19 things I’ve learned by 19

  The best way to waste your life is to wish it was different. You’ve spent a long time wishing parts of yourself were different, and all that time you’ve been missing what is right in front of you. Work to change what you can while you embrace where and who you are.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

  1.  Your greatest heartaches often turn into your greatest blessings. They will hurt, but wait for the healing, because one day you will a different kind of whole than before you were broken. Cracks in your heart allow more love to pour in.
  2. Life doesn’t hand out do-overs. Today is what you have been given, and you might not get another chance to love the people who are right in front of you.
  3.  Never let approval become more important to you than who you are. You can gain as much popularity or influence as you want, but if you’ve lost who you are you’re only worse off.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with c6 preset
  4.  A lot of people might not appreciate you. You are not for everyone. But you are for some. Your heart might not be understood by thousands of people.
  5.  You will never figure tomorrow out. Stop holding back your heart from the world. If you do, you’re holding back on of the greatest gifts you can give. A gift that brings more joy the more you give it away.
  6.  Life is sweeter when you let the Lord surprise you. Your life will hardly ever look like you thought or like you think it should.
  7.  Everything–the highs and lows and hurts and joys? It is all leading to your ultimate good if you are in Him. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt or that your heart isn’t still aching. It doesn’t mean nothing is hard, it means that nothing is wasted.
  8. God is who He says He is. He isn’t hiding. He is present, waiting, and ready to welcome you home every time you wander.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
  9.  Don’t let what people think dictate the person you are or the person you become.
  10.  Your worth is never measured by the influence you have or the amount of people that approve of how you’re living. A lot of people thought Jesus was pretty stupid.
  11. You will make a lot more mistakes than you want. In them, you will find more grace than you ever imagined.
  12.  The world you live in will tell you a lot about yourself. People will give you opinions. Pick a few people you will listen to, and don’t let the others get to you. They can only see a part of who you are. God-He sees every part and every piece of who you are-He has intimate knowledge of you. Commit yourself to Him and not people and their opinions. He has said you are worthy and enough, and called you to walk in that confidence.
  13.  If I think my life is safer in my own hands, I’ve lost sight of who God is.
  14. You will miss your whole life if you are caught up in your own version of who you want to be and how you think everything should play out. Learn to want what He wants for you more than you what you want for yourself.
  15.  Anxiety will never accomplish anything. Your world is in His hands and the most powerful thing you can do is to hand over what you’re worrying about to the One who is in control.
  16. The things you love to do-your passions and what makes your heart come alive–all of those aren’t accidental. He has poured life into you so that you can pour out His love to the world. Pursue what He has given you a heart for. Running after what the world promises will leave you empty. Learning to embrace who you are will change your entire outlook on life.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
  17.  Only one Person can cure your loneliness. He is the same One who designed your heart to beat the way it did and love the things it loves. He stays up all night to talk when you need to cry. Don’t try to replace Him with people, they were never meant to be your Jesus.
  18.  He knows far better than me. & nothing else matters so much when I remember that.

 

whole

I hope one day you wake up and realize that you are whole on your own.

That you don’t need a thousand words from other people to affirm your worth.

I hope you see the light in your own eyes and the beauty you are capable of bringing to the world.

Some days I see it, and other’s it’s hard.Processed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with a9 preset

But I see it most days now, whereas before such days came so few and far in between.

I always thought it would be impossible to believe that who I am is enough. It isn’t easy for anyone. All of us seem to have a fascination with “enough.” We are constantly thinking we have to do something outside of ourselves to be seen as complete, enough, valued, or worthy of love.

But maybe even if we never “accomplished” anything else for the rest of our lives our presence here would still be enough. Our laughter and love and hearts. Who we are at the core of our being is not defined by success or failure or accomplishments.

We can get so caught up in running after trophies that the world awards us for busyness, beauty, and fame, that we forget about why we’re here. That we forget that it is not selfish to step back from something. That it isn’t bad to let go of seasons and move on. That it isn’t a mistake to leave something that might be pulling us farther and farther away from who we were created to be–even if everyone thinks we should stay.

Insecurity-Wholeness-worthiness-they are laying on my heart heavily lately. How we spend all of our lives thinking we have something to prove when in reality we are missing our life because we are trying to convince people who don’t really care or people who are broken themselves to take the place of God and tell us we have what it takes. We spend all of our time looking for approval from people who don’t even have the capacity to give our soul what it needs.

So many of us can feel whole because we’re pieced together with the glue of people’s affirmations and approval and likes and comments. But if we took everything that people ever said about us away, would we fall to pieces? Have we been made whole by the one who truly makes whole or are we just looking for fillers to piece us together? Cheap glue may be easy and convenient but it doesn’t last forever. We’re going to start falling apart if all their opinions are holding us up, because they could change their minds in an instant.

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I don’t have it all figured out. In fact, I’m starting to realize how I know less and less every day. I don’t know the way God wants me to view myself. I’m still learning that. I don’t always remember why I’m here. I don’t always have faith like I should. Some days I’m overwhelmed with so many doubts I wonder if I still belong to Him. There are a lot of areas of my heart that are so stubborn and don’t want to obey. But then I remember I am still His when I look back and see how He is working.

To be whole-without their opinions-that is one of the things I am still learning. But when I see how He has changed my heart in the past year I know that He can do it in you too. He is able to allow you to see the beauty, value, and inherit worth in yourself.

I’ve realized that I don’t need people to affirm who I am every moment of every day. I’m not walking on eggshells wondering if people still like me the way I used to. I’m not insecure about every word I say or every little thing I do. If someone doesn’t have the eyes to see the beauty and worth in you, it has nothing to do with who you are and everything to do with their vision. You cannot spend all of your time proving to everyone in this world that you are enough and worthy of love.

You have to start spending all of your time telling yourself what the One who made you says about you.

I hope one day you wake up and realize that you are whole on your own. It might not be today, but you are getting there.

Take it from me and know, that nothing compares to the freedom that comes when The Lord sets you free from what has held you back for so long.

Speak, laugh, dance, write, and simply be.

You are so beautiful in His eyes.

Let that be your place of radiant confidence that enables you to follow Him wherever He might take you,

you are whole.

 

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He isn’t anxious

He isn’t anxious-

He isn’t unsure about my future. He isn’t questioning my tomorrow. He holds it.

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He isn’t anxious-

He isn’t concerned about me measuring up to their standards today.

He isn’t worried that I’m not enough.

He isn’t concerned about my productivity. He wants my heart fully surrendered.

He isn’t anxious-

He isn’t unsure about how He made me.

He isn’t questioning why I’m here. He made me in confidence, knowing He placed me here for a specific purpose.

He isn’t anxious-

He isn’t worried about people thinking highly of me. Or people misjudging intentions. Or their opinions at all.

He has an opinion of me. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

He isn’t anxious-

He isn’t concerned that my heart wanders. He knows that sometimes I have to see the emptiness of everything else to understand the fullness of Him.

He isn’t anxious-

He isn’t worried about the numbers that the world uses to measure my worth. He knows a scale or a GPA can never measure who I really am.

He isn’t concerned that I’ll pass or fail.

He isn’t overthinking every move I make. He isn’t worried about where I’ll be next year at this time. He isn’t concerned that I might not make the cut.

He wants me close to Him. And in His eyes? Everything but communion with Him doesn’t matter so much.

And so today, I can replace my thoughts with His. I can see things from His perspective.
He isn’t anxious,

and neither am I.

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my health + fitness routine

I’ve had a few questions lately about what workout/eating program I follow. I thought I’d put together a little post for you guys so you can see what my routine looks like! Feel free to comment any questions. I’d love to hear what you guys do to stay fit and what your routine looks like!

fitness routine

Food

Let’s be honest we all have those days where we eat the most random stuff. Or we eat everything in sight. One of the ways, however, that I’ve found is helpful for eating a balanced diet is meal prep. After completing Arbonne’s 30 days to healthy eating program, my perspective on food shifted. I try to fuel my body with more vegetables and healthy fats and proteins than anything.

For me, breakfast is usually a protein smoothie with greens, almond butter, and protein powder. For lunch I try to meal-prep three days at a time.  Lunch is either a salad with fruit and a protein on it, or brown rice, vegetables, and a protein and healthy fat. This is the guideline you follow in the arbonne detox and I’ve stuck with it. It helps me feel full but also fuels my body with the energy it needs. Also, don’t be afraid to eat more food if your body is hungry. Just be eating the right food. Often times the reason we’re exhausted or don’t seem to be making any progress when it comes to health/fitness goals is because we’re not giving our body the nutrition it needs.

Workouts

For the past four months I’ve been using Kayla Itsines “Sweat” app. You guys this app is incredible. Personally, it has helped me develop more of a workout routine. I love working out because I know what I am going to do that day, and don’t have to walk around the gym looking for a machine to get started on. I try to get at least 5 in a week. It varies a TON. Some weeks I go to barre classes, some weeks I run outside. Although there is a good bit of variation in my schedule week-by-week, here’s what a typical week looks like for me in terms of workouts.

Sunday– 20 minute step-up followed by weightlifting (either legs, arms, or full body)

Monday– step-up warm-up (15 minutes) – Leg workout (28 minutes) – abs + stretching (10 minutes)

Tuesday– HIIT Step-up workout and conditioning (45 minutes) OR weightlifting-arms

Wednesday-rest or low intensity cardio(a jog/walk outside)

Thursday– cardio warm up (15 minutes) – Arm workout (28 minutes) – abs+stretching (10 minutes)

Friday-rest or low intensity cardio

Saturday– HIIT running sprints (20 minutes) – Ab workout (28 minutes)

Like I said this varies a TON week to week. It depends on what days I get in the gym, how much time I have, etc.

Favorite Health Products

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Many of you guys know about the program I did few months ago by Arbonne. It helped get me out of the rut I was in and helped motivate me to live healthier. I’ve stuck with a few of the products and have noticed a huge difference. Here are my favorites:

Protein powder-(chocolate or vanilla)-I struggled for a while finding a protein that actually filled me up and gave me the energy I needed. This stuff is SO good.

Pre-workout-I usually take this before or during the beginning of my workout. It gives me the energy I need without a crash mid-workout. It helps sustain your body and hydrate you as well.

Fizz sticks-the BEST energy drinks with vitamins including B12, helps boost metabolism + curb hunger. SO great if you’re a coffee addict and need a replacement. These are so good mixed with an iced green tea or iced detox tea.

Greens Balance-I add this to my smoothies in the morning or recovery shakes! It helps balance your diet and give your bodies the nutrients it needs.

If you’re interested in joining our next detox group, head over HERE!

leave the pity party

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Do you ever have those days where everything seems so clear? Everything. The sky, your heart, your dreams, your passions–it’s all so pure and you feel fully alive?

Today was one of those. I was driving and turned on my voice memos to record all that my mind was sifting through. Sometimes you have to speak it. & then write it too. So on the blurry days, you can go back and read it to your heart.

I don’t know where or how we started equating self-degradation with humility. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re being “spiritual” by denying our worth. We’ve quit believing we have been given what it takes and called people who do so proud.

When we degrade our lives, our purpose, and our potential, and we think we have nothing to offer, we begin to define ourselves by that lie and it slowly invades every corner of who we are.

I’m going to cut straight to the chase. It is not spiritual to believe we are unworthy, unqualified, and ugly. It isn’t humble to think you don’t matter. It is not humility to hate who you are and to think you are not strong enough, able, and fully equipped to do all that God has called you to do with your life.

You are believing a lie if you believe that humility is thinking you are unworthy, ugly, and unfit. Humility is not those things. Humility comes when we start to believe that who and where we are is important in His plan. It comes when we realize it’s all about His plan. When our eyes open and we know that the world does not revolve around us but it does involve us. He is using us somehow, and in someway. I don’t know how or why He chooses to use us, but He does. When we decide that we’re not worthy of being used by Him, that’s not humility, but the greatest evidence of pride.

Because we think that we can say, “God–no–I don’t have what it takes.” And yet He has said, “look, I’ve put within you everything you need to do what I have called you to do. I’ve given you my Spirit but you ignore it. I’ve given you my Word but it sits on your shelf. I have given you everything you need, but you’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself and pitying your humanity to tap into the power I have put within your reach.”

He keeps saying it to us over and over but we won’t have it because we’re so focused on hating ourselves.

Self-hatred restricts you to self-obsession. Self-acceptance frees you to serve.

Self-hatred keeps you running away from joy. Self-acceptance allows you to plant your feet where God has you today.

Self-hatred keeps your eyes on yourself. Self-acceptance lifts your gaze to a Savior, to find who you are in Him.

Loving and accepting yourself is not selfish. It is not proud and it is not arrogant. Self-love in its purest, Biblical form is the absence of self obsession and the presence of a profound confidence in the person you are and are meant to be. 

It is a coming home to who you are. It is you no longer running from the face in the mirror or from the girl who you’ve measured as inadquate. It is an acceptance–a joyful acceptance–of who He made you to be and where He has placed you in life right now.

It is a perspective change. It is seeing yourself as one created intentionally by a God who makes no mistakes and placed you on this earth for this specific time in history. It is seeing yourself defined by that love.

It is you getting acquainted with yourself. Spending time with the one person you will never shake your whole life: you. Self-love is caring about your soul enough to be filled up so you have something to pour out. It isn’t about treating yourself to manicures or pedicures or a beach weekend with friends, it is about something so much deeper than that.

Self-degredation is so prominent in Christian circles today. We spiritualize it by saying we’re humble, when in reality, our pride is keeping us from seeing ourselves as Jesus sees us. Looking in the mirror and hating what you see, making comments about how ugly you are, how your personality is awkward or how you have no friends because no one likes you–those are the things that stand polar opposite to the message of the Gospel. Repeating them over yourself is one of the most unbiblical things you can do, and doing so will pull all of the potential and joy from your life.

It is possible for you to miss the incredible power and things that God can do through you if your head is hung in self-degradation.

When you gain confidence in who you were made to be and what you are meant to do here on this earth, you start to think about yourself less and less. You start to invest in your purpose. And in the meantime? You’ve come to love and accept the person you are.

I am convinced that one of the greatest weapons Satan is using in the church today is self-hatred. He does not want to see the church realize who they are. He does not want confident Christians. He really wants Christian women who look in the mirror and tell God he made some big mistakes. He really wants Christian men who spend all their time comparing themselves to other Christian men, and have no time to compare themselves to Christ.

He does not want Christians who love who God has called and created and equipped them to be. He does not want Christians who take hold of the power and resources God has given to them. He does not want Christians who accept the fact that they have everything they need in Christ and in the tools He has given them to walk out in bold, unashamed faith.

Here is what you need to know about hating yourself:

It is not humility. It is not spiritual. It is destroying who He has called and equipped you to be. It is pride and self-obsession.

I am uninviting myself from my own pity party.

I hope you do too.

photo: Erin Xialan Batts Photography

15 reasons you should start a blog

One of the most frequent questions people ask me on Instagram is whether or not they should start a blog, and if so–would anyone read it or even care? I still have a long way to go, but I sat down today and thought about some of the benefits of blogging and all it has taught me. If it’s been on your heart for a while, here’s your cue to go for it. If you still need some convincing, here are 15 reasons why you should start a blog.

15 reasons why-3

  1. You will connect with incredible people. Simply put, I have met some of the most amazing people online. I have built relationships with them and collaborated with them. The blogging community is an amazing way to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passions.
  2. You will have a permanent journal of God’s faithfulness in your life. One of my favorite things to do is to click back through different blog posts and remember the day that I wrote them. It brings me back to what I was experiencing and how God was working in my life at a particular time.
  3. You will learn to break open and be vulnerable. No one is drawn to a perfect life. The world wants to see that they are not alone in being broken. They want to see that you are too, but that you’ve found hope in your brokenness. No matter what type of blogger you are-lifestyle, fashion, food-they don’t want to see all the perfection. They want to see you. You have to share who you are in a raw, real way, if you ever want to speak to someone’s heart. I believe in brave vulnerability, and blogging teaches it to you like almost nothing else.
  4. You will develop discipline. If you have a busy schedule and have committed to blogging, you will have to find the time somewhere. Whether it’s by getting up earlier, cutting out time wasters or being more diligent in certain areas of your life, blogging teaches you discipline.
  5. You will grow. You will grow in vulnerability, and with that growth you will gain confidence. You will start to care less and less about how people perceive you, not just online, but in real-life connections as well. Not only will you grow as you share and connect with the world, you will also have a journal to look back on.
  6. You will be given amazing opportunities. I will never forget how excited I was as a sixteen year old to get to write a guest post on New York Times Best Selling author Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience. Some opportunities are only given when you take a risk and share your heart. Blogging opens up a world of these opportunities.
  7. You will bring your own brand of beauty to the world. The world needs the beauty in your heart. That no one else can see and no one else. You are the only one who sees the world through your eyes. Letting the world see life through through your eyes is perhaps the greatest gift you can give, because no one compares to you.
  8. You will look at the world in a new light. You will look for the good that you want to share. You will look for the lessons in the mundane and the incredible in the ordinary. You will see life through a different perspective.
  9. You will stand out. Most people are not willing to put who they are online for the whole world to see. It’s scary and risky too. This is why those who decide to do it and do it big are the ones who stick out. In a good way. Leave your impression on the world. As you blog, the part of you that once wanted to blend in will now start to care less and less. Be the one who stands out.
  10. You will be encouraged. One of the greatest ways to remember that God is not through with you is to look back over the past year. Last week I was having a rough time, and thought back to where I was last year in March. I realized that He had grown, stretched, and matured me in ways that I hadn’t imagined possible within one year. Start a blog today and look back next year. God will blow your mind.
  11. You will learn how to create meaningful content. If you’re a college student, I highly recommend starting a blog. I have gained many skills including visual content marketing, social media marketing, visual appeal, graphic design, and more. I still have a far way to go, but it has taught me more than I could have imagined. You will gain so many skills critical to your future career.
  12. You will be given the opportunity to encourage others. This is one of my favorite reasons. We hold the power to encourage or discourage others through the way we live and the words we speak/write. Blogging provides you a platform to share, encourage, and inspire others by building meaningful and lasting content.
  13. You will discover what your passions are. Blogging has been an incredible way for me to discover what I want to do for the rest of my life. I might not have it all figured out, but as you write, you’ll begin to notice a trend. You will naturally write about topics that truly interest you. You’ll write about topics that inspire you, lift you higher, and make your heart soar.
  14. You will be opening the door to incredible potential. There is no limit to how your blog and voice can impact the world. Pursuing your dreams and who you were created to be will only make the world a better place. Write about something you care about, and the world will catch on.
  15. You will be challenged. There is no growth without a challenge. Embrace it and take the plunge.

If your a blogger what reason(s) would you give? I hope these encourage you to take a risk and go for it!

you are right where you need to be

I know you feel like every other person on this earth has found their purpose, and you’re dancing on you’re own two feet to music no one else hears in a swirl of clueless emotions.

beachYou really don’t know what you’re doing here. I mean, life is a little strange isn’t it? One moment we know why our lungs are full of air and our hearts are on fire and the next we’re wondering if we’re good enough to order our breakfast and latte without saying something completely ridiculous about vanilla syrup to the barista. (Please tell me I’m not the only one).

We waver down here. Waver because we are human. And we forget a lot of things. We let our brains get washed out with words that aren’t true. We start to believe what we keep hearing. Then we question what He tells us is truth. Then we go back to what the world is saying. Then we turn around and run back to Him.

You get the picture because your life is that picture.

I think sometimes we get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves, when the reality is He just wants us to move on and to keep going. He lifts us back up. We’re stumbling through life and every time something knocks us down, it’s an opportunity for us to call on Him. For us to ask Him to pull us back up.  You might be completely confused right now about what He is doing and were He has you, but you are never too confused to simply ask Him to lift your heart back to the place of surrender.

If you want to live a life that is truly full and alive, you are going to have to do a lot of things you do not feel like doing. Sometimes, you will not feel like asking Him to renew you. You will feel like sleeping. You will feel like filling your schedule with anything and everything else to keep you from having to be still with your own thoughts. You will run in this life. Run from anything that reminds you that you need Him. Because your heart knows it’s true, and sometimes it’s really hard to come.

A lot of days will pass where your purpose feels vague. But that does not mean your purpose is vague. What you feel is not indicative of what is true, but what is true informs how you feel–if you let it.

My heart doesn’t hold all the answers as to why our emotions waver, but sometimes late at night, it is full of thoughts and words that I have to write down. I have to write them down so that when I wake up tomorrow and want to choose to believe against what I feel, I have something to go back to. We all need a word sometimes to know that we are right where we need to be.

So here is a word for you.

You are not the only one struggling to find purpose. Our hearts are engrained with a longing to live for what matters. But this world and the emptiness here clouds our minds. We get so caught up in how today feels that we miss the bigger picture of what our lives are meant to be. You do not have to figure out what you want to do in life. Figure out who you are living for, and He will show you.

Your purpose transcends a career or what you “do”–it’s who you are. You are not defined by how successful you become or what job you land. You are not defined by a score on a math test or a GPA. You are not defined in comparison to someone else’s intelligence. Your purpose is to make the name of your King known, and He knows just how He wants you to do that.  He is making a way.

You are not stupid for wondering if you’re enough. We all do. Over and over again. You are not the only one feeling alone or forgotten or left out. I just hope you know that whatever you are feeling tonight, someone else is feeling it too.

You are one of the many. One of the many broken who has been made whole by a love so deep and full that all of life could not contain its beauty.

You are so incredibly loved. He loves you enough tonight to remind you to come back to Him. He wants you to be with Him. He has a purpose for you. You are not an accident. If you can’t figure it out, that’s a good thing. That means He wants you to focus all your heart on running after Him. He will show you in His time. He makes it all beautiful when He sees fit. He’s never failed before, and He is not about to start.

You are not alone. You have incredible purpose. You are not stupid. You do not fall short. You are so incredibly loved

There will never be another you on this planet. Let your passions and gifts and dreams grow and develop and pour out on other people’s lives. Sitting comfortable on what you know might feel good today, but you will regret it tomorrow. You never know who might be liberated when they see you spinning around caught up in a love deeper than all you can fathom.

Throw aside your doubts and step into glorious freedom.

Let the fear fall by the wayside,

Dance to the music that only you hear.

And know that in this glorious mystery there is a peace that comes when you know one thing:

you are right where you need to be.