What It’s Like to be Off the “Happy Pills”

Quote from “This Is What Depression Really Feels Like” by Elise Jamison in the Huffington Post:

“I have seen so many of my peers tweet about how depressed they are and they’re lives are so awful blah blah blah. Yes. We all have bad days. I get it. But depression is defined as severe despondency and dejection, felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. There is a humongous difference between temporary sadness and dissatisfaction with your life, and the sinking desperation that is depression. It sucks when you don’t fit in and you are lonely, but that isn’t depression. Depression is the dark emptiness you feel that makes you believe you can contribute nothing to anyone or anything. You feel like your life means nothing to anyone.

My inspiration for this article was frustration. I was diagnosed at age 14 with depression, and I am so frustrated with all of the people around me who cannot differentiate between angst, PMS and mental illness. I have worked so hard in the last couple years to overcome this illness and it is still a daily battle. It took me years to even be able to acknowledge that I mattered and realize that people cared about me. There is nothing more frustrating than someone who says they are clinically depressed because they are feeling sad that day. It devalues the struggle I and so many others have endured. And to all of the incredibly ignorant people out there who think just because someone has a nice family, cushy home and pretty belongings does not mean they can’t be depressed — they lack the chemical serotonin in their brain. It has nothing to do with the fact that they wear Ferragamos or Target flip-flops.”

This might be the single most raw post that I ever write.

In all honesty, I hate that I am writing it.

But this past week has been a living hell for me, and I think that deserves to be addressed.

For those of you who don’t know – I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety.

Some people are shocked by this, and others are complacent – but most are simply ignorant. Most often I am met with sideways glances of disbelief and frustrated looks of disproval; people struggle to understand what it even means and they refuse to acknowledge it as a legitimate sickness. They tell me that happiness is a choice. They tell me that I am just tired because of college. They tell me that I am just blowing it out of proportion. Mostly, they just don’t understand. Simply put – none can comprehend the scope, and so they often disregard it entirely. Which is utterly and heartbreakingly invalidating for me in every aspect.

This is a mental disease. Wait, did you catch that? This – depression and anxiety -are legitimate mental illnesses. But who seriously ever believes that?

It is so important that people understand that this has nothing to do with happiness or choice, and everything to do with brain chemistry.

The truth is, every single day of my life is like swimming through a pool of molasses.

People toss around the phrase “depression” like it’s some sort of easy way to get attention. Like its some kind of lighthearted joke to easily describe how you feel when you’re having a  rough day.  I think that is the worst part about it –  because my sickness does not manifest itself externally, people are quick to invalidate me for it.

Most of it is unintentional. I don’t believe that people set out with malicious intent to beat me down, but because of the lack of understanding I often fall prey to thoughtlessness.

The amount of times in the past week that people have spat “What’s your problem?” at me are innumerable;  and each of these was coupled with expressions of absolute distaste. No matter where I went this week, the criticism was inescapable, and relatively constant.

And it was completely invalidating.

I hate this disease. I hate that I can’t function like a normal human. I hate that I have to suffer through it. I hate being a freak.

I have been on the same medication (fluoxetine) since I was diagnosed my junior year of high school; at the time the doctor prescribed it mostly out of desperation. She wasn’t sure that it would work in my case, but because of how high I scored in her routine depression assessment she was more concerned with regulating  my brain with something rather than letting it stew as we tried to figure out the best option. Fluoxetine is basically the gateway drug to depression medicine, most people start there and mess with it until they find out that something else works better. However, like I said, I scored high – so high in fact that the doctor basically wanted to put me on suicide watch.

Fast forward to now, almost three years later, and the medication has stopped working.  With all the stress and sleepless nights of college I found myself hyperactive or robotic but never in between. The medicine was messing with my brain, and I was sinking deep. I lost all my passion. I lost my will. I lost my motivation. When you suffer from a mental illness like depression something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning can be the most difficult task that you face all day. After suffering from a migraine for four weeks I decided it was probably time to see the doctor, oh – and the fact that I ran out of the fluoxetine and my prescription was expired. No surprise, he gave me the same test. I got the same score. Even on the meds, this doctor was extremely concerned and wanted to put me on suicide watch. He highly recommended counseling, but he gave me a new drug.

Which leads me to why this last week was a literal hell.

Because this illness has to do with the function of the brain and any medication for it deals directly with regulating it, I had to ween myself off of the fluoxetine before starting the new medication. Which meant an entire week of no medication for me.

I often like to pretend that depression isn’t as crippling as it really is. I try to believe that off the medicine I’ll be fine. That I’m not such a freak that I absolutely need a “happy pill” to get me through the day. But, like I said before, since it is a regulatory drug my body was basically in panic mode all week. There wasn’t a second where I wasn’t shaking, and opposite of normal when I am entirely robotic, there wasn’t a second when I wasn’t on the verge of crying. I was just trying to hold it together. To get through the week without too many breakdowns, heck, to even get out of bed in the mornings, was my sole goal.

Imagine how much harder that is when everyone is constantly reminding you how dysfunctional you are.

So, I write this not so that you will pity me, in fact, I think I would be pretty frustrated with that outcome. Rather, I write this because this week has waged war on my soul. Every part of me aches.

My constant thought as I navigated the week was that if I was just “normal” I would be able to handle it. If I wasn’t such a freak that I was shaking like a Chihuahua and navigating the campus like a zombie, then everything would have been fine. If I was “normal” comments about me being “pissy” wouldn’t have mattered so much, sideways glances of disgust wouldn’t have made me burst into tears.

When your brain is so used to being on medication and then you suddenly rip that away it sends everything into a tailspin, and because of that everything is ten times harder to navigate. Everything feels like the end of the world.

There are moments when I legitimately think that I am going insane. I genuinely feel like my brain is betraying me. And to have people point that out when all I am trying to accomplish is basic life functions is crippling.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could control it?

My brain is a force of it’s own. It is a machine completely independent of me. It is a broken contraption of hurt and longing, of ache and pain, of disgust and shame.

And shame is exactly what I feel, all the time. I am so ashamed of my illness. Not because of what I believe about it, but because of the way that society has made me feel because of it.

I refuse to apologize for my sufferings because they make you uncomfortable. I refuse to let your lack of understanding be the source of such crippling shame. I refuse to let the confines and dictates of your carelessness set the course of my life.

And let’s be honest, even if I wasn’t suffering from any of these mental sicknesses, don’t you think it’s already awful to address someone’s lack of enthusiasm with such harsh comments? Isn’t the point to love each other, not shame one another into acting in a socially comfortable and artificially happy way for the sake of your wellbeing?

I’m begging you to think before you speak. I’m begging you to think about the repercussions of your words.

This week was already hard enough as I waged war with myself, and the commentary was no welcome guest.

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Botts Take Seattle: Days Four & Five

So, some bad news… my computer has been wigging out lately, and I’m afraid that it has come down with a virus. Which sucks, because it’s brand new for college  – needless to say, I’ve gotta take it in to get checked out; but because it has been freaking out and malfunctioning I’ve decided to put days four and five (the last days of our vacation) together because my computer will barely let m get through the editing process without shutting itself off 😦

That being said… Friday we came home from our vacation, and it’s all feeling a little surreal.

On our last full day in the city we used our Seattle City Passes (really the only way to be a good tourist in Seattle) to head to the top of the Space Needle, spend time in the EMP museum (complete with star wars exhibit), and the Chihuly Glass Gardens. It was a full day, and because of all of the problems with my computer I wasn’t able to put a post together for all of it, so here are the pictures:

We began our day at a little Cafe across the street from the Space Needle, it was called Cafe Bee and was a quaint little shop in the heart of the city run by an elderly couple who was celebrating their 46th anniversary! It’s definitely a must if you’re ever in the area! From there we headed over to the Needle – since we went with the City Passes we were able to go up to the top two times – we opted for one morning and one night trip to see it in all of it’s splendor both ways. IMG_1409 IMG_1415 IMG_1398 IMG_1590IMG_1582

From there we headed to the EMP (the Experience Music Project) where we hung out for a few hours weaving our way between exhibits – complete with a Fantasy exhibit which housed three of the weapons from the Hobbit movies and the costumes of the heroes of the characters of The Princess Bride, a Horror exhibit which housed the stakes that Buffy used to slay vampires, a Pop music area which housed two of Macklemore’s Moon Awards, and a Seattle Seahawks 12th man exhibit which housed the conference notes of Coach Carroll and the stats of the players. But… possibly the best thing of all… the STAR WARS COSTUME EXHIBIT WAS THERE! From my understanding this is a traveling exhibit, largely based around the costumes of Padame. To say I geeked out would be a huge understatement… I packed my special Star Wars leggings just for the day – I have never been more proud of them… I was geeking out… hard. IMG_1426 IMG_1456IMG_1461IMG_1423
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I basically had to pry myself out of there… but we headed over to the Chihuly Glass Gardens afterward. It was one of the most interesting things that I have ever seen. The entire premise is a display of Chihuly’s work, and that meant that we toured through galleries which were homes to glass gardens and glass structures which we phantasmal and surreal. IMG_1551IMG_1478IMG_1499 IMG_1473

And then, to end the day we grabbed dinner at Seattle’s “Snappy Dragon” (which was excellent) and caught one of the last elevators back up to the top of the Needle. It’s a beautiful thing to see the city at night, there are so many different colors of yellow and grey that it takes your breath away. Despite the bite in the air from the cold, it was so wonderful to stand on top of the world – even if our time was limited by the closing of the Needle. By the time that we made it back to the hotel we were falling into our beds.

In the morning (our last morning in the city) we headed back to the Market for the last time and made it into the original Starbucks before it was packed full of people. We were actually able to order drinks, and for the first time in a while I actually enjoyed my Starbucks beverage – it was smooth and not burnt, and altogether super yummy. Which was equally shocking and exciting for me. We found some gluten free goodies in the Market that I could eat, and said our goodbyes to the city.

We headed out to see the Troll and the Locks on our way out of town, and then we hit the highway.

The drive wasn’t bad, Mom drove the entire way instead of me, and I got through a decent amount of Wild which I’ve been working on since Winter break – college does not lend itself well to “fun” reading.

By the time we got home we were falling into our own beds. I headed back to P-Town the next morning.

Some Seattle Observations

I always think that I would like to live in a city until I actually visit one. In theory it sounds wonderful to be at the heart of such a diverse mix of cultures and customs, but in practicality being in the city feels like you are constantly swimming upstream. Seattle itself is a beautiful place, but it is so condensed, it feels like you’re trapped inside the walls of a snow globe.

Bigger than that, though – cities break my heart. They are the hub of culture, but it’s been my experience that they are also the hub of heartbreak. I’m constantly surprised by the vast amount of hurting in places as big as these. There are so many people without homes, and even more who are struggling to keep theirs. As we walked through the streets and were approached by members of the homeless community, my heart cracked a little more each time, by the time that we left I was utterly exhausted.

I feel so helpless, and small. In cities as big as Seattle it’s easy to get lost, and I wonder how many helpless people get lost in the daily shuffle. How many hopeless people are ignored? There’s a certain weight to the culture of the city – to approach one, you must first understand what you are throwing yourself into – a melting pot of heart break.

That being said, it’s not like Seattle is just a dreary little city where everyone is snarling and crying all the time. It was actually really really beautiful. Waking up to see the  sound to the west was a luxury that I will never forget, not to mention the buildings themselves aren’t too hard on the eyes. The people in this city clean up well – there is certainly a distinct Northwestern style, and Seattle perfectly embraces it. I basked in the scent of coffee wafting from countless cafes, Coffee Shops, and Espresso Bars – and I already miss it. It was the coffee mecca that I have been waiting to experience.

Altogether, there were so many beautiful sights and experiences that I’m sure I’ll be processing for a while, but I am so overwhelmingly glad that I got the opportunity to experience it all with my family at my side.

It was a beautiful trip, and I can’t imagine a better way to have spent my Spring Break.

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Thus ends #BottsTakeSeattle15.

Until the next adventure, wonder on!

Botts Take Seattle: Day Three

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Today we ventured to the other side of the city and found ourselves in the home territory of the Dawgs. As a Coug, I wasn’t altogether thrilled about the idea of spending the morning on my rival school’s home-base, but I’ve never really understood the extent of the animosity between our schools and we took my brother around to explore since he has a few more years before he’ll be enrolling in a college of his own.

It’s an insanely beautiful campus, one that makes my college look like a tiny house in comparison to a Victorian style mansion. Everything on the site looks like it was ripped straight out of Beauty and the Beast, or even better, Harry Potter. The buildings seemed to have been created for the sheer pleasure of their aesthetics. The library houses a massive grand staircase and grand windows and soaring ceilings – I kept waiting to see the floating candles. Spoiler: I didn’t see any.

I did, however, see their Cherry Blossom trees and an assortment of awesome looking buildings.

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It was a beautiful school… but being there made me realize how thankful I am to be a Coug. Not because the University of Washington is a terrible school, but because I realize that Washington State University is a great one.

IMG_1312IMG_1283IMG_1290     IMG_1285We headed back down to the city from there, headed to the Market once again for a hearty lunch above the water. We found our way to Lowell’s diner inside the market which was outstanding – definitely a must if you’re on this side of the state. I had their famous fish tacos – let me tell you, I can understand why they’re so famous!

After getting our fill (more than our fill  – I think I’ gaining my Freshman fifteen in this one week), we headed to the Gum Wall before our paths separated as my Mom and brother headed up to the Seattle Art Museum and I opted out in favor of the shops here in downtown – Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy. I wove my way between stacks of clothes and throngs of people, taking on the city all on my own. It was fun, and as lame as it may sound, it was an empowering experience. I was able to navigate my way around town for a few hours before we all met up again to take the Underground tour together.

That, the whole tour in the streets beneath the streets, was utterly breathtaking – especially for a history buff such as myself. We learned about the founders of Seattle and the foundations of the city. It was cool to walk in places where countless others have come before me in their puffy dresses and horse drawn carriages. Truly an amazing thing. IMG_1351IMG_1318IMG_1355

By the time we were out of the tour we were hungry enough to eat ten horses, and we wound our way back up the streets and Mom treated us to the Cheesecake Factory. It being the city and all, we found ourselves in a fifteen minute wait for a table. As we waited outside we found ourselves directly across from a homeless couple.

My heart breaks for them. I feel so helpless, I don’t know what to give them other than my prayers and a shy smile, and I still feel like that isn’t enough. If I could I would take them out to eat, and give them a place to rest their heads, and clothe them – but the truth is that I don’t have the resources for that. And it sucks. The woman who sat across from us was crying as her sign read “Pregnant and homeless.” She and her partner were looking for fare for a bus, all that we had was two dollars – so we gave it to them, the man said that that was the most money that he had made all day. We bought them a piece of cheesecake when we went inside, they were unbelievably thankful, and the man was so sweet – all the while, the woman continued to cry.

In front of them, she crafted a piece sign out of plastic mardi-gras beads and pennies, and my heart continued to break. We ate a wonderful dinner, but my heart went out to them, it seemed unfair to be eating such good food when it was uncertain if these people were even eating at all.

When we left the restaurant they had  at least four other Cheesecake Factory bags in front of them – I wonder if others took the hint and gave them some food too. Sometimes it feels like that’s all you can do, and one must wonder if food goes farther than money – I can almost garnet that it does.

What do you do in a situation like that?

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My heart breaks for the people of this city even as I am enjoying every second of my adventures. As we move into our fourth day filled with adventures at the EMP and the Space Needle, I find myself praying for the people of Seattle with everything in me. This is an amazing city, but it is heartbreaking all the same. As I draw the parallels between this city and the other capital cities of the third world countries I’ve been in my heart aches, and yet, I am all the while more excited to spend my summer on mission!

God is good, just as vacation. And, without getting super sappy, I’m incredibly stoked to be in this city, even if it is heartbreaking.

Botts Take Seattle: Day Two

Day two in Sunny Seattle (which has actually been a relatively true thing – praise the Lord). We began our morning at a small coffee bar tucked in the lowest story of one of the local apartment complexes where I ordered a classic cappuccino, which was as potent as it sounds, and a gluten free goodie, which to my surprise was absolutely phenomenal! IMG_0944

From there we headed down to the Public Market. It wasn’t as crowded as I assume it is on weekends, but nonetheless, even during the weekday, it was packed full of people and vendors. There was a huge array of products and produce, and there were so many different colors and things to look at it was dizzying. The sheer volume of it all reminded me of the markets that I got to stop by in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

In a lot of ways this city feels foreign. The sites and smells of the market put me right back in Ecuador where I wove my way between aisles of raw fish and flowers amidst a population unafraid to make themselves known. I felt a weird sense of nostalgia weaving through the tables full of goods, it feels like I’m being thrown back in time while all the while being pushed forward in light of the skyscrapers surrounding me.

Across from the market is the original Starbucks, which I snapped a picture by but didn’t stick around to order a drink since it is always packed with a line that wraps around the block. I just wanted to prove my allegiance to coffee by standing within a couple feet from it 😉

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From the market we headed to the pier to chow down on some of the goodies that we bought from one of the vendors and then headed over to the aquarium. The fish were giving me their sassiest poses (complete with their angry little faces), and Mom was squealing like a child being around all of it – who knew sea life could turn a mother into a child (in the best way possible)?

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We decided to buy city passes which allow us to get into a variety of attractions while we’re here in Seattle – the aquarium being one and the Harbor Cruise another. We stopped for some ice cream before boarding the Harbor cruise which we toured us around via the water for about an hour, pointing out all the sights and sounds of Seattle from the farther vantage point. It was beautiful – cold, but beautiful.

We grabbed dinner at the Crab Pot after the cruise – that in itself was an interesting experience. They pour out all of the seafood that you order right onto the table in front of you. Needless to say, bibs were a necessity.

We ended our day there since I got sick (major bummer), and headed back to the hotel. Despite that though, I would say that day two was a massive success. Who knew you could pack so much into one day?

The more time that I spend in this city the more I fall in love with it!

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Botts Take Seattle: Day One

I’ve only ever seen the east side of the glorious state of Washington. I guess, because of that, I had a picture of Seattle that was something like the city in the Meg Ryan movie Sleepless in Seattle. I was picturing a more water based existence, a chiller version of LA I suppose.

I can tell you this is something entirely different than I imagined.

And I kind of love it.

It took us about four and half hours to get to the city from the east side, but the drive was a lovely thing. Everyone was telling us that Monday was going to be nothing but rainy and grey, but we were greeted with blue skies and bright white clouds which made the drive nothing short of  breathtaking.

Having never been this deep into the state I wasn’t sure what it would all look like, I suppose I sort of imagined there to be endless amounts of evergreens and snowy mountains. I was surprised to find that the landscape echoed my Arizona home more than my imagined image of Washington, except this has more water than Arizona ever even dreamed of.

About halfway through the drive we stopped at one of the look outs and snapped a few shots (and grabbed some footage for the vlog series – commence the squealing).  Mom wasn’t a huge fan of our practicing our acrobatics on the ledge above the Columbia, but alas! We’ve survived to adventure another day! IMG_1169IMG_1173IMG_0848IMG_0858

After so many hours on the road we were excited to finally make it to the hotel where we dumped all of our stuff and then headed out into the city to explore. Since it was getting later in the evening, most things were closing (why do city shops here close at five? that makes no sense), and others were unbelievably crowded. We found  our way down to Pike’s Place Market, but everyone had closed shop, so we moseyed out to the edge of the pier to enjoy the vision of the water.

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Having spent my early years in LA area, that is the city that I am used to – the massive buildings, angry faces, and urban landscape which goes on forever. Instead of a never ending urbanscape the city of Seattle feels like it was condensed to fit inside a snow-globe and it drops right into the water, piers adorning the edge of the city. In LA the city felt like it would never end, but here the edge of the city is a certainty as the water can be seen through the breaks in the buildings. All of the streets lead down to the water, everything here feels centered around it.

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The cityscape from the pier.
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I get really excited by the water… obviously

I feel like no mater where I cast my eyes I’m always missing something – there are so many shops and people and buildings and attractions – everywhere you look there are ten thousand things to see. It’s overwhelming and exciting all at once.

Having been removed from the city for so many years, it is interesting to experience it all again. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the amount of traffic.

IMG_0879We wandered the streets for some time, looking for food and a cheap place to buy sunglasses for me – eventually we settled for the “Falafel King” which is a little shop tucked between some of the bigger stores in the alley off of Pike’s Place. It’s basically a hole in the wall, but it had the best food that I have eaten in ages – oh and did I mention it’s across the street from Showgirls? It was an interesting experience, but the food was outstanding.

By the time we had all eaten it was dark and we found ourselves back by the market on our way back to our hotel. I bought some glasses from the Forever 21 (which is the biggest one I have ever seen!) and from there we found our way back home.

IMG_0936After hours of driving and exploring, I couldn’t be more excited to spend my spring break here with my family. Here’s to the adventures!

Elevate Update: What is Elevate & The Challenge of Urban Missions

It’s about time that I talk to all of you about a little thing called Elevate…

What Is Elevate?

Here is the official definition:

Elevate is a 10-week spiritual leadership project located in beautiful San Diego, CA that provides you an amazing opportunity to explore God in community. It is a time to learn biblical truths and practical skills all in the context of missionally-living, Christian community. Elevate students will live together, learn together…and maybe even work together. Each student will work a 30-40 hour week, attend large group sessions, study the Bible in “family groups”, participate in a local church and develop lifelong relationships. If you are looking to have a life-changing summer, Elevate is the place for you.

However, I think that this just barely begins to illustrate the weight of this opportunity.

This is a summer project uniquely designed to teach the body of Christ how to live missionally and intentionally for the Kingdom. As a part of the program each of us is required to get a job in the city where we will work a minimum of 30 hours a week to bring the gospel into our work place and learn what it looks like to be a hardworking and faithful servant outside of the church. In addition to that we will spend our weekends working with local churches and inviting people into our homes for “house parties” (barbecues and hangouts) to invite those in the San Diego area into our community.

For those of us who are a part of the Project we will spend Monday-Wednesday night in classes being discipled and learning how to love bigger, better and further. This is an incredible opportunity for each of us to be discipled by those in our church, grow in community, and foster a perspective reminiscent of Romans 1:16 – it is my prayer that each and every week challenges each of us to live boldly for the gospel.

Basically, this is a ten week program designed specifically to draw near to the heart of God and experience missional living like you never have before.

Why Do I Feel Called To Be a Part of It?

To spare you all the details I’ll begin at the beginning of my Fall semester. I had this weird tugging on my heart that God was asking me to give my summer to Him; and to be honest, that is the last thing that I wanted to do. As an Arizona girl I wanted to save up all of my money to go and spend my summer back in the place that I know with my friends. I wanted to be comfortable.

Too bad God isn’t too keen on the idea of comfort when it comes to His kingdom. I often say that it makes me uncomfortable if people are comfortable following Jesus, and here I was, swallowing my own words as God continuously pressed into my heart the idea that my summer was meant to be bigger than the comfort that I craved. I wasn’t sure what it all meant, in all honesty, I was supremely confused because I had no idea where to even begin looking for a way to give my Summer to Him; and I guess – because my head is hard as brick – I sort of figured that if I didn’t find anything then I could kind of ignore what He was asking me to do in light of the summer that I could spend with my friends.

God must laugh at me a lot, thinking that I have control over things. The Big Guy has a sense of humor – in a few short weeks I sat down to coffee with a girl who I barely knew at the time, but has since become one of my most treasured friends, and she began to tell me the story of her summer … which she spent at Elevate.

It was in that moment that I began to say okay. Of course, this okay came after a lot of bargaining (too bad that that’s also a joke). I knew what God was asking me to do, and when I finally decided to let him send me I felt this sense of peace…

Which leads me to now, almost four months later. Why do I still think that I am called to be a part of this project? As the school year has gone on I have learned more about the program and found myself increasingly more invested in the idea of being sent out in a way that I never had before.

Missional Living…

I have a heart for missions.This is no secret.

I have been so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to spend weeks outside of my own country (and continent) bearing the image of the Lord and carrying it to my brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. In the past few years alone, I’ve been privileged to make it to Ecuador, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic – and it was through these experiences that I began to feel the Lord’s tugging on my heart in the realm of missions.

Between my Junior and Senior year of high school I found myself fulfilling the role of “missions intern” for my home church in Arizona, and it was there that I began to really understand and investigate the merit behind missional living. I was saddened by the face that so many of my other brothers and sisters in the church approach missions with an almost careless mindset -looking to fulfill their Christian duty, throw a couple hundred dollars at a charity, take a picture with an orphan and then go on living their lives in excess, never again thinking about the people they stood alongside in other parts of the world (here’s a cool article discussing this idea).

This burdens my hearts in ways that I cannot even communicate. Throughout the summer I read countless articles, listened to stories and read numerous books discussing God’s intent for missional living and it rocked my entire world. In that same summer Arizona was struck by a series of wildfires, and one in particular left us with a staggering loss of 19 brave firemen; the majority of which came from our little town – Prescott. In the aftermath the entire town rallied together, and our missions team in particular was a central force behind the community outreach. In many ways it was here that I began to see the impact of urban missions.

Urban missions.

What does that even mean? I’ve put a lot of thought into this and the definition that I have developed is: anything that you do in your own community to help those who need it. This may be working at the local women’s shelter, or serving at the food bank, or even mowing the lawn for your 90 year old neighbor. The possibilities are broad.

And in a way, that’s exactly what makes this kind of serving so scary. For me, since I am so passionate about it, serving outside of the country in foreign lands has become a more comfortable example of missional living than serving those in my very own town.

And that’s exactly why I need to do this. I care about the children in the Dominican as much as I care about those in San Diego, but I haven’t been given the chance to serve the people of San Diego yet. This summer is my chance to change that. It is my opportunity to take the mundane tasks and patterns of life and turn them into a testament to my faith in one of our nation’s most lost cities.

It will be challenging. It will be heart breaking. It will be terrifying. And yet, not one of those things is a deterrent for me, I’m excited to push myself to learn how to live in a way that is everyday missional. I’m excited to create relationships with the people that I will meet and walk alongside in California, and mostly I am excited to share God in a brand new way.

Prayer Requests

Some of you have already received letters from me, and for some of you this is the first time that you are hearing about this trip. Regardless, each one of you can join me in prayer as I prepare to spend my summer in California as an operative for His kingdom! This month I am praying for three things:

  1. An open and tender heart. A spirit of gentle vulnerability that lends itself to the molding of my heart as I learn more about my Savior and serve his children throughout the summer.
  2. Patience. If you know me at all then you probably already know that this is not a spiritual gift of mine. I am taking the initiative now to begin praying for patience as I am sure that I will need endless amounts of it throughout this entire project.
  3. Boldness. I am praying that my team is bold for the gospel and rocks the foundations of San Diego for His glory.

Please join me in praying for these things!

FUNDS UPDATE

As of February I have raised $415.78. In order to be fully funded I need to raise $2,584.22 more to reach the program cost of $3,000.

Official things

The official website of the project:http://www.elevate2015.com

The official website of the church:http://experienceresonate.com

Elevate 2015 from Resonate Church on Vimeo.

If you have any questions at all please, please, please don’t hesitate to ask them! Either through Facebook, twitter, commenting here – the possibilities are endless! You can find my contact info in the “About Me” tab at the top of this website if you need it 🙂

I love you all, Happy March!