Category Archives: Faith

Five Things I Learned During my Summer “Blogging Break”

Friends it feels so good to be back!

At the beginning of the summer, I was wrestling with whether or not I wanted to continue with this blog…with writing in general really. When I bought my own domain, I had decided that it was time for me to really take writing seriously. My first blog was just a free “Blogger” version, and I only let certain people read it. With this blog, I wanted to come out of hiding, fully publicizing and promoting. I was very apprehensive, but I felt that it was a calling, and I knew that the fear was a lie. But after awhile, and for many different reasons, nothing about it was feeling good, I felt like there was absolutely no purpose to what I was doing, and I was fairly certain that no one cared.

Now, I tend to question myself a lot, and often find myself in “down phases” with nearly everything that I do, wondering if I should still be doing it or not. Knowing this about myself, I sought out some wisdom, and opted to just step away for awhile to see if it was really something I wanted to keep pursuing.

The timing of this “blogging break” could not have been better! The summer was so wonderful in so many ways. I spent loads of time with people I love. I met NEW people I love. I practiced tons of music. I took a trip with my husband, and we celebrated one year of marriage. I made a huge shift in my career…which has also opened up the opportunity for more writing time. And here we are.

Most of all, I learned. I grew. I discovered things about myself that I didn’t recognize before.

So, for those of you who are still with me, here are some of the things I learned this summer…

The word “BRAVE” has been redefined for me.

I could write an entire post on this topic {and I probably will!}, but I’ll start with this…

I read through this devotional 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs, and it changed my entire perspective on what being brave actually is. Yes it can definitely be about taking the big plunges, the giant leaps into scary, unfamiliar territory…and I’ve done plenty of that over the last year, and it’s been great! But one major take-away I’ve gotten from this book, is that there is bravery in the smallest of things too. Making intentional decisions, even when they seem ordinary, are brave because these little things seem so unimportant in the moment…but in the grand scheme of things, matter greatly. Saying yes to the little things, ultimately helps us say yes to the grandest things!

Asking a friend to have coffee with you, cooking a meal, taking care of  a household chore that you were feeling to exhausted to do, joining a gym, choosing not press snooze again so you can get up and spend time with God…these are all brave choices! It may seem like it’s just stuff you should do anyway. But more often than not, these are things we don’t really WANT to do. And if you are anything like me, and you’ve always lived in expectation of messing up pretty much anything, then that just makes trying to do any of it, even the smallest things, a hundred thousand times harder. Therefore CHOOSING to do them, is BRAVE!

 

When a conviction from the Holy Spirit comes to you, followed by a call to action, LISTEN TO IT!

I’ve been reflecting on my college years. As well as the past few years since leaving college. I was a very guarded person. I can still be that way, but I’m working on it. Yes I was going through severe anxiety and depression…but the reality was that I was just isolating myself…and especially, allowing myself to avoid responsibilities, and blaming my issues. I felt a very direct call in my heart that I needed to reach out to the people that I had let down in some of the most extreme ways while I was being buried by my struggles. I wanted to ask for forgiveness for my sin-nature and make amends with the people that had been affected by my poor choices. And in my head, that list of people was VERY long! So I started with just a few. And it was one of the rejuvenating choices I’ve ever made. I was met with true grace and understanding. I fully know that those friendships are redeemed and restored. It was more than enough to make me see that a holy conviction is a GOOD THING, and can lead to the sweetest moments of heart and life change!  The list is still long, and I want to reconnect with ALL of the people on it, knowing that it’s something that I’m being spirit-lead through.

 

Practicing music has taught me the true value of discipline.

I spent a great deal of time in a practice room this summer, preparing for a voice recital, and learning an opera role. Another way I’ve been reflecting on my college years, I never had a very good work ethic when it came to practicing {or much of anything that required hard work really}. Now, practicing music is my absolute favorite thing too do! Even when I’m feeling too wiped out to do it, it’s all I want to do. And I realized that if I could apply this much work and dedication to one thing, I should be able to apply that to all other areas of my life. I’m still figuring out what that looks like in the every day, but that goes along with making small, brave, choices. Music requires bravery. Discipline requires bravery. Making healthy, responsible, “adult” choices requires bravery. And music has helped me find that.

 

The importance of NAMES!

I won’t go too far into this one…because I actually HAVE started writing a post on this topic, and I am so excited to share it with you very soon!

I’ll just say that I’ve come to understand how significant our names are. Names are our identity, and their meanings define who we are. That said, there was a time when I wanted to change mine…

That, and much more coming soon!

 

Yes. Writing is still a calling in my life.

The break was welcome. The break was necessary. The break allowed me to learn how to trust God with all the ideas floating around in my brain, submit them to Him first, and I discovered a lot of beautiful things. But now I know, that as I journey through the seasons of life, I’ll be taking writing with me.

I’d love to hear from my readers too! What are you learning in your life lately? Let’s grow together!

Linking up with one of my favorite writers, Emily P. Freeman, for “What We’ve Learned” today.

How to Care for a Friend Struggling with Anxiety & Depression: 8 Helpful Tips

 

Stop Saying These Things to Christian Singles

I got married about 7 months ago. I’m a newlywed.

Before I dated my husband, I had never dated anyone else.

When we first started dating, I was 24 years old.

Yeah, I was single for a long time. I went through high school and college without ever being in a relationship. Most of the time, I was okay with that. Most of the time, I didn’t have this huge desire to have a boyfriend. I had the desire to be a wife and mother, yes, but for the most part I was not in a huge hurry.

BUT…there were times when I DID feel very strongly about it. I don’t think it helped that I went to a very small, Christian college, surrounded by people in dating relationships that quickly turned into engagements and then marriages straight out of school. And while I’m certainly not blaming those people for how I sometimes felt, I would often look at couples I knew well, and wonder why I couldn’t have that…wonder if I would EVER have it. Continue reading

3 Things to do, when you can’t find JOY in the hard thing

Through to the Other Side: Overcoming Anxiety & Depression

This is my personal journey through anxiety and depression and how I came through it. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, and I encourage anyone who is struggling to seek professional help. This is my story, but I am not a counselor…just another person who was enslaved to these chains and found freedom.

When I heard recently that a good friend of mine was silently struggling very deeply with depression and severe levels of anxiety, and I had absolutely no idea, I knew it was time to speak out about this. She seemed to be so relieved when I told her just how much I could relate to her, as someone else who had been there. Continue reading