What if You Fly?

what if you fly

Has God ever blown your mind? Opened your eyes to your own potential, in such an awesome way that it’s hard to believe? Have you let Him?

Not everyone has a sense of their own potential. But there are some times, whether you are in active pursuit of it or not, that God will give you a taste of the “milk and honey” that lies within your reach…and even just that taste on the very tip of your tongue has you running for the hills.

We get a glimpse of potential opportunities, and it’s meant to be a motivating factor…not an intimidation. But so many times, rather than becoming excited and inspired, we respond out of fear and skepticism – the expectations too great, the “ask” too big, the responsibility too much, the possibility of failure too real.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Fear can be paralyzing and stop you right in your tracks. Fear can cause you to act destructively and self-sabotage. Fear can make life sized adversaries appear to be giants. Fear can make all your dreams feel like nightmares. Fear is a mind killer.

How do we learn to face those fears? What does it take to respond with positivity? When do we realize that we are actually well equipped to conquer those giants?

God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we are able to handle, because he has designed and equipped us to be able to do so. But we have to be ready to allow Him to continue to blow our minds again and again…which He will if you let Him.

I’m ready to accept those things that seem too good to be true. I’m ready to conquer the giants that appear too big to face. I’m ready to put my fear aside and jump head first into pursuing the opportunity…and I’m ready to let God blow my mind!

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Silence

Silence

I’m learning to be brave enough to explore the quiet spaces that make me uncomfortable. The silence can be deafening, but if you search for the peace in it, instead of trying to fill it with life’s noise, you’ll find that healing lives there…

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The Dark Places…

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” | August Wilson

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Letters to a Young Sister…

Sister, dear:

As an “elder” (ha, ha), I know how important it is to see someone not just follow the path you’ve already walked, but to blaze their own trail and do even greater things. I have NO DOUBT that you are destined for greatness, because you have already shown that you are more than capable of achieving it. Your own greatness, defined and continually redefined by you, not defining you, nor defined by anyone else’s idea of what your greatness should be – that is what should always be your goal. Don’t get bogged down in others’ expectations, or what they would have you be…because in the end, no one is living your life but you. Everyone who truly cares about you should only be concerned that you are happy with the life you’ve built…and comforted by the fact that if ever you aren’t, you are fully capable to changing your destiny.

Also, as an “elder”, I have the honor and responsibility of passing down some lessons learned (that you will likely soon forget and/or quickly ignore :). Either way, these things I’ve learned to be true…

(1) It will not go away if you just ignore it. That goes for physical & emotional pain, debt, people, relationships, everything.

(2) College – especially if you go away – is one of the most interesting of social experiments, ever. So much life is packed into those 4 short years, and I guarantee when you leave you’ll feel like you’ve had a whole lifetime of experiences – the good, bad & ugly. And you should enjoy them all, and always try to keep things in perspective – yes, it’s quite possible you’ve fallen head over heels for the boy you’ve dated the past 6 months, which packed into 24 hour days together feels like 6 years – but in 6 month intervals think about all the rest of time you have to do it all over again! 🙂

(3) This too shall pass…but it won’t feel like it until it has actually passed – that goes for heartbreaks, disappointments, semesters, midterms/finals, etc.

(4) Relationships with professors, advisors, and all other support & instructional staff are invaluable – chat them up early & often

(5) You’ve built up strong relationships with your parents & other family members who can support you – financially & emotionally – don’t be shy to use your connects, it’s acceptable…expected even

(6) Take good notes and hold on to them, I’ve actually made use of my college articles & notes after I left school!

(7) Don’t worry, you DON’T have to have it all figured out. Living life is all about trying to figure it out. I try to figure it out on a daily basis…I’m getting there

(8) Doing your best is more than enough to do us proud – no pressure!

(9) Take lots of pictures!!! Journal if you’re so inclined. Document your life, it’s way more dependable than your memory. It’s fun to take trips down memory lane and laugh at how far you’ve come…all while you weren’t looking

(10) Soak it all in and remember to enjoy the ride.

Congrats, Grad :o)

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Is your love big enough?

I used to believe love was big enough to mediate any actions that would cause harm…I’m no longer under that delusion.

For me, love is huge when it’s real – it’s too big to be contained between four walls or even between two people. It spills out and intertwines itself with every aspect of your life.  There is no decision you could make that would not be under the influence of love…because that’s what love does.  It takes over, it’s invasive and pervasive in the very best ways possible.  You strive to do things because you know it will bring your love joy, and stay away from doing things that break their heart.

Love creates boundaries with it’s boundlessness.  Without ever having met your love, or heard the utterance of their name, their presence looms too large to ignore.  It’s mere existence commands respect, and anyone in it’s presence dare not cross the line out.

I’ve since come to realize that not everyone allows love the same influence…apparently their love isn’t big enough.

I guess I should have asked –

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Hurt People, Hurt People

Not many people know how to fight fair.  People have a tendency to lash out, and that comes from a place of hurt.  My tendency to react to a hurt manifests in withdrawing, being cold, and saying hurtful things that I know will return at least a little bit of the sting I’ve felt – even if those words are coated in honey and wrapped up in a pretty bow.

I know how much words hurt, and I make a conscious effort to be deliberate in my speech for that very reason.  But I also know how to be spiteful and deliberately craft a message that stings, purposely touching that raw, exposed wound.

I wrote a letter to my father before my college graduation. I felt extremely justified in writing it.  There were feelings and hurts in that letter that had never been communicated.  But in order to drive my point home, I went for sensitive points that I knew would hurt – namely, “outside of conception there was nothing you have done to support me in getting to this point, so I don’t want you here celebrating my accomplishment as if you did”.

When I wrote it I knew exactly the kind of effect it would have.  I was hurt, and I lashed out in pain.  Instead of claiming my hurt, acknowledging that I was hurting because I didn’t have the pleasure of having my father in my life as part of my support system – I turned it into an attack.  I was hurt, so I hurt.  I could have just as easily have just asked him not to come.  I could have had a conversation about my feelings.  I could have done a lot of things differently.  But I wasn’t acting from a rational place, but from an extremely raw emotional place.  And to be quite honest, I wasn’t interested in preserving the relationship…so I wasn’t concerned about the damage those words would do.

We need to be mindful of the words that we speak to one another, because they cannot be taken back once they’ve been spoken.  A seed of negativity gets planted, and I don’t know if that’s a hurt you ever fully recover from.  That’s not healthy, nor is it conducive to building and nurturing any kind of healthy relationship.

Many don’t know how to be hurt, vulnerable, and angry – feeling and validating all those emotions – yet being able to express them constructively.  The first instinct is to straight to the weapon in your arsenal you know will cause the most damage.  But then what…?  You’re both left damaged and hurting, the battle is over, but the war is far from done.

I know it’s something I’m still working on – being transparent and emotionally available, always tempering my words with love, and learning to fight fair.

Copays and Sick Days

Twice this week I was explicitly reminded of my blessings.

Watching a news story, I was reminded about people who have no sick days that are forced by circumstance to either be a public health menace by going to work and spreading germs, or take unpaid time off…possibly even risking the loss of their job.

This as I was amazed at the fact that my latest time and leave statement showed that I have accumulated over a month in sick time.  I count that a blessing.

Later that week I had a shock at the doctor’s office when they announced that my co-pay had gone up to $40 PER VISIT!  While I did give them a side eye, and make a mental note to check my medical benefits package – I was overwhelmed with gratitude by the fact that I was able to hand over my debit card to pay the fee.  I would have to factor that into my budget, but I wouldn’t have to choose between eating or seeing the doctor.  For that, I’m truly blessed.

I count my blessings, and it’s one of the ways that I choose to maintain a little perspective.  Sometimes we get caught up in the circumstance and busy-ness of the every day, and let the little chances to offer up a praise and thanks for even the smallest blessings pass us by.  We have a tendency to go straight to the negative – murmuring and complaining.

I try instead to take a moment to temper my response by considering the alternative….that does indeed make all the difference.

There is, clearly, a larger conversation about the state of our health care system, and issues of access and equity – all of which I’m interested.  But for the moment I’m just inspired to offer up a prayer, thanking God for my blessings and praying for those that are less fortunate – praying for their protection and for His provision…I believe that also makes all the difference.

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