Questions Without Answers

I overanalyze. I overthink. I contemplate, cogitate, and mull over different aspects of life and I do it often.

I see this as a strength and as a weakness.

However, tonight, too many questions and possibilities about future circumstances have been playing over and over in my mind. Confusion and wonder growing, I finally realized:

I could let myself get overwhelmed and let confusion and wonder invade my thoughts, but there is such beauty in the fact that the unpredictable and unforeseen future is known by the One who loves me and goes before me. He knows exactly how my story will go. Down to the infinitesimal details. So, tonight I am resting in the fact that I can stop all of the attempts at problem solving and planning because Jesus and Jesus only is the Peace in my troubled sea.

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A Love Like No Other

My post written for Eden.Babel!

Eden.Babel

Over the past few weeks, I have seen an old foe rise from the troubled waters and beckon me back to an ancient struggle.

The fear of inadequacy.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt the ache to be enough, to measure up to some impossible standard, to gain some infinite approval. I grew up sandwiched in the middle of an unbelievably remarkable family, and, as a result, I have often tasted the lie that I must do an endless number of things to meet the wave of expectations that, like a tide, arrive just as quickly as the former one falls. I felt that to be something, I must do everything.

So, I conditioned myself to chase excellence at all costs, to show my father, mother, sister, brothers, teachers, friends, and God that I mattered. And I exhausted myself in the process. So consumed was I by this pattern of thought…

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Taking A Step Back

One friend said something to me a few years ago and it has stuck with me ever since.

She said, “Have social media. Don’t let social media have you“.

Lately, the latter of that scenario has been my reality. So, last night, I decided to delete all of the social media apps off of my phone.

I have caught myself one too many times going from Snapchat to Instagram to Twitter and then back to Snapchat purely out of boredom.

What kind of life am I living if I can’t go a couple hours without checking the latest updates on social media?

I have realized that my problem isn’t that I need to check my phone at all hours of the day, but instead, my problem is that I turn to my phone when I feel as though I have nothing better to do. The truth of the matter is I have so many better things to do.

As cliché as it sounds, life really does go by too fast and I want to start being intentional with the free time I have during the day.

I love sitting down with a cup of tea and a great book. I love painting and playing my guitar. I love turning on music and putting my thoughts onto paper. Yet, I never seem to have time to follow through on these little things enough. It’s a special thing for me to intentionally use my free time to do these things that I love. I want that intention to be in my everyday life again.

It was a liberating feeling deleting the apps off of my phone. But, I have to admit, when I woke up this morning, turning on my phone to remember the decision I made last night felt a little weird. I felt a little empty not being check social media.

I saw society hooked to their phones and I never wanted to be grouped into that. But, I am just as guilty as anyone else. I think that this time of disconnection from social media will help me grow more as a person.

I am so excited that I’ve finally taken a step back in order to leave room in my schedule for all of the little things that are so important to me and yet I never seemed to have much time for.

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Experience Life

I wouldn’t be able to function without my planner. In fact, one thing I really want for Christmas is a nice, new, super cool planner. So, as you may be able to guess… there isn’t always a lot of room for spontaneity in my day. When I have all of the tasks that I need/want to get done in that day, there isn’t a lot of room for spontaneous adventures.

But, I want to change that because spontaneity is my favorite.

I love the fact that we don’t need to be across the country or across the world to find adventures. There are so many adventures in my every day life that I could take advantage of, but it can be hard to be adventurous when I get caught up in the mundane routine that I schedule out in that planner.

John Augustus Shedd, an American author, said “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

We are made for so much more than simply checking off our to do lists planners. We’re made for adventures- big and small- that will shape us and teach us in ways that nothing else can.

I woke up this morning remembering the spontaneous little detour I took this weekend on the way home from the mountains. Just that small turn off of the main road led to finding the most beautiful waterfall surrounded by the changing colors of autumn leaves.

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In that moment, I decided that I was tired of just going through the motions of life and tired of the absence of small adventures in my everyday life.

Instead, I want to look at each day as my opportunity to not only check off the tasks written on the lines of a planner, but also, to experience all of the mystery and adventure that each day in life can and does hold.

Go take a drive with no destination in mind and see where you end up. Take a walk and explore an area you’ve never seen before. Try a new restaurant. Discover new ways to learn and grow everyday. Find adventure in the small things.

“Follow your bliss, and doors will open for you that you never knew existed. Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

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The Words We Keep Locked Away

My first blog post was written in the spring of 2015. I had just gotten my dream job and I was so ready for the adventure that God had just blessed me with. I was so ready to take on this summer and my goal was to be a light to the people around me.

This summer was so amazing, but also challenging and it taught me so much.

I really learned so much this summer firsthand.

I learned that adventure of every kind is out there just waiting for us. I learned how awesome it is to live with people you’ve never met before and become family. I learned that there are so many awesome people out there and I learned how important it is to get out of my comfort zone and experience new adventures. I had the time of my life.

But, I also learned what it felt like to truly just have a downfall. Three months away from home can get pretty lonely when some days nothing around you feels familiar.

Three months away from home can get pretty lonely when you take a step back from your sweet Savior and put Him on the back burner. 

Without even noticing it, by the end of the beautiful adventure and unfamiliarality that I was living in, I noticed that I had been taking a step back from the One who loves me, saved me, and calls me His own.

And then I learned the biggest thing of all: a couple steps away from Jesus was further than I ever wanted to be.

It was never a conscious decision. With one month left in the place that I love so much, the place I was called to go to for the summer, I somehow just stopped being genuine to who I really was. And it was never like I felt like a “bad person”. But the second I took a step back from the One who created me and truly knows me is the second that I lost myself. I no longer felt joy and peace in every circumstance.

I felt happy when things were going well..when I felt loved by those around me and when I was having fun. Which, thankfully, was a lot of the summer. But, when things went wrong… when I felt the heartbreak of losing someone so dear to me, when I hurt myself by my own decisions, etc… that’s when I learned how alone I felt. No one wants to be hurt. Whether someone close to us hurts us or we hurt ourselves because of our own decisions, feeling hurt is never something we want.

This summer, I learned for the first time how it felt to be hurt and feel so alone because I, myself, had pushed away the One who will always love me and care for me.

I think that so many of us, including myself, cheat ourselves. We take what this world has to offer and forget all that God has to offer. We forget what it feels like to walk with a Savior who loves us and calls us His own. We cheat ourselves from pure joy and peace and we cheat ourselves from our purpose on this Earth the second we take what the world has to offer instead of clinging closely to God.

This one quote from C.S. Lewis stays at the forefront of my brain.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I don’t want to be half hearted and too easily pleased. I can’t and won’t accept what this world has to offer when I know that my Savior offers so much more.

This summer I learned more than ever that Jesus > everything else and being the smallest distance away from Him is never worth anything this world has to offer.

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In God We Trust

For we trust in our God and through His unfailing Love, we will not be shaken (Bethel Music).

Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

I was driving today and saw the very common license plate with “In God we trust” printed on the bottom of the plate. In that moment, I didn’t simply read it like so many times before. I really thought about the weight of the statement. In God we TRUST.

trust (n)

firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

synonyms: confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence, reliance

The greek word for trust is Pisteuo. Pisteuo means to have enough confidence in something to act or be willing to act on it.

The past year alone I have learned so much more about TRUST. This year has brought so many changes. I attended my last prom, I graduated, and I spent the summer trying to hold onto the few weeks left I had living at home. I was about to move 100 miles away and meet all new people which was the most exciting thought ever. But with all these changes came worry. As I packed up my room, I realized that one phase of my life was ending and a new one was beginning. All in the same 24 hours. I had to trust that I was ready for this change, and that I was ready for all of the challenges that were waiting for me in Athens. I had to trust that God would be with me through all of the highs and the lows. I had to trust that He had already gone before me.

God was with me through all of the new and amazing experiences, all of the changes, and all of the struggles. He is with me, He is for me. Even though I have failed, He has never failed. His faithfulness is amazing and I am so blessed that I have such an amazing Creator, Savior, Lord who I can fully trust. He has never given me a reason not to trust Him.

So why can we still be skeptical and worrisome toward so many things in our lives?

I worry, and I worry too much. I’ve found that in the midst of it, what helps me the most is just taking a deep breath and remembering Who holds my future and remembering that I have a Savior whom I can trust 100% 24/7. It’s something I have to personally work on every day because I so easily become consumed with worry and lose focus on Who is in control.

To trust God through it all may be hard at times with all of the obstacles and curve balls thrown at us from every angle every day. But, it to trust is SO rewarding. We get to put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ. No matter the circumstance, I am able to take a deep breath and trust in a Savior who is faithful. I see His faithfulness every day. Even when I am surrounded by doubt and worry, Jesus shows me His faithfulness.

Whatever troubles we have clouding our mind right now, whether they be big or small, we can trust that The Lord is good. And we can walk in faith. We can do the good works that The Lord has for us and trust in Him the whole time.

We will not be shaken.

Our Savior is always faithful. No matter the circumstance.. whether it be that we are facing tragedy, worrying about news we are waiting for, worrying about the future in general, or trying to get out of our comfort zone to grow further in our relationship with Christ, we can always trust.

We may not know what our future holds, but we know Who holds our future.

Leaving Comfort Zones

Well, I started writing in a journal when I was in first grade and have since filled up about 8 of them.. so I’ve always loved writing.. and I have always loved reading blogs, but I never really thought that I would be making my own blog. But, here I am, writing a blog, because I’ve had this one thing on my mind for months now and maybe, if I decide to actually post this blog, then someone will read it and it will help them as well.

This one thing has been eating away at me and I’m sure its on the minds of many other followers of Christ: Leaving our comfort zones for the name of Jesus to be known and glorified. 

Let me back up a little..

I started going to a place in Wyoming when I was 5 years old and I have been every summer since. This place may be 2,000 miles from home but I fell in love and have always considered it my “home away from home”. This past summer, I just felt called to apply for a summer job there. So, I applied this past fall. And i got the job. But with this season of life that I am in also came a lot of doubt and worry. I knew how hard it would be to be away from my family and sometimes I just wanted to be comfortable in my own home for the summer with all my family and friends.

Coming home from college this weekend made me realize how hard it will be to be away from all of my family and my friends for 3 whole months and to not get to sleep in my own bed for 3 whole months. I am so comfortable here and I absolutely love being home. But, I wasn’t called to stay at home this summer. I wasn’t called to stay with family and friends and my dog. I wasn’t called to spend my nights sleeping in my own bed, surrounded by my favorite candles and pillows. I wasn’t called to be comfortable this summer.

This summer, I was called to be uncomfortable. I was called to Jackson Hole, Wyoming- one of my favorite places on this earth. I truly believe that I was called to this amazing opportunity and I truly believe that God will work in me and use me this summer. And despite how much I absolutely love this place I will be spending my summer in, it’s still hard to leave home for three months because I know that it will be out of my comfort zone. I’ll be 2,000 miles away from the people I love most and at times it will be uncomfortable.

This May, I will begin an adventure. An amazing, uncomfortable adventure. And I know that God will be with me every second of every day. He has gone before me just as He has gone before you.

This whole experience has taught me so far that as followers of Christ, we must truly follow. We must go where we are called and we must do what we are called to do. I’m learning what it truly means to  f o l l o w  Christ. It isn’t simply just not taking The Lord’s name in vain, it isn’t simply just following the law or obeying our parents, ect. There are so many other ways we get to follow Him! And right now what I’m being shown more and more is that to follow Christ means to get out of our comfort zone! Our life needs to be about living for Him and making His name known.

He has a purpose for all of us and I know I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me because I am too afraid to get uncomfortable.

What would you attempt to do for Jesus if you knew you couldn’t fail?” (Christine Caine, Passion 2015).

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” IMG_0566