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 noticing a trend in my life lately. I think it’s safe to say that I’m smack dab in the middle of a personal rebrand. Call it selfishness, call it wisdom. Call it whatever you like…I just know there’s something different going on.

At 25, I’ve ventured off in a direction I never could have imagined when I first moved to Nashville. If I were doing what I had initially set out to do, I would be living in East Nashville, working at a management firm (preferably Red Light), have about 3 artists and be traveling all over the world. God is pretty funny about things like this, though. Now, I’m working at a great church, living in a house with 5 girls, and nowhere near involved in the music industry. I wouldn’t say so much that I gave up on my dreams, but that my dreams changed.

I have the most amazing friends who are absolute rock stars. I love hearing their stories from the road. But I wouldn’t trade my life for theirs any day. I’m not a gypsy, I’m a homebody. I love knowing that at the end of the day, I know exactly where I’m gonna lay my head. I love that I know almost down to a ‘t’ what my schedule is going to be like on any given day. I mean, I LOVE having a set schedule. I’m all about spontaneity, don’t get me wrong. I love jumping in the car and driving to wherever I might feel like going at that exact minute. I’m just learning to appreciate the art of planning trips and rendezvous’.

I’ve always been a spoiler. I’ve been known to give until I can’t give anymore…and a lot of times, I’m still that way, but I’m starting to see me use my time and funds on…wait for it, this one’s big…me. It’s a really crazy concept. But I think that is part of the balance. I like being able to go out and buy things that are a little bit selfish; sunglasses, kicks (which seriously is becoming my go-to), clothes. I’m also starting to notice that when invited to things, I know what my answer is going to be when I know how many people are going to be there. My rock star best friend once told me that everyone has a quarter sized circle of friends that can fit about 5-10 (at the very most) names in it. Those are the people who you’re truly walking through life with…really investing with. Then you have a half-dollar sized circle where there’s another 20-25 names – friends you can hang with and be just fine knowing them on a slightly deeper than surface level. Then, there’s everybody else. As a people-pleaser, it is so very necessary for me to not just know, but practice this balance. I’m blessed with friends that continue to invite and invest with me who know that there are plenty of times where I say ‘no’ to things.

I’m nowhere near done with change. Like I said, I’m smack dab in the middle of this rebrand. The question is, will I be able to find the balance between who I’ve been and who I’m becoming?

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.

I am almost one week in to my 25th year of life and it has been met with a lot of excitement. I don’t think it would be far-fetched to say that there’s been a lot of confusion as well.

I’m learning more and more everyday how all the things I never thought I would say and do are the very things I’m starting to say and do. Not even just those things you say as a kid “I’ll never do this the way my parents did…” I’m talking about 21 year old self wouldn’t recognize me. I lived with my mentor for a year and was very selfish for any time that I could spend with her, so I always invited her everywhere…knowing one day she would cave and go do whatever it was that I had invited her to do. Sometimes, she did. Most times, she did not. Keep in mind, however, that I would invite her to go to a movie that started at 10:45 or to go paint the town red, but we weren’t leaving the house til 10:30 or whatever other activities kids create to be out at 1, 2 or 3 in the morning. One time in particular, when she (as always) very politely said no, she concluded with “one day, you’ll have a big girl job and will value your personal time, space and sleep.” I thought she was crazy.

Here I am, a mere 4 years later, realizing the deep value in her words. I have a steady job. I have a fairly steady schedule. I know what time I need to be in bed in order to not be a train wreck the next day. I still say and do a lot of very stupid things, but this is still a journey.

In turning 25, I’ve had to say one thing over and over and over to myself that almost seems ridiculous, but has been a lifeline:

Krystin, you’re not 21 anymore…

21 year old me was young and could care less about anyone around her. Everything revolved around her and she had to be the center of attention. 21 year old me was as arrogant as they come. She was horrible with her money and irresponsible beyond reason. 21 year old me had something to prove, but not sure who she was trying to prove herself to. She knew she was better than everyone else around her…because a few people told her she was great…but the truth is she was just like every other 21 year old.

I thank God, every day, that he allowed me the great blessing of having my world wrecked so that I could see just how big of a fool I had become. I know plenty of people who are either “21” or “stuck at 21” and it causes me to be very wary of not only who I surround myself with, but also to be more sensitive to the things the people around me are saying or doing. I hear the very wise words of my mom saying to me “be careful what you say and do, baby girl…out the mouth is the overflow of your heart.”

so i’m thinking over the things that you’ve said…

Every now and again you just have a day. There’s not a single adjective appropriate enough to describe it…it’s just a day. That’s what today was for me.

If you ask anyone who knows me well enough, they’ll tell you I’m a performer. I always feel the need to be on my game and usually will work myself tirelessly to get a job done; whatever it takes. So, when these ‘days’ come along, it really throws me for a loop. As a performer, the worst thing possible is to be disappointing. The deepest wounds in my life surface anytime I feel like I’ve disappointed someone. ‘You should just quit while you’re ahead’. ‘No one here likes you anyway’. ‘You’re not good enough’. ‘You’ll never be good enough’. ‘You’re unworthy of this’. ‘You’re damaged…useless…disgusting…’ How does the enemy do that? How does he take just one little thing and turn our world upside down? Why do we continue to listen to the lies and believe them? He came to steal, kill, and destroy and he’s so good at it! In those moments where he is stealing my joy, killing my heart, and destroying my world, I choose to listen to the still small whispers from the One who says I’ve never been unloved and who I am is enough.

I’m learning each day that just because something is said doesn’t make it true. I can’t control what people are going to think or say about me, but I can control how I react to it or how it affects me. There are things that aren’t perfect in my life. I’ve overcome some amazing and terrible things in my short 24 (almost 25!) years. But these things don’t define who I’m becoming…they show me what can’t and won’t stop me.

Don’t listen to the lies.

I love going home. It’s so great to be around my friends and family and to have no pretenses. It’s not like I could pretend anyway…these people have known me my whole life. But good GRIEF is it exhausting. There’s a constant battle that anyone who lives far away from ‘home’ must endure: friends + family / time = vacation. There never seems to be enough time to spend with the people I want to spend time with. It’s also rare to just go home…usually, there’s an agenda involved and that totally kills any and all practicality in planning visits. Case in point: my parents decided to have a little birthday party for me while I was home. My dad grilled, which is my favorite. They got red velvet cake, also my favorite. My family was over…it was a sweet time….for the hour and a half that I was there. 1 burger, no cake, 2 presents, 30 minutes in the pool later, I was out the door and on to my next gig. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Don’t get me wrong. I was there for a purpose. My sweet sister Marci got married. I was so honored that she asked me to be a part of it. It’s amazing to see how God brings people together…Marci and Travis are no exception. To be a part of their day, and to be called to hold them accountable in their marriage is one of my greatest honors. I don’t feel like I got to participate in that process as much as I wanted either. Taking time off from work is difficult when your job circles around one specific day. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I get stressed when I’m away from it for more than two days. I missed out on bridal shower and bachelorette party, which was a bummer – and also not like me. I’m an all-in kind of girl, so just doing things in halfsies sort of way really makes my skin crawl. I came back from this weekend saying ‘I need a vacation from my vacation’…and I hate that.

Here’s the thing. We live in a day and age where we over-commit ourselves on an almost daily basis. I’m probably the most guilty of this of anyone I know. But there has to be a better way to find balance.

How do you do all things you need to do or have to do and still find time for just you and what you want to do?

You can ask anyone that knows me well enough, and they’ll tell you that I’m the worst at keeping in touch. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve been silent for a few months. Lots to say, just not the best forum for a late night post. I can be pretty dramatic when it comes to words on a page.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could dialogue about my life and journey here in Tennessee. Something that would be accessible to my family, since I never pick up the phone…see also: worst at keeping in touch. I still don’t think I’ll ever keep it going every day, but here goes…

I’ve been serving on staff at Cross Point for 8 months now (which doesn’t seem possible) and love it just as much as I did on day 1. At times, I feel completely inadequate and unworthy, but those are the times when the amazing staff I serve with remind me that God doesn’t call the equipped. I can’t remember what my life was like before this amazing family came into my life, and I know that I couldn’t do this life without them. So many new friends have been brought into my life and I’m so thankful for them.

I’m going back to Texas this weekend for a wedding for my dear friend, Marci. I’m honored to be a part of her and Travis’ day. Going home is painfully exhausting, though, and I always wish there were about 7 of me to divide up between my family and friends. I’ve yet to travel home and make everyone happy. If you have any secrets, I’d love to know ’em.

I’m so excited and will be 100% selfish of the time I’ll be spending with my family. If you didn’t know, my parents are pretty fantastic. I can’t wait to see our new house…er, their new house…I think we’ve reached that point where my parents have grown up and are finally living their lives. And they are SO much cooler than I am. Seriously though, my parents go to more concerts than I do and I live in Music City! I love them!

At what point do our parents start living life better than we do?

I want to go back to the importance of our words.

If I close my eyes tightly enough and really try to drown out the noise, I can almost hear my mom saying ‘baby girl, watch your words…God doesn’t want you to be a liar.’ Right now, that is repeating in my mind over and over again.

I’ve spent a good while thinking over the things that I’ve said…specifically analyzing my thoughts on a boy. What I said from the start wasn’t that I loved him, or even liked him – but that I enjoyed him and wanted to know him more. I never wanted anything more than an answer from him, one way or another, and I would be fine. Monday, I got that answer…and it wasn’t in my favor. I handled it really well. So well, actually that I thought I should try to make myself cry about it because of my all-around indifference to it. I was just what I had said I wanted to be: fine. But in this moment, deja vu struck and I realized that I had been in this situation before. I dove in to some of my old journals. As I flipped through the pages, I found myself short of breath and barely able to blink.

Here’s an excerpt:

I am a mistress.
No, not like that. Let me explain.

I will do anything to take care of the guy that I truly care about. I’ll feed him. I’ll make creative gifts for him. I’ll take him shopping to show him what looks best on him. I’ll send him little notes with gift cards. I’ll help him when he needs help at his house. I’ll take care of his friends and make sure they feel welcome when they come to town. I’ll bring him soup when he’s sick and rub his back after a bad day. I’ll show up at his work with his favorite treat for no reason at all. I’ll do everything in my power to keep a smile on his face. In doing this, I’ve found that the guy usually gets used to it and, in turn, becomes needful of my time and attention which I, of course, am more than willing to give. He starts to turn to me for advice or to call me when new things are happening in his life that he’s excited about. I start to feel comfortable with the casual flirting and the back and forth of it all when…it happens.

I get the call.
The one that brings me to my knees.
He’s in love.
But not with me.
Yet, he still wants me in his life.

I’m the mistress. I’m the woman he needs, but not the woman he wants.

This was from a previous “friendationship” and was a lot more damaging, but the situation was familiar and the sad truth is that I was completely okay with living like this. This current boy’s “no” did not break my heart. Not in the least. But it was the catalyst I needed to see the underlying truth woven in these words…and it has shattered my world.

My best friend came to the office yesterday and I told her about what’s been going on in my life…I tend to bottle up my emotions and problems and push them to the side so I don’t have to deal with them. In sharing these issues, I finally was honest with her and myself about how scared and insecure I’m feeling lately. I’m coming to terms with my childhood and the root of all of my fears…and it’s a scary little world to reside in. I’m realizing how I am so scared to let anyone too close because they’ll see me as damaged goods and run for the hills.

His “no” didn’t break my heart. My brokenness did.

I’m realizing just what it means to truly forgive. And the truth is I can’t do it on my own. Just like Eustace in ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ – when he turns into a dragon and Aslan has to tear off the layers of scales with his claws – this is a painful, painful process…but it’s necessary. This is where it stops: the anger, the hurt, the fear.

This boy’s “no” is bringing me one step closer to victory. And for that, I’m forever thankful.

There has to be a reason why I’m standing here
the water’s getting higher but I’m fighting fear
cause I can be still in the middle of a storm

There had to be a breaking for my heart to change
the winds have blown against me, but I’ve learned to stay
cause I can be still in the middle of a storm

You give me peace to rest my soul
inside this hurricane that blows
and I will anchor in the harbor of your love
Within my weakness you are strong
to stand against the rain that comes
you give me peace to be still
in the middle of a storm

I’ll sail into the gentle waters of your heart
I’ll rest within the haven of your open arms
I know where to be still in the middle of a storm
yes, I know where to be still in the middle of a storm

You give me peace to rest my soul
inside this hurricane that blows
and I will anchor in the harbor of your love
Within my weakness you are strong
to stand against the rain that comes
you give me peace to be still
in the middle of a storm

You give me peace…

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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