Life Lessons I Learned in 2014

2014 was a hard year.  Oh trust me, it was beautiful, amazing, and serendipitous all in a way that revealed to me how gloriously involved God is in my life.  I had more moments in 2014 where I experienced the power and gentleness of God than any other time.  I met and created beautiful relationships with beautiful people and traveled to mysterious and wondrous lands.

2014 was my year. But gosh, was it hard. Instead of trying to make some poetic story out of it, let’s just get right into it:

1. People come and go. I know, I know.  So stereotypical, however I think 2014 was the year where I experienced this the most.   Sometimes I think that as you grow more healthy and become more aware of who God created you to be, there is also a painful pruning process involved.  People that you thought were on your side turn out to have different intentions. When you grow to become more secure, they become threatened because they depended on your insecurity to make themselves feel better.  I learned that as painful as it is, it’s vital to let those people go. It’s going to hurt, but I think that’s a good sign.  It means you allowed yourself to love.

2. Honesty is not valued by all.  I learned that it is not my job to make people tell the truth.  I learned that no matter the age, social status, or claim of religion that gossip still runs prevalent for some.  I learned that despite having a value for justice and wanting the truth to prevail, sometimes silence speaks the loudest.

3. Security is something to be stewarded.  Protecting our minds and our thoughts is absolutely vital to our wellbeing.  I am not sure at what point, but somewhere along the way in 2014 I began allowing old mindsets to try to take their root again.  Insecurity, fear of rejection, and fear of people began plaguing me and since it took me a while to  catch on, I sometimes feel like I may never find my ground again, but little by little, I do.

4. Nothing is impossible.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  I learned this after eating an entire jar of almond butter.  I’m not proud.

5. Never allow yourself to eat an entire jar of almond butter.

6.  God is more invested in my dreams than even I am.  Last December, I felt the Lord tell me that 2014 was going to be the year of fulfilled dreams.  At first, I thought he was referring to the dreams I had settled for, not realizing that he was aiming for the dreams that even I couldn’t allow myself to believe in.  I learned that when your dreams begin to come into fruition,that it is important to keep your heart focused of the giver of the dreams and not the dreams themselves.

7. LACK is Heaven’s number one hated curse word.

8.  Shame grows in silence.  As I mentioned earlier, I found myself caught up in insecurity and I have a tendency to create a catastrophic nuclear war that even King David and all his mighty men would not want to tackle if given the chance that takes place between my own two ears if I am not careful.  I get caught up in the “woe is me” mentality and think that everyone hates me and I dread being in public for fear of my appearance.  If I allow myself to stay in that place, it just continues to grow and grow.  Once it gets revealed, it almost immediatly loses it’s power.  Vulnerablity gives people the ability to speak truth into the lies you’re believing.

9. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot keep up with the Kardashians.

10.  Your past has no say over your future. 2014 was filled with moments when I would just pause and wonder how I got here.  If you had told me five years ago about everything 2014 would hold for me, I would have never believed you.  I think that is why I find the story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus.  He spent his life as a criminal, but just one look at Jesus and a few painful words off his lips and his entire life was redeemed in a moment.  God isn’t looking for the qualified, he’s looking for the heart postures.

Thank you, 2014, for growing and challenging me in ways that I didn’t know possible.  You will always be a year that is deeply treasured within my heart.  Here’s to 2015.

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To All Girls Watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show…

The holiday’s are upon us once again which means our homes are now surrounded by Christmas lights, our Instagram feeds filled with #paleo #glutenfree #grainfree Christmas desserts, while our Facebook feeds covered in pictures of adorable children dressed as angels or shepherds.  Amongst the Christmas cheer every year, we kick it off with a good ol’ fashioned lingerie show known as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Millions of people tune in every year to witness undeniably beautiful women gracefully strut up and down the runway with their flawless figures and windblown locks.  I completely understand why they are called “Victoria’s Secret Angels” because they are captivating in every sense of the word.  Everything from their makeup, their hair, and nails have all been primed and perfected.

This show tends to stir up controversy and I’ve already read numerous blogs and articles that present themselves as revealing some earth-shattering secret as they list all the ways that these girls aren’t, in fact, perfect.

They have fake hair!

They’ve been airbrushed!

They’ve been on restrictive diets and can only eat 1 carrot a day!

Most of these articles are then somehow linked to other articles published by the same blog site with titles like “Get long, shinier and thicker hair in 2 weeks!”…”5 ways to diminish the appearance of cellulite” and “How to lose 10 pounds by Christmas.”

Do you see the irony?

I admit, I used to watch this show and found myself becoming angry because I felt that it promoted negative self-image and gave people an unrealistic idea of how a woman should look.  I often made sarcastic remarks like, “They don’t look pretty, they look hungry!” or “I wonder if they know what a sandwich tastes like” and my favorite “REAL women have curves.”  (Which is funny because I’ve never found an official definition of a real women being a certain jean size.” I thought that these remarks were coming from a place of concern until I realized that they were coming from a place of insecurity.

You’ll never make yourself feel better by tearing down some body else.

Here’s the thing, regardless of a person’s sphere of influence…whether they are cat-walking on a stage in a literal 1 million dollar bra or walking down the street in a t-shirt on clearance from Target, body shaming is never okay.

I think that the VS Angels would be the first to admit that they don’t go about their day to day lives with a Brazilian blow-out and in 5 inch heels and yet we feel as if it is our duty as women to point that out. We make it our job to point out how they are not “real women.”  That comment in itself invalidates the very point you are trying to make.  On on hand you are saying that you don’t want to be measured by your size and/or weight and then you try to validate your argument by using size and/or weight.   I find it interesting how we can be so cruel to our own kind.  I’ve never heard a group of women making comments about men saying, “He’s just way too fit.  Real men have beer bellies!”

You see, they are girls just like the rest of us.  They have family and friends that adore them because of their personalities and hearts.  They have goals, hopes, and ambitions for their futures.  They have days where the only cure is a night with pizza, chocolate, and The Notebook.  They’ve lost loved ones. They’ve fallen in love. They’ve had their heart broken.  They’ve laughed until their stomach hurts.

They are “real women” not because of their body shape but because of the life they carry within.

This is just part of their job and the fulfillment of a dream that many of them have had since they were little girls.  Since I am a person who has crazy outlandish dreams to the point where it’s embarrassing, I just cannot be okay bashing someone else’s when theirs comes to fruition.

So to all the girls who may find themselves watching tonight’s fashion show, I pray that you feel secure enough in yourself to not tear someone else down.  I pray that you don’t go to bed feeling bad about yourself, but rather inspired by knowing what’s possible.  I pray that you can recognize another woman’s beauty without losing sight of your own.

Let’s rise above.  We are all in this together.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Lexington Armory, New York, America - 07 Nov 2012

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