It’s a thing called…

Stress.

Ever heard of it? Oh, you’re a college student too? Yeah, stress is MY best friend too…

I am so tired of feeling stressed and worried, because it seems to be constantly wasting my life away. I hate feeling like I’m wasting my life. I do feel like that is happening. Because I’m not happy with where I’m at at the moment. How awful is that…because one day, maybe I really will miss these moments that I so often take for granted now. Well, college won’t last forever, even though it seems like it will. These friends that I always have around me every single day won’t always be here, all together. In fact, I probably won’t see most of these people ever again. So what am I doing about that?! Shouldn’t I be completely focused on how I can impact their lives to help them grow closer to Christ while I still can? Shouldn’t I constantly be trying to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ because I love them, with no other motives or wishes, no matter how tired and exhausted I am? Shouldn’t I never give up on trying to build relationships with certain people around me?

The problem is, I start with great intentions. I love encouraging people. I love talking with people about life.

But then I get tired. And frustrated. And stressed. And just…completely burned out. And then I shut down. I shut people out. I spend every ounce of energy that I can (which isn’t very much these days…) just trying to get through the day. It’s a ‘good’ day if I can just make it to all of my classes these days. All of this time, I hate myself when I spend a little too much time ‘relaxing’ (because I know it isn’t deserved) or I watch a little too much TV, without working hard all day for that relaxing time. I hate myself when yet another day goes by when I made excuses for why I don’t have enough time to work out today…so I don’t. I hate myself when I take out all of my crap on the people that I love the most, which means the people that I never want to hurt, never want them to have to deal with this too. If only I could get out of my own way…a better life HAS to exist out there!

I’m tired of hating myself…for what I do (or, more often, DON’T do…), what I say or don’t say, how I encourage people (or wish for others to encourage me so when they don’t, I don’t see the point in making the effort to encourage them…), how I make time for people or I wait for someone to contact me, or just in general time management. What I actually spend my time on and that, if I don’t intentionally run the day, the day WILL run me!

This is why I have been talking so much about a #healthyhappybeautiful lifestyle lately. I actually intend to write a book on this subject, which I have started, but I know it will be a painfully slow process. I’m still trying to figure out what all of this means for me in my personal life and if I’m not doing what I say we all should be doing, I can’t exactly write about it yet, right?

But I want a healthy, happy and beautiful life. I really do! I think living a healthy lifestyle has so much to do with nutritious eating and working out…but it also has so much more potential than that! I think part of it is positive self-talk and positive thoughts in general (towards yourself, God, and others), learning how to manage your time and balance all of your life (whether that means making yourself work on homework during a certain couple hours of the afternoon, no matter how you feel, or just learning how to balance work, homework, classes, friends/social life, finances, etc. and what that means for YOU personally), knowing when it really is okay to just relax and to even have some unhealthy foods (as long as it doesn’t become a habit or something you crave or something you’re addicted too)…I think this healthy, happy lifestyle really does affect every single area of your life and I really REALLY want to be at the place where I can say, “I’m there! I am living a healthy, happy and beautiful life! I can tell you how I did it and now I have some answers that I can finally give so hopefully others can make this life happen for them so much sooner than I could!”

Will that ever actually come true? I don’t know…but here’s to hoping it will! Maybe part of this ‘life’ that I’m talking about partly comes with accountability. On instagram (which is connected to Facebook as well) I started a #100happydays series, which I have seen many others post about lately. I like the idea. I’m really REALLY hoping that I can continue through this series in an attempt to see the little blessings in each and every day and realize that there really IS something good (no matter how small) in EACH and every day and there is a reason to be happy in every single day! Who knows, maybe I’ll even go beyond 100 days (I hope so!). But 100 days of small happiness, captured through photos (hopefully semi artistic photos) and thoughtful captions (which may become rather long captions because of my true-writer’s heart), is what I am aiming for at the moment. Who knows, maybe this is a small step that I need to take in order to work towards my #healthyhappybeautiful life.

Please, Lord…help me be able to make improvements on my life. Please help me figure out what works for me in every area of my life so that I really CAN live a healthy life, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That is my desire, God. Because right now, I am completely unhappy with myself, which is pretty much the worst feelings EVER. I’m tired of it. I hate feeling burned out and weary and weak. I want to be physically fit, emotionally strong, spiritually close to you, mentally tough! I just need help getting there. There are so many areas I think need fixing, that I don’t even know where to start! I know I need to slow down a little and know that the results won’t come fast. But that doesn’t mean I should quit…because that means the results won’t come at all! Please help me and every other person who feels this way.

#healthyhappybeautiful #smiles #laughter #beYOUtiful #justdoit #icandothisandsocanyou

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{Love Letters} You’re not so far off…

Hey Child,

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to talk to you. You’ve been a little too busy these days and you have unintentionally seemed to shut me out. I’m still here for you, you know that right?

I know your heart. I see your face. I know every feeling that passes through you. I see when you are full of shame and guilt. Don’t you know that I took all of that shame and guilt upon me? You no longer need to feel those things. I have helped you through a lot in the past year, and I will continue to help you through every single step of the way. Don’t let shame slow you down on your journey toward me. You’re not so far off as you think!

You think you are miles and miles and miles away from my heart and it will take forever to get back to me, if I will even have you back. Trust me, Daughter, I will take you back. You’re not as far away as you think you are. I am waiting, watching, loving you, even as you hold yourself at a distance. As soon as you start moving towards me, I will break into a run; embracing you and holding you as tightly as I can.

You are loved. Just as you are. As who you are. As what you look like. As who you know. For what you have/have not done. Through everything you have been through. Through all of the feelings that have gripped your heart, refusing to let go. You. are. Loved.

You are enough. Just as you are. For who you are. For what you are capable of doing. You. are. Enough.

Daughter, you are not too far gone. You are not wasted space. You are not so far off that I can’t get you back. I will get you back. And there will be a celebration. I love you, and you can do this! You have it in you, because I am in you. Go get it, girl! Run towards me. Go change your life! Go live a #healthyhappybeautiful life! You got this ❤

A Long Way Off…

My name is Sam (we’ll say…). I have an older brother. We get along as well as can be expected, I suppose. We live in an extremely beautiful and large place. I have everything I need. Until…I thought I needed more. Suddenly what I had seen as enough, didn’t seem like it was enough anymore and I approached my father.

I boldly asked, “Father, give me my share of my inheritance now.”

My Father divided up what was supposed to be our inheritance in our future between my brother and I. A few days later, I left home. I took everything that my Father had generously given to me and left everything I had ever known…for something better.

I had fun! I felt like I finally had everything that I ever wanted. I had money and everything else that I had always dreamed of having. Before I knew it, however, I had spent every single penny that I owned. During that time, there was a famine, cutting down the chances of living off anyone else’s expenses again.

Eventually, I convinced myself to get a job at a farm nearby. I worked hard feeding the pigs. It wasn’t exactly glamorous (at all), but at least it was a job! I was hoping that the farmer would give me a bite to eat. That didn’t happen. As I was feeding the pigs, I considered reaching down and eating some of their food. I slowly reached down and picked up the pig slop as I kneeled in the mud. Tears rolled down my face as I realized what I was thinking of doing. I had been so blessed for my whole life! I had never been in need like this while I was living at my Father’s house. Where had I gone wrong?! I knew that I had completely blown it. I mean, who asks for your inheritance while their Father is still alive, and then go and spend and waste everything he had given you?! I dropped the pig’s food on the ground and wiped my hands on my jeans.

“None of my Father’s servants have ever needed more food than they already have. But I am sitting here starving to death!” I muttered these things to myself, trying to figure out what I should do. I was weak with hunger, and I didn’t even want to think about seeing my Father’s face again. I had wasted everything that He had graciously given me. Who was I to go back there?!

But I saw no other option. I thought to myself, “Maybe he would let me be one of his servants. I am no longer worthy to be called his son, but perhaps, I can work for him and he will give me food to eat and a place to stay.” I dreaded that conversation. I played how I thought the conversation would go over and over again in my bed until it tormented my every thought.

On the day when I decided to return to my Father’s house, I shuffled my feet on the dirt road, desperate for a nice meal and a good night’s sleep, but dreading the look of disappointment and hurt that was sure to be on my Father’s face, if he even let me stay there again!

Shame and guilt filled my heart and soul as the place that I had once called my home came into view. I kept my head down, shuffling my feet slowly for a little while longer. Then I heard a shout. I jerked my head up, wondering if something bad had happened somewhere nearby. The shout sounded happy, though. I looked up at the road in front of me and suddenly I saw someone running towards me. He was still a ways off from me, but it was definitely a person. A man. And he was running straight towards me. Confused, I kept walking forward until my fears were confirmed: my father was running towards me! A million thoughts exploded in my mind at that moment. Thinking that this was a terrible idea. Knowing that I was a horrible son, and I had no right to ever ask anything from him every again. More and more thoughts rushed in, and before I knew it I was crying. Sobbing uncontrollably. I stopped walking. I couldn’t move forward another step.

Soon, my Father came to where I was standing. He shocked me when he threw his arms around me and embraced me! He, too, was crying! When he let go of me, I sank to my knees in the dirt and began speaking my rehearsed speech: “Father, I have sinned. I am no longer worthy to be called your son…”

My words stopped sooner than I had planned, when my Father reached down, took my hands in his, and helped me stand up. “Come, son.” His voice was filled with compassion and love. I didn’t understand it. When we arrived at the house, my Father immediately began ordering servants to help me and to give me blessings, which I knew I didn’t deserve. I was confused. I had returned home to become a servant. I had expected my Father to rightfully be angry, no, furious, towards me! He threw a party in my honor; exclaiming “My son who was once dead is now alive! He once was lost, but now he is found!!”

This story says that “while he was still a long way off…” his father ran to him. He loved him. God loves you when you are still a long way off. When you are not where you should be, He loves you where you’re at. He’s looking for you…waiting for you…because He knows that you will return home. It might take some time, but you will come back. Don’t let shame and guilt keep you from coming back, because that’s not the language he speaks! He speaks love, comfort, joy, peace, celebration….He loves you, even though you are “still a long way off”. Go the distance. Run towards him.

 

::Gratitude |Day One| {Water}

Yesterday as I was sitting in church, I suddenly felt like God was telling me to be more grateful for what I have. I mean, it’s November, which is the month of Thanksgiving anyway. But when I stop to think about it, I have been blessed so so so much!! Yet I still complain about what I have…and more often about what I don’t have that I think I need. But really, I have everything that I need, and even more than that. I don’t even deserve everything that I have…but I have these things, so what am I going to do with them? I think God blesses people so that we can learn to give those blessings to others and to give what we have to others. I’m not 100% sure what that realistically looks like in my life yet, but I think my starting point is seeing the little blessings that I have in my life (even the ones I don’t even think about because it’s so ‘normal’ for me) and writing about how much God has given me…so I can be thankful for what I have and realize that I really do have everything that I need! And so I can stop complaining about what I don’t have and stop basing my happiness on material things I do or do not have. God has blessed us so much and I want to give back. Someday. Somehow. I want to give back. I have dreams, thoughts, prayers, questions…but for now…I am thankful!

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|Day One| {Water}

Okay, so…water?

I don’t even think to be thankful for water…like ever. Because here in the U.S., it’s normal. We get water for free! Water is pretty much given away pretty much everywhere. I also know that I don’t drink enough of it…I’m trying to challenge myself to drink more of it (starting today), and I’m really hoping that God will give me the strength to continue in this because not only is it way more healthy for me, I think it’s being a good steward of what God has given me.

I haven’t had much experience in countries that are not so fortunate in having enough good, clean water. I was in Mexico last spring break, however, and it’s definitely different there. There’s not so much water and you can’t drink whatever water you want to because it’s not all safe. Here, though, we are so blessed. Drink more water! It makes you healthy and it is a blessing, no matter how small it seems ❤ ❤

I would love to hear your stories about being thankful for water! If you have had experiences where there wasn’t much water, etc., I would love to hear it 🙂