clipboards. and being excited.

when i traipsed myself down to georgia in august i came with the intention of staying for six months.  i had no idea where to go or what to do when i came home from the field and the Lord led me here to be in community and serve aim and the world race for a season. soon after getting acquainted with gainesville i felt the lord asking me to plant roots here. to find some contentment with being here.  and it was a struggle.  i battled and fought for that contentment.  i chose it on days when it was really the last thing i wanted to do.  and there are days when i still actively have to choose contentment about being in america.

but the more i do it the easier it gets.  and the more i choose thankfulness the more it really does rise up in me.  today, i’m beyond grateful for where i’m at, and what i’m doing.

so, when i agreed to come for a 6-month apprenticeship i  was asked to come on as a part of the marketing team.  which was funny to me because with the exception of my college degree i have zero experience in marketing anything.

but for the last six months i’ve been learning a lot.  and developing some skills.  and learning a lot.  and well, learning a lot.  the more i learn the more i realize how little i actually know.  which is humbling.  but more than that it’s exciting.  it’s a privilege and a blessing to be surrounded by people who are willing to invest in me in so many ways, including professionally.

i’ve spent the last few months working closely with our college-age department.  real life.  it’s been an absolute joy to be awakened to some of my talents and skills and also to rekindle some of the creative passions i’d stifled for so long.  but, that’s another blog for another time.

anyways…all of that really long story to say.  i’m staying in gainesville.  i’m staying with aim.  i’m staying with real life. and i’m continuing to do marketing.oh,

but, i am actually beside myself excited about it.

and also i’ll still be living off of support.  so you can help a sista’ out here.

i’m excited about all of the new changes.  i’m excited about learning more.  i’m excited about being developed.  i’m excited about being challenged.  i’m excited that i get to do something i am passionate about.  i’m excited that it will probably be hard.  but that i’ll grow because of it.  i’m excited about being in one place for awhile.  about learning how to be committed to something.

[it maybe freaks me out a little bit that i just wrote that.  and that i mean it.  because i don’t really know who this new, contented, happy person is.  but i like her.]

and, well.  i’m also excited that i get a new desk.  and a new space.

i know it seems small.  but i am such a person who needs her own space.   i need my space to feel like home.  and i need it to feel like me.

so i made some new things for my new space tonight.  and i love them.  i cannot wait to get them up on my wall above my desk tomorrow.

don’t you just think they are perfect?

life is a journey. gross.

i hate writing unless i feel inspired. really, if i’m honest i hate doing most things unless i feel inspired, unless it feels good. but i’m trying this whole “being disciplined” thing. it’s one of the many things the lord has challenged me to this year. learning to be disciplined. so i’m coming around to the acceptance that life is just going to take some work. some hard, pedal to the metal, sweaty, run-until-you-fall-over-and-then-get-up-again…work. for a minute that kind of sounds glamorous, almost heroic. and then it makes me get a sinking feeling in my stomach.  a sinking feeling because i know it’s going to be hard but worse than that i know there are no other options.  i’ve said yes to this and now i’m finding out what might actually be required of me.  and my first inclination is to have a reaction. to throw a woe-is-me kind of fit about how hard my life is and how surely the lord has left me because if he was really here then everything would just be easy.  or at least if it’s hard it will still feel good.  right?

all signs point to ashley needing some serious adjustments.  super.

it all kind of makes me laugh a little.  because i know the lord is doing a good work but he’s probably just sitting up there laughing at my antics and silly attempts to avoid the inevitable. that it’s just going to take some work.

my life.  my character.  my relationships.  my job.  my hopes and dreams and desires.  my future.  my physical health.  my emotional health.  my spiritual life.  my freedom.  my gifts and talents.

all of it.  it’s going to take work.

work.  and the willingness to have a good attitude.  over and over and over lately i’ve been hearing this same theme. and it resonates so deeply within me.  we learned about caleb last night.  and how caleb was a man with a different spirit, a different attitude than the rest of the israelites.  i want to be a caleb.  because i’m real sick of being just another israelite, one who has seen the goodness of God, His provisions and His mercy and still doubts Him.  i don’t want to wander around in the desert anymore.  i’m real sick of just sitting on potential and destiny.

it’s really time to walk into the promised land.

the promised land of my own identity, my own freedom, my own prophetic voice.  the promised land of redemption for my family and friends.  the promised land of healing and provision and kingdom abundance.

in the midst of all of this rising up inside of me, all of the grit and gusto, i’ve also been reminded that nothing will change overnight.  i have to be content in the becoming. there isn’t really a stopping point or an end to reach.  it’s just the journey of getting there.  which sounds really lame and cliche-ish to say.  “life’s about the journey…”  gross.  i usually roll my eyes at people who say that while i think to myself, “okay, you enjoy the journey. see you at the finish line, sucker.”   maybe i’m turning a new leaf.  maybe.

so that’s about it.  i don’t have any great resolve or plan or nice little bow to put around my new revelation on life.  but i’ll be over here working.  working my tail off.  and learning to smile about it.  like, really smile about it.  the kind of smile that comes of the joy of the lord really being your strength.  it’ll probably get messy. because work is rarely tidy. and there will probably be days when i have a bad attitude about it.  and there will be days when the running is too much and i’ll probably fall over.

but i’ll get back up. because at the end of it all that’s really the only option i have.