on Christmas lights & running 

My greatest desire is to be honest, and perhaps I was slapped in the face from the very things that I run from: insincerity for the sake of recognition and the desire for belonging.

I’ve been running.

I started when I [jokingly] snapped at a friend, saying that I would spend anything just so I could have Christmas lights in my dorm room. The friend responded with a practical response… something to do with how dollars in college get a bit harder to find, implying that Christmas lights might not be a necessity. (Unfortunate how that works, but smart in saying so.)

Brief conversation or not, my character was pricked, I felt really immature, and I knew it wasn’t just about Christmas lights. (ooh, God works in an unexpected situation. again.) I ran to pinpoint why it bothered me so much.

I felt convicted of wanting perfection, which looks like me obsessing over beautiful things (something that goes far beyond Christmas lights and spills into other areas of life). It’s an attitude towards life  where you can only do more. Be more. Succeed more. God created beautiful things and has given men & women the gifts to make beautiful things, but why do I want such beautiful things? Is it all just for a square photo? Or so I can look back and think “Look what I’ve done! Look who I’ve become!“?

Sometimes, yet I believe in more than just curating beauty through what is viewed on a screen. Thus I realized my pricked character was alerting me to a larger problem of hole-filling: me filling my life with things to compensate for what I think I lack so that I will be more desirable.

In an effort to refocus my attention on several distracting things about my character, I ran from social media. “Social” was empty on my phone. But I have nothing to show for it, I didn’t do anything cool during that time of “social emptiness”. I didn’t eat kale smoothies or plan vegan dinners in my spare time. I didn’t work out (whoops). I didn’t go to bed earlier.

I just had time to realize that I had a bunch of things I could be doing more thoroughly if I weren’t checking my phone so often. And I had time to think & refocus.

What I like doesn’t dictate the truth. Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean that I’m entitled to do certain things. Same thing goes for being a photographer. I should never excuse poor actions because of my desired professional title or because “that’s just the way I am”. It’s scary and heartbreaking to realize I have slipped into this habit. 

I’m in this place where I so desperately want to be defined by something. 

My greatest desire is to be honest, and perhaps I was slapped in the face from the very things that I run from: insincerity for the sake of recognition and the desire for belonging.

I’ve been running to Georgia and from Georgia. I get chills of excitement when I see those traveling pictures and quotes and OH MY GOODNESS I love road trips. But when it gets right down to it, I am so stinking scared. I hate distance. Distance is lonely. Sipping a cup of coffee and lighting a candle doesn’t smooth this kind of fear.

I look at the next mountain. Now that one can’t be moved. Here’s where I’ll fall – I’ll be able to mark it in my journal with a date and time. This is where I’ll stop, and here, God will make me go on alone. 

I run. And God answers in spite of myself.

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