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I am a cynic in the worst way.

I have turned off tv shows, clicked away from websites, and changed the topic of conversations.

I have burnt bridges or refused to build them in the first place.

I have avoided the burning in my chest.
The one that pushes me to limbs unstable to walk on.
Pushes me to where He is.

I have held on to things that needed to be let go and pushed away the ones that I desperately needed to hold.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

In my mind, I have painted beautiful pictures of life, relationships, and laughter.
I have thought wonderful thoughts and run towards them abandoning all else.

But I have stopped short of the prize because it was hard.
Because there was something in the way.
Something that I refused to hold as my ebenezer.
Something I refused to even see if God would be faithful in overcoming.

I have run from God.
Over and over again.

Run from His people because of unmet needs.
Run from His Church because His people weren’t exactly who I thought He told them to be.
Run from myself when I didn’t live up to my own expections.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

I have let my hurts spill into my interactions with others.
I have turned away from a responsibility to love and care for others because those “others” hurt me in ways they didn’t even understand.
They didn’t even know.

I have met three girls with hugs and love and given a knowing half smile to the fourth.
Eyes going dark, I refused to show her my light.
Because I wanted her to see the consequences of her conversations.
I wanted her to know that it wasn’t okay.
I wanted her to hurt.

This wasn’t years ago. This wasn’t even in high school.
I am a senior in college and still my brat face comes out to play sometimes.
The twelve year old girl comes out in the worst way when I feel something is unfair.
When someone else gets the long straw and I’m stuck in the rain.

I am a cynic in the worst way.

I speak beautiful words about redemption and grace and love and Jesus, but I run to my flesh when the going gets tough.

Today, I am broken for my inability to love, and tomorrow, maybe, I’ll find myself face to face with her.
The choice to love or leave on the line.
And I pray I will love.

But love will have to flow from Jesus, becauseĀ I am a cynic in the worst way.

Today I’m thankful for community.
For responsibility and accountability.
I’m thankful for the ones who call me out when my words and my actions don’t align.
I’m thankful that God is gracious to forgive, and each morning His mercies are new.

Because I wouldn’t be who I am without the ones who’ve walked beside me.
Would be who I am without a Jesus that forgives and pursues.
Wouldn’t be who I am without the friends who’ve called me into relationship.
Without the ones that have heard my emotions overflow all over this city, from the dorms to our cars to our now homes.
I wouldn’t be the same.
I wouldn’t understand grace and truth and perserverance.

They have been Jesus to the worst cynic.
They have shown Him to the one who has tried over and over to run away.

He has begun to melt the heart of the cynic in the worst way.
And that has been the best thing.

–Hallie

Then come back home.

A continuation of sorts of my Travel post. Read that first.

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Travel. All day long. All year if that’s what it takes. Travel far and wide.
Soak up all you can. See the sights. Talk to the people. Love where you are.
Travel. Across the country. Across the world. But, for sure, across your mind.
Recognize that God has made you to be exactly who you are. And there’s no need to cover any of that up.
Travel so you know the world. Travel so you know yourself.

And then, come back home.

Return to where you belong. Return for your family. Return for the love.
Return for the hot tears that stream down your face when you see your brother and sister for the first time in three months.
Return for the hugs. The ones that remind you what you have. The ones that make you hold on tight.
Return for the Diet Coke and the jeans and being known. Return because you are loved. Return for rest.
Return with the understanding that you aren’t the same, but neither is where you’re returning to.
Return because coming home brings its own adventure. Return because God has a lesson to teach you where it all began.
Return and trust. That he’s still holding you when things seem boring and life is “normal”.
Return and remember that life isn’t about always being entertained or excited. It’s about being faithful.
Return and remember you’ve still got a purpose. Return but never forget.
Return and get ready. Because your life isn’t over. It has just begun.