Life. People. Purpose. Meaning. What's Important?

I'm here.

Can you hear me?

The silence is deafening.

Does it make a difference whether I write or not? I would like to think that it does. Maybe, just maybe, my words will mean something to someone.

Words. They can mean so many different things. Hope. Anger. Joy. Sadness. Contentment. The list is long. Much longer than the space I have here.

Life is a hectic, busy mess. Seeing friends, both old and new. Conversations, some involving tears. Others that make me so happy that I can't help but smile.

Often, there are times when I'm just done. I don't want to have anything to do with this world or the people in it. It's too hard. But sometimes, I'm able to see the beauty of life. Though there are times when it is so hard to just keep moving forward, that makes those precious moments and memories so much sweeter.

Life is not just about me. I've known that for a long time. But I think that I've only fully begun to understand just what that means when you live it out. It involves going out of your way to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Sometimes that's as simple as sending a text to someone, showing him or her that you care and you're thinking of them. Other times it takes a little more effort. Like taking time out of your day to talk to someone who's struggling. Or spending some money to make another person's day. It takes effort. It's hard. But the results are so worth it.

It is so much more important to understand that what you do matters. Especially since life isn't about you...or me. It really matters. Every action you take has some effect on those around you. There's no way around it. What you do matters. So find what's important to you. What is your purpose? Find those things that fulfill your purpose and bring meaning into your life. Once you find them, pursue them. Don't pursue them halfheartedly. PURSUE THEM. Chase them. If it takes doing something that you don't enjoy for the time being to get to what you do enjoy. Do it. If it takes letting go of some things in order to spend time on what's actually important to you. Do it. Don't wait. Nothing's going to change until you make a move.

Plenty of people talk about waiting for an answer from God before making a move to follow or pursue some dream. I'm not against that. There's a time and a place for that. For sure. But more often than not I find that we need to make the first move before we get an answer from God. Let's say that you're in the driver's seat of a car. God is the steering wheel to lead you in the right direction. You have to press the gas pedal in order for God to steer you in the right direction. The steering wheel is useless until the car is moving. You can't tell which direction you're headed until you start to move. And maybe there will be a time that you'll head in the wrong direction. That's entirely possible. In fact, it is probable. For that, I can tell you only one thing. God is great at redirecting. He will make sure that you are following the plan that he has for your life even though you can't see it. He knows your purpose backward and forwards. He's not going to let you go down the wrong path forever.

Learning to Let Go

This past week was a very long week. I have never worked so many hours in one week in my entire life (I think I had about forty-five hours in?). Then again, this was only my second week of work. There is so much to get used to and readjust to. Also, I can't believe that it is July. Time has passed so quickly these last few months. I feel like it was only a moment ago that I was in Ecuador, but no, it was over a month ago!

I know that in my last post I talked a lot about my missions trip and my job, but that wasn't all that has happened in the past month or so. I got home from Ecuador only to be smacked in the face with a really tough situation. It left me in a lot of tears. I was extremely upset. I was sad. I was angry. I was a whole mess of emotions. Any amount of trust or views that I held of this one person were torn apart and scattered to the wind. I didn't know what to think. I didn't know where to begin. I had never dealt with anything like this. I could have never imagine that something like this would happen. Not to me. Not through someone so close to me.

Over a month later and I'm still trying to figure things out. Lately, I've been so busy that I've been able to block out the whole situation. But when I have some free time and I'm able to think, that's when it hits me. It messes me up. Emotionally and mentally. It really hurts. I want to this pain to go away. I want to throw it at someone. I want to let it go. But I don't do either. I hold onto it. I think some part of me thinks that I brought this upon myself. That I deserve this. It's my fault.

I've been struggling with these and so many other thoughts a lot recently. This whole situation has led me to some important understandings about God and about myself. I find these things to be very important. Which is why I want to share what I've learned with you in hopes that they'll be somewhat helpful to you as you journey on through the adventure of life.

First of all, you can't change people. This is something that I desperately wish was untrue, but it isn't. We, as human beings, do not have the power to change people. We certainly have the power to influence people and in that way we change people in small ways. But it it impossible for us to really change someone. For real change to happen, change that comes from the heart, only God can accomplish.

And honestly, I don't want to believe that. I was to take control. I want to change people. Right here. Right now. But that isn't up to me. That's up to those people and God. I can't make their decisions for them. The knowledge that I can't make other people's decision. The fact that I am not in charge of other people and their actions. This leads me to the conclusion that there is only so much that I can do for others. I can be as big of an influence as possible to people, but in the end, they have to make the decisions. They can change, but I can't change them.

You can only lead someone in the right direction.

You can't make them take that step.

Once that you have done all that you can do, you have to learn to let go. That is the last point I want to make. Letting go is something that I don't do very well. I want to hold on. I want to have control. I want to make a difference. I feel like if I let go, I'm giving up. I feel like I'll have regrets. I always feel like there's something more that I can do. Opportunities that I should've taken advantage of. It's not true though. Sometimes you come to the point where there is nothing you can do. There's a point where you've done all that you can do and now it's up to the other person to make their move. At the end of the day, everyone has to make their own decisions.

I'm not going to say that any of this is easy. It isn't. I'm still trying to figure it all out with the situation I'm working through. Really, it's going to take a lot of time and effort to pull through this, but it will all be worth it in the end. And I know that I will feel better for following through with what I've learned.

G Paige

A Life Update (First Job and Missions Trip)

It's been so long. Like really REALLY long. I feel like I've forgotten how to blog. This is not what was supposed to happen. At least, it is not what I wanted to happen. I actually want to be more consistent with blogging, but that's hard to believe with the way that I've been blogging lately. There are many reasons why I haven't been blogging. A big part of it is procrastination. Hahaha. I need to work on that side of me. That's not all though. Surprisingly, I have some very important reasons for not blogging of late.

For one thing, my life has turned around. In all honesty, I feel like I've been stuck in a ditch for the past couple of years. My life wasn't awful, in fact, it was quite good. I just feel like I've been in the same place in my life for awhile and I've wanted something to change but I didn't know how to go about doing that. Last summer was amazing. I went to my first college conference and met so many amazing people. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something. But when I got back home, I felt like I was right back where I started.

Well, in April I applied for an internship. Now this wasn't a nearby internship. It was a job in Michigan for a few months. I've wanted a job for awhile now, but it's hard to get a job in Puerto Rico when you're not fluent in Spanish. Another thing is I do not have a driver's license or car that would enable me to go to work. This also because a problem for the internship I was looking into in Michigan, but a sweet friend saw how I wanted to do this internship but wasn't able to because of the above reasons. She was planning on doing the same internship and offered to drive me around. I could not believe this. Later another friend told me the same thing. We'd be all roommating together too. I couldn't believe it! I have some amazing friends. Eventually, I applied and got the job. June 17th I flew to Michigan and I've been working since Monday. It's been great. I have such incredible coworkers and I'm learning a lot from this experience. It's crazy to be away from family though. I don't believe I'll be going back until sometime in November.

That's not the only major change in my life though. My school, Lumerit Scholar teams up with Global Encounters and does a short term missions trip to Ecuador every year. I heard about it earlier this year, but kind of dismissed. Ecuador wasn't one of the places that I really wanted to go to. Also, I knew that the team would be working with kids and  I wasn't sure if that was something that I could do well. Then I saw a post from a friend about it in late March. I looked into it and realized that I could really do this if I wanted to. I've always wanted to do long term missions work, but I've realized that I won't know if that is something that I'm meant to do until I went on a short term missions trip. I saw this as an opportunity to find that out. And seriously, was I really going to be so picky about where I went? It felt like the missions trip was staring me in the face. So what did I do? I applied. AND I WENT TO ECUADOR.

Words can't describe my experience there in May. This picture hardly does the trip justice. The team and I spent time working with kids and teens. We did songs, skits, games, stories, and crafts. With the teams, we were able to go a little deeper and be a little more personal, talking about life purpose and relationships. While we were there to teach them about the Gospel, I too learned so much. I stepped outside my comfort zone the moment I got there and I don't think that there was a time when I was in my comfort zone in Ecuador. It expanded my comfort zone significantly. I found myself enjoying public speaking, though in the past I have always hated it. I tried many different foods, like humitas and quimbolitos. I hiked from 11,000 feet to 14,000 feet, one of the hardest things I've ever done. The mountains of Ecuador are beautiful. The people there are wonderful. I had a amazing team. Some of the team and I did a bit of swing dancing and salsa dancing on the rooftop at the hostel we stayed at. There were many late nights and deep conversations. There was lots of laughter and hugs. It was hard to say goodbye. I think I left a part of my heart there in Ecuador. I am so thankful that I went. I know for sure that I want to do more missions trips.

So many things have happened. There's been a lot of changes. I'm still trying to process it all. I honestly don't know how life is going to change from day to day. What ever plans I had for this year I've left in the dust, but I am much more happy with where I am now than anything that I could have imagined. God has greater plans in store for us than anything that we could come up with. 

G Paige

Where has life taken you of late? What are you doing for the summer?

I want to hear from you!

Time slips by...

Whoa. We're almost in March. I feel like this year has barely begun and it's already so far into it. It's really weird thinking about it. And it's even worse thinking about how I've only posted once on my blog since the new year began. Don't ask me how that happened. I have no excuses. Be happy that I am here now and not into whatever I have been into these past few weeks. I think there are times when I'm at a lost as to what I've been doing.

I've been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks...months. And a lot of purposefully not thinking. When I think, I overthink. Usually, that turns into stress or anxiety or this feeling of being overwhelmed. When it gets like that, I just need a break from my brain.

Personally, I've probably been more busy than I've been in a very long time. Being responsible for a lot more things than I am usually responsible for has good and bad side effects. And while I can handle it if I take it one step at a time, a lot of the time I tend to think of everything all at once and it is nerve racking.

But recent events have brought something up to the surface of my mind. Something that I know and understand, but something that I also need to remind myself of. It's that time is short. There are so many instances where we feel like time goes by so slowly. It feels like honey, pouring out of a jar. Slow. In reality, time moves at the same pace that it always has. Nothing changes. When you think about it in reality, it's only your perspective that makes the time seem to go faster or slower. And looking at it in context of the many, many years that you'll spend in eternity, this life here on Earth is nothing. It's barely a taste of what's to come.

So you've heard time is short. Maybe you've heard it over and over again. You've become numb to the phrase because you have heard it so much. But think about it. Really, really think about it. People die. Just like that and they are gone. They're a breath of wind. They quickly come and just as quickly go. It's terrifying, knowing that someone could leave this world at any moment.

We shouldn't allow our fear about the death affect our way of life, at least, in a bad way. This fear shouldn't motivate us into inaction. I believe that this knowledge can motivate us in a good way. In a way that requires us to live our lives to the fullest, to live without regrets.

The time that we have here is precious. Let's not waste it. Time slips through our fingers like sand. It won't be here forever. I don't want to look back at my life with regret. I know that there will be things that I will look back on and wished that I could change, but I want that kept that to a minimum. When I look at my life as a whole, I want to be glad that I lived the way that I did. Don't you feel the same?

G Paige

You are not alone.

I was recently struck with the realization of how precious life is...and how fragile it is. Life is radiant, vibrant, so full of...essence. But it is also very delicate. It is like a wisp of smoke that disperses into the air. It is soon long forgotten and never to be seen again.

If you didn't know, I listen to a lot of K-pop (Korean pop music). It wasn't long ago that an artist, who I have listened to, died. His death was investigated and it is believed that he committed suicide. Now, I don't know much about this person at all. I've listened to his music, I've watched some of his YouTube videos here and there. That's about it. But it was still devastating to hear this news. Such cases like this are not uncommon, I've heard of stories that are similar. But this time it struck me harder than before. I don't know why, but it did. And it hurts. It hurts to know that someone died by their own hand because they couldn't deal with living in this world any longer.

Life is precious. It is more precious than money or fame. It is more precious than the world itself. Why? Because there is a God who created each and every one of us to the tiniest detail. There isn't a single thing that he doesn't know about us. Those reasons alone should give us more than enough to understand how valued we are. If that isn't enough, we are the only beings, out of everything that he has made, that was created in his image. We are God's creation. We are loved and valued by him. Because honestly, why would he create something that he didn't love and enjoy? We can't begin to understand his thoughts or motives, but the truth is there for us to see. We are his and he is there for us.

I'm not saying that he is there some of the time. God is there all of the time. Even in those moments where one thing after another goes wrong. Even when it feels like everyone has their life together, but you feel like yours is falling to pieces. You're not alone. No one is ever alone. I don't want you to ever feel that way. I know that feeling. It's crippling. It halts everything that is going on in your life and it just consumes your mind. I struggle with it a lot. Every time I move and settle into a new place, a new home, I feel so alone. With the technology that there is today, I can still keep in touch with everyone who I'm friends with. But that doesn't even remotely compare to a face to face conversation.

No matter where you are, no matter what's going on in your life, God is there for you. It may seem like he's distant, like he's never really there. But that is not true. He's always there. Sometimes, he's just silent. Sometimes, he's working in ways that you can't physically see. And that's alright. You just have to trust that he knows what is best for you. That trust is something that I have to constantly work on. I go back and forth on how strong my trust is in him. But trusting him is the only way to feel truly comforted, to be at peace. There is no other way.

And I want you to know that I am here too. You're not alone. God is with you but there are also people around you that here for you. All you have to do is allow them to be there for you. If you're ever need someone to listen to you or maybe to just be there for you, I'm here. Don't allow yourself to be shut off from those who care about you. Their care for you is not pointless. They want to be of help...and so do I.

G Paige

Life. People. Purpose. Meaning. What's Important?

I'm here. Can you hear me? The silence is deafening. Does it make a difference whether I write or not? I would like to think that ...