Saturday, November 15, 2014

The internet doesn't know

I laughed until I cried tonight with my friend whose birthday is today. We laughed when we shared stories about silly things we do. Which is a lot.

I told her I'm a bit of a library delinquent at the moment and I've had some books out for far, far too long. I love to write, maybe even more than talk (and I like to talk), but stories do better in real time.

I'm not sure if it's funny to you that I lost one of my books in my car. But we laughed for five minutes about it. "Your car is smaller than your apartment!" Truth.

So here's the thing. I took a stream of nonsense internet quizzes the other day and one of them was 'what is your special gift' or something and it completely proved how false those tests are (as if we didn't know) because it said I was good at retrieving lost items. It said my gift is never, ever losing anything. What?!

I told my friend that I keep going to the internet to answer questions and that is the current foolish game I am playing with myself. Foolish for all the reasons not to mention the internet is the worst. I know I'm an oxymoron because eventually this will be out there, too.

But really, I have been thinking the internet can somehow help me and if I can just find a search for that exact thing that keeps plaguing me, I can learn by reading. Because that's what I do. I read, I learn, I try not to keep making the same mistakes.

But for the love, there's nothing to find in those buzz word quizzes. I told my friend I need to just stop right there and go talk to God and ask Him the questions I keep having.

Yep. That's it. That's the one. The churchy, let's just answer Jesus for every answer but in this case it's actually true because I have searched the buzz word quizzes and the internet and there's nothing there, people. Nothing.

Because I value words and thoughts and meaning, even more so do I have to be careful about where I go for that meaning.

And when I find that I'm feeling less secure and trusting in Christ and His promises, the more I have to go back to every answer is yes in Jesus and let him fill up all my false places that I go to again and again.

Sounds easy enough...

I wander and He brings me back. I wander still and He brings me back again.

Again, sounds easy. But that process takes time. And it hurts because it's a process where I have to re-learn what I think I should know. But that's His mercy that we get to learn it again, and then my question changes because I see that and I just want to ask why are you so good to me still? 

And that's how He changes me. He pours out love even when I fall, he presses in when I press out. When I hurt, He stays. I am reminded how I run and that He gently calls me back. He knows how the story goes, that all those other things won't satisfy and his love is where I want to be after all.

linking with five minute friday

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Julie not Jacquay

"Umm..but my name isn't Jacquay," I told the flight attendant when I was leaving for my trip back to Raleigh from Chicago after attending the Storyline Conference. Apparently, after a weekend of learnings I had switched personas. No more Julie, now Jacquay?

That's what the ticket said. They printed the wrong one and I didn't notice it until I got inside the plane.

"You're fine," they told me. "Just use that ticket. Sit where you think you're supposed to sit."

Where is Jacquay then?

Apparently, they're not too concerned about true identities on airplanes.

I almost wanted to keep the whole Jacquay thing going for the rest of the trip but I didn't have a talkative person next to me and she didn't seem very false-identify/true-identity interested. I haven't thought much about it until...

I reopened my Storyline material today, I know lots of people have been writing about it all for some weeks now but I am a slacker. Out falls the airplane ticket and it makes it all worth it because I had forgotten about Jacquay. I think she ought to make a comeback.

What do you think?

I know false identities might not be in right now (or are they? I'm not actually hip). But, I think generally speaking, we'd all agree, being you is typically a good choice.

Still, it's a little more fun sometimes, right?

Pardon me for getting all deep (not sure if this is Julie or Jacquay talking here), but isn't that like us, as people, to consider it more fun to be someone we're not?

I mean, it doesn't always start out that way. Overtime we bend a little bit and a little bit more and before we know it we're 60 degrees in another direction and calling ourselves by another name.

Just in the process of writing this post I looked up the origin of the name Jacquay and had to look in three different locations and have to share with you my concern.

So. It looks to be a boy's name.

Maybe you already knew that but I didn't. I once knew a girl named Raquel and that seemed close.

See what happens when we veer off in a much different direction. It gets a little strange.

There's a lesson to be learned here, friends.

It's okay if you're not like everyone else. It's okay to be just you.

You don't have to be someone you're not.

That's not just a line.

There will always be an airline who will try and tell you you're someone you're not.

Take that United Airlines. You can give me a different name but I'll turn it back around. And now I'm curious if Jacquay had the same issue and was contemplating being Julie...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Someday is a joke {Storyline Conference + book writings along the way}

This past weekend a lot of things happened.

I went to #StorylineConf which to the rest of the world is just Storyline Conference in Chicago but those of us who were there and on twitter it was basically Christmas as one of my new friends put it. That hashtag brought people together and it got a little nutty. I don't think I've been on twitter that much and for an actual useful event...ever. At one point I actually hunted down a guy (I didn't know) from International Justice Mission on twitter and told him to meet me by the balloons in the lobby, all creepy-like. I wasn't trying to be weird and I think he was used to it being tied to D.C. and cool but he informed me I have trouble with landmarks. I guess the balloons where near impossible to find. Lesson: I should not be a spy with secret meets after all.

In no particular order, here were some other highlights:

-meeting new friends including friends in real life a.k.a. Beth from Simply Beth. This was one of my most faves. She picked me up at the airport when I got to town, y'all. She'd never met me, only through blogging. Still, there she was to as the first face I saw when I got to Chicago. This older gentleman I sat next to on the airplane going up there -- who I kept referencing a lot over the weekend -- said that must say something about my life if I'm having an electronic, e-friend (what does that even mean?!) come pick me up, but actually I think it says more about her.

-oh, and no big deal, I didn't have to get one cab ride while I was in the city. Seems like a small thing but I was trusting God with this whole trip from the start. I didn't think I'd have finances or time off to go, but God kept providing. The weekend was so relaxing and I know that played a part.

-I got to ride a train for the first time in years! I like trains more than I do cars and I've missed them. 

I also get a thrill out of jumping on the train at the last possible second. I was in the hotel shuttle and the gps told me we would arrive the exact minute the train left and I think the words "can we try and hustle, we have one minute?!" came out of my mouth. No shame.

(this proves I got on the train)
-I got to see Chicago with my cousin. We had fun. She noticed I was all kinds of sentimental after that conference. She took me on a walk before we high tailed it back to the airport, this time by car. At one point, she was going to throw me on another train but that didn't work either. Are we seeing a theme?

I only wonder what my daily life would be like if I lived in a bigger city.

I didn't even tell you anything about the actual conference yet.

This is why I am writing a book about my everyday encounters with interesting people. It lights me up and gives me energy and I forget to tell you where the momentum behind it came from.

All the stories, all the wisdom. Donald Miller. Shauna Niequist. Scott Hamilton. Bob Goff. They left me on an inspiration high.

I've been writing my 'book' about people and encounters and experiences with strangers, the unplanned kind, for awhile now. It seems to happen daily, but I've just started incorporating it into story.

Problem is, I can write a book in my head for years. Eight years even. That's how long Don Miller says he might need to process something while someone like Bob Goff is out doing it after the first second. He doesn't wait.

I am not a waiter on everything, but I do let ideas sit and go stagnate. For what?

I may need more time to discover all that the conference was teaching me and that's okay. I know I need time to sit with ideas that are meaningful to me.

BUT, it's not okay that life keeps happening and I am letting moments pass by that I know I'm supposed to write down.

As I was leaving on the train, two guys from behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I was going. The luggage was a dead giveaway. One of them was obviously drinking and me from a few years ago would have just moved along. Who has time for a conversation that could just get weird? By the end of it, though, like every other time I've decided to engage with someone who is willing to talk, I'm happy I did. Turns out they sell insurance to mega churches and we got on the topic of spirituality and Jesus. Jesus and beer and a train makes for deep conversation somehow. And they asked about my writing because they wondered why I was in Chicago and nonchalantly I let them know they might be included in a book someday.

Someday is a joke. I repeat. Someday is a joke!

They tell me they are going to look for it in a year and set some kind of alarm or scheduled appointment on their phones.

I get nervous. I know I can't wait eight years now but a year is a very short time.

I need a little wiggle room, I plead with these strangers.
"What if I'm not done by then?"

What if you really look me up and I'm an epic fail is what I really mean.

It's in their phone. I gave them the predicted name of the book. If I keep this up I am going to have 87 disgruntled new friends, I think to myself.

"It's okay," Paul tells me (always learn their names, I realize after I talked with direction-guy tonight, or you will give them nicknames). "I'll just push it back a year. We'll look again."

Something changed in me at that moment. I told my friend later that all of a sudden it became 'our book'

Umm...that's too deep, she said. These are strangers...

I laughed. Yep. There I go again.

All kinds of sentimental.