Monday, February 13, 2012

What's in a name?

I have to admit, I am not good at titles. I put so much into the actual writing, so much into the words and the structure and the technical and contextual elements, that by the time I get to the title, I'm over it... or late for my next class... or bed time.

I don't like having to name things. Giving something a name makes it seem so... final. It's like, if you name something, that's what it is. Forever. Always. I will always be Jessica because that is what my parents named me. I like my name, but it's just so... permanent.

To give something a title, to use hundreds of words and letters and then end it with three little words that may or may not relate- how can you do that? How can I write an entire piece of work to settle on a three word title? Doesn't that seem a little strange?

People say, "Well what is your work about?" And I give them an answer, but the title can't be "It's about a house that I grew up in that had this really great swing set with monkey bars and a  rope....," so how do you choose? How do you choose a couple measly words to sum up your whole story?

Is it like life? Do you just write and write and write, and pick a word, whether it relates or not? I mean, my parents named me Jessica, but they didn't know whether I'd be a Jessica or Sarah, or Katie.... they just picked what they liked and I am me, and luckily, I like it and it fits me.

Wait, maybe that's how it is. Maybe "Jessica"fits me because that's what I've always been. My dog is a "Tabor" because she's never been called anything else, and this blog is about "Words" because that's what I called it. Is this blog even about words? I am so bad at titles.

My question is, are we defined by our titles? Are confined by them? Are we limited to what people say we are, what they call us? I don't think so... I think we are so much more than a title, just like a story is so much more than it's title, just like there is more to us than our names. Don't let people title you. Don't be defined by what someone else chooses to call you. More than likely, they don't know what you're about anyway.

Fine Line God?

I thought senior year of college would be a time of celebration and easy classes. Wrong! College, senior year, is a time to freakout over deadlines, missing credits, grad school applications, job interviews, GRE tests, blah, blah, blah, the list goes on. If I wrote out a to- do list (for all of you who know I am a compulsive list maker), it would literally take a whole sheet of paper. Even more than that, it seems like every single decision, every move, every answer, question, everything carries so much weight. I feel like, at this point in my life, every decision I make is going to affect my future. In a way, it is very exciting, but mostly, it's extremely overwhelming. So, here is what someone very wise told me:

God's will for our life is not a fine line that we have to stay on. It's not a tight rope, that, if we fall off, that's it- we're done. God's will doesn't work like that! Thank the Lord (literally) because I have awful balance.

In a figurative way, God's will for our life is like a football field, or a basketball court- something with boundaries. We can go anywhere we want within those boundaries and still be in God's will for our life. Isn't that beautiful?

If you are like me- if you feel like every decision you have in front of you is a high-stakes decision. Think again! God didn't set a will for our lives to confine us. He set a will for our lives to show us how free we are in Him. He sets the boundaries, but we are free to move. We're free to seek and find and look and search. We have to pray that those boundaries would be clear to us, and we have to discern between our own boundaries and the ones God has set for us, but He gave us a brain and hands and feet because He wants us to use them- to seek for ourselves His will for us.

So next time that decision lingers in front of you and you are panicked to make the right choice, ask God to help you. Ask Him to show you the boundaries of His will, and He will do just that. If this is our prayer, there should be no fear and anxiousness about the future- only excitement about reaching our full potential in Christ.

So rejoice, God has set forth a plan for us. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." Your decision will not cause you to fall of the tight rope of God's will. It will force you to move within the boundaries of the freedom He's given us. How amazing is that? Be confident in prayer, and be confident in your decisions.

It doesn't seem so high-stakes when I look at it this way. God is good... and funny. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

He's not real.

Just this second, I was watching a music video for a country song, and found myself wondering, "Why don't I have that kind of relationship?"

Movies, books, songs, tv- they make us long for something that isn't real. Nicholas Sparks makes even the best guys look like jerks. When I read Dear John, I cried for John Tyree. I thought how stupid that girl was for not waiting on him. I said I would have waited for him. If that's the case, I'm going to be waiting a long time.

There are good guys out there, lots of them. I am related to the two greatest men in the world (at least, I think they are the two greatest men in the world!) But even they don't live up to the standards of a "dream boy."

Girls, we can't change a bad boy. We can't make him right and good and honorable. Guys don't walk around and write love songs for us, they don't hold boom boxes outside our windows. They don't remodel houses in our honor and then say "it was never over," when we return to them. They don't sit beside our bed all night just to make sure we sleep okay. They don't do that . That's . Not . Real .

It's like this- we are not "dream girl" material. Well, I'm not anyways. I complain... a lot. I'm irrational and difficult and nothing is ever my fault. If I'm not the girl in one of those songs/ books/ movies, how can I expect him to be the guy in one of those movies? If I'm not perfect size, perfect attitude, perfect girl, why would I expect a guy to be all of those things for me?

Next time you find yourself wondering where your Noah, John, Chuck, Edward, Jacob, the list goes on, is, think about what guy, any guy, you actually know in real life that acts the way those characters do. I'd bet you can't find an answer.

Don't ask what's missing in your relationship. Don't ask where your dream guy is. Really think about the things you do have in a relationship, or think about the things that are actually really important. Ask yourself what's going to matter in 10 years when you're waking up beside him every morning. It'll make you thankful for what you have instead of ungrateful for what you can't seem to find. It'll make you realize the difference in a movie character and a real-life guy. It'll make you realize where your expectations are and where they should be.

Give the guys a chance. Sparkly vampires aren't real. (Neither is Christian Grey. Or Peetah for that matter.)