I no longer have any posts in my "friends feed" seeing as no one uses this as a place to share their thoughts.
A lot has changed in the past two years.
I graduated from college. I quit Starbucks. I stopped serving in high school ministry. I moved to Boston.
I moved to Boston.
The dream finally came a reality.
God did an amazing thing, orchestrated my steps to His rhythm (not mine), and here I am, sitting in my first apartment in Cambridge, listening to 'Wilder Minds' by Mumford and over thinking.
I have been here since April 20th, but the journey to Boston started this month last year when I took a long vacation to house sit for my sister and applied for a job on a whim.
I left everything I knew for a new adventure... one that my heart had been longing so long for.
I was brave; But as someone who has delayed processing to emotional events, I was able to go and do with no regrets.
But then, winter arrived.
And the people around me were constantly asking if I was "okay" or "regretting" my decisions.
The mind is a tricky thing, and it can only handle so many of the same things before you start believing you MUST have a problem.
Soon after I moved, I happened upon a sermon of a former worship pastor at my church and the quote, "Trust in the slow work of God" stood out and was written legibly on a yellow post-it and affixed to my computer screen.
I've constantly reminded myself that God works slower than I, or the world wants Him too. It took me over 6 years to get to Boston. There were many tears shed. There were many nights where I felt so lost and confused and questioned every. single. life. decision. I. ever. made.
But, God brought me here. I thought I was realistic in the timing and the effort it would take to build a community of support. I didn't expect much. I wasn't in Boston for college; I wasn't really part of a friend community; so I *knew* it would be slow. I knew that things weren't going to happen overnight. I just don't think I expected those closest to me projecting their insecurities on me about being alone.
I'm funny that way... I like to be alone. I don't have grand plans to be a shut in, but I don't strive for high energy situations. I prefer meeting someone one-on-one instead of fighting for attention in a crowd where I am observing and listening and not contributing. I'm background. I am the tech crew. I am no where near centerstage unless it's cleaning the floor... and I don't mind!
However, I just moved across the country. I don't know many people and I don't think I expected the job isolation that I have felt. I work with a team of 55 people and I am lucky if I see 6 different faces a week!
My job is strange in structure, it's hard to explain and boring, but I feel like an outsider since I am not one of the 55 doing their thing everyday with one another. No, I sit in an office with poor lighting and sloping floors and I'm starting to develop bad posture and lower back pains from sitting all day. Occasionally I break free and sit in a coffee shop and think about what my next step is.
I find myself questioning "why" I am here in Boston. I am questioning the purpose of this job and how long I will last. I find myself questioning why I am almost 30, single and feel like I haven't contributed much to the Kingdom lately...
But, I'll digress to the topic of church.
I assumed that I would be attending a church that I have much love for, but it wasn't the fit I thought it was once I moved. Leadership changes showed up in the services; the lack of community groups during the summer months made it extremely hard to get involved in a church that met once a week and went their separate ways afterward.
I was bold and explored other churches and nothing jumped out except a tiny church that met a few blocks from the original church I was hoping to attend. This church seemed to be full of genuine people who wanted to love Jesus and bring Gospel renewal to Boston. I felt like my heart found the home it had longed for after six years- finding a community that wanted to see Boston redeemed. A community that wanted to be there for the long haul. A community that I instantly felt welcomed to despite not knowing anyone.
However, it's still slow going developing close friendships.
Boston is the opposite of Orange County culture. Going out is part of life. It's not uncommon for the young adult/professional ministries of other churches to have their weekly meeting then head out to a bar or nightclub to continue "fellowshipping".
I mean, the most "risky" thing we did after church was head to Harbor House to grab milkshakes (okay, there may have been a few nights after church where we would grab slurpees, stop off at the liquor store and buy some nibs and have cocktail hour at Balboa Pier watching the waves crash...)!
Culture is an interesting thing that I currently find myself warring with. I am from California. I am not East Coast in politics or values. I have the tendency to value education and intellectual pursuits, but I myself, do not (and can not fathom) see myself engaging in them like most people who live here do. I am starting to see the "laid back" stereotype of Californians emerge as those around me are stressing about advancing in their degree programs or getting promoted at work.
I miss hipsterdom. I miss going to Portola and conversations with friends that started years prior. I miss having a car and driving. I miss having a church service to go to any night of the week. Ornage County was saturated in churches, the well isn't empty. In Boston, if you miss that 10am service window, you're out of luck until the next week (not having a car and poor weather make this a very common reality). I find myself midweek feeling like something is missing. I was so used to attending church midweek that I feel lazy not having anywhere to go. I miss singing along to worship that involves electric guitars and a full drum kit (and people who can carry a tune).
I miss siting on a comfy couch in Santa Ana on Sunday nights, knowing I had a safe space to share my struggles with my parents. Knowing I had a safe space to share my doubts and fears; my hopes and my wants; my confusion, my hurts and my frustration. I had soul care, and right now, I have job mandated, weekly meetings with someone that I hardly know (although she seems lovely) to make sure that I'm being cared for (thoughtful, yes, especially since my job is so isolated).
However, if you know me, my personality is to resist anything that is forced on me, process it as not being genuine, and assume that I can't trust you. If I can't discern your level of being genuine, I am going to be closed off, stand-offish, and interact with you like it's a game of poker, waiting for the first bluff to emerge.
I have found that this personality flaw prevents me from having stronger relationships with people I just meet because I don't know how to trust them. I value the relationships I have back home, and consider is a postmodern ideal, but I run with the assumption that those I love, and those I trust will always have a space in my heart despite the hurt they cause it (it's probably why I am so skeptical of new relationships and investing because that opens yourself to the possibility of more hurt and vulnerability).
On the flip side of all of this too, is the aspect of my privacy. I have discovered I am more of a private person and that I don't like answering questions about my thoughts or feelings or decisions out loud. Perhaps it's my delayed processing, but this is literally the first time I have written something from the soul since August of 2014. I communicate so much better through writing than in person... and this upsets me because I don't want to think that I am product of my generation's use of smart devices and technology to isolate people from normal, healthy human interaction.
Perhaps that is what contributes to my singleness? Ha.
So, fun fact, I finally went on a few dates. Nearly took 29 years, but I am no longer someone who can say they've never dated (and I say this with a higher expectation of what a date consists of and does not include having a male friend buy your chicken nuggets, coffee, or alligator).
Thoughts on dating? HA.
I'm silently praying that the good Lord will return with the horsemen of the apocalypse.
Too dramatic? Sigh.
But really, I think that dating sucks.
I was not a fan of the feeling I felt knowing that a guy found me pretty. It seemed to ignite the dormant feminist in me and left me questioning my self worth. Shouldn't I feel that way every day? Shouldn't I walk with a little swagger and pep in my step every day? I hated that I had this grin/ smirk that I carried around as I was "secretly" (only a few people in CA knew) going out. It wasn't me. I still can't really process what I felt except that it felt disingenuous. I did realize that I would be the kid who shows up at Christmas with a fiancee that her parents never knew about though!
I think in this area I have to return to the quote I mentioned earlier, "Trust in the slow work of God."
For some reason, I have had this peace about "waiting for the one" cause "true love waits" and well, I knew that Boston was far greater to fight for than a relationship. I think my lapse in judgement at the end of 2015 was only indicative of trying to figure out why I am in Boston. I do random stuff at times, and in a way it's good because I don't have time to be fearful; I can grab life by the horns!
But, when it comes down to it, I don't risk a lot. I'm more vulnerable and gentle than I think I give off. I know that I need someone who sees more value in me than what I see in myself and will push me to my potential (happiness or purpose will do too). I need someone who isn't smug, slightly an ass, and can carry a conversation as needed. Oh, and someone who has a willingness to serve in a church (let's avoid the Sunday Christians and Duggar types...).
So, okay, dating had some good out of it, I was able to discover things that will drive me nuts in a lifelong relationship, and things that I need. But, I think I'm still fine riding that single wave, or at least I am telling myself I am.
I think I will end there... as I sit in my bed, currently listening to the Tallest Man On Earth, and thinking about the things I miss, but satisfied that my fingers finally connected with the laptop's keys and wrote down some emotions that I have been feeling.
I don't know what the next year will hold, but I'm gonna show up for it..
And then figure out how to get to the Pacific Northwest next. :)
I can't help it...
At 3:30 am, I am reflecting on the past 12 months of my life...
I enjoyed a visit to Boston, where I finally made it to Maine, exploring Portland with my Sis and checked out a school I wish to receive my Master's from.
I explored Oak Glenn during December- and instead of Apple picking, I enjoyed eating apple cider doughnuts with my dear McKenna
I spent a whole class period of Bio trying to secure tickets to Brand New playing their entire catalog at a local venue and not succeeding, but due to my whining on social media, Laura came through and alerted me of tickets being released after the fact. I got tickets to BOTH nights and heard my favorite band for the first time and be amazed as they played every single one of their songs. Still have chills.
I made tamales for the first time with the wonderful ladies of 6488
I bought two turtles in Chinatown cause no one was standing next to me to tell me not to. They were $5 and came with food. A very very tiny. Now, Rufus and Baxter are the size of my hand and almost ready for their new home— our outdoor pond.
I had my hair cut and colored by a professional for the first time in 10 years- thanks Sara Balos. Prior to that, I would manage on my own, wounded from a horrific haircut prior to my senior pictures.
I took my last college final while my hair was wrapped in foil thanks to modern technology and online classes.
I celebrated my 27th year, in Murrieta with my dearest friends, like we have done effort the past 8 years?
I spent the next day exploring the mission in San Diego and reading in front of the Hotel Del in Coronado at sunset, with military aircraft flying overhead...
I watched the Ducks dominate the Kings at Dodger Stadium with my dad... Only to be on the last bus out of Chavez Ravine and only to have it break down a block from Union Station.
I flew to Seattle for the first time and had a great time eating Poutine, visiting Kerry Park, renting a car a driving to Canada, where I sat at a Starbucks in Whistler and read for the day, awestruck by the terrain. I then picked up some Thompson's and drove to Portland, where we saw amazing waterfalls, weird people, and then drove up the coast back to Seattle.
I then was able to do the "Spring Break" I never had with a bestie, Lindsay Thompson, as we flew out to Boston, rented a car, drove to Toronto where we found Stars Hollow, spent the night in Niagara Falls, explored Boston, drove to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Montreal. We boarded a ferry in Connecticut after driving through Rhode Island to drive to Long Island, where we explored the Hamptons, made It to Montauk, where I was pummeled by a rogue wave, before seeing the big Apple and randomly catching up with friends from California. I dropped Lindsay off at the airport then continued my adventure through Amish country, Philadelphia, and to DC, and spending a wonderful night in New Jersey catching up with a wonderful friend, Jessica Anne Fisher before returning to Boston for a few days with my sister.
I GRADUATED and walked in June. Finally.
I loved Seattle so much, I visited again, and almost let the Carissa and Paul convince me to move there... I mean, Poutine, Paseo and The Attic.... Amongst other things. Thanks for being wonderful hosts!
Went to summer camp for the last time.
Drove up to Santa Cruz, and hung out with some rad friends on a whim, cause who doesn't love a trip up the California coast?
I said goodbye to a wonderful woman who was like a grandmother to me.
Visited museums I haven't been to and fell in love with the Norton Simon
Went to the Grand Canyon for sunrise directly after work with a bestie, Mis Leveck and saw wondrous sights, before hitting up the 4 Corners and eating the most amazing Mexican food from Las Casitas in Cortez, Colorado.
Threw a baby shower for the first time, and watched a few friends birth some bayyyybies.
Planned and actually spent 13 days with my parents driving across a good chunk of America.... From here to Wisconsin, with a little of everything in between, The Lord has surely given me some amazing opportunities to travel a good chunk this year...
"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." - Psalm 127:1
"The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." - Exodus 14:14
"NOW therefore STAND STILL and see the great thing that the LORD will do before your eyes." - 1 Samuel 12:16
Today, I learned the value of laboring in vain to build my house. The journey to sanctification is never a quick one- it doesn't occur in an instant, or even over night. Unlike the television sitcoms where cancer is cured in 24 minutes, refining who you are takes a significant chunk of time more.
Timing is everything, right? We are impatient people, who get flippant over slow internet connections, traffic, and long wait times at coffee shops. Our time is valuable, and as Ferris Buehller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around for awhile, you'll miss it." How TRUE is that?! If we don't STOP, we will miss life. We will miss the bees dancing amongst the rose buds. We will miss the sound of oceans contending against the sand. We won't even question how we arrived at the place we are today, because we are still looking forward to something greater and better.
For me, I am continually learning about dying to the lies of a perfect society. I am 26 and often feel like a failure because I am still one semester away from my undergraduate degree; I still live with my parents; I have never been on a date; and my heart's desire is to know my Maker intimately. I live in fear that I will disappoint my parents because I don't desire a healthy bank account. I want to enjoy the journey of life- I want to live a life that is worshipful and these desires are always in conflict with what we are groomed to do and be starting at a young age.
Often, I think of how wonderful monks and nuns must have it to be isolated away from distractions, and become intimate with God. Then, I am reminded that we are created to be in community with one another and we are meant to be walking and talking Christs daily. Isolation is not the key to success, but a tool to tell God you don't want to be stretched. It's a form of escapism that doesn't encourage growth. We endure sufferings so we can be refined and become more complete human beings.
My natural tendency is to deflect. I have been told I am great in crisis, but that's because I bury my emotions so I can process and sort them later. Due to this tendency, I dance around my emotions. I make choices that are logical and exhibit a great degree of self preservation. I wrestle with cause and effect, and because of that, I don't give God a chance to be my King. Brittany is still Lord over my life, my choices and my decisions.
Dear reader, do we see the conflict? If I asked God into my life, to die to myself, then why I am I still fighting for control of my steps? Why am I not trusting Jesus to be my safety net for when I have been broken?
I recently shared with a group of my high school girls that I don't like emotions, which is sorta funny because when I was in high school, I was the poster child for the "emo/scene" movement. But, I guess that makes more sense now... I let the author of the songs pour out their emotions so I never had to examine my own hurt. I lived vicariously through the Dashboard Confessional and Saves the Day... and I continued to live my comfortable life...
A recent podcast challenged me to STOP and look for the gifts the Lord wants to give me. A recent chapter in a book has challenged me to start taking risks in my life, navigate a tight rope with God as my safety net. A recent series of Bible verses has only added fuel to the fire of STOPPING and WAITING and being SILENT before the Lord.
I am opening myself to new horizons or at the least, trying to open myself to vulnerability and emotionalism. I need to remember the Word the Lord gave me years ago, that I just need to stand still and receive what He has already planned for me... if it's seminary or something else entirely, I need to be opened to it, and not instantly hostile to a disruption in my comfortable life. I need to be present now, and not grasping for and toiling with things under the sun... I need to accept and TRUST that God won't let me fall to the point of death, and that He will heal me because He is Jehovah Rapha.
I don't think it's possible to deny a good upbringing... Yes, choices may be different- smoke, drink, have sex, but, many people I know are... Responsible? About it? It's not their life. They are dependable- do what vice they choose to do on their own time- away from affecting those around them... And in a way, I respect that... Because atleast they show up and are present- reliable... Verses those who weren't raised that way- have absent family... Your past follows you.. Your family legacy follows you... So start changing it. Start acting like an adult...
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
I just have a simple request- love Jesus more than me. Show me Jesus daily and I know that from there, I will be what you're looking for. I will be your compliment because Jesus is our sustainance and our breathe and threw Him, all else has been made perfect and complete...
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
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