resi-STANCE

Earlier this year, I vowed to myself that I would always say yes to the crazy things I didn’t believe that I could do or that I have never done before. Because of this vow, I ended up taking some amazing trips, stepped outside of my comfort zone in ways that shocked myself, and said yes to a lot of crazy workout plans…

Yes, workout plans. Which is why a couple weeks ago I shimmied my way into a spin class at my gym for the first time… ever. It was run by an extremely excited woman with really good legs. I really didn’t understand how someone could be so excited about cycling in one place in a hot, dark room, but we all have our “thing” I guess. As I looked around the room, there were people of different shapes, sizes, age, and gender, but the one thing they all had in common is that they all seemed like pros. They looked comfortable on their bikes, brought towels and cute water bottles, and even knew each others’ names!

I don’t know what it is about me, but I hate being the “new girl” in the room. Maybe it’s my pride of wanting to be the best or my perfectionism that wants to look like I have it all together, but regardless, the feeling of not knowing what the heck I’m doing 1. is terrifying and 2. makes me feel so dumb.

I felt an instant jolt in me to run out the doors, but after locking eyes with the instructor, I felt obligated to stay. So I mounted my  stationary bike and followed the class through the standing, sitting, shifting, cycling, and turning of resistance knobs.

Mid-way through I was getting so discouraged. I felt like I was ready to pass out, while everyone else is still spinning ferociously around me. “Turn up the resistance!” my instructor would chime cheerfully, but I felt like if I turned that knob one more time, my legs might explode. As I looked around, no one else was turning theirs up either. It’s why granny on the other side of the room was able to go so fast and I was struggling- my resistance was higher. It burned. It sucked.

Truth be told, my life looks like this. I often look around and see a lot of people going faster than me. They are graduating earlier, getting the jobs of their dreams, beginning to date and get married. They are watching their ministries flourish, their dreams and visions come to fruition, and they’re receiving revelation every time they open the Bible (while sometimes I’m struggling to even read!!). I’m discouraged. I feel stuck. I feel like the resistance on my life bike is terribly high, and all i can think is, “what is wrong with me?”

“What is wrong with me?” is a thought I hear frequently. Am I not good enough? Not strong enough? Not smart enough? Not pretty enough? Do I not have what it takes? Am I too much? Too little? The list can continue forever…

And maybe you’ve heard these thoughts too. Maybe you are entering this season and this new year and you are feeling like me- your resistance is up and the only stance you want to take on it is lying down. In your bed. Going to sleep. Escaping it all and not having to push through.

You have tried so hard time and time again to achieve that goal, that dream, that ambition, but something is always holding you back. You feel like your race is harder and going faster takes more effort. You don’t feel good at it. You don’t feel as smart. You aren’t as talented. You aren’t as… (fill in your not good enough adjective here).

I get it. I do. But in that cycling class I believe that God taught me the most valuable lesson on resistance and my stance on it: No one gets better without resistance. Think about it… to build muscle and to get stronger, we must turn up our resistance, right? It only makes sense. In the cycling class those who had no resistance went faster, but they weren’t GROWING any muscle, they were only moving.

When I hop off my life cycle, I don’t just want to move through my life. I want to GROW. I want to grow character and strength. I want to learn what it means to have endurance and stamina in the times that I want to give up. I want to embrace my resistance.

So no more convincing myself that I’m not good enough just because I feel resistance in my life. No more backing down and being a coward when the knob gets turned up on my cycle. No more taking out my measuring stick and looking around for comparisons.

Instead, I will face opposition and resistance head on. Ready to push through and ready to fight, knowing that on the other side of it is growth. Growth that may not feel good or make me look good in the sight of others, but will stretch me and prune me into the person I am called to be. It won’t be pretty, but it WILL be worth it.

Here’s to another year of rising up against resistance.

What’s your stance?

Ceeeeeleebrate good times… C’mon!

Parties are my favorite thing to fill my planner with. I love grabbing my markers and different colored pens and scribbling in events- whether it be birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. I love the idea of celebrating others and buying things that make them feel special. I love writing notes and showing up and dancing and eating cake… Lots and lots of cake. I love everything about celebrating.

Could you imagine if you were having a party, though, and someone came in trying to make it all about them? They brought their own decorations and their own food. They start hanging up banners over yours and rewriting their name on your cake. They bring all their friends and family, and then suddenly your party ain’t yo’ party any longer.

I would feel so hurt and confused and end up crying or leaving… or both. YET, I realized recently that in my own life, I was that person. I was the party crasher.

Whenever someone would come to me with good news or something exciting that happened in their life I would immediately think, “Well God, why aren’t you doing that in my life? What about me?” or “God, I had been working so hard for this, and THEY get it first?!”

I thought that God was like Santa and had just “forgotten” to pass by my house on his way to drop off some blessings. Not only did it make me feel like I deserved something, and God was holding out on me, but it also made me feel the need to compete with whoever was standing in front of me.

That competition always looked different. I would either “one-up the person” making their situation look smaller and mine look bigger. I would completely disregard their situation and change the subject because it made me feel less than. Or I would fake smile, play the part, and leave mad at God for him not giving me what I thought I deserved from all of my “hard work”.

To be quite honest, I was completely jipping each of my friends. The love I gave for whatever news they shared was fake and self-centered. I didn’t care what they had to say because I was too worried about comparing my own life to theirs.

In Proverbs 14:30 it says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” If you’ve ever had something rotting in your house, it STANKS. You can smell it from a mile away and you DON’T ever want to go near it.

In the same way, when we are jealous of our sisters around us, it shows. It shows in the way you begin to treat them, speak to them, and even in your body language, and it stinks. No one wants to be around someone who is ROTTEN with jealousy. No one wants to be around a party crasher. People want to be around others with hearts at peace.

What does a heart at peace look like, though? It means a heart content in where you are in life at the moment. It means not needing to compete with others, and it means being secure among others’ successes. You are able to support others without fear that they have stolen something from you or without feeling like their success has made you a complete failure.

A heart at peace celebrates. They are the ones that show up early to decorate the party and pick up the pom poms to scream from the sidelines. They are the ones decorating the cake, sending out the invites, and throwing on the jersey. They are the #1 fan. Because you know what’s the truth about celebrating someone else? It doesn’t take anything away from you.

When you cheer someone on through their good news, it doesn’t mean that you or your current situation is not good enough. It doesn’t mean something is messed up with your life, that God forgot about you, or that you will never get your own celebration. God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us. Your season could look like getting everything you’ve ever desired, having to wait for it, or having to accept the fact that you’ll never get it.

Regardless of where you fall along that spectrum, God is not withholding from you. In Psalms 84:11 it says that God does not withhold GOOD things from those who are walking with him. So, if it is GOOD for your season then you WILL have it, and if it’s not then you won’t.

Either way, trust God in the process. He’s molding you to be exactly the person he wants YOU to be. So, feel free to pull out your confetti when someone comes to you with good news. Find security in knowing that God’s got your best interest in heart. Their success does not = your failure. Ask God what he’s trying to teach you through it and be ready and willing to accept whatever answer you get, even if it’s no answer at all.

We serve a good God who loves us so dearly. Never forget that.

Side note: I know you don’t carry confetti in your back pocket to throw every time someone shares great news with you, so celebrate realistically. Write letters, pay for their meal, pray for them, buy cake and put candles in it just because, shout them out on your social media, hug them tight, cheer them on when they feel fearful throughout the process, send them random texts, serve them, but whatever you do… just love them.

I pray your celebrations and love for others is wide, deep, and genuine. You rock. Don’t give up. 💕

There’s more than enough.

As I walked into the house for life group, my favorite person ever came to greet me. His name is Ford (or I call him Fordie). He’s 4 and has the cutest smile and the biggest imagination. He loves Saturday nights because it’s when all the “girls” come over and it’s also when he gets to eat all the yummy food we prepare after we talk. Tonight, was waffle night, and that is apparently his favorite.

So-much-so his favorite, that he made it a point an hour prior to facetime me and tell me that I had to come to the house RIGHT NOW so that he could have a waffle (well, he called them Laffles). I reassured him that I had enough to make a million “laffles” if he wanted, but even when I got there, he seemed skeptical. He stuck beside me the whole time to make sure that I was keeping to my promise. He even begged to be a part of the process of the waffle making to make sure it got done- grabbing eggs, pouring oil, and even checking the temperature of the waffles once done to make sure they were cool enough. At one point he even tried to refrain from using the bathroom for fear that I would make the waffle without him.

He thought that he was going to miss out. That if everyone came before he got a chance to eat one, that there would be none left over for him. What he didn’t know is that I had already prepared to have enough to make him one. I came into the group that night knowing that he would be there and that he would want a waffle, and so I bought enough so that he could have all the waffles his tummy could handle. I even told him before I came that he already had a waffle with his name written all over it, but it was hard for him to trust that was true if he couldn’t see it in front of him.

In the end, as I watched him sitting at the table, shoving the whole waffle in his mouth filled with syrup and butter, all I could see was myself.

All of my life I have felt like I was going to miss out on my calling. That I was going to wake up one day and God would throw his hands in the air like, “Sorry babe, you didn’t get here fast enough. All of the spots are filled.”

If you have ever felt this way before, I don’t blame you. We live in a world that has always said that there’s not enough. There’s not enough money, there’s not enough jobs, there’s not enough success. If you want it, you better start pushing your way to the top and speeding up the process because the spots at the table of dreams are filling up and they’re filling up fast. I’ve even heard the saying “If you don’t do it, then God will find someone who will.”

This created a fear in me. It created a fear in me that my calling is first come first serve and if I don’t get to movin’ then someone will replace me. That God won’t want me anymore. That my calling will go stale, I’ll miss out on purpose, and I’ll have to watch someone else take that place.

Having this mindset made me skeptical about God, much like Fordie was skeptical about my waffle making. I couldn’t see my dreams unfolding. I couldn’t see fruit. I couldn’t see a clear “calling” in front of me. So, I began to assist God in the process. I would step ahead of him, trying to pour oil in areas that didn’t need any, stir up things that weren’t ready yet, and try to cook ingredients that were still missing things.

I have read in his word a million and one times that he has a plan and a purpose for me. I have read that he calls, and he equips. That he works everything out for the good of those who love him. But I was still unwilling to leave for a bathroom break for fear that while I was gone someone would steal my waffle, or I was unwilling to step back and let God work his magic for fear that if I didn’t step in it would never get done.

This kind of fear makes you paranoid. Every time someone around you has a success, it makes you feel like a failure. Every time someone takes on the same passion as you of writing, photography, painting, speaking, leading, etc. It makes you feel as if you’re playing musical chairs with the seat at the table God has set and they just stole your chair from you.

There’s this passage in Luke 9. It’s when Jesus feeds the 5 thousand people in front of him with five loaves of bread and two fish. Now, if you’re thinking like me, then you’re dumbfounded because I can easily eat 5 loaves and 2 fish by myself. BUT somehow these loaves and fish keep getting multiplied and distributed to ALL 5 thousand people and when all have eaten and were SATSIFIED, there were left overs.

I’ve been trying to ask myself the question, “God, who are you in this passage?” every time I read. I want to know about the character of God. When I asked him today, he said “I am a God of left overs”.

See, at the end of life group, all of the girls got their waffles and there were left overs. Ford didn’t have to worry in the first place because there was enough. Actually, there was more than enough to go around.

God is the same way. He doesn’t just give what we need, he gives even more. There is always room, there is always enough. His table is never filled and the chair he has for you has your name written on it. He won’t ALLOW anyone else to take it. You don’t have to fight for it, you don’t have to compete for it. It is yours. It’s been yours since you were created in the womb.

The dreams and the visions and the callings you believe God has for you may not LOOK like they are being fulfilled. You may not see fruit, followers, people, books, or skills quite yet, but trust him in the waiting. Trust him in the process. Your waffles are being made to perfection, and even if you take a bathroom break, no one is going to take them.

Now, if you never step up to the plate of your calling, it doesn’t mean that someone else is going to replace you. It just means that the world misses out. They miss out on the piece of Jesus that God has called YOU to give. God may use someone else to reach the same people, but it won’t be in the same way, the same effectiveness. Only YOU can unlock the calling God has for you. If you try to be anyone else, you won’t be able to unlock their calling, and no one can try to be you and unlock yours.

There is no plan B. There is you. So, find freedom in celebrating others and celebrating yourself. Give tips to people who are trying to do the same things as you and be their biggest cheerleader in their success. Let God work his magic and take bathroom breaks when needed. Eat lots of waffles and know there are so many left overs. You are a world changer, babe. Never forget it!

It’s time to let go, babe.

I consider myself a very clingy person, to say the least. I have a hard time letting things go. I hold onto clothes for years in hopes that one day they will come in handy when deciding an outfit, but all they are really doing is collecting dust in my closet. I create memory boxes full of bracelets and cards people give me that I hold dear to my heart, even if they don’t say anything meaningful. I think it’s because they all carry memories, and I have always been someone who lived for memories. Whether it’s a gift or a moment, memories are the only thing in this world that can’t leave me, no one can take away, and I have complete control over.

It’s these memories that tie me to things- no, not physically being tied to them, but emotionally. It’s why I cried when my cat passed away, feel like a piece of my heart is missing when me and my best friend fight, and why I get completely and utterly destroyed by heartbreak. I get tied to things and I don’t want to let go- even when I know I need to.

Now don’t get me wrong- there are times to grieve and hold on and love and fight through, but there are also times when the people that have made a home in our heart pack up and move out, and we have to be willing to stand at the door and wish them farewell.

There are also times when people come into our hearts and stay a little bit longer than they should. They aren’t pursuing commitment, they’re just using all your heart’s resources for themselves. In your life this may look like holding onto a fantasy of a guy because of the expectation of what “could be”. It could look like flirting and sharing intimate parts of your life with someone that isn’t interested in really settling down. Or maybe, even, it looks like holding onto friendships that are toxic to your life because of the phrase “what if”- “what if they are just saying that to me because they are mad”, “what if they’re dragging me into drama because they care”, etc.

Maybe you don’t want to let the guy go for fear that he will find someone better than you. Maybe you don’t want to let the best friend go out of fear that you won’t find anyone like them again. Maybe because you’ve had so many people walk out of your life, you are scared to actually let someone go that is sticking around but holding you back. Maybe you feel like if you pack up their things, they may never look back. These are fears, and they stem from the lies that you’ll never be good enough or never be complete without this person. Lies that you won’t measure up to people around you or that without this person you will be alone. Just straight lies.

I’ve realized that holding onto someone, or even just the thought or idea of someone in your life, only holds you back from what God wants to do in your life. It’s like trying to run with hundreds of bricks on your back. They hold you down and even when you want to run forward, you can’t. God never intended for us to live lives enslaved to bricks. He said he came to give life and give it abundantly- abundant joy, abundant peace, abundant healing… Paul writes it like this:

2 Corinthians 7 (MSG)

“With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends; let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.”

With all the promises that God gives us of abundant life, Paul says to make a clean break with everything around us distracting us or defiling us. Basically, in my own words he’s saying “It’s time to let go, babe. You’ve been holding onto something that’s only sucking the life out of you, and the only way to truly worship God with your whole heart is to kick the person out that’s taking up the most room.”

Letting go does not mean praying one night, waking up in the morning, and all feelings are gone, though. This is not a one-step-fix-it-all process! It means waking up and CHOOSING not to CONTROL the situation any longer. Choosing not to find excuses to talk to him or be around him all the time. Choosing not to let your mind think up fantasies about him and y’alls “future” together. Choosing not to flirt or lead them on to boost your ego or make you feel wanted.

It’s releasing the control and saying under your breath, “Lord, if this is for me, then I know it no one can take it away from me”. That’s the ultimate truth. If THIS is the person God has for you, you could do absolutely NOTHING and God will still make it work. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to control anything or flirt in any way to make him stay. God will orchestrate it perfectly if it’s what’s meant to be. Trust him in the process. Trust him in the waiting.

Hannah Brencher wrote a note that I still keep in my phone as a reminder:

“You will need to let go a million and one times in the next few years. Make sure you let go for good. Don’t wait for text messages. Don’t find a way to make people linger and wait in the loss of you. It’s selfish to hold onto a person when you’ve already got the clarity that tells you to let them go. That person is supposed to go out there and love someone different. They’re supposed to mess up with someone else. They’re supposed to kiss someone else and buy flowers for someone else.”

So maybe it’s time to let go for you. You’ve been lingering in the “could be”s, “what if”s, and “why”s. You’ve been holding bricks and trying to run with no luck. You’re waiting in the waiting room for someone to call your name that hasn’t even promised you commitment. You’ve wasted time, energy, and love.. and it’s time to let go.. Delete his number. Unfollow his account. Stop checking if he liked your picture and stop monitoring the last time he logged online. Delete his thread + his DM chats. Don’t find your way into his family any longer. DELETE THE PICTURES. Chuck the memories. Stop listening to Sam Smith or Ed Sheeran late at night- seriously it’s like slapping yourself emotionally- and change your playlist. Don’t try to make eye contact from across the room any longer, and don’t try to find ways to show up for him. When he moves out of your heart, make sure he takes EVERYTHING with him.

And when he does, know that it makes room for something so much greater- God. He offers everything you need and everything you could ever want. He is your freedom, your healing, your love, your satisfaction. He’s everything you could have ever hoped for and everything you’ve always longed for. He’s the best person to make a home in your heart. His grace is sufficient for you. He fills you with good things. He is a comforter and a peace maker.

Letting go is one of the hardest roads of faith I think I’ve ever embarked on. It’s hard and it’s messy, but it’s oh-so worth it. He’s got you babe, just let go.