Month: April 2016

I am that girl. Embracing who you are.

I Am That Girl

When I was a little girl….and well into college, I used to pray that my life would not be normal. From an early age I wanted to serve God in a grand way.

Of course, I assumed that would include marriage and a family. Duh.

Growing up, there were always a handful of “older” single women in my life. I remember them as fun and dynamic. They were involved in ministry and poured into my life in some form or fashion. That’s why I knew them. And loved them.  But as much as I admired them, I did not want to be one of them.

I always thought marriage and a family was a given in life. Until it was not.

The other day I was in Target, walking down the aisles.

Thinking.

Daydreaming.

About life. God’s plans. My plans.

And in a moment of clarity, I realized I AM THAT GIRL!!!

I am the “older” single woman.

Who is fun and dynamic. Involved in ministry. Who still dreams of marriage but has accepted that it might not be in the cards. At least at this point in life. Who is going for it. Regardless. Living life to the full. No matter the season.

And the truth is… I really like being that girl. Her life is pretty great. 

What I judged in my youth, is actually a gift.

Getting ready this morning, I had a bit of a hangover. A vulnerability one. Because when I wrote about my year without romance, I opened up my heart a bit too much. I feel like I showed my guts to the world. And they spilled out a little.

 Because I’m 38 years old. A grown woman.

Friends my age are navigating life with teenagers. Mortgages. College funds and daycare. Parents who are sick. Possibly dying.

And my deepest struggled is still boys??? Are you kidding me???

But it is. I could lie and pretend it isn’t. But then I would be keeping a secret. And living from a lie. And lies destroy us. And then we eat our feelings. Or worse.

And I don’t think I am alone in this.

When I think about the people I care about,  I think there are plenty like me.

Who are living lives they never imagined. Or judged in their youth.

Maybe you are one of us. Maybe you are the mom where your life and family look like a crazy hot mess busy. And you always swore your kids would not act like that in a grocery store. Until they did. All the time. And maybe you realized life isn’t about being the perfect mom. It’s about being available. And messy. And it’s beautiful.

Or maybe you are that career gal. Sex in the City style. Or suburbs. Who is working her way up the ranks. You’re a leader. Shaping the future. Of a company. Of a planet. Of a generation. Getting to invest in people. Earning enough to give in ways you never imagined. You own your own home. You travel when you want. You do what you want. God is allowing you to use your gifts and talents and you are a person of influence. And while it wasn’t the life you dreamed of, it’s actually pretty great.

Or maybe you are that married lady. (Or single woman) Who is amazing. Whose life is blessed and beautiful. Whose relationships are fulfilling and job is awesome.

But.

You long for babies. And it creates an ache deep inside that won’t be silenced. That cries out to God. Over and Over. And over again. You have done everything you can. To make the dream come true. And then later, silence the cries. But it won’t work. The longing won’t fade. And so you live your life. Full and amazing. To the best of your ability. Trusting God is writing your story. All the while, hoping and praying. That maybe one day. You’ll get to see a flutter of a heartbeat grow to maturity. And you have learned to live with the pain, Maybe it has actually become a place of ministry. Of healing. Of hope for others. And even though you would you trade it all in tomorrow, you see God’s hand. And know that He is with you on the journey.

I think in some way, we are all “that girl.” The one living someone else’s life. Dreaming of a different one.

I just finished a book called “Looking for Lovely” by Annie Downs. It’s all about how she looks for God in everyday moments. To see and acknowledge His hand. In her life. If there are any chubby girls in the house-this book could be our manifesto. If you want to see your inner most thoughts on paper, she spills her guts in the first few chapters. To set up the story.

Brene Brown calls it Daring Greatly. A life of gratitude. Leads to wholehearted living.

Ann Voskamp wrote 1000 Gifts. Same idea. Finding joy by being thankful.Seeing the gifts amidst the pain.

If you are reading this and think you might be “that girl.” The one you loved but didn’t want to be. Or judged and prayed you never would become.

Embrace her. 

Take a moment and find the lovely.  The beauty. Be thankful for the good. Find the joy. 

It’s there.

Because our God is good. He writes beautiful stories. With plot twists. Climax. And denouement.

You might just be in the middle of a really powerful tale of God’s love and redemption. That seems to be His favorite theme.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

okay

 

A Year without Romance | embracing singleness | how to do single well

A Year Without Romance.

Last summer, I felt like the Lord asked me to give up romance.

Novels.

Music.

Movies. 

For those of you who are still getting to know me, this was a hard ask.

Because.

I am a champion of love!!

A Year Without Romance | I am a champion of love | The girl who lives in my head | 

I love all things romance.

And may or may not have a matchmaker sash to prove it.

I have whiled away many hours reading yummy Christian fiction. And teen fiction. And tween fiction. And chick-lit. Love stories. They are like candy to me. I don’t read tragedies. Life is hard enough. I want to be swept away.

I heart meet/cutes. Of any kind. Of all kinds. They lived happily ever after, yes please!

I may or may not plan my holiday social life around Hallmark Christmas movies. Oooo, your Christmas party is on the 13th at 6pm? Let me check my calendar.

Seriously. Hallmark movies are pretty much why I heart Christmas.  I mean, besides Jesus’ birth. And time with the family. And the food.

So of course when I heard the Lord ask me to give it up for a year, I wanted to make sure it was Him and not me talking.

It started with a random thought while driving down the road. It went a little something like this…

    You should give up romance for a year. Nope. Turns up T. Swift on the radio.

A few days later…

    No really. I think there is something to that idea of quitting romance. Just give up the music and movies for one year. What’s the worst that could happen?

   The worst that could happen!?! Some amazing guy would move to Maui and I would miss him because I’ve given up romance.  Turns up Blake Shelton on the radio.

Sometime after that I wrote this in my journal.

Papa G-Help me to trust you. My heart is so full, so happy, so pleased. And yet, I don’t understand why I haven’t met my counterpart. I see the picture dimly. And I make up all sorts of wrong conclusions. It’s painful to me. My heart. My confidence. Our relationship. What is the Truth? Why am I still alone? Is there something broken in me that needs to be fixed or is it just  a timing issue. I see this whole thing imperfectly. Would you speak to my soul and answer my heart’s most intimate question? If it is because I’m broken-will you please fix me? Mend me. Make me whole. I know that you are the God who sees me. I lay down this desire at your cross once again and choose to trust you and wait patiently for you.

 

After seeing my heart in writing, I realized that it was time to obey.

And give up romance.

novels.

music.

And movies for a year. 

It hasn’t been as hard as I imagined*. 

And the results have been incredible.

Why???

Because the desire to be married no longer consumes me.

There have been (many) seasons where I been 100% content with being single. And there have been (many) seasons where I have not. Been content.

 

Being single.

 

And when I am not content it is not pretty. Every time my brain is not occupied. When it at rest. When I’m driving. Or laying down to sleep. The desire to be married becomes my focus.

Or worse. The reasons why I must not be marriage material become my obsession. Focus.

It’s exhausting.

It’s debilitating.

It steals my joy.

And binds my soul.

To the wanting.

 

And I know God sees this. And wants so much more for me.

So He whispered the solution. Give up romance. So I did.

My friend Kimberly is always talking about idols.

And the Southern girl in my wants to scream. Because I heard idolatry pounded from the pulpit.

But usually she is right. And she is lovingly trying to bring something to my attention. That is not serving me well.

Matt Chandler says it this way:

Matt Chandler | Idolatry quote | When you take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing, you guarantee that thing will drive you into the ground.

 

And that’s what the desire to be married had become. An ultimate thing. And knowing my track history, that’s a really dangerous place to be.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking…if it is an issue, why not kill it off? That desire.

 Makes sense.

It would definitely be easier. SO MUCH EASIER. To make the choice. To kill off desire.

To just decide, I’m not going to get married. I choose singleness. Done. And just live from there.

Because in essence…desire brings pain. So kill desire, kill pain. Right?

Oh wait. That’s Buddhism.

And I don’t think that is what God wants me to do. Kill my heart off.

Instead, He’s asking me to give up control. By surrendering. All my desires.

And to trust Him with them. All of them.

 

And wait. On His timing.

 

It is much harder to choose hope. Than to kill desire.

It actually takes great faith.

So He whispered a solution.

Make me the Supreme Romance of your life. Desire me. My love. My heart. My attention. My affection.

Only that’s not what He said. Because I wouldn’t have understood what He meant.

But when He asked me to lay aside what I thought was romance,

 

He filled in the gaps.

 

And set my heart on fire.

 

For Him. And Him alone.

 

And when my mind is at rest, I’m no longer obsessing.

I’m living. A beautiful story. That He is writing.

With an open hand and surrendered heart.

At least for today.

Love, Love, Love,

 

The Girl Who Lives in My Head

P.S. I am in no way advocating anyone giving up romance or anything of the sort. This is my issue. My journey.

P.S.S. In an effort at full disclosure, I have had a lapse or two in the movie department. When I was with my parents at Christmas. And maybe that one time in February. Around Valentines Day.

 

Living Your Best Life: Favorite Books for Personal Growth

We have already established that I love books. Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean mostly, I love to read mindless fiction so that I can escape reality.  I call it candy. I love real candy and book candy.

These books are not candy.

These books are fresh fruit. With incredible benefits for your soul. They are designed to heal. To uproot lies and replace them with Truth.

 Like apples of Gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time | Proverbs 25:11 | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

My friend Sandy loved Proverbs 25:11.

I can still hear her voice sparkling with delight as she read it from her Amplified Bible.

Imagine a beautiful silver bowl filled with luscious fruit.

apple

Or basket after green basket of fresh ripe berries.

berries

 

Here are five books that were a well-spoken word in the right season.

They came into my life when I needed them most.

 The Divine Romance | Gene Edwards | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

  1. The Divine Romance

This book changed the way I saw God. And my understanding of how God sees me. It is an allegory of creation. All the way to the Cross. And beyond. If you have ever struggled with the whole “Bride of Christ” concept. Read this. Yesterday.

Here what the back of the book says, “A breathtakingly beautiful saga spanning from eternity to eternity, presented from the view of angels. Experience creation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection from this unique viewpoint, and gain a better understanding of the majestic love of God. Gene Edwards’s classic tale is the greatest love story ever told.”

 Shattered Dreams | Larry Crabb | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

2. Shattered Dreams

Larry Crabb say that in everyone’s life, some dream will shatter. Something you thought you could count on won’t come through.  No one leaves this world unscathed. And whether you believe God allowed it or ordained it, He could have prevented it. And you have to make peace with that God*.  That is what the last eight years of my life have been about. Making peace with a God whose plans are different than mine.

Cure For the Common Life | Max Lucado | The Girl Who Lives in my Head

3. Cure For the Common Life

I read this book when I hated everything about my life. Especially my job. It gave me hope. And the courage to make a change. What really helped were the exercises at the back of the book that help you rediscover what you really love. And what you were made to do. It’s what led me to teaching. And back to Young Life. It was also only $.99 on Kindle at the time of this post. Click the title to grab it.

Daring Greatly | Brene Brown | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

4. Daring Greatly

Brene Brown. Is. Rocking. My. World. It is why I talk about her here. And here. She is a researcher who decided to study shame. And made a startling observation. People who live wholeheartedly embrace vulnerability. The rest of us do three things to avoid it.

Numb it out.

Perfect it out.

Or in my case, forbode it out.

I rehearse tragedy so I don’t feel pain. Meaning, I have spent most of my life running worse case scenario’s so when things don’t pan out, I’m not devastated.

But her discovery, you can’t feel true joy without feeling vulnerable.

She explains it so much better. Trust me. So worth the read.

And if perfectionism is your game, check out her book I Thought It Was Just Me.

 Jesus Calling | Sarah Young| The Girl Who Lives In My Head

5. Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling is my jam. I read it every day along with My Utmost For His Highest. It’s a daily reading written as if God is speaking to you. Not everyone is a fan. Fair enough. But I am. God uses it all the time to speak to me, encourage me and reaffirm His incredible love for me. If you decide to give it a whirl, I love the large print edition because it was the scriptures written out on the bottom. And there’s room to journal. Unofficially.

 

What is a book that changed your life?

 Or brought a well-spoken word in season?

I’m always looking for something new to read.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head

P.S. This book is wrecking me right now. I’ve just started and already cried twice.

 Looking for Lovely | Annie Downs | The Girl Who Lives in my Head

 

 

 
Formatting issues stink!!

How to Not Eat Your Feelings | Hope for addiction | Learning to journal your feelings

How To Not Eat Your Feelings.

It’s Friday afternoon, I’m sitting at my desk and my insides are churning. Boiling. Overflowing. A student openly defied a rule and flagrantly walked away when he was held accountable. The phrase “hotter than a two dollar pistol” would be an apt description of my emotional state.

I can seriously feel myself unraveling!!! The ping pong ball is gathering steam. And if I don’t deal with it now, my poor 7th period is going to bear the consequences.

The moment I said I was going to write a post about how to not eat your feelings, I have had opportunity after opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. My journal is filled with “I feel___ because____” statements and prayers to the Lord about what to do with those feelings.

The truth is, it is not easy to settle your heart when your emotions are running wild.

I’m all like journaling out your feelings is easy. It makes everything better.

And it is.

And it does.

But when you are amped beyond measure. Charged. About to blow a gasket. That is when it is the hardest. And most necessary. Otherwise, those feeling come out sideways. And there will be shrapnel.

So when I get all straightened out, I’ll come back and finish this post…

Much better now.

My journey towards healing started with Celebrate Recovery. I didn’t have any deep dark struggle that I needed to work out. I just needed a safe place to land in order to heal. I was numb. And completely out of touch with my heart and my emotions. My biggest takeaway from my time in the anonymous world was the importance of processing out your feelings. We are only as sick as our secrets and I have found that clarity comes when I take the time to process out my emotions (and secrets) before the Lord.

In my inner world, thoughts and feelings can be very dangerous when left unchecked.

  • Usually someone will say something or an event will occur that triggers a negative reaction in my mind. (My student)

  • I picture a ping pong ball of emotion being released.

  • The longer that negative emotion is allowed to build, the faster the ping pong ball zips and dings around in my mind until finally it is whirling dervish that will escape.

  • Usually coming out sideways and often in a less than ideal manner.

  • And I end up kicking the cat. (Period 7)

    Kick the Cat | How to Not Eat Your Feelings | The Girl Who Lives In My Head

What has helped me tremendously in my journey towards healing and keeps things from coming out sideways is journaling out my feelings. I have found a process that works wonders for me and I’m sharing it with the hope it might help you.

How to Journal Your Feelings

Step One

Identify all the emotions you are feeling in this moment. Every single one. Good and Bad. I use this amazing Feelings Chart that takes feelings like happy, sad, tired etc and expounds upon all the nuances that go with each emotion.

This is especially helpful if you are at a point in life where you are so numb that tapping into your actual feelings seems impossible. Don’t worry. I was once there too. I lived three years of my life so numb that I would spend my time counting in order to avoid feeling anything because my reality was so painful that my mind kept itself busy to avoid any semblance of emotion. It takes work but there is such freedom in knowing what you feel.

Step Two

Connect a situation to each of those feelings.

I feel ___________ because

I feel ___________ because

I feel ___________ because

I feel ___________ because

What took me by surprise as I was learning this process is that you can be feeling pleasant and unpleasant feelings at the same time. I think that is why so many of us feel guilty. We have a negative reaction to something and think, “This shouldn’t be bothering me so much. Things are really good.” And they are good. In some areas. But you might have some really yucky things going on in another area. And you need to be honest about both the good and the bad in order to heal. To be whole.

The key is to identify what feeling goes with what situation.

Step Three

Take each of the situations and see if there is any lie that you might be believing. If so, write out the truth. Or, work through the worst case scenario.

_______________ is not true. It may feel true but the reality is…..

If ___________ happens, then…. (run out the worst case scenario to the very end)

Step Four

Take each of those feelings, situations and lies and journal it out to the Lord. If you know the truth, ask Him to help you believe it. If you don’t know the truth ask the Lord to reveal it you. Be super honest and humble when you cry out. Ask him for help and be prepared to be amazed. Often I will look back in three months and be blown away by the transformation that has taken place in that area.

He is such a great Father.

And he loves us so much. He gives his children such sweet gifts. It’s not always what you hope for but it always what you need most.

I pray that you find this helpful. I know this is very different from my usual posts but this method really has been the key to my healing. And hopefully yours.

 

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives In My Head

Next weeks “Let’s Get Real” post: My Epic Fail.

 

Here is a copy of the Feelings Chart for you to print and use as a guide.