fear(less)

Fear is something I have struggled with off and on my whole life.

I’m not sure why it started, but even from a young age I was afraid of a bunch of things.

We weren’t allowed to watch horror movies growing up but I could barely even watch the “normal” Super Hero movies until about eighth grade (lol no joke, I’d have my eyes covered through half of it). I struggled sleeping alone and I was scared of roller coasters. My fear of people rejecting me and me not being good enough were the worst fears; I mean the list goes on and on.

I think many of us can admit that fear has frozen us in our tracks from doing things that we know we should have done. I almost didn’t go to Saint Lucia last year because I was afraid, and I think I have said multiple times, that missions trip saved my life and made me so unbelievably thankful for everything. I sometimes wonder what my life would look like now if I didn’t go on that trip. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is today. But that doesn’t mean that old familiar fear doesn’t sometimes come knocking.

So how do we learn not to let fear run our lives? And how can we tell the difference between fear, genuine concern and when to use common sense or take a risk?

As I’ve been writing this, I am starting to think of things associated with fear and how it can be recognized in our everyday lives. Where does fear start? Many times I find anxiety is a form of fear and it starts in our own heads. If you have anxiety being around large groups of people, isn’t that usually fear that you are not going to say or do the right thing or that they won’t accept you? Those anxious thoughts in our heads…where do they come from and why do we listen?

Anxiety is just fear wearing a mask. And we let it paralyze us without even realizing it.

Recently I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks as I was driving home. I saw a shooting star so I started to make a wish, like most of us would, then I thought… why am I making a wish? Like do I really think this will come true? And then I thought, what is stopping me from pursing that wish myself and making it a reality? And the answer to that question was obvious to me in that moment.

Fear of failure.

But WHY do we think this way? What is there to lose? As I drove I realized something….if I am following after my Creator and doing what He has called me to do, am I ever really failing or am I just “failing” at what the world’s standards are?

I think sometimes I tend to forget that God doesn’t have the same values that we do here on Earth. At the end of our lives, He doesn’t say, “Nope, I see you only made $20,000 a year and didn’t drive a Jeep so I’m sorry you can’t stay here in Heaven.” If He judged our worth the way society judges our worth, I think a lot of us would be in trouble. But instead He looks at our intentions and our hearts. He loves us despite our mistakes and

He never leaves us. So just remember this thought next time you want to go out of your comfort zone to do something good or if God puts dreams in your heart, He sees your motives and if you’re following after Him, trusting He is a big and faithful God that allows what’s best for you, He will provide.

So here’s one last thought. How can we tell the difference between fear and legitimate concerns? I think most of the time it comes down to research, common sense and prayer.

Like obviously if you don’t think it’s a good idea to jump of a high cliff, that isn’t being fearful, that’s being smart. But get your facts straight before you rule out anything. If you jump off that high cliff with a bungee cord or onto something soft below, why not jump? We have a habit as humans to sometimes use our own experiences to make decisions without looking at the big picture.

Being “afraid” seems like it’s just part of our human nature but God does not want us to live like this. If you truly accept Jesus into your heart and allow His peace to overwhelm you then will find your “worst fears” and being afraid will vanish. Even if your situation feels scary know that God is bigger and His promises can get you through those times. If you’re not sure what all that means, please reach out to me so I can explain a little more!

It’s super important not to give in to fear, but instead realize we have God on our side, who made this whole planet and already won the battle over fear, sickness and sin through His son Jesus! He loves you and has His millions of angels surrounding you with safety every second!

So I challenge you to face a fear…. go in the ocean, apply for that job, talk to that person, try out for that team, sign up for that missions trip, go after your dreams and don’t numb yourself with things like drinking and drugs to make yourself feel better in the moment. Instead of letting fear control you, start seeing life for the adventure that it is, because God has put some awesome gifts and beautiful things inside you that you shouldn’t be afraid to share with the world!

Don’t be afraid to contact me and tell me what fears you faced this week, and/or if I can pray for you, because remember fear is a liar and has nothing on you! Love y’all! Xoxo

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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

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.