My Existential Crisis Thus Far

My brain is a really weird place… I tried to think of a poetic way to describe it and I thought It’s a very colorful shadow… Then I realized that my brain just called itself a colorful shadow. And also, what does that even mean??? Isn’t a shadow the absence of light? And isn’t color caused by light?

… And that’s been my day so far…

Actually, that’s been my last few weeks. I just randomly realize very basic things about myself that shock me more than they should. I would say I am borderline having an existential crisis.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to the beginning of this… experience. It was July 16th. My mom’s 40th birthday. We were having a surprise-ish party for her and then that evening I would go to a friend’s house to dog sit for a few days. And all of those things happened, except that they were dulled by the fact that my older brother was counting the hours he had to live. Kind of puts a damper on things, wouldn’t you say? Then very, very late that night or very, very early the next morning we got the news that he was gone. Matthew had died, leaving behind a young widow and an eight-year-old son. My parents were already on the way down to Tennessee, while I was housesitting. My next few days were spent in ignorant bliss where it didn’t feel real. And while I would have been perfectly content to have stayed in that feeling, life doesn’t work that way. So, come Thursday, my entire family and I spent six long hours enduring the visitation. And I do mean LONG hours. Then Friday was the funeral. That was long and rough. Everyone cried. A lot. But you know, seeing an eight-year-old boy salute his daddy one last time will do that to you. It was an amazing funeral. Matt would have loved it. It was big and full of all his military buddies. By the end of it, we were all exhausted. Emotionally and physically.

Losing a sibling sucks. So, do me a favor and go hug your sibling, tell them you love ’em. Cause no matter how annoying they are. How much you disagree. They’re still your brother/sister and losing them will kill you.

OH! Did I mention that my graduation party was Saturday… the day after the funeral? Because, yeah, that was a thing. I would like to say that I did alright. You know, managed my way through it. But I had a mental breakdown because the coffee ran out before I could get a full cup. Now, I value my coffee. More than I should. But I don’t typically crumple down to the floor and start crying because I had to wait ten minutes for the next pot to brew. So, yeah, maybe didn’t handle that day as well as I would like to say I did. Honestly, it wasn’t until the party actually started that I felt any excitement over anything really. And the party was fantastic. I was blessed beyond belief. So many people showed up, it was amazing. I also became the proud co-parent of Dora. Dora the Toaster. Which may be the only grandchild my parents get from me.

Thankfully, the rest of July was pretty mellow. I spent a week at my aunt and uncle’s. Had a bonfire with the peeps. Got called out for being negative. Discovered that I really want a longboard. And upped my hipster game a bit. I also said goodbye to all of my church people. Babysat for life group for the last time. I’ve actually had a few “last times”.

To say the least, the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. And it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. In exactly ten days, I leave for college. My Dad started chemo today. It just keeps going. And going. And going. Am I overwhelmed? Probably. Stressed? Definitely. Do I have any idea what I’m doing? That would be a big fat no. This borderline existential crisis seems to bring out the fact that I have really strong opinions and big plans, but ultimately I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know what the point of my existence is. I don’t know why I am right here. Right now. I don’t why my life has been the adventure is has been. I don’t know why I am the way that I am. I just don’t know.

What I do know is this. God looked at his plan for this world and decided it needed a sarcastic, weird, slightly confused, girl. Someone who would get lost in thought at all the wrong times. To have the memory of a goldfish and yet be able to retain odd and supposedly useless information. Someone who struggles to retain math and loves to write. Who looks at the world upside down and thinks about black holes a lot. Someone who wants to travel the world, but doesn’t have enough money to buy a longboard. Someone who doubts her own worth and fights to keep the darkness out of her head. Who loves dogs and the outdoors. A girl who is all about that #vanlife and adventure. A girl who asks too many questions. Who loves Him and really just wants to see His plans for her. God looked at this world and decided it needed little, old me. And you know what, He decided it needed you too.

 

Magic Shows and Illusions

Illusions have always been one of my favorite things. Watch a magic show and see a rabbit get pulled out of a hat or a person completely disappear. The key to a good illusion is to get the audience to see what you want them to see. Get them to look at your right hand when they should be watching your left.

Sometimes my life feels like a magic show. I don’t ever seem to know what’s really going on and I’m never paying attention to what I should be focusing on. I’m like that person that is always babbling about how it’s not real. It’s fake. You shouldn’t be fooled. And yet, at the show, I still don’t see what’s happening. I know it’s an illusion. I know that if I looked past all the grandeur I would be able to see what I’m suppose to be seeing. Yet here I am, caught up in the distractions.

I could give excuse after excuse as to why I am so distracted. My Dad is dying. My brother is dying. I’m moving 1,000 miles away in two months. I have so much to do before I leave. And of course, all the doubts in my head… Am I ready? I’m probably going to fail. Are the people I’m going to live with still going to even want to acknowledge my existence at the end of the year? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if? What if? What if?

These worries. These shadows. These illusions. They are consuming me. I fight them with all my might. But I am too weak. How do you fight looking at your Dad and thinking, “Dear God, please let him be here when I come home.” Or visiting your brother because you may never see him again. How do you fight of the feeling of defeat when you feel like you are running out of time? And what are you suppose to do when your biggest fear is that others will see you the way you see yourself?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. Ephesians 1:18

Look past the illusion.

It’s funny the things God will use to help you see past the illusion. Maybe it’s reaching a goal you didn’t think you would reach. Or that person you always feel inferior to telling you that they feel the same way you do. They may not even realize that you feel that way too. Either way, Thank God for breaking that illusion.

Because on the other side of that illusion is a miracle. On the other side of that illusion is God doing amazing things in your life. Whether it’s teaching you to wait or telling you it’s time to move.

I can’t say that the looking past the illusion is going to cure my Dad of his cancer. Or that my brother will get a miracle. Or that I’ll have the same friends this time next year. What breaking the illusion does is let you see God. It breaks away any feeling of distance you felt between you and God. Because suddenly, He is right there. Working away. Making sure everything turns out right.

God is more than the cancer, more than the calander, or even the distance. God is more than the people or the fear. I’m giving it all to God. God is making things happen. Even when I don’t see it. Even when I don’t feel it. God is working and with Him all things are possible. Even a little thing like life.

 

 

Friends, Anxiety, and Life

We all have that one friend. The one you meet and you’re like “Alright, this person is pretty cool.” Then three months later they’re your best friend. They become that person you can’t remember NOT being friends with, even though you probably spent a good portion of your life not knowing of their existence. They somehow go from being that person you met last night to the person you Snapchat all the stupid stuff that happens in your life. All within no time at all. And occasionally, you just stop and think “Where did they even come from?”

Now, if you are anything like me there are pros and cons to this friend. On one hand, they are literally one of your best friends. Like right up there with your brother and your dog. They are on your short list of things you go to when you are trying to be thankful, even if everything seems to be falling apart.

*Squints eyes*  Okay God. I am choosing to be thankful. Umm… My dogs? And… And… my family. Umm… Ummm… OH! I am thankful for that person. Yeah, they’re cool. I like them. Thanks for them.

On the other hand, they are your anxiety’s favorite topic. I mean, you haven’t known this person THAT long. Do you really know them that well?  I mean, sure, they are your best friend, but are you theirs? Do they even really like you? Sure, they have said that you’re one of their best friends, but their other best friends have known them longer and probably better. And of course, the closer you get, the louder these questions become.

Yep, we can probably all relate to this at some point. What’s funny is that it doesn’t have a single thing to do with the other person. It all comes down to the fact that we are terrified that other people, especially people we are close to, will see us the way we see us. Something that we all struggle with is looking in the mirror and not seeing all the ways we aren’t perfect. All the reasons why we keep stumbling, why we didn’t get that job, why we didn’t get a better grade, why there isn’t enough money in the bank. We tend to look at ourselves and see all the reasons why we are failing. Why we aren’t good enough. Why we aren’t what we wish we were.

It’s at this point that I would like to point out that never, ever, ever, in my whole life, have I ever been obsessed with a character in a book, movie, or t.v. show that was perfect. Or anywhere near perfect. Go on Tumblr and you will find that I am not alone in this. Because any story with a perfect character, who always knows what to do or say, is nothing. There is no story to tell. We love characters with flaws, weaknesses, quirks, and epic fail moments. So the big question is, why are you hating yourself for what you love in others?

Which brings us back to that one friend we all have. You have not known them as long as their other best friends. You, probably, do not know them in the same way as their other best friends. Does that make you any less of a friend? No. You are not their other best friends. And that’s okay. You aren’t friends because you are like someone else. You’re friends because your weirdness and their weirdness collides into an even more epic weirdness. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. You aren’t them. And they aren’t you. Don’t compete with people who aren’t even in the same race as you.

This applies, not just to friendships, but to all aspects of your life. Your life will never be like someone else’s. You are going to succeed. You are going to have adventures. You are going to live a fantastic life. You are also going to fail. You are going to have hurricanes wreck your world. And sometimes, your life is going to suck. You are a mess. A beautifully fabulous, disastrous, mess. Don’t worry. We all are. Embrace it.

 

I Swear I Lived 

Adventure is the story of all of our hearts. Adventure is missions in Honduras and being a stay at home parent. It’s working a factory job and road trips. Adventure is many things for many people. The only thing that never changes is that it calls. It calls to your very soul. You feel it in your bones. That burning need to live. 

We live through joy and pain. We live in the moments where we can’t breathe because of beauty. And in the moments that are so painful they take our breath away. This is what defines life. What defines adventure. 

Life is being in a situation where nothing seems to go right, and yet you keep going. Life is stopping and basking in the light of the stars on the darkest night.

Life is messy. Life is painful. Life is joyous. Life is meaningful. Life is beautiful. Life is… 

Life rarely makes sense, but we keep living. However you live, do it well. Embrace it. Let it deep into your bones and fill your mind. Ask questions. Don’t just see moments, but feel them.

And remember this. The best movies, the best books, they are not full of happy moments. They are not all good. They are full of trials, pain, plot twists, hopelessness, and despair. But this is what makes them the best. They capture what life is really about. It’s about finding a purpose for all the bad stuff. It’s about making your pain worth it. It’s not easy, but always worth it. 

So go. Live your adventure. Whatever it is. It’s okay to not always be okay. That’s just part of the story. Find the moments. Embrace them. The people. The places. The feelings. These are all a part of you. This is your story. Your adventure. Make the most of it. Make it count. Make it whatever you want. Just make it.

Breathe

*inhale*

When you feel overwhelmed. Your plate is full. So full that things keep slipping. And when you try to pick them back everything else starts to fall too. You end up in this state of limbo, just barely managing to keep it all together. Just surviving.

*exhale*

Finally, you say no to something. You prioritize. Until you only have the essentials. Only what you really need and want. And finally, you can breathe. Finally, you can take five minutes. Finally, you can live without feeling like you are dying.

*inhale*

Then someone says something. Someone reminds you that you  had to say no. Someone tells you it’s not that bad. That you are just being a coward.

*exhale*

You smile. Laugh. Take it like a joke. And they chuckle and walk away. Not seeing the self-doubt leak into your head. Don’t see the pain ooze from your heart. Don’t see how you stop breathing.

*hold*

What do you do then? What happens when someone steals your air? What happens when you are drowning in your own head?

*hold*

In the garden, when all of the world was on His shoulders, Jesus did not act like He was all good. Like He was excited to die. In fact, He told the disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death.” The Bible says He became “grieved and distressed”. God does not expect you to be perfect. To never struggle. To never fear. He did not come for perfect people.

“It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. Likewise I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.” Mark 2:17

God does not want perfection. He wants humanity. He wants you to go to Him with your quirks and weirdness. With all the cracks in your skin. All the bruises on your heart and all the doubts in your head. He wants to share in the despair and the joy. You don’t have to be happy all the time for Him to love you. He knows that happiness is fleeting. God loves your heart that bleeds and your mind that drowns itself.

And best of all, He understands. He’s been there. You can take it to Him and He won’t tell you to suck it up. Won’t tell you to get over it. Won’t belittle it. Won’t trivialize you. Instead, He brings you an oxygen tank. He sits with you until you can breathe again. He turns on a light and helps you up. Then He takes your hand as you start walking again. Step by step. Breathe by breathe.

*inhale*

Quotes

Alright, I am going to do this entire post from quotes. Well, entire post from here on.

_____________________

Sometimes it hurts. It hurts so much that you feel like your chest will cave in, and the only thing stopping it are the gasps of air you take in between the tears

Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict

Trusting God in the light is easy, but to trust Him in the dark, that is hard.

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny

Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer

Don’t dig up in doubt what you panted in faith

Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties

No pressure, no diamonds

Stars can’t shine without darkness

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be

You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice

A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for

 

It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone

If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection

How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good

 

__________________

I don’t really know if that made sense, but it was fun. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where the quotes are from.

Senior Quote: “Any fool can know, the point is to understand.”- Albert Einstien

Quote I want to apply to my Life: “She’s at peace, and yet somehow on fire.” -Samantha King

Quote of the Day: “Thinking is difficult, that’s  why most people judge.”- Carl Gustav Jung

 

 

 

 

Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, and I promise something great will come of it

 

 

 

 

Water

Sometimes I feel like I am drowning. Today, I choose to drown in Jesus.

I used to imagine a leap of faith would include learning how to fly. Fall down, get back up, over and over until I learned to fly. Spread my wings and just fly above the world. I think that is what most people imagine.

But, maybe, a leap of faith means jumping into the ocean. Maybe instead of learning how to fly above the world, you learn how to swim through the world. You learn that if you let it in, you will die. The water makes you tired and after awhile it burns your lungs, begging you to take a breathe, but as soon as you do, it fills you and blocks out any chance of relief. Maybe Jesus is our air. Maybe the only way for us to survive is to break through the water and take a deep breathe of His pure, refreshing air. And yes, you will have to go back under the water, back into the world, but He is in you and makes it bearable. Maybe even enjoyable. Maybe His oxygen helps you open your eyes and see the beauty of the world, but also the darkness. Maybe the Bible is your oxygen tank, helping you breathe no matter how far down you are. And maybe, He is asking you to dive deep and help somebody else breach the surface and to breathe His oxygen. Maybe, just maybe, you can learn to swim.

I started my first job two weeks ago, and after my first week, a friend asked me if I was ‘surviving or drowning’, which got me thinking about how life is a lot like swimming. Last week I had a thirty-nine hour work week. It was crazy and most of the time I felt like I was just keeping my head above the water. But I did it. Thankfully, this week I only work twenty-five hours. Today was not the best, and honestly, I feel like somebody is trying to hold me under the water. I keep struggling, even though I know it only makes things worse. I know I need to give up the struggle and let God pull me up. I know that the only reason I am still under the water is because I refuse to come up. And yet here I am. Screaming for air, yet holding my breath. What a human thing to do.

Have you ever stood on a beach just before a storm hits? It is the most surreal experience. You can feel it in the cool air, smell it on the wind as it picks up speed. But to look out over the ocean, you can almost convince yourself it won’t happen. The water is gentle as it lapses up to your feet. It looks peaceful. Except for the gathering clouds on the horizon. But you do so enjoy the view, so you convince yourself that it’ll be fine. The storm will never reach the shore. But then in the blink of an eye, the waters start to rage. The air becomes electrified with the storm that you tried so hard to ignore. And you are swept up in the tempest beating down around you. And you come out of it with a new respect for water. It can be the most peaceful thing you see, but it can also be the most deadly thing you experience.

Life is so much like water. One day it can be full of hope and the next it can be trying to drown you with it’s weight. Isn’t it good to know that God offers you a rock to stand on, so that you can not be shaken? Isn’t even better to know that Jesus walks on water. It can not pull Him down.

Which is good, I need Him to be able to see where I am going. As long as He knows, it’ll be good. I think I am starting to see where I need to go. But it’s scary. It’s a long way from shore. Farther than I have ever dared ventured. But if that is where God is leading me, then I will follow. For His ways are higher than my ways, and His thought are higher than my thoughts.

So, that’s where I am right now. Breathing in His air. Letting Him teach me how to swim. Learning His direction. And knowing no matter how far or deep I go, He can always go farther and dive deeper.

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Other Thoughts:

Wisdom is quiet because words are powerful.

Scars are a beautiful reminder that the pain won’t always bleed.

Florida is a REALLY long way from Ohio.