Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Adulting - The Best Is Yet to Come

It was only a month ago I was back at home in PA vacationing. So much has happened since then...


My Birthday,
My sweet housemate, Maggie surprised me with a balloon and some decorations!


an awesome Ballet Magnificat reunion, 



Rehearsals for our new Christmas ballet have begun (already!)
A video posted by Lillian Ortiz (@oqpiedoptimist) on



...and now that the workshop bible study materials have been passed out, all the lesson planning for our summer workshop is underway. 

I've been meaning to write this post sooner, but upon my return to Jackson MS, we've hit the ground running and I have been quite busy. Even though some time has pasted, I'd still like to tell you about some of the things that the Lord had begun teaching me during my vacation in PA.

I never really realize how much growing-up happens in me until I step back into my old environment; my old hometown and into my parents house, which is where I stayed for my 2 week vacation. It was no problem. I love my parents, and despite physical distance, we are really close in relationship. I always look forward to spending time with them. Sadly the world does not stop for me when I return to PA. I had the house to myself fifty percent of the time, isolated, as my parents would leave for work during the day and leave behind no vehicle for my use. I was home bound. I tried to be diligent with my time. I formulated a plan as to how I was going to responsibly spend all of the time I had to myself in hopes of not sleeping it all away. I can sleep in until 2:00pm if I let myself! ^_^ Most of my local friends worked during the day too, so little ole' me had lots of time to be all alone and introverted which I honestly always enjoy anyway, so it was no problem!

I would spend the first bit of my day reading my bible and spending time with the Lord. I also did have tons of time for leisure reading as well and began plowing through my summer reading list. I was faithful in doing my daily body workouts, but don't worry! I didn't work to hard. I made sure I had some moments for some R&R too! 

During my two weeks of vacation, I had lots of time to spend focusing on improving my blog and writing new blog entries. Blogging has become such an endearing hobby for me. Thanks to all of you that read my blog entries and support me in it. Aside from the fact that I find writing to be therapeutic, I also enjoy it because I find it so thrilling to watch the charts about how many views my blog gets, rise and fall! I love receiving comments and gaining new followers, but the Lord had a lesson to teach me this past month concerning all of that. Just as I was getting all wrapped up in my blog stats, the Lord was reminding me to be careful not to base self-worth on the success of blog stats, the frequency of comments, or on any  of the accolades received while blogging, being on any other social media or in life in general! Truth: Our self-worth is based on what God says of us; we're  precious, invaluable, and incomprehensibly loved. I began acting as if 'What the world thinks of me' was more important to me than 'of what the God of the entire flipping Universe, thinks of me!' Honestly evaluating myself, I'd say that for me, it is a challenge to not allow the earthly things that I love consume me! My prayer is that nothing would be more all consuming to me than the love I have for Christ Jesus. I am easily destracted...with myself. I struggle with being vain, selfish, and boastful when I find success in the things that I love. I easily become puffed up with pride, and go as far as even exibiting false humility at times. It reminds me a lot of some of the antagonist characters I am reading about in 'Pilgrims Progress' right now. The bible calls us to deny our self which is a hard thing for Christians to do in this world that teaches you the opposite. The Lord gently exhorted me and helped me to correctly reset my priorities, reigning my enthusiastic self-pride back in. Not that it is wrong for me to be proud of my accomplishments, only that it creates problems if my accomplishments begin consuming me and become what I live for.

In the evenings I had occasional outings with some of my good childhood friends. I also had the great opportunity to have some good bonding time with my grandparents who live in town too! It is cool that in the recent years they have been opening up more to me in conversation. Perhaps it is because I am at that age where we can level more with one another. Regardless of the reason, I really cherished the moments we had together and hope that there are much more moments like that with my grandparents to be had! I learned so much talking to them about life, God, and my family. Some of our conversations were very enlightening and gave me more understanding as to the reasons why my family is the way they are in some respects. I encourage you to talk with your Grandparents more, if you don't already! They will love it, and you will find out that you will too! If they are anything like my amazing grandparents, they will have a lot of good things to say in which you can glean from!

While in PA, I got the chance to reunite with several old acquaintances I hadn't seen in years. After catching up, sharing about our lives, our jobs, and exchanging stories about our accomplishments, I found myself falling into the trap of comparison. When I looked at the lives of these people who were earning "good" money, owning houses, having families; the enemy used it to discourage me and sow discontentment in my heart for where I'm at, and for the ministry that the Lord has called me to do with my life. The enemy introduced to me (unnecessary) stress, worry, and doubt concerning the direction of my life and my financial status.

The topic of finances and security began weighing heavy on my mind since then, and also for many other reasons. Running in the Alumni of the Year Campaign which has me striving to raise $1500 for the CPYB scholarship fund, has been a contributing factor to focusing my mind on money. I don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing. It has been interesting to see how my supporters choose to spend their money, and has also challenged me in how I do so. This month I will be dropped from my parents health insurance plan as I've just turned 26, and now am forced to enroll in a health insurance plan for my very own. Man do I ever feel like an adult now! Some good news is that this month my car loan has been finally paid off and finished! Wahoo!

It is easy to get all worked up about having security in this world, concerning future and finances, especially when playing the "comparing game". Though the life of being in ministry and being an artist for that matter, are meager, I am confident that this is what the Lord has called me to for this season in my life, and I can not allow the enemy to steal my peace, joy or my desire to be obedient to the Lord's will for me and my life. It is easy to want to get attached to the things this world has to offer, but I remind myself that eternal matters are far more important than the temporal ones. Christians are called to live counter-cultural (Romans 12:2). It is not that everything in this world bad (John 17:15), it is just that we mustn't allow ourselves to start living for them, worshiping them, or holding on to them to tightly. As believers in Jesus, we know that their are far better things coming, far better things to look forward to for us!

  • Ephesians 4:1 "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. "

  • 1Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain." *excellent chapter in the bible to read concerning money
  • Matthew 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

  • John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."



Now after having returned back to Jackson MS, I find myself processing these things. I am asking God to give me an increased faith and trust in who he says He is as my merciful loving father and provider, and that I'd have a more undivided, whole hearted devotion to Him as I recognize that I have been "straddling the creek". Having one foot in the world, and one foot in the kingdom as I have been doing, cannot be so. With each passing year, the longer I live in this world, and with all the responsibilities and stress that comes with becoming more 'adult', I realize it is all the MORE necessary to press into the Lord and seek him as the source for strength, wholeness, peace and fulfillment. He has faithfully sustained me thus far.  
So far in my growing-up God has blessed me with:
  1. Great mentors, parents, and role models to look up to, in getting the hang of this "growing up" thing.

  2. A wonderful job that gives me the opportunity of doing what I love.

  3. Wonderful friends and housemates to journey along side with.

  4. The opportunity to travel the world at such a young age.

  5. A paid off car.

  6. The gift of the knowledge and truth of his Word.

  7. Freedom of speech, life, and faith here in America.

I know there are still more things coming my way in the near future; things that require the attention of all young people our age. I will have to rely on the Lord for guidance and help to accomplish those things such as:
  1. Getting health insurance! Honestly, at first I had know idea what I was doing, but after research and seeking counsel from people with more adulting experience than myself, I've gained better understanding. I have found a good alternative to Obamacare that I am looking into, called Christian Medishare.

  2. Retirement planning. I feel like know one talks about it. I don't know much about it; what to do or how to start but I do know that it is wise to start preparing early while we are still young. I am saving money, I just don't know exactly for what.

  3. Pursuing higher education. I never went to collage after high school because I knew I didn't necessarily need to in order to pursue a career in dance. I figured that school would always be there for me, but that my body would only be able to handle dancing while I am young, and only for so long. I jumped right into the dance world and figured I would worry about furthering my academic education later, but more and more lately I have been thinking about what I want to do after dancing and whether or not a degree would be necessary for whatever that may be. I love learning but collage seems so daunting, I have been unschooled for so long now, it seems so unaffordable, and many people I've talked to have said that they don't even use their degree. I am all over the place when it comes to what degree I would even want to pursue... ministry, business, hospitality, arts, language... I guess I'll have to figure that out first.

  4. I think it would be cool to get a Pilates teaching certification in the future someday!

  5. Having traveled with the ballet company all over the country and world, I have made a number of friends scattered all about. I would love to save up enough money to visit them again someday!

  6. I've never dated before, but more and more I am desiring to find a significant other. Relationship building and investing in people other than my fellow dance company members, can be a challenge due to the life of touring, and always moving around. Lord knows I will need his help and guidance in accomplishing this one. (and if that wasn't me being transparent enough, I don't know what else is!)

  7. My dream is to own a pet pig and name it Jehoshaphat, but because I am currently always touring, and because micro pigs are a pretty penny, I deduct that it will probably be quite a while until this one happens. ^_^

At times, growing up and spreading your wings can be fun, and at other times it can present it's challenges. 'Adulting' is not to be underwent without a bit of growing pain, but we can do it! The Lord is on our side!




What kind of tasks would you like to accomplish in your adulthood?
Thanks for reading!
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