Weight

Laying on my bedroom floor, I was thinking about 2016 when I heard the whisper through my head.

Be careful.

They were wise words. Unconsciously, I was laying down bricks, weighing down next year with expectations.

All the credits I want to have by next December.

All the plans I want to make after a ring slides onto my finger.

All the hours I want to work and the savings I want to accumulate.

All the clothes I want to wear and ways I want to do my hair.

All the essays I want to write.

All memories I want to make.

All the coffee/lunch/beach dates I want to have.

All the healthy food I want to eat, and the strength I want to gain, and the miles I want to run.

Basically, I want to be all the things. I want to be the cute, fit, smart, all pulled together, engaged girl after the next 12 months. And that’s a lot to dump on a year that hasn’t even started yet.

My ways are not your ways, nor are My thoughts your thoughts.

I can’t do it all. There’s no way. My way looks an awful lot like being up at 6:30, powering through a workout and having time to make a decent breakfast and spend time in the Word and still dress in skinny jeans and oversized sweaters and chunky jewelry and unchipped nail polish and curl my hair and make it out the door by 9:15, where I’ll ace my classes and eat healthy, packed-the-night-prior lunches and dinners, leave in a truck that doesn’t have trouble starting in the cold, come home without freaking out on the roads, have tons of energy to spend with my family, cook and pack the next day’s food, and still be showered and in bed by 10:30, interspersed with days of homework and nannying and seeing my family and boyfriend.

And… that all sounds horribly overwhelming and a way to run myself into the ground. My impression of what I need to do and be in order to be perfect… isn’t me. I’m not a perfectly put together person. I’m never going to be. There will always be more that I feel like I need to be, always more to make me a better student, a better friend, a better girlfriend, a better nanny, a better daughter, a better Christian.

Yikes. There will always be more, and it will never be enough. I can’t do it all.

“You can’t simultaneously do it all and do life well.”

In my six years of babysitting outside the home, one of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned is that no one is the perfect mom. Some are good at keeping their house really clean; some are good at working from home. Some are good at letting go of expectations and getting to their children’s hearts; some are good at putting together cool unit studies for every week of the school year. No one is good at everything, but each one has a place where she excels.

And these women still do life well.

I want to do life well. I want to let go of expectations and be okay with the sweatshirt and ponytail and a layer of mascara some days when I spent time hanging out with my twin sisters over breakfast instead of in the closet getting ready. I want to be okay with releasing the “I’ve never studied enough” mindset and putting down the study guides in favor of talking with my sisters in our room. I want to give up sleep for Scripture. I want to sometimes let the hair go undone (even if I’m getting 6 inches cut off on New Year’s Eve and if that isn’t a sign for 2016 being the year of put together hair, I don’t know what is) and laugh over Sunday morning pancakes with my family. I want to live each moment with Andy without wishing we were at a different place in life, and knowing that this dating stage doesn’t last forever.

I want to live.

I don’t want to remain stuck in the battle of never enough. I’m not the girls I pass in the hallways of school, seemingly with perfect bodies and outfits and hair and lives. I’m me. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, I don’t spend tons of money on new clothes, and the five pounds I’ve lost in the last two months is a result of not eating when I’m busy or unmotivated, not because I’m eating healthier or working it off. I don’t have the time or desire to spend hours in the gym, or hundreds on clothes, or never eat anything but “clean” food.

I’m letting go. I’m releasing those expectations, bit by bit. I will take baby steps in many directions, relying on the grace of God rather than my own strength, and I will know that when I let all the “I wants” sweep over me again, that I’ll need to remind myself that I’m me, and that’s enough.

I am loved.

And wherever you are in life, whatever you’re good at, wherever you feel like you’re lacking, you are loved with a Love that fills those places up and equals us all in front of the throne of the Kings of Kings.

I am a child of God.

And so are You.

2016 can’t change that. Your goals and resolutions can’t change that. Let’s live well; resting in His strength, His plans, and His will.

Happy New Year.

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Tension

I’ve been truly exposed to the world this year.

College will do that to you. I feel continually assaulted by the dress, the standards, the disrespect, the language. Oh goodness, the language. It’s continual and nasty and violent. I come home from school feeling slimy and dirty and gross. Sometimes things pulse in my mind, over and over, a drumbeat of dirtiness, and the only way they’ll go away is by claiming the name of Jesus, over and over and over and over again.

Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus.

It makes me wonder how it was in Israel, in the rest of the world, those cold winter nights over two thousand years ago. They didn’t have a name to call on, no glimmer of hope shining into the darkness surrounding them. I know I would’ve been discouraged, “Where are you, Lord? Aren’t you coming to save us?” when His perfect plan had already been set into movement and He was whispering back “Just wait, my child. Just wait for what I’m about to do.”

And then He came into the filth. Into the darkness. Into the mess. And that star shone down and angels illuminated the sky, foreshadowing the way the Light of the world would illuminate our hearts. The King was here. His plan was set in motion.

Most of the world remained unaware. They were still living in the tension, still weary, still dirty, still worn, still praying and waiting and living on the edge of desperation. They needed a silent night.

I’m living in the tension. I’m living smack dab in the filth and the world and longing for the Light to fill the halls and purify the hearts and hear everyone raising one voice to praise the Lord. But it’s not yet. It’s a battlefield, and though it seems like the enemy has the upper hand, my King is on His way.

Until then, we fight. We pray and fast and purify ourselves and live there in the stretching place, shining our little flames until the whole world is filled with His splendor. It’s hard and exhausting and what I wouldn’t give for a silent night?!

But the battle isn’t over. So we fight.

Come, Lord Jesus. Enter in. We’re ready and waiting. Come, Lord Jesus, come.