Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Alchemist

Coach Sarah read an excerpt from The Alchemist this past spring. Since then, I have seen it everywhere, and finally, I finished it about a week ago. I rarely finish books. I always start one, then find a new interesting one and pick it up instead of finishing the other. But, I finished this one. I really liked it. Especially this particular dialogue. 

- The Alchemist: People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren't, or of treasures that might have been found, but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.
Santiago: My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.
- The Alchemist: Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
- Santiago: When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.

I was talking recently with Erin Cvengros about being brave. What are we scared of? Opening ourselves up to failure, maybe. I am. I compensate by trying to control situations, by planning them out step by step. But, this book reminded me that if you never try, never push past the breaking point, you'll never get anywhere truly worthwhile. I believe God calls us to get uncomfortable, vulnerable, in order to rely completely on Him.

 I've been told I'm still "so young," but, I still feel old enough to look back and see how much I have learned about myself in the past 4 or 5 years. It's taught me about who I want to be, who God wants me to be. It has given me a certain confidence in life. One that allows me to make a fool of myself. One summer while working at Somerset, I remember Jerry Jacoby mentioning that it's this "confidence in Christ" that allows you to dance without restrain. I've also started reading Captivating. It talks a lot about who God created us to be, how He has incorporated part of His essence into us. Into me. That truth makes it easier to see Him living in me. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:27) Captivating continues this thought. "God wanted to reveal something about Himself, so he gave us Eve." Just the realization that God wants me, that he created me, to be something more than the image I have of myself feels like an accomplishment. That's why I'm so excited for my faith to continue growing. What does God still want to show me? Where is he going to lead me to reveal more of Himself to me? I love thinking about that. It's scary. It's hard to dive head first into something I can't explain or understand. Thank God for a peace that surpasses all understanding.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7) 

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