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I grew up in a home that was, in my opinion, fairly balanced. My mom brought us to church and encouraged us to grow in our faith and pursue our dreams. My dad taught us how to survive in the real world with logical thinking…and to also pursue our dreams. Really, we were sheltered; our parents protected us from having to learn anything before we were truly ready to handle it. We all have the basics: respect others, trust your gut, don’t take candy from strangers. Some other lessons were learned: things you’ll be grounded for, how to respond if someone disagrees with you, getting up after a fall (physical or metaphorical). I’d say they did pretty great. But for some of the millions of questions I’ve asked over the years or the snotty arguments I created for the lack of answers, it was always the same: Krystin, you’ll understand one day when you’re older. BARF! As a young (read: stubborn) girl, that’s the last thing you want to hear. Growing up doesn’t come with a manual, but I think if it did, this would be the chapter called: “Damnit, They Were All Right.”

I can remember a few choice moments where that stupid answer was given to me that in hindsight was the right answer to give.

When I moved to Tennessee, I was prepared to take over the world. I moved in with my mentor and thought I had officially made it because a 27-year-old Artist Manager for one of the biggest names in the local singer-songwriter circle was letting a 20-year-old move into her space. I, of course, was young and dumb – out until 2 and 3 in the morning getting nachos (which is smart at midnight…SARCASM), driving to love circle to admire a city that didn’t know we were the rulers of, throwing dance parties at each others houses with cakes for a treat…because nothing says dance party like cake. I begged and begged my mentor to come hang with me and all my friends, knowing that her presence would add to my own coolness. Repeatedly, she would turn me down. “Krystin, one day when you’re older and have a big girl job, you’ll understand the importance of your own bed and will appreciate solitude.”  Never!

Nope, she was right. Here I am, 27, with a big girl job that begins at 7:30 each day and rearranging my evenings to know what I can and can’t handle when I have to be up so early. I’m not saying I always say no to people when they call, I certainly don’t…especially if it’s someone I truly enjoy. But I do cut myself off and send myself home.

Way back when I was 14, I was a freshman in love (read: obsessed) with a senior boy. Seriously, it was bad. It’s not one of my better seasons in life and, deny it all I want, it’s still part of my story. I prided myself on being the youngest person to be a part of one of our teacher’s “Backyard Club” – a group of HS students that would all go hang out at her house. (There’s a lesson on appropriateness somewhere in there, but we’ll save that for a later time.) I’d go over and spend time at her house knowing this boy would show up and hoping he’d realize by getting to know me how perfect we were for each other. As a starter on the football team, I’d get him good luck gifts that made his lockergirl jealous. I remember one time while out purchasing gifts for this boy, my ever-supportive mother asked me if I wanted to really be doing all this for him. “YES!” She let me know her actual thoughts on the situation and gave me some “advice” on self-respect and what actual relationships look like. She followed the rolling of my eyes with a “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand just what a gem you are and how you deserve to be treated.”  UGH!

…………she was right. That boy was a jerk and a royal one at that. It was pretty devastating to my ego and worse on my heart. I wish I could say he was the last jerk that I let into my world, but that would be a lie (one of those things I get grounded for). Let’s just not open the can of worms on emotionally unavailable boys I’ve fallen for since then and what that says about me. Ha! Suffice it to say it’s a lesson that I’m still learning – even to this day. People accept the love they think they deserve. That truth hurts just a little, right?

In June of 2004, I traveled with Young Life to Egmont, British Columbia, Canada for a week-long camp where I ended up truly meeting Jesus for the first time. Quick backstory, I’m a planner. I like to know the details before just jumping into things – at least for the most part. I had been dreaming of the University of Texas my whole life. It’s all I wanted. So here I am, in Canada, a singular week after receiving my HS diploma and I have a little conversation with Jesus about who’s better at making plans: me or Him. Duh. It’s me…wait…it’s not? Crap. It was there that my whole world flipped upside down and the dream I had always had for UT, which I was leaving for in just two short months, dissipated. So, I asked what should I do if my dreams don’t mean anything? “Krystin, one day when you’re older, you’ll understand that dreams can change.”  Blasphemy!

……………………………………………..I really do have a hard time admitting when I’m wrong, so doing it three times in one post is KILLING ME and, I digress. He was, and still is, right. See, if I’d gone to UT, I never would’ve come to Nashville. I wouldn’t have the friendships that I have today that are continuously shaping me into who I’m becoming. I’d never be able to tell you stories about getting a best friend out of Hootie and the Blowfish, or being on Kelly Clarkson’s guest list, or playing Dream Phone for hours on end because it’s the funniest thing you haven’t seen since you were ten. My life here isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for me. So, I don’t mind admitting that I was wrong on this one.

If you’ve found yourself here for one reason or another and are just so sick of hearing someone tell you “one day when you’re older,” know you’re not alone. But know, that the journey of learning you were wrong is probably going to be one of the best times of your life. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and forge ahead ready to be wrong again. If nothing else, you’ll have some hilariously embarrassing stories about yourself for the future.

Hi.

Remember me? Boy, have I got a LOT to fill you in on…

Since we last spoke – almost a year ago – everything has changed. And oh, do I mean everything.

Let me just see if I can give a brief recap of this year, at least: January and February were pretty normal. There was a boy that showed up, but that was done quicker than it would take for me to type out the details. Lots of planning for my church’s move and preparing for my second trip to Haiti.

March 2nd, I left for Port-au-Prince, armed with a single duffle bag (be proud, mom and dad, even though I left an ENTIRE BAG OF TOOLS…) and an editing copy of my brave best friend’s book. Let me tell you, unless you have a duffle bag chock full of kleenex, it’s NEVER a good idea to read about someone else’s journey in Haiti, while you’re on the way to Haiti, remembering some of your fondest memories of Haiti. All. The. Tears. My heart was already a little more on edge this go ’round as we weren’t going back to the same place we’d been before; I wasn’t going to be reunited with my little Louventa and I wasn’t happy about that. But I was very fortunate to have one of my funniest friends – Jami – along for this trip. The safety of having someone who can make anything seem better or more fun or more calm or more whatever you need it to be was a gift. The trip went great. It didn’t end up being even remotely close to the same experience…it was infinitely better. We built a house for a BEAUTIFUL woman named Kazi, a single mother of 5 and a new grandmother.
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55 years old and she looks younger than I do. Day 1 she takes me by the hand, leads me into her tarp house, sits me in a chair and hands me the most precious little boy – Stephen.
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I told her I was taking him home. She couldn’t speak english, but I know she understood that because she shook her finger at me! Kazi welcomed us into her family as we built her a sturdy home. It was hard work, but being able to go back to my room each night with some amazing friends and read more of my brave best friend’s journey helped me lead this trip better than I could’ve on my own.

I came back from the third world to an unbelievably frantic world. We were less than two weeks away from our relocation as a church. Our normal workload, combined with all the details of moving, on top of not even being sure the building would be ready was an exhausting combination. Oh, and Easter Sunday was the very next week…no big. ::sarcasm should be noted:: It was the blind leading the blind and hoping no one would see how truly tired, drained, and ready for some sense of normalcy we all were. Sometimes, I think I’m still trying to catch up on that lack of sleep. Another boy showed up in the midst of the chaos and what a great distraction! It’s so freeing to have someone you don’t have to pretend around, someone you just enjoy.

In April, I went back to Disney World for the first time in almost 10 years. It was twice as magical as I remembered.
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I really am glad that I got to go to the happiest place on earth for a little while. I had no idea that my world was going to be flipped on it’s head upon my return.

My time at Cross Point came to an end. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences I’ve had in my life and that hurt is something I’m still processing through. But everything in life is seasonal and if we quit anytime our feelings were hurt or our character misjudged, we wouldn’t be where we are today, right? So, we keep moving forward.

So what’s new?

I moved into a stunning little house in East Nashville, thanks to my good friends the Joneses. Every day, I go home and just feel at peace. This house truly is my sanctuary.

I made the tough decision to close out the chapter I’d been in with the new boy. It’s never an easy choice when you’ve invested so much in one person. But I’m holding onto truth – which told me it wasn’t going anywhere and I really didn’t want it to. Scary what taking a step back and looking at a situation with your eyes open will actually reveal.

Last week, I began a new job at a Children’s Home here in Nashville. I’m excited at what we’ll be able to accomplish for this state and for the kids we care for. Being able to be in a role where I can truly see the reward of my investment, where I get to live out Mark 9:37, is such a delight. And then finding out that my dad is on the board of a similar organization back home and we can walk through this together? So great.

Newness. All around. So thankful.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s been a minute.

In all fairness, I never said I’d be any good at this – and you can see that in the 30 day challenge that took me almost half a year to complete. But I will also say that I’ve wanted to put this out there for so long and have never had the courage to do so. Until now.

I just got off the phone with my amazing best friend. It was one of our semi-annual phone catch up dates (because I’m a horrible friend and am terrible at picking up the phone to call anyone…but at least I’m aware of it, right?). I always feel like she finds me right in the middle of my i’m-completely-overwhelmed-and-everything-is-458723984502978-times-more-dramatic-because-of-it moments, which I’m super sorry for but I also know she’d tell me to stop apologizing about it. I shared with her, as I always do, the truth of where I’m at. The truth is 2011 was a difficult year for me. I feel like I learned more, did more, saw more than I ever dreamed imaginable, but I did every bit of it fighting, kicking, and screaming. I’m finally feeling like I’m settling in and growing at my job – finding rest in the confidence and calling God has on me there – but now my personal life is falling apart. Almost like as soon as the sky stopped falling and all seemed right that now the bottom is falling out and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

After all of this…and quite a bit of my being emotional – which she is a saint to be able to dissect what I’m saying through the tears – Rachel responds by telling me a quote from Jon Acuff. That’s always what you want to hear. Christian satire when you’re feeling most vulnerable. Great. I half expected him to show up in my room with some sort of Jesus juke about how my life really isn’t all that bad, to which I’d agree…and would probably also laugh at. But instead of a joke, she shared something that hit me like a brick.

     We expect that God will only teach us lessons through our sufferings.

Whoa.

In that, I’m reminded of how extremely painful, yet beautiful sharing the journey of brokenness can be. I’m not good at vulnerability. In the moments when I feel weak, I run. I find a place where I can have my moment in complete solitude, then come back out ready for the next because, as always, the show must go on. In the times that I want to learn and grow and cultivate new friendships, I convince myself that I have enough friends and don’t need to invest with any others – knowing good and well that my bests are in Colorado, Texas, Florida and one has decided to walk away, which opens up wounds I can’t even begin to explain. And heaven forbid I’m shown any interest from a boy, I inevitably search for something wrong in him that I can then use to separate myself from him because I know if he got any closer, he’d see how unbelievably imperfect I am and would beat me to the punch of walking away.

I feel like I’ve been standing on the edge for the past few months. Looking across to what’s ahead – my goals, my dreams, my future – just knowing that there’s no way to get there. The longer I stand here, the bigger the chasm becomes until it’s just me in a constant state of being simply stuck. All of these are situations of being stuck I completely do to myself. Do I believe that God can use our suffering to teach us lessons? Yes. Do I think that’s the only place he does this? Absolutely not. I see his love for me with every sunset. I hear him speak words of life over me through the closest of friends, and even perfect strangers. I feel his hand of guidance during any time spent with my boss, co-workers and mentors. I make the lessons difficult. Not him.

2012 is going to be a year of refinement. A time to really see all the imperfections in my heart and life and a time to get rid of them. I know that it’s impossible to do alone, but this is still a work in progress.

So there it is. My honest confession that I’m not okay. I’m not fine. I am, indeed, broken.

…but Your love never fails…

Earlier this week, I read a great blog from Chad Missildine. In it, he dissected what he thought was the biggest mistake that single people make. (It’s being discontent, for the record.) I have to say that I agree. But since reading that, I’ve realized that we could take it one step further. So, I want to take a minute to unearth what single girls are doing wrong.

As girls – like it or not (and I don’t) – we analyze. There’s a step-by-step thought process to what we wear, who we’re spending time with, what we eat – and don’t forget the ‘why’ for all of this – and on and on and on. Relationships are a whole different story. Personally, my tendency is to assume the worst and really sabotage my friendships and relationships because I don’t feel like I deserve them (Lies). As I was thinking about a recent friendationship (you can have that one…it’s free), I realized something huge for me. Ladies and gentlemen, pay attention. I’m about to let you in on the big secret. Here we go…

Girls often confuse convenience with love.

Whoa…I know. Pump. Those. Brakes. Let’s dig in.

Tara-Leigh Cobble, a friend of mine and very talented writer, in her book
Here’s to Hindsight
had this to say:

“In my experience, the inherent problem with male-female friendships is this: girls tend to fall for familiarity, and guys tend to fall for mystery. As the girl gets to know her guy friend better and learns about his character, he becomes more and more attractive to her; meanwhile she becomes less mysterious and intriguing to him, and she slowly sinks into the quicksand of ‘Just-Friends Land’.”

Pretty smart, right? That about sums it up for me. I think we often get mixed up in thinking that just because there’s someone who cares for us that’s frequently around that there should be some sort of romanticism there. Definitely not the case. We need to stop settling for just “what’s around.” The amount of stories I’ve heard about girls (though I’ve seen guys do this, too) saying and doing whatever necessary to keep a relationship that they know is NEVER going to work, if they’re being honest, moving forward is appalling. We weren’t made for just okay. Especially not when God has our best interest at heart.

Yes, I believe there comes a point where discontentment is the issue. Our parents’ society set us up to believe that there is a formula for our lives: we go to school, then college, get a job, get married, start a family, keep working, spoil some grandkids, retire, the end. For so many years, I’ve been shooting for “what’s next” on the list of things to do in my life. The problem is our generation is waiting longer and longer to get married. It’s a conflict of interest; I’m not ready to even THINK about marriage, but I feel unfulfilled – like I’m missing out on something by being 25 and only casually dating.

I’ve lost count of how many times my friends and I have sat around talking about our guys friends and the thought “I just can’t read if he’s interested or not” comes in to play. Why do we feel the need to complicate these things? If the other person is interested, they’re going to let you know. It’s time to stop worrying about it and just enjoy each other. I know I’d rather just kick back and watch the game with my boys than wonder which one may or may not “like me”. No one likes confusion and games (and we’re getting a liiiiiiittle too old for them), so let’s just agree to stop playing them. Let’s enjoy this season of learning, growth, and independence and remember that, at the end of the day, what’s gonna happen will happen. Besides, the other secret is this: there’s no rush.

Just sayin’.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and dreaming. For most people, this is a very exciting process. For me? It takes a minute. Everything is internal. If there’s something on my mind, I can guarantee you I’m playing out the scenario and every possible option/outcome that may or may not happen just to prepare myself before I’ll allow anyone else to be a part of the decision…and usually, at that point, the decision has already been made.

I do realize the problem in that is we were created to be relational. Part of relationships is allowing people to see the parts of yourself that aren’t perfect. I’m not saying that I want or need to broadcast every bit of my life to everyone, but I think it’s only healthy to allow people to walk through life with you in an intimate way. I’ve got a bad habit of allowing people in to my life who will say and do things to make me feel good, but won’t call me out when I need it. Clearly, I can handle the rest on my own. (That was sarcasm, just incase you missed it.) I’m so fortunate that God has plopped some pretty influential women (mostly northerners, go figure) in my life who not only encourage me, but push me to be the best version of myself possible – and in that, it’s time that I get back to what’s on my heart: high school students.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I was abused as a child. It’s not a secret, but for the longest time I lived like it was. That pain, that damage caused me to do things that I regret and created a skewed and septic self-image that sometimes still is hard not to believe. But God, with all of his humor, has given me influence over High School students for years. It’s so funny to me that while I was one of them, I knew no one could ever know who I truly was and what I’d been through because I would end up having to eat lunch in the bathroom because of the shame. Yet now, the pain, the hurt, the confusion are all tools to show that God can take the ugliest and most disgusting things about ourselves and use them to show others how He can restore, renew and revive a life! It wasn’t until opening up to my girls in my parents’ living room two Christmases ago that I was truly able to be free…and let them know that they are not alone or solely defined by what has happened to them.

Recently at Cross Point, we introduced a song to our congregation. These are the words that consistently echo in my head:

He lavishes such love upon us. He calls us now His sons and daughters. He’s reaching out…

We each have a story. We each have a history. I’m not going to say that I would have ever asked for mine, but I also can’t imagine where I’d be without it. To be able to be used for good despite what has happened to me is the most overwhelming gift I could have ever received. I am so grateful.

I’m not easily intimidated. There are very few things that truly catch me off guard. I would say there are plenty of things I’m pretty confident about. That being said, it’s time for a little confession that may be a little shocking to you: I’m the most insecure person I know.

Just this week, I found myself very offended at not being included in what I’ve heard was an event no one should ever miss. I didn’t know how to respond to the countless pictures, videos, tweets and facebook posts that I couldn’t help but look at. But the more I looked, the more my heart broke…and the more I convinced myself that these people didn’t want me around. Two days later, a good buddy accused me of being “weird as hell”. I tried to laugh it off, but he was spot on.

Lately, I’ve noticed myself pushing people away. It’s not something I want to do, but if I feel like people are letting go, I try to beat them to the punch so I’m not the one left shattered on the floor. The problem is, that’s only hurting me in the end. See, somewhere along the line, I choose to agree with the lie that I’m never going to be enough; good enough, strong enough, pretty enough. It’s a crippling disease, this fear stuff. It’s costed me friendships, caused me countless heart breaks and has affected the way I work and the way the people I work with view me. When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s pretty difficult for anyone else to believe in you.

Every day is a battle in my mind, and most days it feels as if I’m losing the war. What I do know is that I can’t go on functioning this way.

I’m so thankful for the fact that His mercies aren’t just new in the mornings, but that they’re new even now. And now is the time for change. Now is the time that I tell my good friend insecurity that he’s over stayed his welcome. Now is the time to have a victory. The plans are rolling out and I’m excited for the chance to prove my worth…not to anyone else but myself.

when there’s nothing to believe in, I believe in you
forget the past and let My hand in yours be the proof
though the strong could be my company, you’re the one I choose
so, remember, I believe in you

I know it feels like every eye is watching you
waiting for you to fall, expecting you to lose
but I see victory, so all you have to do
is remember, I believe in you

there will come a day when Love will lift you out of here
there will come a day when Love will bring the truth
there will come a day when Love will free you from your fear
and you’ll remember: I believe in you

I believe even when I see you crying
I believe – let Me dream for you
when nothing comes from trying
remember: I believe in you

Last night was one of the most refreshing nights I’ve had in quite a while.

Tuesday started off with a bang, having set my alarm an hour earlier than normal so I could be awake to begin my morning on the phone with the post office about a missing package. After an hour of back and forth and an extremely awkward exchange with a very sassy postal woman, I leave for the office. The morning was chaotic, but Tuesday’s are our meeting days and usually are. My stress levels were off the charts – mainly due to the missing package – but I tend to do things better when I’m stressed since it helps me focus on something other than the problem at hand. Then my favorite part of Tuesday arrived – staff lunch.

Our senior pastor, Pete, is sharing, teaching and encouraging us right now about the different ways we can lead: upward, outward, inward and horizontal. Something he said really struck a chord with me and the thoughts I’ve been having lately. Pete reminded us that we have to invest in relational chemistry; that we have to invest in people if we want them to invest in us. I suck at this. No really. I’m awful. But last night reminded me just how important relational chemistry is.

I’ve been really struggling with my heart for a certain friend of mine. I don’t feel like she’s in a good place and I know that the things she’s saying aren’t lining up with the things she’s doing and it makes me want to run. I am very protective of the team I’m surrounded by and when I feel like someone poses a threat, I’ll be the first to stand up on the front lines to defend the people I love.

Yesterday, I spent my evening with a very lively young girl who has starting leading worship with our team recently. The minute she showed up she exclaimed “let’s go on a walk!” and so we did. Walking through my super cute neighborhood and hearing her heart and passion for people, our church and her faith just set me on fire. We came back to the house and shared our stories and talked about the difference in singing a worship song, leading worship and ushering people in to the throne room…the wisdom and heart she had just floored me. It was so refreshing. We went for another walk and talked more about our dreams and hopes and also about barbecue…but that’s another story. When it came time to leave, I realized what had just happened. I was able to sit there and hear her and then turn around to edify and encourage her the way my mentor always does with me.

The truth is – in the end – people are worth the investment. Even when the investment comes back null and void. Everything in life is seasonal, friendships included. But not investing in the people around us hurts more in the long run. I’m still trying to find this balance…and it’s not easy, but when I think about people who have invested in my life, it seems just wrong to not pay it forward.

(and just so you know, the package did show up and I was able to give it to the person it was for. i love giving gifts. especially really awesome gifts.)

So I found an old picture of me the other day. It’s probably my most favorite picture of myself I’ve ever found. Take a look:

I’ve been completely captivated by it. I keep looking at it with mixed emotions…I think she’s cute and all but it’s hard to not be jealous of her. Instead of letting all these thoughts just sit in my head, I decided to write her a letter.

Sweet girl,

Do you remember where this picture was taken? I do. I remember this day. Mom was still pregnant with Daryl and we were visiting Josh’s grandparents. We played on the swing set. If you look closely, you’ll see that your nose is running…which means you were playing just a little too hard. You always did. But that’s okay. Keep doing that.

You are going to have so much fun over the years. So many adventures, vacations and friendships that you are going to remember forever. But sadly, you have no idea the significance that this picture holds. Life isn’t going to be easy for you, sister. Everything is going to change for you, but keep that smile. You’ll need it.

You are going to do some amazing things…things that you never dreamed possible. You are going to make friends with amazing people who you can’t even imagine. Know that things change and friends will leave, but don’t take it personally. Everything in life is seasonal. You’re going to meet people who live life differently and believe differently than you. That’s okay. Everybody has to find their own way. Don’t treat people like they’re broken and you’re the only one who can fix them. That’s just silly, but keep that heart…you’re a helper and that’s going to come in handy. Don’t be devastated when things don’t work out…sometimes the way things happen (or don’t) is a blessing. God will save you from doing a lot of really stupid things over the years, but don’t regret a single step you take. That’s what this journey is all about. Keep pushing forward. Keep dreaming. You’re gonna be just fine.

Do me a favor and go hug tight on Granny & Poppi and Grandma Lottie & Papa Jim. Remember the way you feel in their arms. Eventually they won’t be there anymore…but you’ll remember their laughs, smiles and the way the made you feel…which is loved (and a little like a princess…which you are!). You and your brother will eventually be great friends (but he’ll still have that weird sense of humor…just laugh, it really is funny). Be a little nicer to your sister. She just wants to be like you. I know that seems silly and is a lot of pressure, but just oblige her. You both end up leading very different lives and wanting very different things…so it’s not a big deal to wear the same outfits and get the same presents. Besides, pretending to be twins and mannequins together will be some of the funniest memories you’ll have. Mom is really the best. She’s very wise, so don’t roll your eyes at her so much…she really does know what she’s talking about. Dad will be your best friend, but don’t deceive him. It never works and you end up just hating yourself for it.

When March of your 4th grade year comes along and that fateful day approaches that changes how you see yourself, remember that you are loved. I know what happens is so confusing, but when you start to doubt that your parents care, know that they’re doing the best they can. They’ve never dealt with this either. I promise people can’t see it all over your face, so don’t hide from them. Not everyone is so dark and cold. And as hard as it is, forgive him. He may have been old enough to know better, but he was hurt, too. You don’t have to love him or even like him, but you have to let it go. It’s not healthy to be this angry all the time…trust me, I know. And you may not believe it, but this horrible thing will be a catalyst to connect you to so many other girls.

You are loved, baby girl. Hold on to the good times. They really do far outweigh the bad ones. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. This world gets crazy, but it’s a beautiful place. Take lots of deep breaths and enjoy it. You only get to do this once!

Don’t you ever grow up,
Me

I woke up in a weird mood today. I’ve been feeling very burdened lately; everything just seems heavy. It’s causing me to see things in a light that I normally wouldn’t and also allowing me to be really honest with myself.

This past weekend I allowed a dear friend to see a very ugly side of my heart. I knew that if anyone could understand the whereabouts of my heart as of late, it would be her. It shouldn’t have surprised me in the least when she knew what I wanted to talk about…even called me out on it. Guess I’m not as mysterious as I’d like to think.

Matters of the heart are tricky. Everything turns into this big gray mess of blurry lines and sometimes it’s hard to figure out how you got to where you are. All I know is that the things I always thought would come easy are the most difficult things to deal with. It’s seems so easy to be just who I am and to allow people in to my story. But when people start reading a little deeper in to the chapters, I just want to snatch the book out of their hands and throw it back under the bed. I keep hearing people say that everybody wants to be known, but honestly, the feeling of being truly known just makes me want to vomit.

I could tangibly see the fear in my dear friend’s eyes as I invited her to see the brokenness I’ve created for myself. And just when I was getting ready to close the book, she allowed me to read a new chapter in her story, too. I realized then that her fear was that I was going through the very things she saw herself go through at my age. There wasn’t an ounce of judgement in her face or the tone in which she spoke to me; sincerity was all that flowed from her heart. And just like that, I decided to leave the book in her hands.

I believe that God puts us with people at just the right moment. My heart really is going on a path all its own and I really don’t like it. But I’m so thankful that I have an amazing friend who will walk beside me even when the chapters get messy.

I’m really not an emotional person. I’ve been through a lot in my life and have realized my capacity to handle heavy stuff is pretty great. However, when it comes to things that aren’t necessarily in my control – particularly relating to any kind of work (which I’ve talked about this struggle before) – I tend to be hypersensitive.

I work with a lot of really talented, really creative people. So having a job that is more administrative, I always feel a little out of the loop and like I can’t quite cut it. To make up for it, I overwork. I don’t do it because I want anyone to notice. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t do things to be the center of attention. I do this because I want to prove to myself that I can hustle just as hard as anyone else and that my time and efforts do make a difference to our team. I want to feel more like I belong with our team. (sidenote: no one, and I mean NO ONE, has ever not made me feel a part of the team…I’m simply stating the administrative vs. creative battle in my own head.)

I think the enemy’s best trick with me is causing me to doubt my worth and ability. No, I may never be able to write a song. True, we will probably never use any graphic I design for a logo or series. But what I’m learning is that just because I don’t hustle in that way doesn’t make what I do any less of a baller job.

Someone has to have a vision for the lobby. Someone has to make sure that people are at the right place, at the right time. Someone has to be on the front lines to make sure the rest of the teams have the tools they need to get their hustle on. So no, I may not be a creative…but when you’re trying squeeze in extra appointments to an already busy schedule, you get creative. I may not be the ultimate hustler…but when you have a last-minute change to a plan and you only have 10 minutes to add in an extra element, you turn your hustle on stun. I’m definitely not the flyest person I know…but when you’re in charge of a team that welcomes in thousands of guests and want to do it in a way that keeps them coming back, you must have the right amount of swag.

I fully believe the God blessed me with this job because it’s well within my giftedness. There’s a lot that I learn on a daily basis and there’s a lot of room for growth, but at the same time, I know my idols are Success and Work. I have to be extra careful to not let my personal gifts – hospitality, planning, organizing – get lost in my job title. Who I am is so woven in to what I do, which is what makes the battle so hard and causes me to not ever be able to ‘shut it off.’

I have a great buddy who tells me on at least weekly – but usually more often – basis that I am loved for who I am and not what I do. At first, especially read in conjunction with the whole ‘who I am is so woven in to what I do’ bit, I found that to be a little insulting. But the more he says it, the more I really try to believe it, specifically in the moments where I start to feel like I’m not enough.

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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