Thoughts 4 Days Post Due Date

I feel very anxious to meet Oliver. However, this is all together very different than the kind of anxious that I felt four days ago – a feeling that once felt pure and full of joy and excitement – is now tainted with overwhelming anxiety and straight up fear. Fear that I might not be ready for this after all: I have so much left I want to see/do with Justin, I’m not ready to give my time up with just him. Fear that something might be wrong with Oliver. Fear that I am going to disappoint myself and Justin and be embarrassingly weak in childbirth. Fear that I’ll look back in regret. Anxiety to get on with life and pick back up again because right now everything is really just put on hold as we wait for our little – things are a little too slow for my liking. Anxiety over childbirth. Anxiety for our families meeting him for the first time and how those relationships individually will play out. Anxiety over how Justin and I will handle the first few days together and then parent together. 

These are all thoughts I have had before but today they were just too much. The day ended in a complete breakdown and included a long and very ugly crying/praying/yelling session. 

Through that, I got it. Thank God, I got it. I am just where I am supposed to be: wrestling through these fears and anxieties that I do believe are normal and ok but completely out of my control. I’ve got no business worrying about what I can’t control. So, here I am, 4 days post due date struggling to reach complete surrender and it feels so much better than being shackled to fear and anxiety. 

All of Matthew 6. If you’re where I’m at, go there and find a little piece of refuge. 

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

Jesus, I am so human. And I need you SO terribly. Holy Spirit, help me obey this command, for in it, I know there is crazy freedom that can only come from you. 

Oliver will be in my arms soon enough, in God’s perfect timing, and he will be exactly how he was made to be. And for now, his mama will keep learning lessons from her good and loving Creator. I know I’ll probably teach that kid a thing or two but already I’m blessed by and learning through his little life.

2016 Goals

I am super excited about a new year. 2016 was a weird one.

I learned a lot and took on A LOT and failed at a lot. In 2016, I’ll continue to do all of that I’m sure but I want to learn how to be a little more wise with my time and resources. There is a lot more that I want to put here (I struggle with wanting to do it ALL – RIGHT now) but I instead want to streamline my goals and be more realistic in the use of my time. My aim is to simplify life a bit – make it a little more light and a lot more full and intentional. I’m thankful to have a husband that reminds me that if I put in all of my efforts into ONE dream at a time, I’ll achieve one, then another, then another, THEEEN I’ll start to see my vision come to life. Thank God I was given him, seriously. So here’s what I’ve got!

Work:

  • Be self-employed by 2016. I will be self-employed January 1, 2016.
    • Identify market and limit services
    • Brand TSB – launch new website and brand, do it WELL with undivided attention
    • Continue to learn coding, WordPress functionality, SEO on multiple search engines
    • Come up with mktg plan and see it through
  • Launch SCP website
  • Dedicate Tuesday and Thursday mornings to TSB
  • Work Saturday – one per month

Personal:

  • Build relationships with friends and family
  • Encourage and pray for Justin in his pursuit of full-time ministry
  • Streamline schedule that works for me that includes all of my weekly tasks
  • Spend one night per week writing 
  • Read 2 books per month off of 2016 reading list
  • Share meal plans on blog
  • Keep track of other ideas and big picture vision but DO NOT pursue them…yet

Physical:

  • Continue to run one mile per day
  • Strength training 2 times per week for 30 minutes
  • Stretching/yoga

Marriage:

  • Cell-phone-less dinner together a couple nights a week
  • Date night once a week
  • Be in the Word & pray together
  • Sabbath
  • Planning meeting one day per week

These are the words I want to be apparent in my life this year:

Restore. Heal. Fearlessness. Peace. Lightness.

What are your goals for the year? It’s so much easier to achieve goals when you have friends spurring you onwards to crush them. We’ve got this, friends.

Stop Waiting On Paper Airplanes

We ask God to show His will – but don’t we already know it? We can live life on mission no matter where we are. In every country. Circumstance. Season. Age. Qualified by the world’s standards or not. If you follow Christ, God’s will for you is to live your life on mission for Him doing two things 1) knowing Him more and 2) making him known. 

I think Romans 12 so clearly lays it out for us.

I find myself asking God if he could throw a note down – paper airplane style – so that I could know exactly what to do or say to make my move accordingly and in the meantime I do nothing.

It makes me think of when I was younger and my mom would ask me to help her pick up the house and the first thing to come out of my mouth every single time would be the same: “what do you want me to do?” I’ll paint the picture: there are clothes on the couch to be folded, dishes in the sink to be cleaned, trash to be emptied, but instead I ask: “what do you want me to do?” As if I am blind to the disaster around me or unable to smell the stench from the laundry build up of a house of seven. And if I didn’t hear back from her or if she takes too long? I am back doing my own thing so fast. Then later, I’ll pull the ol’ “you never told me what to do.” My mom would often respond “so you didn’t do anything at all?” or “you’ve been here this whole time and that’s all you accomplished?”

I am brought to the painful realization that I never want to stand in front of Jesus and answer to why I hesitated in doing Kingdom work when I saw there was work to be done all around me. I don’t want to just push around the mess to make it like I am busy, ultimately accomplishing nothing. I’m left dreaming of what might happen if I didn’t always demand a who, what, when, where, why or how but just acted. Think of how much we could get done. Think of the reaction of our Father in Heaven – I’d imagine He would be pleased – a similar feeling to that of my moms (after fainting from shock, obviously) if we did the work without asking what needed to be done.

What if our prayers sounded a little more like that of a servant: “Heavenly Father, I see that this needs to be done so I’m going to step out in faith – would you use me here? Could I serve you in this way?” Then ACT. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes God’s got someone else assigned to that part of the house, using their talents there. Sometimes your role is to offer support, you hold the dust pan while someone else sweeps up the mess. Then sometimes, the answer is yes and it is more unexpected and beautiful than you could ever imagine. To be so unworthy. Sinful. Broken. Under “qualified”. Still learning. But still used to do His work. That’s the beauty of our Savior. Let’s embrace that. Let’s pray kingdom prayers. Do kingdom work.

“But how do I figure out where I am supposed to be?” The answer I’ve found most peace in: it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you on the map. Don’t miss out on the beauty of our call in trying to ‘find’ your call, it’s all the same: know God more, make Him known – you can do that wherever you’re at. If you’re at a point where you find yourself trying decide what to do or where to go in big life-changing decisions, invite your community to challenge your intentions with this question: “Am I doing this to make God known or know Him more?” If the answer is genuinely “yes” to both, I’d dare to say you can’t go wrong.

Because while the decision is life-changing, it only changes life on earth, it doesn’t change the call just the circumstances in which you know God more and make Him known.

You end up somewhere not so desirable? You share the Gospel. You end up in Hawaii? You share the Gospel. Don’t miss the opportunity to live out your purpose waiting on paper airplanes that just aren’t coming. God’s so much bigger than that.

Striving After Wind

This is a little different than how I hoped/thought this post would go back when I started doing web design last year. I launched my second website a few weeks ago and came to the conclusion that it will be the last big project that I do for a bit. Back-to-back 65 hour work weeks just aren’t how my body works, I’m literally still recovering and it was almost 3 weeks ago. It’s terrifying how quickly God’s voice fades into mine when I am not attentive to Him.

It actually makes me feel super uncomfortable to say that I can’t handle that because long work weeks was the plan for the rest of the year. I know that pursuing dreams means really hard work so that’s what I was going to do but The Lord has a much different plan. I have been reading in Ecclesiastes, (I love this book so much because it has packed into it the wisdom of an old man who has seen it all and is reflecting on the meaning of life) and he talks over and over about how everything we do is “striving after wind” – that rings so true to me personally but also in our culture in general and how jam packed our calendars are just so that we can always be doing. I think I over-work myself just to feel over-worked because I feel like that’s how I should feel. Like, I’m lazy and not working toward my goals if I don’t eat, breathe, sleep production.

Reality of it is, that is just not the case (thank GOD, because that is an empty feeling). I recently shared about how I’m feeling called into a time to learn and with that comes slowing down and being super aware of what it is that I can handle. Because, I mean, physically, I CAN handle 65 hour weeks but I don’t have anything left to give any one/thing else at the end of those hours. I am on empty. And at the end of the second long work week? Even after my project was launched? Something I’ve worked SO hard for! A step closer to my dream! I didn’t feel satisfied. Not even kind of.

So, I’m living those words that the author of Ecclesiastes speaks on – “striving after wind” – I feel that. It’s crystal clear to me that it is what I’ve been doing for the past year, running ’round and ’round not “accomplishing” anything, just striving after wind. That’s not to say anything negative toward those who work long hours. Am I going to stop working hard? No. I’m not. But realizing that God’s voice sounds an awful lot like my voice on the other side of that draining week is enough to make me take some time to take a closer look at my motives and help me to manage my time more wisely. My prayers are getting bigger, my heart is open to learning, and my palms up in surrender. I am ready to slow down, be taught, and stop striving after wind. There is freedom there.

Lately

Life’s been so wonderfully hectic with everything going on lately!

We spent a week with Justin’s family, some time at our house and some at the beach and every bit of that was dreamy. I always hate to see that time come to an end.

We got to pick blueberries (which I have never done before – SO fun..and delicious) My motto was pick one, eat one right off the bushes. They were so good.

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Justin’s aunt, cousins, and grandpa met us in Indian Rocks where we visited for a couple of days and every bit of that was just what we needed.

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Justin & I went camping with our sweet friends at Anastasia Park and tooled around St. Augustine. Last time I went to St. Augustine, was for a field trip in elementary school so I don’t remember it well but it is such a neat city. I’d say one of the highlights was Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar – I may have to make the jaunt to St. Augustine just to visit them again! The same owners also have a popsicle shop nearby and that was so great too.

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I went up to Chattanooga for a couple of days and stayed with my not-so-chattanewbe friend, Lexi, to do some consulting work and that was such a busy trip but I got to visit a bit with her and a couple of my favorite local spots (Taco Mamacita, Milk & Honey, Urban Stack, The Camp House- to name a few)! Justin’s mama and brother made the trip down from Nashville so I got to spend time with them for a second time in two months and that was such a sweet time.

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We moved my mama and celebrated my daddy for Father’s Day this weekend and I’m still catching up on sleep from like…3 weeks ago. But, I’m so ok with it. I feel like this is how I function best – some sleep wouldn’t hurt though ;). Still CANNOT wait to share what Justin and I have been dreaming about. It may have a little bit of this involved…

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A Time To Learn

I’ve never been more thankful for a new month and the fresh start that comes with it.

Little back story here: I did two semesters of college during which I moved out and got engaged, came up with a business idea, quit school and ran with my idea. As far as education after high school goes, I have nothing against it – I just felt like it was useless because I already knew exactly what I wanted to do and could begin doing it without any schooling so, I did. I lived it out in the form of Rise and now, 1.5 years later, here’s where I’m at:

  1. I quickly got wrapped up in my “company”. It became about Rise and less about my clients – I was obsessed with the image but wasn’t 100% confident in it. What I know now: You can build your brand without an LLC or forming a corporation. I feel like this works well in some cases but in my case, I could have saved a lot of money and energy until that was a necessity, I lost a lot of the heart of what I wanted to do in a silly name.
  2. Owning a business becomes dark quickly if you don’t invite the Lord into that space. What I know now: seeking Jesus and having the Spirit present in my decisions and conversations is a GAME CHANGER.
  3. Learning is for everyone. I say that I don’t have anything against continuing education after high school but I kind of really did – I thought that it was something many could do without, and it is but it was quite the humbling experience to end up back in college ;). What I know now: to be effective and successful, I have to take the time to really learn so I can serve the businesses I represent well.

So, how do those “now I know” moments change how I am doing things?

  • I’m going to brand my name rather than a company because truth of it is, I am not a company yet. Rise will be no more, it’s just me and I’m great with that. So, I’ll soon be launching a new website with a new brand and doing away with Rise.
  • I have a couple of different projects from now until the end of the year that are keeping me busy and I am so much more confident working for myself and not feeling like I work for this company that I hate.
  • I’m going back to school…WHAT. I sincerely never thought I’d say that, but I am and I’m actually excited about it. I’m taking three classes per semester as life allows until I’m done. I’ll continue working my full-time job and freelancing while I’m going to school.
  • I’m soaking up every bit of learning in this season I’m in. I am loving the simplicity of where I am.

Justin and I have a couple of other dreams for the remainder of the year that I’m not quite at liberty to discuss yet 😉 but I cannot wait to share those dreams and to see it come to life.

This bit of advice from a recent RELEVANT Magazine article has stuck with me:

Commit your dreams to the Lord (Psalm 37:5)
Ask Him where to start
Persevere
Dream BIG & bright
Choose joy where you are right now

My prayer in addition to those listed above is for the Lord to “restore my undivided attention to Him” in every single part of my life and it will continue to be my prayer because it led me to this peaceful decision. Though it’s been proven my whole life, I somehow keep forgetting that I can do nothing apart from Him. I mostly share all of this to be held accountable in my mission to serve my community. So, would you do that for me? Do you have any advice for me in where I’m at in this fantastic season of learning?

Freedom In Serving Christ

I am not exaggerating when I say that every single second from the moment I wake up, to the time a lay my head on the pillow is planned out. Between Rise and my 9-5, I’m pulling 60-70 hour work weeks. We’re still putting the house together, our summer schedule into the fall is already packed full. My days are flying by and mid-week I’m running on E.

Our small group is going through 1 Corinthians right now and last night we read chapter 4 and I was convicted about how I was stewarding my time and bigger than that, how I am stewarding the mysteries of the Gospel.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Here’s the definition of servant: a devoted and helpful follower or supporter, a person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a personal attendant.

Am I a servant of Christ? Well, no. I’m a servant to a lot of things: my time, my to-do list, my job, my phone, perfection, success. But on a day-to-day basis am I a servant of Christ? No. I’m not. 

It’s going to take a lot to pry me away from my trusty to-do lists, but there’s a heart change that happens when you go through your days with the greater purpose, a servant to our Heavenly Father. We begin using failure to glorify the Lord. Seeing a difficult client as an opportunity to love a brother/sister. We see ourselves in the mirror as He sees us, daughters of a King.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Our small group was challenged with the task to be silent for just one minute per day. Just be still. Don’t ask The Lord for anything, let Him speak to you. We’re so hellbent on hearing from Him (or not hearing from Him) on rushed requests we send up in prayer but when is the last time we just were still and allowed the Spirit to dominate that space? It’s been a while for me.

What do the things that I am a servant to produce? Stress. Exhaustion. Disappointment.
What if I were to be obedient in my call to being a servant of Christ? Freedom. Pure Freedom.

I’d challenge you, sisters, to just be still even if only for 60 seconds out of your 86400 second day. Invite the spirit into that space and be obedient in our call. We have a greater call than what waits at the completion of our to-do list.