Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Negative Nancy

If you've not gathered this by now, having either known me for God knows how long or having at least gotten a sense of my personality through the written word, I have issues with beliving my life is going to be good. I live in this little world where Murphy's Law is the true law and I am just waiting for all my hopes and dreams to be shattered. It's as if my life a Truman Show-esque form of entertainment on some other planet where when I begin to want something, it will be nearly my fingertips, and then the powers that be will yank the rug from under me just to see me fall. It's not even like I've lived through enormous discontents, because trust me, once you get started with International Studies you know that as a university student in the U.S., you have it good. Yet I seem to dwell on just a few disappointments I've endured over the years in order to justify living with a half empty glass of water.

They're little things, really. First world problems, so to speak. I remember my junior and senior years of high school, where I was taking way too many AP classes and obsessing over way too many test scores, hoping and praying to be a Yale undergrad in an argyle sweater. After the blood, sweat, and tears (of which all three literally were had) I endured to be ivy league material, I was both rejected from Yale and also too poor to afford even the private school in Florida that I liked and was accepted to, Rollins. I was left with one choice: accept the financial aid at USF, my last choice, my safety school. And a safety net it was. I had to fall back on that, and resented just how hard I had worked and how smart I thought I was, only to be going to a school where even today people who can't use apostrophes properly can be found easily within a given radius of you anytime.

I live on memories like these as if I need resentfulness to breathe. If that's not paradox, I'm out of here. Just this one example of the way my mind interprets the past -- and I'm sure more will come -- really acts as a representative of how I keep thinking I'm being tricked, that as soon as I begin to think that something good will happen, things will not fall into place.

I pretty much let myself believe that God intentionally sets up this process of building me up and then letting my crash and enjoys it a great deal. If He didn't, then what would the point be?

Tonight, for some reason, my roommate and I were discussing the peephole in our front door. Somehow we came up with the idea of drawing a little heart with a red marker on it so that whenever you look through it from the inside to see who's out there, they'll be standing in the middle of a big red heart. Cute, right? (We're girls, give us a break.) The joke is that someday there will be a knock at the door, and when one of us looks to see who it is in our ordinary creepy fashion, there will be someone standing in the middle of the heart, the Romeo & Juliet Love Theme by Tchaikovsky would swell through the air, and it will be the moment of truth; my dream man is obviously going to stand outside that door with a large bundle of those orange roses with the pink tips because that would be the sign. It's the ideal way to do things.

I have my ideas on how my life would pan out best.

Yet every time I imagine some part of my future, some plan, something, I think about the times that I've done that before and seen those dreams fail. Most of the time, I imagine my future with irony. The truth is that I'm almost certain that when I graduate from this university, I will be forced to become a missionary to Somalia, where I will have to live alone without anyone for a few years, just to give me a taste of that nightmare, only to at last be finished off in my hut by a murderous band of thieves. I imagine God getting a great deal of enjoyment seeing me do something like that -- suffering immensely doing something in His name, so that when I get to the gates of heaven he can chuckle and say, "Okay, okay, enough's enough. That was fun. You can go in now."

Such thoughts would probably leave the Lord breathless if He needed to breathe.

He points out to me another thought: if I gave you the option of going back in time and starting college over in the place you'd originally wanted, would you?

Well, gosh. I don't think so. My family and I are financially secure because of this choice. I have lots of friends whom I love more than anything from this school. Some really awesome memories have been made here already, and I'm not yet halfway finished.

Things really turned out rather well.

I'm learning that there are two options that go back to one solid truth: either the music will play and the flowers will be outside my doorstep, or it'll be silent and there'll be no one through my peephole. If one happens, the Lord is sovereign and has great plans for me. If the other happens, the Lord is sovereign and has great plans for me. I have nothing to fear. What He offers me is the best for me. No one would know better than Him, and no one else has the right to my life the way He does. He doesn't enjoy suffering. He enjoys giving gifts to His children, and only He knows what the best ones are.

The process of truly embracing, believing, living this is a long and difficult one. I'll let you know when I've got it at last, and for good.

Maybe He's at least got a different African country in mind.

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