Taking a step back…

We need only to log into our Facebook and Instagram accounts to join the fun of people watching. But after some thought I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how entertaining people watching can be…it can ultimately lead to discontentment. It can lead to questioning our own journey and comparing our lives to those who we find are doing better than we are. I’m not discounting that FB and IG are good places to connect, to share milestones, to celebrate life, love and happiness, but I do think there is a point when social media can become too much. Social media is a platform used by many and each person has their own intentions and motivations but even good things can become tainted. And if we are honest with ourselves we can tell when we need to take a step back from those platforms. Some of the common indicators that I’ve seen firsthand is the feeling that one’s life isn’t exciting enough, or that our own accomplishments aren’t good enough. We start to second guess the blessings that are all over our lives due to the fact that our blessings don’t look like those belonging to someone else. Sometimes it is good to take a break from social media; to be reminded of our blessings both small and large, and to fall in love with our journey and our walk regardless of what other people may be experiencing. My prayer is that when we choose to take a step back from the world and take a good look around that we will be quickly reminded of how present God has been in our own lives.

My life may never look like the well-manicured lives of those portrayed on social media and that is OK. My life was never meant to be a carbon copy but to be my own; original, full of twists and turns, overflowing with love, light and God’s direction.

Let those walls come down…

Someone recently commented that I was different from the person they originally met last year and I considered her comment for a moment and honestly all I could say was “I don’t know who I was back then but I’m not her anymore.” I count it a blessing to be able to grow and mature as I continue this journey with Christ. I am not perfect and I pray that I continue to become a better me but I am so thankful that even though I am not where I want to be God chooses to use me.

One of today’s many lessons: God wants to use us in every area of our lives. There is no part of me that He should be withheld from and honestly that can be hard. I have had some relationships that were truly one sided and only served the interests of the other party and upon realizing the truth those relationships had to end. Even though those people were no longer active in my life that part of me was left scarred. After it was all said and done I unconsciously guarded myself against further harm by essentially not being open to new relationships. This was a “great” idea at the time but in doing so I actually kept God from healing my brokenness. I often need to be reminded that God can and will heal my brokenness and make me whole again IF I allow Him to. So regardless of past relationships that have subsequently left me hurt and have caused me to put up walls time and time again I am choosing to allow God to use those area of my life for His glory.

With all of that being said I believe that God allows me to meet new people for a reason. Some relationships last for years and others may only last for a few minutes. The direction that these relationships go in is up to those involved but I’ve learned that when I decide to look past my self interest and seek God for direction He has a beautiful way of revealing things to me. I used to wonder why people were so open when they shared with me and I believe that part of this interaction is God’s way of giving me their prayer requests…all without me having to ask. Once given this information it is up to me to be intentional about taking those prayers up to Him. Though I may be apprehensive at first when it comes to meeting new people I believe that God has a greater purpose than I can ever imagine and He won’t lead me where He hasn’t already prepared a way. I place my trust in His direction.

Cheers to making new friends and forever maturing into the Queen/King God created you to be.

Be blessed.

Learning as I go…

Sometimes our focus is so narrow that we can’t see or appreciate the bumps along the journey for what they are. For me, they are life lessons designed to slow me down and redirect me to the source; God. Honestly, the bumps that I encounter don’t feel good but I believe in those moments God is bringing me back to a place where I can reflect on what my motives are. Are all of my efforts for my personal glory or for God?

As I sit here writing I recall one of my recent bumps—not feeling like my photography was “good enough”. In that moment I forgot that my talents and my gifts are to bring God glory. In that moment I wasn’t meditating on the fact it is God who placed this gift within me. All I could seem to do in that moment was compare myself to others. But God didn’t allow me to stay in my pity party for long. I was reminded that it is God who makes these wonderful opportunities available for me and He wouldn’t place me where I am today if He thought that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I realize now that I am my worst critic and I am a lot harder on myself and a lot more critical of my work than others—which is both a GOOD (pushes me to get better and learn more) and a BAD (negative evaluations of my own work which causes an increase in stress and anxiety of how I will perform) thing.

My goal is to put God in the forefront. To remind myself daily why I started and why I need to keep on going. My goal is to share the beauty of God’s creation with the world and I hope that you’ll journey with me as I travel along this thing called life.

There is joy in the journey

For the first time in a long time I can actually say that I have found joy. Not because things are all in order or because I have all that I could ever desire. I also can’t say that my joy stems from any physical thing that I now have in my possession.

No, my joy is from the secret that I’ve found that makes being content with the little and the plenty so much easier.

What’s the secret? I stopped running and have surrendered to the will of God. I finally stopped wrestling with God. I stopped doing things my own way, on my own conditions. Daily I am overwhelmed with his unfailing love, His grace and His mercy. He is the source of my joy and my contentment.

He has and always will be the keeper of my heart and I am so thankful that even as I ran from His love, He never stopped pursuing me.