Thursday, May 11, 2017

"At least I got a man."

When I was a teenager I remember being at church and there was a girl there teasing me. I can't even remember exactly what she was making fun of me for but I remember at the end she said "You might be smarter than me but at least I got a man."

As soon as she said that everyone around us started laughing and saying things like "that's true," and other stupid comments. I walked away from her feeling like I had just been hardcore shamed, like my intelligence was something but nothing compared to the fact that this girl had a 'man.'

The other day I had a deja vu moment with one of my friends, a moment that took me back to being a shamed kid at church. This person is someone that I consider to be extremely intelligent, successful and on their way to even bigger success.We were texting about our lives and things that we're doing currently and at one point she said "Well you're still doing better than me because you have a man now."

When I read her message I was dumbfounded. I sat there just reading the message over and over again and I couldn't help but to laugh. Why is it that being in a relationship determines how well someone is doing?  I sat there thinking about her, someone that I look up to so much and felt so sad that she thinks that I'm in anyway doing better than she is simply because I'm dating someone and she's not.

For the last five months or so I've talked a lot about my relationship, it's really hard not to. Patrick is my first boyfriend and we spend a lot of time together. Patrick is an amazing human and friend and I just want to tell everyone about him. Being with him has added even more joy to my life than was there before, he's an answer to prayer.

Let me say this though if for some reason, God forbid, Patrick and I broke up my worth on this earth wouldn't change.

As an educator that works a lot with teenage girls, this is an issue that is very close to my heart. I see girls everyday, ones that are running from relationship to relationship trying to find worth and meaning in this world. They're reaching for dirty hands and unattainable hearts hoping to find belonging and acceptance through their relationship status and I know how it feels.

Even though I grew up with a present and loving father and amazing brothers, when I went to college and got a taste of the rat race of false love I was addicted to the attention. It's only by God's grace that I didn't end up sleeping with some no good man and really changing the trajectory of my life.

I'm saying all of this to say, that I am so proud to be a woman. I am proud to be made in the image of Christ and to be a portrait of his creativity and goodness and my identity and my worth is firmly rooted in that. I'm proud of the places I've been, the stories I've walked through and also the many lives that I've been able to impact through work.

If Patrick and I get married then I think part of my identity will change. Being married will require so much more commitment from us than just being in a relationship and with a name change, moving in together and the merging of families we'll become one. Even when that happens, the greatest and most enriching part of my identity will still be in who I am in Christ.

I've written about this before but society often tells us that as women we haven't fully made it until someone wants us, marries us and makes us their own. Today I want to tell you that you're wanted, you're cherished and you're loved. You're loved by someone that will never leave you, never fail you and never forsake you until the end of age. God is that someone. If you're single and someone throws it in your face than dear just let me remind you that you always have God and he's not an "at least" he's more than enough.

"If you are not attaching your identity to the unshakable love of your savior, you will ask the things in your life to be your savior and it will never happen." - Paul David Tripp

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Your deadly comfort.

On the last day of April my pastor preached part two of a message called 'Simplify.' He talked about our time being one of the most important things we have and that the way we fill our minutes before we know it evolves into the way we fill our life. The take away and what really struck a chord with me is that we need to focus more on who we want to become and less on what needs to get done.

As I sat there listening to his words my planner flashed before my eyes. All of the color coded plans and clearly outlined appointments played like a slideshow in my mind. My calendar is filled with things that need to get done, tasks upon tasks upon arguably meaningless tasks.

As I sat there thinking about the person that I want to become I realized that the things currently on my to do list don't add to my big picture. A few years ago I created a mission statement for my life, the idea behind it being that I would weigh my actions, my decisions and my weekly tasks against it. It would become the measure by which I would weigh my life. Today as I sit here I don't even remember what that mission is or even where I wrote it down.

Sitting in my warm seat at church I was slapped with the realization that I wasn't optimizing my time and dare I say it out loud that I was comfortable with my life.

One of my friends has a shirt that says "Comfort wants you dead," and it's a phrase that for the past week has been on my mind. As my minutes become my hours and my hours my days and my days my life, I see a recent string of comfortable days. Days where I push just enough, or lean in just enough to do a good job but not enough to break molds. Molds like the one I'm comfortably housed in right now.

My comfort zone, though safe is slowly killing me. Killing the passion in me that thrives on new situations. Situations where I give a little more, love a little deeper and push myself just ever so slightly pass my normal stopping point.

This week I decided to make one slight change to my schedule. I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier than my normal wake up time so that I can spend quality, uninterrupted time with Christ. It's a small and ever so slight change but the peace that it's brought to my week has been incredible. If I look at my planner and the circumstances that I was faced with this week, the outcome should have been unrest but instead it was peace.

I used the first 15 minutes, just 15 minutes, of my day differently and it affected the entire trajectory of my week. In the days to come I'm planning to look at my schedule even closer, with the goal being to subtract and minimize things and tasks that are unnecessary and aren't adding value to my life.

I'm also going to recreate the mission statement of my life and set myself back on a path of growth and discovery, back on the path of life.

If you only take one thing away from this post I hope it's the truth that your comfort zone may be safe but it's not beneficial. Comfort is not a place where we can thrive or grow. In order to do more and to get closer to the person that we so desire to be we have to take a step outside of and away from what's familiar. A step outside of our deadly comfort.

"In this world you're either dying or your growing so get in motion and grow." Lou Holtz