Confidence Challenge: Finding Purpose

I didn’t post this yesterday, because I didn’t want anyone to think it was an April Fools joke. I quit my job. You know, the one I actually get a regular paycheck from.

Suddenly, I knew, with every fiber of my being, that I was done. I wrote a resignation letter giving two weeks notice, and turned it in the next day. After three months of agonizing deliberation, it was done and over. April 13th is my last day.

I won’t go into detail, but a situation at work allowed me to realize that this job is not in anyway going to take me in the direction I want to go in life. I honestly don’t know what direction that is, but I am absolutely certain that it wasn’t the direction I was going – nowhere. Or backwards.

Stuck. That’s what I told Brian, through many tears. I feel stuck in life, stuck because I don’t know what sort of job I want. Do I really want to work from home and own my own business? Because sometimes I think it would be nice to actually go to work every day and know what’s expected of me. On the other hand, sometimes working in an also office also sounds like being stuck, just with nicer clothes and more money.

Finally it came down to this. The honest, ugly, painful truth:

I want a job so that I can point to what I accomplish and say “See, I did this. Therefore, my life has meaning, purpose and value.” 

I want to be defined by my work. I want to be above criticism and quips about selling myself short and wasting my four year degree and magna cum laude. I want my work to give me value.

And yet, I know better. I know that it never will. Even if I landed a job like some of the fourteen jobs I applied to last week, it would never fill the void.

But even ministry is tainted. When I serve, if the desire to help people is really wanting to give my life value, it’s all about me. Not God, not others.

So before I pour myself into finding a job or ministry, I have to find my meaning, purpose, and value. I think the first step is to stop thinking about myself so much. Stop fearing what other’s think of me, stop agonizing over what my life’s purpose is and what I’m supposed to be doing. Just stop it.

Instead, I need to put my brief life in perspective of God’s cosmic plan and vast greatness. And then in awe of His greatness, and then overwhelmed that He has chosen me, I simply say, “God, use me today. Let your love and grace shine through me today to a world that desperately needs it.”

And that will be enough, because if I am a vessel for God, then I will be also be filled.


But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2 Corinthians 4:7 


For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3: 14-21 

A Royal Daughter

Building Confidence Through Failure

Unraveleddesign

Sometimes, the beauty of dark times in our lives is being able to clearly hear God’s voice.

Let me explain. For the past several days, I’ve been wallowing. You know, what you do after a break up. Sleep until noon every day, stay up until 4 am. watching youtube videos, and eat lots of ice cream. And cupcakes. A lot of cupcakes.

I feel like I’m going through a break up. Like my eight month engagement got called off at the rehearsal dinner.

That analogy isn’t my words, it’s how my former business partner described it. I planned to post an update on my confidence challenge today, about the confidence I’ve gained from starting a business. Not Scribbles Shoppe, this company started eight months ago and involved two other business partners. That’s what my second and final big announcement was all about. We were going to launch Saturday. Well…it just didn’t work out. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I’m not mad. We’re still friends. I totally agree with the decision. I’m just really, really, disappointed.

My confidence in my ability to be an entrepreneur is pretty much shattered right now. But I know that wallowing isn’t accomplishing anything, other than adding back those recently shed pounds. Did I mention the cupcakes? Help.

I need to find the good in this situation. I need to know it wasn’t all for nothing. I need to learn something from this.

  • Good: it ended when it did, not after officially launching.
  • Good: I learned so much about the modern crafting community that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn about.
  • Good: I got to start drawing again, after a hiatus that was way too long. 
  • Good: I discovered that I really, really love drawing and painting, and I miss making art. 
  • Good: I rediscovered embroidery, and I’m actually tempted to get into quilting.
  • Good: I’m learning that it’s ok to fail. 
  • Good: I get to learn how to move forward after failure.
  • Good: I get to look for new opportunities. 
  • Good: I’m learning how to readjust my sails. 
  • Good: God is still faithful. 
The morning after this all went down, I sat at my desk and pulled out my Bible and prayer journal for my morning devotions. I started to unzip my Bible case, and then paused. I held it to my chest and closed my eyes. “God, I really, really need to hear from you today. Please.
I took a deep breath, and opened to my bookmark in Psalms. My reading for the day was Psalm 25. 

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.

I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!

Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.
Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

He reminded me that He is still good. He is still loving. And He is still faithful to me.


I don’t know what’s next. I’m really not sure what the future holds for this blog, my Etsy shop, or my job. I haven’t really figured out my options yet going forward. But, I can choose to still trust Him, and wait for his leading.

How can I build my confidence through this failure? By believing this:

For you, O Lord, are good.

Going Confidently in 2013

“Is working at Target worth getting a college degree for?”
“So, you’re short-circuiting your writing career to work at Target?”
I’ve received these comments, and many similar ones, from a particular church member who feels called to change my misguided ways with unsolicited advice after church every Sunday.
Last Sunday, my blood began to boil as he went on about how becoming addicted to a regular paycheck would ruin my writing career, how I’d start telling myself, “I’ll write tomorrow,” and tomorrow would never come. I gritted my teeth and didn’t say a word.
But what bothers me more than this person’s comments is the fact that I let them get to me. They ruined my entire day. In fact, two days later, they’re still hovering over my head, a gray cloud of doubt and discouragement.
I want to scream: You don’t even know me! Do you think this is easy for me?! Do you think this is my ideal?! When I dreamed about what I would be when I grew up and finished college, it wasn’t about being a Target employee. This isn’t what I planned for. In fact, moving to Arizona wasn’t in my plan either. Or majoring in Technical Communication. Or getting married young. Or getting $20,000 of school debt from my spouse when I got married.
Do you think I don’t realize that I look like a failure? I get it. I know what people think. But this is where I’m at. I have to make the best of it. I’m working a part time job in retail to add a little padding to our budget while I start my own business and figure out what I want to do with my life.”
And you know, that’s really not so bad. I really don’t need to feel inferior about that. I certainly don’t need to listen to people who want to make me feel inferior about it.

So why do I consent? Why do I consent to letting a random person who really doesn’t know me at all speak into my life? 
Because deep down, I think he’s right. 
Warning, this is about to get real.
I do feel like a failure. I don’t believe I’m capable of achieving my dreams, or even, worthy. 

Yet a part of me fights back. Something in me whispers, you were made for more. 
I want confidence. Confidence that doesn’t come from what job I have or what I can produce, but in who God made me. Confidence that no matter what happens, He has a plan for me and is working all things for good, even the things that seem like mistakes or detours to others…and myself. 
Confidence that I am capable, and I have worth, because I’m His child and I am loved. 
I don’t have a set of formal resolutions this year. I have one word: Confidence. 
Meredith Crawford from One Sheepish Girl inspired me with her Blogging for Confidence series. With the encouragement from her blog readers, she undertook a series of challenges, like taking herself on a date, wearing red lipstick, and knitting in public, to grow her confidence. This year, I’m going to follow suit with challenges of my own!
I have a few ideas that I’ll share later. The areas I plan to focus on this year include:
  • Confidence in relationships: taking initiative, saying “No,” asking for what I need, not avoiding confrontation. 
  • Confidence in who God made me:  my gifts, skills, and passions, being myself, feeling good about my body and appearance, doing work I enjoy without apology, and doing hard things that scare me.

I think this year’s goals could take the rest of my life. But, I’m excited to see where I’ll be at the end of 2013. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I really can’t thank you enough for the encouragement and love you show me through your comments, and even just through your presence here. Thank you for reading! 
I’d love to know, what are your goals for this new year? 

Where Do We Go From Here?

This is the last day of Fashion for Freedom. So now what?

I sincerely hope you’ve been inspired to take action this month. Change starts with educating yourself about human trafficking and ethical fashion, and I believe lasting change comes as the result of small steps with big impact. Here’s a few steps that we’ve discussed this month:

1. Look inside your closet, finding out where your clothes are made. 
2. Discover your slavery footprint.
3. Choose fair trade items when shopping.
4. Download the Free2Work app to find the most ethical companies by industry. 
5. Shop with companies who put your money to good use. Here’s lists for casual clothing, special occasion clothing, cosmetics, and jewelry, and shoes, children’s, underwear, and more
You can go a step further by keeping up with news about human trafficking and ethical fashion. Sign up for newsletters from local or national organizations, or follow their Facebook pages. I recommend: 
As for me, here is my plan going forward:
  • I’ll look for fair trade products first. 
  • If a fair trade option isn’t available, I’ll look for a used item from thrift stores or eBay. 
  • If I can’t find it there, I’ll buy it from a company that has a higher Free2Work grade or is made in the USA/Canada/Europe. 
  • I’ll buy less so that I can buy better. 
  • I will invest in multi-tasking pieces and high quality ethically made products that will stand the test of time.
  • I’ll continue to go through all of my clothes every season and objectively pare it down. 
  • My goal is to shrink my closet down to 100 items. I’ll continue to sell off and donate my clothing, anytime I buy or receive clothing as a gift, something else has to go. That’s going to be really hard. 
  • I will be a conscious consumer, thinking about the people behind the barcode who are affected by my purchasing decisions. 
And, I’ll keep the Fair Trade Pledge. 

“I pledge to consume responsibly. I recognize that as a consumer, my buying power matters. I understand that each product I purchase plays a role in a larger narrative, affecting the life of an individual. Because of this, I will do my best to purchase products that have been made by hands that are treated fairly. I will seek to support supply chains that treat farmers and workers fairly and demand the assurance that items I buy have been made responsibly from start to finish. This means no tolerance for child or slave labor, dangerous working conditions or substandard pay. I will no longer support systems of oppression and will insist that companies I trust operate with a conscience.”

Will you join me? Sign the pledge here. 

In conclusion, there are several people I’d like to thank. 
First, the people who believed in this series enough to sponsor it:
Thank you all so much!
And secondly, those who have gone above and beyond to encourage me and get involved with this series: 
  • Tara, for letting me bounce ideas off of you, telling everyone about the series, and your real life support, encouragement, enthusiasm, and friendship. 
  • Natalie,  Viviene, and Matilda Joyce, for faithfully reading, leaving encouraging comments, and sharing the series with others. 
  • My sister Elissa, for your enthusiastic texts, emails, phone calls, comments, Facebooking, and help this month. And Evi, I love you too!
  • Bailey, for your sweet email that brought me to tears more than once.
  • Natalie A., for all your tweets, favorites, and retweets. Thank you for your support!
Thank you, all of you, for your words and presence this month. It means everything to me! 

God is good! See you next month!

One Month and 10 Items Later

Well friends, tomorrow is the last day of this series! I started this month with 354 items in my closet and drawers and a burning desire to change. It hasn’t always been easy to write, or live, this series, but it has been worth it.

Source

Wearing ten things for a month taught me a great deal about myself. For instance, I learned that I derive a large part of my confidence and sense of acceptance from my appearance. I shared my fears and insecurities going into the ladies retreat several weeks ago, insecurities that resurfaced each Sunday when I donned the same dress I wore the week before, or when I wore a plain tee and jeans to a birthday party. Would people like me without my cute coordinated outfits? Will I fit in? Will people think I’m weird, radical, or self-righteous? 

Yes and no. I definitely alienated some people, just by being myself, and by talking about human trafficking and why I was wearing only 10 things. I’m sure some people do think I’m radical and self-righteous. I know some people don’t understand why this matters, or why it matters to me.

But I found out that I can deal with that. For each blank stare, polite nod, or change of subject, I had heart-felt comments, beautiful emails waiting in my inbox, and encouraging tweets to spur me onward from you, my faithful readers, and scripture passages that put it all into perspective at just the right time.

And I also learned that I am weird, and I am radical. I am standing for something. I’m putting my stake in the ground and owning it. I’m not here to get by, have a good time, or be happy. I am here to change the world. 

I’ve thought a lot about how I want people to think of me. At the beginning of the month, other’s opinions of me were a major source of anxiety. Do I really want people to think of me as someone whose outfits were always well put together, who looked like they had life together, and always looked cute? Is that what I want to be known for?

I realized that the people I most respect are people who don’t care about their appearance, but care deeply about loving others. They spend their days loving their kids, lending a listening ear for those who need it, supporting their husbands, sharing a home-cooked meal, and serving their church. Tara and Tammy, you are truly the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.

This quote attributed to Majorie Hinckley sums up the legacy I want to leave:

 “I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

31 Days of Fashion for Freedom. Who knows how God has used this series to bring freedom to those trapped in human trafficking? I know He has. 
He’s also used it to bring freedom to me. 
102. 
That’s how many items I’ve purged from my closet, or are waiting in line for the eBay auction.
I still have 252 items left, but it’s progress. I think a lot of the things I’ve learned about myself this month are going to take time to sift through and sort out, and while I’m working on myself, I’ll still be sorting through my closet too. 
Tomorrow is the last post of this series. It’s a little bittersweet. I’m looking forward to being able to wear other clothes, but I’ll also miss knowing exactly what I’d wear every day. 
I’ve been asked what I’ll wear November 1st, and I really don’t know. If I wear what I’ve most missed this month, it would be pajamas. 🙂 
Before this post ends, I want to remind you to enter the ethical fashion giveaway! There will be four winners, so your chances are pretty good. I hope you win!
Also, I found out that eBay will only allow new sellers to list a certain number of items in each category, and I maxed out Women’s Clothing yesterday. They should really tell you these things beforehand, because I would have listed all the best stuff first! Anyway, I won’t be able to add the rest until I make some sales and receive positive feedback. I’ll let you know when I put up new items, but check out what’s up for auction right now. 
I’ll see you tomorrow! 

I Am Easily Pleased

I scratched yesterday’s post. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling like cuddling on the couch and watching Top Gear with my husband. We have a busy and stressful weekend ahead of us, and it was needed. Also, because we have a busy and stressful weekend, I am postponing the charity auction to Monday morning. Yesterday I spend hours writing up the descriptions of 17 of the auction items, and there’s about 30 more to do. So, I need to get through this weekend first and then I can fully devote my attention to the auction.

I also feel like telling you a story from earlier this week. We ran over to Target for a quick coffee creamer and eggs run after dinner a few days ago. From across the store, I saw the cutest trench coat. Instantly, a battle began in my head.

Source: target.com via Emily on Pinterest

Oooh, let’s go look at that trench coat! 
NO. Let’s not. We can’t buy anything this month, remember?
But we could just look at it!
What’s the point in that? I bet it’s not fair trade or made in the usa. 
But it’s CUTE. And trench coats are IN this fall. Plus, trench coats are classics, they never go out of style. It’d be worth it! 

Luckily for me, Brian distracted me with the ice cream section. I gave in to the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup ice cream bars and said no to looking at the trench coat.

Later, I thought about what had happened. The first thing I noticed since this month started is how often  I think about clothes. What’s in style, what’s my ideal style, what’s on Pinterest, what’s on sale, what’s at Target, what tee shirt I’m going to wear today…. to name a few. Even when shopping in the grocery section, my thoughts are on the clothes a few aisles away. When heading to a birthday party last week, I still wrestled with what I would wear, even with only four shirts to choose from!

Add to that all the thoughts I have about buying decor, or buying the stuff to DIY the decor. That equals a lot of thinking about buying, actually, almost constant.

Pinterest doesn’t help. Neither does having a Target within walking distance, and two thrift stores a short drive away. Or Christmas coming up. Really, I can find a lot of reasons to excuse the “I want” refrain running in the background of my mind.

It’s not all bad. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to buy curtains for the living room and a throw pillow for the couch. It’s probably not wrong to want a trench coat either (I’ll probably look for one at Goodwill or eBay). It’s the fact that wherever I go, I’m noticing what other people have or what they’re wearing, and my automatic, unconscious response is “I like that. I want that!”

One of the biggest insights I’ve had this month is just how materialistic and discontented I truly am. Either C.S. Lewis or John Calvin is quoted saying our hearts are idol factories. In The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis wrote:

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

If how we spend our days is how we spend our life, why do I waste my time thinking about what I’m going to wear?!

The time spent thinking about myself is so disproportionate to the amount I spend thinking about others.  I am far too easily pleased by playing around with the perfect accessories and outfits or dreaming about new additions to my wardrobe.

Maybe clothes aren’t as big of a deal to you. In your life, what you find yourself pleased with instead of God?

Read the rest of the series here.

Packing Light

There’s a perk to only wearing ten items of clothing: packing is super easy.

This weekend I’m heading up to a cabin by the lake for my church’s annual ladies’ retreat. I’m excited to  relax, take deep breaths of clean mountain air, make new friends, and just be still for a few days.

In years past, I made sure to pack my cutest clothes, accessories, and shoes for every conceivable occasion. I brought a bulging suitcase to a weekend in a mountain cabin. Looking at my puny bag for this year, I have to wonder, who did I think I needed to impress?

Well…everyone.

When I began wrestling with the idea of this challenge, the first thought that came to me was, “What will people think?” I worried that people would write me off as weird, radical, over-reacting, or self-righteous.

I thought about just not telling anybody I knew in real life what I was doing and just keeping it as a blog thing, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of raising awareness of human trafficking and mobilizing people to fight it.

A week before this series started, I had a moment of panic and thought about emailing all of my sponsors back, saying, “I can’t do this! People might think I’m weird!” I realized how ridiculous it sounded. But honestly, I’m still a little worried about what people will think of me when I show up to church wearing the same dress I wore the week before.

My need to impress runs deep. Packing for this weekend at the ladies retreat feels like ripping off a bandaid.

There’s going to be ladies there that I don’t know, and others that I don’t know well. I won’t be able to rely on an array of adorable outfits to make a good impression. Stripped of the option of people like me because of my cute clothes, I’m going to just have to be myself.

Honestly, that’s scary for me. I didn’t realize until this moment just how scary that is.

Technically with a 31 Day series, I’m supposed to blog every day, but I’m choosing to not post on Saturday and Sunday, to allow for some quiet and rest. So, that means I’ll let you know how it goes next Monday.

Pray for me?

Consumerism, It’s Time to Break Up

It started with a tension, a feeling that God was going to do something, soon. Then I read the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, which tore me up. Then two weeks in a row I heard sermons on James 1:27, which I talked about some in my post, the inconvenience of true religion. Then last night at youth group, what was the lesson about?

Money. The love of money, in fact. Talk about a gut check. We read and discussed these convicting passages:

Matthew 6:19-21
Luke 6:20
Acts 5:1-6
James 1:9-11

Matthew 6:19-21 really stood out to me:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Maybe you’re like me, thinking “I don’t love money that much.” Well, our lesson had a handy little quiz that shattered that illusion pretty fast.

  • If you had to give up all your stuff today, could you do it? 
  • If you lost or gave up all your stuff, how would it make you feel? 
And then the real kickers. On a scale from 1-6,
  • If you lost a twenty dollar bill, how upset would you be? 
  • When something newer and better comes out, how much do you want it?
  • How much do you feel success is determined by money?
  • How much do you depend on money?
  • How much do you like or enjoy having money?
My honest answers were not pretty. I couldn’t give up everything I had…I’d really want to keep my make up at least.  How much do I depend on money? I’d give it a 5. Let’s flip that question around, how much do I depend on God’s provision for me, verses depending on money? Probably a 2, if the amount I stress out over money is any evidence. How much do I like or enjoy having money? I enjoy seeing the numbers for my bank account go up. Shopping and buying stuff makes me happy, even if it is brief. So I honestly derive quite a bit of enjoyment from money, and that’s just sad. There are lasting, worthwhile, beneficial, and just plain better things to find joy in. 
This morning, I watched this video as the Bloom Book Club discussed chapter 3 of Seven. I thought it was crazy when Jen and her family were going to give away 7 things a day for a month for a total of 210 things, it sounded like a lot. But they ended up giving away more than one thousand, and not even missing them. 

Where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Something’s gotta change. I’ve got to change. Not just for simplicity’s sake. Not just for my peace of mind or to relieve my conscience. Not just because we’re moving to a smaller place.

We had a great discussion at youth group, and it’s interesting how much the teens, even as young as twelve, honestly admitted to loving money, even though most of them don’t have jobs or a steady income. I don’t want to see them getting sucked into the “I want it” and “I deserve it” consumerism mentality. If I’m going to be a good example to them, I’ve got to change.

I’ve got to break up with my stuff.

And I’ve got an idea. What if I fasted? For one month. Deprived myself to drive me to my only true satisfaction in life, my loving heavenly Father. Weaned away from false promises of joy, how would my life change? How would I change?

So I want to fast, not from food, or even from TV, like I have in the past. A clothing fast, in which I’ll wear ten items of clothing, and only ten, for one month. (Underwear doesn’t count though. There must be unlimited underwear!).

So that means something like three bottoms, four tops, a dress, a jacket, and a pair of shoes. No accessories. No scarves (gasp!). And no shopping.

And what will I gain? I hope that I’d gain insight into why I buy as many clothes as I do. What do I hope to get from them? Confidence? Happiness? Self-esteem? All of the above.

Deprived of the shopping crutch, I want to learn to lean on my Savior. 

I haven’t worked through the specifics yet, like what exactly I’ll wear, but I think October will be the perfect month for it. It will also be a great segway into sharing what I’ve learned about fair trade and ethically made clothing. 

I challenge you to ask yourself the quiz questions above. If the Holy Spirit convicts you in an area, I pray that you won’t try to drown out His voice. 

Lessons From Loneliness on Unveiled Wife

Yesterday I had the privilege of guest posting on one of my favorite marriage blogs, Unveiled Wife. Here’s just a snippet: 

“I’m so alone.”
Tears stung my eyes, and two drops escaped. I wiped them away, but they fell even faster.
Did that thought ever cross your mind after your marriage?
Did you ever feel alone, abandoned? 

I went from full classes, hallways, lecture halls, football games, Bible studies twice a week, bustling cafeterias, one on one discipling, college ministry, weekly activities, coffee dates, and hanging out with friends, all in addition to weekly church services… to online classes, knowing one family in the entire city, and once a week church services. I went from being immersed in community to near isolation.

Read the rest at Unveiled Wife! Happy Friday!

Loneliness and Vulnerability

Ever felt alone in a crowd? Ever felt alone in a crowd at church?

One of our biggest struggles since moving to Arizona for both Brian and me has been loneliness. Although we got plugged into an amazing church right away, and we made some great friends, we missed having friends around our age. We also realized it’s a lot harder to hang out when everyone has full-time jobs. Eventually, we adjusted, for the most part. I especially have had a hard time, because I was home doing school alone, and now that I’m graduated, I’m home doing work alone.

So when Brian suggested I listen to a sermon series by Chip Ingram from Living on the Edge about loneliness, I listened to it the very next day. I had bathrooms to clean anyway, since we have a house guest this weekend. Well, not really a guest. He owns the house, and he’s our landlord. Anyway, he’s here for the weekend working on putting the house on the market.

You would think that being a believer and having a relationship with Jesus should be enough to take away any loneliness, right? While that’s true in a way, Chip explained that we were created to desire relationships with others. In the Garden of Eden, Adam had perfect fellowship with God. And yet God said it was not good for man to be alone, and made a companion for him.

I don’t want to give it all away, but in part 2, Chip says there are two keys to curing loneliness:

  • Have a right perspective of church
  • Have a right perspective of relationships
Whoa. Hold up. I’m the one who has to change? The problem is with me
Sound familiar? It’s so easy to think that the problem is with everyone else. If only we lived closer to our friends. If only people at church were nicer to me. If only… etc. 
But if the problem is in my perspective, that means I’m the one who has to change. I’m the one who has to make the first move, and it might mean I have to be vulnerable. 
I’m not good at that. I like listening to other people’s problems. I like emphasizing with them. I like giving advice (aren’t we all?). But I’m not good at sharing what I’m going through, my internal struggles, or even good things, like what I’m learning spiritually. 
I highly recommend listening the two-part series, each segment lasts about half an hour. The perfect length to get some laundry folded or bathrooms cleaned! It’s called “Breaking Through Life’s Biggest Barriers: Overcoming Loneliness.” 
Let me know what you think!