May 17, 2014

The Truth about Teenage Daydreams


Last week I celebrated my 29th birthday, which means this is the last year until I am in my 30's and unarguably "a grown-up."  

This whole process of getting older is just so surreal. I think back to 16 years old and can remember the feeling of that age so plainly.  I can remember wishing away my still-chubby cheeks, and running errands for my parents just for the exhilaration of driving alone (which, after kids, is exciting again). I remember the way my safe, average, middle-class, teenage life was completely saturated with dreams of a more adventurous future.

Oh, I was so passionate. So clich√©. I'd sit in my window seat, high above manicured lawns and clean sidewalks, and feel too restless and free-spirited for my life.  I'd tape pictures of Africa into my journal and listen to Enya and dump boyfriends that didn't live up to Cowboy Take Me Away.   (Because Jesus was my Cowboy Boyfriend that was gonna sweep me away to far-away places and passionate stories.)

And somewhere in the mix of all that, I got really "into" wildflowers...mainly, the symbolism of something that could naturally and beautifully flourish in the most uncultivated of places. I was totally that wildflower, and I was so confident that my life was going to be amazing and I was going to thrive with nothing but God's good ground underneath me.

But that was nearly half a life-time ago for me. These days, I don't think so much about what life will be as much as what it is.  The question can't sit vague and innocently in the future, it weighs on me right here, in the Now. Sometimes heavy and pressing.

Am I thriving? Am I fruitful?  

Even now, I have these romantic, silly ideals of what "flourishing" might look like. And, unfortunately, it's still not much better than a teenage daydream. I still steal away on some evenings, maybe for some forgotten dinner ingredient, and sing loud with the windows down and feel the wind in my hair and imagine the possibilities of our life turning around new, exotic corners.  I still gaze out the window on rainy days and wonder where I'll be five, ten, fifteen years from now.


I still make the mistake of believing that when I am flourishing, my life will be transformed into music videos.

Because if circumstances aren't blossoming in prosperous and vibrant ways, if my talents don't seem to be making an impact in the world, if -at the end of the day- I can't use words like "abundant" or "passionate" or "relevant"... I get tricked into believing that this can't be thriving.

I imagine that a flourishing life will look large and bountiful. It will be overflowing, copious, lovely. There will be Enya music in the background and God will be oh-so-glorified and pleased.

Then there's reality.  In reality, I constantly run up against words like "insufficient" and "insecure." Sometimes, at the end of the day, I feel meager and trivial and tired and I think, I just don't have it in me to flourish like other people do.  I guess my life just wont be like that. And the 16 year old in me hangs her head and feels like watching Dawson's Creek with chocolate. 

But oddly enough, as I fall short of the thriving Eden, I'm reminded of the silly little wildflower.  The one I used to doodle into margins as I dreamed of the future and it's wide-open spaces. I'm reminded of how it peeks up through cracks in ugly sidewalks or dots far-away hillsides, unseen to human eyes. I'm encouraged that it is not always gathered up into bouquets or applauded or greatly enlarged.  It is just obedient to bloom, to be whatever color and shape it's DNA tells it to be, and then it fades and another blooms in it's place.

Yes, I believe God does love to use us in big ways that affect and transform our surroundings. We can be that lamp that illuminates dark spaces and changes the world for one or many people.  Our flourishing hearts and stories have power and impact in very real, tangible ways. A hunger for those kind of stories still color my teenage daydreams, even at 29 years old.

But... it doesn't always start that way.  And it's not up to me when or if it will ever look like "that."  

So I abide, which is all I can choose.  And I obey and submit to the story that unfurls as my life slowly opens, reveals itself, over time.  I rejoice in the uncomplicated freedom of flourishing - me, just one fragile, short-lived little bloom. A simple, abiding heart that happily can live and die, flourish and fade, to the glory of God. 

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Linking up at SheLovesMagazine for this month's topic of "flourish." If you haven't checked out this sweet group of writers from all around the world, go on and click over... you won't be disappointed.

6 comments:

  1. Wildflowers aren't common place down here in South Florida. So when I see them, they are such a beautiful surprise and an immediate smile comes across my face. I suspect you have that effect on those you're around as you share that spark of unexpected color in the ordinary places. And you flourish!

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    1. Crazy, I would think they were everywhere in Florida! Thank you for your sweet words :)

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  2. Popping in from SheLoves ... you're right, it's a good group!

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  3. Beautiful words, Britney. I love this: "So I abide, which is all I can choose."

    That's just it. Isn't it?

    Thank you for linking up with our sweet tribe. :)

    xoxo

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    1. Hi, Idelette! Seems like I always overcomplicate things and God brings me back to "abide." Its so hard and yet really so beautifully simple. Thankful for SheLoves!

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