Journeys & Writings of Paul

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Balance is so fickle, isn't it? I feel that I am terrible at balance in  most areas of my life, and tend to behave like a pendulum swinging out of control. Except for my ability to keep my balance, as in center of gravity; I have pretty good stability, but I digress.

The point of this blog post is not to talk about my mad balancing skills.

Lately I have been mulling over an inner battle that has been raging for at least a year now. I am what the author of the book of James calls double-minded.

That's right, double-minded. Who admits to this stuff? I guess I do.
 I'm a hypocrite, my faith sometimes is extremely weak if not almost entirely non-existent at times.
 Why? Well, it's a long story, but here's the quick and dirty:
I'm a college student.
I am terrified of being in debt.
I am in debt to the federal government for an amount that makes my heart stop whenever think about or view it.
I have been praying to graduate from undergrad debt free.
It sounds crazy, I know, but I feel like God can handle it. But at the same time I doubt the possibility, because from my perspective it seems near nigh impossible. I have felt really convicted lately because I am praying, asking God to help me make this become a reality while simultaneously doubting that it is even a remote possibility. The result is an epic and terrible struggle internally. The reason I site it as an issue with balance is because I struggle with how much to depend on my own ability to be financially responsible and how much to trust that God will work it out if I ask.

I am asking for wisdom; am I in a position to receive it when I am likened to the windblown surf of the sea?

I don't have any resolution to this dilemma, but the purpose of this blog is to obtain a higher level of accountability myself but publishing my thoughts. Check.

I do know this: prayer, meditation on Scripture and sharing my struggles with others are all helping to strengthen my faith into something more resilient and genuine, even if when it travels over rocky terrain. Especially then.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The power of "we"

This post is a follow up to my post What i love about peru.

Collective Mentality

Something foreign and wonderful to me in Peru was the collective mentality, or the power of "we" as I have titled this post. Here in the United States of America we are a very individual driven society. Our language is individualistic, our goals are individualistic, our advertising is geared towards individualist. Similarly, it is ingrained in us that a person can do or become whatever she or he may put their mind to.

In Peru, things are different. Peru is all about community rather than the individual. I caught myself the other day talking like a Peruvian rather than an estadounidense. Last week I was telling someone about my current semester and instead of using the pronouns I, me and my, I caught myself saying we, us and our, referring to myself as well as my roommates and friends. In Peru it is a polite gesture to include those around you when you are talking about your plans, daily activities, accomplishments, etc. no matter their level of direct involvement. Inclusion is a big deal in Peruvian society and it is something that I walked away valuing on a higher level after three months of trying to fit myself into a context with different cultural mores and social norms.

This attitiude reminds me of the body of Christ and how we are supposed to function as the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. I'll hone in on the key phrases in verses 24b-27 that are the specific sections that came to mind while thinking about this communal way of thinking:
"But God has put the body together…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
How we relate to one another and refer to our daily interactions with others differs across cultures.

Myself with my host family in Lima
Galedt, Glicerio, Leanna, Zully, Sara

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Life lessons

I am very embarrassed and hesitant to share what I am about to right now.

I made a mistake. A huge mistake. A huge mistake a regret a lot for a variety of reasons. That however is a tangent and besides the point for the moment.

On January first of this year (five short days ago) I found and purchased a used car from an owner that I found listed on Craigslist.

The long story made short is that the seller was dishonest about the condition of the car (mainly the failing transmission). He was able to pass it off as acceptable by being extremely crafty. Don't be so quick to judge me, reader. I won't describe all the ways that he was able to pull the wool over my eyes. Looking back I can recognize the signs, but he was a very good swindler. Well played, sir.

I have been through all sorts of emotions today. I have been furious, felt sad, disappointed, wronged, stupid, childish, and had all sorts of evil thoughts ran through my mind that I am not at all proud of. I had my first cry of the year; then my second. I thought about calling him. I wanted to tell him what he did was wrong and then give him a piece of my mind. But I did not. Being logical as I am, I knew that it would accomplish nothing and would just get me more worked up. I don't want to be angry.

Tonight I realized there is only one thing to help the situation at this point. I realized that what I need to do is forgive him. The strange thing about this conclusion is that I feel like I not only need to forgive him but I also want to. I firmly believe that this is not of me but rather it is  nothing short of God.

So, I did. I forgave him.

And though I am still out the money, I am still out an operational car, I am still out some of my pride, I have inner peace. Tomorrow after church I plan on calling this man to tell him 1) he was dishonest with me, 2) what he did was wrong, 3) I forgive him and wish him well. I pan on concluding the conversation by telling him I don't expect any action on his end (since he swindled me in the first place) but I am just calling him to let him know that I am forgiving him for his wrong against me as Christ forgave me.

That's the long and the short of it. In life you live and learn I suppose.


Thursday, January 3, 2013


I wrote this poem for my Spanish class while studying in Peru last semester. I came across it as I was going through my papers. Here is the list of my satisfactions that I came up with one week into my SST experience.

Un día lluvioso con cielos grises y hierba verde
Una cama muy cómoda y caliente
Los abrazos de mi mamá
Los flores de la primavera
La gata
Mis amigos
La familia
Música clásica
El agua
El sol

A rainy day with gray skies and green grass
A very comfortable and warm bed
My mother's hugs
Spring flowers
My friends
Classical music