Slivers of Sawdust

There's something about these past three months in New Zealand, about the way that God has been pushing me towards growth, that I can't seem to find the words to explain. The closest I can get to is analogies. LOTS of analogies.

It's like that passage in Matthew 7, where one's flaws or sins are compared to specks of sawdust in the eyes blurring our vision (or as big as planks, completely blinding us). I'm not sure whether I have multiple different specks of sawdust, or if they are all actually part of the same plank of wood, but it feels like God is drawing each of them out one after the other. Or sometimes I find myself relating to what it must feel like for a piece of metal to be heated up so that all the dross and impurities rise to the surface and are sifted out. Both processes are rather painful, I imagine.

Sometimes I see it too as God taking a hold of my heart and pulling out all the weeds that have cropped up in it. I did a lot of weeding the past couple of days, so maybe that's why that imagery comes readily to mind. While I have been spending time growing and investing in the various fruits of the Spirit, in amongst that growth some weeds have snuck in.

Let me explain. College was very much a time for building me up; I had friends and mentors who poured into my life, encouraging  and affirming me, and I gained much confidence in myself. I gained a sense of adventure, a love for newness, and a desire to continue to push myself. But I also gained pride. I put a lot of trust in my own capabilities, and often still neglect taking time to spend with God and pray each day. These weeds, these impurities, these slivers of sawdust in my eye (whatever analogy works best for you) have been consistently pulled to the surface during the past three months, often one right after another. I've felt the pain of hurt pride, noted with dismay the old monster of "rejection" I thought I had conquered, and have realized that I struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out) just as much as freshmen Lauren did.

So it's difficult to know how to respond when friends ask me how it's going here in New Zealand. Because I really am loving being back, seeing friends from church and getting to know and spend time with the students and staff. I love the memories I am making here, the new running routes and beach getaways. But it is much more difficult this time around; strangely, in a good way.

If I could show you in pictures what God is doing in me currently, I would. But for now, these words will have to do
...or I'll try to show you through a picture anyway


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