Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Me, Myself, and I

It's been a while, but I'm back again. Life has been quite the rollercoaster the last few months. It's hard to keep track of what has happened and what hasn't.

Today, I want to mess around with the idea of self. How is it that we become a self, a someone, existing in some particular world in time and space? With all of our preconceived notions, subconscious thoughts and feelings, present logic and factual sense... it's so difficult to navigate self. Figuring what's going on in my own head is a feat in itself, but to add to that the interactions of self with everyone else I encounter and every new experience that adds and transforms and fixates my psyche.

Sometimes I just want to give up, and sit at home and stare at wall. Somehow it feels as though that would help clean things up. The less the stimulation, the more simple. But that would be a waste of time and life. So that's not a very good route to go down.

Another option is to just sit there and make a convoluted web diagram that connects everything beautifully and maps out all the activity. But, that's just asking way too much. It would take me a lifetime to complete... and again, life is so much more than that.

I'm understanding that sometimes...no, most times... it's better off to just stop digging and excavating something that was never meant to be discovered. Some things are better left covered up and hidden. Take, for instance, a conflict that you encounter. You could try and understand all of the nuances of the situation and milk out a deeper meaning beneath it... but often you'll be left with nothing... or worse, just more jumbled mess.

The fact of the matter is, intentions don't run as deep as we think. Sometimes people just do as they feel... and that's all there is to it. For someone like me, it's difficult to wrap my head around that thought. But here I go again, trying to wrap my head around something that doesn't want to be wrapped up with me.

Life isn't meant to be taken so seriously, rach! - is what I want to tell myself daily, but forget until I sit down and write something like this. Lighten up! Loosen up! Everything will be alright.

Of course, I don't want to diminish the fact that some things are worth uncovering. That's the thing I wrestle with the most, I think. What is worth it? And what is just really futile? For the moment, however, I kind of just want to live life as it comes. Live in the moment. Enjoy the goodness of it... take it all in and let it fill every inch of my being.

Cue: real hippy pseudo-spiritual sentiments ending in... "live, love, laugh". Ugh gross.

Till next time,


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hearing God's Voice

Something that has been constantly weighing heavy on my mind as I continue to discern my next steps is... what does it mean to hear His voice? 

You hear the phrase being thrown around constantly within the church. "God told me..." "I heard Him say..." And it's not that I doubt their real experiences and convictions, but I really have been quite at a loss to understanding what they really mean when they say they heard from God.

Is it an audible voice? Is it something that pops out at you while reading scripture? Is it a sermon that you hear that particularly moves your heart?

Because I'll be honest with you... for the many years that have gone by, the way that I have made decisions really have come down to trusting a gut feeling. I pride myself in being quite a skilled intuitor... and have thus naturally put my faith in it when I'm at a crossroad. I guess you could say (and I'm sure I've used this reasoning each time) that God can speak to you even through that gut feeling. Maybe that heart tug in one particular direction is actually the work of the Holy Spirit?

I honestly can't be sure. Because it seems that at the end of the day... if you still haven't explicitly "heard" anything, you have to take action in some way. Perhaps... what I'm trying to get at is that listening to God may actually be a lot more of an active experience than a more passive... sit and just wait for a revelation type of experience. For example.. weighing out the pros and cons and practically deciding on something based on the fact that there arent any huge red flags waving before you. God is a practical God too, ain't he?

But on the other hand I question whether a decision should be made at all if God doesnt speak clearly. Perhaps his silence is a sign that you simply need to wait until he calls you to another place of obedience... a better option?

Sigh. As you can clearly tell...I am confused. So I have been scouring scripture and the net (bc that feels loke the next best resource to the bible.. lol sketch) for answers.

I started in 1 Kings 19:11-13... where God appears to Elijah in a "still small voice"... he doesn't always necessarily come in a roaring windstorm, nor in an earthquake, or fire. He speaks in gentle whispers.

Question is... what is that gentle whisper?!

More explorations on this next time!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

God's Promises

" 'No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,' declares the LORD." - Isaiah 54:17 

A much needed reassurance from the Word. 

To accompany it, the soothing vocals and powerful back-up choir of Fred Hammond: 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Where is My Egypt?

The story in Numbers 13-14 is of the twelve men from each tribe that went to scout out the Promised Land to see what was available for them there. When they come back to report what they saw, they described an overflowing fruitfulness and abundance in the land, but also described the powerful men in fortified cities that inhabited it. As these men gave up hope of conquering the land and conceded to defeat with their tails between their legs, the Israelite people were enraged and wished they had never left Egypt - the place where they were enslaved and had toiled under the sun day in and day out.

"Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt? We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt."

But, Caleb and Joshua refused to give up. They knew what kind of God was on their side. A God who would never make promises to His beloved children only to break them. They knew of a God who desires to give His children good gifts. They knew that though it was, conceivably, the more difficult path to take... it was on that path that their Lord would fight for them.

"Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them."

Their conviction is so sure and so bold. There is not even a hint of doubt in their speech.

So, why do I share this story?

In this season of discernment and tough decision-making, I've come to realize, through this story, what I need to be considering in my heart. As of right now, there are two options:

1. To stay in Toronto and meet the needs of people seeking God here (at church, with the KCF community, with the urban poor in Toronto, in a hospital as a nurse, etc).

2. To leave Toronto to do an intensive discipleship training internship serving the urban poor in East Vancouver and for two months in India.

The option that is "my Egypt" is the one that will enslave me. But right now, of the two options, it still isn't clear which it is.

The way I see it, in Toronto, I could be enslaved by comfort, stability, and familiarity of being with family and old friends, a stable income, and the city I grew up in. I could be enslaved by the thought that if I leave, the things I leave behind will start to break down and crumble without me... instead of trusting that God will provide.

In Vancouver, I could be enslaved by the thrill of running away from my obligations at home to find a job, to become a responsible financially stable adult to escape to a new and unfamiliar place.

They sound contradictory... but right now in my heart, both of these are very possible.

A friend recently told me... that what was important above all else is to choose what would cause me to be the most dependant on God. Which scenario would you be falling to your knees more in desperation of God's goodness and grace in my life? Which choice would make me fall deeper in love and deeper in my dependence of my Saviour and Lord?

I don't want to remain in Egypt. I don't want to rebel against Him. I want to trust with all my heart, as Caleb and Joshua did, that the LORD is with me. So, I wait. For the overwhelming peace that I am sure will come when he answers.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Now 23, I wanna be...

My 22nd year was an absolute blast. It had its bumps and ditches along the way but getting over them and climbing out of them was all worth it.

I conquered many fears, and overcame many doubts.

I climbed to the top of both literal and figurative mountains and inhaled the dizzying breath of fresh air as I looked down and laughed in the face of the uphill battle.

I learned what it means to love. What it means to trust. What it means to look past flaws and mistakes and hold onto and cherish the gems within... and never let go.

I vowed to stop running away. To plant my feet firmly and face the giants that stand before me.

I became graciously aware of my worth...  that I was someone that could be loved, could be pursued - rendering a most unfamiliar confidence that bolsters my gait and brings my heart so much peace.

So what of 23?
It's time to really put into practice what I've come to understand so deeply during 22. To look into the distance and map out the Mount Everests that still dot the landscape... while clinging to Jesus and counting on Him for every breath that I breathe, every step forward that I take. Firmly believing that in Him, my soul is most free, most complete, most satisfied.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Consistency Is Key

Honestly, it shouldn't be this difficult to keep one thing consistent in my life for more than a week. I've heard it said that 21 days of doing a task repeatedly helps to form a habit. Clearly, I can't even test that out... because it is next to impossible for me to even reach 3 days. Blogging will resume this week, and I'm going to try and keep it up for as long as I can. Not just so I can prove myself, but blogging and writing my thoughts out has always been a very refreshing way to explore and tease out the tangled contents of my brain.

I've often wondered why it has always been so difficult for me to keep something up or bring something to completion. I would start a craft project and obsess over it for a day or two and then the novelty of it would wear off and I'd find another project or hobby to try out and the same thing would happen over and over again. Before I know it, I have 10 different ongoing projects, none of which are near complete (might I also add, none of which really add any value to my life). In general, the way I have led my life has been grossly directionless. I've lived solely for the experience of uncovering something new and nothing beyond that. Be it my future career path, hobbies, or whatever else there is to try out there. Ask my friends and they'll tell you that every so often I would come up to them with jumping up and down, wanting to tell them about the new career path that I've considering of late. One day it's social work, another day it's international law. All the while, I'm still studying to become a nurse, but I'm looking for all of the possible ways that I can get away from nursing and try something else... something new.

I wonder if it's because I fear that if I don't try everything, I might miss out on something that has the potential to be my true niche, my deepest passion. It's like this example I often give hypothetically to my musician friends just to see their foreheads knot up and scrunch, signalling to me that I have succeeded in gifting them with the anxiety I so often experience... What if, there's a musical instrument that's out there that you have yet to test out or try, that you are actually really naturally good at playing but you wouldn't know until you actually tried? Like the cello. I've always loved the cello but I've never tried it out. What if one day I bring bow to string and try playing the cello and find... I am a genius at it? There's so many options out there!! What if, in being passive... I never reach my full potential?

What's really ironic about this, though, is my natural lived-out response to this dilemma. To try everything out. The thing is... I don't think you would even be able to discover that you were a prodigy after 2 or 3 days of trying something. It may take weeks till you have worked through the basics before you've discovered that. If I don't focus my energies on one thing long enough... I most certainly will NOT find what I'm looking for.

With anything in life... you have to be consistent. You have to be diligent. You have to commit. And even if you suck at it at first... you work hard and your work through it. Not all of us are born prodigies. Perhaps it's time to hold down my knee-jerk reaction to my anxieties and work through something for once. Perhaps that means looking at what I have in my hands already (let's say... like nursing) and set my eyes on it for more than a day.

That's my musing of the day. Let's hope it flourishes into something productive.

Thursday, 8 January 2015


I think I've figured it out. Or at least some of it.

Starting in September, I landed my dream internship. One I had been so eager to achieve for four years... at SickKids doing my final placement of my undergrad career. But in the four months that steadily passed by - 12 hour shift after 12 hour shift - I started to grow weary and I stopped looking forward to stepping foot into the hospital. I, instead, impatiently struggled to get through the last weeks and couldn't wait for it to be over.

Don't get me wrong, it was a season of exponential growth and development in my skills and abilities as a nurse. I probably learned more there about what it was like to be a nurse than I have ever learned in my four years of nursing school. But, something about it felt so redundant, so routine. You walked into the unit, read up on doctors' orders and clarified doctors' orders, complained about doctors' orders, argued with the doctor about his/her orders, and tried your best to squeeze in the remainder of doctors' orders before the end of the 12 hours hit... then you stressed out all the way home about doctors' orders you missed. I've got nothing against doctors (apart from a certain few that I have encountered personally), it was just that I felt a little suffocated... not to mention the immense burden and stress put upon you as innocently ill infants and children are counting on you to keep them alive.

At first, I wondered if it was just the nature of the type of nursing that occurred on the bone marrow transplant unit. I thought, maybe what I need is a more stimulating and dynamic environment like the ER. I guess I won't really know if this is a valid theory until I've been able to experience work in the ER.  Perhaps there may even be multiple factors to my dissatisfaction...

But, last night... I came up with a new theory. I was watching, of all things to be inspired by, K-Pop Star Season 4. You really wouldn't think it, but JYP, YG, and Yoo Hee Yeol actually have a lot of substance to the things that they say to the contestants. They gave a variety of really thought-provoking advice... but the one theme that seemed to consistently weave through each of their comments was:

Find your voice. Your own voice. Your own flair and design. Don't nestle yourself into a mold. Be colourful in the way that you yourself know how.

What was always so attractive to me about being a nurse was that the career pathway was a very straight and predictable one. Follow the steps precisely and at the end of that path is a stable, income-producing career. Once you get there, there is no obligation to look anywhere else. Just follow doctors' orders and all is right with the world.

But something in that seems to stifle any opportunities for innovation, and leaves no room for creativity to thrive. I think I've neglected that aspect of myself for much too long. That which makes me uniquely.. me and not simply a carbon-copy of a pre-existing model. I want to be inspired but I don't want to conform. God, the most innovative and imaginative Creator, created us in His image. Carbon-copies are not His thing.

Even in my love for music... I have been so lazy and unwilling to explore what it means to truly express myself through my art. I can't truly say that the art is mine... because all I've ever know how to do is imitate. That I do well... and isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. But what a shame it would be to never know and experience the beautiful process of a medium of art mixing and settling into the crevices of our fears, desires, and hopes as it pours out of us and into our senses.

Today... I began to explore what it might meant to embrace my creativity and run with it. I didn't really even end up creating anything substantial... but perhaps that's for another day. Today, I just want to dip my feet in and swish them around just enough to feel it swirl in between my toes.