This is Living Now

ashley_blog-thisisliving

This time a year ago I was training for my second half marathon, beginning to think about what to pack for my San Salvador mission trip in June and redecorating my home. Life wasn’t necessarily exciting, but it was good and I was happy.

Fast-forward 12 months. I never ran that second half-marathon because of an injury, one mission trip to San Salvador led to another which led to a Salvadorian Christmas vacation and my home redecoration turned into a home simplification as I prepare to sell all my things and move down south. Way south.

Today, my days are spent texting my 9th grade Rock City Church Youth Girls, working with Pastor Amanda planning high school mission trips and practicing Spanish with my Salvadorian friends. My life is directed by my relationship with God to foster the love He has for His teenage children (believe me. There are some days when only God can love a teenager! amiright??).

But I also loved my life a year ago. A year ago, my days were spent texting my closest girlfriends, planning vacations to Vegas and California, and practicing walking the runway for Columbus’ Alternative Fashion Week. My life then was directed by relationships with my friends to foster those to become life-long bonds.

Giving up my past life has been easy, but it has not come without heartache. When I returned stateside after my first tryst with San Salvador, my heart had been changed. I no longer wanted to spend my weekends out at bars until all hours of the night. The meaningless, although fun, dating relationships I was nurturing were no longer a priority. Instead, I wanted to spend those weekend hours building friendships with people who shared my love for Christ and my burden for Youth all over the world. But doing that meant that I had to leave treasured friends behind. I’m sure that more than a few feelings were hurt and heads were shaken in confusion when I chose Youth Night over Vegas and high-schoolers over adults. In fact, I know they were.

I often feel the sting of regret when I consider how my life used to be. But that is to be expected. Whether you’re toning your body or toning your spirit, if your workout doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right. I maintain that changing my “workout” has been an easy switch, but the growing still hurts. A few of my greatest pains have been learning to be patient in God’s timing, really, truly and fully giving God control of my life (Jesus Take the Wheel isn’t just a catchy song sung by an adorable blonde. It’s a way of life, my friends) and most recently, questioning if the voice I’m following is my own or if it’s God’s. Folks, these are NOT easy lessons. Anyone who has dealt with patience, control or hearing God’s voice knows we will never overcome them. We might be able to do a couple reps, but come back tomorrow, and we are right back where we started from a week ago. It takes perseverance to even begin to master these beasts and needless to say, my perseverance muscle is RIPPED.

Giving up a habit or lifestyle for God is not always easy. What I remind myself is that it’s worth it. It is worth giving up texting my friends in exchange for texting 15-year-old homegirl to arrange a homework help session. It is worth giving up vacations to Vegas and California in exchange for organizing a mission trip to New York City to educate our Youth about loving ALL of God’s children (Yup. Even that one.). It is worth giving up the glamour and excitement of fashion runways in exchange for the risk and adventure of airplane runways in San Salvador.

The meaning of my life a year ago was fun and surviving a strenuous workout and my latest heartbreak. The meaning of my life today is still fun, but I’m no longer surviving. I’m living now.

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