Open My Eyes

It really should not come as a huge surprise that probably my biggest life transition is a revealing one.  Still, I’m caught a little off guard when I realize that growing up just a few hundred miles away has me walking and talking faster than everyone else, driving a little differently, talking quite differently, and feeling unsure that half an inch of snow should be enough to shut down a city.  I’ve also come to realize that I’m more of a psychology nerd than I thought.  I enjoy sitting in class for three hours discussing cognitive assessment.

But God is using this opportunity to open my eyes to much more.

I’ve prayed, and discussed on the blog before, about how I need Him to open my eyes to the problems both in this world and in myself.  What I don’t ask for often enough, however, is for God to open my eyes to a) how He has blessed me and b) how I can use those blessings to help others.  It’s easy to think, especially in this stage where I’ve clearly committed to pursuing my passion for psychology, that I’ve identified my gifts, or what God has blessed me in, and it’s time to move on.

I forget that figuring myself out one day doesn’t necessarily have immovable implications for the next.

For instance, I can read.  Not only can I read, but I love reading.  This is a blessing.

I have complained and complained about the recurrence of some minor medical problems, but I’ve failed to recall that they all heal at some point.  I don’t still have the skin issues that I did in high school.  This is a blessing.

I have attended schools that had the resources to challenge me and make me a better student throughout my entire academic career.  This is a blessing.

I look back at these things with 20/20 hindsight and almost want to scold myself for not only not appreciating, but also squandering these things.  Perhaps, for instance, I could have acted as a tutor for other children who were struggling with a skill that I loved, but that we would both need to essentially get any job or succeed academically or even socially.

So I take a harder look at myself now.  What blessings am I overlooking, and how can I use them to better the people around me?  How can I use them to bring glory to God?  In 20 years, or even 10, is there something at which I will look back and think, “I should have used that to show God’s love while I still had it”?

Imagine if Jesus had just focused on the cross exclusively, studying up on dialogues with soldiers, trying prepare Himself for the pain, and failed to use those 30-something years to heal, teach, and bless people.  His ministry would have been so different!!  It’s a bit different, since Jesus might not need to develop certain skills like we do, but hopefully you get the idea.

I’m often drawn back to the passage in Ephesians 5 that encourages us to be sure that we are “making the most of every opportunity:”

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Because we have been changed- because we are now children of the light- it’s not all about us.  Really, it never was, and we have just come to realize it.  It’s not about me getting through this life as successfully as I can, all of my little bundles of blessings in hand.  It’s about being a light to the world, and about reflecting the light that I am blessed to say has changed me so deeply.

Parakaleo: ALL-NEW WEDNESDAYS!

Welcome back, my dear Parakaleo readers!

Clearly I spent too much of the summer watching television, because I really wanted to put together a full promotional video full of previews of the upcoming season, flashbacks to last season, cast interviews, and some fun music before I remembered that this A) isn’t that huge of a deal commercially and B) is a blog.  Not a TV show.

In any case, some big changes have occurred since we spoke last!  I graduated and am now the pleased and humbled recipient of a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts, but I’m only halfway there- I’m going for that Master’s and Ph.D.  I’m kind of really into psychology. =)

Though my education plans were somewhat settled, I wasn’t sure whether or how I wanted to continue Parakaleo.  I started this blog during my sophomore year of college, when I wanted to be careful not to lose my writing voice.  Multiple mentors of mine suggested that I blog about something that I’m interested in just to keep up with my style of writing, but God seemed to have greater plans.  Feel free to look back across the little history of my musings of His working in my last three years of undergrad.  Writing them strengthened me and I’ve received very encouraging and humbling reports of their impact on others’ spiritual lives.

Clearly, the blog is still here, so I would like to refine and clarify its purpose.

1.)  Parakaleo should bring glory to God.  It is my prayer that it is truly a reflection of His grace and love towards me and all of His children.

2.)  Parakaleo should embrace its name- to call out to one another and to mutually encourage.  I would love for Parakaleo to build up more than just me.  Because of this, anticipate more guest writers (friends, anticipate being bugged about being a guest writer) and outside sourcing.

3.)  Parakaleo should be consistent.  I went back and forth about including this for a good while, but it seems that if I’m going to agree to do this, I should do it wholeheartedly.  Consistency does not necessarily refer to the format (in fact, the consistency I’m aiming for may require differing formats), but rather in posting regularly, whether it be twice a month, weekly, or at some other interval.  As we can see from summers past, an agreement to post  “randomly” rarely bodes well for a busy blog.

We’ll leave it at that for now, but if there is something that you would like to see added to the list, please let me know!   The blog, like my life at the moment, is in a stage of change, so feedback and prayer are much appreciated.  For right now, you can plan on seeing new posts every other Wednesday.  Before I see you on the 19th, please enjoy some posts of old and have a blessed week!

–       Marissa

October 22, 2009: The Love of God

October 14, 2010: Fixing the Problem

April 14, 2011: Sorry. For Myself.

January 26, 2012: Rich and Free

February 16, 2012: Love, Seen

May 3, 2012: Guest Post: No Time for Trust Issues

May 10, 2012: High Kicking and Hugs