IT DOESN’T (ALWAYS) HAVE TO BE THAT HARD…

It’s a little embarrassing how long it’s been since I’ve blogged 🤪 and if I’m being completely honest this blog post is partially motivated by the fact that my website renewed and I had to pay the yearly fee. 💯 And it was in paying that fee that I had to decide whether or not to continue to blog…And so here I am!!

Long time no see! 👋🏽

This idea that life doesn’t have to be that hard came to me sometime in 2018… And has kind of been like this faithful friend that has challenged me every single day.

Am I saying that life is easy?

No.

Life isn’t all rainbows 🌈 and unicorns🦄 and sunshine ☀️, but it also isn’t all about the struggle and the hustle and the grind. Life doesn’t always have to be so hard.

I think sometimes we (myself included) can kind of get so used to the struggle that we come to just kind of expect it. And expectation is a funny thing…what you expect you often attract 🙃

So let’s reframe the struggle! Let’s reframe the grind! Let’s not pretend they don’t exist, but let’s not get so caught up in their existence that we forget to enjoy the life in between.

I may be working toward a new goal, but I’m going to enjoy my today!

WHY?

Bc life doesn’t always have to be so hard. 💃🏾

IMPERFECT

So I took a personality test the other day, and they labeled me a perfectionist…

And I just kinda shrugged it off…*shrugs*

But then I messed up. *sigh* And I found myself having a phone conversation w/ one of my friends about the mess up and in the middle of explaining to her why I was so upset, it hit me I WANTED TO BE PERFECT…or I at least wanted to appear that way.

And as I admitted it out loud, it hit me even harder. Because you see perfection is an impossibly hard standard to hold yourself to…🤦🏽‍♀️ (side note: I’ve edited this blog more times than I’m willing to admit…bc it wasn’t…perfect 🙃)

But you know I realized something else quite recently too!! God never asked you or me to be perfect, He’s only asked us to be obedient…to do what He asks, to step outside of our comfort zone, to take the leap of faith…or sometimes just take the next step.

And it’s in that step of obedience He’s honored…not in our perfection.

So if not today, then tomorrow step out of your comfort zone, try something new but before you do remind yourself that you don’t have to be perfect…bc God’s already got that covered.

UNDEFINED

Ever find yourself in the middle of a group of people and not sure where you fit?

Have a math problem to solve only to find the denominator is zero? 😅🤪

Let your imagination run a bit too wild and now you’re not sure where reality and your own imagination collide..? 🤷🏽‍♀️

Have a crush on someone and not sure how they feel about you?

Ever feel like something in life is just undefined?

If I’m being completely honest I have…LOTS of times.

When my life feels undefined (and it did quite recently 🙃) these are the things that I remind myself of:

I am not defined by:

⁃ My income

⁃ My job title

⁃ My address

Or even:

⁃ my relationship status

⁃ the # of friends I do or don’t have

⁃ My Saturday plans

⁃ The compliments I do or don’t receive

Because the truth is I’ve already been DEFINED by the creator of the universe….and if I’m being completely honest, for me that’s definition enough.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You are enough.

The simple yet complex phrase that I keep reminding myself.

Because life happens.

And this thing called life is filled with both ups and downs.

And I don’t know about you, but in the midst of life, I sometimes find myself doing something new and different. And if I’m being completely honest, new and different can be uncomfortable…really uncomfortable.

But as I found myself reflecting on 2017 and (looking forward to 2018!) I realized something! In spite of my feelings of discomfort, I was always enough! I was always skilled enough to solve the problem…Or at least smart enough to ask for help! Selfless enough to maintain my friendships…or at least humble enough to apologize for my mistakes! Pretty enough to take the selfie…or resourceful enough to use a filter! 😝

And though we don’t know what 2018 will hold, that “enough-ness” will go w/ us. Because chances are we’re not perfect and our lives aren’t either, but one thing I am certain of….

You, me, we are enough.

“Noise!! Noise! Noise!” 

**In my Grinchiest voice**
Have you ever realized that our lives are noisy?!

Facebook notifications, IG stories, tv, and news apps alerting us to the latest catastrophe or political gaffe…It all adds up to a whole lot of noise!

And I recently realized that when life gets too noisy:

  1. I miss the still small (most important) voice
  2. I begin to believe and accept what the noise is saying
  3. I live my life a little more stressed

So, I took a couple of days, and silenced as much of the noise in my life as I could!

Here were my rules:

  1. No Facebook
  2. No Twitter
  3. No IG
  4. No news apps
  5. No TV (j/k I did still watch TV 😬)

Just a girl and her thoughts ☺️ 💭

And here’s what happened:

  • I actually had a phone conversation
  •  Remembered something that was going on in a friend’s life & checked on her
  • Cooked dinner more than once!
  • Worked a few extra hrs at work
  • Took my dog for a walk
  • Wanted to actually talk to people
  • Decided that I’m adorable 😅🙈
  • Felt more peaceful

And sure I missed out on a few news headlines and Facebook posts, but for a few days my life was quieter. And I was reminded that so much of the noise and busyness in my own life, I have the power to control..!

But bc I can’t live like a hermit forever and bc my friends statuses and posts aren’t going to like themselves (lol) I resubscribed to some of the noise, but this time I was armed w/ one simple reminder: never to let my life get so noisy that I miss the people, the moments and the conversations that really do matter.

EVERYONE HAS A STORY.

But you already knew that…

And our stories often intertwine to create relationships some deep and others superficial, but you probably already knew that too…

But I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately…

How everyone has a story…

And it caused me to reflect on the first seven months of this year — the first 7 months of my story called 2017—and if my 2017 story had a title, it’d probably be called Relationships. With a subtitle about being better in them or something like that. Because it seems like I’ve been constantly challenged to extend love when I don’t want to, or to be considerate when I wish a little more consideration was extended to me or to just simply forgive…

And oftentimes when I’m tempted to judge someone else’s story by the way that theirs impacted mine, I have to remind myself that simply isn’t fair!

Because if I was being completely honest, their impact on my story is just a small part of their story.

And their story isn’t finished being told.

And I don’t always have the privilege of having read the previous chapters of their story- of having seen how others impacted it.

And who am I to judge anyway!?

Because if not today, then possibly tomorrow, I may negatively impact someone else’s story with an unkind word or short response or inconsiderate action… And if I don’t want to be defined by my less than perfect moments, then I probably shouldn’t define others by theirs…

So these first 7 months of 2017 have taught me this simple lesson:

It’s unfair to define someone else’s story simply by the way theirs impacted yours…because if we were being completely honest, there’s more to their story…

…and I do so hope that the rest of their story turns out to be AMAZING!”

How’s your heart?

The question innocently asked by one of my dearest friends, that forever changed the way I lived life and understood my heart.  In that moment, I don’t think either of us understood the gravity of the question asked or the journey that I’d eventually embark on to try to answer it.

And now a couple of years removed from that moment, I look quickly backward and optimistically forward because that little question shapes my life EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

So how’s your heart? Yep, yours! How are you at the deepest part of you? The part that whispers the dreams and hopes you’d be embarrassed to say out loud. The part that knows all too well that sometimes you don’t feel qualified or prepared or simply enough… How are you there?

And what is your heart doing? Is it pushing you forward towards your dreams? Encouraging you to try harder? Or is it whispering words of doubt and discouragement? Telling you to just give up?

I’m convinced that our hearts help shape our destinies.  The condition of your heart will eventually reveal itself to everyone…they’ll have to look no further than your life.

So we want our hearts to be in good condition then, right?

I know I do!

But when I was trying to discover what a heart in good condition looked like, I got stuck at the idea of a guarded heart. Because for me it was almost impossible to reconcile a guarded heart with a heart that loves freely. We all have to reconcile for ourselves the dichotomy that exists between a guarded heart and a loving heart. Because our hearts should be both. Not just for our own sake, but for the sake of our relationships.

I believe real meaningful relationship happens when your heart is seen and understood by someone else. But allowing someone access to one of the deepest parts of who you are is as beautiful as it is frightening! We want what is most dear to us to be protected (guarded), but we also want it to be seen because w/o it being seen, can someone really know us?

If we give up on revealing our hearts, in an effort to guard them, then we give up on relationship and all of the benefits that come with being known, yet still loved.

But if we love recklessly w/ abandon everyone– our hearts will at some point be devastatingly broken. And broken hearts are no fun for anyone :/

But there is NO fear in love.

So if I’m loving someone, but at the same time worrying if they’ll break my heart, then I’m not loving right. And if I’m guarding my heart, only in an effort to prevent it from being broken…then I’m not guarding it right.

I think there’s this beautiful balance that can occur when we reconcile the dichotomy between loving and guarding. It’s the balance that happens when we love everyone…Love everyone uniquely.

A stranger I encounter has less access to my heart than my best friends do. WHY? Because there is a such thing as stranger danger and friendship does in fact have benefits 😉

So I refuse to give up on loving! But I’m not naive enough to do so w/o protecting.

I might get hurt, my heart may get broken, but I choose to make the safest, unsafe decision to love anyway….

Why A Blog?

So if I was being completely honest–and I intend to be 🙂 — this blog is many months in the making.  It’s the culmination of lots of lessons learned, some tears cried and more moments of frustration than I can even count.  It’s the final act in giving up trying to figure out how each part of my life fits.  How each part will one day unfold into the beautiful plan that I hope for and dream about.  It’s an act of obedience that for me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense which is why it’s ultimately an act of complete trust– trust that the plan will work out and be beautiful in its time…

This blog is just a piece of my story.

Can I share it w/ you?