leave the pity party

2-26.10

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!

Purpose and Platform: How the two collide

God has given us all a unique platform through which He will accomplish His purpose in us. Something entirely different than everyone else. What happens is that we get so caught up in worrying about our platform that we miss our purpose. We compare our platform (number of followers, page views, job position, gifts, talents) to so many other people’s, when we are called to pursue a purpose.

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Why do we chase a platform? Because it’s the part people see. People see our talents. They see our promotions and our gifts. They see where we excel in school. They see how many followers we have. They see how fit we are. If we want to see whether or not a person is “successful”, we often look straight at their platform.

We’ve started measuring who a person is, by how successful their platform has become.

The part of a person we often miss is their purpose, because it’s not as easy to see.

When purpose and platform collide in a way in which someone’s platform passionately gives you a glimpse into their purpose, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s rare to see genuine passion behind something or someone. I think that it is rare because our society has become so focused on how someone appears to us. Purpose is an entirely different side of that someone. It’s the side of their soul. Some can display it incredibly well and effortlessly through their platform. Others? It’s tucked inside, perhaps visible to less people, but nevertheless still there.

A small platform never can negate a large purpose.

Where is your focus? Because God has given you every single thing you need to accomplish His purpose for you in this life. It is beyond your comfort zone. I promise you it will not feel good all the time. I promise you the only way you can discover it is to step out in faith, and consistently do what you have never done. You have to be brave enough to be vulnerable.

But this purpose will not be accomplished through a platform that is like anyone else’s. It will look entirely different. Their platform might be a blog. Yours might be speaking at an event. Their platform might be as a CEO, yours might be as a sister or friend. Their platform might be found in a college degree, yours might be found by doing what no one else seems to be doing. Never overlook the platform that He has given you right now because it’s not what you wanted. It is there, and that is what matters. There are hundreds of platforms in your life, and perhaps one in particular that ignites passion inside your soul.

Quit putting pressure on yourself to conform to an image that He hasn’t called you to. You’ve done it, I know. I know because I have. You scroll through Instagram and just wish your life could look like hers. You spend so much time consuming creativity that you forget to live a creative life yourself. You spend so much time examining her platform that you miss your own purpose. Don’t try to copy someone else when The Lord has designed something so incredibly unique for your life.

In order to accurately compare two things, they have to be made for the same platform. And while our underlying purpose in this life is the glory of God, we are not all made to accomplish that purpose in the same way. We are not all made for the same platform. When you compare, you are comparing something that isn’t even equal. Something that was never meant to be the same. We are distorting the purpose God has for each of our lives by telling Him our platforms should look different. 

This has been hitting my soul like a ton of bricks lately. I hope it wrecks you too, in the best way possible.

Start chasing down the purpose He has for you. If you don’t see it now, keep seeking Him. It’s found there-in His presence.

The platform will follow as an overflow of the passion inside your heart, when you discover who He has made you to be. Don’t waste more of your time in self-pity, always wishing your life could look different. Embrace the platform He has put before you today. Let His purpose for your life guide you. And never de-value who you are because your platform is a different size than someone else’s. He’s not looking at numbers or talents or gifts. He’s looking at how faithfully we use what we do have. Bring your two pieces of silver and give them to Him. Your platform might even look as small as two loaves of bread and a few fish. But that didn’t stop Jesus from using it to fill five thousand people. Any platform will be used by Him if placed back inside His hands.

Take your simple thoughts, your dreams, your pictures, your passion: place it in His hands. Watch Him bless it. Watch Him feed thousands of souls. And watch Him get all the glory, because it’s His.

Quit comparing your platform.

Start pursuing your purpose.

and somehow, we find acceptance

rejection is an acceptance.

an acceptance into who you were meant to be.

an invitation to step into the embodiment of the space you were created to fill.

an ushering in of something beautiful.

2-26-7I promise you this:

you can leverage pain into passion.

you can leverage loneliness into love.

you can leverage rejection into acceptance,

if you make a choice.

I know it’s hard to see it now. I know you don’t understand where He has you. I know their words-or lack of-hurt.

I don’t know how you feel. I’ve never walked a day in your shoes.

but I see your pain. we have to acknowledge it. we have to own it as our own.

and tonight-

this short word is for all of us, because it finds us all at one time or another:

you are not labeled by rejection. you are invited into the arms of a God of acceptance.

a life without rejection is a life without acceptance. you cannot have one without the other. you cannot know the height of one without the depth of the other. you cannot know the fullness of your God if you haven’t tasted the emptiness of everything else. & that is juts what rejection shows us.

if everything worked out, you would never know what was right for you.

don’t minimize your pain.

if you need to cry tonight, cry.

if your dreams are shattering tonight, cry.

if he walked away, cry.

if a friendship is broken, cry.

if they said no and your heart was set on yes, cry.

but wake up and know in your heart that this is the ushering in of your purpose–of who you were made to be.

and somehow, when the world tells us we should stay in the depths of rejection, we find the strength to reach for acceptance.

because acceptance has a name. and it’s name is Jesus.

stop waiting

Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. Hosea 12:6

wait

I want to encourage all of us to stop simply waiting, and start waiting upon. To start waiting for.

Waiting is stationary. Waiting upon is an action.

Waiting is staying in the same place. Waiting upon is reaching for more of God.

Waiting is a spiritual excuse for inaction. Waiting upon is pressing into God when you don’t know what to do.

Waiting implies we sit still. Waiting upon means that we might not physically be moving but spiritually we are drawing closer.

Waiting upon God is an action. It is a consistent pressing into the presence of God. It is a determination to set our eyes on the Only One who can give us direction.

Waiting on God does not mean we don’t take action. It does not mean we don’t take bold and unplanned leaps of faith. It means we risk our lives, even if those risks seems small. Because all of the small risks and decisions we make each day add up to our lives. Waiting upon Him means that while we take bold leaps of faith we wait in His presence wait upon His best for us. It does not mean that we wait until our circumstances are better and then step forward, it means we step forward when our circumstances scream “no.”

Stare uncertainty in the face and tell it you know the power of a certain God. God is calling us to action, and oftentimes, we don’t have to wait months to be sure it’s the right thing to do. Take the next step. Move forward. Do what you haven’t done and what you don’t feel you are capable of doing. Trust that He will meet you there. Oftentimes, we need to take a bold step, say yes, and wait upon His goodness as He takes us to a new stage of our lives, instead of putting a decision off and hoping someone does the hard stuff for us.

We don’t have to know how He is going to do it. We don’t have to know where and through whom He is going to do it. In fact, we don’t have to be certain about any of the details. We can rest knowing that He will accomplish what He wants to accomplish in us. It doesn’t have to be what we expected, and it probably won’t. It will be so much greater. 

 

3 ways to get less (but more important) stuff done | the minimalist series pt 1

A lot of us spend a lot of valuable time doing a bunch of stuff. We measure productivity and success by quantity (or in my case the number of boxes with a black check through them).We get a lot done, but it’s not important.

I don’t think we were meant to be spread so thin and chase so many things. I’m after a quality life, not a quantity life. I want a life of direction, focus, and passion.

minimalist-series-1

With that being said,

here are three ways to get less (but more important) stuff done.

Before you try any of these three suggestions, make a list of what you do each day. Identify the things in your life that are stealing your time and taking up creative energy that could be better used elsewhere. I bet this list will surprise you and I’m sure it will provide you with direction for where you want to go.

1. Get up early.

Eww. I know. It’s not fun. I used to swear by the fact that I worked best at night and was the farthest from a morning person. This semester I’ve been forced to wake up at 5:30-6 each morning and I’ve changed my mind. It’s not always the most comfortable thing to do, but waking up even just 30 minutes earlier than your used to can change your perspective and keep you motivated. When you feel productive you’ll want to be even more productive. If you want to do something great-somthing that no one else is doing-you have to take action and you have to get a head start.

How

Start small. Start by getting up 15 minutes earlier than you’re used to and increase it each week. The next week 30 minutes. Then 45, then an hour. Soon you’ll be seeing how early you can get up. Maybe. If so kudos to you.

Be disciplined. Make yourself turn off your phone and read a book before bed. It will help you relax and fall asleep sooner, making it easier to hit the alarm off early the next morning instead of hitting snooze.

Stick to it. You have to be consistent for your body to get used to a new sleep schedule. You need a few sleep in days here and there, but your body will thank you if you make it a habit to stick to the same schedule.

eb-10Processed with VSCO with a6 presetaboutpage2. Don’t just plan your day, prioritize your week

List the things that must get done, then the activities you want to get done, and finally list what you would consider a “bonus.” Every Sunday, plan out your week. If you’re a college student like me, assignments can often be overwhelming and it’s easy to miss something because you simply forgot. By planning and prioritizing your entire week, you’ll be able to manage your time more wisely. Set out your priorities and your goals for what you want to accomplish at the beginning of the week and you’ll have a gameplan for what you need to do each day to make those happen.

How

Set aside an hour or so on Sunday afternoon to organize and prioritize your week. Not everything has to be on a schedule, but include important assignments, meetings, appointments, and commitments.

Put it on paper. Some people may prefer an app, but I find it useful to see my week on paper. With details. And check-boxes. Grab a cute agenda or planning book to keep yourself organized.

3. Quit trying to multi-task

No matter how good you think you are at multi-tasking, I can guarantee you are better at single-tasking. Our brains weren’t designed to do a thousand things at once. You will be significantly more productive if you fully focus on what’s in front of you instead of spreading your attention out over a bunch of stuff. It’s a challenge to keep your brain from wandering and stay on task but it’s worth it.

How

Shut your phone off or put it away. I’ve started implementing this in a few different areas and I’ve found that it’s helped not only with productivity but with my concentration level as well. When you’re driving-put it in your glove box or purse. When you’re sitting in class, put it in your backpack pocket. When you’re writing content or completing an assignment, set it aside and put it on silent.

Clear your mind of anxiety and focus on what is in front of you. Before you start any project, write down anything that you’re worrying about. Get it out of your mind and onto paper so you can focus on the task in front of you.

Set a timer. Once the timer is up, move on to your next task, assignment, or project. This way you can plan how much time you will need and be wise about how you use that time.

bottom line: identify what’s stealing your time, get rid of it, and make room for what really matters. everything that is uncomfortable in life is making you more like the person you want to be. embrace discomfort and discipline. decide you can live without mediocre.

Be a boss. Get less (but more important) stuff done.