It's good to be back in the USA. We got back on Sunday, but I'm just now getting over my jet lag. Sunday was literally a full day of travel..over 24 hours with a 13-hour layover in San Francisco. Needless to say, we were exhausted yesterday.Read More
Yep...you read that title correctly! We're going to Israel! Matt (my husband, if you don't know!) has to go to Tel Aviv to work for a little while, so we're making a little vacation out of it! We're staying in a totally awesome hotel (reeeally close to the beach) and we'll be just under an hour outside of Jerusalem. This is truly a dream trip, and Israel is a place we've always wanted to go to, so we're really grateful that we are going to be able to check it out!Read More
I can't believe it's actually 2017 now! I'm one of those people who really tries to start the new year out with goals, a positive mindset, and a hard working ethic. Of course, some of these things start to dwindle by...let's say, February? Sometimes it takes a lot of work to keep the same attitude and perseverance throughout the entire year.Read More
I suddenly stopped scrolling and really read the quote. Whoa. I need this quote printed out and taped up everywhere in my house. I need this quote tattooed on my forehead. I need to burn this quote into my memory and force myself to remember it every single day.
I'm a big dreamer. I've always had huge dreams for myself. Sometimes I get a little carried away, struggling to live in the present, because I'm thinking of what I want to do in the future. I could list for you EXACTLY how I want my life to go: I want to buy/build a farmhouse in the middle of the woods with a studio for me to work (as a licensed illustrator/surface pattern designer) where I'll work from home raising our future 3-4 kids (Matt would argue me on that number a little bit..) and several dogs, spending my days working on designs, running a small business, gardening (even though at the moment, I kill every plant I buy), volunteering in an amazing church, and being a loving wife, mother, friend, and human being.
So. That's a little exhausting to even write. Does anyone else have their entire future mapped out like I do? Hopefully I'm not the only weirdo. The thing is, we have to have goals and dreams to motivate ourselves to reach our greatest potential, succeed in life, and make the world a better place. However, I think we can get to a point where we try to let these dreams dictate our everyday life, and we find ourselves with a never-ending longing that we can't seem to get rid of.
This is gonna get a little deep, y'all. And long. I love thinking and talking about deep stuff, so here we go.
I believe that we, as humans, all have a part of our heart and soul that is missing. Not physically, although I'm sure some people have parts of their heart missing, which must be devastating, but I digress. I think we can all agree that at some points in our lives (or every single day, for some of us) we feel this longing for something more. Think of it like a puzzle with a piece missing. We can't quite figure out exactly what that missing something is. So what do we do? We try to fill that missing area. We try to fit family, friends, a career, hobbies, our appearance, even food, sex, or drugs, into that area, but we always eventually find that they don't fit. There's a specific puzzle piece missing, and we can't just cram anything we want into it. But we try. We read the self-help books. We do the yoga and the meditation and the exercising and the healthy diet and the positive relationships and the traveling, but nothing really fits. There's always still something missing. What if that something is actually a someone? And, no, I don't mean a significant other. Trust me, I love Matt with all my heart, but he doesn't fill this void in my life. Some may think I'm a terrible wife for admitting that, but it's true. You may think another person can fill that void, but I think we always find that it's not the case. Eventually, that void will come back with a vengeance, begging you to figure out how to fill it.
So that's depressing, right? It seems like we're just screwed. Life is all about a void that we can't fill. We live, we try to enjoy life and help those around us, and we die. That's how most people see life.
What if we thought it was gone forever, so after trying to cram other pieces from other puzzles into it, we just gave up? Oh well. Maybe the piece fell under the couch, and we'll find it years from now. Maybe it just never made its way into the puzzle box. Maybe there was an error when the puzzle was being made, and there IS NO piece that fits the area.
But, what if there actually is a puzzle piece that would fit that area perfectly?
Maybe the reason why we are always still left longing for something after trying to fix ourselves and our lives is because we aren't allowing Jesus to make a change in our hearts. Maybe we aren't meant to feel "full" with the things of this world. Maybe our family, career, hobbies, dreams, goals, and possessions can't possibly make us fulfilled. And that's okay. Because Jesus can.
Jesus was willing to give His life for us. His perfect, sinless life. He is offering us complete and total peace, joy, love, and contentment if we just allow Him to fill that void in our lives. The thing is, we don't realize just how big this void is. It's massive. And when we truly choose to fit Jesus into that void, we are making Him the center of our lives. And that is when our lives start to change for the better. Maybe our circumstances don't get better, but our reactions and responses to those circumstances will. We will begin to find joy in the heartache. We will begin to find peace in the anxiety. Contentment in the unknown.
I'm not saying I have this all together. That's definitely NOT true at all. I struggle with doubt, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and impatience almost daily. But that's just it...this is a choice we have to make daily. It will get easier to choose to rest in Him after awhile, but we have to constantly be making the choice to make Him our everything.
We don't have to have everything figured out. We don't have to kill ourselves to reach that goal or make that dream come true. Giving up control and trusting in God isn't always easy. In fact, it's often very hard. If you're like me, you love being in control of situations, especially when they pertain to your own life. However, if we choose to follow Jesus, let Him reign in our lives, and trust that He will change us from the inside out, we will find that it's much better (and easier!) to let go of the steering wheel and just rest in Him.
Life is a journey. That's so freaking cheesy, but it's totally true. We are going to grow, learn, and change throughout our lives. We have to decide how we will grow, learn, and change. And we have to decide what (or who) we're going to fill our hearts with.
I want to fill my heart with Jesus.
He's the only piece that will actually fit, after all.
I'm officially 25! Every day I'm getting closer to 30 and further from 20 (which is a little weird, to be honest!) I know that I'm not completely where I want to be in life just yet, but I think I've gained a little bit of wisdom in my 25 years on this earth. So I thought I'd share 25 things I've learned in my 25 years...enjoy!
- God is amazing. He offers such love, joy, peace, and hope that I can't ever get from anywhere (or anyone) else. My relationship with Him continues to grow each and every day, and I'm really beginning to realize how important my faith truly is.
- Family is very important. I've always been really close to my family, but now that I live 2,500+ miles from them, I miss them so much. I miss goofing off with them, watching my siblings grow up, and just being able to see them any time I want to. Don't ever take family for granted.
- You can't always plan out every aspect of your life (even though I desperately try to.) We can set goals and try to change certain situations, but we can't control every single part of our lives. The sooner we learn to let go of the control a little, the better. This goes back to my relationship with God. I know that I need to be more trusting in Him and allow Him to help guide me in every aspect of my life.
- As soon as you stop caring so much what everyone thinks of you, you'll be much happier. Brene Brown quotes one of Theodore Roosevelt's speeches in her book Daring Greatly: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Don't let those around you whose opinions don't really matter get you down.
- The one you end up marrying should be your best friend. (I think I've got this one covered!)
- Joy is a state of being, not feeling. It goes beyond feeling happy; joy is a choice. You can decide, no matter what's going on around you, to live a life full of joy.
- The most important things in life are not found on our phones. It's the face-to-face, real conversations, the splendor of nature, being present in each and every moment. We are killing ourselves with social media and technology instead of living abundant, present lives.
- The days are long, but the years are short. This is a very cliche line, but I'm learning that it's totally true! Some days seem to take forever, but, as I look back over the past few years, I'm not sure when time has really gone.
- Dogs should be prescribed for anxiety and depression. For real. Sadie always knows when I'm feeling down. She really lifts my spirits, and makes me feel SO much better!
- It's never too late to become a better person. No matter your past, you always have the ability to change your future.
- Having just a few really close friends is better than having a ton of not-so-great friends.
- Water is very important. I never used to be a big water-drinker. Honestly, I didn't start drinking enough water until this past year. That's when I realized how dehydrated I had been my whole life. Drinking tons of water seriously makes you feel 10 times better.
- Everyone has a story. We shouldn't judge others because we don't always know what they are (or have been) going through. That grocery store employee who was a little rude to you? She might have recently lost a loved one. Just smile at her, be polite, and go on about your day.
- There's always something to be grateful for. Living a life of gratitude will make you a much happier person.
- Experiences are usually better than material things. Forget the new pair of expensive shoes-go on the trip instead.
- It's never too late to start learning something new. No, you don't need a degree first. Just pick up the pen, paintbrush, gardening tools, or spatula and experiment.
- Gossip just hurts everyone in the long run. Be bigger than that.
- A long walk outside can really help clear your mind and allow you to think and feel better (especially during a creative slump.)
- Try to give people the benefit of the doubt before deciding you don't like them. A lot of the time, they'll surprise you.
- Just because you're technically an "adult," it doesn't mean you have everything figured out. (I know this from personal experience.)
- Spending time reading a book instead of on social media can be really rewarding and incredibly relaxing.
- As I grow older, I realize how right my parents actually were about a lot of things.
- Don't date someone who doesn't treat you with respect and love. You will eventually find someone who will be the exact person you need and deserve. Don't stay with someone who doesn't make you a priority.
- Let your weird side out more often. The best people in life are a little weird.
- You never stop learning. You may think you have life figured out, but, trust me, it'll throw some new knowledge in your face soon enough!