. the sound of the water falling and hitting the ground. it is very soothing. the smell of nature and the outdoors seems so fresh and new when it’s raining.

i’ve been learning so much lately. living in a foreign country where you know absolutely nothing forces you to learn so much at once. even the most basic things become complicated and hard. it doesn’t matter how much you prepare or how much you are expecting everything to be different and new, it still hits you when you are surrounded by it.

it can be overwhelming. legit so overwhelming. i don’t know how else to describe the feeling of being alone (though you may be with people, but only people you’ve recently met). the feeling of being thousands of miles away from everything you know. the feeling you get seeing all these different sights, experiencing all the different smells, tasting all the different foods, and just plain living an almost entirely different lifestyle from the one you lived before.

there are times when i feel absolutely exhilarated. i love it here. i want to experience everything. i want to try every new food and drink. i want to learn all the Chinese. i want to meet all the people. other times i am so tired. i miss having pizza. i miss being able to just “talk” to people. i don’t want to spend any time socializing. i just want to sleep or scroll through social media.

what is God’s plan for me?

what does he want me to do with my life? am i doing it? is what i’m doing right now really what he wants me to do? is there something more that i should be doing? am i missing something? my thoughts go around and around. i feel unfulfilled. dissatisfied.

other thoughts enter my mind. is anything i’m doing right now truly meaningful? it is hard to know whether or not something is meaningful or has any kind of effect if you don’t always get to see the results of it. that’s something i’m just going to have to trust God with. as long as i’m doing the work that he wants me to do, then it is meaningful. no matter how mundane or boring or normal it may seem.

and i think it becomes more meaningful, the more of yourself that you’re able to put into your work. God, no matter what we do, wants us to give our best. in everything that we do, we should give our best effort. now i’m not saying that you should over do it and give everything you have and then more to the point where you are literally hurting yourself. no. everyone has a limit. and that limit looks different for each person. you do what is your best for you. you give your all, in the way that only you can do.

wherever you are in life, i want you to know that what you’re doing. right here. right now. is meaningful. God has you there for a reason. you may not know the reason right now. and honestly, you may not know the reason until you’re in heaven with him. but that doesn’t make what you do any less meaningful.

you are you. there is only one person like you. and that’s you. you can only do what you can do. God gave you a purpose. and only you can fulfill your purpose. no one else is able to do it for you. everyone’s purpose looks different. each was uniquely designed for the person it was created for.

so don’t ever think that what you’re doing has no point. you don’t know God’s plan. only God does. and whatever that plan is, it is just what he wants for you.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

i like to have direction.

don’t you?

isn’t it nice to have an idea of where you’re going? to have the path laid out in front of you? to know that this is where i’ll be at this point in time?

in reality, life is hardly ever like that. those people with their five or ten year plan, i applaud them. i can’t even imagine making a month plan, much less a ten year plan.

because more often than not, life seems to have a mind of its own. it throws things at us that we would have never expected. where i am right now is somewhere i would have never imagined for myself a year ago.

there’s hardly a time when i know what life is going to look like in a few months. i jump at the opportunities that pop up and seem to align with my passions. those kind of things just pop up though. there’s no telling when and where they’ll show up. so ultimately, i’m just taking things as they come. of course, there are certain things (like school) that i have an idea of where i want to be at certain times, but i don’t have much faith that they’ll turn out exactly the way that i think they will.

sometimes, this feeling of uncertainty, this feeling of no direction, terrifies me. what am i going to do with my life? how am i going to make a difference? God gave me this life. what’s his purpose for me? my fear of wasting my life is sometimes so daunting that it stops me from doing anything in the first place.

i feel like i’m caught up in this constant fight with myself. i have so many dreams and passions that i feel like i should do something with. there is so much that i would like to do, but the list is intimidating. and the fear of the unknown, the fear of doing the “wrong thing” and wasting my life is scary. not even knowing where to start is just another reason to not even try.

but you know, it’s okay to not know where you’re going.

it’s okay to have so many dreams and passions that you feel properly swamped by them.

it’s okay to be scared, because true bravery is acting out in spite of the fear.

it’s okay because your life is not your own. your life is God’s.

“don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? you do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. so you must honor God with your body.”

-1 corinthians 6:19-20

and God is in control.

God has a plan for you and he’ll make sure that you fulfill that plan. all you have to do is make sure he’s at the center of your life.

take those passions you have, take those big dreams and start small. God gave you those passions, those dreams. it may seem insignificant right now, but everything has to start somewhere. if you follow them, they will lead you to where you need to be.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what are some of your passions? what are some of your dreams that seem so unrealistic, but you dream anyways?