Catching Up

Summer caught up with me long before I caught up with it. Isn't that what always happens? I have only a few days before I return to school to finish my senior year, and I'm suddenly realizing that seasons close upon us not in the shutting of a book but in the gentle turning of pages as by the breeze. I look back not in a sad, unsatisfied way, but with a happy and contented remembrance. 

Last week, I went on a run to the waterfront to see the sunset, and as I paced my breath with my footsteps, I thought about the essence of time. How we let it control our lives (even though that is a mirage of sorts) when in fact it has been given to us.  I am a student and I know too well how quickly life can become hectic with busyness. I wake up early for classes, spend a whole day going from one lecture to the next until dinnertime, eat quickly, and spend the rest of the evening immersed in projects and homework. Can this be avoided? Not really. I must attend class and complete coursework. And yet. 

I can control in what manner I use my time. I can cut out unnecessary activities, avoid distractions, and take ownership of my day with effective scheduling and management. But not just that - I decide the frame of mind in which I go about my day. By recognizing my time as a gift from God, it is both mine and not mine. I am a steward, entrusted with something so precious that no amount of gold can buy it. Psalm 90:12 says, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." I know I am guilty of neglecting this truth. I have spent too much time on unworthy pursuits, but I believe that with the grace of God I can give my time back to Him and follow His leadership.  

Traveling and exploring with my friends and family has been a highlight of the summer. We have discovered rooftops and bell towers and battlefields. We are explorers, pioneers. Over the last few years, my life has changed radically, and I have learned to love the overgrown path over the beaten road. I have learned about war, how to survive, how to rebuild. But most of all, I have learned to trust. As my pastor once said, "If we listen to God's voice and obey Him, He is going to work in us things that will shine through all eternity". 

I am so overwhelmed with the goodness of God. In the darkest moments of this summer, His presence was with me to guide and comfort. In the most beautiful and blessed moments, His signature was there. Every single second of every day, I want Him to be my foremost thought, and His presence my one desire. None of this - school, work, internships, relationships, violin, art - is about me. It never has been. There is a King, with eyes like flames of fire, who desires a people devoted to Him. He sacrificed Himself to redeem mankind and bring eternal life. He sits in Heaven now, interceding on our behalf. When life becomes confusing and I wonder what my purpose even is, I come back to Micah 6:8: "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" 

And Ephesians 1:11-12, which says, "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."

 My grandmother gave me a lovely book called "Illuminated Prayers" by Marianne Williamson. It is full of beautiful, spirit-lifting prayers that are illustrated in the style of illuminated manuscripts. One of my favorite prayers is, "May my body be a temple to your Spirit. May every cell be filled with light, the radiance of You. May my mouth speak only what You would have me say. May my legs walk only in the directions You would will. May my hands carry forth Your work in all I say and do."

This is my prayer.