The Day I Decided To Try Hot Yoga

I walked into the room and it smelled like feet.

Sweaty feet.

I had complained about the heat outside all day, and here I was walking into a room even hotter, willingly, and I’d be in it for 90 minutes. No escape.

But I was all in. I’m no good at yoga at all. I was the world’s least flexible cheerleader, so contorting my body is not my forte. But I love the way yoga makes me feel when I’m finished, and I love trying things I’m no good at and getting just even a little better.

The instructor was the epitome of what you would think a yoga instructor should be – calm, tall, lean, bull hoop nose ring. Before the class started, she welcomed the “new girl” – me.

Great, everyone will be watching me. Now, I can’t mess up.

That’s how we sometimes walk through life – worried that everyone is watching and all our moves have to be graceful and beautiful and perfect. And the reality is, when we start moving and the heat kicks in, we will just be doing the best we can, sweating with messy hair the whole time.

And sometimes, life will be really hot and smell like feet, but we just have to get past it and ignore the smell.

The walls were all mirrored, so no matter where I looked, there I was. For most of the positions, our focal point was supposed to be our own eyes in the mirror.

Instead of looking around or looking down, we just needed to look into our own eyes to stay balanced and centered. It was very hard to do because my eyes were small and far away and hard to focus on, but every time I did it, I was more peaceful.

But sometimes, I would watch the girls in front of me, trying to make sure I was doing the poses correctly. I would end up just trying to keep up with them and comparing myself to them and feeling bad when I couldn’t stretch quite as far as they could. I would feel like everyone was watching me be not-so-great and just kind of average while someone else was soaring.

Then it hit me as more sweat rolled into my eyes – No one was watching me. They were all focused on themselves and their own struggles and strengths, and they had their own thoughts going on in their heads that didn’t concern me or anyone else failing or excelling.

After each round of poses was completed twice, we would lie down and rest. Just as soon as I would get rested, the instructor would intensely say, “Sit up,” and then she would spout off the instructions: “Toes and heels together, arms above the head, thumbs crossed, reach your toes, double exhale.” It was surprising and a little overwhelming each time. I was just never ready, but I had to do it to get to the next pose.

Isn’t that how life hits us? We get comfortable and rested, and then boom! We get instructions shouted at us and we have to sit up and get uncomfortable again before we can move on to the next step and reach comfort again. It’s a cycle, and we have to stay calm and focused and be ready for surprises or it will keep sneaking up on us. We have to find comfort no matter the situation or what we are being told to do.

When I would mess up, I would breathe in, wipe the sweat off, and just try again, or I would modify the pose instead of straining myself to do something my body couldn’t do. That’s the trick – we have to wipe off the sweat and take a moment for ourselves, then we have to keep going. Even if what we are doing isn’t the most perfect move, it’s the best move we can make.

At times – a lot of times – I wanted to quit and walk out of that awfully hot room. I felt weak and I just wanted to lay down (in a tub of ice). But the energy around me kept me going, the instructor’s voice kept me going, the voice in my head kept me going.

Just when I really thought I couldn’t do it for one more second, when I was only 2 poses away from completing all 26, the instructor said, “Get out of your head. Put the negative thoughts away…only positive energy.” And suddenly, I had a renewed strength.

God is telling us that every day. He is telling us to put those thoughts away and just be. He renews the strength so you can finish the day. And you can finish it better than ever.

I know my mind was supposed to rest and be silent during the hottest yoga session on earth, but I had so many things revealed to me as I was bent up like a pretzel in a 100-degree, mirrored-wall room. Sometimes, when we aim to still our minds, we can hear things loud and clear that we normally can’t hear because of our own voices.

Basically, it was hot, I sweated more than I ever have even on the hottest day of the year, I wanted to quit, and I was unsure of myself so many times, but I finished. I finished and I felt so amazing when I was done. And the women who I thought would look down on me – they came to me to tell me how well I had done. They said they would have never known it was my first time.

Chances are, no one is looking down on you and talking about how terribly you’re doing life. If they are, they aren’t focused on their own lives, and they’ll lose their own balance.

Do the best you can with what you have. Rid your mind of the negativity and the comparisons, and focus on your own eyes. Then, you’ll see yourself for the really cool person you really are that is way more flexible with this whole life thing than you ever even knew.

So, roll your mat out, embrace the heat and the weird smell, and reach as far as you possibly can.

Before hot yoga...and after

Before hot yoga…and after

Namaste.

Don’t Live A Happy Life

Living a “happy” life is not all it’s cracked up to be. You can live happily ever after without truly being fulfilled.

Sometimes God doesn’t seem important until we have nothing left – nothing else surrounding us to distract us. When life is going well, we are consumed by it. We become obsessed with how fantastic life is.

We throw ourselves into friendships, relationships, school, work, parties, events – and we totally leave God out of it all.

Months go by and we look back and realize how lost we’ve gotten in the world. We are called to be in the world, not of the world.

We realized we haven’t been acting like ourselves. Then it hits: “This is me without God.”

I know the me without God reigning over my heart is scary – lost, desperate for attention, focused on instant gratification.

If we let the world take over our hearts, we don’t leave room for God there. We lose sight of what the end goal really should be. The popularity and money and success and earthly happiness are not more important than eternity and the relationship that will get us there.

Resorting back to the old person you laid to death when you accepted Christ is the first step down the wrong path for your life. Stop where you are and turn back around.

Don’t just live a fun, “happy” life – live a full, purposeful life.

A great marriage, a successful job, a healthy lifestyle, a new car, our passions, friendships, trips, achievements – none of those matter without God at the center, no matter how “happy” they make us.

If we are living as if the world is all that matters, it will become all we have.

Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number

What’s age got to do with it?

From the time we are born, we are given certain benchmarks we are to reach at a certain age – when we should walk, when we should talk, when we can get a cell phone, when we can drive a car… the list goes on.

Age seems to be such a lingering factor in life, but what does it really even matter? It’s a number, and that’s really all.

We have gotten so caught up in having another item checked off the list at a certain age. Have a college degree by 23, be married by 25, have kids before 30, start a career right out of college, retire at 65.

Shouldn’t we just stop and smell the roses instead of counting down our days?

We are racing to beat the clock when we have no idea when our clock will run out. No one knows how much time he/she has on earth, so treating it like a sprint is no good. It’s a race alright, but it’s a slow steady jog, not a full speed, mad dash to the finish line.

You do not have to know what you want to do with your life when you are 18, or even 25. Some people don’t discover their passion until they are 50-years-old. Nowhere has it been written that your life has to be “together” before you turn 30.

Yet, we treat life as if it will end when we turn 30, that it will end when we have children, that it will end as soon as we reach the age the world calls “old.”

There are plenty of 50-somethings that have much younger, more vibrant souls than so many 20-somethings.

Living a long time doesn’t make you boring and tired, and living a short time doesn’t make you dumb and naive. You get to choose what you want to do and when you want to do it, no matter how old you become.

Rushing to get married before you “run out of time” does just that – it rushes it. Beautiful things take time to create, nourish, and build. Worrying about finding that special someone and sealing the deal before you get too old might ruin it all together – and then you’ll be looking for another someone.

You can be single and “find yourself” for as long as you’d like. You can also work where you want and live wherever you want for as long as you want. There is nothing holding you back except that little voice in your head telling you you have to work and live in certain places in order to achieve a certain goal by a certain time.

Things won’t always work out the way you envisioned when you made that five-year plan, and that’s ok.

Plans are for the birds anyway – oh wait, no they aren’t because birds just fly. That’s what we were created to do – just fly. Instead, we stay on the ground worried about whether or not we are meeting the deadlines we have pulled out of thin air for our lives.

It’s fine to have goals, dreams, plans, and schedules – but when we let them define us, when we put a time limit on our happiness, that’s asking for disappointment.

Your journey does not have a deadline. You do not have a deadline. You will grow into who you are supposed to become, and however long that takes, well that’s just fine.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s the saying, right? Well, you can’t be built in a day either. Becoming the person you want to be with the life you want to live might happen when you’re 24, but chances are it won’t. Chances are, you will continue to evolve and change every day until your very last day.

The key to happiness is to soak up every moment, and we can’t do that if we are worried that we haven’t accomplished enough for our age.

Every person on earth has a different genetic makeup that allows for different accomplishments, hopes, wishes, ideas, thoughts, actions, etc. Therefore, there is no guideline on ages and what stage of life a person should be in at a certain age.

While yes, maturity in different areas comes with time, that does not mean everyone matures at the same rate.

So stop holding yourself to this fictional standard. You do not have to figure your life out before you turn 30. If you’re still single and haven’t decided what type of career you want to pursue and haven’t lost that extra 10 pounds and haven’t checked those top three things off your bucket list when your 30th birthday rolls around, your life won’t end. And if you learned and grew and built relationships and made happy memories while you weren’t achieving all those things you thought you were supposed to, then you lived. You lived fully if you can look back and smile.

Don’t let those age expectations allow you to self-destruct. Just do your best and love yourself and everyone around you – your life will eventually make sense.

Quit focusing on age and numbers and deadlines – start focusing on life and feelings and moments.

Why You Shouldn’t Love People So Much

As someone who really loves people and loves to make new friends, and as someone who is a complete people pleaser and wants everyone to be happy, I am here to tell you we have got to stop loving people so much.

I know this sounds crazy. We are called to love, right?

We are called to love like Christ, but we are NOT called to love anyone or anything more than we love Christ.

Because God tells us to love our neighbor as ourself, it’s evident that loving people is one of the upmost important things we do as Christians. He even says that what we do or do not do to the least of people is what we do or do not do to Him. That means we certainly better love them, but we are getting way too caught up and putting people right up there with God where no one should or can be.

We as Christians are supposed to show people the love of Christ in words we say and things we do. But what happens when we start caring more about them than we do about our Lord?

Galatians 1:10: “For am I now seeking the favor of men or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

Servant is the boldest word in this verse to me. Whoever we are trying to please is who we become a servant of. Who we spend the most of our time on is who we care about the most. So, is that God?

Or are we striving every day to make sure everyone around us likes us? I’ll tell you right now, that’s not love of God or others, that’s love of self. Being obsessed with yourself – and that doesn’t mean you think you’re pretty or cool or awesome or hot – it means you think about yourself a lot.

Trying to make sure everyone is your biggest fan catches up with you and drives you crazy. It takes away from your relationship with God in so many ways.

You become obsessed with it, and being obsessed with anything but Christ means that thing is an idol. People in your life can be idols.

Idols aren’t just money or sexual immorality or drugs or alcohol. Good things can be idols too. Good people can become our idols.

John 12:43 “For they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”

Rather than. Instead of. One and not the other. If we want the approval of our friends or people we barely know on social media, we cannot also have the approval of God.

If you take out the words “the approval of,” it just says, “For they loved men rather than God.”

Is it more important to make God happy or to impress people and get 300 likes on Instagram?

Do we follow what the Spirit is telling us to do or give into peer pressure to do something we know isn’t right just so that one group of people will like us and finally start inviting us to hang out more?

Are those people in charge of your salvation and where you will spend eternity? If you really do love people and want to make them happy, you’ve got to show them Jesus even if it doesn’t seem like the cool thing to do.

It won’t be easy. We were told that and shown that by Jesus himself. But in the end, it will be worth it. If we really want people to love us, we have to lead them to Christ. They will eventually love us the way Christ does because He will reign in their hearts and their lives. Showing them who He is is the one and only way to show them true love. Because God is love.

It’s not only the approval of peers around us we have to be careful with. We have to be careful in our friendships and relationships with the people who mean the most to us.

My family means the world to me. I have a best friend that has been my friend for 22 years. It is so easy to forget that even they will disappoint me and can’t satisfy me the way God can.

At the end of the day, He is the only One who has never let me down. My family and friends are always there for me, but if I put all my faith in them, I will be upset more times than not. It’s not only an injustice to God and myself to rely on humans, it is not fair to them. Expecting out of people what only God can do sets us both up for failure and disappointment.

It’s the same in a romantic relationship. It has to be a triangle. God at the top, the two of you at the bottom corners. Without God at the top, you’re just a straight line and, well, that’s not even a shape, so it just can’t make any sense.

But seriously, a straight line doesn’t enclose anything. It allows for so much space on the outside. Inside a triangle where God is at the top, you can pull in the love you need from the Father to make sure you have a healthy, godly relationship.

The same is true for any friendship you’ll ever have.

Someone told me just the other day, every decision you make should be obedient and honoring. It has to be both. You have to honor the person while also being obedient to God. If you can’t be obedient to God with your decision, even if the other person is telling you it will honor them, it’s the wrong decision, and it truly won’t honor them.. whether that’s your parents, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, teacher… You have to be obedient to God first.

God commands us to be obedient to our parents, but you have to honor God first. He wants us to honor our friends, but we can’t disregard what He is saying just to make them happy.

JOY – Jesus Others Yourself – I know it’s corny, but it holds a lot of truth. We must put people above ourselves, but we also must put Jesus above people.

Proverbs 29:26 “Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the Lord.”

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

John 5:44 “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the the one and only God?”

How can you believe? Wow. Basically what John is telling us is that we can’t even say we are believers if we are over here trying to impress everybody and their mama and just forgetting about Jesus.

Let’s please Jesus. We can’t please everyone else. But if you please Him, He will give you the right people to love that will love you back without you having to try so hard.

He loves you even when you mess up. He forgives you every day. He is such a great friend, so why wouldn’t we want to please Him and be a great friend back? It takes two to make a relationship work.

So don’t worry so much about what everyone thinks about what you’re wearing or who you hang out with or what car you drive or how much money you make.

Striving for greatness is never a bad thing, so don’t be confused about that. But who you’re striving for greatness for, who you’re trying to impress, the people you long for attention from when you strive for those great things – that can be a bad thing.

Loving people more than Christ becomes easier to do once you fall in love with someone. When you’re in love with a person, they’re pretty much all you think about. But those thoughts take away from your thoughts about God and how you can strengthen your relationship with Him.

If you’re loving a significant other so much it’s taking you away from God, you need to run as fast as you can and fix your heart before you’re in too deep. Once you’re in love, it is hard to force yourself out. That’s why Christ is a necessary foundation at the beginning of every relationship, romantic or friendly.

Devoting your entire heart and soul and existence to a human is not ok unless you’ve first devoted it to God. We have to be lost in love with God in order to even find someone He sees fit for us to share our love for Him with.

Love Christ first, then the love for people will follow right behind. Once He’s in your heart, you can’t help but pour Him out wherever you go.

So don’t love people so much more than Christ that you get caught up serving them, not Him, and becoming a slave all over again. You’ve been set free – He set you free – so you don’t want that bondage.

Don’t put the chains of obsessing over people on and ignore the freedom at your fingertips.

Love people all day every day, but love God first and more.

A Letter To My Mom Before She Dies

Dedicated to my mother and my very best friend

It’s hard for me to even fathom the world, my world, without you in it.

You’ve always been in it.

But today I heard a speaker talk about losing their mother. I thought of when you lost yours. Then I realized if I lost mine, it would be you.

I immediately had a panic attack. Cried. Hyperventilated. Then prayed.

I don’t mean to be morbid. It’s just that I have never talked about it, written about it, or really even thought that hard about it because it terrifies me.

And I am so thankful that you aren’t sick, terminally ill, or hurt, but I just wanted you to know all these things before you die in at least 115 years.

That scares me so much, and I choose to ignore it, but I know God doesn’t want me to live in fear. Things happen that we can’t control and we can’t lose sight of God and let our worlds fall apart if they happen. He has already defeated death, so nothing can ever overpower his power and love, even my greatest fear in the entire world.

What we can do is make sure we show as much love as we can in the time we are given.

I showed up in your life earlier than you had probably planned (the only time I’ve ever shown up to anything early), and of all the things you could’ve done, you chose to love me.

From mother-daughter pictures in our matching overalls, to leaving me oatmeal creme pies to wake up to before you went to work. It was never easy, but as far as I knew, and as much as I can remember, it always felt so easy.

Simplicity and love are the two most important things you’ve shown me. And how important it is to eat our bacon extra double crispy – very important.

When my friends were mean, when I got picked on at school, when I felt like I didn’t matter at all, you told me I did then took me shopping to show me how real problems got solved. “We talked and window shopped ’til I’d forgotten all their names.”

My own personal alarm clock, even when I’m 22 and have a full-time job. I would’ve flunked out of college and gotten fired already without you.

I can’t make a single decision, even what I should eat for lunch, without calling you first.

People say to their friends, “I don’t know how I’ve made it my whole life without you.” I say to you, “I couldn’t have made it a single day without you.”

I don’t even remember one of the hundreds of fights we had. All I remember is talking at the same time then laughing about talking at the same time, shopping and eating then shopping some more then eating some more, Lifetime movies on Sunday afternoons, talking for hours and hours, sleepovers, and road trips, and all the stupid dreams you helped me chase.

I remember how you’ve given up your whole life so I could live mine. You gave up your dreams at 17 so you could make sure I reached all of mine. And you haven’t stopped giving a day since.

How is your house always clean and your makeup always perfect? Even after you work all day and cook supper for everyone? Still haven’t figured that one out.

I’ve seen you cry and I’ve made you cry – tears of joy, pride, and sometimes even sadness.

My triumphs have been your triumphs and my struggles your struggles.

Someone complimented my hair one time while we were shopping, and you said to me, “Gosh you’re so beautiful. And there’s no one else I’d rather be in public with and hear how pretty they are all the time.” I cried of course, but I also never forgot that.

All the lunches packed with sweet notes, all the Christmas presents, all the surprises waiting for me when I get home – my days have been made because of you.

I remember one time daddy picked me up from school and I was sick to my stomach just knowing something bad had happened to you. When I got home, you had surprised me for my birthday and painted my room – each wall a different color and hippie stuff everywhere just like I had always wanted.

That’s what you’ve done my whole life – painted all the walls a different color just when I really needed it.

No one knows me better than you and no one really ever will.

When I don’t feel like I’m worth a dime, I remember that you think I’m worth millions, and it never fails to make me smile and keep my head up.

I don’t give up because you’ve never let me. If my confidence is low, I pretend I’m walking into the room with you, my favorite partner in crime and confidence boost.

I say all of that to say your job as a mother has been done very well, but your job as a person, as my person, couldn’t have been done by anyone else.

I know there will be a day when I won’t have you to pick me up or save me or tell me if I can wash my blouse with my towels, and that breaks my heart and sends tears streaming.

But then I smile because God gave me you all those years ago and knew how much I would need you. So it’s not sad that we won’t always be a phone call or short drive away because we’re as close as close can be.

Thank you for wearing matching overalls with me, making my days special by taking me to Burger King, having my Barbie doll baked atop my birthday cake, and recording Barney on VHS so I wouldn’t cry when he would leave.

Because of you, I do stand a little taller and love myself a little more.

I am not sure what I will ever do without you, and I pray it’s no time soon, but remember the rule…we don’t talk about it.

I sure hope you don’t read this mom, because I know you will just cry and cry and cry.

And hey, this was the hardest thing I’ve ever written, and I cried the entire time.

But I wanted you to know all these things, and God gave me today, so I wrote it today.

If you’re reading this and have a special person in your life, make sure they know how much you love them because the best time to love is right now.

50 Shades of Opinions

I’ve seen hundreds of blogs lately about why we shouldn’t watch “50 Shades of Grey.” I’ve also seen hundreds of blogs lately about why you can watch “50 Shades of Grey” if you want to. Here’s the deal. Both sides are wrong. But both sides are right, too. 50 Shades is an explicit, erotic love story. It has a storyline – the love story and the way in which a strong, powerful man is weakened and thrown off by his feelings of true love, and how a shy, oddly beautiful woman falls for him and changes him more than he even changes her. It’s a beautiful storyline, really. It’s been done before, though. So, let’s throw in some crazy, weird, dangerous sex to really spice things up. I read the first book, and while I thought the way sex was portrayed in it was unnecessary and ungodly, I was in no way offended as a woman. I was offended as a person who takes sex and love very seriously and treats it as a gentle, beautiful thing rather than a rough, dirty act. That made me think about all the things I’ve read and watched in my life that have portrayed sex as a dirty game. “Sex and the City” is one of my very favorite shows. “Scandal” is also one of the best shows I’ve seen. Both of these shows are full of sex and adultery, but I don’t see any articles blowing up about that. If you’ve ever watched “The Hangover” then you’re supporting drugs, sex, and drunkenness. “Gossip Girl?” Well, the sin is in the title. “Girls” on HBO has more nudity than any show I’ve ever watched, but man do I enjoy the message and the wit that comes across through the writing. “Grey’s Anatomy” is another masterpiece on television that has some pretty corrupt stuff all in it. The bottom line is our world is filled with corruption. The idea of sex has been tainted. The “doing what we want” mentality is the most popular thing. Oh, and girls “acting like guys” when it comes to sex is yet another thing the world loves that allegedly empowers women. No. Just no. There are so many things we can do to empower women, and that isn’t one of them. Putting men down certainly doesn’t empower women either. We’ve just got it all wrong. Building others up is really the big secret to build ourselves up, man or woman. That’s why tearing people down for watching a movie is not helping the love movement in the world. If we can’t watch 50 Shades, we can’t watch 75% of everything else being put out there for our minds to absorb. While these movies, books, and shows have so many corrupt and sinful things going on in them, I watch and read a lot of them. Sometimes, they certainly do affect my thoughts, and that’s when I have to step back and push those thoughts out. I’m strong enough to do that most the time. When I’m not strong enough, when I’m at my weakest, I’m careful what I fill my mind with. We should certainly be careful all the time. It’s wisest not to fill our minds with anything unholy or unrighteous. We are to “set our minds on things above.” Music has some junk in it too. Some of the lyrics and the things they refer to are repulsive and demeaning, but no one is boycotting Beyonce or Maroon 5. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. When we let all these things become a part of us and a part of the way we act, think, and speak, it becomes a huge problem. If you aren’t going to watch 50 Shades because of it’s sexual content, then there are a lot of things you shouldn’t watch or listen to. I personally have to work on that often. There are so many things I love watching and reading that I know are not glorifying my God and that is a huge struggle of mine. I use the excuse that I love the writing of the show and the deep meanings and story lines. And that’s the absolute truth. But by watching it, I am supporting the corruption in it. And I understand that  that has been an argument for not watching this movie, but we can’t single out one sinful movie when there are thousands upon thousands we have supported for years. God sees all sin the same, so who are we to judge our brothers and sisters for this one sin? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I agree that 50 Shades is not an uplifting and glorifying movie, but I am also in no place to judge anyone for watching it. A very godly man once told me that judging is OK if we “judge out of love.” If we don’t struggle with the sin and don’t have issues with it, and if we encourage others not to fall into that certain sin in the most loving and uplifting way, then we are doing it out of the right place in our hearts. If we want to shine light on their sin and hide ours in the dark, we are not encouraging out of love, we are just discouraging bad behavior and discouraging the person. So, I say, we stop with the finger-pointing and discouragement, and lift each other up. Don’t go watch 50 Shades, but don’t do it to prove a point, do it because your heart is in it and you know it will not glorify God for you to watch it. Don’t go – because you know it will fill your heart with thoughts you don’t need in your mind. Don’t go – because you will think about things you shouldn’t and maybe even feel a little worse about yourself. But don’t not go and then tell everyone that went how awful they are. And if you do go, think about why you’re there and how you feel when you’re there, and really reflect on how it plays in to your relationship with God. But then, take that and apply it to every aspect of your life and everything you soak in. The world can’t tell you what to do. Only God can do that. And you get to pick who and what you listen to and look at anyway.

The Day I Decided I Wasn’t Pretty Enough

I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t pretty enough.

I’ve probably spent most of my life thinking it honestly. During those awkward middle school years, I especially thought it because so many people told me I wasn’t.

I guess that carried with me forever because I’ve never, not one day ever, thought I was pretty enough. Sure I have felt pretty before. I have looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow. You’re kind of beautiful.” But that thought would soon be wiped away and my confidence stolen right out from under me by a comparison to someone else.

It doesn’t matter how pretty I look or feel, I know in the back of my mind someone, a lot of someones, out there are far prettier than me. It doesn’t matter in my twisted mind that I look totally different than anyone else and I have my unique qualities that are beautiful. I just compare myself to anyone and everyone who everyone thinks is beautiful.

It’s funny that we can see the unique, striking qualities about others that make them beautiful, but we can’t always seem them in ourselves.

It doesn’t matter how many compliments I receive or how many times people have told me I’m pretty, I won’t feel pretty enough.

I have decided many times that I’m not pretty enough for my dream career, I’m not pretty enough for a great boyfriend or husband, I’m not pretty enough to wear certain things, and I’m not pretty enough to go do so many things I want to do.

On Saturday, I went to visit some of my college friends, and I complained about myself the whole time. About my skin, my body, just about how “hideous” I was in general. That means I talked about myself more than I listened to them and talked about uplifting and glorifying things. That means I completely shamed a child of God.

On that Sunday, as I drove home feeling completely empty, I finally really realized that I really would never be pretty enough. And I accepted it with wide open arms and a screaming, crying heart.

No one will ever be pretty enough because what does that even mean? What IS “pretty enough?” Being “pretty” should not matter in deciding what to do for the day or for the rest of your life.

Following your heart in love, life, and work has absolutely nothing to do with what you look like. Now, that’s no reason to let yourself go and stop showering and dress like a slob, but you DO NOT have to look “perfect” in order to get what you want out of life. Let that sink in. Tape it to your mirror, repeat it every day, and do not let the thought enter your mind that you are not worthy of great things just because you don’t look like a supermodel.

Be Content In Your Dreams

Be content. Find joy in all situations. That’s what we are told to do and that’s what we know we are supposed to do.

But being content doesn’t mean we have to be complacent.

That’s a fear of mine. Accepting what life is, but never shooting for the stars I once dreamt of.

So many times we get caught up in the mundane of the every day. While, yes, we need to be content and rejoice even on the simplest of days, that does not mean we have to settle with not having more.

Philipians 4:12 tells us to be content when “living in plenty or in want.” It doesn’t say we can’t want, strive, and hope to be better.

There has to be a balance. We can’t dwell on our dreams so much that we become stressed and worried every day, but we can’t just give them up for the sake of being content.

God wants us to be happy with what we have and use that to help others and help ourselves. He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) but we do have to work for what we want.

He does not want us to sit and be idle. Being content goes hand in hand with patience. Being patient is crucial, but being patient does not mean sitting around and waiting. God wants us to bet content and patient in waiting for His plans to come to fruition, but He wants us to put in work and use the talents and resources He gives us to see the things He has in store.

I think we are caught up in a world of either too much or too little. We have lost the art of “in between.” We either go 110 mph or come to a screeching halt, and that’s no way to live.

If you don’t like your job, it doesn’t mean you have to quit tomorrow, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay for the next four years either. It means you should be content with where you are, but be consistent in working toward where you’re going.

If you don’t like your living situation, you may have to save money for a while before you can change it, so rejoice in where you live and make the best of it, but make an effort each day to change it.

No matter what aspect of your life you are not totally happy with, you can find the positive in it and be content and calm in knowing that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)

No matter where you go in life, for the rest of your life, contentment will be the threshold for your joy. Where you are content, you will also be at peace and be joyful. But that never means you should give it up and call it quits on things you dream of doing every single day.

Be content in your dreams too. They are in your heart and soul for a reason, so be content in the fact that you have goals, dreams, and hopes for yourself and for people you love. It’s a blessing to want more for ourselves, but we can’t allow that to make us unappreciative of what we already have.

It’s a balancing act, this life thing. And we have to find the dead center balance between being content and not being complacent and stuck.

You have a light inside you that’s getting ready to ignite. Doing it the right way and putting in the work will make that fire burn brighter and longer than it will by losing your contentment and being irrational in your life choices.

Contentment means patience means reaching your goal at the right time, right place, and with the right heart attitude.

Time Can’t Heal Your Broken Heart

“Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it.” – Taylor Swift

Time. We personify time more than any other inanimate existence in the world. It’s always on our minds. It keeps us from getting things done. It gives. It takes. It moves quickly and slowly at the same time.

Time is such a huge part of our lives. We are always wishing for more of it. We want it to slow down on the weekend and speed up Monday through Friday. We can’t comprehend it and never will. It passes slowly and quickly at the same time.

We go through days that feel like they drag on, but we look back and realize that five years have passed. We can’t grasp it, we can’t hold on to it, and sometimes, we don’t even pay attention to it.

We give time so much power. We put so much faith in it. “Time will heal anything.” “Time flies when you’re having fun.” “Time is love.”

But, time, it doesn’t heal anything. It can’t. It has no power. We just give it power.

God can heal. God can make things better. God has power over time because he exists outside of time. “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:14)

When a loved one dies, we go through a break-up, or we lose a job, we get told that time will heal our heart, that time heals all. But, there are some things we will never get over, no matter how much time passes. That’s where God comes in.

He is the ultimate Healer. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

We have to put our faith in God, not the clocks on the wall to heal our pain and heartbreak.

When people lose a parent or a spouse, I’ve noticed they never fully recover, no matter how much time passes. The memories and love are still there. What gets them through is prayer, positivity, friends, ultimately – God.

And when we go through break-ups with someone we love so much, crossing off days on a calendar can’t make the pain go away. We have to align our hearts with the will of God to know true love and true happiness before continuing on the journey to find a soulmate, and that doesn’t come with time. It comes with self-discipline, soul-searching, and seeking God and his plan.

Time cannot help your hurt. It can’t pull you out of a depression or help you accept yourself and your life.

God uses people, and jobs, and so many other things in life to help us along.

Time will never stand still, and there will never be more than 24 hours in a day or 525,600 minutes in a year. But the comfort in that is that our God will never change and will always exist outside of time. Time is in His hands. “My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hands of my enemies.” (Psalm 31:15)

It may feel like a day, week, or month you’re going through will never end, but it will. No matter what kind of season of life you’re going through, time will pass just the same, but leaning on God will take you through the days and make them easier.

And when you want to soak in a moment, ask God to help you slow down and enjoy your time more. When God is on our side, time is on our side, too.

So time won’t fly or halt or multiply itself, but you can rest assured knowing it rests in the hands of a just, loving God that will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

We always want more time, but maybe what we need is more God.

Regrets Are A Good Thing

“No regrets.” That’s the motto, right?

Everyone says to live how you live and don’t regret a single thing because that’s what got you where you are today. While I believe that to be totally true, I just don’t think it’s practical to have no regrets.

It’s no good to dwell on regrets, but I think reflecting on them, accepting them, and attempting to avoid the same mistakes we regret is a must to move forward in life.

Going in to a new year, we tend to reflect on the past year and maybe even the past ten years. It can get overwhelming. So why not manage your regrets?

We manage our stress, goals, diets, budgets, and pretty much everything else, so why do we leave out regrets? They are an important part of life and growth and reaching happiness, so don’t leave them out.

Thinking about all the regrets you’ve ever had ever will knock you on the ground and come over you like a huge wave and you will drown. You will. It’s not good to let it all hit you all at once. That’s torturing yourself.

So, when you go to make those new year’s resolutions or list of goals for the upcoming months, go ahead and write out your regrets.

Looking at them on paper and seeing that they happened and they are real and they caused something else to happen can be very insightful. It can even show you how although you regret some things you did, they ended up doing something beautiful in the long run.

And the ones that didn’t end up doing anything you dub as beautiful, well, make a vow to never let them happen again. Write them down, burn the page, and then turn a new page, literally and figuratively.

Think about why you did them and how much you’ve changed and grown from the time you made the mistakes until now. Evaluate the choices you make and the emotions you act on as a person, and then make changes to improve.

Then only person that can improve your life is you. You make your own choices, your own mistakes, and your own victories, and that’s what makes you a unique individual.

Don’t let past regrets and mistakes set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t dwell on them, but definitely don’t forget about them.

So, regret all you want. You don’t have to have “no regrets” just because it seems like the free-spirited, life-fulfilling thing to do. But once you’ve written down those things you wish had never happened, once you manage those mistakes, be done with them forever.

Start over. It is a possible thing to do. You can start over whenever you want and no one gets to decide that but you.

I like to thing of regrets in the simplest metaphor: rain. People complain about rain and wish it wouldn’t rain, but we need rain to survive. We need it to nourish the earth, and we need it to nourish our souls and let us lay in bed and watch movies all day on a Saturday.

Regrets can be like rain for your life. They can bring about positive reactions and can nourish your soul if they’re handled well and thought of in a positive manner.

Your regrets play a part in your daily life whether you’ve recognized it or not, so let’s stop avoiding our regrets and turn them into a good thing. Let them fall down and water your life and then just step back and see what beautiful things grow.