did college set us up for failure?

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read time: 4.5 mintues 

song: sun by sleeping at last

an old college friend asked me tonight if i thought college set us up for failure — we were told we would be great, we were told that we’d be world changers, we were told that we’d conquer the impossible. but for many of us, when we left college — we got slammed with reality and life led us down paths we didn't expect. not everyone wanted to believe in us, not everyone wanted to take a chance on us, not everyone wanted to give us an opportunity. 

i have a couple thoughts and they starts with this: 

an instructor can teach you how to swim. he can train you, build up your confidence with his words, and teach you how to be good. but, at the end of the day, when you dive into the water — you’re the person who has to swim. no one can do it for you. when the ocean waves come, one after another, you’re the one who has to dive under the wave and hold your breath. and you’re the one who has to find the surface, where water meets the sky, and take a deep breath and keep on swimming.

in these moments, its up to you to take the training, wisdom, and words of confidence and use them to keep swimming. 

the same goes for life.

we can be taught, trained, and built up — but it’s up to us to create our lives.

too often, we wait for others to believe in us, to take a chance on us, to fight for us — when, gosh darn it! we need to be believing in ourselves first and foremost. we ought to be taking a chance on ourselves before anyone else does. we ought to be fighting for our dreaming harder than anyone around us. 

the fact is, life doesn’t always move according to our timeline. but just because life isn’t moving at the pace that we want it to, doesn’t mean that our dreams aren’t going to come true. it means, we’re still being shaped. we’re still being strengthened. we’re still being developed. we’re still building character so that we’re strong enough to hold our big, wild, extravagant dream when it comes. 

but, too often— we quit. we give up. we stop— right before life can ever hand us our dream. we get tired of waiting, of being faithful, of being diligent, of being patient, of seeing others experienced fulfilled dream — so we give up. and decide that life isn’t fair and God must have forgotten us— all because life isn’t listening to the timeline we made. 

but, being honest — i think it’s less about a college / parent / job setting us up for failure, life being unfair, or God failing us — and more about us just not being patient enough.

years ago, my mother gave me some of the most “mom, i don’t want to hear this — but yeh, you’re right!” advice. she told me, “throw out your timelines and be okay with God’s timeline.”

our dreams don’t have an expiration date. but, too often, we throw them way before we can ever have a beautiful collision with them.

it’s time we own our actions. it's time we throw out our timelines. it’s time we man up, dig our feet deep into the earth — and say “i’m here! and i’m not leaving or giving up!” it’s time to start fighting for our dreams despite the obstacles, challenges, and circumstances we face. 

the only thing that separates those who are living extravagantly full lives from those who are living with a mourning of unfilled dreams is that the first never gave up — they stayed faithful to the dream against all odds.

so, no — i don’t think that college failed us. 

i think college gave us the tools and it was up to each of us to go out into the world with courage + determination to make a mark on the world. we were all kids when we left college — of course, we walked into the world with rose colored glasses thinking that making a difference in the world was going to be some form of “easy”. it takes more than passion. passion is emotional— it’s fleeting. it takes grit. valor. determination. while life may throw us a few curve balls, it's our responsibility to guard our hearts and to not allow our souls to become jaded. it’s our duty to hold on to hope and believe against all odds. 

the beautiful thing — it’s never too late. grace is always there cheering us on. waiting for us to take our place in the world.

whoever you are, wherever you are — don’t buy into the lie that life has failed you, that God has forgotten you, or that life is unfair. 

you were created for a purpose. your dream was not given to you to tease you. it’s something that you were meant to live out. don’t give up on yourself, your dream, or your ideas. don’t stop fighting for what you want. life will be good to you, God will be faithful to you— but you have to stay faithful to the dream, too. 

getting to the other side of depression: my personal journey

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song: awakening by random forest

read time: 11 minutues 

please note: this is my personal journey and what i experiened with depression and how i came out of it. the words that follow are not meant to replace professonal counsel. also, oh, and, btw, i never went to grad school to continue my degree in psychology — i'm not a professional, just another human whose championed to the other side. 

the past twenty-four hours, i’ve really been reminded of the never failing truth —  WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. 

i posted on instagram a glimpse into my experience with depression— and, my gosh. i never could have imagined that it would spark so much within so many people.

after receiving direct message from so many people, i felt like i should write a blog post — for the one person who may be out there that didn’t feel like they could or should write in — but wanted to say “me too!” or “i’m in the darkest hole of my life and don’t know how to get out!”

my junior of college felt like absolute hell on earth and a lot of what happened during the course of that year was out of control. it was one thing after another that kept on punishing me in the face and knocking the wind out of me. i lost the majority of my friends who thought i was a mess and “didn’t want to be associated with me”. i had professors tell me that i was a disgrace and would never amount to anything, university administration tell me that i was a disgrace to the university and was unfit to be a leader, and a circle of friends who left me high and dry when life got messy.

growing up as a pastor’s kid, i was taught to always turn to God. but, this time — i couldn’t. this time, i didn’t want to. i was too mad, too upset, too frustrated, and too confused about why so much bad stuff was happening to me. i hid my Bible for months — not wanting to look at it, not wanting to feel guilty for not spending time with God. to be completely honest, i wasn’t even trying to “trust God” at this point of life. i was too overwhelmed with emotion to do anything more than exist

i had never felt so alone — my family didn’t really understand what i was going through, the friends that did stick around only wanted to hang out if i was going to be “fun” or “happy”, and as much as i wanted to turn to university leadership — i didn’t feel as if i could — after all, a lot of what i was going through was because of their words, their actions, and their failings.

as much as i wanted to go to counseling, it wasn’t an option for me — i didn’t have the money, the support, or the resources to get help. 

for months, i’d go to class counting down the minutes that i could go back to my dorm room and fall asleep and pretend like the madness was gone for just a littlebit. i spent my nights alone at the park on 91st and riverside, crying my eyes out, journaling, and wondering how the heck i was going to get out of the dark hole i was in. 

as hard as i tried to “be happy”, it just wasn’t working. the attempts to be happy felt like trying to grab the wind— impossible. 

i was so sick and tired of being depressed, crying all the time, being alone — and, ultimately, being a victim. the turning point came one night — it was almost midnight, and i decided that i couldn’t live like this anymore. it wasn’t leading me anywhere good. being where i was, was only taking me to darker places.

i grabbed my Bible out of hiding, and drove to an empty parking lot and opened up my Bible just hoping that i would land somewhere that would give me hope. and that somehow God would find a way to speak to me even though i pushed him away. 

i found myself in ephesians 2— a chapter that i had read a million times over since i was little. but this time, the words found me in a new way, they meant something deeper to me — “but because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by his grace that you have been saved.” 

there was this “ah-ha” moment— i realized and acknowledged that i had been walking around so dead when that wasn’t how i was made to live. that’s not the kind of life that i was created to live. i was made to be ALIVE. 

i can remember it clear as day, right then, i start declaring— “Lord, i thank you that i am ALIVE in you.” in that moment i made a decision, that i didn’t want to feel / act / or be dead inside anymore. that moment was the turning point for me. there were no fireworks. there was no explosion in the sky of magic. there was no immediate miracle. i left the parking lot with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart. 

the next day didn’t feel or look any different. and my situation didn’t change just because i made a decision in an empty parking lot of a gas station in the middle of the night. but, regardless, on the inside — every time i felt the darkness of depression i would combat it with saying “Lord, i thank you that i am alive in you.”

it was battle— a battle to intentionally refocus my mind every time my mind started drifting into a downward spiral. change wasn’t immediate, but change did come. primavera came, hope came, and beauty rose from the ashes. 

while our stories and journeys may be different, and while i hope that you can find someone that you can talk to about what you’re going through — 

here’s what i would say to you: 

1. make a decision that you aren’t going to be a victim of your situation anymore.

no matter what happened, no matter how everything came about, no matter whose fault it was, or who did what to you— make a decision that you are going to take control and no longer allow yourself or others to label you as a victim. when battling depression, it’s so easy to become “reactive” to everything around us. instead of reacting to everything that happens— to you and around you— decide that you’re going to be “pro-active” and that you are going to take control of what thoughts you entertain, what voices you listen to, and what happens in your day-to-day. bad things may have happened to you, life may have hit you too hard, too fast, and too many times — but you are not a victim and you have nothing to be ashamed of. YOU ARE ROYALTYa person of worth, a person of value, a person created to rise above. remember that. 

2. find scriptures that you can declare over yourself.

sometimes, when you’re battling depression, “trusting God” feels like such a lofty thing. kinda like your trying to grab the wind, but can’t… you know? find a few verses that resonate with you, bring you hope, build you up, and combat what you are feeling. begin speaking / praying / and declaring those verses over yourself. for me, it was ephesians 2:3— i kept saying, “i was made to be alive. i refuse to walk around feeling dead inside. i thank you, God, that by your grace i am alive in you.” this will take the loftiness out of trying to trust God and give you something tangible to hold onto and believe in. so, instead of trying to catch the wind, you’ll feel like you’re holding onto a rope.

3. pair your lament with praise.

 it’s okay to admit what you’re feeling. i think, as christians, many of us grow up thinking that it’s wrong to admit our frustration to God. but, can i tell you? i don’t think God minds lament. your frustration, your hurt, your lament— it doesn’t offend him. learning this brought me so much freedom. i can remember being so frustrated with life and feeling like i needed to filter what i said to God. but, all of that changed when i read pslam 13 — i realized, heck!! david expressed frustration and he was God’s favored. he says, “long enough, God — you’ve ignored me long enough. i’ve look at the back of your head for long enough.”  gah. the pain he must have felt. david probably had so many similar to feelings to both of us. we could have probably all formed a support group. but, what i love about david— is he didn’t end the pslam in frustration. he ended it in praise. he says,i’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms— i’m celebrating our rescue. i’m singing at the top of my lungs. i’m so full of answered prayers.” it’s okay to lament, friend. it’s okay to be frustrated. but, what matters is that we end each of these conversations with a posture of praise — saying, “God, i don’t get why the heck this is all happening, why i feel like this, why people have abandoned me— but, regardless, i am choosing to praise You because you are my King.” praise even when it hurts. praise even when you don't understand. because, our praise will always lead us to the light – it'll always lead us to breakthrough. 

4. journal.

journaling was my saving grace during this season of life. i didn’t always have someone to talk, especially since i didn’t have a therapist or counselor. but being able to get all my feelings out on paper and be so incredibly honest with what was going on in life and how i was feeling was so relieving. instead of everything feeling bottled up inside of me, writing things out was like a release and a detox for my soul. 

5. have grace for yourself.

a lot of times, we keep ourselves in dark places by putting the pressure on ourselves to “be better”. we get annoyed and frustrated with ourselves for still being “stuck” or for “not getting over it”. when in reality, if we just gave ourselves a little grace — we’d give ourselves room to get out of tight space we are in. it’s okay that everything in your world isn’t “perfect” and that maybe it’s a bit “messy”. what is important is that you acknowledge it. don’t try to hide what’s going on in your world. don’t try to ignore it. acknowledge and identify all your feelings.

picture it like this— your room is a complete mess with clothes all over the floor, laundry pouring out of the hamper, chinese take out boxes from last night’s dinner, a suitcase all jumbled up from your vacation that was three weeks ago, and make-up sprawled out all over your bathroom counter. and in the mess — you’re trying to find your passport for your upcoming trip. ignoring the mess isn’t going to help you find your passport. and neither is getting frustrated with your mess and turning your room upside down again, throwing shirts and shoes around like a tornado. it’s just going to make things worse. what needs to happen is to acknowledge the mess and to little by little start putting things in order. maybe, you start with taking out the trash and picking up the takeout box. then maybe, a couple days later, you find time to unpack your suitcase and put the dirty clothes in the laundry. and, little by little, as the week carries on— your room gets clean. and, at the end of it, you’re able to find your passport which was sitting underneath a book on your nightstand. the same works with your soul and life. sometimes, it’s a straight up mess — and it’s not asking that we clean up and make it all better at a snap of a finger, but it’s asking that we give ourselves little grace and find hope again by cleaning up little by little. 

6. remember you are strong.

it’s really easy to forget your own strength when you feel like life has been kicking you around — but, remember, you are strong. this may be the most intense battle that you have faced yet — but you are strong enough to conquer it. you conquer it by not giving up on yourself, by everyday waking up and believing you are strong enough despite how you feel.

7. keep showing up.

keep showing up for life. sometimes, getting out of bed seems like the biggest chore and you’d rather be living life in your dreams than your reality. but, keep showing up. keep getting out of bed. keep getting ready for your day. keep taking care of yourself. keep putting a smile on your face even though it feels hard. keep loving on other people even though you’re the one needing love. keep “seeing” other people even when you’re dying to be seen. keep showing up. because, one day, you’re going to show up and feel really good! and it won’t be a chore anymore. 

you’re going to get through this. and when you do, you are going to be so much stronger. i know it hurts, i know it’s hard, i know you feel stuck — i’ve been there. but, God is good. he hasn’t left you. he hasn’t abandoned you. he hasn’t forgotten you. he hasn’t taken back his promises to you. they are still there. all of heaven is working on your behalf. there is light at the end of the tunnel. keep walking towards it. the shadow always proves the sunlight.

_______

if you are walking through depression, please know, you are not alone. i'd love to talk to you, to be a friend you — email me at hello@lindseyeryn.com. i promise, i'll write you back.

also, whether you have championed through depression before or not or are currently walking through it — i invite you to be a part of the conversation. my friends at link of hearts are doing some amazing work to spread awareness and start the conversation with their unique #greenelephantintheroom necklace. 20% of proceeds go to develop programs for high school and university students. i cannot say it enough — THIS IS NEEDED. 

an open letter to all my girlfriends

read time: 7 mintues 

song: georgia by vance joy 

dear girlfriend who cried herself to sleep last night,

i wanted to write you, because i feel it so strongly in my heart... you need to know this: you are worthy.

i know, i know — at this point, in our culture, it's almost a cliché to say this. and maybe, sometimes, it doesn't hold much value for you. but, you need to know how true this statement is.

you deserve so much more than what you are experiencing right now. you deserve a man who is going to fight for you, who isn't going to be wishy washy about his feelings for you, string you along, or let you slip through his fingers.

you deserve a man who pursues you, like the fairytale kind of pursuit. i know it doesn't seem like that exists anymore and our culture has told us, as women, that we should / can / ought to pursue men, too — but that's not how it's supposed to be.

i just feel it in my bones– the man you are supposed to be with is a warrior who is going to love you and chase you without abandon. there won't be any of this limbo, back and forth, middle school kind of pursuit. and you won't need to read "he's just not that into you" to figure out what the heck is going on with you two. you're gonna know without any reservations that his love and adoration is reckless and boundless.

that's how it was designed to be.

don't give into what culture has told us we need to do as "modern women". let your man be a man. don't take away his manliness by making all the first moves.

wait. be patient. because, you are worthy all on your own. there's no prerequisite or condition to this — YOU ARE WORTHY.

you are a woman worth pursuing, a woman worth loving.

as women, it’s not uncommon to get this (silly) notion that all the good men are taken and feel that waiting for a man to relentlessly pursue you is fantastical. sometimes, i think we get in this "survival" mode — where we think to ourselves, "i'll just take what i can get."

boyfriend may have a few good qualities that you like, and, maybe, even love. he might be kind, handsome, and share a similar interest as you. and maybe he’s the guy that all the other girls are crushing on — but, don't settle just because you are not sure if what you’re desire exists in the world.

if you're dreaming of someone — how he will be, how he will love you, how he will pursue you, how he will treat you like a queen, and love you for you — he's out there. i promise. your heart and dreams will never tease you with lofty ideas, but they'll always show you glimmers of what the future could be.

you don't need to settle for the guy who is just "good enough." because, at the end of the day, that's not being fair to either of you. you both deserve to be with people who you are a perfect match for— who together you sparkle in the sunshine and glow in even the darkest moments.

don't be tainted by how the rest of society is approaching the whole love situation. let's be honest, they say they have the answers and they know everything, but most of them out there wandering the world with broken hearts and broken relationships. not to be harsh or anything, but it's not like their advice, of just taking the guy who is "good enough" and "fits the bill", is really working for them

i know you, you want that beautiful, write-a-song-about-it, breathtaking, ravishing kind of love story. don't give up on believing for it and waiting for it. i know it exists. i know it exists for you.

quit thinking it'll happen for everyone else minus you. you're no exception. love is going to find you. your manly warrior is going to find you. you won't have to go looking for him or try to get him to notice you. you won't have to compete for his attention. you won't have to try to make him jealous. because, when he sees you, it's going to be pure magic. electricity is going to pierce the atmosphere.

it can happen for you. but, you have to give life the opportunity to take your breath away and believe for the fairytale. you have to take the daring risk to stop preoccupying yourself with boys and relationships that aren't right. and be brave enough to hold out for the right man.

i know that sometimes you question — "is this the person i am supposed to be with?" "is there even such thing as ‘spark’?" "should i be compromising what i want?" "are my expectations unattainable?"

deep down inside, i think you know the answer to all those things. you know that you should never lessen yourself, your values, your beliefs, or what you want in order to be with someone. the person you are with should love you for who you are, they ought to treat you like a queen, and push you to be better. the person you are with ought to be celebrating every crevice of who you are. and who you are as individuals ought to compliment each other in such a way that is captivating. you shouldn't ever have to change the core of who you are for anyone.

you shouldn't, for a split second, have to question his loyalty to you. you shouldn't be living on edge wondering if he is gonna wake up the next day and leave you. you shouldn’t be wondering if what you said last night is going to freak him out and make him never want to call you again. you shouldn’t be in constant turmoil trying to figure out if you are “too much” or “not enough” for him. you shouldn’t feel like you have to tame your dreams in order to make him feel more secure about who he is and what he is doing in life. you shouldn’t always have to build him up only to get nothing back in return. you shouldn’t be lying in bed wondering why he’s still awake liking other girl’s photos on instagram but not texting you back. you shouldn’t be distracted while working on your dream wondering if this is or isn’t the thing. you shouldn’t be waiting on the edge of your seat all week for him to call you — only to get a call from him at  11:59 PM on saturday night asking you to hang out. you shouldn’t feel like you need to change your body in order for him to like you more. you shouldn’t feel like you have a to force a spark between you two. you shouldn’t have to be figuring out why he texts you the sweetest things, but then ignores you in front of his friends. you shouldn't have to question if they are going to love you unconditionally and put your needs first.

because love is patient and kind. love never gives up. it is loyal and unconditional. love cares for others more than itself and always forgives. love doesn't have a swelled head or force itself on others. love doesn't keep score. love believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. love never fails.

don't be afraid to wait for the one that makes your heart melt– the wild man who won't give up on loving you.

he's out there. that’s the truth of the matter.

so, don't settle. k? because all of this —  it's not a silly notion.

just promise me one thing — that you'll believe so much in your own worthiness that you won't ever settle or let anyone make you feel unworthy while you wait for your person— the one who sets your soul on fire.

you are worthy. and you deserve the most breathtaking and spectacular love story full of pink sunsets and stolen midnight kisses.

you are loved, my sweet friend.

dealing with my humanity

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readtime: 6 minutes

song: tenerif sea by ed sheeran

i went to bed and woke thinking about the same thing — humanity. so, at this point, i am fairly certain that i am supposed to write about this, think about this, and at the very least process my own humanity. 

in our culture, we talk a lot about “authenticity” and being your “authentic self”. but, personally, i’m not hearing much talk about being human and embracing the messiness and realness of our humanity. 

when i think about authenticity — i think about being honest and true. being forthcoming, and not hiding the things that i’ve been through in order to paint myself in a better light. i think about sharing my story in a way that is compelling and moving to others. i think about truthfulness, purity, and genuinely walking through life. 

and when i reflect on how i live my life — i feel as if i do a pretty good job at being authentic. what i feel like i am not good at— showing my humanity. 

because, i am starting to feel as if there is a difference. and maybe, it’s because i have been holding myself to a different standard and everyone else has the whole authentic thing down pat, in such a way, that also lends to showing their humanity. but, either way, i am coming to the conclusion that, for me— it’s okay to be human. it’s okay for my humanity to be a real part of a situation. 

(as i am writing, i am thinking — bare with me. part of this new daily writing thing that i promised myself included taking the pressure off myself. which includes, not taking long pauses to think while writing. because when you do, that’s when writing becomes a chore. right? i think we’ve all been there. so, all that to say, if you’re reading this daily writings they really are more like sitting down with me for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee — because at some point, i’ll be bound to ramble off about something.) 

okay, so take this past weekend for instance — my sister’s wedding. 

i love my sister and i think she realizes it now— but her wedding day was a super hectic and stressful day for me with errands upon errands. i had my list and my timeline, and on paper everything was going to be done at 11 AM just in time for me to come back to my house and get my hair done and photograph my sister getting into her wedding dress. 

that. did. not. happen. 

the morning did not go as planned, i was two hours off my timeline due to reasons that were unforeseen (as always). and, while i was moving as fast as i could from place to place— you can only go so fast in a lexus SUV when you’re driving around a car full of wedding centerpieces and your sister’s wedding cake. the normal 80 MPH was looking more like 60 MPH — which, if you know me, you know that’s a major driving breakthrough. 

i dragged my cousin along with me to run all the errands, because there was no way in heaven that i’d be able to transport everything by myself — everything is always better in twos. as we are driving to drop off the cake at the reception venue, i looked at the clock and started to tear up. i was unthinkably behind schedule and was probably going to miss getting ready with my sister, photographing her getting in her white dress, and at the end of it — i was probably going to only have 30 minutes to get ready for her wedding. on top of that, i was feeling immensely guilty for being stressed on my sister’s wedding day. not that i’ve spent lots of sleepless moments in bed thinking about what my sister’s wedding day will be like (sorry, kim!), but, whatever i was imagining did not involve being stressed to the max. there was a cloud of guilt hanging over me making me feel like, “you should have this all together. you shouldn’t be having these feelings right now.” like, my own self, was shaming me for feeling stressed and for experiencing very human emotions. and within all that, i didn’t want my cousin to see my cry. i didn’t want her to see my humanity. i didn’t want anyone to know, like really know, that i didn’t have a handle on it. 

i think THIS is what i’m getting at— i think that what i have been seeing in myself (and, if i’m being honest, in some others) — is that we don’t want to allow ourselves to be human nor do we want others to experience our humanity and see us dealing with real human emotions. 

personally, it probably has to do a lot with my personality type and who i have become in recent years and what i expect out of myself — but either way, i am on a mission to extend myself a little more grace and give myself room to be human. 

i’m not a huge fan of reality TV (minus the bachelor, but ask me what their name is after their season is over and i won’t remember who you’re talking about). but, i am beginning to realize that one of the reasons our culture, as a whole, is so obsessed with reality TV is because we see their humanity. and, while often times, their humanity becomes some sort of comedic relief to us — still, we see it and we appreciate it because at the end of the day — their humanity is relatable. 

i don’t want to make a blanket statement about everyone and how they interact with the idea and concept of “authenticity” — because, frankly, i don’t know. and quite honestly, i don’t want to be the judge of that. 

but i do want to suggest that we throw something else on the table as well as the idea of “authentic”, because i think “authentic” may not cut it. i think that authenticity is beautiful, needed, and inspiring — but showing pieces of our humanity to others allows for us to be relatable. it brings us back to a place of humility. showing our humanity gives us the opportunity to be community to one another and to lift each other up — because in those very real human moments — you need someone else to come alongside of you and be the breath beneath your wings. you can’t do it on your own. you need someone else to come beside you and tell you that “it’s going to be okay”. 

people need to see our humanity. but, more than that, i think that each of us need to be okay with our own humanity. (and that includes me).

we need to give ourselves grace when we experience those very human moments. forego, the need / the desire / the expectation to be perfect. and be humble enough to let someone else be strong for us every now and then. 

_______

what are your thoughts — humanity and authenticity. do you think there is a difference? how do you navigate through the waters of authenticity and showing your humanity? 

creating for the sake of creating

read time: 3.6 minutes

song: silence

i read in a book recently that we (as humans, creatives, and thinkers) — ought to be taking time to write daily. and while, i write an overwhelming amount of content each day that gets read on various platforms – i feel as if i don’t write for the mere purpose of writing anymore. meaning, i don’t write aimlessly. i am always writing for something, for someone, or for some specific reason.

and i can’t help but feel that i am going to miss out on something. 

let me clarify — i’m not experiencing FOMO or anything like that. but it’s more of the idea of — what will happen if i never give my mind the space it needs to wander and explore? and what would happen if i do— what ideas will i come up with? what breakthroughs will i discover? what problems will i solve?

i don’t know about you — but, for me, everything i do has a reason. and the things without reason — well, it doesn't take long for me to give them purpose. 

take for example @peptothetalk. they started out as pep talks to myself, then text messages to my friends, then emails to my subscriber, and now it’s an instagram account (which i love). see what i mean? everything i do quickly purposed for something greater. 

i’m a serial creator. i create, create, create. it’s not to say that the habit of giving things reason and meaning is bad (quite the contrary, i think it’s wonderful!). but, while i’m lying here in bed suffering from yet another night of insomnia — i’m realizing, we need to do things just for the mere sake of enjoyment. we need to make just because we enjoy making. we need to create just for the satisfaction of creating. we need to write for the mere love of writing. we need to dance just because it makes us feel good. we need to cook just because we love it. 

i could be totally wrong and take this back two blogs from now — but, i feel like when we begin to create for the mere pleasure of it rather than the idea of having to “produce” — we’ll find ourselves stepping into a new realm of creativity because we’ve given ourselves the opportunity to wander deeper. 

in college, i started getting in the habit of writing. i’d write in rabbit trails. maybe i’ve mentioned this in my writings once before. but, i’d start writing about a topic, set the timer, and when the timer went off— i’d stop writing. the next day, i’d pick up exactly where i left off.

the writings were less linear and cohesive and more chaotic like a rabbit trail of thoughts and ideas. and while, if you were to put them into a book it’d be pretty darn hard to create chapters for them — i always thought that i’d be the most amazing book. mostly because it didn’t matter what page you opened to — you’d get something from any page of the book. if i’m being honest, looking back at that season of life— i felt like my mind was always exploring and that i was giving my person the ability to think about things that i normally wouldn’t have made time for. it was the season that i attribute to stepping to my creativity. 

i want that season again. i want a new season of creativity and fresh ideas. 

while in cuba, i came to the realization — i don’t give myself enough time to do this — to just wander, write, read, and create just because i enjoy it. everything is tied to a production list. one of the mantra’s i keep chanting to myself is is, “be more, do more”. i always want to be more so that i can do more. but in truth, we cannot be more if we never give our inner-selves the freedom to explore, wander, and discover.

the creative truth hit me the other day — being playful and enjoying what we do is essential if we desire to step into a new realm of creativity, if we desire to be more, and do more.

so, in the effort to be more and do more in twenty-seventeen — i’m starting back up my daily writing routines just for the mere sake of giving myself the space to create for no reason.

i’m taking the pressure off myself to be anything, making anything specific, or getting tied up in a to-do list… and giving myself the room to just write for writings sake. 

and, maybe, along the way — we’ll both learn something new. 

perhaps some writings will serve no purpose towards the greater good. perhaps some will be full of grammatical errors that my sister will be mortified over. perhaps some will be drenched with insight while others may be showing my humanity. 

whatever happens, i hope it’s good. 

_____ 

what about you? do you feel like you give yourself the time and freedom to be explore and create just for the sake of creating? if not, why?

how would your life benefit from you giving yourself the space to create out of enjoyment? 

writing time stamp:

december 21, 2016 at 12:46 AM

a new tradition that's keeping me from freaking out

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 10.44.10 AM.png

song: say so - vasco remix 

read time: 7 minutes

 

i haven’t written about my time in cuba yet, but i plan on doing it soon. because cuba really did teach me so much.

but, one of the things that i learned — a week without wifi will change so many things for you. it’ll change the way you think, feel, and look at the world. the silence and stillness will change you — in the best possible way.

the week that carly and i had in cuba— we spent a lot of time on our balcony people watching and reading. i brought two books with me and pre-trip i was thinking “this is a lot!”. turns out, if it wasn’t for weight restrictions, i should have brought some more. i raced through those books.

without anymore brené brown to invigorate my mind in-between walking to the malecon and hunting for cuban a sandwich (that wasn’t going to kill our love for food for the rest of our lives)— i started reading the Bible on my phone and catching up on all my podcasts.

morning, afternoon, and night — i was soaking myself in the word of God. there was no work to pull me away, there were no distractions of a constantly buzzing iphone, and there was no responsibilities that told me i didn’t have time.

after a solid week, i realized— my soul needs this on a continual basis.

my soul needs constant reminders of God’s goodness. my soul needs constant reminders to love people well. my soul needs reminders that God’s promises are unshaken. my soul needs reminders that i am not limited, but can achieve the impossible. my soul needs something morning, afternoon, and night. 

while i wish i lived a whimsical life that involved lingering on a balcony reading for hours throughout the day— that's not reality. regardless, i knew i needed to do something that allowed me to feel like i was soaking and continually inhaling the truth of God’s word all day. 

sitting on an airplane on the way back to mexico city — it came to me. use technology to get what i want.

i decide to set reminders that would be affirmations, prayers, and reminders to believe and find rest in the faithfulness of God.

every day, starting at 7 AM reminders go off on my phone with a prayer or affirmation. and they don’t stop until 10 PM.

they look and sound like this —

Holy Spirit, i thank you that you guide me and pave the way for divine moments, opportunities, and conversations today.

God, thank you for all creativity, wisdom, knowledge and understand as i work today.

i praise you, God, for being faithful and fulfilling every promise.

Lord, i thank you that your word is not shaken and that my faith is unshakeable. i thank you that you are my hope and righteousness.

thank you, God, for making wild hearts successful and impacting people’s lives.

thank you, God, that you are meeting ALL my needs and that i am meeting my financial goals.

limitations, you cannot hold me back any longer. i intend to grow in accordance with how i was made and what God has planned for me.

Lord, i thank you that you are doing IMMEASURABLY MORE than my finite mind can comprehend. i thank you that you are outdoing yourself in blessing me.

thank you, Lord, for bringing me the right clients and growing third story to be a strong, influential, and flourishing business.

while on the outside, this may seem like nothing monumental — it is so monumental to my soul. because, everyday these words are seeping into me. everyday, i am taking a couple seconds at each hour to focus on God, his Word, his promises, and his faithfulness. 

and, i can tell you, it's changing the way i live. 

in the last two weeks, i’ve experienced a couple pretty big disappointments. i won’t go into details — because quite frankly, they don’t matter.

give me these two scenarios back to back a couple years ago, and man — i would have told you with puffy eyes, tears streaming down my face, and sad quiver in my voice that my world was crashing.

but focusing on the right things (aka God's word over circumstances) — changes everything. it changes the way you interact with situations that come your way.

prime example — i was driving home a couple nights ago— tears welling up in my eyes from disappointment. midway through my drive, my phone started vibrating. i looked down, and one of my reminders went off — it read: “Lord, i thank you that your word is not shaken and that my faith is unshakeable. i thank you that you are my hope and righteousness.”

right then, in that moment — that’s what i needed: to be reminded and focus on God’s word and that his promises are unshaken.

the words that flashed across my screen weren’t magic — they didn’t take the tears welling up in my eyes, but they did keep me grounded. they didn't make the disappointment fade away, but they did keep me rooted in truth. they helped me keep my emotions in check, my hope in God, and my focus on the faithfulness of God. 

life is unpredictable.

sometimes, it’s really tough.

and sometimes, although we dream up how each day and scenario in our life ought to play out — life doesn’t always follow the narrative we’re playing in our heads.

so, yeah, life is pretty unpredictable.

but, on the flipside, God’s word is constant.

which means — while you may be waiting on God’s promises right now and disappointment may keep finding you, choose to focus more on the Word of God than your circumstance.

because God's word is dependable.

maybe, you didn’t get the pay raise or new client you were hoping for, choose to focus on God’s promise that he will supply ALL your needs according to his riches and glory. he is your provider.

maybe, you just keep hitting a dead-end with your business idea and nothing seems to be working. choose to focus on God’s promise that He will pave the way and bring opportunities your way and that everything you do will prosper.

maybe, you feel completely lost in life, completely numb and dead inside, and aren’t sure what your purpose is or why you exist. choose to focus on God’s promise that you were fearfully and wonderfully made and that you were created with a purpose.

whatever it is, whatever season you are in— know this: GOD IS FOR YOU.

when disappointment hits, choose to be overtaken by the faithfulness and promises of God rather than your circumstance.

i am confident, that in the midst of disappointment, as we continue to focus on the promises and character of God, as we continue to praise God for working on our behalf, as we continue to be unshaken in our faith — we’ll see the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives.

while most of us have jobs and responsibilities and cannot sit out on a balcony all day, basking in the sunlight, and reading the Bible all day to keep us well prepared for the realities of life —

i challenge you, do what i did.

set prayers and affirmations in your phone as reminders to go off throughout the day to keep you grounded in truth. 

we’re both human — which means, even if we’ve never met— you and i have something in common: we both want things. deep down inside, whether you’ve spoken them or not, there are things that you want. there are things that you want to see come to life.

the good news, they can.

the other part of that news, you have to do your part. you have the believe for them. the provision and power of God cannot be stopped, but your unbelief will stop it.

you are unstoppable.

you are unlimited.

you are able.

you are worthy.

don’t allow the circumstances in your life to sell you on a different narrative. your circumstances are just that — circumstances. they don’t have any power or the final say in what will or can happen.

God’s Word is the final say.

God’s word is unshakeable

with that said, if we want to see the fulfillment of promises — we too, must be unshaken. but that doesn’t come without determination and focusing on the Word of God.

“let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  (hebrews 10:23)

however that looks, whatever that means for you — do it.

because that’s the dare— to hold unswervingly to hope.

 

three things you need as a business owner and where to get it

song: goodbye / believe by louisa wendorff

read time: 6 minutes

over the past couple months, my mind has been brewing with ideas. which, isn’t that big of a surprise, if you know me— but the ideas have been stirring a lot of change and movement in my life and current businesses. both wild hearts and third story are about to experience some big changes. in addition to that — i’m about to launch a new brand. (i promise, you won’t be kept in the dark long).

with new things on the horizon, i am constantly trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible. i’ve been obsessed with information and knowledge — from podcasts to books to webinars to conversations with people smarter than me — i’ve been soaking it all in.

because, at the end of the day — i know that the knowledge i already have can only take me so far. the knowledge i have, has brought me to where i am. but if i want to do more, be more, create more, see more — than i must expose myself to new thoughts, ideas, and concepts.

while i think it’s vital to be soaking up knowledge from everywhere and anywhere, i think that as earth-shakers, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and action takers — sometimes, we focus so much on the practicality of learning that we forget something that is even more imperative than all the practical actions steps that we take— involving God.

“by wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew.” [proverbs 3:19-20]

i don’t know about you— but when i think about how the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, set heavens in place, and divided the deep waters — it makes me think “DAAAAANG! I WANT HIM ON MY TEAM!”

surely, if God planned out the entire universe and spoke it into place, if he created and divided the oceans, and made a way for rain to drop from the sky — then surely he can help you with your business idea (or lack of ideas).

he is a creative God who wants to help us with our dreams and endeavours. i mean, hello, creating was his idea– it’s his speciality.

with that in mind, if creating something from nothing is God’s heartbeat, then don’t you think he’s totally jazzed that you’re following in his footsteps and creating something? with that mindset, don’t you think God would be over the moon excited to help you create something that is strong, sustainable, and successful?

i think often (and i think this because i’ve been sooooo guilty of this) — that as doers and action takers we look at our to-do list and see that it’s going to require more hours than there are in the day. we internally freak out. create a daily to-do list. then start working. and totally bypass the whole involve God step and prayer part because it seems lofty and something “feel good” instead of practical. sound familiar? in essence, we try to do everything in our own strength, our own knowledge, and our own power. when, in reality, we’re not strong enough on our own to do anything that we set out to do. (sorry, to break that news to you!) in reality, the most important part of our day is involving the person who has all the wisdom, creativity, knowledge, and understanding to create the world we live in and divide the deep seas.

think of it like this— if steve jobs wanted to have a daily phone call with you to discuss your latest invention and give you some insight or if seth godin wanted to hop on a call to discuss marketing ideas with you — you wouldn’t miss that call, would you? you’d make sure that you were ready for that call, knowing that they’d have something that could be useful to making your idea flourish.

it’s the same with God.

God is the author and the originator of everything. every day, he’s ready, willing, and waiting to give you knowledge, creativity, understanding, and wisdom in order to build your proverbial empire. but you have to make time for Him, in the same way you would make time for a phone call with a steve jobs or seth godin.

okay, so here’s what i’m suggesting —

and, trust me, i’m speaking to myself here too!

make involving God into your business plans a priority, a top priority.

make time for God.

yes, soak up as much knowledge from the resources in front of you.

but also, learn to ask for three things from God:

wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.

because what you know, right now, on your own —will only take you so far. in order to create more, be more, experience more, and see more— you’re going to need the kind of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that is outside of yourself. it was through these three things that the lord was able to create the world and everything in it. surely, gleaning a little of his wisdom, understanding, and knowledge will only be beneficial to the ideas rolling around in your head.

okay, so last but not least, be encouraged:

as you build, as you expand, as you create– God isn’t going to let you down.

“enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. for you wll spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess the nations and settle in their desolate cities. do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.” [isaiah 54:2-4]

that last part gets me every time— “do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated”

like, boom!

as you are working on creating something magnificent, don’t be fearful of failure fail. don’t be worried about whether people are going to like your creation or not— just do what you know you need to be doing. you are not going to be humiliated in your work.

so, i’m going to stop writing in a second and let you go back to your day —

i dare you — involve God in all your efforts. make it a priority to cover your business and dreams with prayer. dare to ask for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge as you embark on a journey to build something new.

God is going to be faithful to show up every time and give you what you need. he’ll give you the creativity to make your idea unique and relatable. he’ll give you the wisdom to build the infrastructure and strategy to make it strong. he’ll give you the understanding that you need in order to make it leave a lasting impression. and he’ll give you the knowledge no book could ever give you. he’ll be faithful to help you build something that is wilder than your imagination.

last but not least, don’t hold back. don’t tame your ideas because you aren’t sure if the world is ready for it or you are not sure if you’re strong enough to build out the concept. don’t settle for something smaller than what you want because you don’t want to fail. deep within you is courage to do all that you see in your heart, dig deep —pull out the courage and move in boldness. you’ve got what it takes.

 

your life is a story. how will it go?

song: saturn by sleeping at last

read time: 5 minutes

your life is a story.

right now, it may seem like nothing is going right. right now, it may seem like you’re putting a lot of work in and nothing is lining up. right now, it may seem like you are in a desert. right now, it may seem like life is against you.

while in the midst of conflict, it’s hard to see outside of the situation — be encouraged, because your life is a story and a good story never ends with absolute turmoil and conflict.

okay, let me explain.

pick a movie. think of the character. think of the storyline.

i can pretty much guarantee that the main character you are thinking of right now has come up against some type of obstacle, struggle, conflict, or some kind of setback that at the time seemed overwhelming and devastating. in the moment, the main character may have felt like there was no possible solution or redemption for their situation.

but that’s not the case, is it?

something happens.

in every good story, someone comes to the main character — a messenger. the messenger gives the struggling character a pep-talk, reminds them of who they really are, and that they were made for greatness. the messenger speaks truth and helps the main character shift their perspective seeing that they are greater than the obstacles they face. then, something magical happens — hope and courage rises within the main character.

the main character then is able to move with boldness and bravery to overcome their obstacle. they put up a fight for what they want, for what they believe in, for what they hope for — and in the end, they win. the story always ends with the main character experiencing victory.

without struggle, the story is just blah. there’s nothing to the story that makes it compelling, interesting, and inspiring. every good story includes conflict.

think about it— if cinderella never had an evil stepmother and equally evil stepsisters that tried to keep her from attending the royal ball, the story would lose it’s compelling factor. in the moment, when cinderella was locked up in the attic — she was probably thinking and feeling “there’s no hope for me!” but what happened? a messenger came — the fairy godmother — who instilled confidence in cinderella and gave her a dress to attend the royal ball

okay, so without the the evil stepmother, without the conflict — the age old tale of cinderella would be a boring story. don't you think? no one retell it — because it's not relatable. it's not a story that gives you the feels and that “me too” moment. it’s just a quaint story of perfection that is quite honestly— unrealistic.

here is what i am trying to say—

right now, you may feel like you are living in your own personal hell. right now, you may be questioning why things happen. right now you may be so confused as to who you are, where you are going, or what the next step is for you.

that's okay. the conflict you are experiencing is all a part of the story process, because your life is a story. so, yes — there will be conflict, there will be struggle. but the conflict doesn’t have to defeat you or overtake you.

in fact, the conflict that you are facing now is not the thing that is going to stop you, it’s just a detour. but, you, as the main character, have to be determined that the conflict you are facing right now is not going to stop you. you have to be determined to find your turning point, or rather, the climax of your story. every story has a climax, a resolution — that’s how stories work. which means, there is resolution for you, too. there is victory for you, there is hope hope for you, there is something past this big bad looming conflict that holds goodness for you.

in any story, the main character gets to the climax of their story because there is a shift in their perspective. so the question for you is — how can you shift your perspective right now in order to help you conquer the conflict in your own story?

once the character has changed their perspective, something happens within — hope rises. the main character comes to a realization that they were destined to be victorious and that the conflict they are facing has no real power or right to stop them from pursuing their dreams, goals, and the life the want to live.

so, right now, wherever you are —

it’s time to come to that conclusion yourself.

yeah, you may be facing something that seems impossible. perhaps, it’s a recent occurrence or maybe it’s something you’ve been struggling with for a long time, but have never wanted to admit. maybe it seems like there can and never will be resolution for you.

whatever your conflict is, know this: there is always hope. there is always a climax, a turning point to a story —and your story is no exception.

not only are you the main character in your story, but you are also the author, which means — you have the opportunity to write and shape your story. so how will it go? what will happen?

will you wallow in defeat? will you be held back by fear? will you be paralyzed by the unknown?

or will you rise up with courage and move with bravery in the pursuit of the life you want?

no one else can write the story for you — it’s up to you.

so write well, live well.

rise up with courage — you are stronger than you think. you are greater than you think. you can and you will overcome the conflict you are facing, because you were destined for victory.

your story has the ability to inspire and influence the lives of others. dig deep within yourself — there's courage inside of you. don't let the conflict and struggle you are facing today stop you from pursuing the life you want. hope exists. cling to it. believe in it. this moment, the moment of unquenchable tears, the moment of fear and unblief— it is not your ending. your story is still be written.

go make your story one that matters — one that is retold and inspires other that they too can rise above the conflict they face. your story is becoming something breathtakingly beautiful.