4 Steps Towards Living a Full Life

4 steps towards living a full life

Last week I passed by an oak tree Рbranches heavy with leaves. The house behind it peeked through its fullness and I thought, I want my life to be like that, Lord. Full.

And then the thought came: Your life will be as full as you want it to be. I get the choice. I can choose to live a full life or I can choose to live a small life. What does living a full life look like?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Become Uncomfortable

The older I get, I find myself more cautious. I am neater, more organized, and more aware of consequences and implications. All these things are an important part of development and maturity, but sometimes overthinking and staying too rigid leaves little room for adventure and the ability to be uncomfortable. It’s amazing the little things that make me uncomfortable these days: a change in routine, a small inconvenience. I’ve turned into a persnickety 83 year old in my early-mid twenties. When I get too comfortable with my routine, who I am, and where I am at in life, I limit myself.

One reason I knew I Mr.M was the man I was going to marry was the sheer fact that I was uncomfortable. From Day 1 of our relationship, he pushed me outside my comfort zone. I was uncomfortable at the level of spiritual vulnerability. I was uncomfortable navigating the intercultural nuances. I was uncomfortable with the leadership that came with our relationship. But my life was full. Being outside of my comfort zone pushed me in ways that I could never have imagined. I experienced intense growing pains during the beginning part of our relationship, and I loved it.

What is one area you need to get uncomfortable?

4 steps towards a full life

Establish Deep Roots

The second thing that came to mind as I considered the full oak tree is the roots. A tree cannot grow into adulthood and expand its wings, so to speak, without a deep root system. Likewise, we need our roots to grow long and deep into healthy soil.

How do we get our roots to grow?

We drink deeply, feed our soul, and press into our foundation.

Drink deeply of the life you are given, and press into your foundation. My foundation is my faith. I drink deeply of the wisdom of those older than me and of the Scriptures. I notice a change in myself when I’ve isolated myself from my roots. When I neglect to take time to feed my soul – whether that is refusing to take time for a bubble bath sans Netflix, going on a walk outside, or reading my Bible at night – I feel my leaves start to wither.

How do you feed your soul?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Healthy Soil

For those of you who grew up in Sunday School, you likely heard the parable of the sower and the seeds.

A sower threw his seeds into four different areas. The seeds fell onto the path, where they were eaten up by birds – they were denied the chance to grow. Other seeds fell into rocky soil. The plants quickly took root and shot up, but the roots were shallow and the plants were scorched by the heat. Some seeds fell among the thorns, where they were choked up, and the seeds that fell on good soil grew strong and healthy and produced a large crop.

Our soil is our community. Who are we surrounded by? Who do we have to lift us up? Who do we have to nourish us, encourage us, and give us the space to grow?

There were times when I felt as if I was on rocky soil. I feared that if one more thing happens, I would give up. During these times, I wasn’t surrounded by a strong community. I had isolated myself. And even worse, I allowed people who didn’t have my best interest to speak into my life.

There are growing pains that come with a full life. We go through various seasons, and if we are not rooted in a strong community, we will wither and die. What does a strong community look like for you?

For me, a strong community looks like peers who are ambitious. They are pursuing their dreams, their calling, and most importantly, the Lord. A strong community also consists of allowing people who are older and wiser to speak into my life – to call me out when I’m being crazy and to encourage me when I’m weak. In a strong community, there are also people who may be different than me – whether it be younger, or living with a different (but holy) perspective from whom I can learn.

What does a strong community look like for you?

4 Steps Towards a Full Life

Duration

When I think about how long it takes for an oak to grow, it’s exhausting. Oak trees can take up to 100 years to grow to their full potential. Some days it may feel like we see little to no growth at all in our lives. We wonder when we will reach our destiny and fulfill our potential. But we remember, growth comes little by little. We may not see it in the moment, but we get to look back and see how far we have come.

Living a full life takes patience. We must weather through various seasons, year by year, in order to grow. Like the oak tree, we experience high winds, torrential downpours, snow, the hot sun year after year after year. But one day, thirty years from now, when we look back, we will see how much we have grown.

4 Steps to Living a Full Life

Move Your Mountain

Move Your Mountain

Happy Monday!

Last week seemed to last forever, which, since Pai and I were on a mini vacay for the extent of it, was a good thing. We had so much fun traipsing about Greeneville, SC. I can’t wait to share all the good eats we had with you soon!

A Mustard Seed Faith

When I was a kid in Sunday School, I was told that if I had faith as small as a mustard seed, I could move mountains. In my naive 6 year old mind, I would focus on a mountain, pray and ask that God would move it. And the mountains never moved. I’m glad they didn’t, because my 6 year old mind didn’t understand the implications of such a geological shift.

Growing up in the church, I’ve always heard this saying. I didn’t know what mustard seeds were until about a month ago. I honestly thought they were sesame seeds like on a hamburger bun because those were always pretty small seeds to my young mind. I’ve since learned differently. Mustard seeds are one of the smallest seeds in the world, and are actually used as spices in some areas. I’ve never seen a mustard tree in my life, but I learned they grow in the Middle East primarily due to the hot climate.

So why does the Bible tell us to have faith as a mustard seed when the seed is so small? When planted, a mustard seed grows into an enormous bush-like tree with an extravagant root system.

Building Faith

Four years ago, I went to the Dominican Republic to intern at a shelter for women coming out of sex trafficking. My summer had started in chaos. I had a plan to act in a short film that fell through, another job prospect fell through, and my boyfriend and I broke up. I was devestated. So I fled the country. (Kidding.) I heard about a ministry that worked with women coming off the streets, and I knew that was something I wanted to pour into. So I applied for the ministry mid-May; I didn’t hear that I received the internship until June 19th, and the intersnhip started July 1st.

I was overwhelmed. Why would I find out twelve days before I needed to be there? How would I raise $1500 in such a short amount of time?

I’ve learned over and over again that God gets to show off when we are in these tight squeeze situations. We’re walking along in our journey and we meet an impossible mountain.

Impossible mountains are planted in our way so that we are forced to rely on God and our community. We cannot overcome anything by ourselves.

I didn’t fund raise for my mission trip to the DR; instead I just put a note on Facebook explaining my situation, and my community stepped in. I trusted God to walk with me through that mountain, and he showed up. 2 days before I flew out to the Dominican Republic for a month, I received more than what I needed to cover the expenses.

Having a Miracle Memory 

Mountains are always going to show up in our path. Some we will walk over, side by side with our community, and some we will need faith to move.

Any time a mountain shows up, I freak out. I forget that God has walked me through and helped me to move mountains in our life before.

It helps to have what one pastor calls, “A Miracle Memory.” A miracle memory is a timeline or testimony, if you will, of miracles you have seen in your life.

Recently Pai and I have been praying for a miracle. When I thought everything was fallen apart, I remembered the miracles God has performed in the past. I wrote them down, and I submitted my anxiety to the Lord. A few days later, we received a miracle. Even though it didn’t show up the exact way we hoped, the season we get to walk through together has produced more faith and more miracles.

Moving Your Mountain

A mustard seed-like faith is more than just moving mountains. It’s also about the extravagant root system. When we choose to walk out in faith, our roots deepen and widen, further grounding us in our relationship with the Lord. We become immovable, even when the circumstances around us are chaos.

Our mountains don’t move because we want them to. They move because we believe in a God who can.

“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20