Friday, May 28, 2010

Too Messed Up for Love

May 25, 2010
                                                Too Messed Up for Love
Dear Friend,
            First of all, I want you to accept my apologies for the prolonged silence. I have been dealing with finals, and I had to go away for a retreat, Chapter Camp, by the fellowship I attend – Intervarsity Campus Christian Fellowship. It is certainly always refreshing to be away from the fast paced technology filled parts of life – we had no “easy” access to Internet, or cell phone service. You had to climb a huge hill to get a cell-phone service, or if you really needed Internet, you could ask because they could get limited reception. So I was always faced with the question: “Do I really need the internet? Do I really need cell phone service?” - refreshing I tell you. 
            We had several tracks at camp, I was in the ‘Leading Witness’ track, where we looked at the Life of Moses as a leader and how God used him to lead the oppressed Israelites away from the most gigantic civilization of the time – Egypt. It’s funny because every time I have looked at the life of Moses, its always been a perfect picture of this awesome meek dude that challenged Pharaoh who brought down so much disaster on them and triumphantly led the Hebrews through the Red sea that gave way to land. Even though his failing on the speech impairment part was always made emphasis on, I still thought he was awesome. However, the beginning of the track laid emphasis on the how Moses felt about himself as God asked him to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. In Exodus 3, you see this guy arguing back and forth with God, coming up with all sorts of excuses as to why he couldn’t possibly lead them. Moses kept questioning God to know what sort of God he was dealing with, and even though God revealed himself to Moses with signs, wonders and revelations, Moses was still afraid. He did not want to be stretched. He did not feel good enough. And his fear and inadequacies placed him in a position of serious doubts in God, and yet God said to him: “I will be with you”.
            It was so ironic looking at that passage and reflecting on it as the hours went by. I was really scared coming to camp. Although I had joined the fellowship last year and we had been to several conferences together, I still didn’t know anyone that was like a ‘personal person’. The people I considered that were all graduating and the one friend I was totally comfortable with wouldn’t be with me on this trip. I am a natural introvert and I purposely bring books along with me or even a knitting yarn (Who does that?) to avoid having to talk to people. I started knitting in the car that had 7 other people with me on the way to camp. I felt almost awkward a first, but funny enough, we all fell into conversation, and I even put my yarn away to talk (WOW!). It was smooth from then on, I was actually talking to people at camp, I was enjoying myself, talking about myself, answering questions despite the fear of being judged and even asking people back out of genuine concern. I was being stretched like Moses I felt. I didn’t realize that God was doing something within me, and He was bringing it out till that moment. I was even being proactive in finding someone to beat in ping pong or learning to play volleyball with a bunch of people (mind you, I am the most inactive unathletic person there ever was!).  At times, I felt scared, and tired and yet, I kept on, asking for God’s grace to help me through as he keeps broadening my horizon into the person he is grooming me into. I loved every second of it!!!
            The whole experience just made me realize that all those years I had spent cramped up to myself was out of fear. I was and am still scared of rejection, of trusting and being hurt or betrayed, I am afraid of letting others in and they realize that I am just a rotten as they are. I am so scared of people thinking that what they find underneath isn’t much of what they are interested in. And because of that, and probably more that I will discover as I keep growing, I shunned most people out. A lot of times, it would surface as being shy, or probably being cold or aloof. I loved keeping to myself to be safe. A lot of times, I am guilty of wanting to care or love someone and yet pushing them back because I am too proud and don’t want to get hurt. Yet, how can I do that from a distance if I keep to myself? How can I show “the Man who told me all I ever did” to the world if I keep to myself and don’t let others in?
            It could have also been easy for me to have felt too messed up, or too much of a lost cause to allow God to change me, or to allow for His grace to stretch. I could have felt too messed up for God’s love as Moses felt he was too much of a bad case for God’s use, or too messed up for community as I felt amongst my fellowship friends… But you know what? No one is ever too messed up for God’s love. No one is too messed up to allow the Lord Jesus to take lead in all aspects of your life. No one is too down to come up by His grace. He gives a total fresh start you know, a total overhaul, no matter how many times you fall, or deep you’ve gone – He is ever merciful and gracious. Try HIM!!!
            So whoever you are out there, please don’t stay in that comfort zone of yours whatever it may be. For me, it’s always been my relationships with people. I don’t know what yours maybe, but let the Lord use you in ways bigger that you could ever imagine.
            P.S, I will be in Boston next week for the whole summer!!! I will definitely be giving exciting news and happenings from the New England area…. SIGH

Yours Affectionately,
Mwajim Al.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Woman I will be staring at in the mirror 50 years out...

         When I was twelve, I started writing letters to myself on my birthday. I would write about my future hopes and dreams as well as how far I had come. It was a nice ritual. On my most recent birthday, I remember combing through my letters from the last couple of years... and it was hilarious. Some hopes look so ridiculous now, others make me glad that I have achieved them. However some remain to be achieved... still in the works! 
         I started another ritual in my freshman year of college. The excitement of the first semester and the cold of one of my first winters left me both emotionally and intellectually drained. I wanted a way to keep track of how I felt on different days because I had been having rollercoater moments. There were days that I was filled with a lot of joy, but then there were days when I was so down and lonely, I would take walks just to stare at people. On my happy days, I wanted to be able to look back at the girl who was so down the other day and understand why she felt that way... So I started a College Journal if you will. I called it 'College So far #'. It was nice while it lasted, my lst laptop crashed with my enteries so far... so untill I revive it, I can't get the information. Anyways, that's aside the point. I loved going back to read those enteries because I noticed that my way of thinking was slowly changing. I wrote about the things that bothered me the most and with each entry, it would seem like a slowly evolving person had journaled, and not the same person... 
         I just love the idea of keeping track of history. I also did another wierd thing when I was a teenager. I would chronicle in dates the little of big things that happened at home... like the day my Dad planted the first Pawpaw tree or the Palm trees or the Christmas trees at home. I would write down the date I got prizes at school or when I had a dream of something nice at night. The prospect of going back and observing that so and so happened on so and so thrills me. At most of them, I laugh at how those things meant a whole lot to me then. At others, I just remember the pain I had then... even though it doesn't hurt me anymore, it just makes me realize the importance or even the meaning of what had happened. 
            So the same way to this day, I am keeping track of the little things... the changes around me, in people and in situations. I used to think I would always be the same... never changing. Funny enough, looking back has taught me that I am definitely not the same. As things keep changing around me, and situations, I can't think that this is it... we are turning into the people we are going to stare at in the mirror 50 years from now. I can't help but think that every action or word of mine is going to be something my 70 something year old self is either going to be proud of or shake her head at in regret... I can't help but think that whatever decisions I make in the present will shape the thinking of that 70 something year old self crouching on her walking stick... 
            I do hope the decisions I make today and here on out as I have done in the past will continue to stand strong and true such that 50 years from here on out, I can proudly look back and smile. I do hope that when I meet the people I know today 50 years from here on out, we can proudly own up to the foolishness of the past and still be proud of who we are then. I do pray that when we look back, we can forgive the past and even if there might not be much of a future left then on earth, we can still forge ahead with the little we have. I do pray that God helps us all to not lean on our own understanding, but to keep commiting all our ways to him... SO many things to keep praying and hoping for...
            SO who do you think will be staring back at you in the mirror 50 years out? Will you be proud of the person you are shaping yourself into becoming?

P.S CRAZY week and weeks past. Finals are coming up and I can't wait to get it over with so that I can sail to a smooth summer by HIS grace. Have a blessed continued week :) I also just realized that this is my 25th post... YAY!!!  I want to extend my thanks to all my beautiful readers and followers out there. Your comments are encouraging, and even if its just one sentence, I pray you will always leave this blog uplifted as well.