Today, I feel the effects of being cooped up, preparing for my nursing licensure exam. Like diarrhea, the adverse side effect so common in medications I’ve been studying (such as corticosteroids) — I’m ready to explode because all this concentration and worry is filling me, til I can feel it in every fiber, just waiting for the freedom of release. Maybe this entry can help alleviate some of my mentally bloated suffering.

Maybe I should appreciate this time of refinement, because it’s making me realize I could never be a hermit. It’s actually quite freeing and wonderful to understand that a core part of yourself needs other people to be around and commune with, converse with. I was so starved for conversation one day, that I broke my NCLEX-bloodstudy-oath to have an 8pm-2am exchange of words about things from guys/boys, Christianity, God’s justice, diamond bathroom faucets, and passions in life. I felt such a sense of clarity, that study became so much more efficient after that.

Some active brain thought in the frontal lobe that has been preoccupying my mind for the majority of my conscious state is my wonder at what the heck I’m going to do with my life. It tells me, my brain that is, that I need to study for the NCLEX and get some nursing experience under my belt so that I can make money, make my parents happy, and not have wasted the past 5 years of my college education. But the limbic system, oh ho ho, the limbic system of my brain which controls the emotional aspects of my personality, rebels so strongly as to be deemed incorrigible. At most times it concedes with the nice, rational side, but this whole month has been a fight for control over the decisions of my future. Maybe it has been asleep in the past. Maybe I’ve induced it asleep for so long that now it has woken up and is grumpy and raging like a fox demon (for those who have watched Naruto).

But isn’t that always the case? I think everyone has come to a point in time where important decisions haveto be made, a juncture.

This would be quite a nice segue way into a song I’ve written most recently:

Make a
Make a stand
Build your home on
Solid rock
And defend
What you love
Don’t be afraid of
The squall

This is the juncture
Of your definition
O pledge
Your loyalties

You’ve been so scared
All these years
Now brace yourself
For the greatest

You may burn out
You could snuff out
This is what you are living for

You may burn out
You could very well snuff out
This is what you are dying for

Everyone must walk through one chosen door, gambling as to the road it will lead. The seemingly innocent glance backwards may induce a person to live a half-hearted, regretful life with the choices made. Women in history did not have choices– marriage and child-bearing were the only things available. But now there’s such a thing as a career, and it’s almost as inescapable as being a wife and mother once was.

But what about the dreamers? Those who dream an alternative to those choices (or maybe non-choices), those who want to change the world, who want to make a specific impact to impart some goodness unto people? I don’t know of any manual on changing the world. All I know is that people who have historically done so did what they loved unabashedly, thought not of themselves but others, and retained a keen sense of integrity throughout the whole process. Their motivation was like their purity, untainted by outside forces.

More and more I’m finding that only Jesus makes me pure. Only Jesus makes me good. He keeps me from freaking out on the hourly basis I normally do and helps me to dream more than anybody I’ve ever known. Dream about the potential for this world, about the potential for people around me. The answer, as I am typing, comes clearly to me now that I need Jesus. In whatever I do. And I also realize that if Jesus is the one keeping me breathing second after second, I need to trust that He’s in control of all aspects of my life and journey and world around me. I really, desperately need Jesus.

My wonderful pastor friend, Brian, enlightened me one day with something he learned in seminary: before meeting Christ, man’s greatest need is the gospel. After meeting Christ, man’s greatest need is the gospel.

The older I get, the more I worry and the more I feel like control is slipping from my grasp. Jesus changes my puny human mind with my puny human needs to see that when it comes down to it, I need love, particularly His. And I can feel this inexplicable sigh escape from somewhere deep inside me, and I can finally sleep at night.

So now, I think a step-by-step problem-solving tactic is in order. Joanne, pass this NCLEX exam. Next, record some music and share the art and have fun and get people who listen to it to think and enjoy. Then, learn the ropes at work and please, please don’t kill anyone. Help your church by praying for them and being vulnerable and present. Care for your friends by having many good and deep and silly conversations. Love fully and well everything you do, especially what you do for Christ.

I am happy to announce that the mental distention has improved.