It's time for me to be more honest and authentic with the things that I struggle with...
For those readers who know me, you know that I run away from conflict. The simple thought of having difficult conversations turns my stomach. The idea of making other people uncomfortable, makes me uncomfortable. For the past six months, God has really been challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and speak for myself. The problem is that I'm afraid. Afraid of being transparent about the way I feel to others, afraid of rejection, afraid of my feelings not being validated. I've been in denial for the past six months.
I've been running away from the difficult conversations that could've been avoided if I would've been more willing to express myself. I realized that me staying in my own little conflict-free bubble was keeping me away from growth, I feel like I've been stuck in the same cycle of conflict and somehow I felt comfortable and just learned to live with it. Was my silence affecting someone else besides me? Nope. I was just hurting myself by keeping quiet. Bottling up the different negative feelings, I started to feel trapped within myself. This week, I'm making small steps to change that. I want to grow. I refuse to stay in my comfort zone.
This week, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and chase after personal growth. Do not be afraid. Joshua 1:9 (NLT)says, "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” If you're a Jesus follower, don't doubt for a second that God will be there in those difficult situations. He will. He always is. God will never put more on you that you can handle.
Personally, the uncertainty of certain situations drives me insane. I consider myself a planner, so I like knowing how things are going to turn out. There's been times where I would sit down in my desk and just plan weeks in advance, it somehow put me at ease. When things worked the way I planned them to, I felt good. When things didn't, I felt out of control and anxious.
The funny things is, I know that I actually have no control whatsoever of how different events happen in my life. It's not up to me. I've lost the count of times that life just didn't happen according to "my plan." I'm not going to lie, I still love to plan things. It's something that I struggle with, but the unexpected things are sometimes the best.
Quick story, I recently got hired as a creative director for the children's ministry at my local church. At the moment, one of the most exciting aspects of my job was the stability, knowing that after graduation I was going to be employed. Something unexpected was the amazing relationships that resulted from me getting hired. The fun experiences and memories that I've been able to experience from getting hired to be part of an amazing team. I could't have planned that. I am loving this new season. I love my tribe, my community. I love that God has placed amazing people I can do life with.
What's you five-year plan? Do you have an idea of where you want to be in five years? A couple of weeks ago, I had to write a five-year plan for one of my classes. At first, I thought of the assignment as simple and easy since I've written five-year plans before, until I realized that my past five-year plan had expired. The last time I did a five-year plan was the beginning of my senior year of high school. Currently, I'm a senior at San Diego State University... so my five-year plan is done and it was time to start a new one.
The first thing that came to my mind was than in five years, I'm going to be twenty-six years old. CRAZY! I started asking myself, "Where do I want to be by the time I'm twenty-six?" Writing my new five-year plan was more challenging than expected since I had to focus more on my professional career instead of my career as a student... which is what I've been doing for the past sixteen years of my life.
At the end of the day, it was very interesting to dig deeper and explore the possibilities of where I might be in five years. I feel like I have somewhat a sense of direction of where I would like to be in five years, even though I know that the plans you make not always fall through the way you expect. Regardless, I feel excited to see where God takes me in five years.
I don't want to go into details, but this past weekend my body literally told me to STOP.
For the past couple of months, I've keep myself busy. One thing is to keep a work-life balance and then there's what I was doing: trying to do everything. I was going to school three times a week, working five times a week, volunteering, going out on my days off, not resting. I'm twenty-one, so sometimes I might think that I'm invincible and that I can rule the world with the tip of my finger... WRONG. This past weekend, I had the choice to take a day off and relax. To step back and have time to myself and do the things that bring me back to my center. Did I do that? Nope! I decided to fully schedule the whole day! There was literally something I had to do for every hour of the day until like 9:00 PM. It was too late by then.
Long story short, I ended up getting really really sick. I wasn't able to work the whole weekend and I work for a church, so not working during a weekend is a big deal. I decided to share this because I learned the importance of taking care of yourself. Your body will make you STOP if you don't. Take time for yourself. Relax. Read one of your favorite books. Watch Netflix. You won't be able to do all the other tasks if you don't feel good. Everything you do depends on how you choose to take care of yourself.
The significance of community never fails to surprise me.
Sometimes, in the midst of the longest days all you need is to GATHER. Spend time with close friends that feel like family, get a cup of coffee, and talk about the good and even the bad things in life. This past Tuesday reminded me to never underestimate the value and impact of a good community. To be able to be authentic and talk about your struggles and also celebrate the awesome ways that God has blessed each of us individually and uniquely. This next season, I feel very excited to just GATHER once a week with a group of powerful and amazing women to discuss Without Rival by Lisa Bevere. In a wrap, my advice in this post is to spend time with people who let you be honest, who let you be you unapologetically. Learn together, grow together, and GATHER.
I kept this blog post short and sweet because I felt that there's not much to be said, there's no arguing against the amazing power of community.