Sunday, August 20, 2017

BSSDay

Written 4.17.17 (In the last month of BSSD first year)


Today was beautiful. A great example of a typical, wonderful school day. Here is the run down.

1. Worship

During morning worship I sat with my chin on the stage like a child at the Father's feet. I thought about how, in Japan, I spent two months trying to follow God - despite fear and pain - and the results in my life were good. I thought about how, in contrast, I also spent two months ignoring God and indulging myself; the results were resoundingly negative. I ruminated on the unintuitive message of those four months – God leads me into and through pain, but the fruit is good. As I remembered those days I thought, “I wish I could go back to then...” Then I realized, I don't have to. I can apply the same lesson now.

2. Sam Huddleston

Today our first class was replaced with a guest speaker, Dr. Sam Huddleston.


When Sam was 10 years old, he said to God, “If ever I can get blacks and whites to work together on something, I'm going to do it.” He promptly forgot all about that resolution till, 20 years later, God called him out of his black church to work with an all white church (the last thing he wanted to do.) God reminded him that this was a fulfillment his childhood calling, (even though now as an adult he'd rather not.) The process was painful! But God was equipping and qualifying him to fulfill his destiny. This made me wonder, what are the calls on my life that God is so faithfully requiring me to prepare for? 

Sam taught a message I don't often hear at Bethel. He said, “If you agree to follow God, He is going to take you places you don't want to go and you are not going to like it.” The way God works is He breaks you. He breaks you and He breaks you and He breaks you. But He breaks you in order to break OFF of you the baggage you didn't even know you were carrying. If you aren't willing to follow, you wont change. And if you wont change, you can't go forward in your destiny.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought of my past two years of wishy-washy commitment – my suspicion and resistance and mistrust of a God who would allow me to suffer pain and loss and confusion and torment. And yet I heard Sam's testimony and saw the good fruit in his life. How humble and deep and loving and gentle he is (after being a violently angry man in the past.)

3. Linda Abercrombie 

After Sam, we had another guest speaker. Linda Abercrombie swerved as the senior pastor at Bethel Eureka for many years but had to step down due to severe illness which mimicked the symptoms of dementia. Praise God, she is making an amazing recovery and she was able to teach today for the first time in five years. 

Linda handed out little books of Biblical promises and guided us through using these Bible verses to discern the nature of God, and then apply those qualities as the model of our lives. I was particularly pleased because I've been wishing for just such a list of the promises of God. Score!

4. Ariella

In the break between speakers, my friend Ariella turned to me and gave me a long, tight hug. It was so long, in fact, that I tried to break away several times, but to no avail! Eventually I just surrendered to the hug and stayed there as long as she liked while Lucy hovered over us both, undoubtedly praying.

When we did eventually pull apart, Ariella had tears on her cheeks. She said that, as she was hugging me, she heard in her spirit that I am a good good friend of God's and she saw the image of Kintsugi, Japanese pottery which has been broken and restored using gold.
Looking at her beautiful, sweet face, her innocent eyes and ridiculously long, gold lashes, I was overwhelmed with an impression of how worthy she is of all the good things God lavishes on her – how fitting it is for her to receive all blessings. I told her so and she thanked me, saying she had been doubting it lately.
The beautiful Ariella

5. Marty Pronovost

Finally, Marty spoke. He hadn't known he was teaching today, so instead of making something up, he opened the floor for questions. I was able to ask three questions I'd written in my notes over the past few weeks.

               1. How do you “let God love you”?
               2. What changes when you go from “a professional sinner” to a new creation?
               3. How should I respond when I find alarmingly harsh-sounding passages in the Bible?

He responded:

1. Let go of your exception of what you want God to do for you to show you He loves you. Just let go. Then you will be at peace to accept what He DOES do.
2. He felt like a “professional sinner” when he operated under law not grace. Now that he has a concept of “the kingdom” as something you BECOME not something you DO its all different. Now that he knows that grace covers his sin AND empowers him to do better, its all different. Now that he realizes that God is someone he loves not someone he fears, it is all different. He never purposely hurts the God he loves, and sin hurts God.
3. He couldn't answer specifics without seeing the passage, but he said in general, if you keep in mind that old testament is under a "kinship covenant", whereas new testament is a "grant covenant", it will change the way you read things.

Personally, I add what another speaker told us, which is to never read the Bible without asking the Holy Spirit to guide and open our eyes to see the Truth.

And that was the end of the school day! Another wonderful day. Another wonderful day at BSSD.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Thoughts on Hosea

I already published this as a long post on Facebook but I'd like to share (and preserve) it here.

I just finished reading the entire book of Hosea in one sitting. Several things stood out to me.

1. There are some incredibly beautiful, poetic images.
"They sow the wind and reap a whirlwind" 8:7.
"They will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window." 13:3

2. I was surprised by how many famous, familiar verses I came across. ("For I desire mercy, not sacrifice..." 6:6, "I led them with cords of loving kindness..." 11:4 etc.) The context of these verses, however, is nothing like I usually imagine when I see them quoted on hallmark cards.

3. The context is so grim! There is a LOT of violence in this book that is hard for me to swallow. Half way through I actually messaged two pastors and asked them how I should interpret Hosea 6:1-3. "Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds..." As I said to them, if anyone other than God was behaving this way, it would be considered abusive!

4. This book is so emotionally intense. I'm not sure the best way to interpret this kind of scripture, but to an untrained eye, God is portrayed as a simultaneous blend of incredibly strong passions - righteous indignation, violent frustration, heartbroken anguish, unquenchable love, undying hope.

In short, God is driven into a frenzy of pain by Israel's careless idolatry. (Much like a husband might feel if his wife is carelessly indulging in lovers, ignoring him, and doesn't think he should mind.) Throughout the book God alternates between warnings of dire punishment (basically, treating Israel as His enemy rather than His people,) and begging them to return to Him in sincere love.

For me, the most poignant moment happens in Ch 11 when God is basically standing, poised to smite Israel, and (I paraphrase) more or less falls to His knees and can't do it.

"Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them."

Then in the very next verse,

"How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man - the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath." (Hosea 11:6-9)

And so it goes.

If we learn anything from Hosea it is this: No matter how pushed towards judgement, wrath, and grief, God's LOVE is continually and undyingly yearning to receive us with open arms if we will but return to him.

Flood 50 (Part 2)

Note: This post reveals a glimpse of the sensitive underbelly of my personal spiritual journey. I share them in order to encourage others who might identify. 

As lovely a platform for worship as Flood 50 is, what ultimately matters is what you do with it. (If you don't know what Flood 50 is, see the previous post.)

Personally, I enjoy Flood 50 a lot. I love art, music, dance, and people. I even enjoy the times I got to help lead worship. (This was my first time singing on the mic here at Lifehouse.) But the most meaningful moments of the weekend were not always the most "fun".

The truth is, I spent most of the my first Flood 50 (last October,) watching other people sing/shout/dance while I wrote in my journal about my doubts. This time around I also mostly watched, peacefully enjoying the sights and sounds.

Until...

As I was sitting in the intercessor chair, relaxed and happy, dangling my legs like a child, I thought upward in German, Was denkst du an? (What are You thinking about?) 

Something about the German language took me back to my college days, a time when my faith was very simple and very sincere. Bitte, was denkst du an? Ich hoere dir zu... (Please, I'm listening to You...) 

Over and over I asked the question upward. What are You thinking about? Sometimes I added, ...ima/immer. (Which are pronounced basically the same way and mean “now” in Japanese, and “forever/always” in German.) What are You thinking about now/always?

Asking and listening, listening and asking, I remembered how it once felt to yearn for God's voice - to yearn without hesitation, reservation, or fear. Tears welled up in my eyes as my heart slipped back in time and - from a former simplicity - reached out to God. It wasn't the most "fun", but it was real.

+++++++++++++

Another poignant moment happened late last night.

I wandered into the communion booth. A red cloth covers a table, forming an alter, complete with golden candle sticks and golden plates of sacrament. Communion has always been moving to me...

As Michael Card sings, “Come to the table, taste of the glory, he's dying tomorrow...” This is the last supper that Jesus eagerly desired to share with his friends. To be included is to be invited, to be invited is to be included. Every time I approach this table, I am invited again to reaffirm my discipleship.

+++++++++++++++

Just now, as I was tapping away on my computer, remembering these special Flood 50 moments, the current band started singing my favorite song, You Wont Relent. This song always sends shivers down my spine....

“I set you as a seal upon my heart, upon my arm.... Come be the fire inside of me until you and I are one.” 

Without thinking, I left my computer and strode straight to the center of the sanctuary, practically among the members of the band. I dropped to my knees and cried out at the top of my lungs... cried and cried and cried....

This song is my anthem, my hearts cry. “I don't want to talk about you like you're not in the room. I want to look right at you, sing right to you...”

As I sang, my words changed, “I don't want to talk about you IF you're not in the room....where are you?????????????????” I wiped handfuls of tears from my face and held them up to the Lord, my offering, my invitation.

This has been my experience intermittently this year. Occasionally, for a moment, I cry out (with literal tears) for God to remember me and rescue me from my own callousness and unbelief. And in those moments, sometimes I remember my classmate John's vision of God's violent passion for me, knocking me over with the force of His hug, trying so hard to reach me through my storm.

It would be so simple if I simply believed.

God is real
God is personal
God is good
God interacts
God cares
God is constant/consistent
And I trust Him
Unconditionally

There is endless evidence, in my life and in the world, of the above creed.

For examples, I enjoy an amazing amount of providence, grace, and favor. At times, I experience being moved by something beyond myself and I speak with power and confidence. People frequently approach me to say that God pointed me out to them and gave them such and such message for me. The uncanny and miraculous abound in my life. My own changes of heart, coming to love that which I formerly rejected speaks volumes. My very presence at BSSD, shows that I do believe, at least to a degree. Though confusion and contention buffet me, my choice has always been, again and again, to seek to find and yield to Him.

My prayer is always the same: God my God, no matter what happens, never give up on me. No matter what I say or do, bring your will to pass. Your will is my one great hope.
My visitors for the weekend - Kerrie from Redding and Mane from New York/Armenia

Friday, August 18, 2017

Flood 50 (Part 1)

8:30am Sunday 4.9.17. Palm Sunday. One moth left of BSSD. One week left to file my taxes....

I'm currently sitting in a cozy corner of the Lifehouse sanctuary, enjoying a quiet, morning set on the last day of Flood 50.

Festivals are as old as time. Flood 50 is Lifehouse Church's biannual festival of thanksgiving inspired by the Jewish festival of Booths - the brainchild of Steve Clark, senior worship pastor. 
 
Flood 50 centers around worship as the primary expression of celebration and thanksgiving. Over the course of a weekend, for 50 straight hours, day and night, live worship bands offer a continuous “Sacrifice of praise.” (And at 3am, it is a true sacrifice.)
While bands play music, the rest of the sanctuary is decked out to facilitate other forms of creative, personal thanksgiving and worship.

For example, open spaces stocked with flags and fabrics for dancers. Three art stations complete with easels, canvases, paints, and other art supplies. And four literal “booths” (tents), wherein worshipers can engage in taking communion, requesting healing prayer, receiving prophetic encouragement, and contributing to a mural of thanksgiving.
 

Throughout the church building, day or night, you can find interesting people hanging around. The church even opened up their gymnasium so we have a place to take showers and lay out sleeping bags.

A word of warning – if you ever find yourself sleeping in the LifeHouse gym, it is cold!!! Plan to wear many layers and remember the advice of Ecclesiastes 4:11. ;) I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to share an air mattress with my dear friend Lucy. 

On a whole, Flood 50 reminds me a little bit of the annual "Hallelujah Party" hosted by my home church throughout my childhood. An extravaganza of creativity, lights, color, music, dance, face paint, flags, and giddily joyful people. Tons of fun!
As remarkable as this event is, I'm finding it surprisingly easy for me to take it for granted. That would be such a waste! Flood 50 offers something rare, and sweet - a extended opportunity to passionately, freely, express worship however the Spirit moves.
 
What a special and truly unusual opportunity. 

I can see why it is rare. SO MUCH WORK goes into making Flood 50 happen – so many people come together to set up, facilitate, maintain, sustain, everything involved. Maintain live streaming cameras. Clean restrooms. Continually change arrangements of instruments and musicians. Endless refreshments. 

And then, lets not forget the leadership of Lifehouse Church, who are releasing direct control of their facilities in order to allow this creative chaos to monopolize the building all weekend. Much grace, trust, favor, and many many man hours go into the making of this alter, upon which we are all invited to make our personal sacrifice of praise.

So perhaps here more than ever it is appropriate to say thank you. (It is a Thanksgiving Festival, after all.) Thank you Lifehouse. Thank you Steve Clark. Thank you Worship department. Thank you Rebecca Black (who organized and facilitated the booths.) Thank you painters, dancers, and intercessors. Thank you tech, sound, and media volunteers. Thank you musicians and worshipers. 

And most of all, thank you God. Thank you for your grace and favor on this house. Thank you for your grace and favor on me, all the days of my life. As I have said before and will say again, if I were to die today, I would have nothing to complain of, for I have been abundantly blessed. 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Jesse

Written April 2017

Right now, BSSD is hosting a team of BSSM students who are doing their Spring Mission Trip in Eureka. After church this Sunday we had a BBQ together. I moved from table to table meeting and greeting our guests. At the last table I met Jesse, the Revival Group Pastor from Redding who is leading the trip.

He is striking in appearance. Tall and full figured, a rugged, youthful face, which seems in contrast with salt and pepper hair. Most arresting are his eyes - clear and piercing under dark eyebrows. His voice is deep and reminds me very much of Pastor Steve Blayer, one of my spiritual fathers from Pennsylvania.
As we talked I realized with a shiver that this is none other than the pastor who conducted my BSSM entrance interview a year ago!!!! He knows the intimate details of my life.... and it was on his recommendation that I came to BSSD!!!! But maybe he doesn't remember me. He must have conducted tons of interviews.

"Do you conduct entrance interviews?" I asked timidly.
"I do," he answered carelessly. Then he fixed his eyes on me again. "Wait... did I do your interview?" As recognition clicked into place, his face lit up. With almost boyish happiness he exclaimed, "I remember you!" All smiles, he immediately asked me the big question:

“Are you glad you came?”

I froze.

I have struggled a lot over the course of the year and often wondered if I had made the right choice. As of that very weekend, however, I had come to appreciate BSSD and Eureka on a new level. With the question hanging in the air, I felt I was at a crossroad. I had to make a choice.

I picked my words carefully. "I am confident that God is moving me forward in His good will, even if I don't always like it." I added eagerly, "This place is a rare and precious opportunity. I have applied to second year and probably will also apply to BSSM first year. We will see what the interviewing pastor has to say this time around!"

He smiled and said he is proud of me. He really reminds me so much of Steve Blayer.

I feel like I have a heart-level connection to Pastor Jesse. He was my first introduction to Bethel pastoral leadership. He conducted my BSSM interview and gave me a significant amount of pastoral care right then and there. And he was the representative of Bethel to whom I submitted in trust when I agreed to come to BSSD.

That night I attended Sunday evening service for what felt like the first time. I sat in the front row next to Marty (one of the senior pastors) and he made little quippy comments to me throughout the service. Sitting next to Marty, listening to Pastor Jesse teach, I had the rather eerie impression that I was sitting with my adoptive father (who raised me) meeting my birth father for the first time. So cool...
This is a kairos moment.

Out of all the (literal) thousands of people involved in Bethel Redding, God brought the man who conducted my entrance interview to Eureka via the Humboldt mission trip. Among all the people on the mission trip, I happened to interact with him (not knowing he was the team leader.) And during the course of a 5-10 minute conversation, I managed to recognize him. It would have been SO easy for this mission trip to come and go without either of us realizing who the other person is. God set this up! And there is a purpose for it.

God is so merciful in His timing. This weekend (after my breakthrough in Redding) is the first time this year when there is a ghost of a chance that I can make good on the potential of this moment.

My breakthrough last week in Redding restored my vision of what it means to be a daughter. During church I found myself on my knees, asking God to guide me in thorough repentance of my offenses and judgements and pride. Sitting next to Marty, I felt genuine affection for him; and, looking across the circle at Willy and thought, “He looks different. He looks softer and less intimidating. He looks like a dad.”


As service wound down, I thought, “I need to say something to Jesse! This is a kairos moment, I don't want to miss it! I just don't know what I'm supposed to say...” I ended up asking him to take a picture with me. He said he would mind... if we didn't!! (So like Steve Blayer...) He also said that he and his team will be at school with us tomorrow, so no rush to say everything tonight.
I am so grateful to have had Pastor Jesse as my interviewer. And I am grateful to God for opening my eyes (at last) to be able to start to see the value of LifeHouse and BSSD. I do wish I could start my year over with this new attitude, (for the first time this year, I can see how BSSD could really be amazingly valuable.) But God's timing is perfect, as I said before. I will try to steward this revelation/breakthrough for the remaining weeks of school and see what happens next!
Top photo is Steve Blayer, bottom photo is me and Jesse.
(Sorry I don't know how to do side by side.)
I thought their voice and manner was similar, but they kind of look alike too!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Spring Breakthrough

Written April 2, 2017

Today was my first day back at LifeHouse after spring break. And what a fruitful break it was!!

Before church today I talked with Kyle (a second year student) and told him my “Spring Breakthrough”. Basically, last week I took a trip to Redding to audit BSSM classes and clear my head. While there, I realized that my attitude towards BSSD had been holding me back all year. Instead of being a critical judge, I should have seen myself as a contributor – a team player, a daughter. I should have seen this year as a limited opportunity to honor, serve, and bless, while simultaneously receiving and stewarding the anointing of those I served. I have one month left and I intend to use it accordingly.

I wonder what could've been done / said to me to more effectively help me avoid the pits I fell into.... The pit of critical judgement, pride, and entitlement. Or, having slipped into these pits almost immediately, is there something that could've helped me recognize my mistake and climb out of the mud earlier in the year? (The obvious application of these questions is, how can we help the incoming students to not get stuck as I did.)

People DID tell me things like, “Make the most of ever day” “Be unoffendable” “Be teachable” “These leaders are so great; its an honor to have the chance to serve them.” I heard these sorts of things and they tasted flat and bitter to me. It sounded to my ears like the equivalent of, “Let down your guard; believe that what we are handing you is valuable regardless of how it looks; allow yourself to be taken advantage of and deceived.” So I trusted all the less and missed the benefit of their words. I had no vision for what they were advising. I had so much cold bitterness and hot anger, throughout most of the year, simply being told to “trust”, hit a very angry nerve.
People also told me to “love myself”, as the solution for my insecurities. This verbiage also did not resonate with me. For one thing, it sounded like encouragement to become even more self focused (when I was already in a trap of self pity.) Secondly, "loving myself" also seemed to be justification for judging BSSD ungraciously and coming to the conclusion that it is "not good enough for me". 

I'm not saying that "trust" and "loving myself" were not good ideas that would have helped me, I'm saying that I personally was not able to understand and thus could not benefit from this advice.

Here is what would've been helpful to me. Here is my hindsight advice to my past self:

1. First, Michelle, though you have come to this place hoping to receive, sitting in critical judgement over the services/resources blocks you from being able to receive AND creates a trickle of poison into your soul. You already know this principle. Remember! Judgement is poisonous. It isn't that your judgment is unjustified or inaccurate, its just that the act of judging is bad for YOU. It is in your own best interests to stop judging and criticizing and complaining and grumbling. It is thwarting you from receiving what IS possible.

2. Feel free to decide to invest your time and money elsewhere, but as long as you are here, humble yourself to serve THIS program. Bow your head to THIS vision, THIS leadership, THIS body. The key to benefiting the most from being here is to invest your year in being a daughter of THIS church.

3. Humility is the secret key to unlocking daughterhood. Remember who you are, Michelle. You are a daughter of nations. A daughter of mothers. A daughter of fathers. You are a recipient of the promise that any who give up mothers or fathers for His sake will receive a thousand more, in this life and the life to come. (Mark 10:19)

Daughterhood means going low – loving the fathers and mothers of the house with childlike affection. Daughterhood means taking ownership - being a hostess not a guest, doing the dishes and clearing plates and making sure everyone has a place at the table. Daughterhood means taking family pride in the house – it might be homly and “in process”, but its my home.

4. From the point of view of a daughter, start to see the good in this place and recognize the value of this rare opportunity in front of you. Lifehouse is a simple local church that has the audacity to hope and believe that God can and will use them mightily. This church is blessed with exceptional pastoral/prophetic even apostolic-flavored leaders. This church is laying a foundation to have exceedingly broad effects. As a student at BSSD you get to steep in the anointing of these leaders and be part of what God is doing through Life House. Also, as a student you have the particular opportunity to be a blessing in the lives of the leaders and struggling students. The fields for ministry of compassion are white!

5. Though everyone says “just receive”, I advise you to bless and serve. Of course, this doesn't mean ignoring your personal work or exhausting yourself, it means follow the guiding light of your core value of being a blessing. It is by being a blessing that you will become a sponge of blessing, soaking up and spreading blessing wherever you go.

6. Michelle, I know there is not enough time for all three competing values of homework, journaling, and social bonding. Looking back, I would recommend you prioritize daily journaling ABOUT CLASS. Each day write down at least one thing you learned/gained in school that day. Then let the rest of your priorities fall into place in the remaining time. Don't spend your energy fretting. It all works out in the end. Go to work, do your homework, love your friends, and rest....   

I really wish I could have had my eyes opened earlier. But I am so so so so grateful that I still have a month of BSSD left. There is still time to turn this ship around and make up (at least a little) for lost time.

BSSM Again


Written March 29, 2017
Today is the last day of my Spring Break trip to Redding. Ive been here visiting BSSM/Bethel Church/local friends since Sunday afternoon. Part of the purpose of this trip has been to consider whether to reapply to BSSM First Year or whether to continue at BSSD for Second Year.

First comment on this trip – It is remarkable the difference in the emotional atmosphere I subjectively experience here in Redding vs Humboldt. It may be an illusion created by expectations mixed with the natural refreshment of a change of scenery. Even so, I find that my response to Bethel Redding is the same today as it was last spring – it feels like home. Here I feel swept along in a wave of encouragement and love.

Another interesting note, however, my three friends who attended BSSM all report experience of confusion and feeling “undone” in the intensity of the "process" of heart (re)construction at BSSM. They all came out the other side of their one, two, or three years still very much “in process”. This is not really what I was hoping for from BSSM. But that is their testimony.

What are you wanting/expecting from BSSM? I hear you ask. 

1. I want to be influenced by an environment of healthy people, who are themselves being influenced by healthy leaders, all taking place within an organizational structure which is the fruit of a genuinely healthy philosophy and divine involvement.

Ok, that is clearly too tall an order, since everyone is a mixed bag – there is no community of humans that are 100% “healthy”. The main point, however, is, I want to be within an empowering structure surrounded by people who are a good influence.

2. I expect and hope school to equip/empower me with practical skills, information, resources.

For example: communication skills, bible teaching/study methods, personal boundary setting strategies, spiritual health disciplines, deepening of nuance in discernment/wisdom/maturity, leadership principles etc. I look to leaders/teachers to be truly experts in their field and to be making the most of their opportunity to equip/instruct. While I acknowledge/respect the value and wisdom of allowing the Holy Spirit to intercept and redirect class time/content, I expect/want instructors to be well prepared and to have actual content to pass on to us.

3. I want to be in a place that builds me up into my best self.

I want to be in an environment that brings out the best in me (not the worst.) There is a fine line between breaking down muscle to build strength and simply being broken down. I want to be intuitively hopeful about the person I am becoming.

So after a school year at BSSD, I'm back at BSSM in person, auditing classes.

I have sat in on a two days of classes at BSSM this time around. Each day included at least an hour of praise/worship. After worship, some of the topics covered in class were Genesis, Practical Evangelism, Missions Etiquette, Transition into a local church after BSSM, How to serve a leader, and Church History. Eminently practical!!!

Funny, after two days at Bethel Redding, I feel assisted/equipped/inspired to return to Eureka with a significantly better attitude/posture:

humble (rather than resentful/bitter/offended)
graceful (rather than critical)
supportive/contributing (rather than demanding and dissatisfied), accepting/encouraging (rather than rejecting/distressed)
supple (rather than strident)

I feel so much more at peace, and from a place of peace I can imagine responding to BSSD/Humboldt out of overflow rather than desperation/disappointment.
I still don't know whether it is wiser to stay in the location where I have felt weary or whether it is better to transplant to this place that I find revitalizing. That choice is yet to be made. But for the mean time, I'm so glad for this trip to Redding and I feel refreshed and equipped with tools to finish out my time at BSSD stronger/healthier.