Joy in 2019

It wasn’t until late 2017 that I first heard the idea of choosing a word for the year. The idea intrigued me: choose a single word that all of your yearly goals point back to. To be honest, I don’t remember the word I chose for 2018 – or if I even chose one.

As I reflected on 2018, however, I did choose a word for 2019.

Joy.



I am not looking to do any and everything that makes me happy. I am simply doing two things: I am carving out the time to do the small things that I love – and am being grateful that I get to do them – and I am remembering that no matter what is going on in my world, I have a Joy that can never be taken from me.


I spent too much of the previous years trying so hard to do what I felt like I was supposed to do. I had to clean my house a certain way. I had to dress a certain way. I had to set goals a certain way. I spent so much time trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be that I never took the time to figure out who I really was, who God designed me to be.

I looked more to people on social media to figure out what I should do than I did looking to God. I decided I should do things because other people did them rather than because I wanted to do them. I have always struggled with feeling pressured to do what others do because I think it’s “the right thing to do.” I also let my circumstances dictate how I felt, leaving me feeling pretty crummy a lot of the time.


Maybe becoming a mom caused something to change, because quite frankly I got quite tired of living that way. But changing the habit of trying to conform to others’ standards so that I feel like I’m “doing it right?”

Yeah, that’s hard.

I’m a people pleaser by nature. I so badly want to have it all together.

But I don’t. And I never will. And I had to accept that just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for me – and it doesn’t mean it has to work for me. I also had to accept that if I let the circumstances of my life dictate my life, I was going to be a miserable person.


I decided to stop robbing myself of little things that I love because I felt like I had to be this super-structured person who lived by a strict schedule and always had everything done.

I’ve started doing things that I love again simply because I want to. Small things like reading four books at once, writing fiction, spending time with friends and family, and watching sunsets. These little things may seem insignificant, but they are little moments, little things, that I am so grateful for.

We can’t throw our responsibilities to the wind, but we can learn to be more flexible. We can leave dishes in the sink overnight because it’s been a hard day and we’d like to take a bath and relax. We can fold the laundry later so that we can play with our kids. We can do the things – big or small – that we’ve always wanted to do but never carved out time to do it.

Even more than these things – and these things are great – I’m remembering Who my true joy comes from. Please hear me here: My goal in life is not to be happy, it is to please God.


And to please God, we have to trust in Him always. We can’t give in to worry and anxiety. We have to remember that no matter the circumstance, not matter the battles, our Savior is with us always. Paul instructs us several times in the New Testament to rejoice in the Lord. He is the source of unwavering joy.

This is one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my God has so lovingly reminded me that His love is covering me. He is my true joy.


So this year I am carving out time for things that I enjoy, and I am resting it the unwavering promises of my Savior. I am finding joy in 2019.

With love,

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoTom Sodoge
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You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

Perfectionists. People who accept nothing less than perfection from themselves, no matter the cost. We all know them. I just didn’t realize that I was one – or at least I didn’t want to accept it.

I always considered myself to be motivated, not for bragging rights, but for myself. As a child, my parents never had to get onto me about doing my homework or studying, I would push myself to get it done. Thought a C is considered average, if I made below an A I would be upset – well no, if I made below a high A, I would be upset. Yet I wasn’t a perfectionist, I was motivated.

These standards followed me through high school and into college – though I will admit I am a bit of a procrastinator at times. In the counseling theories course I took last semester, we talked about how perfectionism is a distortion of thought because it is impossible to be perfect. I sat there and agreed, all the while having the thought distortion that I wasn’t a perfectionist.

But I am. I am motivated, but I’m also a perfectionist. I hold myself to such high standards and get immensely distraught if I don’t meet them; however, I’m not perfect and I’m not going to be excellent at everything, and if I think I have to be, I’m just going to distress myself further. I think what finally made me realize it was when I started setting specific goals for school, housework, and exercise in my planner and then I saw myself not meeting them. Sometimes it is due to being lazy and not feeling like doing whatever task I have before me. Sometimes, thought, it is due to me setting unrealistic expectations. I still set monthly, weekly, and daily goals, but I’ve had to adjust them. Now if I don’t meet a goal, I try to give myself grace and evaluate why I didn’t meet the goal: Did I schedule too much for one day and I just need to move the task to tomorrow? Or was the goal itself (like doing yoga everyday) unrealistic for the season I’m in or just unrealistic in general? Or was I just lazy? I try evaluate and I move on, and I often write little notes in my planner to remind myself that I am human and I need to give myself room to breathe.

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Why did I share this with you? Because I know that I’m not the only one who often holds myself to impossible standards. I also know that I can’t be the only one who is or ever has been in denial about it. Cut yourself some slack. Be motivated. Set goals. Have standards. Get things done. But don’t expect to be Superman or Wonder Woman. Give yourself some grace. You don’t have to be perfect.

Photo Credit: Michał Grosicki

Things I’ve Learned in my First Four Days Back in School

I can’t believe it’s the second semester of my sophomore year of college already, it absolutely blows my mind.  Today was the fourth day of class, and I’ve already taken away a lot – academic and otherwise – so I thought I would share.

1.) I am now a morning person.  I never – in my entire life – thought I would say this.  I love sleep, I love sleeping in, and I’ve always despised waking up early.  I would always wake up at the last possible minute I could to get everything I needed to done before leaving the house.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that Genelle is my best friend, anywho, she is a full-blown believer in The Early Bird Catches the Worm, and I would stay with her and see all that she could accomplish in the morning and how much she actually enjoyed waking up early and yet I still found sleeping thirty extra minutes more appealing. Well, it came the dreaded time to set my alarms for this semester’s classes, and for some reason, I set them earlier than I normally would. I. Love. It. I have time to get ready, drink my coffee, and spend time with God, leading me into my second point.

 

2.) Spending quality time with God – both first thing in the morning and otherwise – is the best thing, like ever.  In the morning I read from whatever book I’m in (currently, Isaiah), I journal while I read it, then I read my morning devotional (currently, Joyce Meyer’s Promises for Your Everyday Life), and then I journal in my normal journal and pray.  I realized yesterday that this takes up nearly half, if not more, of my morning routine, but I also realized how valuable this time is.  I get to get my mind set on Jesus early in the morning before I really do anything else, and best of all, I don’t have to rush.  At night I then read from Psalms or Proverbs (currently, I’m in Psalms), read my nightly devotional (currently, Praise in the Presence of God), and journal again, ending my day the way I began it, with Jesus, and also with reflection of my day.  By starting and ending my day with quality time with God, I’ve shifted priorities and honestly it makes it easier to focus on the right things during the time in between.  But this isn’t something I do to check it off of a checklist, I actually make it a priority to spend quality time with God and with strengthening my faith.  A relationship with God is exactly that – it’s a relationship, not a checklist.

 

3.) Being organized and setting goals is fantastic. College is hard.  It’s true.  There are days when my workload makes me want to cry and eat icecream and never ever ever get out of bed, but then I remember that that’s not much of career. Anywho, Genelle and I were at Wal-Mart getting school supplies and they had a 17×23 inch calendar white board for $7. I couldn’t pass it up! And I’m so glad I didn’t.  It’s great to have everything for the month laid out in front of me, assignments, tests, appointments, babysitting dates, etc.  Also, I decided I need to drink more water, and my goal is at least three bottles a day.  Each day I mark how many bottles I’ve drank on the white board, and boy is that motivation.  Sunday night I was getting ready for bed and realized I had only drank two bottles of water, so I chugged a third – which, honestly, wasn’t the best idea because I had to get out of bed and pee three times before I fell asleep. The point is, being organized and having my goals in front of me makes me a.) stress less and b.) way more motivated to accomplish my goals.

 

4.) In my environmental science class – which we’ve only had one full day of – we’ve talked about how if God created the Earth, shouldn’t we honor it and take care of it? I was really convicted by this.  God did make the Earth, and I believe He did so so we could enjoy it, not destroy it.  Honestly, I had never really thought about this until then, but it’s really convicted me to be more conscious of my decisions (hello, recycling).

 

I’ve learned a lot more than this in my short time back in college, but I wanted to share a few key things from my life, a few lessons I feel God has really laid on my heart.  Until next time, lovelies.

Photo Credit: Eric Rothermel