why do bad things happen to good people

I’ve seen some of the sweetest people I know suffering from an illness, close friends who are loyal get used and played countless times and people who have worked so hard to go after their dreams lose almost everything.  I’ve struggled to wrap my brain around how the nicest people could end up having such bad things happen to them.  I wondered how could God let all these things happen?

Even as I sit here writing this I can think of times where I personally bawled my eyes out lying on my bathroom floor asking God why we have to suffer. From being so sick I could hardly stand or from having my heart shattered into a million pieces or having a close friend stab me in the back, all I could think of is “God what did I do to deserve this?”

When I look back on those times I’ve struggled the most, I’ve come to the conclusion that He was there with me through all those hard times and He will always be there for us in the future. And here is where I know I may lose some of you but hear me out. I think the easiest way to wrap our limited brains around this HUGE concept of God always being with us is through example.

Now I don’t want this to sound like I am saying we deserve the hard times we’ve been through, so please do not make that your take away.  Some of the suffering we go through in life has nothing to do with any choices we make, it’s just part of being human. But sometimes the pain we go through is unintentionally self-inflicted. Now with that being said, we all make mistakes and I am a very VERY firm believer that good can still come from our bad choices even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

So for my first example, let’s look at Adam and Eve and the first sin to ever happen. There are so many important details to be taken from this situation, and verses that stick out to me, but I think the best verse that is pertaining to this subject is Genesis 3:21…

“And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.”

Now you’re probably like, “Courtney, what the heck? This is a scripture on how God clothed them? How is this relevant?”

But I think this verse means a lot more than just God providing clothing for Adam and Eve. Think about the timing. God said this to them AFTER they just committed THE sin that would affect all of mankind forever and ever, but God still continued to take care of them. In fact, He also got them prepared for their next step and the consequences they would now have to face for the rest of time.

Again I am not saying that the bad things that happen to you are earned, on occasion we may be the victims of someone else’s bad choices or just circumstances that happen in life, but other times, we actually set ourselves up for our own failure. But here’s the amazing part, God is with us through it all!! And if we happen to cause pain and ask God to forgive us, He will and He will help us move on from our mistakes. He doesn’t give up on us! Let me give you another an example…

So let’s say you guys and girls have been talking to someone for awhile, someone you start to really like, he or she really likes you back so you decide to take it to the next level. You post the cute couple pics on social media, declare your love for each other then proceed to give that person something only your future spouse should receive. You now have a soul tie with this person, which is something only your spouse should have (soul ties are formed any time and every time there is intimacy in a relationship).
Then let’s say a few months later, you realize he or she has been talking to someone else and decides that you two together just aren’t what they want anymore. You’re devastated and don’t know what to do. You may wonder why this bad thing happened to you. You thought that this person was “the one.”  Terri Savel wrote this about soul ties: You may have ended a physically intimate relationship months ago, but you still feel a pull toward that person. Why? Because of soul ties. Soul ties prevent us from moving on to new relationships, even the ones God may be leading us into. You can read more about how to break these soul ties here.

I know a lot of friends who have gone through this exact situation. Watching their hearts being shattered through this, and still suffering from memories sometimes popping up that hurts them and triggers more bad choices. Although this is a very common scenario in today’s society, it doesn’t make it okay. Having any kind of sex before marriage is outside of God’s will and commandments and if you break those, He can’t bless that relationship. Some people could be like “screw God, I don’t need His blessings” but then years later wonder why they are confused, alone, divorced or struggle trying to love their husband or wife. Again, we are never too far away from God’s forgiveness and blessings so if this is a place you find yourself in, just be honest. Everything we go through, whether self-inflicted or not, can have some kind of good come from it.

Please hear me out on this. This is a tough topic and I am NOT trying to condemn or hurt anyone’s feelings but this is real life and sometimes we don’t understand why things happen and how we may have been able to avoid them. I am standing right next to you in some of these areas of self-inflicted pain.

But another thing that comes to mind when discussing bad stuff happening to us is when people have close friends and family die. So here’s my answer to why does this stuff happen…I don’t really know. I think some of it has to do with the fact that we live in a fallen imperfect world. There is no good way to explain why there isn’t a cure for cancer, why kids are abused or why people die in car accidents but I do know that the devil is real and his only goals are to kill, steal from and destroy God’s children, US! He won’t stop till he’s done with that mission. But I believe my Bible that says Jesus died for our sins and that God has placed things like the cures to fatal illnesses and the ability to help people in need inside each one of us, we just have to dig deep and find it in ourselves.

Overall, I think the best way to summarize this topic is, (I know this sounds cliché but y’all it’s so true), is that God allows us to have free will and He can still make good things come from tragic situations. We don’t understand how and maybe we never will, but I’m learning to try to trust God with everything, even the stuff that breaks my heart.

If you are struggling with something that has happened to you, honestly ask yourself, did I set myself up for this or is there something here for me to learn? Or ask God to show you what good could come of the situation if it’s out of your control. It’s super important to use the Bible as a reference to make sure whatever you are hearing from Him matches up with His words. God isn’t afraid of our questions. Y’all if you ask Him He will tell you. He is so good like that!

I hope no one took offense to this post, but it’s been tugging at my heart to write about for awhile. You see, I tried doing life without God being a priority and I caused and felt a lot of pain and confusion. I’m not saying everything is perfect living my life making God a priority but it sure does make me feel a lot more peace and I can make better decisions this way. Thanks for reading and please know I am praying for y’all. xoxo

fun summa ideas

Let me just start this by telling you guys that summer is my season. I’m serious. I get tan, my hair gets lighter, my clothes get cuter, and my favorite part, there’s no school! With that being said, I think it’s a very stereotypical thing to want to party and do crazy stuff all summer to “make it memorable” but like do you really want to do that stuff though? It can still be memorable without all the partying so I’m going to share ten (I think are pretty awesome) summer (sober) ideas!

1. Go hiking. Yes, I know it’s so cliché, but if you know me, you know this is one of my favorite things to do as soon as the temps go above 50! You get to take amazing photos in nature, make great memories and you even get a good workout, too! Some of my favorite places to hike are…

* Boyd Big Tree Reserve in Fishing Creek

* Mount Gretna (be sure to stop at the Jigger Shop afterwards for ice cream!)

* Ricketts Glen (the waterfalls are awesome here!)

* HACC Wildwood Nature Trail (this is a great walking and bike trail, not so much of a hike!)

* Peter’s Mountain (hiked this a few time over the years when I was at Camp Hebron)

*Kings Gap in Boiling Springs

2. Drive-in movies. You literally can’t go wrong with this. Just grab your friends, favorite snacks, chairs/blankets and take a friend’s mini-van to bring a bunch of people. This concept also works for fireworks and music festivals.

3. Beach trips for the day. This also includes Mount Gretna. I love the beach and I’m guessing at some point in my life I will live within 10 minutes of one! Until then, I like getting up early driving to Ocean City with friends and staying for the day. After we change from a day at the beach and grab boardwalk pizza, we leave to get home by midnight. It’s pretty cheap and super fun to just get away for a day! Just be sure to wear sunscreen because speaking from experience, it’s an excruciating car ride home when you fry your skin!

4. Volunteering. I know this may sound kinda of out of place in a post about “fun” summer ideas but this is a highlight of my summer. The love and joy you feel in your heart the moments after volunteering and helping others are PRICELESS. And you would be surprised how much fun you have and the great people you’ll meet. I like to go down and hand out food and water bottles in the city or help at outreach events just talking and praying for people who are going through tough times. I suggest checking with your church or family members about places you can help by collecting and handing out food or even just make little snack bags to give to people on the streets. Maybe you have an older neighbor you could mow the grass for or a new mom who could use a meal brought over. Those are the little things that make a huge impact on people’s lives.

5. Make your own tournament (or game nights on rainy days). I’m not talking about beer pong either! If you have corn hole, invite some friends and family over and do a tournament. Or a basketball hoop, soccer net, volleyball, Frisbee golf or anything just make it a competition. Play until there’s a winner and then if you can and it’s not 95 degrees outside, finish the night with a fire.

6. Take your mom, dad, sister or brother to dinner, lunch, a movie, ice cream or mini golf, etc. For me personally, my whole life my parents have always appreciated the little things and that includes just taking some time off to hang with them or just shooting them a text to grab a quick lunch. Maybe because I’m graduating I appreciate them now more than ever. So basically just take the time to show your love to your family. Don’t always be thinking you are going to miss out on “cool” stuff this summer because you choose to hang out with the fam.

7. Go on a missions trip somewhere away from home. Now I know not everyone has access to this one, just with cost and depending on your church you attend but guys, if you want to go on one… GO ON ONE! They are ridiculously rewarding and throughout the time you are there it changes your perspective completely. I can honestly say that on the two I went on, even though I was there to help others, I left changed and so grateful. If you can’t go on a missions trip (or even if you can), go on a youth retreat if your church has them. They are so much fun and there’s nothing quite like getting away from all the distractions to spend time focusing on things much more important than the material things in life. I admit there were times my parents nearly had to force me to go, but afterwards I was so glad I went.

8. Make a day to pamper yourself. Maybe this is more for the girls, I’m not sure how guys “pamper” themselves lol. Personally, I am going to have to work two jobs and a lot of hours this summer just to make bank for college, but with those few days off, I think sometimes it’s okay to just stay home and chill. You really don’t always have to be doing something adventurous to have a good time. And spending time alone isn’t a terrible thing; in fact that’s when we can get creative. Just head over to the store, grab some of your favorite ice cream, a good scrub and face mask, a little nail polish and just chill.

9. Journal. I know this isn’t like a onetime thing just for the summer but I will advise you to keep a journal and set an alarm everyday to jot something down. You will thank yourself one day when you have the opportunity to look through it later in life and see the amazing summer you had. Plus it’s also an opportunity to write down your goals, dreams and prayers and then check back in a few years to see where you ended up.

10. Last, but not least, devote this summer to loving yourself. Truly loving yourself completely and forgive yourself for past mistakes. Once again, I know this isn’t a onetime activity but it’s so important to value yourself and really grow into the person God has created you to be, which I promise you is awesome. Don’t try to compete, compromise or compare yourself because you really are unique. So I challenge you to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually this summer and do things your future self will thank you for.

So I hope you guys read this and get excited because summer is SO CLOSE Y’ALL !!!  First though,  we do still have a school year to finish so don’t give up just yet (that’s as much for me as for you!).  Enjoy these last couple weeks of school and trust that God has an amazing plan and loves every single one of us! xoxo

 

being honest

Why is it so hard to tell the truth sometimes?

This is something we all have struggled with in our lives and I think will continue to struggle with. We use the word “honesty” a lot but do we truly know the meaning of it? We use it a lot of different ways and it seems to mean different things. We yell down the hall at a sibling saying we hate them  for stealing our clothes, but do we honestly hate them?  Or we tell our moms half of the truth for our plans that night thinking we are technically being honest.  Or we over exaggerate about almost every story we tell? Or we only share a few basic facts about something we screwed up on so when the truth is eventually revealed we can defensively say “oh but you didn’t specifically ask me THAT question!”

Honesty is defined as: free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere

SINCERE.

If that part of the definition doesn’t make us feel a little guilty about the times when we twisted the truth for our own benefit, then I don’t know what will! We sometimes think being honest just means being blunt, rude, and not having a filter like being “brutally” honest. But according to this definition, honesty means telling someone something in a sincere way, without twisting it, being manipulating or making it out to be something that is not 100% true.

Let me tell you this, I wish I had been honest more because, man, things in my life would have turned out so different. I wasn’t honest with myself or people I could trust and it cost me. Even today, so many of my issues are self-inflicted and if I just could tell someone I NEED HELP when I am struggling, things could go a lot smoother. I wouldn’t have suffered and caused so much pain if I could have been honest all along and my life would look different.  I can say that for the most part, I am happy where I am at right now, but I do have some regrets and things I would have done different if I had the chance to go back. I’ve just decided not to let regrets hold me back from enjoying my life now and pursuing my dreams.

I’ve realized that honesty is a lot more than just telling the truth all the time. It’s also about owning up to mistakes and choices that should have probably gone a different way and realizing what got us to that point. When we make mistakes we, as humans, feel like we have to cover it up and hide it. It’s our human nature. But there is so much freedom in telling someone the whole truth, even if there are negative consequences. It’s just such a relief not to hide.

Even though I already said that I do still have some regrets,  overall I am at peace with my past and the things that have happened to me. Being totally honest about stuff I really messed up on isn’t always easy, but I have comfort in knowing God has healed me from those painful things. And the way that led me to that healing was by being HONEST with myself and trusted people like my mama or a mentor or my sisters, or even my dad. And yes, those details are somewhat embarrassing and even awkward to tell someone, but the freedom you feel after telling someone you trust is like no other.

You know how when you cut yourself and go to your mom and ask for a Band-aid, instead of just giving you a Band-aid she says “let me clean it out first” and you know you wanna sprint the other way cause you know how much it’s gonna BURN when she cleans it out.

Welp, that is pretty much an example of being honest in those messy situations. You are going to want to sprint in the opposite direction, it’s gonna burn and hurt in the moment, but the consequences of being honest and vulnerable with someone you can trust are so rewarding and healing.

Another huge part of honesty is trusting. In order to tell someone the truth we subconsciously don’t even realize this, but we have to trust them that they will receive it. So when I screw up and go to sit down with my mom to talk about the problem, I have to trust that number one, she won’t tell anyone unless she asks me first and number two, that she will receive what I am saying and help me make a change or get through a situation (or out of one too!!). I pray that I not only have people I trust with the truth in my life, but that I can also be trustworthy for someone else.

And just an observation here but does anyone else  despise how common outright lying, distrust and “tweaking” the truth (there really is no such thing as a little white lie !) are so common in today’s relationships? Even when someone asks what’s wrong and the response is “I’m just tired” or “I’m just busy” but it really is just that person avoiding a conversation, that’s not being honest (and how many times have we all done that??)! I am telling you right now if someone’s behavior is doing nothing but hurting you to get what they want by lying and using you over and over again, PLEASE GET OUT of that relationship.  And know the difference between someone who loves you and lies in an attempt to protect you (although that’s still that’s not remotely ok and needs to be dealt with) and someone who lies because they don’t want to get “caught”. Listen, if you’re a dude (or a girl) reading this and you lie to your gf/ bf or family or friends on a regular basis, please consider writing down everything you know you lied about, talk to the person you have been lying to and tell them what you have been doing and that you are going to be more honest from here on out. It’s going to be really hard and it’s a risk but imagine if everyone did this and wiped the slates clean? I’m telling y’all there is freedom in admitting where you screwed up, asking forgiveness and then letting go of the past.  I would never suggest doing these things if I didn’t do it myself.

I hope if you read this and get anything from this post that you understand this: telling someone you are struggling and being honest (and sincere!) in relationships, friendships and family will literally change your life. If anything knowing we are going to be more honest makes us think through our choices better since we will be accountable for telling the truth. When I am tempted to lie, I literally ask myself how would (fill in the name) feel if they found out I lied to them about this? It will also make life so much easier because if your honest all the time, you don’t have to remember who you told this or who you told that, because you will be consistent in everything you say. And I know some people aren’t gonna receive the truth very well, but give them time to process especially if it’s a tough situation and the truth hurts. I know I have had to give some time and space (and prayer!) to the people I have lied to and it’s totally understandable. And please don’t expect anything less then to receive honesty back, don’t settle for relationships and friendships that you can’t trust. Telling the truth really  should be a normal expectation.

Love y’all and I am already working on another blog to get out over the weekend. Feel free to comment anytime with topics you’d like to hear about. xoxo and enjoy some time off for Easter break. <33

Self-confidence

I think we can all relate to struggling at some point with trying to figure out who we really are and what we really believe. That’s part of growing up and I don’t think we will ever stop learning things about ourselves. So how do we view ourselves now? Do we like ourselves or not? Did you know that self-confidence really just means that we can trust in our God-given gifts without thinking we are rock stars?

And the reason for this blog post isn’t just to say…

“You need self-confidence to be happy so love yourself more, pamper yourself with bubble baths and tell someone you love them, blah blah, blah…”

All that stuff is great, who doesn’t love a relaxing bubble bath or telling someone your true feelings? But I hate to break it to ya…you can’t stay in the bathtub forever and sometimes the feelings you share aren’t mutual. So now what do we do to really take care of ourselves, to maintain our self-confidence, when reality hits hard?

Let’s start with this…

Know the difference between CONFIDENCE, PRIDE/COCKINESS and INSECURITY.

When you have self-confidence, you are so sure of who you are and who you are meant to be that you can humbly put others’ needs and success before your own. So in other words, it’s knowing your worth so well that you want others to find theirs, too!

Cockiness is putting your own needs and success before others…and usually in an obnoxious way! Believe it or not, cockiness can actually be a sign of not having much self-confidence. If someone is hurt or very insecure, many times they try to cover that hurt up with being so into themselves and telling everyone how much better they are then everyone else. Or maybe someone is acting cocky because they have been told for a long time how amazing they are at doing something and it just goes to their head (hey, and maybe we can relate to that at some point in our lives?).

When you are insecure, you just can’t be recognized for anything you do well. You get uncomfortable when people complement you. You may also be the person who apologizes for breathing. If that’s you, most likely you aren’t just shy, you have been hurt and this is your way of protecting yourself from getting hurt again. It’s time for you to break out of that and enjoy being you.

Here’s some things to consider and figure out if you are self-confident, cocky or insecure:

1. Are you able to recognize your strengths and gifts, and with that are you also able to share your weaknesses in order to receive help?
If you answered yes to these questions, then YAY. That’s good to be aware of your strengths and work on your weaknesses buuuuut if you answered no, let’s talk. Listen, it’s hard to live in this current society and have a high opinion of yourself. It’s weird how we will post selfies and then tell everyone how ugly we are. I know that I have felt uncomfortable when someone has pointed out something I’m good at (and depending on who and where, felt REALLY uncomfortable when they pointed out something I’m not so good at haha).

Sometimes when I’m really struggling with feeling insecure and worthless, I look in the mirror (lock your door if you want cause this is kinda awkward the first couple times and it would be even more awkward if your like 10 year old brother walked in) straight in my eyes and say, “You’re special and talented and God created you for a reason.” I usually say it 13 times cause that’s my favorite number but do it however many times you need to say it until you believe it.

Secondly, being able to realize your weaknesses and get help isn’t a bad thing at all. I think our generation thinks it’s so weak asking for help and so many of us have trust issues that we would never admit we are struggling. Nobody wants a lecture but sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

Hear me on this, if you’re struggling with something, please tell someone close to you. If my friends or family are hurt, I want to know, I want to help. I want to know if you think about harming yourself, I want to know if you feel like you need to go back to that guy who only snaps you at midnight for what he can get from you that night. I want to know if you feel confused, worthless or upset and I’m sure I’m not the only person who cares. You would be BLOWN AWAY about how many friends and family care about you and want to help you if you give them the chance to.

2. Do you get easily offended when someone corrects you or points out a weakness?
If you answered no, then good job! But if you answered yes, why does being corrected bother you? When we get offended, we are allowing ourselves to let anger and sadness take over our thoughts and that will kill our self-confidence. It’s totally okay to be disappointed when a negative comment is made, but think about the source and if it could be true or not instead of “I can’t believe she said that!” and telling the first 14 people you see how rude she is. Sometimes we don’t even realize how other people see us! In any case, don’t let someone’s comments or opinion affect your emotions. People can only build you up or tear your down if you let them and we should never rely on opinions (good or bad) for our self-confidence.

3. Do you get angry or jealous if someone gets a compliment or is recognized in a positive way?
If you answered no, then dude, you’re good once again! Thanks for reading my blog even though it seems like you don’t need it lol! But if you answered yes, this is a serious character flaw. I do think just about everyone goes through feeling like this at some point. Deep down we all want others to see the good things in us so when we are ignored while someone else gets the attention, we can be crazy jealous and react in a bad way. If this happens to you on a regular basis, talk to someone about how you feel so you can figure out what triggers you when this happens and fix it. Some of you may say, “I can’t be happy for him, he did that one thing that one time and he doesn’t deserve to be complimented… blah blah blah.” Whatever someone has done to you that hurt, you need to forgive and move on for your own sake. If you are truly self-confident in who you have been created to be, you won’t be threatened by other people having success, no matter who they are.

4. Do you find yourself posting things for the likes, retweets and comments rather than the actual content or just for your own enjoyment?
If you answered no, you’re probably lying soooo but this one is tough. I think because it is “social” media we all post for the attention or why else would we post things in the first place? But getting frustrated when your selfie hasn’t reached 100 likes in 15 minutes may be an issue. I would suggest a social media fast until you get your head on straight and not be obsessed with how well your posts do. It’s really important not to get your confidence from social media because that’s so up and down! It’s no better thinking that the girl with 500 likes on a pic is better than a girl who got 70 likes on hers…but we are all guilty of this kind of thinking and then we wonder why we are so cocky or insecure. Trust me, I can assure you that when you stop refreshing your phone every minute to see whether “Johnny” liked that selfie you just posted, you will thank yourself.

5. Okay thanks for sticking with me, here’s the last question…do you believe God makes mistakes?
If you answered yes, I would love to sit down and chat to see why you think that and hear you out. But if you answered no, then why aren’t you loving yourself and others and seeing all of us as God’s creation? If we could all have confidence that we are created in God’s image and if we could love ourselves and others the way God does, this world would be so different. I wish I could see people through God’s eyes because His love is completely unconditional!

I do hope you take some time to really evaluate how you feel about yourself and I hope this was helpful. I know even as I wrote it, I started realizing some things that I could change. When life hits hard and things don’t go as planned, we need to remember we still have a purpose. And if you didn’t get anything out of what I wrote up to this point, please just get this: You are so valued and I hope you start to look at your life as important while you also see the value in other people, too. Believe in yourself, realize your gifts and admit your weaknesses. Okay that’s all for now. Love y’all! xoxo

time for a change

Change can be scary but it is something I think everyone can say they have experienced in their lifetimes…some of us it may feel like it’s been more than a million times! I mean change is inevitable but it’s not easy.

Some people may see change as a bad thing but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes change can be just the thing we need.

I have learned in my past experiences that change can be very good…like changing your eating habits, changing how you spend your downtime, changing the group of people you hang out with or even just changing your hair. 😉

Now although I can sit here and say I am glad I’ve changed in all those areas and those were some of the best changes I could have made… some of that change was NOT easy.

Change is hard. It can be uncomfortable and very lonely.

There was a point in time that because my heart and my motives changed, certain friends and I could not really relate anymore.  We wanted different things and it was HARD.

Some may say a friend break-up is worse than an actual boyfriend/girlfriend break-up and that can be true sometimes. Having  close friends become casual acquaintances because you guys just aren’t the same people anymore really hurts. Sometimes it’s just growing up and growing apart. But if the friendship or relationship oversteps boundaries over and over, it’s time for a change.  In this case, I always say you have to do what’s best for YOU and for your future. If friends are not encouraging you to become a better person, chances are they are not someone for you to spend a lot of time with.

And let me add this, if your friends constantly make you feel unimportant, unworthy, self-conscious or guilty than those are not friends! Sure, it’s okay to joke around with each other but if the friendship is pretty much you being the butt of every joke or you are the one making the only effort, it’s time to reevaluate. Your friends should make an effort to invest in you and listen to you (and vice versa!!). You should be each other’s biggest fans, but also be honest with each other. If that’s not happening, talk to them. Communicate. Like change, it’s not always easy to be vulnerable but in the end you know you tried even if it doesn’t turn out the way you hoped it would.

As this year has gone on, I’ve realized friendship really is quality over quantity. Although my circle is small, I love my friends so much and want the world for them and I know they feel the same for me. They also are the ones to hold me accountable and say “Nah Court , I don’t think that’s a good idea.” It can be annoying to hear that, but at the end of the day I know that’s what I need to grow and that they truly care about me.

Change can be such an incredible turning point in your life so don’t be closed off to trying new things or getting to know new people. They could be nothing like what you expect and could turn into your best friend once you get to know each other. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities everyday and always keep your future in mind. Don’t settle for ordinary comfortable stuff, take a risk and change the things you may be complaining about!

Also if your friends treat you like crap and you just want someone to talk to, I would love to listen and it would stay between us!  Okay that’s all I’ve got tonight. Merry Christmas everyone and be sure to remember the real reason for the season. xoxo

moving on

At some point, most of us have struggled with being disappointed with things and let down by people and then not knowing what to do about it. Do we stay to work through it or should we move on? With that we need to know there’s a time to question what happened, process it, mourn a loss, and there is also a time to move on.

1. A time to question.

Obviously when we are disappointed and things didn’t turn out how we thought we always have questions,

Why did you do this to me?

Where do we go from here?

What am I supposed to do to fix this?

These are all legitimate questions when losing something or someone. There are millions of other questions that are specific to situations, and it’s okay to ask and to wonder, but don’t let that wondering and “what ifs” take up too much of your time and energy.

2. Process.

Along with the questions, some people don’t get closure and never will. If you are one of those people, I pray God heals your soul in order to forgive an apology that was never given. Processing is the time when you take an honest look at what happened, pray and decide whether you try one more time, wait or move on.

For example, you have a relationship or friendship that just is not going well so you confront the issue and the other person doesn’t care or isn’t willing to change; obviously you will have questions and mourn that relationship, but in order to grow and have a positive outcome from this situation, you have to move on. That doesn’t mean arguments between two equally committed people can’t be worked out but do NOT let yourself stay stuck in one-sided relationships! And once you move on don’t reopen that door. God allows that door to close for a reason, so don’t keep rehashing things and repeating cycles. People and circumstances can eventually change, but someone once said “don’t keep watering a dead garden.”

3. The mourning.

This is the time you give yourself to mourn the relationship, person, thing, etc. It’s okay to be upset, we as humans were blessed with emotions and it’s okay to be sad at times, but you can’t let that feeling overtake you. Nobody or no loss is so important that you question your own value. Now I can’t tell you an exact amount of time it takes to mourn, because it is different for every situation, but I can tell you a rule I have tried to follow, if it won’t matter to you in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes upset about it. Sometimes things that seemed like a big deal at the time, really weren’t when I thought about it like that. Now I get it takes a lot more than five minutes to mourn a relationship or person, but try not to focus on what you don’t have and don’t let the past consume your thoughts. One thing that also helped me was praying and knowing that I would not always stay sad because God has good plans for my life.

4. The moving on.

Well this is the hardest part, but the most rewarding part. How cool is it to see someone you used to trip over and feel peaceful instead of sadness? It is such a rewarding feeling to see how much progress you’ve made! This is the time to really focus on the important things in life, maybe your priorities need to be fixed and you need to really dig deep down to see what you did right and what you did wrong then learn from it.

Sometimes in the past I have struggled with this moving on part but the one thing that FINALLY broke through to me was someone once said to me,

“I want to look in that mirror at the end of the year and say to myself, I have no regrets.”

We have all been hurt and been through situations that we wish ended differently, but dwelling on these issues for too long can lead to a lot more heartache in the end and we can miss out on the great stuff God has for us now because we are too distracted. Although we aren’t all perfect, I think it is important to keep our future selves in mind when making decisions in the present. If that means letting go and moving on, then I encourage you to do it even when it’s hard.

That’s all I have for now. Hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! xoxo

 

the little things

I think we can all admit we’ve struggled sometimes with seeing the good things right in front of us. Like how amazing your mother really is or how much your sister really does show her love for you or how God has placed every star in the sky for our pure pleasure. 

It’s truly amazing to think of all the simple things in life that constantly go unnoticed or unsaid. It is also very sad. If we would pay close attention to be thankful for what we have instead of complaining about what we don’t, we would have a lot more peace. 

So with this post I am challenging you to notice the little things…

I challenge you to look your mom in the eyes and tell her you love her before you frantically storm out of the house because you’re running late.

Or tell your brother you’re proud of him for his accomplishments and that you’re glad he’s your brother. 

Or pray and thank God for another day of life and His unconditional love.

One of the biggest challenges I have had to overcome was a car accident that nearly killed me in July 2015. Other than learning the obvious lesson that a seat belt can in fact save your life, I learned something very valuable as a result of what happened that day. 

In life you will look back at the little things and realize they were the big things. 

I can assure you, people won’t remember that you didn’t have a homecoming date or that party you were or were not invited to or the time you accidentally wore black and navy, but instead they will remember how you took time and picked up their books when they dropped them all on the ground, or encouraged them when they seemed upset or how you helped with Special Olympics and put a smile on every face you interacted with. 

People don’t remember what you do, they remember how you made them feel. 

And with small gestures like holding the door open for someone, being a good listener or even just saying please and thank you, we can brighten someone’s day in a small way. 

So just remember to appreciate the little things as you go throughout your days. What can you do to make at least one person’s day a little better this week? That’s all for now…xoxo. 

unrealistic expectations

I think having unrealistic expectations is something all girls and even boys seem to struggle with.

I love you; I just want you, nobody else; I’ll change; I’m sorry;  I’m just so busy, etc…

Those are some of the most common lies told in this day and age. Words said so easily and impulsively most of the time. We have all said things like these and had them said to us for different reasons but they weren’t true. They never should have been said.

It’s sad. Those lies in an attempt to manipulate or spare someone from the truth really build up expectations.

So how do we solve the problem of unrealistic expectations? I can tell you one thing, I have learned the hard way and my best advice is to look at actions not just words when you expect certain things to happen.

I haven’t always done this great, but I try to be one to say how I feel, even when I have to be vulnerable (which I don’t like at all, I mean who does?) and I’ll try to back up my actions. It’s cost me saying how I really feel but I can honestly say when I tell someone something, I mean it…good or bad. I don’t know many other people who do that and I challenge you to not say stuff you don’t mean even if it’s hard to say. It really just sets up unrealistic expectations and makes people feel stupid when they realize the truth.

I’m trying to choose my words better. I used to casually say “I love you!” or “I love that!” so much until I started to realize I was throwing around such an important word. By doing this it gave me an unrealistic expectation of what love is. I have learned love is not a feeling when everything is going well. It is a choice to sacrifice. So if someone says they love you and they will do this for you or that for you, pay attention to see if their actions are backing that up.

Another thing to watch out for is someone’s track record. I’m definitely not one to judge someone on their past because I know I have really tried to change and learn from my past mistakes, but if there is someone who demonstrates the same disappointing behavior over and over and over again while not admitting it’s wrong, then be cautious. Maybe it’s a flirty guy who has been known to become close friends with girls and lead them on or maybe it’s a girl who has gossiped to you about everyone you know, so be cautious when entering a friendship or relationship with them. Don’t jump right in and share your heart or have unrealistic expectations of how loyal they are. Take your time. Give them a chance to earn your trust and vice versa.

Another thing to consider is when most people say “If you don’t have any expectations you never get disappointed.”

To be honest, that’s kinda dumb. First off, can anyone not have expectations for others? I mean don’t we somewhat expect common courtesy and some form of communication? If anything, having no expectations will get you even more hurt than having some realistic ones. High expectations are not bad things, you should have high ones, but you just need to be careful with who you have them with and the extent of them. Think about it before you dive right in.

So let’s say you have some realistic expectations and you are minding your own business. Suddenly you find yourself daydreaming of that cute boy and how adorable you guys would be drinking your lattes and going apple picking. That’s fun to think about but there comes a time when you have to draw the line with that stuff. When your dreaming takes over your reality and creates expectations is when it becomes an issue. We can drive ourselves crazy dreaming about something that we just can’t have.

And I  know this may be a hard topic to explain but here’s another example that maybe some girls can relate too…

You get the snap. It’s late. He’s complimenting you. Then he drops the bomb….

“No, me and my girlfriend aren’t doing well and we’re gonna break up soon” or “I’m not really that serious with her” or the good ole, “You are the one I really love, it’s just that I don’t want to break her heart.”

Friends, if you hear either one of those things or anything like it TURN THE OTHER WAY AND RUN. If he says things to you that you know aren’t right while he has a girlfriend, he doesn’t care about her or you. He is thinking about himself and that’s it. And yes, girls do this stuff to guys, too and it’s not okay.

But hear me on this, if he really wants you, that guy will pursue and value you. This may sound funny but my mom and I have talked about men were naturally made to be hunters. That’s why we hear that once the challenge is over, a bunch of them move on to their next hunt! But if a guy wants something bad enough, he will be determined to do what it takes to get it. And in this case, if he’s dating someone else and messing with your emotions, he doesn’t care about you. He would pursue you and only you if that’s what he wants. Trust me, that’s a tough reality when you allow yourself to have expectations to be with him one day. So please if he gives you promises and empty words that are not backed up with actions, give it up. He doesn’t need more “time” trust me. It’s gonna hurt for a bit but I promise it will save you a lot of hurt in the long run. And next time you will know better and pay attention to the warning signs.

Even though I am honestly okay now, I learned this unrealistic expectation lesson the hard way wanting to believe things I knew deep down just were not true. I had high expectations that I shouldn’t have but I wanted it so badly at the time I justified everything that didn’t match up. I really wish I would have listened to my own advice then, but I’m hoping by sharing this some people won’t have to go through some of the stuff I have. I hope it helps. That’s all I got for tonight. Love y’all! xoxo

 

who’s controlling your emotions?

You have most likely heard advice that it’s not a good idea to let people control our emotions.

“But I can’t help how I feel. He/she just makes me so mad/upset/frustrated.”

But here’s the thing. We CAN control how we feel by not allowing someone to be the main reason we are happy or sad. Sure, situations happen that can make us feel a certain way, but if we allow what other people say about us or how they treat us influence us too much, it just isn’t very healthy for us and those relationships will suffer. Whether friends or dating, we have to be careful not to rely too much on other people to make us feel valuable.

Here’s how I look at it…

If you let it ruin your day because someone didn’t snap you or text you back right away or maybe they waved at you differently or seemed distracted talking to you, you gotta check yourself. I’ll be the first to tell you that I struggle with this and have gotten so upset if I did not get the response I expected from someone I was close to…or thought I was close to. But is it really such a big deal or was I holding people to unrealistic standards or expecting them to make me feel good about myself when that’s not anyone’s job to do that? Or maybe I misunderstood and we just weren’t as close as I thought we were? Whatever the reason I have to be careful not to allow it to influence me so much that it completely changes my mood and tempts me to do or say stuff I’ll regret.

I have put myself through this more times than I should have. I have allowed things like getting no text back or someone ditching plans completely ruin my mood for the day. And I’m not excusing that it’s okay for you to let people consistently be rude, lie or ignore you, but I realized that I’m not going to let rejection paralyze me anymore. I’ve felt so upset or angry over what someone said or didn’t say to me to the point of it having a negative effect on my schoolwork, sports and other relationships. It’s a slippery slope that many people fall into without realizing it. Once you let the hurt someone causes to overwhelm you, it will affect other things that will keep affecting other things and so on. It’s easy to blame the actual situations for making you feel so bad but really, it comes down to this: why do you give so much power over your happiness to another person?

So I am here to offer some help, but I can’t say I have mastered this myself. I’m still trying not to overthink everything and put unrealistic expectations on situations or myself but I have done a few things that help….

1. Take a break.  Give yourself some space. Put your phone down for a few days (like seriously put it down, don’t pick it up. When I have done this in the past sometimes I have given to my mom and she doesn’t give it to me until the day we agreed on lol!). If you don’t get rid of your phone totally, at least take a break from SnapChat or Twitter or whatever triggers you when you see something that puts you in your bag or makes you want to punch a wall.

Will it feel so weird? Yes.

Will it be so hard? Heck ya, but I can promise you after a few days it’s so refreshing and you realize that you feel a lot more peaceful not relying on Snaps and seeing who liked your tweets to feel good about yourself.

2. Get to know and enjoy being by yourself. I know this may sound weird, but do things alone that you never have time to do. Usually when you do things by yourself, there’s not the usual noise that distracts you from processing your thoughts. I like to paint. You can just splatter all your emotions on a canvas, even though it might not turn out how you want it, it’s unique and beautiful, which is a reminder of who God created us to be. Or take a bath. There is nothing taking a bubble bath can’t solve! Play music. Write in a journal. Go for a run. Start a blog…haha.

3. Talk to someone you trust who is older and wiser. We tend to forget our parents usually have been through a lot of what we are going through. Tell your mom or dad what you are struggling with and be open to their advice on how to get over it. They will want to help and be there for you. Chances are they have already noticed by your behavior if you have allowed someone else to control your happiness so it won’t come as a surprise to them!

4. You need to know your weaknesses and what triggers you to get so upset. If you feel misunderstood, write it down. If someone hurt you, write it down. If you feel ditched, write it down. If you feel like you always give and the other person just takes, write it down. I’ve written down the specific things that hurt me, cried a little or a lot (which actually feels good when you are done) and prayed about it. Then I crumple up the paper and throw it away. Most people don’t realize but doing a physical act like that is actually very powerful and can lift a lot of weight off of you.

5. If you feel like someone is controlling your emotions even if they don’t realize it, tell that person how you feel about him or her. Be honest. Sometimes hiding the way you feel makes the feelings stronger instead of just dealing with them. I have started to try to be more vulnerable and instead of saying “nothing is wrong” or ignoring something that bothers me, I try to communicate with the other person. You can’t force them to communicate back but at least you know you tried so you can move on. And if someone truly wants you as a friend or wants to be with you in a relationship, they will want you to grow and not want to play games with your emotions. Maybe you’ve just come across as clingy or needy to someone and once you realize that you can fix it in the future by communicating honestly.

6. This one is tough. It’s important to realize that if the relationship isn’t helping you grow or it’s very one-sided, you may have to adjust your boundaries. It is just like weeds in a garden, you wouldn’t just let the weeds continue to grow and grow until they take over your whole garden and eventually ruin the pretty flowers. No, you would weed your garden in order to let the seeds grow into the beautiful flowers they were planted to be. The same goes with relationships. Sometimes we have to remove people for a season so we or they can grow. Maybe it’s temporary and sometimes it’s permanent. It depends on how much you or they are willing to grow, change and work towards making things better. If you have an unhealthy relationship with someone that overwhelms your thought life, it can carry over into everything else in your life. Just as I mentioned in the beginning, when I relied on other people to make me happy all the time my self-esteem, schoolwork and even how I played field hockey suffered A LOT because I was so distracted with how bad I was feeling and I just didn’t know how to make it stop. Nobody can make you happy 24/7 so then you blame them because they can’t meet your expectations. I hate that I have done that and I pray I never do it again.

You can’t completely stop caring about how other people treat you, that’s not what I am saying. It’s totally okay to feel angry and hurt and also happy and content with people in your life because that’s reality. What I am saying is to check all of your relationships and  if you notice any type of pattern with that person having a big impact on your overall day-to-day feelings (good or bad) then maybe it’s time to take a step back. If we do this we can deal with arguments, break ups and rejections in a reasonable way without causing more damage or saying and doing things we regret. And hey, we can do this together because I am really still learning this myself!

That’s all I got. Love y’all! xoxo

 

how to win her heart

Girls really aren’t as mysterious as you guys make us out to be. My friends and I wonder why it seems like it’s like pulling teeth sometimes to get guys to understand what we really want. I know most girls drop a lot of hints to guys when they like them. Guys, no offense, but I know you are kind of oblivious sometimes so I’m going to try to help you. 🙂

So this blog post goes out to all you guys crushing on on a girl and you aren’t really sure what to do about it. It’s also going out to the guys who think a girl’s heart is a toy to be played with for your own selfish enjoyment. Maybe if you see a different perspective, you will change the way you treat us. I’m no relationship expert, these are just my own personal thoughts so it isn’t a foolproof plan for every girl (and might I add some girls just do not want a serious relationship no matter how amazing you are, so be patient) but when you’re trying to win over a girl’s heart here’s a few things you boys should know…

1.
Let her know how you feel about her. Don’t make her guess which leads to overthinking. And yes, then we kinda freak out when that happens. Girls can’t read minds and sometimes boys give mixed signals without even realizing they are doing it (yeah yeah I know girls do this, too, and we are working on it). We are still young and trying to have relationships along with everything else we are doing can be tricky. Be honest. Let her know if you like her and what you are looking for, such as a friendship that could grow into a relationship or if you would like to take her out on a date, etc. Don’t be afraid to take things slow.
2.

If you tell her something, your actions better back it up, boo. If you tell her you like her and want to spend more time to get to know her, please DO IT. Girls hate it when guys are good talkers over the phone, but as soon as you hang out in person they act like you have cooties. Not cool. Guys, if you feel a little awkward just relax and be yourself.

Also make sure you aren’t treating her like an option. We really don’t want to feel like we have to compete with other girls for your attention if you say you are interested in us. Girls are smart and we know what’s really up. We can usually tell when guys are lying. So if you say you want to be friends, be our friend, if you say you want to see other people, then just let us know and if you would like to consider dating just us exclusively, tell us that, too. That way nobody is wasting anybody else’s time or having hurt feelings trying to figure out where they stand. Let your actions back up your words.

3.
Treat her like she is a priority. No girl wants to constantly take a backseat to your boys and everything else you have going on. Yes we totally get you need bro time but constantly ignoring us or backing out of plans with us to hang “FTB” gets annoying and it hurts if it continues happening on a regular basis. If a girl snaps or texts you, try to respond in a decent amount of time, don’t just ignore her. We literally will sit there wondering what we did wrong when it’s probably nothing.
Do not lie to her so you don’t hurt her feelings or make her mad. And don’t be one of those people who text her back whenever you feel like it and if she doesn’t like it, that’s her problem. If you’re busy and can’t text back just tell her, she will probably  understand and appreciate that much more than if you just don’t answer her or leave her Snap on read. And if you don’t want to have a relationship with her tell her that, too so she doesn’t feel stupid. Talk about it and don’t just ignore her. Just like I said above, communication is so important.
4.
If you really like this girl, take the time to get to know everything about her. This includes her family, her favorite things, everything. Girls don’t want a guy that constantly talks about himself, but we also don’t want someone who is closed off. While you get to know her, let her get to know you, too. What’s your favorite ice cream or what movie makes you laugh uncontrollably or what is that one home-cooked meal that you love or stories from your childhood. Ask her lots of questions and then listen! Eventually get to the point where you ask her the hard questions and have the conversations that will help you grow together. But don’t ever use information against her, that’s a BIG no. If she tells you things in confidence thinking you won’t share them no matter how things end up between you, don’t use them against her in the future. Be a guy she can trust.
5.
Whether friends or more with a girl, please don’t take her for granted. And say you do end up dating, even when you do, treat her like you don’t have her. Surprise her. Make her laugh. Pray for her on her good and her bad days. Text her something sweet just because. No girl cares if you have been best friends or dating for six days or six years, you should make an effort to have fun with her. Now there’s still going to be arguments and misunderstandings and there are gonna be times you don’t even wanna look at each other, but don’t walk away and give up on her. If you truly want her in your life, you won’t give up when it’s hard or uncomfortable.
6.

Don’t be blind to an amazing girl and realize it too late. Some guys don’t understand that the girl who would love them and put up with all their craziness is right in front of them. Don’t play games with her because if you don’t go for it, eventually someone else will. It’s sad when you realize what you could have had together but then it’s too late.

Don’t be that guy.

If you get to know her, you like her and she is down for you 110%, don’t screw her over thinking you can do better. That’s dumb. At our age, loyal guys and girls are hard to find so when you connect with someone and you are working on a relationship, don’t walk away over something petty or selfish. Talk out the misunderstandings and be honest about how you are feeling.

7.
Hang out with her and talk to her any chance you get. Girls love when you have even just an hour on a busy day to have something to eat, grab a quick nap or even just drive around listening to music. It shows us that no matter how busy you are, you still want to see us. And we get there are days when you just don’t have time or our schedules don’t match up, but stopping by or calling to say hi or watching us at a game shows us we are a priority. For me personally in past relationships, including friendships, I looooove spending time with the people I’m close to. Now I’m not clingy and don’t expect to be with them 24/7, but I find it very sweet when I know someone’s schedule and know how busy they are, yet they still fit in some time to spend with me.
8.
Don’t use girls for sexual things. I REPEAT DON’T USE HER. This is the worst thing you can do to a girl’s self esteem. Please I’m actually begging you to understand how awful it feels to know that a guy is just interested in you for your body and drops you as soon as he realizes that’s not an option you are offering. I think in past blogs I’ve hit on this topic and I’ve shared how degrading and hurtful it is when you think a guy actually likes you as a person only to find out he’s only interested in one thing. Please guys, if you hear anything, know that being treated like that hurts a lot. Even if your relationship moves past friendship, don’t pressure a girl into something she doesn’t want to do. Respect her. Automatically expecting her to do sexual things is not cool and shouldn’t be a thing ever.
9.
If you do date and things eventually get serious, love her unconditionally and pray for her even if she’s being a little brat. I’m 99.999% sure she isn’t trying to be rude to you or make you feel bad, she just is most likely insecure and is feeling uncomfortable so she gets angry with you. When she apologizes accept it and don’t keep bringing it up. You aren’t perfect and neither is she so don’t keep score of everything and try to “get even” with her when she messes up.
10.

Don’t act like an “f boy”. You may get temporary attention from girls being like that but in the long run all you do is cause a lot of hurt so just stop doing that. Don’t ignore a girl all day and then snap her something sexual at 11pm. I promise you she will feel disrespected and not very valued as much as you think it may come off as a compliment. For me personally, if you wouldn’t say something in front of your mom, then please don’t be saying it to me. Sure, I like to get complimented on being pretty, smart, cute and a kind person. But to be honest, that’s not really the kind of “compliments” girls usually receive nowadays. Listen, just respect her and let her know you like a lot of other things about her like her smile, her personality and the things that make her special.

I know a lot of this stuff applies to guys AND girls, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject for any of you guys who may be wondering why girls act the way we do sometimes. And I’m not speaking on behalf of every girl, but I do hope I cleared up a few things about what we typically like and don’t like from the guys in our lives.

Peace out friends and boys, I can’t wait to hear all the stories of how you had the courage to try a few of these things with your crush this week! 😉