Coffee Shop Thoughts from Paris


I’m back, ladies and gents!

This post is a little different than most others I’ve published.

While there’s been a lot that has gone on here in Paris that I hope I’ll get around to sharing eventually, there is a more pressing issue on my heart right now.

Here’s the deal: since I’ve gotten to Paris, I’ve been on this crazy journey of learning, experiencing, traveling — all the fun, exciting stuff. But somewhere along the way, I began feeling like I’d left Jesus behind. I have been trying to do all these things — cultivate positive relationships with my roommates and new friends, manage my own finances in an expensive country, plan weekend trips to other countries, stay in contact with my friends and family back home, keep up with my coursework while still doing fun things outside of class, take care of my health, find time to grocery shop and cook for myself — all in my own strength. I’ve barely been reading the Bible even once a week, and I’ve been acting like someone who doesn’t know Jesus at all, getting wrapped up in gossip with the people around me and contributing to hurt feelings within the group as a result. Not to mention that I’ve had to completely re-evaluate my attitude towards alcohol now that I’m living in a country where drinking at 19 is both legal and a cultural norm. (The hardest part here is that my friends are a little too quick to go too far with the drinking, leaving me to either be a stick in the mud or feel really uncomfortable.)

To make matters more complicated, I’m having sort of a crisis in my life-planning here. You see, I’ve waited my whole life to travel and see the world, and I’ve planned on having a lifestyle where doing so is practically my full-time job. In fact, one of my pipe-dream careers is being a travel journalist. But once I got here, I realized for the first time not only how difficult it is, but how lonely it is. I really miss everyone from back home, and I was absent for an incredibly important day in my sisters’ lives because I’m on another continent. The thought that having the career & lifestyle I’ve always wanted could be a really sad, lonely life is devastating. It feels like I can either have love in my life or follow my dream. How am I supposed to choose?

So all of this has really been piling up without my even realizing.

And then today, after class, I went to a café down the street by myself to get a cup of coffee. This is one of the only times I’ve been alone this entire trip just because my roommate and I have the same classes and we’ve just gotten into a routine of going basically everywhere together. But today, I didn’t want to go to the museum she and another friend were going to visit, so I peeled off and ended up at said café. I was planning on getting my French homework done while I was there, but it turned out I didn’t have any. I didn’t have a book to read, I’d already scrolled through Instagram, I had no one to talk to. So, out of boredom, I checked my “daily verse” from my Bible app on my phone. It was one I knew (Matthew 6:34) so I clicked on it and decided to just read the whole chapter. Next thing I knew, I’d read all of Matthew 5 and 6 and had written 4 pages of notes and thoughts in the back of my homework notebook.

As soon as I was back in the presence of Jesus, I crumbled. It took all I had in me to not burst into tears in the café. I realized that I had been longing for God for weeks now but I’d just kept pushing on without Him. I felt so at peace, so centered, so much more like my old self again. I realized that I’d missed her, and that I’d missed doing life with Jesus.

It was like my soul had been homesick.

Going back to my roots reminded me of who God is and who He’s called me to be and why I loved Jesus so much in the first place.

So the moral of this whole post is this:

God blessed me with an opportunity to live out a lifelong dream in this incredible city. But, I certainly did not get here on my own, and I can’t keep going on my own. I’ve been designed to do all things with my Father in Heaven, and I long to just surrender everything to Him once again.

So here’s to using this season to grow with Him and to discover more of His purpose for me, because even one moment with Him is so much sweeter than any life I could create on my own.

That’s all for now,

Sincerely, B

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