Communication and being known

I’m a such a verbal processor – whether it’s by chatting, venting, journaling, or blogging – I seem to learn and grow and understand life and myself and God better by talking or writing everything out. Many times when I’m stuck and don’t even know what to pray or how I really feel, I find that if I grab a pen, the prayer just begins to flow out of my heart as my pen flies across the page.

There’s just something about having a blank piece of paper or a friend willing to listen and help process that seems to fulfill one of my deepest needs as someone who craves quality communication and to be known. I think that’s what secretly I’m the most afraid of – that one day I’ll wake up and I’ll find again that no one really knows who I am. I promised myself several years ago that I would never wake up to that realization again, but I think that the lesson I’m learning now is that there’s a flip side to that coin.

Knowing and being known is one of the most precious experiences we can have as human beings. There’s so much comfort and emotion just wrapped up in that idea and I think it fuels me to live life transparently – the way I have for so long now… only there are times like this week when all I want is to be somewhere quiet… somewhere where I can be alone… somewhere where I can listen to only a single voice.

Tomorrow’s going to be one of those days. A retreat of sorts. I’ve been planning and looking forward to it all week. Usually the very last thing I want is alone time or an adventure by myself. But tomorrow I’m setting out to find a beach and I don’t know exactly where I’m going. I’m just going to set out to find a little bit of sand, a lot of water, and God Himself.

The beach is my favorite place to go because it reminds me of how small I am and how big my God is. There’s nothing outside of His control. He’s sovereign and He’s good and I’m His. Communication with Him is all I need and there’s nothing about me or my future that He doesn’t know. It’s been a rough week and only God Himself can bring some order, some sense, and some peace to my world. Only communication with Him really matters.

I’m taking comfort in this today:

Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”

Psalm 139:1-18 – “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”

12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

I’m looking forward to journaling, painting, and listening.

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Dream Vacation – Part II

So yesterday as I was polling my office, my facebook friends, my mom, and searching the internet for some fun, inexpensive weekend getaways from DC, I realized several things:

*I have numerous countries that I’d like to visit, but even with an unlimited budget this weekend, I probably wouldn’t have gone to any of them. I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey for almost three years now, but I would have bypassed the chance to do that to just jump in a kayak and float down a river in east Texas or lie on a beach and listen to nothing but waves.

*When I asked myself the question: “If I could vacation anywhere, where would I go?” – The answer wasn’t Europe (which I absolutely love-this in no way should be interpreted to mean that I no longer love traveling or all things European), places I dream of visiting, or even home. I wanted to go somewhere I could really rest. I decided that for this weekend, that actually meant staying home. I might still go visit some places in and around DC that I’ve been wanting to see (I constantly have a list), but I decided that God was really asking me to set aside time to be still.

If money wasn’t a hindrance, I would have decided to go to some small island somewhere with miles of beach – white sand, really blue sky, and clear water. In my imagination, this place is small, with similar landscape everywhere, and not much else to see or do. That would keep me from running around from place to place, trying to see all of the important sites and landmarks (like Court and I did in Europe several summers ago). I realized that I don’t think I’ve really ever gone on a vacation just to relax (other than some incredible weekends/holidays in Pennsylvania now and then and a couple of weekends in WV).

So, that’s a goal in the coming year – take a week to just relax – go somewhere fun. Maybe I’ll take a cruise while they’re cheap or visit somewhere else I’ve never been. I’m learning a lot about myself this summer and one of the things I’m learning is that I need to cultivate the ability to be alone. And to be quiet.  Both of those things are invaluable, especially in cultivating one’s relationship with God and maintaining one’s emotional and spiritual health.

So I’ve created a list of things I’ve been wanting to do and started doing them… just one at a time – I refuse to be in a hurry. Today I called my sister and talked to a best friend for a long time, went running, tried out a new salsa recipe, tried a snow cone stand I’ve seen for over a year and never taken the time to stop at (won’t be returning, by the way – snow cones are only good in Texas), napped, finished a great book (another new post re: politics coming soon), and got a great tan.

There are important lessons that will be learned this weekend. Thankfully God got my attention this week and reminded me of how much I need Him, His rest, and His peace. I can honestly say that I’m realizing that I keep myself busy many times because I don’t know what to do with the quiet time. This weekend is about learning what to do in the quiet time, and more than that, it’s about learning to enjoy it.

(For those of you interested in visiting one of the top 10 getaways close to DC, visit: http://dc.about.com/od/hotels/tp/Top10Getaways.htm)