Acts of Kindness: Birthday Edition

About a month ago, I celebrated my 21st birthday. You can even read a little bit about it here. As conflicted and anxious as I was for my birthday, I knew I wanted more than the celebration of just myself to come from this (because let’s be real, that’s awkward). I could have asked people to donate to a charity in honor of my birthday using that cool new Facebook tool OR I could have even spent my day at the local soup kitchen. These are both amazing ideas that I highly suggest. But I decided to jump out of my comfort zone a bit. I designed a game that would make people ACT. I called it “The 21 Acts of Kindness” game. This is how it worked:

I posted a photo on Instagram (as seen in the featured image) with a poster-board labeled 1-21. I asked people to comment a number and whatever number they commented, I directly messaged (dm’ed) them a personalized act of kindness from a list I made. 

I disclaimed that it might be a small financial contribution, a small portion of their time, or just a big smile to a random stranger. 

With over 130 comments, I spent my “birthday eve” sending people their “act.” It was such a joyous process. The next day, I had people sending me pictures of themselves doing their act of kindness and I could not have been more blessed.

Even if only half the people participated, that is still a ripple effect starting with nearly 70 people. Incredible!

Here are a list of the Acts of Kindness in case you want do this yourself!

  1. Buy a small gift for someone.
  2. Bring 2 friends a meal.
  3. Call 3 friends/ family members and ask how you can pray for them.
  4. Make a gift basket for your neighbor with 4 items in it.
  5. Call 5 friends you haven’t talked to in a while and pray for them.
  6. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (approximately $6).
  7. Walk/play/wash 7 dogs or cats at the local animal shelter.
  8. Send letters to 8 chronically ill children or to families at the nearest Ronald McDonald House.
  9. Visit the nursing home and hang out, talk, play bingo, read, or pray with 9 elderly people.
  10. Give a random person a $10 gift card to a place of your choosing.
  11. Give 11 thank you cards to the local police station.
  12. Take 12 photos of someone to make them feel beautiful- edit them and email them to them.
  13. Write a positive review on a business that you like and admire with 13 different aspects in which you like the business.
  14. Donate 14 of my items to a local women’s shelter or charity.
  15. Give the double amount of money to the charity you usually give to, or if you do not give regularly, start doing so!
  16. Collect 16 soda can pop tabs to give to the local Ronald McDonald House.
  17. Put 17 positive notes around campus (or your work).
  18. Give 18 compliments friend or strangers.
  19. Pick up 19 pieces litter around me and throw it away/recycle it.
  20. Send 20 texts with encouragement to numbers you haven’t texted in a while.
  21. Smile at 21 strangers.

You can reference the Instagram post here. I hope you feel inspired to do an Act of Kindness today, everyday, and especially on your birthday!!

Hebrews 13:2 (NIV) “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

The Space in Between: Advice From a Twenty-Something

I’m 20. I have made countless mistakes. I have learned. I have grown. I am still in the process of both. I am a firm believer that every wrong decision can be redeemed, every step backwards can equal two steps forward, and every bad can be used for good. Experience what there is to be experienced, but do not waste your life, your hurt, or your time. My single, biggest regret is not following Jesus sooner, but I do not dwell on this. I use my past to propel my future and let Him guide me every step of the way. Here are things I learned in my twenty-something years and I hope they stimulate you to reflect and admire on the moments you have been given. Whether you are a freshman in high-school or a senior in college, here is my advice to you. Keep this close, read it often, and do not dismiss it.

Invest in who you want to be NEXT.

If bad company tempts you, don’t go along with them.

Become a minimalist.

Do things that get you out of your comfort zone.

Don’t assume you know it all.

Earn a reputation for living well.

The best time to work on a marriage is before you have one.

Don’t “kill time” with someone just because.

Don’t just know about the people in your life, KNOW the people in your life.

Make sacrifices. They will all be blessed by God.

Stay inspired & uncomfortable.

Become humble through the giving of time, money, and self.

Determination and hard work will not help you achieve fulfillment, total surrender to Him will.

Overcome the obstacle of prayerlessness. There is nothing more substantial than prayer- even going to church, studying the bible, having small group, and watching sermons online.

Fall in love with your Creator in creative ways.

Remember that everyday is a new beginning.

Forgive, over and over again.

Drink green tea, exercise, and smile.

Spend less time on social media.

Do not feel pressured to live up to society’s expectations. Focus on God’s expectations of you. 

Don’t focus on one thing too much, either. Stay versatile.

Let your opinions and viewpoints evolve, but make sure they align with The Word.

Truly obtain the qualities you seek in others.

Seek out advice from people you admire.

Don’t ever stop being spontaneous and making priceless memories.

 

Find Your Wild

Do you want to hear something really sad? Throughout middle and high school, I was ridiculed for being too much. I was too loud, too crazy, and too candid. I chose to dance while everyone else simply swayed, and I laughed obnoxiously at inappropriate times. I took risks. I was spontaneous. I was dangerous. I got into a lot of trouble (before I came to know Christ). I did not care. 

I was the wild girl.

At some point, their words got to me. The more I was told I was too much, the more I tried to lessen. My smile was not so upright anymore and my laugh became a little duller. I practiced speaking quieter in my mirror. I stopped expressing my opinions. I suppressed my emotions. I lightened my appetite. I conformed. I became less.

Now, I grew up believing a stereotype about Christian women. I thought they were required to be mild, tasteless, and bland. Never did I think the passionate, fearless, unpredictable, wild, untamed, risky, ambitious, brave, rebellious, outspoken, adventurous, eccentric, curious, and loud girl would have a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now, what if I told you that I am all of these things and still follow Christ? What if I told you the wild girl is allowed in church? The loud girl can pray. The unpredictable girl can follow God’s plan for her life. The outspoken girl can encourage others. The curious girl can ask questions.

We can learn a lot from the wild, untamed, rebellious girls. Instead of using these attributes for temporary, worldly satisfaction, we can channel these qualities for the Kingdom of Heaven. Christianity would be a lot more radical. Our faith would become reckless and daring if we were rebellious in complying with the ways of the world. Instead of solely focusing on taming our sin, we could focus on becoming untamed in love. Living for Jesus would be an audacious affair.

If you are that girl, God gave you this vivacity for a reason. You are a blazing, hot fire. The world is going to tell you that what you do and what you stand for is too much. They might tell you your worship is too eccentric and the giving of your time is too bold.

Being a follower of Christ is all of these things… and much more.

Being a wild girl means that we have a deep and constant yearning for more. How immeasurable and supernatural is it that the only one who can satisfy this yearning in our soul is the One who CREATED it. We live our life through the One who gives us life.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” FEARLESS.

“She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places” SPONTANEOUS.

“She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks” ECCENTRIC.

“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” BOLD.

“When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say” OUTSPOKEN.

“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard” RISKY.

“She senses the worth in her work” PASSIONATE.

“When it snows, she has no fear for her household” BRAVE.

Wild girl, you are going to be tempted to chase the stars. When you feel that longing, remember that there is nothing we need more desperately in this life than the One who launched those stars in that massive, endless sky.

Our creator made us wild and bold. He put sparks of curiosity in us. He created these things for HIS glory. Psalm 139 says “He perceives my thoughts from afar, that He is familiar with all my ways, and before a word is on my tongue, the Lord knows it completely.”

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast…

For you created my inmost being.” Psalm 139: 9-13

Trendy Christianity

The Bible has no disclaimer saying “this might offend you, read with caution.” Similarly, this post will have no disclaimer at the end telling you that what you read is “to each his own.”

Let me tell you something, Christian to Christian, believer to believer. Maybe you are not a believer, but you have noticed this trend with your Christian friends. Here it is: WE (Christians) ARE MIRRORING THE WORLD.

What? Let me explain.

In trying to be inclusive and loving to everyone, which in itself is a good thing, we are becoming no different than the world around us, except for the big fat Christian label we place on ourselves. This is dangerous.

With that being said…listen. The church is not for us. It is not a sanctuary for ourselves. The church’s purpose is to glorify the Most High, the Father of the Universe, the Creator of life. Its purpose is to learn about Him, to honor Him through our fellowship, to love in the name of Christ.

Hip music. Concerts. All black. MacBooks. Densely highlighted bibles. Big churches. Blogs. Coffee shops. Enos. Perfect Instagram’s. Bible apps. Cool shoes. Hebrew tattoos. Journals with pages and pages of calligraphy.

If you took all of it away, would you still be in love with Christ?

This has become a new and hazardous comfort zone for so many Christians (and non-Christians). Christianity now has a concrete “look.” We know what to do. We know what songs to sing. We know the cool bloggers and the trendy speakers. We know what to wear.

A couple of days ago, I attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta. A woman who I respect immensely, Beth Moore, came and spoke some powerful words. I was deeply convicted about something God had placed on my heart for months now. She alluded to this…

We, millennial Christians, are sacrificing the truth of the Christian faith for “love’s sake.”

The TRUTH that we are abandoning is this: we are no longer foreigners in this land. We blend in. We make following Christ easy, lukewarm, concrete, hip, and fun.

Let me tell you this. We are called to be foreigners, outsiders, temporary residents.

1 Peter 1:1 calls us EXILES.

1 Peter 1:17 calls us FOREIGNERS.

1 Peter 2:11 calls us SOJOURNERS.

I do not know about you, but I am tired of living “trendy.” I can never keep up. It is exhausting. It is like high school all over again. I want to live by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Book, my convictions, through worship and praise. What an adventure!

What I am NOT saying is this: coffee shop fellowship and intense Christian jam sessions are bad.

What I AM saying is this: when our lives no longer reflect the cross, when our lives are comfortable, when we no longer hurt, when worship becomes something to put on Instagram, when we value ourselves and our image more than Christ, when shortcuts in our Christianity become the norm, when we no longer reflect on our own sin, when we gain a taste for inclusiveness but lose a taste for God, when are motifs are self-righteous… that is when it all becomes blasphemy.

Yes, world, use social media and artwork for the glory of God. Use instruments and fill arenas with people to glorify God. PRAISE GOD FOR THAT. But also let us die to self. Empty ourselves of our own ambitions. Suffer for Jesus. Bear disorder. Become comfortable being uncomfortable. Lose our pride.

Let us Christians become like Christ in His death.

 

You Are Not Alone, You Are His (A Letter to the Newly Single Girl)

To Whom It May Concern,

I have seen you hurt and broken. I have seen you not want to come out of your room. I have seen you unable to throw away his things because you still believe the same loving boy is going to knock on your door with flowers and your favorite candy. I have seen you twiddling your thumbs over the send button hoping that text will bring him back. I have seen you look at his pictures and Snapchats wondering why he seems so much happier without you. I have seen it all.

My soul breaks and my body aches for you, because beautiful girl, I know where you are. I know you feel unlovable and unworthy and unhappy. It is such a fresh wound, even months out. You think you are fine and then you see him with someone else and your heart feels wrecked all over again.

I do not want you to fear the future. I want to look you in the eyes and tell you that one day you will be able to see him and not feel shattered. However, I know that is the last truth you can believe right now.

Here is my heart. I am writing this because I have seen my friends broken and depressed and alone. I speak that heart language. I can relate. I want to offer my two-cents on hope and empathy and truth.

You are not “replaceable.” In fact, you are very much irreplaceable. Every experience, all of the good and the bad, every fight, every laugh, and every memory is unique to you. There is no one in this world who will make him experience the same things that you did. God brings certain people into our life and He takes certain people away. That boy was taken away from you, but you will grow from the experiences you had together if you let God help you. Someone may be better equipped to be with him, but that does not take anything away from you. Him loving someone else does not mean you were unlovable. It means that God loved you enough to give you something better. 

One day, you will get those butterflies again. You will be able to invest in someone again. You will be able to be vulnerable without fear of getting your heart broken. Someone will love you with all of your quirks and flaws and goofiness and mood-swings. This was the hardest thing for me to grasp. After devoting so much of yourself to a relationship that did not work out, why would anyone ever want to do that again? Replace your fear with faith. My promise, you will have the energy and heart to love again.

Re-invent yourself in your singleness. Take a good, long, hard look at what worked and what did not work in your previous relationship. Focus on becoming the person you want to marry. Discipline yourself, ask God to heal your heart, and ask Him to help you grow in this season. Singleness is a time for immense spiritual growth. Do not underestimate what God can do in your season of waiting.

Lastly, there is no time limit on when it is acceptable to “date again.” I have had friends find their person two weeks after a break-up and friends who have taken years off dating. However, I know dating is scary. It can be the ultimate thing that affirms that our past relationship is over. Just make sure you pray that God has fully healed your heart before you do date. Do not “rebound” date when you should be using this time for healing and growing.

 Worth The Read

John 15:16

Ephesians 1:4

Deuteronomy 20:4

Remember that you are lovable. And you will be able to love again one day.

Extra Large Goodwill Sweatshirts and Hand-Written Letters

Thanksgiving is officially upon us and it is one of my most treasured times of the year. It’s a time where tradition runs prevalent in my family. We always travel to a familiar home with the funnest of dysfunctional family’s and eat lots of food while playing with dogs and babies.

During this season, I have learned how to cultivate gratitude. Some days it is really easy to be thankful and other times it is a lot harder. I am learning how to count my blessings, from the big things to the really small things, and it has been the most rewarding practice.

About a month ago, a particular speaker at an event I attended, Bryan Bulmer, spoke on this. Particularly, he encouraged us to read, listen, or write something positive as soon as we wake up in the morning. I started to begin my days with telling at least one person how thankful I was for them. Whether a text, email, or (my personal favorite) a hand-written letter, a detailed description of what that person means to you goes a long way… for them and for you.

I encourage you to do the same. I have seen the effect it has had in my attitudes and relationships. Whether it be starting a gratitude journal or just letting those around you know how much they mean to you, it is so important to be thankful on a daily basis.

If you are unsure of what to be thankful for, I have compiled a list of some off-the-wall things to be grateful for. Make your own; it could definitely be your next Thanksgiving around-the-table dinner conversation.

25 Off -The-Wall Gratitude’s

dog slobbers in the mouth

hallmark holiday movies

flickering flame of a candle

changing color of the leaves

extra large Goodwill sweatshirts

aroma of fresh coffee

pretty-packaged gifts

hugs from distant relatives

handwritten letters

old quilts

hot bubble baths

sweet potato casserole

fuzzy socks

pens that write really well

oven timers

boys who come to the door when they pick my sister up for a date

handcrafted wreaths

hair appointments

picture frames

smells that bring back old memories that you can’t quite put your finger on

downtown’s

inside jokes

automatically connecting to wifi

good-smelling boys

clothes straight out of the dryer

 

xoxo and happiest of Thanksgivings!

 

 

Stay Rad

Accepting grace used to be a foreign concept to me. I did not know how to embrace this wonderful gift. I so often felt trapped by my sin, like I had four walls constantly surrounding me that defined me. Spacious living and boundless freedom were never supposed to be in the cards for me… or so I thought.

One night, I sat on my living room floor with my good friend Carli. She had recently discovered what freedom was. She knew what it was like to be in complete darkness, see the light in the far distance, and run for it with everything she had. She had joy and dance and laughter tattooed upon her life and all I knew was that I wanted what she had.

As we were sitting there, my eyes swelled up with tears. All I said to her in that moment was “I want your freedom.”

I was

burdened

heavy

lifeless

dull… because of my sin.

Galatians 5:1 says “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Writing this, Paul knew that is was possible for Christ followers to be “burdened again.” He knew that obstacles in life could recurrently bound us to slavery.

 

Slowly but surely I had to learn how to…

Reveal my sins.

  Accept his Grace

             Deny picking it back up.

That’s pretty… RAD… right?

As a permanent reminder of this radiant gift Christ has given me, and to always remember to accept His grace especially in the present, I tattooed a sound wave (that two of my best friends spoke) of the word “freedom.”

So here is to freedom, tattoo’s, and staying RAD.

A Letter to My Mission Team

When I first heard that there was a mission trip going to Haiti over spring break, I could feel it in my veins that I NEEDED to go on this trip. I do not exactly remember my motives for deciding I wanted to go on this trip, however. It could have been anything from getting to travel (which is a passion of mine), spending time with my sorority sisters, being able to play with kids, etc. Whatever my thought process was, I was pumped. The mission trip was put on by Chi Alpha, which is a christian organization on my college campus. I had met several people who were active here and even went on a super fun retreat with them before. I just knew that this trip was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Weeks before the trip, I started to prepare my heart. I wanted so badly to make a difference in Haiti. However, the more I tried to get my heart ready, the more doubtful I became of going on this trip. Everything seemed to not be in my favor: I was not raising enough money, I was getting very ill, I had very little details about the trip (which made me nervous), the Zika virus was coming out with reports that it was spreading more and more, Facebook posts went viral about “why mission trips to Haiti are not making a difference” and so on and so forth. What was worse was other people were getting sick and doubtful as well, which fueled the anxiety I was already having. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was telling me that I should not go on this trip. I was scared.

I buried these feelings I was having and went anyways. I was still excited, I was just very nervous. I did not bring my fears and my worries to God like I should have. Instead, I just let them consume me… like the Devil wanted. Looking back, it all makes sense. The Devil hates this. He hates when people share the love of Jesus. He hates when people are getting their hearts ready for God’s great plan. He prowls and he attacks. He has no limits. Ephesians 6:11-12 says that we need to put on the whole armor of God…we do not know the schemes of the devil…and that we wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil. I can only thank God that I still decided to go, because let me tell you.. This trip was out-of-this-world and life-changing. But… I am not writing this to tell you about the trip. I am writing this about my mission trip team.

This team is silly. There is no other words to describe them. They are constantly laughing, constantly smiling, constantly joyful. On the outside, they seem nothing but goofy. I had only had recreational encounters with most of this team and thought that this was the only side of them they had. I even questioned how this trip was even going to mean anything because I truly thought they did not have a serious or emotional side. I mean.. I was always good at reading people, I MUST be right. But man, I was SO wrong.

I first want to talk about the men on this trip. Although the men were highly outnumbered by the girls on this trip, it was impossible not to constantly feel their presence. They were the one’s who set the tone for each day. Their energy spread like wildfires; when they were laughing, we were laughing, when they were quiet, we were quiet, when they became vulnerable, we become vulnerable. I saw a side of each one of these men I had never before seen in my life. The stories and testimonies that they shared were powerful and relatable; they longed to tell what Christ had done in their lives. They were not ashamed of their pasts- they were only thankful that God saved them. They were prayer warriors. They were constantly brought to their knees, constantly praising God with their bodies, constantly encouraging and uplifting others. They were the first to be outside every morning spending quiet time with the Lord. They were the first to help unpack bags, carry huge water bottles, hold open doors, let the women eat first, and to set up and break down. They treated all of the ladies with kindness and gentleness, always respecting our own vulnerabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and emotions. The Holy Spirit ran rampant within them; I could see it in their faces and hearts everyday. Thank you boys, for being leaders and examples of God-fearing men on this trip.

Now, my fellow ladies. It is impossible for me to generalize all of you. Each one of you all are so different, so unique, and so beautiful in your own ways. From worship and bible study leaders, to pageant girls, to prayer warriors, to the adventurers, to the jokesters, to the soft-spoken, to sorority girls, to the opinionative. If I had one word to sum up the women on this trip it would be “teacher.” There was not one woman on this trip I did not learn immensely from. These girls love with boldness. They are eager to listen, eager to share hard stories, eager to learn from others, eager to offer affirmation, eager to defend, eager to support, and eager to invest. A common goal of all of these girls was striving for better relationships. Multiple conversations came up where they wanted to connect with God and others more deeply. They wanted to love and be loved deeper. They embraced the people of Haiti with open arms, with adoration and acceptance. They connected with the Haitians despite the language barrier. They did not let anything stand in their way. These girls were DEPENDENT on God. They had experienced things in their life that they can only turn to Him to heal. They were more than willing to repent of their sins so they could be filled denser with the Holy Spirit. Some spoke quiet, intense prayers and others spoke bold and inspiring prayers. They talked about their hopes and dreams with such passion that made me excited for my own future. We had future women in ministry, mothers, doctors, engineers, service women, and so much more- all of these to further His kingdom. I have never felt so close to a group of girls more quickly. I will forever remember staying up late talking about the events of the day, being extremely silly, protecting ourselves from bugs via extreme bug nets, having rap battles, eating so many cheetos my stomach would burst (literally), singing together, praying together, and sharing our testimonies. I feel free and liberated because of each and every one of you girls lives and have so much love for you all. Thank you for serving the Lord and teaching me to trust in Him without any hesitation. Thank you for taking the road less travelled even when it means hardships. Thank you for not conforming to what the world wants you to be and being a light to so many other girls who are struggling everyday to choose between right and wrong. You ladies are so special, so beautiful, and so wonderful.

So here’s a little word to the Devil- you lost! God has won. Never will you win this battle. “…and if our God is with us, then what could stand against?” Nothing can stand against the men and women of God. Our God had a way of bringing completely different people together who compliment each other  Everyone on this trip was so unique and so different, there is no other way to describe it. We were each a puzzle piece, a different size, shape, and form, yet we fit together to create this beautiful, perfect picture that depicts what God wanted to happen on this trip so elegantly. God’s hand was with us the whole time- there is no doubt about that. I can only wait and see how God uses his people to further his righteous and divine Kingdom. I am ecstatic to see what the future holds.

 

Shout out to the team: Alia, Hallie, Bailee, Charles, Chris, Daniel, Gabby, Haley, Jeanne, Josh, Kaliya, Kandice, Kayla, Kelsie, Megan, Meghan, Michael, Rachel, Ryan (gimp), Carli, Stephen (with us in spirit), Sydney, and Taylor.

I want to say a special, special thanks to a few people: Gary for leading us, Russ for doing basically everything, Gabby for being a light, Carli and Charles for being bold in their testimonies, Kayla for being an awesome Bible story teller, Jeff and Suzanne and for being our parents for the week, the cooks for the incredible food, the bus driver for keeping us safe, and the wonderful people who let us stay in their homes.

Hello, 2016

This has been a year of new beginnings. From graduating high school, climbing glaciers in Canada, joining the amazing sisterhood of Alpha Delta Pi, and finishing my first semester of college, it is safe to say that this year has been nothing short of incredible. It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that even more opportunities have been presented to me in 2016! God has definitely answered “yes” to my antsy heart that yearns for adventure after adventure.

Because of the multiple events that have happened, I feel as if I am a whole different person than I was at the beginning of 2015. I would like to share a few of the things I have learned this year.

Talk it out

I put this first for a reason. If you read my last blog post you know exactly why (which you can read here). I have never been good with expressing how I feel. I bottle things up, hold grudges, and sometimes explode at random times. My friends from home just kind of learned to deal with it, but in college people don’t know me like that. I had to learn to talk out the issues I had with people and resolve them with a… wait… real life conversation! And man, it sure does feel good. The weight on my shoulders is so much lighter than it has been in the past! Yay!

Take that Opportunity!

I often hear people talking about their “glory” days in college. Well they weren’t lying! As said earlier, I have been offered SO many opportunities and I am extremely excited for them! Take advantage of what college has to offer you. As of now, I am planning to study in New Zealand and Australia, do mission work in Haiti, and learn to scuba dive! I also plan on looking into internship opportunities, working on my resume, and exploring different career paths. This is an exciting time in a young adult’s life and it would be such a shame to not take advantage of the great resources a college or university has to offer.

Service Humbles the Heart

My family serves often, goes on mission trips, and always extends a helping hand to their friends. Growing up in this environment has definitely aided in my love for volunteer work. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside knowing that someone’s life was made better as a result of some of the work I had done. What I have also learned is that I can serve in my everyday life. Whether that means helping someone carry their grocery’s to the car, unloading the dishwasher without my mom asking, or giving a subway gift card to a homeless man, do it. I know that they are blessed, but I am blessed WAY more.

It’s okay to cry a lot

Okay this might sound bad. LOL. However, I have found that crying can be THE best stress reliever. Whether it’s before you start studying for a big test, while you’re taking a test, or even after a test, cry it out! You can pretty much take your tears with you everywhere. This year has been one of the best years of my life and I have cried more this year than any other. Thankfully I have a wonderful boyfriend who lets me cry to him all of the time and usually he has no idea why (thanks Riles!). Just do it. FUN FACT: crying not only relieves stress, but it lowers blood sugar and removes toxins.

Work Hard, Play Hard

This is one I had to learn the hard way a couple of times. My friends were going out ALL of the time and obviously I didn’t want to be left out of the fun! However, after a few bad test grades, I quickly learned it wasn’t worth going out the night before a big test. I would stress while I was out with my friends, stress the day of my test, and feel incompetent the next several days. TRUST ME, there is always something going on in college- staying in a couple of nights isn’t going to kill you.

Be Thankful!

Often, we go through life unaware of how blessed we truly are. For me, it never really hit me how thankful I am for certain things until I moved to college. I found myself longing for my mom’s company and my dad’s “dad” jokes, missing the “little red barn” I live in, and reminiscing on old memories. I really didn’t even think about those things until I moved away. Now, I cherish the times I get with my grandparents, a good home-cooked meal, or my sister telling me how annoying I am (even though I know she loves when I terrorize her!). I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who love and support me and who are always there to steer my in the right path.

Well, that’s a wrap 2015! Can’t wait to see what the next 366 days (yes it’s a leap year) have in store for me. Happy New Year!

Follow

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to change my major. After discovering of all the courses I was going to have to take, I realized I was not really interested in any of it. I obviously want to love what I am going to be learning about, so I changed it. This did not exactly settle well with my friends and family. I got a lot of “you are going to get no money with that major!” or “just stick with the other, it’ll be worth it.”

I felt pressured to go back to what I did not feel comfortable doing. Maybe I am just an indecisive teenager who doesn’t know what I want in life (by the way, this is very true).

What I DO know is that God has blessed me with certain strengths and abilities. By this point in my life, I know some of the things I am good at and what I am not good at. I certainly know what interests me and what can put me to sleep in a heartbeat. So the question is this: should I capitalize on what I know I can be good at, or should I put forth extra time and effort into something I know I will never be more than mediocre at in life.

Stress is my middle name. Although I KNOW God ultimately has a plan for my life, it is hard to trust this at times, especially when time feels so limited. Occasionally I sit back and think “I’m young, I’ve got time to figure this out!” (although my academic adviser likes to tell me differently), but I still worry and stress and rip my hair out over this stuff.

And then one night, as I was having one of my late-night Pinterest binges, I came across this:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Why do I sacrifice the time I am blessed with worrying about a future I am not promised? After reading this beautiful verse, I know that God will always lead me in the right direction. Actually, I’ve known this all along, I just pretend sometimes that I should be the driver of my own life.

My life is not in the hands of fate or luck or by random chance: God knows everything that has happened to me and is going to happen to me. As Philippians 4:6 says, all I need to do it pray and God will handle my life from there. It might not necessarily be what the world views as “successful” or “popular,” but He can use anyone for His glory in His own way.

I will wait for His good timing and I will follow where He tells me to go. 

I rest assured in this.