Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Once a Fish

Yesterday I encountered my own time capsule in the form of these altered books. Kept safe for five years by my Aunt Lara, who has been showing them to her art students at school, they hold in their pages details from a life I've immortalized since. Now, confronted with my own fresh-out-of-high-school self, I experienced the common discomfort one feels when facing their own growing pains. I learned yesterday that things once called 'inseparable' can in fact come unglued (and less metaphorically, rubber cement isn't permanent, either); insecurities have a funny habit of refusing to be concealed; but above all, that it is truly a blessing to see pieces of your past self and cringe with the abrasion of that meeting, because it means that you are not the person you were five years ago. How sad it would be if we never changed.


As I flipped through the pages I'd created (some didn't even register as memories in my brain - am I that old already?) I saw desperate and heartfelt written prayers for a sick friend, who went to Heaven a few years later; repeated cynical comments about spouse-obsessed ACU girls started back at me from an embarrassing amount of pages (HEL-LO insecurity); but one letter, tucked away tightly, caught my eye the third of fourth time through, and when I opened it to read, I remembered the words and the late night in my dorm room the night the letter had been written. In one of our classes, were were to write an essay describing our understanding of choices and the will of God; how the two were similiar, different, or intertwined. In our paper we were to discuss how we came to decide on attending ACU, and whether or not we believed it was 'God's will.'

I remembered that in some ways, I was more aware of my purpose and direction as a stupid (read: more innocent) freshman than I am today (though I've had a nice long time to stand here and figure it all out). Here is what the letter said:

"I hate decisions. I dreaded taking our online quiz because I knew it would tell me what I already know about myself: I am a terrible decision maker. My points were basically split equally down the five different decision-making types, confirming that I probably didn't even make the right decisions about my own decision-making style. This is my process when it comes to picking Choice A over Choice B: first, I consider every option and its possible effect in my head, then I ask all of my friends what they think about it. Then I inevitably begin to second guess what they say, or my intuition, begin to worry incessantly, put the decision off until the last possible time and when the Big Moment comes I go with my first instict, making every minute that I stressed over what was probably an obvious choice completely useless and most likely harmful to my health.

The reason I didn't completely lose my head over deciding which college to attend is because ACU has been the place I wanted to be since I was in seventh grade. The extent of my pre-decision process was to visit ACU a few times, not including Kadeshes, and after my older friends came back from school with nothing but praises I was sold. Knowing that ACU would benefit me in all social, emotion and spiritual aspects, I lost no sleep over this decision that was plaguing so many of my friends at school. My parents were ecstatic, and since Westover hills, my church, pretty much funds ACU single-handedly, the opinions of my church friends about the issue at hand rarely differed from mine. Making the decision was easy, but knowing whether it was the will of God or the will of Christie turned out to be a completely different issue.


I struggled with the idea that maybe this wasn't God's will for my life, but rather the default plan because I had failed to seriously explore any other options. Beginning to panic long after the rest of my friends had finally gotten over their anxiety, I started to doubt my decision and wondered if I should have applied to the other schools to which I had even given a moment's thought. How was I expected to truly find God's will when I had done no previous seeking about this particular topic? Was I rushing into four years that were never meant to be?

Until this summer, I considered 'God's will' for my life to be an intricate plan of sorts, locked and set, always including one 'right' choice, and the others... well, one just doesn't even consider those options. I didn't understand how to find God's will, or to recognize if I was following it or not. I should have realized that God is all-encompassing. I really wasn't giving Him enough credit: He can work with anything. The only reassurance I had that God wanted me here at ACU was that He moved me from Ohio to Texas four years ago, making it a lot easier for me to end up in Abilene. Other than that, my college decision was pretty much a shot in the dark. Now I realize that God has given me talents, abilities, preferences and personality, but most importantly, the privilege to make choices for myself. All of theose blessings help me seek and live out His will. To do God's will is to bring Him glory, and to bring Him glory is to do His will. A few verses from Proverbs 16 sum up my feelings better than I could ever express, so I'll be ending with some borrowed wisdom: 'In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps...' so we must '...commit to the Lord whatever [we] do, and [our] plans will succeed.' "

In other news, Sophie's recently agreed to pose for me and we've discovered that she's quite the model. Elegant as a Botticelli chick, no?