Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Lord Longs to Be Gracious to You

It's a hard week. I'm exhausted. And stressed. And every law student I know is too. Honestly, this week is about as intense as finals, which is saying something. I have 2 major writing projects, a 100-page law review manuscript, a midterm, and the MPRE (the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam--standardized test of legal ethics that everyone must take to get a law license) all in the next 5 days. Preparations for the moot court competition are going into high gear, as it's less than 3 weeks away. I'm not getting enough sleep, and lately when I do try to sleep, I've been either lying awake feeling stressed out, or having to-do list-induced nightmares (my least favorite of those? Dreaming that I completed some huge assignment or project--and then waking up to realize I actually haven't started it yet).

But here is some encouragement for today, for you and for me, from Isaiah 30:18. I love the way the Amplified Bible puts it:

"And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!"

He waits and longs to be gracious to you, and you are blessed if you wait and long for Him. That's good news no matter how stressed out you are!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Runner's High

Catherine and I have been on a major workout kick lately, and we don't plan on stopping it anytime soon. We've been going to the gym pretty much every single day for the past two weeks, no excuses, and working out a whole lot harder than I normally do--I've run more, done more pushups and lunges and ab exercises, and lifted more weights in the past two weeks than I have in such a long time. This girl, who's normally content to just do a Zumba class or jog some or shoot some hoops, is getting used to running a few miles basically every time I go to the gym. It's often the last thing I actually want to do after a long day of school work, but I know it's good for me.

And I feel great. I have so much energy (as in, I feel slightly caffeinated, without the coffee, pretty much all the time and am naturally more alert and focused) and I just feel strong and physically capable, which is a really good feeling to have. And there's nothing quite like the endorphin rush from a good run. Today I was actually quite satisfied to realize that I'm going to need to buy new running shoes because I've basically cracked the soles on my old ones. There's something really satisfying about realizing that you can lift 100 pounds, or run for one minute longer than you could last week.

And I don't believe I would have the energy to do all the work I need to be doing right now if I weren't exercising so much, so I'm telling myself, I think truthfully, that I don't have time not to work out. Today we went to the football field and ran up and down all the bleachers, and ran sprints, and did pushups and crunches, and came up with all these other random cardio exercises. I think this coming week, we're going to add some swimming and biking to the mix. We've already run the stairs in my apartment building once before, and I think we'll definitely do that again (yep, all 10 floors of it). Catherine's trying to stay in shape for her upcoming army physical fitness test, and I'm just trying to get in shape for, you know, life. I want to be able to haul heavy grocery bags and books around with no trouble, and be able to run up two flights of stairs when I'm late to class, and know that I could defend myself if I ever needed to. So anyway, I think this is going to become my new lifestyle. I will probably never be one of those women who jumps out of bed on the weekends and goes and runs 10 miles, but really big and profound lifestyle changes start with really small ones. So I'm starting now.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Don't Want to Be in a Relationship.

I know that this puts me in a category with what seems like about 1% or less of people my age: Not only am I not in a relationship right now, but I have absolutely no desire to be in one. Not now, and not for a LONG time in the future.

I love being single. That's not sarcasm at all--I mean, I really love it. I love that I can make big plans for my future and be able to pursue what I feel led to pursue without being tied down by someone else's plans. I'm young, and I love that I don't have to fit my life into someone else's. I love that I can do what I want to do on Friday night, whether it's going out with friends or staying in and reading a book. I love being able to go where I want and do what I want without having to check in with anyone. I love that I can spend time with any friends that I want, male or female, without feeling guilty about it or worried that my significant other won't like my friends. And with no offense meant toward anyone, I guess I just don't want to spend every waking moment with one person right now. Most girls I know who are in relationships, for example, have dinner with their boyfriends EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I just don't want to spend that much time with one person right now.

But my culture makes me feel very guilty about loving being single. I'm not supposed to love it. I'm supposed to hate it and be willing to do just about anything to be in a relationship. It is not assumed that single people have full, complete lives (but I would very much like to challenge that assumption). It is assumed that their lives are "unfinished," if you will, searching, and sometimes desperate. Just in terms of cultural norms, when people ask me if I'm dating someone, I'm not really allowed to say the truth: "No, I'm not dating anyone because I love being single." No, you're expected to give people very clear, logical reasons as to why exactly you aren't dating, and a clear timeline of when you expect to start dating in the future. Hence my classic excuse, aided by the fact that I went straight from college to law school: "I'm waiting until I finish school." And on top of making us single ladies feel like we can't possibly not be planning to date someone in the very clearly defined future, I know many people would dismiss every reason I just gave for loving singleness as being totally selfish. While I do understand how it could seem that way to some, at the heart of it, why is it selfish to pursue the lifestyle you want? Most of the single people I know still care deeply about others, are invested in their friendships, active in their communities, successful in their work, etc. They're giving and contributing and mentoring and investing and making a difference. They are not selfish simply because they're pursuing the life they want in terms of their relationships--just like it's not fair to tell people who are in relationships that they're selfish just because of that fact.

Just as people have the right to pursue a relationship if it makes them happy, they should also be able to not pursue a relationship if that's the lifestyle they want, without having other people wonder what's wrong with them and when they'll come around and realize that they need to Start Dating Right Now. And don't even get me started on the offensive articles out there about "why you're still single" that accuse single people of being weird, immature, unable to take care of themselves, and socially awkward. I mean, really? Moreover, I'm tired of the idea that single people aren't really "adults" yet, and I don't even know where this notion came from. It's not as if getting a boyfriend or girlfriend suddenly transforms you into an adult, or as if single people aren't paying their bills, working really hard, and taking care of themselves just like any other adults.

Don't get me wrong. I am delighted for my friends who are happily dating, engaged, and married (and a couple of my friends have really wonderful marriages and I think, someday, I probably will want a marriage like theirs). I am just as happy for my friends who, like me, are happily single. But here's a little secret: I'm not waiting to finish school before I start dating. That's an excuse because I know most people won't be ok with the real answer. I'm not dating because I don't want to be dating! (I'm laughing right now just imagining the responses I might get to that if I said that to people when I go home over Thanksgiving break!) I highly doubt that in 7 months when I graduate I'll suddenly want to start dating (or in a year, or a year and a half, etc., but that's neither here nor there). Of course I don't know what will happen in the future, but based on the fact that I've been very happily single for my entire adult life so far, I would definitely anticipate that I'll probably be perfectly happy working for a few years before I even want to think about dating. So what if I'm 27, or 30, or 32, and not in a relationship! If I'm happy and doing what I think God wants me to do, why does my personal relationship status even matter to anybody else?

I know that that's not acceptable to a lot of people. I know a lot of you all may be reading this and wondering who this weird girl is who just readily admitted that I've never even been in a real relationship and that's perfectly fine with me. But ultimately, we as a culture need to stop judging other people's choices to be, or not to be, in relationships, because it's offensive, and we need to just stop already. Anyway, that's my two cents. Thoughts?

Sunday, October 20, 2013


This verse is highlighted, underlined, starred, and circled in my Bible: "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me." (Psalm 138:8). When I strain toward my future, often with confusion and fear, or simply wishing I had more than one life so that I could do more things and have more jobs and pursue more dreams in my time here, it helps me tremendously to remember this bold promise for my life. It's amazing because it reminds me of two things: First of all, I have a purpose! My life has a purpose. It's not an accident or random or a product of chance that I am here right now, at this time in history, in this city, at this age, in law school, sitting on my couch typing out these words on a gloriously sunny Sunday morning. It's not just random, my life has a purpose. All of our lives have a purpose. Another verse that reminds me of this is Isaiah 42:6: "I have called you for a righteous purpose and I am holding you by your hand." Amazing.

And second, it's such a source of peace to know that not only do I have a purpose, but the LORD will fulfill it for me. I do not have to struggle and strain and wander through life confusedly trying to pursue a purpose and desperately trying not to miss the mark. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me, and my job is to follow His leading and listen to His heart, not being anxious about anything, but claiming His purpose and His peace for my life. I am claiming that today and claiming these promises for my life in a time that could otherwise be burdened with great uncertainty. I don't have to stress about fulfilling God's purpose for my life because that is something that He has clearly promised to do--all I need to do is go where He leads me and be fully attentive to His voice. He knows the way that I take and has grace for me every step of the way.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Friday :)

I LOVE Fridays in the fall. Well, fall in general. And as of October 1st, I *officially* gave myself permission to pull out the Christmas music . . . even though I had definitely already been listening to it since September. And even though it's still HOT here, usually the mornings have a hint of cool fall air and remind me that lots of football, cute scarves, boots, pumpkin-flavored everything, and anticipation for the holidays are coming my way in the next couple months.

Today, my last class got canceled (I kind of love it when professors just have to go out of town, even though they're always so apologetic), so I just need to get through my business class and then I'm done for the weekend. There's a big art festival downtown this weekend with free admission to a bunch of art museums, so my friend Juliana and I are going to get dinner and then check that out tonight. This week I've been pretty absorbed with editing a huge trial practice and procedure manuscript, outlining for my remedies class, and recruiting judges for the Moot Court competition (yeah, that's still going on. And there's so much more to think about: trophies, gifts for the judges, planning a banquet, getting a caterer and a bartender, getting a photographer for the awards ceremony, finding professors to grade the teams' briefs, and so on. My friend Maria who's also on the committee is fantastic at the whole event planning thing, so it's been great to have her involved).

As far as other random happenings in my life lately:

--I got to hear Matt Redman lead worship live at Passion City Church on Sunday and it was amazing. And I'm totally obsessed with his new CD and have been listening to it nonstop--it's called Your Grace Finds Me, and you should definitely check it out!

--Discovering that I had a free trial of Netflix instant streaming means I've been watching random documentaries and the Andy Griffith show alllll week long.

--Catherine and I signed up to do this closing argument competition that involves students from every law school in the state. Grand prize is $2,000. We're trying to win back most of the money we dropped on our bar prep courses. :) I spent $2,415 on mine, which definitely makes it the biggest ticket purchase of my life, but if I don't pay tuition for a course, chances are very good that I won't pass the bar.

--I've been speaking up more lately . . . about everything. Sharing my opinions with people instead of just acting like I don't have one because I don't think people will like it, being more vocal, participating more in class, etc. I'm not sure what prompted the change, but I like it.

--I've been on a brown rice kick lately. It's so good (and cheap). Last night for dinner I pretty much set up a brown rice buffet with various toppings to choose from: beans, corn, tuna, etc. This may be my go-to "poor law student" dinner.

--I really want to go to Bath and Body Works ASAP and buy some of their fall candles: they have harvest coffee candles, pumpkin pecan waffle candles, etc. That's what I'm talking about!

Well I have to run to class but have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Everyone Doesn't Have to Like You.

Just a quick thought for the day: Not everybody in the world needs to like you! Like many people, I am usually very focused on trying to get everyone around me to like me and respect me and want to be my friend, but I've been realizing lately that that's simply not necessary. And it may not even be a good thing.

It dawned on me yesterday that if absolutely everyone who knows you likes you, then maybe you aren't living your life boldly enough! Sometimes, to do the right thing, you need to shake things up, rock the boat, step on someone's toes, and do some things that people just aren't going to like. I don't mean that you do these things in an unkind or a rude way, or that you're trying to get on someone's bad side. But really, if you never do anything that some people won't like, there may be a lot of things you need to be doing but aren't because of a fear of rejection.

Yesterday I publicly stood up to a fellow student who has treated people badly for years, and called him out on his bad attitude and behavior. I'm pretty sure I lost at least some of his respect (if I ever had it to begin with). I'm pretty sure I made him mad. And because I never do things like that and would rather run from even the appearance of conflict, last night I had to fight an overwhelming urge to apologize and tell him I didn't mean it. But I did mean it, and I wasn't sorry for saying it. And I realized that I probably would have stood up to him a long time ago if I hadn't been so driven to have everybody like me and think I'm so nice.

Being nice is a good thing. Being liked is a good thing. But it's not everything. And if everyone likes you, it's possible that you're not standing up for anything when you should be. Just some food for thought.