The List.

This started out under the ubiquitous title of "Goals for life." Very original, very inspirational. (note the sarcasm)

There really is no perfect title for this collection of statements - they are simply things I try to do most days, things that I have learned to be of value, and things I want to continue to strive for. (darn it. just ended with a preposition. The English nerd in me is cringing... and no parallelism! oh the horror. Oh well, this is the blogging world, not a classroom). 

I wrote the list this summer. Probably late at night, on my bedroom floor, back pressed up against my bed. Lamp on, stillness that gives off that slight buzz, favorite pen and journal in hand. I had just had knee surgery - my unfortunate left knee was still swollen and the scars still fresh. Thoughts were just running through my head, so pen met paper and words started flowing out. 

I shared my list with a few people that summer, and they just thought it was wonderful. I thought it was pretty good too. 

1.  Don't waste your days. Nothing feels worse than a wasted day. 

2. Always people. Because people are important and irreplaceable. 

3. Always ponder, reflect, engage with, pursue, and study God. Time with Him is never wasted nor regretted. 

4. Think more. God gave you a mind for a reason. Question what's going on around you; ask yourself what makes your soul sing; take the time to reflect on the past and present. 

5. Live a life that makes your soul sing for the purpose of making others' sing. If it's all about 'me,' the song will turn sour. 

6. Do the hard things. Push back against the laziness and stubbornness within you because it's worth it. You become a better person as a result and go places that you could've never dreamed of. 

7. Don't move through life too quickly. Then you forget to appreciate the grace of God, the beauty of His creation, the richness found in relationships. Slowing down can cultivate a grateful heart. 

8. Let the little things go. Get over it. Whatever it is, get over it. Realize that what you eat for dinner is not that big of a deal. Try to remember to put things into perspective. 

9. Never stop learning. Never stop marveling at creation - keep the wonder of your childhood. Allow yourself to learn the lessons that life constantly teaches. Learn about people (yourself included), culture, music, art, sports, creation - the world. 

10. Try to be more humble. Acknowledge that you were wrong. Don't build up your ego. Keep your eyes open for others, not just yourself. Live a humble life in perspective of a  holy God.

11. Travel. See the world. And see it with people who matter. When you see it, don't be uptight. Don't hurry and miss the adventure. Take it as it is. Travel is part adventure, part people, and part location. 

12. Pray more. And when you pray, remember what it is - a holy, humbling communication and communion with our God. Glorify Him, thank Him, and simply speak to Him. Prayer isn't just speaking, but also forcing yourself to be still before God, to listen.

13. Dream. and don't just dream, but also pursue some of your dreams - pursue them with excellence and all the enthusiasm you had while dreaming them up. The best kinds of dreams are the ones that come true. 

14. Sing in the car more - don't just listen to music, sing. Even if you are alone - who cares? Belt it out, hum a melody, smile and laugh. 

Fast-forward with me to this fall. Not a fun season in my life - full of change, anxiety, spiritual dehydration. I scribbled in that journal, just not as often. 

One day, phone pressed to ear and tears slipping into every nook and cranny of my face, my mom said to me, "Why don't you read your list again?"

I felt an angry "no!" bubbling up from the hurting parts within. I didn't feel like the optimistic, word-loving, Jesus-pursuing girl anymore. Who I was - who I am - felt so very far off. Reading my words again seemed harsh and cruel - almost like a joke. ha-ha, you said to do the hard things. to dream, to sing, to create. 

Truth be told, I had a hard time believing. Believing that this rut I was in could ever be escaped. That my mountains of the moment could ever shrink back into the size they actually were. That my mind would stop magnifying my fears, to-do list, and emotions. 

I read my list now, almost six months later, and I recognize a familiar struggle with the head and the heart. I know these things are true, but somehow, it seems the my soul doesn't fully grasp them. I walk around forgetful - of my co-mission with Christ, my identity, my passions, His sound truth and reality, and the simple truths of this list. 

That leads me to this blog. A place to remember and celebrate truth, gifts, creation, passions, and quirks. A place to choose joy - a battle that is continual, but worth fighting.