150 Flavors

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” -T. Pratchett

So far during my time in Spain, this whole experience has felt like a vacation. Flying through foreign air, eating some Swiss chocolate, tapa hopping by the moonlight in Madrid….all of those are #tourist experiences.

La Puerta del Sol, Madrid at night

La Puerta del Sol, Madrid at night

But now, after four nights of sleeping in an apartment, hearing my host mom tell me all of the things I should watch out for, how to lock the door without waking up the neighbors, which bus to take and where to buy the the cheapest shampoo…those things are real life oh-shoot-I-feel-like-a-grown-up things.

I mean, back at home, I live and go to school on the corner of rural and quaint- which I LOVE and am realizing how much I take that lifestyle for granted. Back home, Wal-Mart is an 18 minute drive away, but hey, who doesn’t love rolling the windows down, blasting some Mandisa and realizing that it’s a good morning (pun intended) to be going to the shopping center and grabbing a $5 DVD and some pretzel M&M’s. But instead, I chose to come here- to explore, to fall in love with a city, to learn more about myself and the world…

I mean, everyday, we have choices. As the old metaphor goes, (AKA someone told me this and I’m agreeing) sometimes, we have so many choices that we are constantly unsatisfied with the one that we ultimately choose.

Kind of like a kid in a massive ice cream shop that has flavor after flavor of ice cream..150 flavors, to be exact. No matter what flavor this kid chooses, whether it be pistachio or double chocolate twist or vanilla bean extreme, he is always going to be wondering what it would have been like to try the other 149 flavors there.

Look at all these flavors, how could I have possibly chosen the right one when they were all so delicious?!

Look at all these flavors, how could I have possibly chosen the right one when they were all so delicious?!

When choosing a study abroad program, I felt like that kid in a ice cream shop, blessed with so many enticing options. There are so many variables and so many “what if’s”.

Today, I was wondering why in the world I was led to choose to go to Sevilla, Spain of all places. At this time, with this study abroad company, with the people I am interacting with everyday. I might be over-analyzing, but I really want my time here to be meaningful and for it to have impact. I want to do things with purpose, and not just for the thrill of the moment and for the thrill of simply exploring.

But I have to believe that God is not limited by my choice to be here right now, and that He can use me if I am willing to serve. Whether that be stand up for what I believe in a spiritually barren country (where it is absolutely unheard of that someone my age would voluntarily spend time at church), choose not to do certain things, choose NOT to do certain things, be humble enough to admit that I mess up every day…the list goes on. He will use me where I am at.

But thankfully, God is not constrained by the walls of our fluctuating emotions.

We all need to walk by faith, and see others and our circumstances through eyes of hope, wonder, and compassion.

Emotions lie, but His grace does not.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  –Hebrews 4:16



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