change

Authenticity

Sometimes I don't like to blog because I know that not as many people will read it unless it's accompanied by the perfect graphic or if the layout of my blog doesn't scream "Jackie." I get so bogged down by the design aspects, of which I am good but not great at it nor do I have the right programs. I get so bogged down by my blog not being pretty enough that I forget that my words can be pretty. Because I am not a cutesy, artsy person who always chooses the right Instagram filter. I am not always wearing the latest designer or fashion trend because I like what I like whether it's popular or not. Wanting to dress in your own style and not just what's popular can be REALLY tough. But I do it. There are many fads that I never participated in simply because I didn't like it for myself. There were ones that I did participate in because I like it. I own and often wear a pair of Chacos. I like them, they're comfortable and they work well for my flat feet.I know it seems like I'm rambling but my rambling has a point. It is SO important to be authentic. To be genuine. People want to see the real you. They don't want to see the perfectly polished version you put forth on social media. There's a reason people like celebs like Zooey Deschanel, Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift. When you see them in magazines, tv, social media, etc. you get the feeling that you could be friends with them. We feel that way about them and other celebrities, because they are genuine. They are real.

Wanna know something fun? Nobody likes it when you or I are disingenuous.

People want to see the real, raw, messy you. This is me giving you permission to share with others that you're not that great sometimes. This is me telling one of my favorite youth Sunday School teachers that the job search is really hard and it's really frustrating instead of my stock answer of "it's going good."

This is not me giving you permission to only complain though. Celebrate the wins when you have wins. Celebrate the little wins as well as the big ones. Yesterday, I texted my sister telling her how excited I was that I finally made it through a barre pilates class without starting to black out. That's a victory. That's progress. It's small but small things are important to you. Sometimes the highlight of your day is getting a good parking spot or getting in a short line at Walmart. And that's okay. That's more than okay. That's awesome. Celebrate it. Own it.

I'm learning lately to be okay with who I am, strengths AND weaknesses. They all make up who I am. They all offer me room for growth and ways to glorify God. A few months ago I wrote in my journal how I wanted to be like a couple of famous writers who are known for their words. I wanted to be big. And I just had this overwhelming assurance from God that he didn't need me to be big. He needed me to be small. He reminded me that my role models were small before they were big and that now was my time to be small. So here I am. Living in a small state, in a small town, in a small bedroom learning to be okay with being small.

I don't know if this makes much sense to anyone but myself but I think it's important to share what's on my heart sometimes and this is on my heart. In the spirit of authenticity, I am sharing this without a picture and I am letting you know that I had trouble spelling authenticity because I am a HORRIBLE speller. Seriously, I would have had a lot more trouble in English classes had I been born prior laptops and spellcheck becoming the standard practice.

Is anyone else going through a season of life that seems counter intuitive to culture? Let me know!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

"Delight yourself in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4

Recently, my grandfather sent me a text message first thing in the morning saying that I was precious and that he prayed that God would give me the desires of my heart. First, I'd like to point out that getting a message saying you're precious and that someone is praying that God gives you the desires of your heart is one of the best ways to start your day.

Initially, it put a smile on my face. And I am I very thankful to have someone who prays that prayer for me. But then the message changed from an encouragement to a mirror. What are my desires anyway? Are they the ones God wants me to have? Hmmm, I don't desire inherently bad things like ultimate power or taking over the world. But let's be honest, I wouldn't mind some shallow things. Like a wardrobe containing everything I've lusted over on Modcloth's website. Or to be graduating college debt free. Or to be in shape without working out. Although I'd settle for being in shape because I love working out and being outdoorsy.

Of course, not all my desires are shallow. I want to use words to show love and change the world or at least a few people. I want to be healthy. I want to get a fabulous job where I can help make the world a better place. I want to marry a man who will romance me like my dad does my mom and Jesus does the church and who helps me show the gospel to a lost and hurting world. I want to have children who love history and knowledge and reading. I want to live in a place with arts.

But ultimately, I want my desires to be what God desires for me. Because that's what Psalm 37:4 is about. When you are delighting in The Lord, your desires will be his desires. So for now, my ultimate desire is to delight in The Lord more. I know I'm not where I need to be.

C. S. Lewis once said, "I pray because I need God. The need flows out of me, waking and sleeping. Prayer doesn't change God. It changes me."

I've been praying a lot this past week about the future and my vision of what I want it to be. I committed to praying about this issue every day for a week. At first, my prayer was, "God I really want this." Then my prayers changed to: "I really want this but I understand if it's not your will. But I really want this." Then the prayer changed to: "God, right now I want this. But I don't want you to give it to me because I keep asking. I want your best for me. I want this to be the best but I understand it might not be. And that's ok because I want your will in this."

My prayers don't need to change God. They need to change me. My heart needs to be calibrated back to God's best. Maybe after a few more days of praying, I'll be ok with saying completely "Thy will be done Lord." When I delight in The Lord, my desires change to his and during the process while I still have my selfish desires, I begin to become aware that they aren't God's best for me. Psalm 37:4 is so much more than God giving you want you want. It's about reading on to Psalm 37:5: "commit your way to The Lord and do good; trust in him and he will do this." It's about aligning your desires with God's will.

I am so thankful for a God who will give me what I want when I begin to want the best for me. Just like your parents wouldn't let you play with matches as a kid, God won't give you things you want that will burn you, at least not without a purpose. I am so thankful for grandparents who are prayer warriors committed to my future and inspiring me to examine my inner self... Never a fun thing.

I hope you read this and begin to let the self-examination slowly begin. Stand in front of the mirror and honestly examine yourself. Be brave enough to admit the truth if you aren't delighting in The Lord and his best for you. Then go out and do something about it.

A Letter to My Graduating Friends

  Let me preface this by saying that I am a sentimental fool.

Graduations are one of those bittersweet moments in life. On the one hand, finishing a chapter in your life is super exciting! You've made it through to the next phase which is, let's face it, pretty awesome. But then you reflect on all those exciting changes coming in your life and realize that life has handed you a double edged sword.

You aren't simply starting a new chapter. You are simultaneously saying goodbye to the last chapter and all the places and people that made it special. It's an experience comparable to staring at the ocean: both beautiful and terrifying in its sheer power.

I am not graduating and moving on for at least another year but some of my very dear friends are and this is dedicated to them.

As you enter the new stage of your life here are some quotes I have for you:

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Mother Teresa.

In the theme of sappiness, thank you for the time I spent with you. I am indeed better and happier.

"Whatever you are, be a good." Abraham Lincoln

Please, be the best elementary teacher, physician's assistant, pr professional, nurse, doctor, whatever that is out there. Shine and show your passion in the way that made me love you.

"People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." Leonardo Divinci

This one is self-explanatory but don't limit yourself. Reach for the stars, the moon, or the top of the Empire State Building. Just reach and try.

Last, "Never hold onto anything tighter than you're holding onto God."

I hope you learned from me that there is a quote for everything and hats are always a good choice! I love you and will miss you! Congrats on graduating!

 

 

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