Success is dangerous. Really.

“Failure’s hard, but success is far more dangerous.  If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.”

This quote is from Po Bronson.  I found it on the side of one of my many Starbucks cups one day.  It struck me, but I didn’t really think about it.  I saw it over and over again.  Countless times.  I must have memorized it because while thinking about my life recently, I remembered it.  It made me stop and think.  The first part is obvious.  Failure is hard.  No one enjoys failing.  At anything.  Failure usually brings feelings of worthlessness and the sting of not being good enough.  Everyone longs to succeed.  To be needed.  For if you are successful at something, people will seek you out to accomplish or perform it.  Yet, succeeding is dangerous.  Why?  Because you could be succeeding at the wrong thing.  Just because you are good at something does not mean that you should pursue only that thing.  You could be missing the opportunity to pursue other dreams and be successful at something you may really love and enjoy and be passionate about.

Take my life, for example.  I came to college as a piano performance major.  I was good.  Really good.  I was a state finalist in competitions throughout high school.  I won awards.  I gave a solo senior recital.  I was one of the top pianists in my freshman class at BG.  I was told I had limitless potential.  However, it was the wrong thing for my life.  I am not supposed to be a concert pianist.  Yet, I found myself trapped in it.  Piano became my life.  Until I permanently injured my right wrist.  Suddenly, it was all over.  The pain of losing it still hurts.  I cry because I miss piano sometimes.  However, when I was forced to pursue something else with my life, I found freedom.  I was no longer tied to piano.  I could explore an endless variety of opportunities.  Naturally, I once again steered clear of anything that I knew I would fail at doing.  While searching, I became really involved with my campus church.  I decided to pursue vocational ministry and go on staff once I graduated.  However, this too is not the right thing for my life.  I’m good at it.  But it is not what I am supposed to do.  I’m still unsure as to where I am going with my life.  What I’ll be doing.  I am dreaming though.  I want to write.  I want to love people.  I am interested in protecting human rights.  I’ve thought a lot about editing.  Who knows what I’ll do.  I certainly don’t.  All I know is that I can be successful at a lot of things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them is right for me.  I’m just going to continue to pursue my dreams and desires.  I’ll find what I am supposed to do along the way.  Maybe I’ll do a variety of things. . . I am a wanderer after all. . .

Thoughts in class

I wrote the following paragraph during my ENG 434 class this morning.  These thoughts have been weighing heavily on my mind recently.

I don’t know what to do with my life.  I will find out for sure this afternoon that I am accepted to England.  Now, I have to decide if I am going to go.  I would love to go.  But I am even more aware of the sacrifices of going and what i would leave behind.  Spanish.  Dustin.  Mal.  John?  But I don’t know what to do about John.  I don’t know what he is doing next year.  He doesn’t know.  And I doubt we will be together.  My desires are growing steadily stronger.  For commitment.  For a relationship.  For physical affection.  I want to run my fingers through his hair.  I want to intertwine my fingers with his and hold his hand.  I want him to wrap his arms around me.  I want him to want me.  I want to be worth the risk.  I wam willing to risk being hurt again.  Love bears all things.  Believes all things.  Hopes all things.  Endures all things.  I love John.  I will endure being hurt.  I want to bear his burdens with him.  Does believing all things mean that I have to turst that I will be iwth him?  Do I have to believe that he meant what he said when he said “I love you.”?  He loves me.  And as muchas he may think that he wants me to fall out of love with him, I doubt he would like it if I stopped acting like we are dating.  He and I need to talk.  I really want to tell my best friends what is going on in my life.  I want John to be by my side.  I want to marry him.  I want him to realize who I am to him.  Tha I am here for him.  All the time.  I love him.  I want to serve him.  Love him.  Support him.  Encourage him.  Refresh him.  Nourish him.  Follow him. I want to follow John.  Wherever You lead him.  I feel called to be by his side.  I know You have called us to the same ting.  The same life.  Passions.  Giftings.  Which is why I can follow him and still pursue my dreams.  What does that look like?  Especially in the next year?  I long for a commitment, a relationship, from John.

I’ve been thinking so much recently.  I’ve let scenarios play out in my mind.  I’ve let myself admit what I want.  And I’ve realized a lot.  I don’t want to be alone.  I really, really don’t want to be alone.  Not only do I not want to be alone, but I want to be with John.  And I am frustrated and a little hurt that he doesn’t want to be with me.  I think that he is very confused.  But that hurts me.  And I don’t think he realizes how much.  He claims that he wants me to fall out of love with him, but I don’t think that he would honestly want to see me with someone else.  For me to not be there by his side for him.  This week, we haven’t hung out much.  And I don’t like it.  WOW is occupying the time I used to spend with him.  He thinks that everything is ok, but he doesn’t realize that he is escaping from life by playing WOW.  And honestly, I don’t want to call him out on it.  But I probably should.  How can he not realize that we are supposed to be together?  He has said that he loves me.  He has said that I nourish his soul.  He has said that we are called to the same thing – one of the reasons we started dating to begin with.  Why does he fear so much?  He might possibly fear more than I do.  I don’t want to force him into a relationship.  I don’t want to pressure him into thinking or feeling obligated to change.  I want him to change because he wants to.  I want him to date me because he wants to be with me.  I want him to want to be with me regardless.  Of anything.  And of course, I can’t help but doubt.  Are we really supposed to be together?  Or am I just clinging to desires?  I don’t know.  I don’t trust.  I can’t trust.  How can I trust that we are to be together?  How does that even begin to play out?  What decision am I supposed to make about next year?  I just don’t know. . .

You Found Me

Music touches me in a way that is truly indescribable.  This song echoes the cries of my heart at times. . .

You Found Me – The Fray

I found God
On the corner of First and Amistad
Where the west
Was all but won
All alone
Smoking his last cigarette
I said, Where you been?
He said, Ask anything.

Where were you
When everything was falling apart?
All my days
Were spent by the telephone
That never rang
And all I needed was a call
It never came
To the corner of First and Amistad

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you, where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, You found me

In the end
Everyone ends up alone
Losing her
The only one who’s ever known
Who I am
Who I’m not, and who I want to be
No way to know
How long she will be next to me

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you, where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, You found me

Early morning
The city breaks
I’ve been calling
For years and years and years and years
And you never left me no messages
You never sent me no letters
You got some kind of nerve
Taking all I want

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Where were you, where were you?

Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you, where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, You found me

Why’d you have to wait
To find me, to find me?

Sometimes I feel as if God isn’t there.  As if He isn’t listening to me.  As if He doesn’t care.  I don’t understand what goes on in my life.  Why life happens the way it does.  Sometimes I feel as if life is all falling down around me.  Yet, I have learned from experience that God is always there for me.  He is always in complete control of my life.  And He has the most spectacular plan for me – even when, especially when, I can’t see it in the moment.

Recently, I have begun to realize how stubborn I can be.  He is always there for me – calling out to me, reaching out to me with arms wide open longing to embrace me.  Yet I refuse to listen.  I refuse to run to Him, to turn to Him with everything.  He knows all already.  So why not just tell Him?  I have begun to tell Him everything.  All aspects of my life, including my desires, dreams, insecurities, feelings. . . even when I’m not happy with Him.  I am furious about my life sometimes; I tell Him.  And He is like that man in the movies who just holds the girl, loving her, while she is screaming and beating him.  There is nothing I can do to ever make Him leave me.  He will always be there for me.  Regardless.  Even when everyone else fails me and hurts me.  And that is the most comforting thought.  I’ve got God.  Even when I’m not listening.  Even when I’m running away.  Even when I’m doubting.  He is there.  Arms wide open.

Long Week

This week has been long. One of the longest weeks in recent memory.  I am exhausted.  And insecure.  I am going to go to sleep.  When I wake up, I will spend time with God.  And I will be refreshed.  I am excited!

Oh, and I almost beat Dustin in chess, but I made a silly mistake and lost.  Oh well, live and learn, right?  One of these days. . .

Overwhelming

So much has gone on between me and John recently.  So much.  We said, “I love you.” to each other a couple weeks ago.  He kissed my forehead.  We spend the night and fall asleep cuddling.  He asked me to wait for him.  Months and months and months.  And now he is freaking out.  He keeps reaffirming that we are just friends.  I can’t take it.  I love him.  I am in love with him.  We didn’t hang out much this week.  Tuesday was amazing.  Then we had dinner and played Scrabble with Emily on Wednesday night.  I didn’t see him Thursday, but we did talk.  He left for home that night.  I have barely talked with him since then.  I knew I would miss him; I didn’t know that it will be this overwhelming.  It is terribly hard.  I just long to be with him.  Loving him hurts so much.  Sometimes I wonder how I deal with the pain.  How am I actually capable of being his friend?  Only by Your strength.

Running

My roommate Emily has recently talked about beginning to run again.  All of the conversation about the topic sparked my interest in running again; so this week, I decided to start running again.  I ran both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.  I was going to run this morning, but I ignored my alarm too long and was running late for breakfast with a friend.  Don’t worry, I’ll run again in the morning.  I want to develop a daily habit of running for personal and health reasons.  With heart disease running in my family and my own ridiculously high cholesterol, running, or any form of habitual exercise, is probably a wise idea.  Also, I could stand to lose a little flab and tone my muscles.  Personally, running is freeing.  It destresses me.  And, the steady rhythm of my feet against the pavement is calming.

When my friend Dustin found out that I was going to begin running again, he asked if I would let him join me.  Of course I said yes.  He and I are going to run every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.  The company will be quite enjoyable; the accountability will be beneficial.  I’m excited.

Friendships

My friendships have changed drastically throughout college.  My freshman year, I was friends with mostly music majors because I was a music major.  We all lived together and had classes together.  We spent hours in the practice rooms near each other and would take breaks at the same time.  It was a lot of fun for the most part.  We were freshmen; life wasn’t too complicated yet.  We were just getting to know each other; drama didn’t really creep in until spring semester, and by then, we had all developed different levels of friendship with each person in our circle.

When sophomore semester rolled around, my boyfriend and I had broken up, and I got involved in my campus church, h2o.  Halfway through fall semester, I switched majors to English Lit due to a permanent wrist injury.  Between the summer apart, the switch, and my developing friendships within h2o, I gradually drifted apart from most of my friends.  Well, really all of them except for Peter.  Peter is the exception;  he has been my friend since my senior year in high school.  Anyway, I made a whole group of new friends and spent the year getting to know them.  I felt really loved and accepted for who I was.  By the time the end of spring semester came, I was quite close with a core group and friends with quite a few others.  I was a little sad for summer to arrive.

The summer in betweeen my sophomore and junior years of college, I stayed in Bowling Green and moved in with three girls that I literally barely knew.  Over the summer, I developed awesome friendships with two of them, Emily and Beth, as well as with Andrew.  We all hung out and got to know each other quite well.  It was an amazing summer.  After a year of being involved with a specific group that had begun to have expectations for me, it was refreshing to be able to just be myself and develop friendships with people who really just got to see who I was because we were all living life together.

The arrival of the fall semester of my junior year shook things up yet again.  I moved into an apartment with Emily and two other girls that I barely knew and still really don’t know too well.  I was apprehensive about the friends that I had been close with my sophomore year and spent the summer apart from.  As it turned out, I had every reason to be apprehensive.  Throughout fall semester, those friends either were not a part of my life or rejected me.  It was quite painful.  At the same time, I continued to draw closer with my friends from the summer and develop even more new friendships.  In addition to new friends within h2o, I got out of my h2o bubble and became friends with people in my classes.  I also rekindled friendships with some of my music major friends from freshman year.  I really enjoyed the diversity in my friendships.

This semester (spring of my junior year), life and friendships continue to change.  I have become both more isolated and more diverse.  I am learning to be fine by myself and not need to be with friends, which is good because I am probably going to England for a year in September.  I am still quite close with Emily.  And close with Andrew and Peter.  I have become close with John and Dustin.  I enjoy random conversation and occasionally hanging out with my friends from my classes.  It is fun to have friends that have the same interests that I have.  They don’t mind talking about literary theory or books we have read or different genres of music or even helping me converse in Spanish.  I have made a lot of friends in very different social circles; I like it.  I love getting to know people and where they come from.  And more than that, I love being there for them because I care about them.  So chances are, if you are my friend, I’m there for you, whether you know it or not.

I’ve been told that I have a huge heart.  One of my greatest desires is to just love people for who they are where they are.  So that is what I try to do.  It can be quite difficult and painful and require vulnerability that I don’t necessarily want to show, but it is so worth it.  Touching even just one life is worth the drama and pain of a thousand friendships.  And of course, I love just hanging out, being random, having fun, and enjoying life with my friends too.  Friendships are trully a blessing; they can make or break life.  I thank God for the support and encouragement of my friends in the past few years.  I wouldn’t be who I am without them.