Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thoughts on Insecurity + Identity

"What consumes my thinking will be the making or breaking of my identity." -Lysa TerKeurst

2017 has been the most refining year I've ever experienced -- as usual, the Lord is wrecking my life and my plans and is putting it all back together far more beautifully than I could have ever dreamed. It's a paradox that I'm still trying to wrap my head around -- how could I possibly be more in love with God today than I was months ago, even though I've walked through the fire of refinement for the past 11 months that at times seems like it's never going to end? 

I've discovered that there's intimacy to be found with Jesus that can only be found when you're in the middle of trying circumstances. This year, He has been stripping me of all that I have found my identity in and each time it happens I find that He is the very best thing - the truest thing. He can be trusted even when I don't know what He is trying to show me. He is good. 

I never thought of myself as being an insecure person until I got to graduate school and then for some reason, I began praying big, scary prayers. Be careful what you pray for because God ANSWERS THEM. I prayed that I would be so "wildly secure" in Him that I would have no room to worry, no room to strive, no need to question anything about the way He designed me. Ha!!! I don't think any of us will ever be fully rid of our insecurities because that's part of being human. I have a long way to go before He's done, but Jesus has done some unbelievable things in my heart and life over the past year. 

I've learned to not be distracted by those moving forward. His timing is perfect and He is trustworthy. I think about this a lot with the job industry that I'm getting ready to enter. I'm surrounded by the most talented, most driven, most successful people I've ever known. I am honored and excited to work with them. I fully plan on being inspired by them and letting them sharpen me. But I can't let the goal of progressing in my career stunt the things that God will teach me day in and day out, if I let Him, through the process of discipline. I must be faithful with little if I want to be entrusted with much. If I scratch and claw my way into something before I'm ready, it will only lead to insecurity. Even if what I want is something that is good for me and I have the right skills and/or the right motivations! Trying to operate in the gift on your life without the character to uphold the calling and its weight will leave you empty and insecure. I've found over and over that the Lord will strip things away from me until I am ready to find, once more, that my security is in Him alone. If I hadn't been placed in situation after situation where I allowed God to deal with my insecurity I would walk into St. David's HealthCare in January and immediately be striving in this incredibly humbling calling that God has put on my life. If I hang on to the identity of "Administrative Resident"/"Future Healthcare Executive" God will not be able to achieve above and beyond in my life. 

I never want to pray prayers that ask "What is going to make me better/more successful/happier?", but rather, "Whatever lines up with extending Your kingdom here on earth... that's what I want." I want to be secure enough to not devote negative attention towards other people's blessings that I want but be obsessed with what He is doing in my own life, trusting that anything good that happens to me is an overflow of His goodness. And His goodness is everywhere.

Y'all... insecurity is a thief and will rob you of your joy, because you're too focused on the opportunities that other people are seizing. It turns into jealousy that you can't handle. It's empty and robs you of your true identity. It is the breeding ground of offense. I know because I let it do all of these things at one point or another this year. It will rob you of your future if you are not careful. It's not worth it because all it is, is lies. God will consistently put us in situations that are beyond our capacity and we will be tempted to be insecure. Sometimes I still let my insecurity get the best of me and I wonder how in the world I will be able to do the job that God is calling me to... but then I remember, when has anything that I've ever done been about me? It's always been about Him and what He can do THROUGH me. (THANK. GOODNESS.)

I can now say with certainty that I don't necessarily need the gifts that Jesus can give me, as wonderful as they are. All I need is Him. All I want is Him. Whenever, however, whatever way He wants to show up - I want everything that happens in my life to be done His way. I will trust Him, hold on to Him and let Him be God in my life, knowing that He is not just good, but He is good TO ME.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

lessons learned from a social media detox

shoutout to all the gals who are suffering from a big case of social media-induced anxiety. i now understand it. i just took a few weeks off from social media to try and help rid myself of the worry that comes from being constantly attached to that tiny screen...

here are some lessons i learned while i tried to detox from the constant scrolling. these aren't really groundbreaking thoughts, but i never thought they were affecting me until i decided to step back from the ever-present stream of pins of pretty houses and the latest engagement announcement on instagram and the most recent job update on facebook. hopefully other people can be encouraged by these thoughts as well..

1. the comparison game is a REAL FREAKIN' THING and it will eat you alive if you're not careful. comparison is a monster and will steal your joy. it will keep you blind to all the ways your life is just as wonderful as the gorgeous girl who has thousands of followers. think about how you feel when you see the girl who has the best clothes. or the cutest boyfriend. or the shiniest engagement ring. or the coolest job.


do you rejoice with her for all the ways her life is going well? or do you feel the looming sense of jealousy and fear? these comparisons can go on forever and be applicable to whatever it is that you want and don't have, that someone else does. taking a breather from social media (instagram especially) has taught me a bit more about not being jealous, and instead realizing that i have my own ginormous storehouse of blessings that are right in front of me.

i have been blessed with an amazing family.
i have the chance to get my masters degree.
i have the best friends.
i am healthy.
i have Jesus.

and i'm learning that even if i only had Jesus, that would be enough.

once you recognize all the ways your life is great, it makes it so much easier to CELEBRATE the blessings of other people rather than resent them for what they have been given.

2. take pictures to HAVE them, not to solely post them! you take pictures to have them as memories once those moments have passed, not to prove to someone else that your life is cool.

3. social media gives a false sense of community. you see picture after picture after picture while scrolling through your feed, allowing you to believe for a little while that you're truly connected to these hundreds (or thousands) of people. in reality, you only know half of them and if you're REALLY honest with yourself, you only truly care about keeping up with the lives of a fraction of that half.

i want to focus on cultivating friendships with the people i interact with every day. it's so much more fulfilling to form friendships with those that are walking out life in the same sphere that i am rather than try to examine the lives of the people on the other side of my screen.

4. don't post pictures to get peoples' attention or get a like from a certain person. your worth is not determined by the number of likes your pictures get, or who likes those pictures, or how aesthetically pleasing your feed is. don't look on the "following" side of instagram, either. it's a dark place. save yourself the stress! on that note, some encouragement...

5. you have worth because of WHO JESUS MADE YOU TO BE! your worth is dictated by the creator of the heavens and the earth, the one who knows every tiny detail about you and loves you more than you could begin to fathom. He says you're beautiful and worthy and accepted and chosen, no matter what your follower to following ratio is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

spring is coming

at my parents' house in nashville you can look out of the windows at the front of the house and see trees. LOTS of trees. this particular break when i was home it was striking just how bare they were, but i couldn't put my finger on why i kept noticing these trees. there was nothing particularly beautiful about them. not long after that i stumbled across a video of a woman telling a story that hit me like a ton of bricks...

"i was sitting out on my deck one day in my backyard... when the trees are barren, they're barren. the holy spirit said, 'don't you love how far you can see? don't you love the clarity that winter brings?... do you feel anxiety in the trees? do they feel anxious that they'll never have leaves or bloom again? of course they don't. there is a confidence and a security here. do not misinterpret this season.'"

how ridiculous it would be to run into the woods in the middle of winter and yell at the trees, "don't worry!! you will bloom again!" you would never do that, because the trees are so rooted and grounded. the trees understand that a season of barrenness and rest is an essential precursor to their inevitable harvest and fruitfulness.

i think we have a lot to learn from the trees. (that's the most hippie thing i've ever said.) God deeply desires to help us grow our roots in Him, in utter trust and dependence that we too, no matter how hopeless and confusing our circumstances seem, will experience life once again. seasons of barrenness and emptiness feel as if they will last an eternity, but the Lord is FAITHFUL to redeem these seasons.

the only way He can build this rootedness in us is by taking us through a process where He places us in situations, continually asking us, "do you trust Me?" each time we can respond with "yes God, i trust you." our root system grows a little bit more. and then we begin to thrive.

i am so eager for 'spring' to come, but i also do not want to misinterpret this season. my biggest temptation is to rush ahead because of my expectation for what's to come next.. but there is still so much to learn in these days and these moments. it's all beautiful. he enters into our barrenness and empty feelings and the unknown and the mess. he sits with us, beckoning us to trust him. he is writing his story. i don't want to miss any of it.

"in the spring i know Your joy and laughter, 
in the summer I know Your abundant love.
in fall i know Your smile overflowing into colors,
but in winter, i know Your faithfulness, God. 
i shed only what is temporary
and my truest self comes forth, bare before You
i stand in all my weakness and frailty.
and yet, You remain.
you never let go of me, never.
yes, winter sings of Your faithfulness,
declares Your faithfulness
to my rawest self. You sow yourself
and stand with me. You never leave, never.
yes, there is no season more fruitful than winter,
for here i fall into the depths of God
and discover i am cradled by a faithfulness 
that never stops giving.
what a privilege to know You in winter, God." 
-rosemary gingerich