That right there is a picture of change. Starting a new journal is always bittersweet. I’m probably crazy. All you journalers out there should understand the emotional connection that is established throughout the lifespan of a journal. It is with a journal that you entrust your heart. Finishing a journal is like saying goodbye to a trusted friend.

Summer often escorts the winds of change. At least it does for most humans still in school. It’s a time of freedom, adventure, love, transition. I spent this summer in China. I met some incredible people. I tasted some incredible food. I saw some incredible sights. I walked an incredible distance. A person can’t go through all that and come back unchanged in the least. I learned a lot and I loved it. But I don’t know if I’ll go back. To be honest, I think God used my summer in China to shave off another vaguely possible pathway of life. At least for now, my life is in the States. Happily.

If I had to put everything I learned into one sentence, I would say this: God took a lot of churchy things in my life and unchurched them. Prayer, studying the Word, evangelism, the works. You know the difference between religion and relationship? It’s the difference between being a slave and a son. Religion will reduce a person to simply perform tasks out of obligation. It is dead. It does not transform hearts. It does not offer life.

Jesus is the fountain of Living Waters. He is the SOURCE of life. HE is the Source of life. Following his rules won’t do anything for you. In fact, working your ass off to get your life straight will choke any sense of life from you. Sitting with him and sharing the depths of your heart with him and listening to him speak his heart? Learning to live under grace in the truth that He did EVERYTHING and so I’m completely free? And I don’t owe him anything because He paid it all? Yeah, THAT changes a person.

That’s what I learned this summer. In a nutshell.