monochrome sun

A Blog for My Bits.

Life Changing Quote

“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair…the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

Dorothy L. Sayers

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I Don’t Need Answers, I Need Jesus.

This past season of my life has been one of the hardest. It started with a promotion. In December I was promoted to Private Banking Associate and given a quiver of tools to help me learn, develop and succeed, with the end goal of becoming a private banker someday. I love my job. I love learning about lending, credit, treasury management, finance, how to sell, how to maximize margin. Literally, I eat it up. The challenging part of my position is that my talents for learning quickly, discerning how to communicate with clients, improve process flow and coordinate between internal departments, has inevitably led to over-work. Mostly self-induced. Once again, I find myself in that good-problem-to-have-because-you-have-some-talent type of situation.

What has this done to me? Stressed me out. What have I done to mitigate stress? Stress eat, drink, medicate without second thought, over-sleep, party, stay out until 4:30-5am on weekends with co-workers/close friends. Where is my husband, you ask? Alongside of me emotionally, aware of my struggles, but allowing me to do my own things. Joe’s style of husbanding reminds me a bit of my parent’s style of parenting. Let her go, she is going to do her own thing anyway, admonish problems that are really bad, encourage her to go to the Lord and then someday, when she hits enough walls, she will go to Him.

I have hit a big wall. Not the wall where I realize my language is out of control and I should curb it, or that I have a partying problem and I should grow up, or that I am living an almost entirely secular lifestyle, but that I have allowed the idol of status to take residency in my heart, to the point where I was acting as if there was no God. I was acting like the lover of my soul did not exist.

This weekend I went to an international house of prayer in Colorado Springs with a friend. We had this on our calendars since April. The agenda was to drive down there (1.5 hours) and spend several hours alone in grottos. The intent is to pray, worship, read the Bible, rest. That morning, before we headed down, I wasn’t even scared of being alone with the Lord. I knew I needed Him so badly I could hardly think. On the drive down my friend asked if I had an agenda for my time with Him, and I said yes, there were a few specific pieces of my life where I was searching for guidance. We encouraged each other, she said some helpful pastoral things, and when we got to the h.o.p. she showed me around and walked me to my grotto. I spent almost three hours in silence. Mostly chaotic, disorganized journaling. Then I read through Lamentations, then the Psalms. I prayed.

The interesting thing about my walk with God these days, is that instead of feeling a mountain of guilt when I haven’t been with Him for so long, I just feel hungry for His word, which then leads me to hunger for His person. I am only saved because of His great love, not by my great ability to do anything at all. It often takes something to shatter my pride and level me out to remember this, but once I do I am okay.

Anyway, in my time with Jesus I was almost unemotional. I was focused. I needed answers, but did not expect anything crazy. I was tired. I had two questions, one career-centric and the other relationship-centric. My motive behind asking these questions was to obtain answers to move forward and structure my life better so that I would not be so uncomfortable. The problem is, I did not get answers to those questions.

The older I get the more annoyed I become with my blind spots. I am the one who seems to pay the most for them. They cause me to look stupid, miss important queues, fail, etc. One of my biggest blind spots is attempting to take control by relying on my own power (intelligence, discernment, ways of communicating). The problem with this is twofold (1) I am taking control in my own strength, (2) I am often taking control of things the Lord does not want me to change or impact. In the case of my two laser-focused questions I asked God in the h.o.p., I was asking Him if I should focus my control on (1) a specific element of work and (2) specific relationships. He did not answer my questions.

Instead, He did what He often does, He told me my answer was Him. My answer was not a yes/no, pursue/don’t pursue, try/don’t try… my answer was “be with me more.”

This morning’s sermon was part of a series on prayer titled “Prayer as Life.” Our pastor dropped a line, “If I am not praying then I am not connected to reality.” So, to reflect, if I am not praying then I am not connected to His reality. I am firing in the dark. I am missing the call to engagement with Him in His work. I am trying to answer the wrong questions.

I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to waste my time trying to answer the wrong questions, or find my own answers to the right ones. Here is the right answer to the ultimate right question: God is infallible, He is mighty, He is worthy of all praise. I am chosen by Him and covered by the blood of his Son. My life is hidden in Christ. After that, life on earth seems a lot like asking Him what the rest of the right questions are, but the right answer seems to be the same: look to Jesus.

HOW SOON I FORGET!

drain

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” -C.S. Lewis

Every. freaking. day. I need this reminder. It seems now more than ever. Denver, as I may have told you before, is a land of plenty. To be honest, I am beginning to feel paralyzed on the weekends because there are so many options.

I have experienced continuous success at work, and the friendships keep coming, and the opportunities keep expanding and the confidence keeps growing. However, I do not feel satisfied or fulfilled or even terribly excited when I reflect on all of this. I worry about what “more” will look like.

My biggest challenge is to quiet myself in this place – and frankly – I don’t think the quiet will come from climbing a mountain or reflecting by a glacier lake. I think the quiet will come at home, in the midst of the place I circle the drain, where I cannot hide from my fear or anxiety or emptiness or victim mentality.

3-Year Goals

By December 2019, when Joe’s term is up, I want to have completed the following things:

  1. A degree. Likely, Finance or Business.
  2. A trip to Croatia (this is happening in July).
  3. A 5.10 climb.
  4. A 2nd and 3rd promotion.
  5. A week’s worth of cooking for my husband.

Marking This Moment

Okay, so. Denver feels like home.

It happened subtly over the past two months. I began realizing my familiarity with lower downtown’s city streets had led me to recognize patterns and people and places that I’ve come to rely on. And not just rely on, but internally admire or love.

On the same block as my office there is a business called The Barth Hotel. On the outside it looks like a hip hostel or decent hotel, but it is actually a low-income housing facility for seniors with disabilities (seniors being only 65+). There are numerous seniors who come out each morning to sit on the 4-5 benches in front of the hotel to smoke or watch the morning go by. One in particular appears less than senior and has chosen his life’s work to be sweeping the sidewalk from the corner to the alley framing the hotel. I have come to rely on him sweeping every morning, quietly ignoring me for diligence-sake, as I walk past ignoring him from caffeine depravity. Or there is the jolly man who stands as I approach at the end of the day asking, “can I talk to you!?” followed by my usual response of “no, I need to get home.” He accepts my answer with surprise each time, but is just as glad to see me the next day.

I have learned a lot since moving to Denver. I find myself reading heartily again, engaging deeper into politics, listening to great lectures on my 1 hour commute. I constantly consider why I haven’t finished school. In all of this I am learning it is okay to be where I am. School is a valuable means to an end, but for now it is okay to rely on the EQ I have been given and vocational skills I ravenously desire to develop. Drive, steadfastness and an eagerness to absorb the world of finance are getting me far.

Joe is wonderful. Being married is a gift. It is really something to be unified to another soul whose relationship with God is different from one’s own. The relationships my parents had with God were shaping, informative and impressive to me. I can say the same of my friends’. The relationship to God that my spouse has, however, is unique, mysterious and further impacting to an extent which I have yet to understand. I am wading through this.

My singing continues. I have been on our church’s worship team for over a year now. The team challenges me and allows me to feel like a small fish in a large pond. I do not have the most skilled or stylized voice, so in that sense I am able to shed expectation and focus on grinding the skill.

Our social life is ever-blossoming. There are just so many great, easy people to choose from. I feel equally comfortable by myself as I do when Joe is around and, in general, we just have awesome friends. I know I take them for granted, because my focus is often on work or life beyond Denver or whatever else I’m working through. I have also found a deep sense of camaraderie with many of my co-workers, which is so darn life giving.

This past Fall we took a trip to Pennsylvania, a trip to Florida and then I returned solo to Florida – all three times, upon return, I distinctly remember Ubering home from the airport, starting at the flat land that leads to the mountains, as the sun was often setting, thinking Denver was becoming home a little more each time.

I hate to publish this, because each paragraph is a shallow summary of elements of my life, but I must do something to mark this moment… this moment when I acknowledge that this might be my 3rd home.