Hello! It’s been a whole almost-two-weeks since I’ve written. I’ll be honest, I’ve been busy. (I know, that’s always my excuse) BUT since I celebrated my 26th birthday last week, that excuse works :) And since I celebrated yet another year of life, I guess I will ramble about what the past 365 days have taught me.

  1. Healing is of most importance, and it’s a longer process than you think

So, last year, I began my 25th year of life flirting with this idea of “healing.” Making the same stupid mistake after stupid mistake led me to spend countless nights sobbing into my pillow. These tiny yet toxic little ogres continuously invaded my mind like a terrorist attack, whispering faint yet bold little lies into my mind. I like to call these tiny mind-terrorists “insecurities.” I would well intentionally try and tell them to be quiet, but they just exposed their razor sharp fangs and continued frightening me into believing what they were saying was true. The result? More stupid mistakes. After a few weeks of soul-searching, I knew I needed to fight back. I began a (unbeknownst to me at the time) life-long journey of healing. Yes, lifelong. You see, I thought the journey would begin with acknowledging the problem—my daddy issues—and end with traveling, extra prayers and extra-long study sessions with my nose in my Bible. Well, friends, a year later and here I am: still healing and still seeking. But I’ll be honest…the 365 days in between year 25 and year 26 has led me to learn and know WAY more about myself than year 1 to year 25 ever did. Yay for healing. And yay for this continuous journey.

  1. It’s okay to not have it all figured out…all the time

When I quit my job to spend extended time traveling, I had NO idea what would come next. Of course, people would ask. And of course, I had a perfectly organized answer, “well, I’m going to travel until December, then start grad school in January.” I would finish my recited answer with a confident smile and an internal “HA, take that.” Truth is, that wasn’t REALLY the plan. It was the one that sounded the safest. Yes, I did apply to grad school, (well, sort of. I never fully finished sending in all the paper work—transcripts, reference letters, etc.) and I did travel until December. But to be honest, I didn’t really know what would come of my life. What I really meant to say when people asked the dreaded “so, what’s next?” question is, “well, I don’t really know.” But see, the world doesn’t like “I don’t know.” The world thinks those three words are weak. And my ego didn’t like “I don’t know.” Those three words scared me…and embarrassed me…and sometimes made those little ogre-looking mind-terrorists come back to attack. “I’m 25. Shouldn’t I have my life figured out at 25?” I would ask myself in between the I-got-it-all-together smiles. Truth is, I didn’t have it all together. But little by little, I started to surrender the false safety net of a plan I had created in my mind. In fact, I started to surrender the pressure of having a plan altogether. Somewhere along the way, I began to get more and more comfortable with, “I don’t know.” You see, my plan was to be in grad school right now in Chicago. But instead, “I don’t know” led me to new friendships and a new writing career. Sometimes, “I don’t know” is okay. Sometimes, “I don’t know” is all you need to know.

  1. It’s about walking the walk, not just talking the talk

I love Jesus. I do. I can talk about him without stopping until people start inevitably tuning out. I can read about him for hours and recite his monologues almost verbatim. I can listen to people talk about him over and over while blurting out occasional “Amens” and “Mhm’s” of approval. It’s only been this way for the past three and a half years, but talking and learning about Jesus comes really, really easy. But the thing is, acting like Jesus isn’t quite that simple. Sure, I stopped getting stupid-wasted on the weekends and treating myself and others like objects and not people. And yea, I began spending more of my time with children that were less fortunate than me, and giving more of my money away. But my attitude still somewhat sucked. I wasn’t being patient. I wasn’t always thankful and loving and selfless. I still got angry pretty easily and said not-so-nice things about others. You see, I could do pretty stinkin’ awesome things for God on the outside, but allowing the girl on the inside to transform hasn’t been that awesome…or easy. This lesson was learned while traveling and spending extended amount of time away from my church family and my “Jesus bubble.” Being away from the people who expected those things from me, led me to get lazy about being faithful in the every-day little things. I realized how easy it is to get by just talking the talk. Year 25 pounded hard on the lesson that walking the walk is an every-minute, every-hour, every-day type of deal.