Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The One With Perfection Anxiety

I have a bad habit of writing a post, editing it, picking over the words, and...

letting it sit. 

I don't know why I don't post those words. It's probably some kind of stage fright, but for writers.

I think I'm maybe a bit overwhelmed at possibility. I want to do something big. I want to reach for the stars, and make things that make a difference. I want to put my words out in the universe and see them take root and grow. I want to look back at my life in ten years, and see the formation of a new person. My words are my clay, and they are a holy experience.

I am supposed to write.

I'm not one for habits, but I have always been writing. There's a fuzzy rainbow journal that is buried in my room back in North Carolina (MOM DON'T READ IT.) Each year or so, I write a recap of my life, for myself. I distinctly remember one entry talking about how my brother was eight and that eight feels so old. (I said, as a thirteen year old) I also talked about The Bachelor finale, a show that I definitely was not allowed to watch. Ha.

I could also attribute this strange anxiety to a weird perfectionist streak that I have with my words. I'm constantly re-working, constantly re-reading, and tweaking.

No more.

I'm making the commitment to leap, to jump at new opportunities, and to write.

I am making the promise to myself and to you, dear readers, to press publish, even when I'm not finished, even when my work is not perfect, even when there is more to say. There will always be more to say, and there will always be more room.

Until later,


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Late to the party: V Day

So I wrote this last week, but it sat in my drafts, all lonely and (accidentally) forgotten. I share it with you today.

Ahh, Valentine's Day. If you're in a relationship, congrats. You've got yourself a date. If not,

Maybe next year?

You're still beautiful!

I can't understand why.

Give your heart to Jesus and he'll give you someone great.

Who needs a relationship?

Enjoy being single while you can.

The fundamental flaw in our relationship-obsessed society is the assumption that by  not being Facebook Official (do people even do that anymore?) you are missing some part of you, like a limb. 

A relationship is not a solution. In fact, I'd propose (get it?) that a Boy or a Girl telling you that you are valuable and beautiful and loved should be a confirmation of what you already know. 

I am not more single today than I was yesterday. Even further, being in a relationship will not mean that I am loved more than I was before, it will mean that I am loved by another person.

All that being said, sitting in a restaurant on Valentine's, drinking my coffee with just me and my thoughts as I have done many times, somehow left me feeling more alone than before. 

I tend to live in a little boat in a great big ocean of feelings. When I'm happy, I'm on top of the world, and when I dip low, I'm low. Just like an ocean, those emotions can change within minutes.

One moment I'm sitting there feeling sorry for myself, the next, I'm about to burst into tears, the next, I realize how silly I'm being, then I climb up to anger at how society often emphasizes romantic love as the only love that matters, and then I rise even further, knowing that today is not my future, today is no different than any other day, and damn, I have a lot of awesome friends. 

My cousin Rachel made bacon roses for her husband, and told me my eyeliner was pretty (read: she's awesome) my friend Chelsea is gentle and loves fiercely. My friend Ginger is multi-talented and fun and nerdy, my friend Candace is brilliant and dreams big, my friend Jonas is curious and loves pushing boundaries. There's Sam who is funny and crazy passionate, Angela who is quirky and graceful, Nagela who is a breath of fresh air, Christina who is kind and insightful.

These people love me, and I love them. 

A relationship does not fix something that is broken; a long term relationship is not the answer to insecurity. Emotional baggage does not go away when you hand it to another person for safekeeping. 

When you hand your fears and troubles to your partner, you make that person your idol. When they trip and fall, (and they will) your baggage will still be there, laying on the ground. 

I could end this with a poetic punch about how you should leave your insecurities with Jesus, but I hope you already know that. I could also end this with a cute little bit about how Jesus Is My Forever Valentine, but I'll spare you. 

I will, however, leave you with this: I am confident, I am passionate, I am intelligent, and I still struggle. Singleness is it's own special gift, and it's own unique burden, one that I am bearing with some modicum of grace, I hope. If that changes, I'll let you know, but for now, I'm happy with where I'm at, for better or for worse. 

I'm my own freaking valentine, and that's okay with me. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The One Where I Lay Down My Sword. Alternate title: Let It Be

I am a bit of a dragon slayer. Fighting is all fine and dandy, until my hair gets singed and my arm is broken, and the person whose dragon I'm fighting comes over to ask for their sword back. 

I am a slayer of other people's dragons. I love and protect fiercely, which are good qualities; fighting someone else's battles and taking on their burdens are not. I always wind up limping, and my friends never truly revel in their conquest and heal... Their dragon has been killed by someone else. 

Paul McCartney wrote Let It Be in 1970, yet his words resonate today. These are my words of wisdom: Let it be.

Each day I am learning (through trial and error, I assure you) to lay down the burdens and battles that I pick up for those I love. I am learning to place my sword at the foot of the throne and step back into the bleachers.

 I will be there when you're done, hell, I'll be there alongside you, but that battle is all yours. I do you no favors when I climb to the top of your impossible mountains. 

I curl up in the throne of my Father, and he helps me with my singed hair. There are battles and burdens I must conquer, but they are mine to fight, mine to win, mine to let go.

Let it be.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A prayer.

I am wrapping my hopes and wishes in paper. I am tying them with soft, silky ribbon, and placing those dreams on the altar. A glass bubble of a heart, protected only by a material that is somehow more delicate. One misplaced breath and they shatter to the ground.
That's the point of wishes, though. See? Plans for a future, dreams and fantasy, swirling together under a glass shell of hope. I leave them at the altar, in the palms of the author, whose gentleness exceeds any that I might have dared imagine, whose strength is so great, we have not seen the beginning.
Creator of the stars, I lay my heavy burdens at your feet, baggage worn and tired, covered in sweat and tears and fingerpaint, a vain attempt to disguise my troubles.
I beg you to take it all, those burdens I gladly drag with me, and the lightness of my hope, weighted far heavier with possibility than substance.
I am on my knees, surrendering all. You roar like a lion with majesty, and whisper like a flower, perfect and beautiful and vibrant.
I trust you with my all, I give you what is yours, and all that I believed I once had. The things you wish to show me, may they be seen, the wishes you have placed in my heart, may they come about, the future you have written, may it begin.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I didn’t set specific resolutions this year. There are already elements of my life that I am in the process of making new; adding a list of things to my already changing universe seems kind of pointless. I am already in the middle of a transformation.

Seasons change, and I now have a good part of my life moved out of the old season. Physically, it's all packed up in boxes, emotionally, it comes in waves. I know that this season is one of strength. Growth, but strength. My goal for this year and also just the goal for my future, is to write. Write about what I love, write about the person I am and the person I was, write about where I've been and where I'm going.

This new season more than any other has given me a craving to explore. I want to pack my bag and my boots and disappear to Ireland for a week, collecting stories and sweaters. I want to jump across the country, and say hello to some people. I want to decorate myself with henna for an Indian wedding, and I want to drink wine and look at the stars from a vineyard in Italy. I don't know when I turned into an Elizabeth Gilbert wannabe... All I know is that somewhere inside both of us is the same material, that craving to travel.

Then again, perhaps the reason I have the urge to go is because I can finally stay. I live in New York City, I pay rent and utilities and internet; I have a job and I have insurance, I have friends, and I consciously make the decision to eat more vegetables because I know that I will feel better when I do.

Give me uncertainty and emotional turmoil, and I will shut down. Give me security and peace and a place that I love, and my soul will soar, begging my body to follow.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

On earth as it is in heaven

This afternoon, I attended the wedding of a dear friend. Jeremy and I met on twitter a couple of years ago, and he has been like a brother to me. Today, he married his  person

I sat there in the ceremony, humbled and excited by the event taking place, because I could so clearly see the Kingdom of God in front of me. 

There were multiple traditions represented, and there was a wide open spectrum of people-family- there to support and protect and pray. We were all one in Christ, no one was on her side or his, no denomination or color or gender. The stone archways of the church sang and candles flickered with joy, crying in unison: his is a holy moment. 

The bride and the groom were both walked down the aisle by their families, and guests were encouraged to sit where they liked. The message was made clear: this is a celebration of family.

Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing— it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out. Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold— it’s not to be found in the marketplace.  (Song of Solomon 8:6-8 MSG)

I think there's a reason that the Bible uses so many wedding metaphors. A wedding is designed to be a joyful ceremony, of two becoming one, and their families coming alongside to support and encourage. These families are not simply parents or cousins, these families are the community which surround and help and love. 

I was invited to become a part of that community; to witness two people laugh and cry as they chose each other as partner and spouse and friend, as they promised to love and comfort and support and cherish. 

It is this love, the love of God for us, that moves mountains and that once hung the stars in their galaxies. It is a quiet whisper, a great roar, a love made of grand gestures and deep intimacy. It is hope, is is breath, it is the gospel, that God so loved the world that he have his only son that we might all receive an everlasting and abundant life. 

Selah, amen. 

Pause, think, so be it. 

Congrats, J&J! Thank you for letting me celebrate with you on your special day. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Something new.

I take a breath and light a candle. 

I revel in the freedom and clarity that Christ has given me. 

Light filters down the steps of my fire escape.

Cold chills swirl on the street below, nipping at ankles and grinning as they run away.

It is the end of a year, one laden with heartbreak and promise, tears from sadness, of laughter and joy. I can say with certainty that I am sad to see this past year go, and equally excited with the hope of what tomorrow brings.

This past year was so messy and it was so, so beautiful. At the end of 2013, I am left with the wise words of Paul, words becoming a part of my foundation like ivy, climbing through the cracks of broken cement.

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (2 Cor 12:9)

At some point, I allowed my identity to be found in the things that I could do. It shouldn't have been there; it was a lie that I let take root and grow: your value is in what you do. People will like you if you help them. I set up friendships based off of what I could give, instead of love for the simple reason of love. I allowed insecurities dictate my actions and choices, I allowed lies that were whispered in my ear to take hold, and ignite worry and shame and fear. 

God is blowing out those flames, and lighting a new candle. A new candle that smells of mint and hope. I am reveling in grace, grace given and never taken away; a grace that has nothing to do with, and everything to do with meThis grace is the sun, whereas I thought of grace as person, loving, but limited. I believe in the sun when it is not shining. The sun is always there, always glowing, always burning, even in the darkest of places, when we think we have lost all light.

There is nothing that I can do that will separate me from God, and in the same stream, there is nothing that I can do that will make God love me more. His love knows no limits, which means there was no beginning, and there is no end. His love is ever present and unchanging. I forgot that. 

This upcoming year will begin something new.