Not So Brave

"You're so brave!"  It's something that I've heard over and over again, from the moment that I shared that I would be quitting my full-time job to take this trip until just today while chatting with someone at my hostel.  It's always an interesting response to this little season of my life, because I don't feel all that brave.  Sure, I suppose it's pretty cool that I felt confident enough to quit my job, move back to my hometown for a season, and then traverse around Europe for a few months, but brave feels like a stretch to me.  Looking back, I was scared when this all started to come together, and I'm still a bit scared now.  From the initial dream to travel and knowing I'd have to leave my job of 4 years, to realizing that moving back home — while weird — was exactly what I needed to do, to planning all of the details and then leaving the states for 4+ months, I've been nervous the whole time.  But it has all come together one step at a time, because I honestly did not have the nerve to jump head first.  No, I had to take baby steps, asking God to affirm anything and everything along the way.  Do you see why "brave" might be hard for me to grasp or accept?

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Salsa Dancing in Barcelona

Prior to leaving for Europe, and prior to moving back to California for that matter, I had convinced myself that I needed to have a season of rest to be "spiritually ready" for such a long and adventurous trip.  I'd been working like a crazy person while in Nashville, logging in anywhere from 60-80 hours per week with all of my jobs, first to pay off debt and then to save for this trip, and was honestly really ready for that busy season to be over.  But once I was in California, I found it very difficult to not be "doing," and therefore didn't rest (to almost no one's surprise I am sure).  Then about two weeks before leaving for London, I had this massive realization that I hadn't done what I thought I was supposed to do (rest), and therefore thought I wasn't going to be ready for the trip because I hadn't spent enough time with Jesus.  But something in my spirit quickly revealed something else: that maybe all of that about rest and spiritual preparation was just some sort of plan I had concocted on my own and wasn't really from God after all, but that maybe — just maybe — the trip itself was the real season of rest and spiritual rejuvenation and growth.

Which brings me to Barcelona...

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A Little More Love

Something that's come to the forefront of my attention recently is just how much the world needs to see and experience the love of Jesus.  There are a lot of things happening in the world right now, from controversial politicians to the refugee crisis to gun control issues to the sex trafficking epidemic and so on and so on, and it seems that there is just so much darkness surrounding us, making it easy to understand why people might be feeling a little — or a lot — hopeless.  And hopelessness, in a way, is like a disease.  It infects and spreads and wears people down, bit by bit until they can hardly see the light and goodness that are present in the world.

And living in the time that we do means, I think, that there's just a lot of confusion about who God is.  Is he cruel, judgmental, full of wrath, and if so, is that why the world is so dark and hard and evil?  Or is He loving, kind, and full of grace, because if that's true, where is that on display?  Plenty of people grow up or grew up in some form of the Church, learning about God and about Jesus.  Many "know" the basics, yet have chosen not to believe, and I really think that a choice like that — to not believe — may be two-fold: they see evil in the world, and can't bring themselves to believe in a God who would allow it (or "cause it" — another topic for another day); and/or they don't see God amongst the people who claim Him... which is a very huge and very real problem.

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Single Girl Confessions

Alright friends, it's dating confession time, so here I go: the truth is that I've been single for over six years, and never been on a proper first date.  You know, the kind where you have to get to know the person over a potentially awkward meal or cup of coffee.  And some may ask: why?  Well, because I've never been asked, but don't feel sorry for me.  I've been so busy and focused on my personal goals that I'm pretty sure I've given off a big ol' "NOPE" vibe for much of the last six years, and I'm okay with that.  I mean, I don't think that I've missed my window of opportunity or that I am past my prime — I'm only 28.  Plus a big result of the last few years is that I now know more of who I am, I'm debt-free, and I've saved enough money to travel for a bit, so I think I'm doing pretty well in spite of not having been on a date.

While I am by no means an expert on this topic or a pro at rocking my single status, I have spent many years watching countless friends get engaged, married, and start having babies all while I've been single.  And here are a few of the things I've learned...

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