Thursday, July 18, 2013

Planting Seeds

My little brother, Jace, is almost a full foot taller than me. He has a voice like James Earl Jones. He smells like a dumpster if he forgets to wear deodorant, and his resolution to forgo shaving for the summer has resulted in the world's smallest, scraggliest beard.

As far as brother/sister relationships go, ours is pretty good. We went to see Star Trek. We know all the words to Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" (the clean version). He farts; I hit him.

Pretty standard. Nothing to complain about.

We weren't always so peaceable, though. Well, he was. I was conniving and manipulative.

Not only was I a mean sister, but I was a smart mean sister. That's a disastrous combination.

I would plot ways to get him in trouble that no one could trace back to me.

One Halloween, I even stole his Halloween candy while he slept, then sold it back to him for cash.

Horrible, I know.

Something changed when we adopted Levi. I realized that I was a saint to Levi and treated Jace like dirt. I'm not sure that at thirteen I quite knew what inconsistency was, but I comprehended enough to try and mend my behavior.

Over the years, we've grown closer (now that I'm no longer trying to torture him). But there's still a gap. This could just be the natural maturity-difference between a 19-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.

My small group at church is reading a book about how Christian girls should interact with Christian guys called It's (Not That) Complicated. I was the first to make fun of this book.

I thought that the last thing I needed was guy advice. Imagine my surprise when one of the first areas of focus in the book was brothers. The authors were introducing revolutionary ideas like respecting your brother, caring about the things your brother cares about (Minecraft? Modern Warfare?!), and allowing him to be a leader in your relationship.

How can our brothers grow into godly men like the ones we'd want to marry if we never let them be the leaders God intended them to be?

Needless to say, I'm no longer cracking jokes about "the book."

I've tried some of the suggestions. I asked him to teach me to play Minecraft (UGH), and talked to him about church camp. I let him choose where we eat lunch. We discuss how his first year in marching band is going.

I still don't have that unbelievably close, thick-as-thieves relationships with my brother yet.

But I'm hoping that these seeds I'm planting now will grow into a beautiful relationship later.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Losing Control

On the Asbury University Freshman Class Facebook group, someone has posted a new update every day saying, "63 days until orientation!", "62 days until orientation!" and so on and so forth.

At first it was amusing and exciting. Now it's just plain stressful. Because it's impossible to ignore. Oh, there are small distractions, like discovering the world's greatest banana bread recipe or watching The Great Gatsby. Thanks to social media, though, there's no ignoring what's coming:

"27 days until orientation!" 

That was today's post. My stomach ties up in knots just thinking about it.

Everything is becoming real. Undeniably real, a little too real.

I got my roommate and dorm assignments.

A schedule for orientation dropped into my inbox the other day.

I've made a list (at mom's urging) of things I need for my dorm.

Most people are excited to go to college. I got a tremendous scholarship, and it was the providence of God that I was able to go to the school I wanted to. And yet I'm almost in tears thinking about moving in next month.

All I can think of is orientation and the "activities" that are planned.

What if it's relay races or something? Everyone's first impression of me will be that I'm out-of-shape and self-conscious about it.

What if nobody likes me?

What if I try my very hardest to be social and outgoing and to make friends and it just doesn't work?

Everything's going to change. And I have no control over it.

That's the real problem. I'm a control freak walking into a situation where the biggest thing I control is the color of my comforter.

It makes me want to scream and cry and lock myself in my dorm room with a collection of Jane Austen novels and a subscription to Netflix.

Which I have done plenty of times at home.

I have avoided people, resisted intimacy, and shied away from vulnerability, content to sit at home watching Little Women and Sherlock and dreaming about the friendships I was too afraid to form.

This will not do in college.

Asbury is a chance for me to be someone different. Someone brave and trusting and able to lose control.

Because when I lose control, He takes control.