A Summer of Surrender

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Hi friends, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written to you. I meant to blog more over the summer but it just kind of escaped me.

Summertime has always been my favorite, 100 degree weather, sitting out by the pool, sundresses, fresh watermelon and being outside until the sun goes down are some of my favorite things. And of course, who doesn’t love a beautiful summer sunset?

But this summer was unlike any other I have ever had before. It was a summer filled with fullness, yet sprinkled with moments of doubt and worry. But as I look back on my 16 weeks spent with my family in southwest Missouri, I wouldn’t change it. I grew in ways I didn’t think I could and learned to love beyond my natural capacity.

I interned at a news station with a contact consumer reporter. Basically, you bought into a scam? Tell us the details and we’ll fight the crime. It was great. We were busting crooks and making wrongs, a right – each and every day. I was slightly obsessed with my new job (and if you were wondering, I got a badge) but I also really loved the people I was working with. I became invested in their lives; I desired to see them know Jesus. It was strange because I had never seen a need for the gospel, quite like this before. This was my battleground for the summer, the place the Lord had appointed me to be a light.

Interning gave me purpose this summer, not only was I certain what my ministry was – but I was certain that broadcast journalism was what I wanted to pursue. All through the month of June, I would stay up late at night trying to figure out what life after graduation would look like. And I would worry about how Tyler and I were going to find jobs in the same city and how would we balance getting married along with that?! I would worry and worry and worry. Honestly, I believe I had made worry and idol. I would give more attention to my worry than the promises that the Lord had given to me.

One sunny day in early July all my anxiety about the future came to a head. I remember sitting in the studio watching the 6 o’clock news telling the Lord, “If you don’t want me to do this, take away my passion for it. If this is not the job field you have for me – make it so clear. Because this is what I want to do, but I want you to know that you are my greatest good. So even if you decide to take it from me, that’s okay. You can have it.”

My summer can be described with one word: surrender.

And that prayer, led to freedom. The worry fell off of me, the pressure to have it figured out – dissipated, the desire to not disappoint those mentoring me – diminished, and I felt full. It was like I was bound in chains I didn’t even know I was wearing and as I silently said these words, the chains were released. This wholeness was one I had been desperately searching for, but I had allowed worry to eat me alive. I learned this summer that worry is debilitating, it keeps you from experiencing the fullness of God’s love. When I just simply sit and bask in God’s love for me, man’s approval doesn’t matter and ultimately what I do with the rest of my life doesn’t matter either. I had to come to a breaking a point, a place where I could give everything up and know the Lord was enough.

About four weeks later, I was driving to Kentucky with my mom for a job interview. After 8 hours of quizzes, questions and pages upon pages of scripts – I was offered a position as a news reporter for a station in eastern Kentucky. Oh how faithful the Lord is.

And as I sit back and reflect on this journey, I am amazed. I realized how lowly my efforts were and my worry brought me nowhere. But when I was concerned with serving, loving others and following the Lord – it all fell into place.

It’s an exercise in trust. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Grasp His faithfulness, tell of His great works. Believe He has gone before you, and know that He is for you.

Why ministry and friendship aren’t synonymous

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Ministry does not equal friendship. Wait, what? Yes, that was my reaction too is once I made this discovery. It has taken me about two years to put this into words, so here we go.

When I begin investing time into people and really loving them, I have always thought a friendship was being formed. But then I would be confused when I wouldn’t get invited over to dinner or to go shopping but I would get a call when they were having their latest break up. It never made sense how we could spend time together each week, and they would tell me everything on their heart, yet they didn’t treat me as they treated the rest of their friends.

Discovery #1) Ministry is a lot of listening and pouring into others. In other words, you don’t get much in return. It’s truly taking on the role of a servant. A friendship is a two-way-relationship where ministry is more of a one-way-relationship.

Side note: Now don’t hear me say this and think it cannot be a two-way-relationship, because I’ve had some relationships where the ministry was a two-way-relationship and it was so so beautiful. But the reason that relationship was incredible was because it is rare.

I don’t know if you are like me, but in ministry I make a lot of goals. Some are attainable and others flat out aren’t. But I love making lists and these goals because they push me and drive me to invest more time and pursue hearts for the Lord. But I’ve noticed that sometimes I get in the habit of going and conquering and forget about the person, themselves. I just their needs and how I can help, and I forget to see them as a person. In other words I make those I’m ministering to my project.

Discovery #2) It’s not my job to fix. It’s my job to love and listen and to serve. It’s my job to be the one who is there regardless of what time it is.

And year after year, girls come into my life that I love wholeheartedly and then once the year ends, so does our relationship. Sure, we still like each other’s Instagram photos and give hugs when we see each other and excitedly blurt out, “let’s get coffee soon!” but as I walk away I know we won’t get coffee and I am left wondering, “why did the relationship go away?!

Discovery #3) Ministry comes in seasons. Unlike friendships that last for years, ministry comes in waves. My girls grow up and move onto different classes and they move to different parts of campus. But I’m busy too and my life is changing as well. And as life changes, those who are in sphere of influence change.

So to sum this up, ministry is such a beautiful thing because it is modeled after Christ and his disciples. And we can see how Jesus made friendships that were long lasting with some of his disciples and others saw him as their Lord and a great teacher. Ministry and friendship don’t typically go hand in hand, while they can, they usually don’t.

For so long now, I have made the two equal each other in mind and that has set me up for failure and unmet expectations. Instead, I encourage you to look at those you minister to in your life and know it is for just a season you get to call them “yours.” Be there for them, take them to coffee, listen, serve wholeheartedly but don’t expect them to do the same for you. Be the best servant you can be and ask the Lord to fill in the caps. Because ministry is the most fulfilling thing and also one of the most draining but I can guarantee you, you will look more like the Lord because of it.

Redefining Strength

Recently, I have been surrounded by strong and powerful women, women I truly look up to. But my heart has been burdened as I have been trying to navigate through the idea of what makes a women strong? How do being a lady and having power go together? And how did God design women in power to look?

I feel like our society screams at girls and women to be strong and independent. For so long, I so wanted to be described by those two adjectives believing that strength and independence would make me well respected and successful. But that’s lie.

All throughout the Bible we see so many strong women: Deborah, Mary, Ruth and Esther. It’s evident that the Lord did make women to be the more fragile vessel (1 Peter 3:1-7) but that does not mean women are weak. Our strength is showcased in different areas than men. And when we try to take the positions that are created for men or attempt to fulfill the roles men are supposed to satisfy then we run into difficulty. It is clear God crafted women to be strong within our own unique skillset.

So, it’s not wrong to be a strong woman but what defines our strength is the topic of this conversation.

Marie Curie stated that our confidence should be in ourselves.

America’s Next Top Model tells us we need to FIERCE.

Huffington Post published an article about being a confident woman and they share women need to listen more and remember to say no.

While none of these answers are wrong, they just aren’t fully right. In fact being confident in who we are, is great! We need to have high self-esteem and not be down ourselves (God didn’t create junk, and since God created each of us, we should celebrate who we are!) There’s nothing wrong with being fierce – I feel fierce when I put on my nude pumps! And listening and saying no definitely lead to a more well-rounded life. But I don’t think they give us a full picture of what it means to be a strong woman.

When I open my Bible and look up the word “strong” in the index, there are so many verses. Over and over again we are told to be strong in the Lord and not to be afraid because the Lord will be with us (Joshua 1:9). With the Lord we can move mountains and scale walls (Psalm 18:29). I think true strength comes from knowing our Creator and allowing Him to shape who we are.

Beauty won’t last, jewelry will corrode, achievements will gather dust, heels will break, dresses will snag, make-up will go bad, but understanding the love of the Lord will never expire.

If our confidence is solely in who we are as people, then we will be let down time and time again because humans are flawed. But if our confidence rests in Christ who is perfect, then wow! We will have a full picture of how to love others, extend grace and keep going even on our hardest days. And that is what will make a woman well respected and successful (But keep in mind, your idea of success and God’s idea of success might look different).

A strong woman understands that her main priority is to be obedient and follow after Jesus. Because of our faith and knowing what God has already done she can trust him and have hope for the future knowing that He will not let her down. For me, knowing that my strength comes from Christ, takes the pressure off.

Renee Swope says it best,

“I want to be a women who overcomes obstacles by tackling them in faith, instead of tiptoeing around them in fear.”

And that is my prayer for you on this Friday afternoon 🙂

 

A Response to Christian Millennials

The other day I was asked to comment on an article entitled, “The 47 Most Important Resolutions for Christian Millennials.”

I have attached my response and I believe this article brings up a lot of great points. I would love to hear all of your opinions!

Feel free to comment below 🙂


Wow! Super interesting post and I think it brings up a lot of good conversations. For the most part, I think this is very true in Christian millennials.

But we have to be very cautious because I believe a new movement is beginning – the grace movement. And don’t get me wrong, grace is essential, without grace, Christianity would not exist. However, with grace comes confrontation – the two go hand in hand – and as believers we have to draw lines somewhere with what we will and will not condone. I think we are called to be set apart and let love be our guide as we tackle issues in this world. If we allow issues like, LGBT rights and the current election season to be swept under the rug in the name of grace we are doing everyone a disservice and not representing Christ correctly.

Also, we need to stop formulating ideas and start putting things in practice. If we want to end the prosperity gospel but yet not criticize it and the people that believe it all at the same time – we need to practically figure out how to do that instead of just extending more grace and putting it under the “grace umbrella.” (You can see this mentality in #1-3).  I see this all the time at Liberty, we have a lot of college students making philosophies about how to do church planting, ministry and evangelism but often they are accompanied by generalized statements like #3, 8 and 13. We need to figure out how to do the “how” and stop formulating and just GO! Oh, and we can’t be afraid of failure!!!

Ultimately, I think it comes down to Jesus. And the world and Christians need more Jesus … we like to make lists and simplify the gospel and I know I am guilty of that at times too. I’m just afraid Christians of all ages are beginning to believe a watered down version of the gospel and settle in their walks with the Lord as they fear for the future because right now it looks bleak. But I think believers need to be reminded of who God is and the God we serve is the same one as Abraham, Moses and Job. The God we serve is the one who did the miracles recorded throughout the Bible and still has the power to do them today.

So yes, faith today is changing fast. I agree with that – a lot, but God is not changing. And I think that is the most important thing to remember when looking at articles like this.

It starts at Home

Why is it that those who we are closest to, we snap at the most? Why is it that our family members and closest friends, often hear the harshest words that come out of our mouth? Why is it that we put our best foot forward for those who we just met, but we let our guard down or allow our “true colors” show with those who matter most?

I am shocked at how easy it is for me to suddenly yell or make a snide comment to those I love the most. Is it because I know they will always love me? Is it because I know they can’t get rid of me? Is it because I excuse my actions and fail to notice I’m in the wrong?

How I treat my family, Tyler and closest friends should be a reflection of how I treat people I just meet. Because I believe the true test of your character is defined by how you treat people within your home.

As I think more about this concept and dive into scripture I can see how I have not made the relationships that are closest to me a priority. I have almost put them on an auto pilot setting and they have been coasting. It’s easy for me to get frustrated with these people or really annoyed because I haven’t been pursuing them with the same love I pursue other people that I try to impress with.

The bottom line is that yes, I want to have friends (everyone does, right?)! I want to be known as the friendly and smiley girl who will always listen to your problems, pray for you on the spot and be more loyal than your dog type-of-person. But can my family, Tyler and closest friends say the same thing about me? Or do I just put my best foot forward for people who barely know me?

All of these questions continually remind me of my brokenness. I am so broken. I have so many things I have not figured out. It seems to be right when everything is going well and I have my feet under me, a raging current of water sweeps them out from under me and I am left confused and wet.

But I do know some things that certain and these are truths that carry me when all of these questions flood my brain. God makes me whole, even though I am broken, He comes alongside of me and continually renews me. He is loves me with a persistent love and I need to love with that same love. He never gives up on me, even when I yell back or say a rude remark to someone – He isn’t deterred by my sinful nature but stays constant.

I so so want my view of people to be consistent with how the Lord views them. That is the desire of my heart. But it is so difficult with those I love most. I can so evidently see my flaws in the relationships with those I am closest to. My brokenness and weaknesses shine through all the more. So today I am striving to live a better broken and not wallow in my weakness but praise the one who has no weakness and loves with no reservations.

I don’t have the answer to these questions, friends, but I know the one who does and He is the one I’m seeking as I’m trying to figure out these messy parts of life and I encourage you to do the same.

When Sweet Seasons Come to an End

Sitting at a picnic the other night, I was told all things have a shelf life and even the best things come to an end. Whether it is an once-in-a-lifetime experience – it will eventually be over, your dream job – you will sooner or later work your last day there, or even your worst day will only be 24 hours. All things have an expiration date.

The last few days, I have been having a lot of things coming to an end, including a really sweet season of my life. As I have watched it slowly come to a halt my heart has been left frantic and pieces. I think it is our natural tendency to try and save sweet seasons and stretch them to last as long as possible.

As I reflect and look back on the 2016-2017 year, I immediately categorize it as a great year sprinkled with some rough patches but the good outweighed the bad by a landslide. I made beautiful, gospel centered friendships, I was given a front row seat to watch the Lord work in the lives of girls on my hall, the RA ministry fell naturally within my skillset, school went really well (besides that one English class) and I just had a lot of fun. It was just a sweet sweet season.

But all things come to an end.

Even the sweetest seasons of life have an expiration date. And as I said good bye to each girl on my hall, I wasn’t sad! In fact, I told all of them I would see them in three short months! But as I packed up my bags and left my home of 9 months, the reality that I would never live on a dorm style hall again hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized in that instant that all 70 of us would never be together again. And that I was no longer in charge and had to revert back to being submissive to different authority.

If all good things lasted forever we would never understand how to persevere in our faith or learn more about who Christ is. And even endings in Christ are beautiful. Think about fall, how all the leaves change to so many different vibrant colors. Everyone takes pictures covered in leaves and posts them on Instagram and we celebrate by ordering Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks. Fall is a celebration and yet it signifies an ending.

And when a believer in Christ dies, it means their earthly body is no longer needed but their soul is reunited with Jesus. They are no longer in pain, tears aren’t shed anymore, earthly stress is gone and they are free – completely free in Jesus Christ. Death is beautiful. I don’t believe God ever meant for things on this earth to be permanent. He created all of this to be a vapor and when I remember that it puts everything in perspective. If the Lord makes something tragic, beautiful, then how much more beautiful can he make death look in our lives?

And maybe you are like me and mourning a season of life you wish you could hold onto for just a little bit longer – know that the sadness or pain you are experiencing right now it doesn’t last forever. It is only for a brief moment in time, and after the tears have stopped flowing remind yourself of your blessings (because I guarantee you there are many). Perhaps you are currently in a really sweet season – savor it, take pictures, journal and hold it close because it has a shelf life.

Cling to Jesus in whatever season because he will never leave when the seasons come and go. So I’m choosing to be thankful for the sweet season that is now gone and I’m praying that the future will be filled with joy in a whole new way. Be encouraged that the Lord has gone before you and sees you on the mountaintops and in the valleys – you are not forgotten about.

I hate goodbyes but I love sunrises

I hate goodbyes. If you know me, you know I’ll cry and not know what to say. I’ll probably try to avoid it for as long as possible and when the time does come, I’ll more than likely be awkward, give you a quick hug and split.

For the past few weeks I have been distracting myself so I won’t realize how soon the school year is coming to a close and I will have to say goodbye to my girls on my hall, friends and Tyler. So I have been reading more books, going to the gym more often, making lots of plans and pretending that we are living here for at least three more months. But the reality is that we only have days – 10 to be exact.

Back in September, Tyler decided he was going to go out to California this summer to work at a zip line tour camp. I was super excited for him, in fact, I encouraged him to go. But as the summertime inched closer and closer, I got more and more upset that he was leaving.

I couldn’t find words to express these emotions so I let them sit inside and fester (bad idea). I felt left out and hated the idea of being apart for three long months. So I decided not talking about it and trying to forget it was a “thing,” would be best.

Wrong.

That was really the wrong thing to do because when you let things sit inside they eventually come out (usually in the way a volcano erupts).

One night, all my feelings of hurt and pain overwhelmed me and I was a blubbery mess. All I could think was, “he is leaving me.”

Now, I am usually a fairly independent person and I LOVE doing things on my own and having my own time. So the fact that I was having these emotions – shocked me. But there I was in the darkness of my small room, crying and angry.

I felt lonely and this led to me separating myself from Tyler and my close friends for a week or so. The longer I isolated myself the more I believed that I was insignificant. Which was a lie. Sometimes believing lies is so much easier because they allow us to wallow in our emotions where truth forces us to confront our emotions.

I continued to read my Bible and spend time with the Lord but it felt rehearsed and stale. I wondered what was wrong with me and why I didn’t feel joyful. I kept asking the Lord where He was, and He kept reminding me that He never left me.

After two weeks of fighting my feelings and not wanting to come to terms with the reality of the summer, the time had come.

Sitting in the car, watching the sun rise this morning over the mountains, Tyler reminded me how much he loved me and even though this summer wasn’t going to be easy – it was going to be okay. As he said this, the sun rose through the clouds and everything became bright. And as I looked up and saw the sun, I heard the Lord whisper, “Taylor it’s going to good.”

I think sunrises are going to become my new thing. Because as I sat there in the quietness of the early morning, birds were chirping and sun light filling the sky – I was finally at peace. I was reminded that the Lord is in each of our plans. It took me fighting my emotions and wrestling, to be shown that the Lord will sustain me through His promises. Just as surely as I can trust the sun to rise each morning, I can trust the Lord to be faithful.

So yes, goodbyes are inevitable – and that is okay. I’m okay. The Lord has promised that it’s going to be okay.

 

Motivated by Praise

I’ve come to my computer countless times to type this post but I just haven’t been able to find the words. Because as I struggle to learn about this concept, I feel my inner flesh being stripped away, and the sanctification process really hurting – I know it’s good, but that doesn’t make it any less painful, you know?

For me Instagram (my favorite) and Facebook tend to be places where comparison runs wild.

As I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, I saw four of my really good friends post pictures praising other people – I was instantly jealous and found myself questioning if our friendship was as strong as theirs and wondering where I fit in their lives.

For a couple of days I just sulked and thought about it constantly, wondering what I had to do to get a post on their Instagram about myself.

Then it hit me, in the car as I drove, I wanted compliments and recognition so people would praise me. So my friends, my family’s friends, followers and everyone would see my greatness and know that I was important.

In that moment I was quietly convicted of my motives. The Lord was like, “Taylor, remember I created you? I gave everything to you, so why are you trying to take away from the praise I deserve?”

I couldn’t argue with that and as I sat there deep in thought, I considered how I had let a love of public praise drive my motivations. I realized that some of my reasons for getting someone coffee, grabbing lunch with them or going hammocking was all for their Insta. I desperately wanted to be noticed for my good deeds.

When I returned to my phone later that day, a good friend (one who had posted a picture with someone else) texted me – completely out of the blue – telling me how much our friendship meant to her.

In that moment, I was reminded that the Lord knows our heart’s deepest desires and cravings. He knew I needed that validation but giving it to me in the form of public praise would have been bad for my ego but being told in private forced me to acknowledge the Lord and not turn to my pride.

Public praise can be positive but at this point in my life it’s become a negative thing. I have to come to the point where being recognized by the Father is sufficient and all my heart desires. And man, oh man, is that challenging stuff (hence the painful part of sanctification, but it truly is needed).

Since that awe-striking moment a few weeks ago, the refining process has continued. I am being stripped of my fleshly desire to be noticed on social media on a daily basis, and every day choosing to be thankful for the words of affirmation I do receive. And honestly, it is really hard – because my heart craves attention. In my pride, I want the spotlight but I am beginning to truly understand the sweetness of private praise.

If I always bring the attention to myself and to my life – then it is a waste, I truly desire to make Christ known through my life. So that means I must decrease so He can increase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year 20 Recapped

Just the other day on April 6, I turned 21, and yes, I feel older! As I look back reflect on my twentieth year, a lot of the things that stick out to me were on my Twenty During 20 list. While I didn’t complete all of them – I completed most of them and I’m happy with that.

Go ahead and follow my adventures for this year Twenty-One During 21. But in the meantime, here is a recap. I marked off the things I completed and explained the ones I didn’t.

TWENTY DURING 20

Respond to every person who wished me “Happy Birthday”.

Become a true morning person.

The mornings have become a beautiful time. I have found I am more productive in the mornings and I am also able to spend time with the Lord before my day starts. While some mornings it’s more difficult to wake up than others, it’s always worth it.

Read 10 books.

            Well I read 8, so I don’t consider it a complete and total defeat. This is what I read:

  1. The invisible girls by: Sarah Thebarge
  2. The Power of a Habit by: Charles Duhigg
  3. Katie: the real story by: Edward klein
  4. Telling the truth by: Marvin Olasky
  5. Desiring God by: John Piper
  6. Bittersweet by: Shauna Niequist
  7. Dear John by: Nicholas Sparks
  8. The Bible

Learn an instrument.

            This one just didn’t happen … maybe next year? We’ll see!

Drink at least one glass of water each day.

Get involved in a local church ministry.

Ride the National Harbor Ferris Wheel.

            We are going to plan a trip to D.C. to do this soon!

Start a savings account for future travels.

Learn how to do pottery.

Attend a concert.

Get a picture with Jerry and Becky Falwell.

            Couldn’t find them, they are always on the go.

Read through the whole Bible.

Gain at least 30 more blog subscribers

Visit New York City.

Get floor seats for Coffeehouse.

            We tried! But they always sold out within minutes!!!

Go on a missions trip.

            Perhaps soon in the future.

Do yoga on top of a mountain and get a cool picture while doing it.

Write a thank you note for every present I get.

I kinda forgot about this goal and when Christmas came and went I realized I had failed at this.

Lead a person to the Lord.

Learn to rap.

Getting to Know Me

This morning I was asked, “Where I thrived most this year?” As I thought about this question, many memories and thoughts flooded my brain. And my simple answer was – I have learned the value and beauty in spending time with Jesus first thing every morning. Not that I am perfect at it because some mornings I cannot open my eyelids or snooze my alarm but for the most part, the mornings are when I sit in His presence. It’s quiet, people aren’t yelling down the hall and I feel alone. It’s the absolute best way to start off my day and because I make time for him usually I have time for everything else (its funny how that works).

“If sleep is hindering you from spending time with Jesus, you have made an idol of sleep.” –Cimber Cummings.

While spending quality time each day with the Lord is the overarching theme in which I have thrived, I have also grown in knowing who I am. As I prepare for my next birthday, I know more about myself than ever before. This year I have learned what I am good at, not good at and what I love and value.

Bittersweet (you know that book I mentioned last time I blogged?) by Shauna Niequist, says that you need to figure out what you do and what you don’t do. I like thought a lot!

“… She said it’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” – Shauna Niequist

Since I read that I decided I needed to figure out for myself what I do and what I don’t do. So here is my list:

What I do:

I strive to spend time with the Lord and put effort in developing my knowledge of God and making him known. By taking lies captive, being a servant, finding solitude in his presence and speaking truth I am able to know him more. He is my source of joy and therefore, the outflow of everything I do in life should be from him.

Next, I support and learn with Tyler. As we navigate through this crazy adventure we call life, my goal is to point him to truth, to pray for him and be a listening ear. That means setting aside time for him and being intentional so that he knows he is loved.

I foster relationships with people in my path so that community can grow. I cannot do life alone, I need people! So I purpose time for people like Megan, Kelsey, Heidi, Elizabeth, Ellen, Baylee, Sylvana, Anna, Katelyn, my leadership team, my family and my church family because they give me a new found energy.  It is so important I laugh with them and have deep meaningful conversations because those bring life and spring forth growth.

Eating good food brings me joy. It is so needed that I eat food that not only fills my tummy but delights my taste buds. When I eat a good steak or delicious piece of pie, I am really feeding my soul. Food gives me life and inspiration on a whole new level.

It is important to me that I am active. Whether that is going to the gym, playing tennis or doing yoga, I need to stay fit. Otherwise, I start feeling bad about myself and get lazy and unmotivated.

I need introvert time. While I love people, I recharge alone. So allowing myself to have time to think by myself and enjoy silence is crucial.

I write. Writing helps me process my thoughts whether that is through blogging or writing you a hand written card. Putting words on a page help me sort through things in my heart that I don’t even realize are there.

Lastly, I do my chores, I go to school, clean my room, do my laundry every so often and take care of my life like any adult. This isn’t the most glamorous but necessary so that I can do the things I truly love.

These are the things that I bring me joy and fill my heart, the ones that were easy to write down because they come naturally to me.


 

What I don’t do:

I do not do one-sided relationships. Relationships go both ways, if you are not going to be intentional with our friendship then it’s draining. As harsh as that sounds and as much as it pains me, I am realizing I can’t be friends with everyone – And that’s okay!

I don’t stress or worry. My homework always gets done and if I worry about the future then suddenly I am missing where I am placed in the present. If I truly believe the Lord has gone before me and is with me then, he will take care of me. Stress and worry are lies we buy into and claim as truth but it’s so sinful when we do.

I don’t keep up with music, there are just too many genres and artists. I don’t even know where to begin so I will stick with my Spotify Premium radio and enjoy the picks they choose. Also, I won’t pretend to know the artist when you ask “who sings that song?”, because chances are I have no idea or have even heard of that person before.

I don’t have friendships that are rooted in comparison. Comparison steals my joy and robs me of finding my identity solely in Christ. I try to distance myself from comparison because nothing good comes from it. My heart feels uneasy and I then doubt my creator and who he made me to be – so I don’t do comparison.

I don’t stay busy. Constant busyness is a state of your heart. And I think Lysa TerKeurst says an overwhelmed heart, leads to an underwhelmed soul. I want to have the ability to feel and not be weighed down by so many responsibilities I can’t breathe. If my life is only about doing things to better myself and my career – I am missing the mark. I want my life to be a reflection of the cross.

I don’t pick out my outfits the night before. It stresses me out and it always look different on the hanger than it does when it’s on. So I will just wait for the next morning.

Lastly, I don’t always say yes. No is a beautiful word, that gives me freedom. If I always say yes then I will be left empty. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

These are the things I don’t do, it took me a long time to make this list. But once I did, I felt an immense amount of freedom because I suddenly understood myself more. And I also felt freedom to operate knowing fully what I was gifted in.


 

Yes, I’m sure these lists will change, but for now – this is what I do and don’t do.