Love where you are

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long minute, but there is a thing I am going to say in this post that I just wasn’t ready to say until very very very recently.

First of all, I am writing this post from new favorite thing in the whole entire world – my green antique bar stool that I bought yesterday. It is literally in the middle of my bedroom with no real place to go, but I still just love it. It is awesome. Best purchase ever in the history of Ellie-Shea-Purchase-Making! It’s comfy and high and I can swing my feet and slouch a little and sit with my computer on my lap and put my elbows on the arm rest as I type. I love this chair. It is near-perfect.

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But I haven’t been having a hard time confessing things about my new chair. That is not what this is about. As many of you know, I’ve decided to stay in Memphis for an undecided amount of time. Who knows, Memphis may become my forever home. I still have over-sea-teaching dreams and big-city-living dreams and get-my-doctorate dreams, and those things can still happen. In fact, I’m pretty sure that those things will happen. I don’t really understand how all of these things (Memphis = homebase, over-seas teaching, big-city living, getting my doctorate) connect to each other, and I have zero clue how/when/where those things will happen, but I have to trust that God has a plan. So I am trusting, which is really difficult for me to do. Thankfully, “He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world,” and “He who is in me is greater than me,” so I’m pretty sure that with the Holy Spirit I can trust that whatever happens it will be the right happening.

But that is also not what this post is supposed to be about. This post is supposed to be about Memphis… and some other things. I’ve been here for four years, which is like 1/6 of my life. When you consider that I don’t remember much for the first 1/3 of my life, and that the 1/6 of my life that I was in college doesn’t really count, and that I don’t count middle school (1/6-ish) as “life,” I’ve pretty much been in Memphis my entire life. Don’t fight it – just accept that my math makes sense.

For much of my life (my life for the case of this post = 4 years), I was in a relationship that I put a lot of hope in. I thought that this relationship was going to lead me out of the city of Memphis, so for a good while I spent time disconnecting myself from the city. It was like I refused to enjoy Memphis, explore it, invest in it – in short, I wanted to make leaving Memphis as quick, easy, and painless as possible.

First things first – this mindset is dangerous, I get that. Even if you are only going to be in a place for 6 months or 4 months or 2 months, investing is always worth it. You will always regret missing out on your life, even if you’re only missing out on a little bit of it.

Second things second – as I enter into my 5th year in Memphis, I’ve committed to loving it. I’ve committed to exploring and learning and meeting and investing in this city while I am here. Again, I could be here for a million years, or I could be here for 10 more months, you never know. Life happens.

If you’ve made it this far into the blog, you are a champion. There’s a bit more; don’t give up now.

So, today I went to the Brooks Museum, which I had never visited before today. It was lovely. I love art so so so much. I think it’s mostly because I lack artsy-ness. I’m not a skilled painter or sculptor or sketch-ist, so I really appreciate seeing those skills in other people. Anyways, I really enjoyed myself. And I learned that teachers get in for free, so that was an added bonus! (If you’re not a teacher, it’s $7. Very affordable.)

In all these ramblings, I hope that you (mom, becca, rachel, amaris, melanie, alexis, other people who know and love me) get this one point – love where you are. Love the physical place you live and work, love the season of life you are experiencing, love the people who are around you. I find myself so often trying to manipulate and change things, and I never really stop and just love the place that God has put me right now.

Peace, hope, and love to you… where you are

Vlog Series/Life Updates/Faith/Hope/Love/Ministry/Sinful Nature/Real Sin Struggles

1) The vlog series is going to be crazy this week. Lots of videos will be posted. It is in full swing. 

2) I got a new job at a new school in a new position. I am excited and scared, but mostly excited. Even though I struggle, struggle, struggle every day with pride, greed, lust, selfishness, wrath, unfaithfulness, [insert sinful behavior here] and the consequences that come along with those sins, I still receive blessings. It goes to show you: prosperity gospel is a myth. God gives because He is good, not because I am good. I am also in the process of buying a house. It turns out that this process may take about 3 months longer than expected, which means I need to throw away my calendar/expectations/plans, and do as my dad said, “Just go with the flow, Ellie. Go with the flow.” 

3) I’ve been really struggling with and through sins right now – and I mean conscious sins, not “oops I did it again” sins. I’m trying to brush it off, and say, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” which is true. But in the same breath I must remember, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” meaning that God desires that I be set free from my sins. Free. Like all the way free. It’s funny – last week my church began a sermon series about the Holy Spirit. I’ve thought about the Spirit all week long, but I haven’t really prayed to live in and by and with the Spirit live and active in my life.

But why not? Why don’t I do that? Why don’t I relinquish control of my life and let the Spirit move and work? It all stems from the same place – control. My biggest sin – the sin from which all other baby sins are born – is control. I love it; I crave it; I worship it every single hour, every single day of my life. And I literally screw up everything all the time because I am a person who LOVES being in control. I want to excuse myself; I want to blame someone else for my control issues, but at the end of the day regardless of where I got them from I have them now, and they are mine. I cannot “pass them off” to the person who I claim gave them to me. I have to own my major control problem, and I have to work towards redemption every second of every day in order to overcome it. 

All that said, I recognize that the only way in which I can be redeemed from this horrible monster called control is to live by the Spirit. I don’t know how to do that, but I figure if I pray for it, seek it, listen to it, I will learn how to live by it.