Here. (My Thoughts from This Time Last Year)

Here.

I am here. I am in college, and I am finding that I am having a difficult time. I am having a difficult time because I finally understand what is important. And it is definitely not anything I thought it would be. It is not the amount of hours I am taking this semester. It is not the fact that I have failed to make any new friends. It is not that I have yet to join a club. It is none of these things.

A few months ago, I had it engrained in my head that those were the things I should focus on. I should invest my time into studying, so I could earn a degree. I should be a leader in multiple activities, so I could have numerous ways to meet a variety of people. I should join a sorority, so I could feel a sense of belonging. I should do all of these things to better not only me, but myself and I, as well.

A few months ago, my best friend’s brother was diagnosed with cancer. I did not know what to say. I did not know what to do. I was at a loss for words, actions, emotions. I was at a loss for everything except for prayer. So I prayed. I prayed that I could relate to her. I prayed that I could find the words to say to make it better and the things to do to make it okay. I prayed for three days straight, multiple times a day. My prayers were answered.

When my prayers were answered, I could finally relate. Three days later, and I was praying for God to take back everything I had begged Him for. The answer was not what I wanted. Not at all. Three days later, and my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I now knew there was nothing to say except for God’s truths. I knew there was no action I could make except for simply being with her. I knew that for my entire life, I had lived so selfishly.

I had focused on my grades, my college applications, my sports, my artwork, my social life. Me. I had focused on me. It was like I was driving the car of my life and the blind spots were everything that did not have to do with myself. I was embarrassed, deeply saddened, and confused. I was also willing to change.

I stopped going to events simply to say that I did in fact attend if they did not cause my heart to feel any joy or excitement or peace. I stopped placing my worth in having unmarred marks on my transcript. I stopped basing my success on performance and perfectionism. I began to not just live, but live fully and freely. I began to value things like spending time with the people I love. I began to embrace the many weird, imperfect qualities that I possess. I began to understand the importance of living intentionally.

I do not have infinite time on this earth. I have a predetermined amount. When I die, which everyone does, no one is going to care or even remember the letter grades I received in high school or college. No one is going to think to himself that I really had an outstanding format for my website. Or that I used Times New Roman over Arial font, and it really made all the difference in making my writing seem more classic and timeless. No one is going to remember that on that one Tuesday, I used a seventy-pound kettlebell at the gym instead of sixty pounds. Or that I stayed and completed one more repetition of the circuit instead of doing the recommended amount. No one is going to remember any of those things that seem like absolutely everything in the moment.

When I die, which everyone does, people are going to remember the things that reflect the truths and traits of God. People are going to remember if I treated them with respect and curtesy. People are going to remember if I was patient in the coffee line. People are going to remember if I made them feel whole, worthy, and loved. These are all things that seem so minor and so meaningless in the grand scheme of everything that everyone has going on. But, these are truly the things that are noteworthy, and these are the things that matter.

A few months have gone by, and I still do not know what to say to my friend, her family, and my own family other than what I have already said. I still do not know what to do except be present. But I have learned that is enough. I do not need to do all of these things to make anyone, myself included, feel better or at peace or anything like that. God has said He has already done it. He died so that we may have eternal life, one including all of those things, with Him. He has quite literally finished it.

So, the answer to my previous question is no. God is not going to un-answer my prayers. He is not going to give me the “perfect” life. He is most definitely not in that business. God is in the business of grace. His character is one of forgiveness. One of loving me in spite of the selfishness that engulfed me for so long. God is also in the business of peace. He is quite literally the only thing that provides me with a sense of comfort in this troubling time of uncertainty. He is so good.

I am still here. I am still in college. And I am still having a difficult time. I know what is important, but that does not make it oh-so-easy. It does not mean that I have my whole life figured out, or that I can breeze through my problems without them taking a toll on me. With too many friends to count or without any new friends at all, with desired grades or without a single A, with clubs or without a clear schedule, with or without anything and everything I once held so dear to me, I now know what is important. I now know what is important, and it is most definitely not anything I once thought it was. Not at all.  And I am learning that it is quite okay.

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That Rando from a River

I am trying to be a holy mofo and know about basic stories in the Bible. Obviously Moses is pretty important because I knew his name before I started reading his story. Also, a lot of people name their dogs Moses, so I mean I have had exposure to the name from petting dogs. I did not, however, know Moses from the Bible. I did not know that Moses was found in a river. Like this little dude was just chilling down the river. That is wild. He was seriously floating around like it was nobody’s business.

So here we have this guy, Moses, who does not get found like Avril Lavigne was discovered. He was not particularly good at anything, while Avril was born a star. Fight me on this one. In fact, Moses was a dude who could barely speak without stuttering or saying the wrong things. I kind of picture him to be sort of like Michael Scott on The Office. 

Michael is a manager with no friends and no family who kind of forces his employees to fill those roles. Moses is a little guy from a river with initially no one either. Besides his sister who was fine with letting him go floating about. So she does not count. Michael cannot go a day without saying “that’s what she said” after something that was not even meant to be taken  sexually. I imagine Moses was not saying that in between words because I mean, this is the Bible people calm yourselves, but I do imagine he got caught up in sounds or said the wrong things at the wrong time  because he actually was like dude God why do I have to go to Pharaoh I cannot even speak.

Which leads me to the absolutely crazy part. Michael is the only branch manager that makes profits despite his jokes just like God chose this random river baby to do this incredible task. Moses did not have any special skills. He was not above anyone else. He literally came from who knows where from a river. And his speaking skills were actually below everyone else’s. Like there is no way this guy was in TAG in elementary school amirite people #lolz.

Imagine finding a child in a river with no specific talents. You would be like WTF you doing in there little guy?!

But God did not see him that way. He did not see Moses as some random from an abandoned basket. He saw Moses as a man who would change the course of history through Him. He saw him like Michael, the profitable manager. He saw Moses as full of worth and ability. He saw him as a world changer for God’s glory. And that is how God sees each of us.

He does not see me as that girl that charged a cop. Or that girl that walked straight into a pole on the sidewalk. He sees me as full of worth and ability. He sees me as someone who can do incredible things to further the glory of God on earth. And he most definitely sees you like that, too.

Yo Broz I’ve Fallen, but I Can Get up

It has hit me. But no I do not want it to hit me baby one more time because I cannot afford another break down as it is my hell week in college, and that means I’ve already experienced 98 meltdowns today alone. It has hit me as to why this period of doubt has been occurring. And you have guessed it peeps, I am here to tell you just what that “why” is.

If you are Christian, it is likely that you have heard of John Piper. I listen to one of his sermons ON REPEAT. Seriously on the weekends, on the rowing machine at the gym, in the car, doing the worm, wherever and whenever. This guy knows his stuff. If he were in high school, he would be leader of FCA I’m sure (eye roll because I was never important/knew enough to be a leader in this club(; ) . But he really is invested in his faith. And he says a lot of really great things. I want to make it known he is definitely someone I look up to for his love of Christ.

Because of this one sermon I watched of his on repeat that really spoke to me, I just accepted the fact that he was probably the most Christian guy to walk the earth right now. I thought he was like THE guy. If John Piper walked up to me, I would have been sure there would be a physical halo around his head, and he would be floating and strumming a harp quite nicely. So of course if I ever had a question in regards to Christianity or my life, I would go look up what John Piper had to say about it. Because obviously this trumps going directly to the LIVING Word of God that is so easily accessible to me (#sarcasmpeepz). So basically, it became so clear that I have been idolizing John Piper for so long without even realizing it until this morning. LIKE WHAT HOPE JOHN PIPER IS NOT JESUS. But for some reason I treated him like he was.

But that has changed. Finding out that John Piper’s views on evolution and on abusive relationships COMPLETELY differ from mine really shocked me. But it also opened my eyes to the fact that this man does not know all of the answers (That is not to say that I do either. Please everyone I just heard the story of David and Goliath in full today lmao). He is an incredible man of God no doubt, but he makes mistakes. He says the incorrect things. He is human. He falls short of the glory of God because John Piper is not God.

And that is exactly why depending on others alone will not allow you to stand on solid rock. It will allow you to be misinformed, misinterpreted, and essentially will allow you to be lead so far away from truth that you end up at an AA meeting begging God to give you a sign that He is even real in the first place. I encourage you reading this to instead of going first to your version of John Piper, whoever that may be, I encourage you instead to seek first the kingdom. Seek first Jesus Christ. And you cannot do that without seeking first His Word. TTYL Homiez.

Focus on the Gospel

Since becoming Christian at the beginning of high school, I have never really doubted. Of course, I have had the occasional “oh my goodness this seems so unfair” when I put money into a soda machine, and nothing comes out (#rude). But in reality, the Gospel is anything but fair. Jesus dying is not fair. It should be us on that cross. It most definitely should be us.

However, this weekend (well starting Thursday night, but same dif), I found myself up all night. Which is crazy considering I have a prescription for sleeping medicine. I was screaming, crying, worrying, calling my old Bible study leader, calling adults from my high school church, and if I had the Pope’s number, you bet your booties I would have speed dialed him so quickly, too. Here’s why.

I am majoring in special education, therefore I am taking a number of education classes. One class in particular is called Critical Issues in Education. So what do we do in there? Talk about critical issues in education. Duh people. On Thursday afternoon, the topic just so happened to be regarding the Texas State Board of Education. There is a man on the board that is EXTREMELY (and I do mean extremely) literal in his interpretations of the Bible. Which, it is his right to be. But the problem we were discussing is that he is trying to push his beliefs into the wording of various textbooks for public schools. Obviously, this is not acceptable for a multitude of reasons. However, he is finessing the system anyways. If I ever go to jail, no doubt his booty is racing to the judge to be my lawyer. The main thing I want to get across though is that one of the things this man believes is that the earth is 6,000 years old. I have never in my life heard this before. So when I did hear, it really shocked me because of all of the evidence that points against it. My entire class and I, professor included, could not wrap our heads around why he believed it. (I want to emphasize again that people’s beliefs are their beliefs, and they can believe what they want whether or not I do, though).

Blahblahblah, the class ended. Later that night I was meeting up with my friend from Bible study. We were catching up and telling each other what we had been up to earlier that day (duh because that’s what friends do). Anyways, I just want to say that at this time, I was unaware that the earth being 6,000 years old was more than just that one man’s belief. In fact, a large amount of people share that opinion (which again is totally their right). So because I was unaware, I say something like oh you know what was really weird is that I heard today in my education class that this Christian guy believes the earth is 6,000 years old. And of course, you guessed it, I should not have said it that way because in fact, she believes this, too. Which, again, is her right. But for some reason this one thing just kept picking away at my faith. If you struggle with anxiety, you will understand that sometimes you just cannot shake a thought, and that thought takes over your entire mind. From this one thought, I somehow found myself believing that if I did not believe everything the same exact way she did, that it meant that I was actually not Christian (which is untrue).

This one minor topic got me extremely upset and anxious, and if I am being honest, I was (and am wrestling with it still) in a season of doubt for the first time in my Christian life (it has gotten quite a bit better, but I am not that far into the story yet geez people). Finally, after a Thursday night of intensive worries and sadness and fear and doubt, I broke down in the dining hall. Yup, every last brussel sprout was DRENCHED in my salty af tears. You know that feeling where you just want so badly to believe, but you are doubting so much? That was how I felt. #SUE #ME.

A few hours later, I decided to go to the gym because #gainz always relieve some stress for me especially when they come from dank workouts. I was still a complete and utter wreck. I prayed GOD PLEASE IF YOU ARE REAL SHOW ME A SIGN. And I meant it from the bottom of my heart. Before I go on I would just like to say that God and I have a lot of inside jokes, which I will write about in another post. But keep that in mind. So I passed by some church I have never been to, and I see two men inside. I think oh my goodness it is a sign. I must go inside! So here I am, sobbing pretty much, going into this random church facility. I go up to the two men, who were covered in tattoos and leather, and I ask them if they are the priests. Of course because God has my sense of humor and we have inside jokes that I will write about later, these people were not in fact priests. They were there for the AA meeting that was about to start. (seriously LOL) This AA meeting was spiritual, they told me. It was not specifically Christian, but I was desperate and at this point would take any advice from any older figure. They pointed me back to God, but I had been up all night reading and watching videos about specifics, and honestly just needed to talk to someone who knew the Bible a whole lot better than I do.

I was about to leave, but then one of the men told me I could stay and just be around people and listen to the AA meeting because he did not want me to make any rash decisions if I left and was alone with my thoughts. So of course because I just found it hysterical I was at an AA meeting and was also that girl who NEVER drank in high school (different story in college), I stayed for the heck of it. Well thank The Lord I did. When the meeting ended, the same man that invited me told me that the older gentleman that was at the meeting has actually been a minister for the past fifty years and taught religion at USC for twenty years. He also said he would be willing to talk with me.

So Tony was this INCREDIBLE man I got to speak with. I told him everything. Literally every last detail. He was probably bored from the specifics, but I just had to get everything out to him.(luhhh you Tony). And his advice and wisdom CHANGED MY LIFE. He told me that because I live in the South, a lot of people are going to interpret the Bible literally, but it does not make me “not Christian” if I do not view it in the same way. He told me that he doesn’t take a lot of the things in the Bible literally like how I do not, and he still is Christian. And I know that sounds obvious, but it was not to me. And side-note his personal story rocked my world, as well. But it is not mine to tell.

The point of this is that I have never been exposed to open-handed issues in the Bible because I am so, so new to Christianity. It does not come easy for me, and I do not know all that much. Because of this, I did not know people believed things very differently. But, what I did see first-hand is how these differences can wreck faith; it crushed mine for those few days. And what Tony reminded me is that it is the Gospel that is important. These open-handed issues do not change the fact that Jesus died on the cross so that we may have eternal life with Him. They just don’t. And for that, it is well with my soul.

gone, gone, gone (to the theme of that song from American Idol)

There comes a point in time where one will question the purpose of life and the things that they are doing. For many, this occurs after college. After they have outgrown the party phase. After they have gotten their degree. After they hit their midlife crisis. For me, this point happened in 2016 at the end of high school. And while 2016 was without a doubt the most difficult year of my life, I have ultimately developed as a person because of it. For that, I am grateful.

I will spare everyone the details of some of the major crises that were piled on to me this past year because frankly, I do not really think the 43 followers on here care so much as to read through my exact thoughts and feelings. I do not even know if anyone will read through this entire post. But I do want to touch on one thing. That one thing is Jesus.

I do not know if I would have survived this past year if I did not know the Lord. Jesus is hope. And He is home. Life here is not forever, and ultimately, fixing our eyes on worldly things will not get us anywhere. Somewhere in the Bible (not sure where because I am not a nun sorry #notsorry) it says naked we come and naked we leave. We came into this world with nothing. We leave with nothing. Not your career, not your social media following, not your body, not your food, not your clothing, not your new Christmas gifts. Nothing. That in itself should tell you one thing. That focusing on anything pertaining to this world is useless.

Today, I found myself questioning why I am doing the things that I am doing. I found myself asking if the things I am doing are ultimately glorifying the Lord. For a lot of these things, the answer is a bold and astonishing no. And I didn’t even realize it until I took a step back and looked at my life from an eternal standpoint.

For one thing, having multiple social media accounts did not serve any true purpose for me. I spent a lot of time looking at people for no reason really at all. I spent a lot of time liking photos of friends that I did not even really know that well. And we all know I spent a lot of time tagging everyone in dank memes. Basically, that time could have been spent elsewhere, and I am sure something greater than giving Sally her 100th like on her selfie could have come from that time.

I am not saying that now I want everyone and their mothers to delete all of their social media because I did. Also let’s be honest, even if I did, that one family who posts literally 92948 times a day updating people on their every last action on Facebook would downright refuse this request. I am just saying that being more intentional with my time is a great lesson I have learned this year. You never know when you are going to die. You really do not. Time is so precious. You do not get it back. Focus on things above.

Exercising with My Homie J

If you are anything like me, you have an attention span that is shorter than my natural eyelashes. Meaning, it just does not exist. Because of this, doing cardio on any sort of machine is actually the equivalent to drinking bleach. Not exaggerating whatsoever. Sometimes, I even feel like funneling that bleach right on the elliptical because it is seriously that excruciating.

The only way that I have been able to get through my cardio recently is going to shock everyone. Seriously, take a seat. This advice is coming from the same girl that stumbled into her youth pastor while she was drunk downtown back in her partying days (I would not expect anything else with my luck, honestly). But, this advice has changed the cardio game forever.

You know that Bible app? Ya, the same one my good friend deleted to make room for Tinder (Again, I never claimed to be among saints over here). Well, it turns out that it is the most useful app I own. Shocking, I know.

First of all, you can listen to an audio version of the Bible on this app. Like whaaaa? Technology these days always keeping me young at my ripe, old age of 19. It gets better. You can change the voice to have a British accent. It is basically like you are listening to a cute guy read the verses right in front of Big Ben nomsaynnn’ gals?

Anyways, what I like to do is hop onto one of the cardio machines (lately have been choosing the rowing machine because it feels the most outdoorsy, and I am trying my best to be more granola) and listen. Not listen to music. Not listen to youtube. Not listen to Netflix (although One Tree Hill will ALWAYS be my back-up). Listen to The Word.

What is truly incredible about The Word of God is that it is living. It can LITERALLY change you. And I don’t mean change you into a 2007 Brittany Spears type of person. I mean Jesus has the power to make you alive. Jesus literally turns the dead alive. That always amazes me. Even more than the googley eyes on ice-cream do.

And if you are already Christian, if you have already accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, The Word can help you in your walk, or if you are like me, your extremely slow shuffle with Jesus. There is so much it can do, and I wish I was a nun or something (okay no I don’t, but you get the point), so I could more accurately describe all of its potential.

Please everyone I am begging you all to find a way to let me know what your favorite book of the Bible is so that during my next row down the Nile (also known as the stationary spot facing a brick wall at my gym), I can listen and meditate on it!

My Middle Name is STOOOOPIDB

Yesterday night, I had the wonderful idea to sign up for personal training at 5 in the morning today. I am very aware that it is normal to workout in the morning, but for me, it is a huge stretch. Like, I would normally rather place my hand onto a hot stove for twenty-seven hours than be at the gym at that time. Let’s be honest, I am not too great to be around before the sun rises unless you like looking at things that resemble monsters and ugliness.

But, I had this weird feeling in my soul that I was meant to workout at this time today. Probably because I like the idea of being one of those people who has their lives together and works out in the mornings and wears lulu lemon. When my alarm went off at 4:20 (blaze it sista frans amirite), I actually wanted to fall to my knees and sob. Instead, I put on my junior shirt from high school, which is totally the exact same thing as lulu lemon, and marched my butt to my electric vehicle. You know, the one all the cool kids are driving these days.

I got to the gym. I did the workout. My butt is now so sore I cannot even tell you this feeling I am experiencing. I am walking like there is a literal twig up my ass. I think I need to call an ambulance to take my to the walgreens urgent care if it gets more severe in the next few hours.

So, all is fine at this point. I am totally just a gal who has it all together since I worked out at this time. My life is totally not in shambles because of this one thing I did one time only. I sit on my couch, and pass the actual heck out. Not even my mom yelling at me to stop being lazy could wake me up. And her voice resembles like a mean Billy Ray Cyrus yelling if he was not country. It is brutal basically.

I wake up from my amazing slumber, look down at my phone, and realize it is 9:57. I am supposed to workout at 10. I look down at my outfit, realize I am wearing the same one as yesterday, change faster than I ever have, and race my butt to the gym. I have never decided on an outfit faster. It was truly a miracle.

When I get to the gym, I see my phone and realize that it is still the same day. It is still Friday. I had worked out four hours earlier. My dumb butt thought I slept through an entire day and woken up tomorrow. I actually wanted to take an axe to my neck, chop my head off, and throw it into a local canal because of all of the unnecessary stress I caused myself.

All in mother freaking all, I am quite the dumb b.

Have you had any experiences like mine? Let a b know!