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Friday, May 22, 2015

The art of anticipation.

I have a lot of strange dreams (Kasee, here's the post you were waiting for!).  I know it's said that people dream every night and just don't remember them, but more often than not, I do remember mine.  And more often that not, they are just so weird.  

A couple of weeks ago, I not only didn't get to bed at my normal time due to circumstances beyond my control, but then I also had a really terrible dream that I woke up remembering.  While I don't remember exactly what the dream was about now, I do remember being told that something scary was going to happen in a video I was about to watch in the dream, then watching this video waiting for it to happen...and then I woke up.  

I never saw what was scary.  I was prepared for it, but it never came to be.  

That led me to this post.  

I'm a worried.  To my core.  I worry about what is going to happen with situations on the current day, next week, next month, or even next year.  I often expect that the absolute worst is always going to happen for a given situation, and prepare myself for that ending.  I build up all of this anticipation and anxiety and worry, often for nothing to happen.  

Is this you, too?  Do you fear the worst so much that you don't let yourself focus on the possible good that could come of a situation?  

I know it's hard.  

It's difficult to stay positive when so many things have gone wrong so many times before.  
It's difficult to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel when too often, you're faced with such darkness.  
It's difficult to be aware of the beauty in your life when there are people and things and situations that are thrusting the ugly at you.  

But I do like to think there's at least a little bit of good in every day.  As much pain as we're faxed with, as much struggle comes our way, and as much as you feel you "lack", you are never alone.  

Because it is in our lack that we find hope.  It is in our pain that we find strength.  And it is in our loss that we find joy in the One who brings us anything and everything that we could ever imagine.  I don't want to disregard the joy set before me.  I don't want to forget about the hope found in the cross.  And I surely don't want to put to shame the life given by the One who gave His so that I may live.  

I KNOW that life is hard.  
I KNOW that pain is real.  
And I KNOW that good things can be difficult to come by.  

But press on, sweet soul.  Keep moving.  Keep fighting.  And hold on to the things you know to be true.  

Press on, because He is pressing on for you.  


Thursday, May 21, 2015

I have redeemed you...

My sweet friend, Kasee, blogs over at A Reflection of Redemption, and I'm so honored to have her words on my blog today!  Read.  Enjoy.  Breathe it in.  This is Kasee's heart.  

**redeem- to buy back or repurchase; to get or win back; to free from what distresses or harms: as to free from captivity by payment of ransom (Merriam-Webster)**

How many of us reading this right now, can say we have a past? That we contain some sort of history that has shaped or defined certain events in our lives or specific characteristics about ourselves?

I believe it's safe to say all of us.

Now, how many struggle with the idea that our past MUST control the events that take place in our future?

I know that one is me, for sure.

So many times I find myself living in a place of fear or timidity, unwilling to do things I feel God has called me to do simply for the fact that my past just HAS to exclude me from that deal.

I often find myself doing these things without even really noticing it. I decide not to take a leap on a certain area in my life because of fear I will fail like I have before. I allow specific memories of my past to haunt me, teasing me with insecurities, self-doubt, hurt, and regret.
But the truth is, God is good...and one of the reasons He is so good is because He is the God of redemption. The Father who is willing to pay a ransom for my life...
to turn my mourning into joy...

my ashes into beauty...

and trade my weakness for His strength.

I know you may be thinking, "You just don't know what I did, or what my past holds." You're right, I don't. But God does, and He loves you all the same. He possesses the ability to rewrite your history with His love. It's your story, and a testimony He can use to touch the lives of many people if only you are willing to let Him.

Do we have to take responsibility for our actions and things we have done in the past?  Absolutely. But we serve an awesome Father who redeems His children; He calls us by name and turns our mistakes, heartaches, and brokenness...into something so beautiful. He is the perfect reflection of redemption.

What part of your past are you allowing to control things God may have for your future? What are some things you need to let God redeem and restore, to bring you to a place of complete freedom. His ransom breaks the chains of bondage off of your past and your future.
Look into the eyes of the One who loved you to life, and see the true reflection of His redemption.

Friday, May 15, 2015

24 for 24.

I decided to copy what my sweet friend Rachel did over on her blog for her 23rd birthday, and instead and making it 24 because somehow I'm already 24 years old.  Let's be honest, I'm not sure how that happened, but here goes another year of life, love, and passionate pursuit of the things the Lord has in store!  

1.  I avoid walking over any kind of grate or manhole in the ground.  Basically, anything that's not the actual ground.  It's an irrational fear that I have that I've just never been able to shake.  I don't know if it's the feeling that maybe I'll fall through, or that there's something that will grab up and grab my leg, but basically, I'm a child when it comes to walking over them.  I'll avoid it at all costs.  

2.  My favorite color is green, but I really don't like to wear the color green.  

3.  I was born in a hospital that technically no longer exists in Manhattan -- it recently changed it's name!  Most people assume I was born somewhere else because I was raised in small town Kansas.  

4.  I really don't like a lot of vegetables.  Most people only find this out when they go eat at a restaurant with me, but I just never have enjoyed them.  Fruits, however, are one of my true loves.  

5.  I've worn glasses or contacts since I was in first grade.  My first pair were those classic huge round ones, and because I have terrible eyesight, they were also super thick.  Now, I wear contacts mostly.  People should also never ask to try my glasses out, because there's a good chance you'll get a headache from how strong they are.  

6.  I've had braces twice.  My first orthodontist thought it was a good idea to put them on before all of my baby teeth were out, so I had to get them again when my teeth moved after all of my adult teeth had come in.  

7.  I'm just not an athletic person when it comes to anything that requires my hands and a ball.  I love soccer and ultimate frisbee, but make me play volleyball or basketball and I may pretend like I hate you for a day or two.  

8.  I've never seen any of the Star Wars or Star Trek movies.  It's never been something I've been interested in, and while most of my friends look at my like I have 27 eyes when I tell them, it's not something I'm necessarily interested in changing.  

9.  My favorite season is fall, followed closely by winter.  I love football season + pumpkin spice lattes + light jackets + camping + bonfires + changing leaves.  I LOVE the cold and all things to do with it, which makes me wonder why I still live in Kansas, because, well, our summers are just miserable.  

10. If a public bathroom door is closed that I want to use, there's a good chance that I'll just wait to go to the bathroom somewhere else.  One of my biggest irrational fears is that I'll knock on a door, open it, and find someone using the restroom.  Seriously, how hard is it to lock the door?  

11.  I'm 5'5".  I include this fun fact because it's something I always wonder about others that I "meet" via social media, so it's normally something I ask once I've known them for a while!  

12.  Smiles and eyes are the first thing I notice about a person when I meet them.  I've developed a love for the way a person's eyes looks, especially the color, so don't be weirded out if I ask to look at your eyes to see what color they are.  I'm also super intrigued to know what color people's eyes were when they were younger, because mine were definitely just brown when I was younger, but they've changed a lot as I've gotten older.  There's a ring of light brown around my pupil, all green after that, and then a dark green circle lining the outside of my iris.  

13.  I'm a big fan of people's laughs.  I think they can show a lot about the person's personality, and I just really like making people laugh, also.  

14.  Speaking of laughs, I'll laugh at pretty much anything.  I tell people this hesitantly when I meet them, because I don't want them to feel like I'm laughing at them just to make them feel funny, because most times, it's because I'm genuinely laughing at something you said or did.  

15.  I have five tattoos, and they each hold a pretty special meaning for me.  I have Psalm 139 on my left wrist, an infinity symbol with a heart in it on my right forearm, "consider it joy" on my left shoulder, an arrow on my right foot, and a cross on my right wrist.  I'm somewhat OCD about my tattoo placements, so my next one will more than likely be on my left side somewhere.  

16.  I really like counting steps.  When it's a route a frequently take, like the steps of my library when I was in college, I knew how many steps were in each little interval.  Now, I know the number of steps going up to where the paper charts in the office I work at are stored.  You could say I'm a little strange.  

17.  Music has been a part of my life since before I can remember.  Music was the only class I really enjoyed (besides library hour) when I was in elementary school, and I was probably overenthusiastic when I was able to start band in fifth grade.  I ended up doing band and choir through middle and high school and into college, and while I'm not a part of a band or choir now that I'm out of school, music has made one of the biggest influences in my life.  

18.  Reading is by far my favorite alone time activity.  I was the kid who would get in trouble for reading a book when a teacher was lecturing.  My parents can confirm that for you.  I read a lot of fiction when I was younger (my favorite book used to be The Man Who Loved Clowns), but now I read a lot more Christian non-fiction.  

19.  I really don't enjoy wearing socks or shoes of any kind.  It's unfortunate because I have to wear close-toed shoes where I work, so you can bet they come off right when I get home.  My feet are also always cold during the winter because I pretty much refuse to wear socks at night despite how cold they get.  

20.  I've been writing stories since before I can remember.  I laugh at the old journals I find at my parent's house and the things I used to say and talk about to myself, and I like to think my writing has gotten a little better since I've gotten older.  

21.  I hate clowns, dolls, puppets, Barbies, and pretty much anything that's made to resemble a human.  If you show me one, I'll probably pretend like I hate you for a few minutes.  If you stick one in my pillow before I go to bed, I'll probably throw it at you.  My poor future daughters don't have a lot of hope when it comes to those types of toys.  

22.  I am an introvert through and through (INFP).  I find that this explains a lot of who I am for people that don't know me well, as this personality type is often seen as the "dreamer", "healer", or "mediator".  

23.  I spent four months in Botswana, Africa when I was in college through a study abroad program at my university.  I love traveling, mostly domestically, but I foresee more international travels happening when I'm a little older and have a more stable job.  

24.  I LOVE snail mail with all of my being.  I have an excessive collection of notecards and washi tape and pens to use when sending letters to people.  I also prefer making a card for someone rather than buying one.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Blog update!

Hello friends! 

I just wanted to give a quick update so those of you who actually read this aren't confused. I've decided to stop my #MondayswithBritt series for the time being. I've been a little overwhelmed by the expectations I've been setting for myself, and have a tendency to get upset when I don't meet them. So I'm giving myself some grace with my writing, and am going to do my best to use this place as more of a creative outlet than and a source of just letting people know what my week consists of. I'm thankful for those who have encouraged me in this, and I'm excited to be able to give you all a little bit more of my heart. 


Friday, May 8, 2015

A piece of peace.

I often think a lot about how I can make things better in my life; whether that be my financial situation, my relationships, or my walk with Christ, it's something I focus on and spend time contemplating on almost a daily basis.  And more often than not, I'm consumed by this tendency to worry more so than just think about the things happening in life.  

But I'm also a combination of a ponderer + worrier.  I like to think about my life; where it's been, where it is currently, and where it's going.  But I have a negative tendency to make myself believe that the poor decisions I may have made in my past have the capacity to affect my present and future in a big way.  

Guess what?  

They don't.  They never have to impact the way I live my life.  Yes, they happened.  Yes, they taught me a lesson that, had I not made them, I would've never learned.  And yes, they may have changed the course of my life.  But they're not a thing to regret, feel shame over, or deny existence of.  

I've been struggling more lately with rest and finding rest and learning more of what that looks like for me.  I want to help others in any way I can, and I find myself doing that over taking time for myself when I need it most.  But it's starting to take a toll on my well-being, and more importantly, my attitude.  Being an introvert, I have to have time spent alone each day, or I just am not a very happy person to be around.  I get grouchy, sassy, and often times, negative.  

I never want to be seen as someone who's negative.  I don't want a person to look at me and automatically think "Oh, I can't ask her anything because she'll just give me some crude response."  How am I living life well if that's what people think when they look at me?  

When I think of Scripture to benefit my walk during this time of weariness, my mind often goes to one of my favorite passages of Scripture, James 1:2-4: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  I find the most comfort when it comes to this verse in that I find a sense of purpose for the things I'm facing.  I find a purpose for pushing forward.  And I find a purpose in the work being done in and through the life that I'm living for Christ.  

So when rest is hard to come by, I seek it more.  And when my heart is a little weary, I don't give in to lesser things.  I find peace in knowing that my life has purpose, my struggle has purpose, and my hope has purpose.  I press on to find more of the Lord in the everyday and I press on because He is pressing on for me.  


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thrive -- vol. 5

This week on Thrive:

"Living with less has created more time in my life."

"I guess that's what I'm afraid of.  I'm afraid the wedding parade will march right past me while I sit on the rock.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

To You -- vol. 5

To the one who feels too much,

I understand how your heart works.  You see a picture or a video of something happening right around the corner or across the world, and your heart goes out to them.  You just can't help but feel what you think they may be feeling.  

You see another picture of a four year old with life-threatening cancer, and your stomach drops.  You think about the life they may not have and a family that will lose a precious loved one.  

Tears come naturally.  You see an inspiring picture or quote, you read a story about a life-saving miracle, or you hear a testimonial story of the goodness of God in the midst of so much bad.  

Because life in hard.  It breaks us down and tears us apart; it rips out our insides, then tries to sloppily try to put them back together, all the while, forgetting the order that things were supposed to go in.  The world just doesn't understand.  

You've known this for a while.  You've always been the one who "feels too much"; always described as too sensitive or too emotional.  You get distracted and distraught by things you often can't control, and you try your hardest to always be the person that someone can go to in a time of need.  

The difficult truth is that sometimes, you just can't fix everything.  People will die, relationships will fail, and pain will come.  Time and time again.  And there's just nothing you can do about it.  

But, do not lose heart.  There is nothing wrong with feeling.  After all, if you're not able to feel, how do you that you're really alive?  



Monday, May 4, 2015

#MondayswithBritt -- vol. 7

Another Monday means another #MondayswithBritt !  Sorry this one's so late; I'm just catching up on things after the exciting weekend I had.  

What I'm up to: 

  • Wearing: 
    • I decided Monday was a dress day, so today I'm wearing one of my favorite blue dresses with my Sperry's.  But not my arrow earrings because I LOST THEM this weekend and I'm super upset about it.  
    • Anticipating:
      • I have an easy week this week, I think, so I'm ready for a little bit of rest.  I also have a friend's graduation and party this weekend, along with going home for the day on Sunday for Mother's Day!  
    • Frustrated with: 
      • Headaches.  That's all.  
    • Creating:
      • Still working on my #100daysofdoodles for #the100dayproject , so check it out over on Instagram!  
    • Watching:
      • I really didn't watch much TV this past week due to being so busy, which means I still haven't watched the newest Grey's Anatomy that everyone is talking about!  
    • Traveling
      • Just going home on Sunday for Mother's Day, which I'm really excited about!  
    • Pondering:
      • What does it look like to be sacrificial in all areas of life?  
    • Wondering:
      • What are you up to?  

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Speak Up!: Growth + Temptation vs. suffering

    Here for another month of Speak Up!, with this month's theme being growth.  So excited to share my heart with y'all!  

    I'm sure you've heard the phrase "God never gives you more than you can handle", which is often backed up by 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

    I recently read an article which pointed something out from this verse: it's referring to temptation, not suffering.  He can deliver us from temptation, but suffering, on the other hand, is something that we are essentially promised will happen to us.  

    And when I think of a promise, and when most people do, we see it as something that is for sure going to happen.  Whether that be someone promising they're going to show up at a specific place at a specific time, or someone promising they're going to keep a secret -- we anticipate that they will follow through with what they say they're going to do.  And so, our suffering is not something strange, but something that will happen.  It is to be expected.  

    This is not to say that we should seek suffering, but that we should not be surprised when it comes our way.  

    Paul tells the church in Acts 14:22 that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom".  

    And Jesus said "If they persecuted you, they will persecute me." (John 15:20)

    And Peter said "Do not be surprised at the fierly ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing as though some strange thing were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12)

    And Paul said in 1 Timothy 3:12, "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

    It's not something we can get out of, y'all.  

    And the fact of the matter is that God will give us more than we can handle.  Life will take our breath away, bring us to our knees, and make us wonder if we'll ever get our heads above water again.  But it is in those moments, when we are given more than we can handle, that we are also given a means to which we can use those sufferings for the good of the Kingdom, to advance the name of Christ, and to show others that there is more to our life than our suffering.  

    And there is something more that we can get out of our suffering than the act of suffering that happens during those moments.  There's more meaning to our tears than we may ever realize.  And there's more purpose behind our pain than we may ever be able to see.

    For more insight on suffering in the Bible, John Piper wrote an incredible piece on our call as Christians to suffer and rejoice.