where i’ve been, what i’ve learned, and the God who’s been constant through it all. // + my photography!

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It’s been too long.

 

Each time I’ve tried to sit down and write, I’ve either gotten distracted, become unmotivated, or overwhelmed, hence the silence on my part. And so instead, I’ve been gone, treating my blog as an intimidating monster to be slayed, not a haven to use to think and rest in, which I think has done me more harm than good.

 

Regardless, here I am, and thank you for sticking around to read – it means the world.

 

The past few months have been stretching for me. The end of my summer marked the end of a metaphorical season in my life, and whenever a season ends, in my experience, it’s like something’s come out of nowhere and struck me blind, leaving me dazed and confused about where to go next. Moving forward was the only option, and while I’m not sure if I’ve done it gracefully, it’s been a necessary and worthwhile journey.

 

And so, I took a trip with friends from all over North America. We traipsed around different states, drank a lot of coffee, and had extensive, passionate conversations until the sun came up. I came home with a renewed sense of what I want my life to look like, reality colliding with my visions, my passions, my dreams, and my desires.

 

And since then, I’ve had so many more conversations across the miles with those friends who mean so much to me, and I’ve discovered even more about myself, about God, about the people with whom I share my life, and who I want to be.

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Watching the sunset with two of my friends (I’m on the right).

I’ve been learning a few things – and thought they were worth sharing.

 

One, gratitude is important, because it causes us to say, “You are enough” to whatever we’re truly thankful for.

 

Gratitude teaches us to say, “God, this life You’ve given me is sufficient – even when it’s hard, and confusing and hurts. I can thank You for it because I know that You’ve brought me to this place and You won’t leave me. The time, energy, and gifts You’ve given me are good, because you’ve called them good – and I accept their adequacy.” Gratitude causes us to reframe our perspective and realize that always longing for and acquiring more doesn’t lead to an abundant life; joy does.

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Two, Jesus is the only One who satisfies, and the One we must pursue before anything else in this life.

 

Like most other young people my age, I desire a lot of things. I desire to be married, and start a family, to have a successful career – whatever that might look like – and an apartment, and unlimited access to great coffee, and the list goes on. Yet, I’m slowly learning that none of those things can compare to the magnitude of the joy that comes from knowing Jesus. That if my contentment isn’t found in Him first, I won’t ever truly be content with anything else.

 

The joy found in Him is so much greater than anything the world offers, even if it isn’t filled with ecstasy and euphoria, because joy isn’t dependent on circumstances; it rests on the Unchanging One.

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Three, good, healthy relationships (of all kinds) begin with selflessness, the desire to have Christ at the center of every facet of life, and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit.

 

I talked a lot about conservative culture with my friends. As a whole, these are some of the strongest, wisest, and most godly people I’ve ever known. And in our late-night-early-morning talks, we explored what godly relationships are supposed to look like, trying to break down the “secret sauce” to Spirit-filled interactions with others, especially in the area of pursuing marriage. And we came down to this: legalistic rules don’t change hearts; the Holy Spirit does. There is no One Right Way™ to find a spouse, and there is no secret method to finding your “soul mate” (that concept is rooted in Greek mythology, and isn’t even biblical!).

 

Good relationships, of all kinds, actually, have a few things that make them work. Discernment in who you choose to share your life with – the Holy Spirit’s direction in what that discernment looks like, as well as His involvement in developing our character – and growth, that we would desire Christ even more, as we grow to know Him and become more like Him.

 

And as we are drawn to Christ and choose to live for Him out of gratitude and joy, we’re drawn to others with the same vision, and get to serve God alongside them, as opposed to looking for other people to serve us.

 

Relationships are simpler than we think they are – and Christ must be our focus.

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Four, seeing life as an adventure makes the journey exciting.

 

None of us can know exactly where we’re headed; we just need to listen to and trust the God who does.

 

Anxiety about the future only causes us to look to ourselves and realize we don’t have everything figured out, which only causes us to worry more. But in those moments and seasons of uncertainty, when we look to God to direct our next step instead of giving us a perfect map, we can embrace the adventure of the present, and learn to rely on His strength to bring us to the place He has for us.

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Five, serving God probably won’t look the same as it does for other people. And that’s alright.

 

Embrace where God has you – nothing will kill your contentment and peace more than feeling like everyone’s life is better than yours. Believe me, I’ve fallen into that trap – but unless you’ve walked life’s ups and downs with people, both laughed and cried with them, and felt everything they do – you can’t judge who has the better end of the deal.

 

There is a purpose for all of us in this life, which is simultaneously static and fluid.

 

Static, because it’s the same no matter where we are in life – to love and glorify God, to serve others, and to display His love to the world. Fluid, because the manifestation of that in our lives looks different from day to day. Some days it looks like traveling the world and helping orphans, and that’s beautiful. Other days it looks like studying and working and encouraging people via text messages.

 

Both are amazing because when God is in them, they belong to Him – the One who orchestrates the seemingly random, unspectacular parts of our lives to be something so much greater than us.

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I’m still mulling over all of these things in my head, day after day, weeks after all the conversations took place – and it’s been beautiful. I may turn any of these five things into their own blog posts in the future, as we’ve barely scratched the surface of these truths. Let me know what you’d like to see in upcoming posts on Scattered Journal Pages!

 

And if you’re looking for a little middle-of-the-week encouragement, sign up to receive my encouraging text messages, Scattered Encouragement, by texting @scatterede to 81010.

 

This summer’s been a slower one when it’s come to writing here on the blog, so thank you for bearing with me as I figure out where I’m headed. Your support means so much to me!

 

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22 Replies to “where i’ve been, what i’ve learned, and the God who’s been constant through it all. // + my photography!”

  1. Love you, Twinsie. Your photos are lovely and your life is too. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been feeling the same thing with my blog. In fact, I hopped on my laptop tonight thinking about possibly writing and found this post waiting for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s weird…it’s not exactly like I feel like I have to blog, but more like man I want to and yet…I don’t know what the words are yet…

        Like

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