It is Friday night and I’m doing homework. This may sound like a complaint, but it is rather a statement of fact. Homework is fine, it is a means to an end, that end being a glorious diploma. That of which I will receive in 70 days (it’s not like I have a countdown going on my phone or anything). Some people fear this date- how are we supposed to accomplish everything on the syllabus between now and the next 70 days?! What am I going to do after college? Why did I get this degree again…?
I am fortunate enough to have not all of those fears, although I do not understand how I will digest all of the syllabus over these next 10 weeks, but it will happen. Anyways back to the fears I am fortunate not to have… I have a job waiting for me. A job I love at a place I love with people I love; a job of which I am passionate about, and cannot wait to board a plane to leave to. I get to work at a school in Cambodia with an organization that is fighting human trafficking. That very picture was taken on a flight to Cambodia last year; a flight with crappy air plane food, and cramped seats. I didn’t know then as my body tried to digest what I thought was chicken how God would change my life forevermore.
I always wanted to go to law school, I still do. So much of my identity was tied in the security of knowing I could accomplish something during a set time. That if I perform in capacity a, and follow through with object b, then the outcome will be c. That last sentence may have made no sense, but what it meant for me is that I could control my life. I was forever afraid of failure (and still am), I wanted to live a life full of complete comfort, and intellect. I wanted to wear nice dresses, and marry a nice, smart man, and have two adorable children (Ok… maybe I still want everything listed in the last sentence). It felt good that I could tell people what I wanted to do, and there responses only ever stroked my ego.
Then God led me to Cambodia. I never heard a booming voice, but it was rather a myriad of instances which took me down this path. I only spent three weeks there; and they were difficult, challenging, and sweaty, but God changed my heart. Instantaneously. He has continued to push me since then in ways I could have never imagined. Obviously one of the biggest things is he is forcing me to find my identity in him- not in law school, or prestigious honor, or boys, or comfort… which is actually a whole heck of a lot harder than it sounds on paper. He is pushing me out of that comfort zone by relocating me to Asia. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never disliked the idea of living in another country. I live for traveling and adventure, and easily saw myself living somewhere else throughout my life. ASIA THOUGH?! I actually told God that I never had any desire to go to Asia, but he has a sense of humor, and changed that. And quick note…I’m not sure how many people move to Cambodia for pleasure…the driving is cray, and it is like 1000 degrees all of the time. I don’t even think extra strength extra clinical Hercules Mulan deodorant (not actually a thing…although I wish) could save you. So that is just to say that God can totally change hearts, and you never know where he’ll take you. This isn’t merely an “opportunity” or “experience”, I’m not doing this for “thrill” or “adventure”- although I’m sure that will happen during this time. I’m doing this because God has put this love in my heart, and despite the cons I may have listed above, I am so pro-Cambodia.
The third thing that God has totally stretched is my concept of trust. He asked me to start a bath and body business that honors Him by spreading awareness about human trafficking. Hello God, I hate the idea and possibility of failing. I had a case of Moses syndrome, and told God no…so many times that I thought I would get struck with lightning before I actually ever went through with his idea. But he taught me that 27 Bath and Body is his, and that it will all happen in his time. And with every dollar gained, and every word spoken of encouragement from others is God being God, his cool self. I still have a long way to go, but God teaches me new things everyday.
Thus far this blog post has been mainly me processing, and the way it works people usually put in a verse or anecdote that ties everything together. I don’t really want to give a broad analysis on my feelings though, because I’m still trying to figure out what those feelings are.
I am trying to prepare myself for more tests, whilst juggling a soap business, and trying to find semi-cute clothes that will hide my soon to be very present sweat stains. I never saw myself doing any of this a year ago…and I have no idea where I will be a year from now (hopefully wearing those semi-cute clothes making soap…or eating phad thai). Over this past year God has taught me a lot…mostly about identity, and trust. And how sometimes I am like an Israelite, and he has to shake me back to reality. I used to think the Israelites were so dense…well I still do, until I realized I am like them
sometimes a lot of the time… doubting God even though he has continually provided.
I’ve learned that is okay to not know everything, and that life does not have to be planned to a tee. I have no idea how long I’ll be in Cambodia, when or if I’ll go to law school, or what the future holds. I have learned that God makes much better plans than our own, and if we open our heart to his leading, beautiful things can arise. I have also learned that worrying is simply a waste of imagination, because God truly has everything in his hands, and he simply requires patience and faithfulness… which isn’t so simple after all. I also picked up on the fact that free will does exist, and I simply could have said no to God, which I have done plenty of times before. Look how beautiful it is when we say yes though! Uncomfortable and challenging, but so rewarding! I now try to do everything to glorify God, and I fail miserably most of the time. But my heart is in it for the long run. My heart is ready for sweat, for serving, for new relationships filled with loving others, and the spirit of God. My taste buds are ready for crickets, and noodles, and bad Cambodian made Mexican food. With that said, I should probably work on my reflexes a little more… there are some feisty monkeys* at Angkor Wat that like to steal food. Those Monkeys will learn…You don’t ever take food from Chyanne. Or as the Khmer people call me: China, Chanan, and OG (original goat…long story).
So God, I’m ready. And I’m not sure why you chose me, because I have a pretty dumb sense of humor, and my heart can be fickle, but I know that when your love shines through me cool stuff will happen. And God, I’m still kind of scared to graduate, and be exposed to the big world. I’m scared to not know anything in Cambodia. I’m scared of inadequacy, and maneuvering a said moto. But God, knowing what you have in store, how you have provided and led me, and knowing that as my friend Sophie says “God is already in Cambodia waiting for us…we are just catching up” I AM SO EXCITIED. So excited to serve you, and others. So stoked to tell people about Jesus, and be his handsies and feetsies. I am so excited to tell people in Cambodia about Frodo Baggins, and Lord of the Rings, and show them my crazy dance moves, and eat at the DQ lounge (Dairy Queen folks… and yes there is one in Cambo).
I should probably return to my homework, but I’ll leave you with this: whatever you do, and wherever you go know that your identity is firm in Christ, and know that God is good, and is so much bigger than any circumstance. Also know he has some cool things in store for you.
Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Oh the places you will go when you listen to God! Because even after we graduate…we never stop learning.
*See below for said stealth monkey: