Confidence

As the driftwood whittles down, you see the beauty that it had. Carried through the open ocean ’til it finally reached the sand. Where I came upon its sadness, saw the glory it contained. And you let me cut you slowly until only you remained

 

  • Confidence  [a :  a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way]

This story is picking up 2 days after that last post on preparation…I didn’t feel prepared or confident that first day. (or that week for that matter)

20746731_1469393149810588_702919567_oI arrived in Kona and spent the first two days wandering by myself. Never in my life had I faced such a feeling of loneliness, and being extroverted I had a true realization of how much I tend to draw my assurance from other people. Loneliness, but why? It was just two days? I didn’t realize exactly how far away from my “normal life” I was. My dad couldn’t come get me, a call to mom was six hours off schedule, and my friends were sleeping or working when I needed encouragement. This is what loneliness is; it is not the absence of people, but the disappearing of being known. I was on an island, in the middle of the pacific, alone. I knew no one and no one knew me.

While I wandered and pondered loneliness, I found some really amazing places to eat and was overall testing my boundaries. How far did I feel safe walking alone, how late did I feel safe staying out? How far was University of the Nations from Kona Seaside hotel? I walked to Walmart and bought sheets, towels and a blanket that I would need for my stay at YWAM. That walk,which was just under a mile one-way, scared me. I learned about Hawaii’s no plastic bag policy and bought my reusable bag. In all honesty I mostly stayed in my hotel room (and I felt guilty doing it because so many wonderful people supported me to come to freaking Hawaii)!

It might shock you to know that, even though I am Puerto Rican,  I am not a beach person. I love the sand, and the sun and the water, but if I swim in the ocean for too long I get seasick and that is no fun for anyone. I also felt wrong swimming without a friend. I stayed in a hotel for two days and didn’t use the pool. Is something truly wrong with me? I couldn’t go adventuring,  I didn’t really want to do anything amazing if I was doing it alone. I guess that is just the kind of person I am.  I mostly drank coffee and wandered around tide pools, amazed at the fish, where I was and looking forward to when everyone would arrive. I could feel anticipation in the atmosphere. Big Island knew a company of fiery young people was about to land and that something was about to happen.

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I will try to write a separate post about food and what I ate, and how it has impacted me post-21P, but these next few posts I want to be focused on what I learned/ what I did. (Because so many people have been asking, I feel so loved!)

My second day I felt brave (or bored) enough to walk to the campus by myself. I went exploring and it felt like orientation. When I arrived by Lyft the next day I knew where to go. I was overwhelmed by the love and acceptance of so many beautiful people, but I wished I had a friend with me. I felt like I had to prove myself to anyone I met. There was a false feeling of needing to justify why I was there. I wished I had someone I could lean on or run to.

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This all led to a version of myself I didn’t know was inside of me. A girl that processed internally, trying to fight the lies without anyone next to me that I knew well enough to ask for help.

Throughout the entire process of checking into my room and figuring out the meal schedule, meeting room mates, meeting people in general, anytime or memory I had of ever feeling special or strong left me. Don’t get me wrong, on any given day I will be the loudest, happiest, most confidant person in the room, but I had never felt smaller.

I texted two of my best friends back home in a panic.

“I have never been surrounded by so many strong, beautiful people, and I feel so out of place. Why did I do this? What am I doing here?”

They encouraged me, and reaffirmed why I was there. I was there to encounter Jesus. Everything else was just gravy.

I grew up being a leader. I grew up being that friend that was always put together, the party planner, the plan-maker, and those sorts of things. Now I was alone, on an island feeling unworthy to be the friend of anyone around me.

Confidence-shattered, and thank God it was.

  • Confidence [a :  a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way]

Reads differently now, doesn’t it? There is nothing in confidence that makes us rely on God. Therefore, it had to be broken. The few days that followed I felt weak, uncomfortable, vulnerable and raw. 

I called my mom (I thank God for my mom 🙂 )

Remember when you would go on a youth retreat and it would water everything in your garden, the good and the bad? well that is what is happening. Everything is growing inside of you at an alarming rate.  And any dark thing, if even a residue, is being brought to the surface and dealt with, because you are in a place of such light.

I could see it now. I don’t think there was some large thing inside of me that needed uprooting, but we are human aren’t we? There will always be something that needs refining. I think this season was teaching me not to rely on what I knew or had been through (well not in the way I would think). I was learning what of my past I could stand on, and what honestly didn’t matter anymore.  That first week was (and still is) a bit of a blur. Let me think about what I remember clearly.

I remember experiencing worship again.

Okay, when you have worship every morning with 400 people who think just like you and Lindy Cofer happens to be leading most of the time, life is really good. That 95% of the congregation is engaged and truly worshiping and people are diverse and expressing their worship in every way, was a real taste of heaven. It didn’t matter that I only knew two of the songs we were singing. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know who to sit with, or who to say hi to. We were all there to worship.

I have been a worship leader for over half of my life, I didn’t realize how much I was drawing on myself (confidant right?) maybe that’s why I kept losing my voice last year. By the second day I was on my knees weeping in the front of the court.

I was worshiping in the front (where everyone stands together like sardines) and God just began to speak to me. The next thing I knew I was sobbing, on my knees, feeling small, and yet so loved. I wasn’t alone. He called me there. He needed to get me alone, He wanted me all to Himself.

He had to put me outside of everything I knew, away from everyone who knew me, and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed in order to reset me.

I remember getting challenged again, and yet affirmed.

First day of track I remember being surrounded by people who had all of these amazing business ideas. I remember thinking, “I thought I would be learning about marketplace ministry, like I would get a job out of school and work ethically” or something like that. Not, “Oh I have this idea that will change the world and I need help pitching to investors”. I wasn’t here with an idea to change communication, or to impact cities one house at a time. I didn’t have the business plan for a coffee-shop-prayer room. I had nothing. (Why was I here? Can I go write songs now?)

Entrepreneur, disruptor, and maverick were synonymous after the first day. We were going to be blunt, honest, uplifting and encouraging.  Our track leader gave us $20 with instructions to grow the money 10% and return it to him after 2 weeks. (I didn’t sign up for this!? I am selling things? I have no car!) 

I called my dad (Also super thankful for my dad) he gave me some strategy that confirmed some still-small ideas I had in my head. I can do this I thought. I was built for this. There is a reason I am here. I am going to see this through.

The messages were amazing and that is the best way of summarizing them 🙂 You can listen to them all here. They challenged me and yet also solidified the messages I grew up hearing. I think the one that impacted me the most was this one  “The Culture of the Unoffended Heart” It helped me forgive the people that I would rationalize not forgiving by being a “stingy forgiver”.

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I actually learned how to make friends (I think)

In 48 hours I had made about 100 acquaintances and almost no friends. This would change in the days to come. I had never been in a place where I couldn’t lean on my family’s name before. I couldn’t sneak into a social circle by being the younger sister of my older brothers, or the daughter of my parents. That was a truly strange feeling. I had no affiliations, it was just me.

I did make friends, and I am hopeful that they will be friends I keep my whole life, but time will tell that one.  I met some truly amazing and inspiring people and even meeting them was a blessing.

I began to be seen again. 

What even is being seen? I don’t think it matters being seen, but who sees you. God began to show me my DNA the way He saw it. Not what my friends think, or mentors, or family (who are all great spheres of influence) but I really relate to the lyrics that began this post.

“As the driftwood whittles down20727438_1469393349810568_1439034208_o.jpg
You see the beauty that it had
Carried through the open ocean
‘Till it finally reached the sand
Where I came upon it’s sadness
Saw the glory it contained
And you let me cut you slowly until only you remained…Cause You’ve got, What I want. ”

I wanted Him. I didn’t want some version 3.0 of me anymore. I didn’t want to be known for being the most confidant person in the room. Being known for confidence is being known for self-reliance and image. I wanted to learn how to ask questions, shut my mouth, listen and only offer an opinion if asked. I needed to learn to be content keeping secrets with God, and no one else never needing to know anything about me, or my family, or what I study or my capacity.

Only He remains. That is an end game worth fighting (and being uncomfortable) for.

In the posts to come I will go more in depth of the two weeks that followed, but for now that was week one. Thanks for reading and following along in my story.

I hope to write soon!

Bee

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