Testimonies

Thoughts from Yellowstone

My grandparents had planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park, and they decided that they would love to take us along with them if they could. Only a few weeks after I heard about it, I was in a car on the way to Yellowstone. It was a beautiful place with beautiful stops along the way, and I got to witness it with my grandparents, my mom, my cousin, and two of my aunts and uncles. You can take a look if you’d like!

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Yes, Yellowstone and the other places we visited on the journey were the reason I went on this trip. And those places were beautiful, and “kind” is an adjective I somehow want to give to them, too. But when I got back home, I realized the thing that would stick with me most wasn’t going to be the trip itself– it was going to be all the thinking I got to do.

I hadn’t realized that I wasn’t being as thoughtful or analytical as I once was. I’m a deeply introspective person; most of my testimony, most of my life, has been internal and thoroughly thought out. But when I entered college a few years ago, I started absorbing so much information, and having so many heart changes, and growing in so many areas, that maybe I didn’t have enough time to just… think. To consider daily what was happening in my life. It took a few 10-hour drives on the way to and from Yellowstone to begin learning how to simply think again, but the muscle memory has started kicking in, and I am grateful. Would it be okay if I shared two of the things I was able to process in Yellowstone with you?

This first one is pretty personal, but I haven’t heard anyone really mention this concept to me, so I’m mentioning it. After hours of thinking through my friendship with a man I had feelings for, I came to the conclusion that we were not meant to have a romantic relationship. And oddly, I became grateful that we didn’t have one, and that he didn’t have the same feelings for me. I imagined what our married relationship would look like, and as I watched those daydreams, I saw that our marriage would be cute. He would be a beautifully sweet husband and would take care of me the best he possibly could. But… something would be lacking. I couldn’t see the logical reason why it didn’t work, but I saw that it didn’t work. I saw that we were simply meant for more. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have a good relationship; it simply means that marriage would have more potential for us that we wouldn’t be able to tap into, because we just don’t belong together. It was hard to process, but… I’m so glad I know that. And I’m so glad I get to share in a sweet friendship with him still.

Sometimes things don’t work because of a pin-pointable reason or list of reasons. But sometimes, things don’t work simply because something else works better. Jesus has been teaching me that in a few areas lately. He doesn’t say no– He says, “This is better.” He doesn’t take good things from us; He replaces them with something greater. That’s how deeply He loves us.

One more thing I was able to think through in Yellowstone was the concept of daydreaming. I’ve never been able to daydream without feeling convicted, and it has only been a year or two since I understood the reason for that was my daydreams always took me places I shouldn’t have gone in my brain. I’m not saying it’s wrong for you to daydream; I’d say listen to your conviction and seek His guidance on that. I just know that, for me, it is destructive and something He wishes for me not to do. As you read above, however, He led me to daydream in order for me to come to a conclusion about my beloved friend. I think He knew what I needed, and I trust Him with that.

I found myself tempted to continue daydreaming after I processed those thoughts, for sure. But whenever I felt myself slipping, I would somehow remember what Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz:

“When a person has no other persons he invents them because he was not designed to be alone, because it isn’t good for a person to be alone.”

–and I would instead invest in the people around me.

Feeling alone is one of the more difficult feelings we experience, and I’ve always gone to daydreaming as a coping mechanism. Now I know that when I find myself wanting to spend time with imaginary people, it means I’ve started feeling isolated and need to talk to someone I love, to a real person. So many of our battles happen in loneliness. If we’re alone and fighting temptation, we must reach out to someone, even if our inner critics tell us we’d be annoying them. Our spiritual health is worth it. And once we do it, we will be reminded that we aren’t alone. We are not at all alone.

“Every day, I write a poem titled ‘Tomorrow.’ It is a handwritten list of the people I know that love me. And I make sure to put my own name at the top.”    -Kevin Kantor

Thank you for listening to my little introspective thoughts. I’m glad I’m having them regularly again. And I pray you find somewhere, sometime for a little quiet in your soul, too.

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