The past few months I have never felt more alive. Alive in a sense of present and aware. Alive in a sense of falling in love with all the big and little moments. Alive in a sense of feeling deep sorrow but also profound joy. Alive in a sense of recognizing that this life is to be celebrated and then trying to celebrate. And alive in a sense to see that I need to have more of a posture of thankfulness in my life over anything.
When I came to college, everyone told me that second semester would look, feel, and be very different than first. I heard those words but didn’t necessarily believe them. I walked back into Athens after winter break having a harder time moving back than the first time I moved in. I was back in a transition phase but this time torn between two places I call home. January was a month of a lot of wrestling with the Lord and a lot of taking time to process transition. February was full and flooded with things to do, people to see, and adventures to be done. March isn’t over but has been every bit restful to every bit exhausting. There is a reason I haven’t been writing a lot and it isn’t because I don’t have words to say, in fact it’s the opposite, I have too many words to put down. I can’t really summarize or explain the last few months— thinking about that overwhelms me because I don’t have enough time in the day to do so. But, 96 pictures summarize it all for me. For 40 days between February and March I did a little 40 Days project of taking pictures of moments that I felt alive in and felt thankful for. I am sitting in my favorite Starbucks back home right now looking through these pictures with the biggest smile on my face because His name and His goodness is written all over every picture.
For a while I have been wanting to write and just pour out my heart about the hard places. Now I have definitely done that in my journal or in conversation with friends, but today, I want to write about the shear goodness that is woven into all the big and small moments of our days. These 96 pictures to some people might seem pretty random and pretty normal, but to me, I see 96 pictures as being 1 picture of His Creation. I see faces radiating joy, excitement, and overflowing with life— these faces, these people are His most treasured and beautiful Creation.
These pictures have captured and summarized just a small bit of the goodness He brought my in just 40 days. And no, there are no pictures for the moments I was sick, or the moments I was sobbing uncontrollably, or the moments I was stressed and overwhelmed— but what I found was that those moments at the end of the day were always triumphed by thankfulness when I sat at the end of the day to see where I saw His hand on the day. In the midst of the chaos, the busyness, and the sadness in our days He is showering us with goodness and showing up in so many small ways— and if we can see life like that, we can begin to live more rather than complain more.
I want to encourage you and myself to seek after Him in all the big and small moments. I want to push you and myself to simply live more alive. And with that, I want to ask you the question, what makes you feel most alive? Share your words because your words are important and have so much value. lets make a collection of ways people feel most alive.
people who give me a glimpse of God. whether it’s sharing a cup of coffee or an entire afternoon with someone, there’s nothing like spending time with people who make me feel His presence. it makes me want to be more like Him, spend more time with Him, and live in Him. these people brighten my worst days and make life much more enjoyable and exciting; they are full of joy, love, compassion, excitement, and mercy. Jesus-loving people are what make me feel alive.
“What makes you feel most alive?” The first time I ever heard this question was during Plunge two summers ago, and it became Sally’s trademark question after each life story. And it quickly became my favorite question to ask and hear answered. I remember my answer pretty distinctly, too- despite knowing that question was going to be asked and had almost all week to come up with a response, I still had no clue what to say when the moment actually came. So, my answer was “uhh probably driving.” It’s important to note that I had probably been a licensed driver for three weeks, at most, at this point in my life.
The thing that makes me laugh about this though, is that when I hear this question even now, that response is still one of the ones I would give. I realize this might confuse some people so let me paint you a picture- I was driving home after serving on work crew for my churches middle school winter weekend. It was around 5:30 on a Sunday, the sun was setting, 400 was pretty empty and I was flying down it. Judah and the Lions new song “Insane” was blasting through my speakers, the weather was nice, my windows were down, one hand was out the window and going against the wind, and at the top of my lungs I was singing “TO HELLLLL WITH THE DEVIL, TO HELLLLLL WITH FAKE.” And for some reason, in that moment I was feeling more alive than ever.
Certainly not every time I go and drive I feel like this though. So I got to thinking, “well okay whats one thing that each time I do it, I feel alive?” But instead of picturing one recurring thing tons of moments of just being so fully alive started going through my head- during an impromptu dance party on the top of a parking deck while waiting on stand-still traffic with everyone who was up there, while im singing my heart out with my friends at a concert, sitting in the Ingles parking lot watching the sunset with some of favorite people, sitting around a fire underneath the Colorado stars and eating s’mores with all of work crew, being surrounded by the mountains, singing and dancing with my Wyldlife kids during club at Windy Gap, to name a few. I look at all these moments where I was thinking either in the moment or right after, ‘man, I feel alive,’ and try to find the common denominator between them.
I’ve come to realize that there’s a two reasons on why all these things all have the ability to make me feel alive. First, I love that with almost everything listed, there is some sort of community involved. The way He is able to bring people together so well amazes me and always leaves me in awe. And if you know anything about me, you would know that at the top of the list of things that make me happy is great community.The most important thing that connects all these seemingly unrelated moments though is that whether I was consciously thinking it or not, I could simply just feel God’s presence. Where His hands were so clearly there. God is in every moment, every event, but there is just something so different about those times where you are so acutely aware of the fact that He is there. Being able to really feel Him brings a joy so unexplainable within me that even the most ordinary days are turned into the ones I remember the most and the moments I went into assuming were going to be nothing special become some of my favorite.
Of course all of this may make you think, “Ok, this girl is crazy if she thinks she can feel God’s presence while jumping around a twenty one pilots concert or while driving down the highway.” Alright, yes I do admit that maybe I didn’t feel Him specifically in those moments while they were happening, or even after. But, I still stick with my answer because in those instants, He set an undeniable and overwhelming joy within me, a joy that could only be orchestrated by Him.
So between all those moments and the many others that also get me feeling that way, I just think that feeling most alive is too diverse to pick one thing, but rather anything that features true joy + His presence.
“Because of You it’s never the same / Because of You the darkness fades / I feel alive again”