Behind the Scenes: Freshman Year of College

*Walks out of last exam with a “I nailed it” attitude*

It’s weird to say I’m done with the first year of college. It seems like a few months ago I was moving into my dorm. I think I learned more in this one year than my four years in high school. These are some of the top things I learned while at college:

#1 Coffee is truly God’s gift to us.
How does one survive without coffee? I used to hate coffee, but it quickly became my first choice for caffeine to survive all nighter study sessions. Coffee in the morning is amazing. There’s no better way to start the day. Basically, coffee at any time of the day is the best coffee.

#2 I’m that neat freak.
Oh yes. I’m that person who needs everything clean. Why this became a thing in college is beyond me. You should’ve seen my room in high school. yikes. A clean room is a place I can relax and be happy. Also, cleaning has become a therapeutic activity for me. There is so much satisfaction from seeing something come clean or walking into a neat organized room.

#3 They weren’t kidding when they said manage stress.
Competing for a spot in a program that only accepts 16 students is stressful. By the end of the first year, while trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA, I was exhausted. My biggest advice to anyone going into Freshman year: de-stress & take time for yourself. Spend a little time every day doing something you love. Prepare for your classes & minimize stress as much as you can.
p.s. a few mental breakdowns are okay & normal

#4 Strive to do your best work & that may not mean an A+ on everything.
Set high standards for yourself but don’t get too discouraged when your best wasn’t A+ material. At the beginning of my Freshman year, anything below an A was inacceptable to myself. Until I became obsessed with trying to get a perfect score on every assignment or test. It’s okay to not get a perfect score. It’s okay to get below an A. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

#5 Perfectionism is a real thing.
With striving to get perfect grades came perfectionism. I wanted to do everything perfectly. Perfectionism is stressful & exhausting. I have learned life is messy. Sometimes you embarrass yourself, sometimes you fail & sometimes it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to. There is so much beauty in the mess though. Embrace your mess & differences.

#6 Being independent is awesome/terrifying.
Going away for college teaches you a lot. You learn how to do everything for yourself. Going to the grocery store for the first time to shop for yourself is fun, but after awhile you wish your mom was still cooking for you. Having to call the doctor’s office because you’re 18 now and they can’t talk to your parents. Driving four & a half hours to college & back home by yourself. (If this is also you: make an awesome Spotify playlist to listen to on the ride. I made a country playlist that was over 5 hours long. None of the songs repeated and I learned every song really quickly.)
Basically, being independent makes you feel like you’re really an adult.

#7 Be yourself & don’t care what others think.
I don’t know why it took me this long to figure it out. People will love you for who you are. You don’t need to worry about other’s opinions or what people will say. The people who really matter will support you in anything you choose. Be weird & have fun. Don’t be afraid to try something new “because you might embarrass yourself”. Don’t let shyness stop you from making new friends. & Don’t hold back parts of your personality because you’re a little different from everyone else. I don’t know if it’s just a normal high school thing for everyone to try to be the same or if it’s because we grew up in a small rural town. But I had major culture shock when I went to college. Everyone was different, dressed in their own unique style, had their own talents that they pursued, and accepted others who were different from them.

#8 Making new friends is awesome!
S/O to my Element family! Meeting new people & making new friends is one of the greatest joys in life. I have met some awesome people who challenge me to be a better person everyday. Everyone has a different story & things that make them unique. Surrounding yourself with awesome friends will make the stress of school easier. Don’t be afraid to step out and ask someone to grab coffee. Be intentional & pursue friendships that will make you a stronger person.

#9 Church is what gets me through the week.
Find a good church. & Keep searching for one until you find one that fits your style. Element has really challenged me to grow & use my gifts. I love serving with my team every Sunday. I have only ever found one other church, in my hometown, that feels like home on Sunday’s. I think it’s important to find a place where you fit & can grow. Find a church that makes getting up on Sunday morning exciting. Find a church with awesome people.

 

My Worship Playlist

Worship is one of my favorite things. So I wanted to share a few of my favorite songs! Check out my whole Worship playlist on my Spotify!

Worship playlist

Here are a few of my favorite worship songs:

  1. Do What You Want To -Vertical Church Band
  2. There is a Cloud -Elevation Worship
  3. Pursue -Hillsong Young & Free
  4. Hands to the Heavens -Kari Jobe
  5. Broken Vessels -Hillsong Worship
  6. Spirit of the Living God -Vertical Church Band
  7. Do it Again -Elevation Worship
  8. Alive in You -Jesus Culture
  9. Miracles -Jesus Culture
  10. Overcome -Elevation Worship
  11. What a Beautiful Name -Hillsong Worships
  12. Good Good Father -Chris Tomlin
  13. Let it Echo -Jesus Culture
  14. Set a Fire -Will Reagan
  15. O Come to the Alter – Elevation Worship
  16. You Make Me Brave -Amanda Cook
  17. Fierce -Jesus Culture
  18. Forever -Kari Jobe
  19. I Look to the King -Meredith Andrews
  20. Have It All – Bethel Music

Spring Showers & Many Flowers

It’s finally Spring time!!! Time for rainy days, blooming flowers, & growing to begin! Spring is one of my favorite times. The sun has started to tease us & the rain makes this earth smell so good. What is it about rainy days that make them smell so good? I don’t mind the rain because it’s watering the ground so the flowers and greenery can grow again. & there is something so peaceful about a rainy day. It makes me want to put on my music and drink lots of coffee. The rain acts much like Jesus does with our hearts. Jesus is always trying to water our hearts, so they can grow to the full potential He has given them. He is ready to shower you with His goodness. & He may use day-to-day experiences, little reminders, or dramatic events to reach the depths of your soul. Jesus drenches the furrows and levels the ridges of our hearts with His love. Softening the hardness, brokenness, hurt & imperfections that make us rough around the edges. When we allow Him to soften our hearts, we are able to see what He has been showing us.

Psalm 65:9-10 You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.

 

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Jesus cares for your heart. He treasures your heart’s desires so dearly. He sees into the depths, concealing the hurt. When we let Him water our hearts, we begin to grow & change much like a flower grows in the Spring. It takes stages of transformation for your heart & a flower to grow. A flower goes through six stages:

Stage 1: The Seed & The Walls

Those walls you put up to protect yourself are a lot like the seed coat that protects the inside of a seed. This hard outer shell keeps the seed’s embryo safe inside. We tend to harden our hearts when we get hurt. It’s one of those things we are really good at. But what if those walls are blocking more than the hurt? Those “awesome” walls we put up sometimes block God’s truth from reaching the depths of our soul. Our hearts can’t grow if we can’t hear what Jesus is speaking to us. Or if we don’t want to hear what He is speaking because it goes against the walls we put up…

Stage 2: Germination & Nutrition

When the seed falls to the ground it needs water, warmth, and light to grow. Once the seed gets water the seed coat begins to soften and water enters the seed. At a certain point the seed coat splits due to the pressure of water.

Just like the flower, our hearts need these essential substances from Jesus to grow. Water (His word) to fill us with truth, the warmth of His love and His light of hope. Once we let His word sink into our heart the walls we built up burst and come crumbling down. The truth fills our hearts making it impossible to keep the walls up. If you are searching His word and truth the walls around your heart will come crumbling down.

At this stage, it is important that the seed is planted in the right place at the right time, in order to germinate. Don’t get frustrated if your walls aren’t coming down or if what worked for someone else doesn’t work for you. Different seeds have different needs! Be patient and wait on God to begin filling your heart with His truth. Some flowers take days to grow, others take months to years. We all grow and change at our own speed.

Stage 3: Growth & Blooming

At this stage the seed is growing a stem, leaves and a bud emerges. However, to continue growing the flower has to go through photosynthesis.

For our hearts to continue growing we need to be seeking essential “nutrients” from Jesus. Spending time with Him everyday, reading His word, and asking Him to change our hearts. The hope we have in our heart keeps growing and we begin to search further for the water. Our hearts begin to change and see things God’s way. We no longer see the need to hide behind walls and we can let our hearts bud into what we were meant to be.

Stage 4: Reproduction & Transformation

After the plant has receive it’s nutrients the bud opens and blossoms into a mature flower. The flower’s petals are noticeable and brightly colored. Beautiful for all to see.

When Jesus causes a change in our hearts others will notice. They will notice the hope and the joy you have. They will notice your fearlessness and the way you handle situations. You become a light to other’s hearts.

Stage 5: Pollination & Inspiration

Birds and insects carry pollen from plant to plant so new seeds can be made. Cross pollination sometimes when pollen is exchanged from different types of plants. Which results in stronger plants.

Just like flowers we need others to make us stronger. When we share the changes in our hearts with others we strengthen each other. I love when my friends tell me what God is speaking into their hearts. Sometimes it was exactly what I needed to hear or it inspires me to change the way I see things. Community is great!!

Stage 6: Spreading Seeds & Stories

Seeds are spread by many ways:

by wind: I think of a seed spinning in the air, touching a piece of earth here and there before it finds its resting place. Sharing how God touched your heart is a lot like that. Your story will reach many ears but will only touch some hearts. These are the hearts that God has made ready to receive the same type of heart change. The seeds will be planted in their hearts.

animals and humans: These seeds are picked up and placed in specific places. God places people in our lives so that we can plant a seed in their heart. Maybe all they need is a change in heart. Maybe they just need to hear the hope in your story. Maybe they just need a friend to help them plant a seed of change. Whatever it is, God knows and will make it known to you. He prepared your heart for a reason.

water: These seeds are carried by powerful streams. Jesus is the water that brings life to our seeds and our stories. You may think your story is small but Jesus is ready to use it in powerful ways. We just need to take the time to listen to Him. to take that leap of faith and share what is on our hearts.

Spring showers bring many flowers and my Jesus brings heart changes! This Spring let Jesus do some growing in your heart..

Insecurity I’m so Over You

Yeah that’s right, insecurity I’m so over you. done with you. you have been the worst type of friend. one of those “friends” who encourages me to think, say and do what you know isn’t good for me in hopes to make me feel good for a little while. Yes, insecurity you have encouraged the worst of me and it’s time for you to go.

It has taken me a long time to realize the CONTROL insecurity has had over my life and fear it has caused..

It’s what drives me to stay quiet. Quiet because of the fear I will be ignored. Fear of being embarrassed if someone notices I was ignored. I have been ignored so many times in the past so why would my words be important now? The fear shuts my mouth even though my heart is screaming to say what’s on my mind, to add my part to the conversation, to be brave and talk to that person. It’s insecurity whispering in my ear that I won’t sound smart. that my words will get mixed up. that I will stumble to say what’s on my mind. so don’t say anything at all.

It’s what drives me to hate change or the unknown. I’m in a huge season of change. Going to college, living on my own, making new friends, finding a new church. It’s all a huge change that rocked my world almost making me want to give up and go home because home was safe and familiar. There was no fear of the unknown until I stepped into this new season. Suddenly, as fear began to increase so did the insecurity. Insecurity started acting as my friend telling me to stay home. It told me I was too young, not mature enough, not strong enough to be on my own.

It’s what keeps me from opening up to people. Insecurity causes my fear of rejection. my worst nightmare. rejection screams don’t be weird, people won’t like you. people will judge you. Insecurity says that I am not enough, that I need to be more. It’s what makes me feel as if I need to be someone else. Someone more outgoing or not as serious. It’s insecurity telling me I’m too shy and stopping me from doing what I want to do. It’s telling me I’m too boring. I’m too awkward.

It’s what makes me insanely competitive in things that aren’t a competition. Thinking that if I am perfect I will never feel less than others. (Never feeling less than others = secure, right?) It has made me become a perfectionist. Perfectionism has been my favorite way to hide the pain of rejection and insecurity. Perfectionism is a way we try to cover our flaws. Making it appear to others as if we are perfect and we don’t have to deal with flaws like they do. We try to put the focus on our strong points and highlight the amazing parts of our lives. Making it appear as if we are better than other’s. It’s the thinking that “if I just look perfect then I will be secure, if I just perform perfectly I will be secure, if I just get perfect grades I will be secure.” But perfectionism leaves us feeling less than because it is humanly impossible for any of us to achieve perfection. It’s a constant battle of pressure and stress to do everything right. It’s a cycle of insecurity triggering perfectionism and perfectionism triggering insecurity.

It’s what makes women think they have to look a certain way. Too tall? don’t wear heels because you’ll be taller than most guys. Too short? wear heels so you look important. Too big? you can only eat salad. Too skinny? you need to eat more. This is what insecurity does to us!! It controls everything we do even if we intend to ignore it.

I knew I had insecurities, I think we all know to some extent the insecurities that follow us. but I did not realize the control or power they had over my life. I also didn’t realize that I had legitimate reasons for insecurity until I opened So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. This should be a mandatory book that every woman reads, I definitely would recommend reading it.

So what is the real definition of insecurity?

“Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self doubt-a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate.” -Joseph Nowinski

As I read through the book I thought ‘this is you Alyssa, you do that because of your insecurity’ and ‘why do you continue to let insecurity rule your life? isn’t it painful?’

It is like we are all on the hunt for whatever will make us secure in the moment. Searching and searching to the point of exhaustion..

We search for our worth from other’s because insecurity tells us that approval will make us secure. One of the main prayers I pray when it comes to my future husband is that God would protect me from others who aren’t meant to be my husband. that others won’t be interested in me while I wait for him. However, some days when there are guys around my insecurity hopes they will be interested or notice me. like WHAT??? didn’t I just pray they wouldn’t notice me? what is wrong with me? My insecurity gets the best of me, hoping to find worth and confidence in the approval of others. The problem is we look for our worth to come from others instead of the very one who gave us our worth when He created us. This is giving people the power to take our security away from us. One word of criticism and your hanging on to your security for dear life.

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Insecurity is letting other’s words and actions towards me define who I am and my worth. It’s letting them make me feel less than I am. It’s allowing them to speak lies into my heart. It’s allowing their words to tear me down and destroy the way I see myself. and all insecurity leaves me with is a broken description of myself listing flaw after flaw. It begs me to believe that everyone is looking for my flaws. it does not tell me that other’s see how amazing I am.

We don’t have to give people power to take away our security. Their words can hurt us and be painful but at the end of the day we can stand up secure in who we are. I refuse to let insecurity control the way I live my life. I refuse to believe the lies that tear me down. I refuse to let anyone have the power to make me feel insecure in who I am so that I can have the deep relationships I want with other’s. Once we realize we can be open in a relationship and let people in without giving them power to take/control our security, the fear of letting someone in is very little and we are able to love fully without holding back. This heart has been longing to be free. to run and love other’s with such a passion. This is freedom! Freedom from all the lies holding me back.

When I turned the last page of the book I was a little disappointed. not that the book was over but that I wasn’t radically different. I thought reading this book would turn me into a secure woman. Then I realized this book couldn’t change me but it could change the way I respond when insecurity tries to control me. I have words of truth hidden in my heart. Powerful words from my heavenly Father that bring freedom.

This battle with insecurity might be a long one but it won’t be a battle I lose. So insecurity you can come knocking but the power and freedom I have in Christ will slam the door right back in your face. I’m so over you and your lies. Take your baggage and go because this heart is not your home anymore.

 

 

Uncommon

It’s funny how the Holy Spirit works through our lives day to day: through our relationships, the Word & our pastors.

This month my church did a series called Uncommon. God obviously knew I needed this series this month!

I didn’t realize how broken my views of relationships were until this series. My view was a lot like the world’s view instead of God’s view. Uncommon was so powerful for me that I wanted to share some of my thoughts & notes.

 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:2

Commitment

Even though people in your past may not have treated you the best, shown commitment, or hurt you Jesus is committed to us.

He’s committed to prioritize you. He’s not going to make you feel like you are last on His list. He’s not going to forget about you like other’s may have.

He’s committed to pursue you. He wants your heart. He wants you. He isn’t idle when it comes to your heart. Maybe others have given up on you because it’s too much work. He never will. Maybe others have given up on you because of your mistakes. He never will. He will never stop pursuing and wanting you.

He’s committed to protect you. He will watch over your life. He’s not going to hurt you like other’s may have in the past. He wants to protect your heart. A place to run to in times of struggle and hurt.

He’s committed to meeting you in your need. If you need boldness, he has it for you. If you need Him to show you love, He has plenty of that. His whole story is based on love for us.

Communication

There are many barriers of communication, but one that really stuck with me was negative interpretation & false beliefs. This is the part where I give past relationships power to control my present relationships. & why do I do this? I am terrified of the hurt that comes with all relationships. I don’t want to feel hurt again, over and over. When we have broken relationships they become the standard we compare all of our relationships to. I have known selfish relationships, broken relationships, and hurtful relationships. I tend to judge everyone’s heart and motives based on those broken relationships.

 “My judgments of everyone’s actions are never true, but I have trained myself to have this filter that tells me they have a secret agenda. They just want something from me. They’re just using me.” -Pastor Scott

There are also many types of effective communication. Affection, or loving and being loved by others, is one.

“If you can’t freely express love, you’re not free.” -Pastor Scott

These words are true in so many ways. You can’t say you’re free but turn around and run into the walls you put up.

For so long I have thought I am free in Jesus & have complete joy in Him. When I heard those words, I realized how high the walls around my heart have been. My joy was little compared to the joy I could have. Joy of living in love, not fearing love because of broken relationships. Joy of not worrying about being hurt & enjoying friendships.

“On the worst day you need to know deep in your heart you are loved, even when you feel like you don’t deserve it.” -Pastor Scott

I have been focusing on scripture that talks about God’s love lately. I can now say, confidently on my worst day, I know I am loved by my faithful Creator. I hope everyone can know this truth for themselves.

Conflict

Conflict comes when we have expectations of others that can’t be met.

“We expect something from other people that can only come from God.” -Pastor Scott 

MIC DROP.

How many times have you expected others to be perfect or to fix you? There are so many things we try to get from others that can only come from God. Something women tend to look for from others is worth & love. However, if we base our worth off of relationships with people it will fail. You can’t let others determine your worth. Eventually you will be exhausted from trying to be perfect & trying to not disappoint people.

We’re all broken and messy people. Relationships have conflict. Relationships have unavoidable hurt. But relationships were created for good. To lift each other up, to do life together, to share and laugh with friends.

“Relationships are dangerous but worth it.” -Pastor Scott

(Is it possible to do two MIC DROPS in one service?) Pastor Scott was talking straight to my heart.

Alyssa, isn’t the joy and love from relationships worth the possibility of getting hurt? Isn’t it time to step out and let people in without fear? Isn’t it your time to stop letting the brokenness control everything?! What if you step out and make lifelong friends who will help you succeed & follow your passion?

Influence

Pastor Richard preached for the ending of this series on influence in our relationships.

“God’s grace and healing helps us make the choice to influence people even though we have been hurt in the past.” -Pastor Richard

People might disappoint you, make mistakes, act selfishly, or betray you. But Jesus never gives up on you.

To have influence in this world, we need to have relationships. We need others encouraging us & helping us succeed. We also need to be encouraging others & pushing them to succeed. Our influence can be so powerful if we let God use us.

If I want to have influence, I need to tear down the walls guarding my heart. If I want to be an influence, I need to show others even though broken relationships hurt, they aren’t the end. We can find uncommon relationships, we can build uncommon relationships & we can be the uncommon person amidst all of the brokenness.

My heart is changed after this series & I pray I never forget the truth that has been spoken into my life. I am so thankful Jesus’s love is perfect, even though other people’s love isn’t. Jesus’s love makes me so joyful & unafraid of people’s brokenness. Knowing His love is: walking fearlessly into relationships with a heart ready to love others. It’s forgetting all the wrongs done against you because what He has for you now is so much better. It’s worth taking a bulldozer to the walls around your heart. It’s worth trusting He will protect your heart in your relationships.

If you want to hear the full message, check out the awesome podcasts for uncommon here!!

The Greatest of Loves

For a long time I feared love. I feared people seeing the brokenness, the imperfect, the failing, the ugly and the scars. I feared the rejection that would by far be the worst pain. Surly, there could never be anything worse than that. I feared if people saw me for who I truly was they would reject me and leave. But that all changed when Jesus showed me His love. It’s something I have never experienced..

He takes the brokenness, the hurt, the fear. He loves me more than I could ever love Him. His love is better than any person’s love. God’s word says love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I have had this twisted version of what I thought love was because of other’s love shown to me. I have thought you have to “earn” love and to do that you have to be perfect. So if I am not perfect I don’t deserve love. I have known a “love” of selfishness, deceit, conditions, and reciprocation.

Jesus says you don’t have to work to earn love, you don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to fear love. Why? Because His love never fails. Because Jesus loves. not how the world loves. not the broken type of love. not the conditional love. but the ultimate love. this love won’t be broken and hurtful. this love won’t bring down the person that I am. instead it will uplift me and make me stronger. this perfect love drives out fear.

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:16-18

God makes me a priority, he pursues me, protects me and meets me in my need. God has completely wrecked my view of love and completely transformed it into something so unfathomable. The greatest of loves. This is the love I will forever celebrate on Valentines Day.

Becoming Instead of Wishing

February is #lovemonth. Like a lot of girls I am single and during February that can be difficult. If your single like me this post is for you!!

This week God has been teaching me that instead of sitting around and wishing for someone to spend the rest of my life with I should be treating this part of my life being single with joy. It seems everywhere I went this week I have been challenged to focus on becoming who I need to be in God for my future husband. What God has spoken in my life this week through my Wednesday night group, my Pastor and through His Word is how important it is to not only pray for my future husband but to also become the person I am praying for.

I pray my husband would be searching for more of God. I pray protection over him. I pray that he would be patient and kind. I pray he would know how to love like Jesus. I pray that he will make me a better person and that I make him better. I pray he is familiar with grace and forgiveness. I pray for his wisdom and guidance when it comes to pursuing me. I pray for a lot of things. Mostly, I pray for the kind of person he will be.

Think of all the prayers you pray for you future husband, especially the one’s about his character. He’s probably praying for the kind of person you will be too. So while you are waiting patiently (or trying to be patient) for your future husband I challenge you to focus on becoming who you need to be. Focusing on becoming the person you are supposed to be in Christ.

I am thankful this year for this stage of singleness because I can grow in my faith and grow to be a better person for my future husband. My prayer right now is God will help me become who I need to be in Him for my husband.

 

Comparison

Why would you want to change?

Yes, I see her with perfect hair or perfect skin. I see him with his perfect car. I see them with their perfect clothes and bodies to wear the clothes. The list goes on. But what do you see when you look at yourself?

And don’t you dare give me an answer full of your “flaws”. It isn’t fair to compare your “worst parts” to their “perfect life”. If you’re going to see everyone’s “perfect” qualities I want you to see your amazing qualities too.

First of all God created you. Just like He created all of the galaxies in space. Just like He created the smallest creatures with the most intricate designs. He created you.

God didn’t have to make us different but He did. He made each of us uniquely to please Him. It would be boring if we all looked the same or had the same qualities. I feel so loved knowing He took the time to design me differently. It doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with comparison because trust me I do. It just gives me contentment knowing I was made differently because my purpose is different than theirs.

I have spent too much time in the comparison cycle. All throughout middle school and high school I struggled. I think a lot of us struggle with this more than ever now. Social media has become a platform for comparison. Everyone wants to put their best self out there and all day long we scroll through feeds of “perfection”. My biggest challenge is seeing women my age or younger doing amazing things. Things I could only dream of doing. But if we spend all of our time comparing we aren’t really focusing on our own identity. Yes, they are doing amazing things because it is a part of their identity. Just like you are doing amazing things as a part of your identity.

We ask God, “Why can’t I have that or be like that?”

He answers with the simple statement, “you don’t need that for the purpose I have given you.”

Look at your life and the people you are impacting. You are being used to do great things. We are all equipped with something different that allows us to reach people other’s wouldn’t be able to reach. We are made differently with a purpose.

 

 

The Result of Enduring

What is it like to have endurance?

Recently, I took a road trip to go snowboarding and skiing with one of my best friends, Katya. We had a lot of laughs and great conversations but what really stuck with me was our conversation about “What is the purpose in this life?”

We sat in the Tim Hortons drive thru talking about what it’s like to have a purpose in life. As we talked I realized how truly scared I used to be of living. Not living in general but of living with absolutely no purpose. Because what is the point of going to school and getting a job and then dying? That’s what life is, except that statement is missing a few details. We all have a God given purpose. The purpose given to us is what we live for. It’s what we endure for. I can tell you that each of us have specific purposes but we all have a common purpose. We are all called to love people, be kind, have relationships and spread Christ’s  glory to all people. But how do we find our specific purpose?

Endurance.

The exact definition of endurance is ‘the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.’

Endurance to find our purpose is a lot like my ski trip with Katya. I have been snowboarding but never been downhill skiing before this trip. We started off snowboarding but we both decided to switch to skiing. I thought it would be easy because everyone says skiing is easier than snowboarding. Wrong. After maybe 5ft down the mountain I wiped out and my ski came off. Katya came to help me up and I tried again. After falling about four more times I was ready to give up and walk down the mountain. I was bruised from falling and honestly scared of going down the rest of the way. A man skiing offered to give me a short lesson a quarter of the way down and I was feeling more confident after. With endurance I faced the rest of the way down by myself. When I got to the bottom I was relieved I made it down alive and without serious injuries. At least we laughed all the way down the mountain because I was so horrible at skiing. But this trip did teach me something valuable.

I have learned that finding our purpose is a lot like that trip down the mountain. It takes endurance. We’re excited at first to finally have a hint of what our purpose is but once we have to start the journey it gets scary. There are so many fears that come to mind. Mine include stepping into the unknown. So many things could go wrong. So many times we are knocked down and don’t want to get up. God may ask us to step out and try something new or face a fear. We need to have the endurance to keep going no matter what is thrown at us. No matter the difficulty of getting over a fear or obstacle. Don’t be discouraged if you fail. Try again. There will always be people willing to help you up and guide you through the journey. The journey isn’t always failing and falling down. There are fun and exciting parts to the trip. There will be many times of laughter and great relationships formed. But we endure to get past the unpleasant and difficult process of getting beyond our fears to find our purpose. Trust me, when you get to the bottom of the mountain or the end of that step in finding your purpose you will be stronger, a little more fearless and braver than ever before. You will experience what it’s like to live with a purpose. And that is one of the greatest satisfactions in life.

Don’t be afraid to step out into the unknown. You will get over the fear because it is so small compared to the power of finding a purpose.

To Follow

It’s already January 15th and I haven’t set any New Year Resolutions. Typical. I have never really set resolutions because I don’t see the point. I want to be the best version of myself all the time. I don’t want to let a start of a new year determine if I’m going to make a change. However, today I decided I am going to have a verse for the year.

Philippians 3:10&11

“I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

I want to know Christ. I want to consider everything a loss without Him. I don’t want to ever be comfortable being “godly enough.” I don’t want to just be satisfied because I’m a good person or a “better” person than others. I want to be continually searching and following. Taking up the cross and following because that is what I am called to do.

He gave up everything for us. He gave up His life on the cross. How could someone love me that much that they would die on the cross tortured and beaten for me. Just let that sink in because it amazes me. He gave up everything so that I may know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. He gave up everything so that I may make Him known to others. So that I may forget everything and just follow Him.

That is what 2017 is about for me.

To follow with my whole being.

To follow no matter what.

To follow Him even though I might take a loss or two.

To follow despite what others tell me.

To follow to know the power of the resurrection.

To follow to know HIM.