Love is a Choice

Love. We all want to feel loved. We want that feeling of joy and acceptance when someone else chooses us and wants to spend time with us. We want the tingles and the goosebumps of new love. We want the steadiness and the consistency of old love. We want love to be easy. We want to wake up in the morning and FEEL loved. It is one thing to FEEL loved, but it is another thing to KNOW you are loved. I KNOW, in my head, God loves me. I have been told it over and over and over since the day I was born. But, sometimes, I don’t FEEL loved. Things happen in life that cause me to FEEL unloved and forgotten.

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The Process of Living Loved

Normally, I approach these topics by revealing how I have overcome something that once hindered me. I am transparent, but only in showing where I have come from, more so than, where I am at currently. But, when I finally got myself to sit down and think on what it means to “live loved” I was stumped. I tried to think of an instance where I fully stepped into who I am, believing in God’s will for my life and who HE has called me to be. The issue is I am bad at receiving. When it comes to being drenched in the love of Christ, I am like the driest desert you can think of amidst the first rainfall it’s ever experienced.

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It’s Time to Truly Love Yourself

Feeling loved is one of life’s greatest accomplishments. Whether it’s from a family member, friend or a significant other, love is the one thing that keeps the world spinning. Finding the strength within your heart to give your love to others can oftentimes be too easy, but we do it because it’s what feels right and makes us feel whole. But, what about loving yourself and being able to confidently walk in the direction of your dreams because you are confident in who you are, and you love yourself whole-heartedly? That’s an entirely different story. Everyone has been there.

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Remembering to Live Loved

It’s so important to live loved and to realize you are not comparable to anyone else. No one will ever compare to you. In fact, from birth to death, your entire life, there is nobody in this world who could ever compare to you. You are so unique and loved. Don’t put yourself through the hardship of comparison. God loves every one of us the exact same. I don’t want anyone to experience the pain of feeling like they’re not good enough and loved less than others. Because it’s not true! God loves you so much. There is no one He loves more than you! 

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Pursuing Honest Reflections of Love

Someday, you have to stop caring. You have to give up, and you have to move on. You have to stop looking to others to see your reflection. Someday, you have to stop looking at all the ways in which you need to be fixed and start to love exactly who you are. It’s not easy not to care. People are quick to provide their input and judgements, and you’ll never run out of critiques if you go looking for them. In the most formative times of life, you can forget who you are and spend your time obsessing over who everyone thinks you are. It’s a run of faceless days ruled by the labels given to you. 

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Series Introduction: Live Loved

It’s nice to be loved, wouldn’t you agree? There is comfort and belonging found in the company of someone who truly loves you. When surrounded by people who deeply care for you, facing the world feels easier because you’re supported. But, with love, hurt almost always steals the goodness and joy that exists because of love. You see, no matter how deep another’s love burns for you, shortcomings and imperfections of our humanity will always hinder our perception of unconditional, real and pure love. That’s the beauty in knowing this truth—before you could earn love, it was already very much yours. You’ve been tirelessly working to grasp a hold of something that’s been in your possession for your entire life.

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The Secret to True Connection

I was once friends with a girl who kept her life very private. I never really knew when she was struggling or how her life was at home. She’d tell me about her latest boy crush and their brief, flirty text messages—but nothing more. We’d call ourselves “best friends” but I didn’t have a clue about her past. I couldn’t tell you what made her, well, her. Being the person I was, she knew a little bit more about me—but when it came to the skeletons in my closet, I only gave her a peek. I never felt safe to open myself up.

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You Can Trust Jesus with Your Pain

Vulnerability is something lots of people struggle with. But being vulnerable and having vulnerability is very important in life. Don’t be fearful in life! Instead, bring your problems and hurt to the feet of Jesus, and He will heal you! Don’t build a wall around yourself, your heart, or your life. Don’t push people away because you’re afraid of getting hurt. I saw the importance of vulnerability on a show once. There were two sisters, and they lost their mother when they were really young. When they grew up, the younger sister was in a relationship with someone and, in a way, avoiding him and pushing him away.

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Being Vulnerable Doesn’t Make You Weak

I’m a crier. If I have to talk about hard stuff, you can bet tears will be shed. However, if I’m not in the mood to cry, the walls stay up and I hold back. Let’s be real though, who is ever WANTING to cry? The bottom line here, honestly, is I don’t want people to think of me as weak or broken—so, I don’t cry. I don’t let them in. Vulnerability seems to come naturally to me—in some areas. I am realizing now I keep certain spaces of life secret and hidden away. I can’t seem to bring myself to publicly talk about the things that are hurting me most right now.

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How Vulnerability Saved My Life 

For me, there was no way to write this article without adequately paying homage to the master of understanding and embracing vulnerability: Brené Brown. Four years ago, I was sitting in the office of a psychologist as he tried to break down my outer protective shell and figure out exactly why I was there. Sure, I felt out of control, was dating someone who was damaging my mental and physical health, and was working over 30 hours a week plus taking a 19-credit course load, but “I was fine.” Sitting in the doctor’s office that first day, I was so nervous. He told me to look up a researcher/storyteller/general badass named Brené Brown and that she had a particularly great Ted Talk about vulnerability.

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Why Vulnerability is Worth the Risk

There is a cost to this life. A cost to relationships. A cost to connection. A cost to being human. Vulnerability comes with risk. The risk of rejection. The risk of betrayal. The risk of disappointment. There is a quote from one of Beth Moore’s studies that has always stuck with me. She was having a conversation with her daughter about God and her daughter said, “He knows it is hard to be us.” That has always stuck with me. God knows it is hard to be us. Jesus walked this earth as a man. He struggled. He was tempted. He knew pain. He knew what it was like to be betrayed by a close friend, to be denied by one of his best friends.

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Own Your Pain, You Will Survive It

I loathe conflict. I don't like people disliking me. I don't like to argue. I don't like to put myself in situations where I know I would be judged. I figure life has plenty of drama on its own—why seek it out? So, I dodge certain people in grocery aisles and delete typed responses to social media debates because I'm not about to march right under someone's microscope. I'm an introvert and an avoider, and I am fully aware of it. What I wasn't aware of was how honesty and transparency can throw you into the line of fire even faster than a good ol' opinionated comment. I avoided the spotlight, but telling my everyday stories to supermarket clerks and new acquaintances made the focus burn twice as bright.

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Series Introduction: Vulnerability

Therapists have been stereotyped for years. The media often portrays them as inconsiderate, nosey, pretentious moneymakers with stiff couches and even more uncomfortable questions. This illusion convinces us that if we are to even think about seeing a therapist, you should think again. I believe there is this misconception that seeking counseling is taboo, and when the words, “My therapist says…” spill from someone’s mouth, judgment is there, trailing closely behind. I’m here to tell you, seeking help from a therapist is one of the best decisions you could ever make.

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4 Tips for Speaking Potential Over Her

Journals—my all-time favorite thing to collect. Although, now we could argue my obsession has escalated to typewriters… as I just added number nine to my collection (no lie). From a young age, I loved to scribble words onto paper while sitting on the floor of my childhood bedroom, spilling the latest schoolyard gossip and writing the name of my latest boy crush 57 times. As much as I enjoyed writing, it never once crossed my mind that I was good at it, let alone that people would ever care to read something I wrote. Until an angel of a middle school English teacher changed everything. We were assigned to write a collection of poetry and come up with a title for it, as if this was a legit published work of literary genius. 

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YOU Have So Much Potential

There are times in life when we believe we’ve hit rock bottom. We think we have no potential. We think there’s nowhere to go in life. We don’t have a stable foundation to build ourselves up on. But I’m here to tell you… YOU have so much potential! If you build your life with God as your foundation, you will realize He has amazing things planned for you. You will have up and down moments all throughout life. But don’t let the down moments knock you off your feet. Don’t lead yourself to believe the only option in life is to give up. Instead, take these hard times and lean into God. Use those times to build yourself up in the Word of God and allow His Word to be an encouragement in your life.

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Endless Potential Through My Limitless God

We are a people destined for great things. Not just the mundane tasks of life, but big things. We are meant to partner with God and His will for our lives, so He may bless our hands as we create. We are meant to dream with our Father, so He may answer our greatest prayers for this life. The best part about our God is He sets no boundaries. He doesn’t tell us what is possible and what is not. People told Him he would not be risen from the grave, so He came back after death to walk amongst the living again. He has NO limit to what He can do. In knowing my God is the source of my potential, I have set no limits for myself.

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I Messed Up, Now What?

I’ve been a bad friend, a horrible daughter, and sometimes, a lousy dream chaser. I’ve broken promises, spoken harshly to those I love, and lost sight of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I don’t always make the right choices and, at times, I let myself down because I’ve made excuses. I can’t stick to a diet to save my life—but that’s a work in progress—and I let my independent spirit push others away. The list goes on and on. I make mistakes. Go figure. But that doesn’t mean I’m not cut out to be the best damn friend you’ve ever had or measure up to the potential my parents see in me. Failure doesn’t mean my dreams won’t take flight and maybe, just maybe, those jeans will eventually fit just right.

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3 Keys to Reaching Your Full Potential

When God created you, He deposited within you many gifts and talents. Those gifts could be summarized in one word: potential. God has given you the potential to do great things, to serve Him fully, and to change the world for His glory. God did not give us fully developed gifts. Instead, He deposited seeds within us, and it is our job to care for those seeds, so they grow and mature, reaching their full potential. Many people get discouraged along the way. Their gifts do not develop as quickly as they would like. They do not reach their goals as soon as they had expected to. Often people end up settling for less, instead of continuing to push forward and reaching their full potential.

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Believing in Your Own Potential When it Feels Like No One Else Does

Knowing your true potential and the kind of person you want to become can be difficult. But once you’ve unlocked that side of yourself and figured out exactly where you want to end up in life, it’s the best feeling in the world. Knowing your true potential is so important in our modern culture and with women being given more opportunities in the workplace now more than ever, it is the time to shoot for the stars and make your biggest and best dreams come to life. But what do you do when people around you try to put you down? What happens when people try to make you feel less than and doubt that potential? What about when the people putting you down are the women who should be lifting you up?

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Affirmations of Others Cannot Measure Your Potential

Everyone has potential. We excel in different fields, but there is a place for each of us to succeed. When measuring out our potential, the greatest influence often comes from the observations and opinions of those we respect. If our boss says we have potential to move up in the company, our perception of our potential brightens. We strive for affirmation and encouragement from the experts. The problem is that human observation and opinion are often flawed. People make judgements based on subjective experiences, which don’t always lead to the best instincts about others. Basing our level of potential and worth on someone else's views can misguide us or even cause us to lose sight of our goals amidst our need to impress.

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