be strong and courageous [community].

A week ago, I finally completed what could have been the hardest physical feat I’ve had to date.

I did my first half-ironman distance triathlon.

70.3Throughout the training, I wanted to give up many times. I hated swimming, I never felt like I was improving, and the whole process took so much time. Throughout the race I continually asked myself what was wrong with me for thinking this was a good idea. It was long. it was slow. It was hot.

But you know what, I had to keep going – in training and during the race – because I knew there were people waiting for me. People cheering me on. There were people on the sidelines fighting the good fight with me.

And, like so many times in my life, I learned from this metaphor. I am unable to do anything on my own. I need Jesus, first, but I also need those He has placed in my life to push me. I need them to challenge me and pick me up when I am struggling. I need their words of encouragement. I simply need their presence to know I am not alone, even in the loneliest times (and believe me, when you’re traversing 70.3 miles, you sure are alone a lot).

Are you engaging in community? I heard part of a sermon today where the preacher talked about getting out and engaging with people, loving on people, learning from people, serving people – and this, this is where you find the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you.

To be strong and courageous, we need the Lord’s power. And sometimes He shows that power through those He has placed in our lives. Don’t miss it.

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27 Things that Happened at 27

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday.

27 was good, but dang am I ready for 28! It is going to be MY YEAR, baby! I don’t say that every year, don’t worry.

Here are 27 things that happened at 27:

1. I moved into my first place by myself – no more roommates, no more parents, not even a pet to keep me company

2. I mutually decided to breakup with my boyfriend – no drama, no big argument, no he-said, she-said – it just wasn’t working. hey, adulthood.

3. I stayed at an all-inclusive resort

4. Saw Yosemite.

5. Saw The Redwoods

6. Did my first relay race (that is if you’re not including the 4×4 I did in middle school track)

7. I started this blog!

8. I actually fasted from food for at least 24 hours

9. I picked up a new hobby – road biking – and by picked it up I mean I just began.

10. I colored my hair 4 times, which is 4 more times than the past 5-6 years.

11. I started teaching a cycling class!

12. I rode a mechanical bull (thank you dear friends for your persuasion on this one…)

13. I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge

14. I went to my first Big 10 (or any college) football game

15. I briefly mastered the deadlift… then stopped doing it for a couple weeks and now need to work on form again.

16. I created a list of bills with their due dates, minimum payment amounts, a box to mark how much I paid and what date I paid them (we meet again, adulthood).

17. I started to understand what grace from my Heavenly Father truly looks like. I haven’t totally figured it out, but I’m getting there.

18. I started practicing hand-stands on the wall

19. I did a WOD

20. I played 18 holes of [mini] golf and made 3 holes-in-one

21. I stayed at my first all-inclusive resort.

22. I went to my first Ohio State football game

23. I watched an Iron Man in person, in Mexico.

24. I rode in a Tesla, and got to see a Tesla being made.

25. I ate more pancakes total throughout the year than I have in my whole life (this is a guess, but a very, very good guess)

26. I did my own wine and paint class, and then did it again.

27. I weighed the most I ever have. That’s what happens when you get older, right?

7 reasons I love my life for what it is in this moment

Posts about lists are all the rage. In my browser right now, the tabs read:

We love lists.

I have a list of the top 7 reasons I love the stage of life I’m in right now (late 20s, single, working):

  1. I get to live with 2 of my best friends. When we first decided to move in together we were not best friends and everyone questioned how well we’d work out as roommates. People kept asking how it was going with a grimace on their face, knowing we were about to admit to the drama happening in our house. Wrong, we have had a completely drama-free spiritual community full of love, acceptance and grace. If I had gotten married right out of college, I would’ve never had this experience.sing
  2. While my job wears me down most days, the kids I work with have very redeeming moments of funny and innocence. They are mean (they hit, kick, bite, curse, throw things), they are mad, they are violent, but they are also still kids. I love giving them hugs, being the one to show them unconditional love. I have one who loves to rip me apart and I love to tell him every time that, “I still like you, no matter what, and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here when you’re done to hug you.” He doesn’t hear that in his life, and I love that I get that opportunity. 
  3. I have lots of time to do the things I love. One day, if I’m blessed to have a family of my own, I won’t be able to leave work early and go run because it’s beautiful outside. I might not be able to spend all day Sunday in my pajamas eating pancakes and drinking coffee. One day, my life will have different priorities, but right now my life is about pursuing things I love. This does not give me a free pass to be selfish with my time, I’m adding more and more volunteer/giving experiences, but I am able to adjust my schedule to my own interest and my own wants and needs. I get a lot of workouts in because it’s something I love, but I know one day I won’t have that time. I spend a lot of time watching Netflix, but one day I’ll have to watch cartoons with my kids. And that too will be okay because one day my kids will be the things I love. get-lonely.gif
  4. I get to travel for cheap. I am only one person so if I want to go somewhere, I can do it for a relatively reasonable price. I can also not feel bad about crashing on friend’s couches because most of them don’t have a whole herd of children yet, and I’m just one person who won’t take up too much space.
  5. I’m learning so much about who I am in Christ. This time of unknowns and unfulfilled dreams is really becoming a dream come true all itself. I didn’t know I wanted this time in my life, but now I am so thankful for it. I have the time to read, listen, and pursue ideas about God that take thinking and quiet. Again, when I have a family that quiet time will be hard to come by. Today, however, I ran 10 miles while listening to some podcasts that spoke to fear – exactly what I needed to hear. Not only do I have free time to do these things, I have a lot of unanswered questions that require faith. I also have a lot of unfulfilled dreams that require patience. God is working in this time.
  6.  ephesians
  7. I’m learning so much about who I am in general. Throughout these years of being single, I have dated a few men and I have had a lot of friends. Throughout all these relationships I have learned who I really am because I have noticed the things I have only done because of another person, and then the things I have done because I truly enjoy them. I have picked up new hobbies with a boyfriend because it was something he loved, and at the time I did too, but once that relationship was over I learned that I no longer loved that hobby. I have had time to become the person I have wanted to be, no matter who is in my life. I have had the time to let God shape and mold me into who He wants me to be, and have been able to stop letting other people shape me. There are habits and characteristics that have come and gone with the people who have done the same; then there are those that have endured and grown stronger – those are the ones that identify me as an individual.

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Single – for those that are and those that aren’t

There are two types of people in this world – single people and not-single people.

Too simple? Ridiculous, I know.

The other day my friend and roommate sent a couple articles about singleness in the church:

Then there are these others articles which speak to the truth about singleness and using this “status” as a way to glorify God:

There are so, so many more. What I’ve found since my college years, is that no matter my relationship status, I have always been single, as in unmarried. And while we unmarried folk need you married folk just like we need older and younger folk, we need each other, too. I think there is great growth that can come from those unlike us but also from those in similar seasons as our own.

I think my church overlooks the young single in our church and I think that is unfortunate. I went to an event recently where the speaker talked about the great opportunity single people have, and I agree. There are so many less obligations – your schedule is your own and you can form it to be whatever you’d like. That might not always be the case.

This season of being unmarried is nothing new – maybe it’s a season, maybe it’s my life forever, I have no idea. But I do believe those unmarried need to rethink how they view singles and treat them, especially in the church. I also think those of us who are unmarried need to embrace this time and relish it in.

Lies.

There have been lies you have believed in your past, and there may be lies you are believing right now.

In her book, Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You, Stasi Eldredge writes about the lies she had to address from her past, that were hindering her in her quest to become better, in her attempts to overcome issues with food and overeating. She recalls a certain idealic childhood but when she prayed for God to help her change, she realized there were parts of her childhood she had forgot to remember. While praying that I’d realize things from my past I failed to remember or to attribute to my current situation, I was a bit frustrated. I looked back and prayed over my memories of my childhood and could not remember many negative things. What am I supposed to be forgiving, then? What am I supposed to be remembering and re-evaluating so that I can move on today and get over these hurdles that hold me back?

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My lies began in high school. I started to believe lies about where I gained my worth – other people, especially men. And men were letting me down left and right. Men were breaking my heart and ending relationships with me, starting in high school, peaking in college and continuing after graduation. Every time a relationship ended subconsciously I was believing I was not good enough for them, that it was all something I did or didn’t do that ended the relationship. I realized, no matter what I thought of them or how much I knew (or didn’t know) I shouldn’t be a part of that relationship, I let their words and their actions dictate my worth.

I am so glad God brought me to that realization. I let go a whole waterfall of tears. I was shocked to realize the extent of the lies I had believed and how they still affect me today, years and years later.

At various times, I think I knew this, I was conscious of the fact that I look to others for my worth. But I don’t know that I was ever aware of exactly how much this spoke to my current worth.

So, I’m on a new journey – going through the painful process of asking God to reveal lies I have believed while also teaching me he Truth.

enemies lies

breaking up [and moving on].

Catch up with the part I and part II of this breakup series.

I talked about breaking up and allowing yourself to feel during the season post-breakup.

Moving on begins the minute the relationship ended. As I mentioned in part II, you have to allow yourself to at least acknowledge your feelings before you can move past them. Again, do not allow yourself to sin as a result of your negative feelings, and don’t get stuck in them. But DO allow yourself to feel them, if just for a moment, and then choose joy and hope.

The moving on process is on-going and it is so beautiful, especially when hope starts overwhelming all the ugly feelings. Almost immediately (thank you Lord) I started feeling hopeful and joyful about what God had planned for me. I knew that if that relationship wasn’t for me, there was a reason. And although I believe I was the cause of the pain (I shouldn’t have dated this man in the first place and I definitely shouldn’t have gotten so involved) in the first place, I also saw how God had pursued me and never let me go even in my disobedience. Therefore, I knew He had something great planned for me! And He does for you too!

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So, again immediately, I decided to grow and become better through the experience of dealing with the breakup and moving on. For starters, I began this blog to share what I was learning in case it could benefit someone else. I spent my new free time reading and spending time with God. I thought about how I wanted to change and how I wanted to grow and who I was becoming each day. When you break up you get the chance to redefine yourself. This was my chance to figure out who I am (again, but at a new stage in life) and figure out who I wanted to be. I needed to define somethings for myself so that in any future relationship, romantic or otherwise, I would not compromise or try to change but that I would know I was loved just because of who I was.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou

Make a list of your weaknesses and your strengths. Make a list of things you want to do and the qualities you want to have. Choose this time to pursue your dreams and to do good for others.

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source

Breaking up isn’t easy. Let’s be real, it sucks. But when you choose joy (shout out to Amy and Bobby from the Bobby Bones Show! #pimpinjoy) you will find hope and you will grow. Growth is good!

related posts: Holding Patterns, Beauty no Matter the Season I, Beauty no Matter the season II, Lessons in Waiting

breaking up [the good part].

In the first part of this break up series I just barely talked about it being hard, even though I called it the hard part. Breaking up will almost always be hard because it is a change – no matter whether or not you wanted the breakup. Like I said, the last end of a relationship I had, I wanted. But I also hated it because I was losing a best friend and a adventure partner, I was losing someone I loved.

There is a hard part I didn’t touch on, but to me I’m learning it is the good part. When you go through something painful (whether it’s breaking up of a relationship or some other kind of loss) there are often a variety of feelings you go experience. In no particular order, I have felt the following over the time I’ve gone through post-breakup:

  • Anger (why’d you “stop loving me?”)
  • Joy (this is where I am supposed to be, I’m so glad God has a plan for me)
  • Peace (this is where I am supposed to be)
  • Relief (I’m glad God is leading me through this and I’m not alone)
  • Bitterness (why’d that man pursue me and then stop?)
  • Sadness (oh that place and that thing remind me of him)
  • Longing (I want to be loved and pursued)
  • Loneliness (I miss my partner in life, I enjoyed sharing things with him)
  • Regret (why did I waste so much time? Why did I allow myself in that relationship?)
  • Doubt (did I make the right choice? I really wish I hadn’t allowed myself in that relationship)
  • Excitement (whoo!! I wonder what it is God has for me that this relationship had gotten in the way of!?)
  • Hope (there is more to come, after winter always comes spring!)

Here, however, is the good part: ALL OF YOUR FEELINGS ARE OKAY!

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Did you get that? What you are feeling is okay!

I am bad about getting upset with myself for feeling some of those things at times. I feel like I should be over it, or happy about it, and most of the time I am, but I get mad when I feel I’m back pedaling.

Here’s the important part about all your feelings being okay: do not let get hung up on the negative ones and allow yourself to relish the positive ones. For example, I found myself bitter towards the man who had pursued me for some time and then stopped. As I talked to a mentor about this, she pointed out how bitterness is a natural feeling, no matter how good he was and how good the relationship was. If I allow myself to wallow in the bitterness and to wish him harm because of the bitterness, that is not okay.

I think the point is this when you have what you view as a negative feeling: do not push away a feeling. Feel it, consider it, think about it, but do not wallow in it and do not sin because of it. And then… move on. 

read on to the final post.