When I was younger, I was involved in a youth group at the church I grew up in. (that was over ten years ago…yikes, I am getting old!) We would always do fun group activities, and one of them was this really awesome game called ‘Bigger and Better’. The teams began with a dollar each, and had to go around town to homes and businesses, trying to exchange that dollar for something bigger and better, and continually trading until the time limit had been reached. The teams final items were judged, and the biggest and best item won. That game was so much fun, and it is how I like to live my life.
I love doing new things, and creating new challenges for myself. Once I reach a certain goal, I set a new one, pushing myself even farther, learning new, better ways to achieve what I want. I have done this with the jobs I have held, starting with a highschool gig at Chick-fil-a. My current status is working 2/3rds of the time for other people, 1/3rd of the time for myself. Once I am working 100% for myself, I will transition into a blissful life of doing exactly what I love, and never spend a second with mundane toiling.
I am currently doing this with my health and fitness goals. I took serious steps beginning in January, starting with just changing my diet. I eradicated the last of the processed foods I still would purchase, cut out HF corn syrup, and began weaning myself off my sugar addiction. In late February, I began really working out hard, learning how to lift weights properly, and teaching myself to stay dedicated to my particular set of goals. Now, I have maxed out the limits I gave myself, so it is time to set the bar higher, and tap into more of my potential. I just got a new nutrition plan written up, changing my schedule to six meals daily, with strict limits on my protein, carb, and fat intake. I made the final plunge into clean eating, cutting out white sugar completely. I am planning on participating in the Tough Mudder obstacle course race in October, and have begun their intermediate boot camp in preparation.
I am applying this method of living to my spiritual life, as well. I started out small, committing to memorizing a Bible verse. Once I knocked that out, I decided to memorize THREE verses. Once I have those down pat, it is on to five. A couple weeks ago, I went to a church for the first time in over a year. I increased my prayer goals, from once a week (lame, I know) to daily, and next week? Every hour, man. Every hour.
Living life this way is incredibly rewarding. I am never bored, because as soon as my interest starts to wane, I know it is time to get excited about a loftier goal. I am never struggling in a social situation ( which I used to do, as I am incredibly shy and reserved) because I always have something new going on that I can talk about. I am learning to always be proud of myself, because I just kicked ass on something yesterday, and I am about to blow it out of the water again next Tuesday when I reach another goal. I am becoming better at encouraging others by practicing on myself, because who doesn’t need to hear “fucking awesome job, man, keep being badass!” when you have been sweating and struggling in the gym for an hour, and need a reason to finish that tough workout? Best of all, I have never felt better physically, and I am stoked to find out how I will feel in three more months, and three more after that. I have never been better socially, as I am learning to be a better friend, not only to the solid group I have already, but also to the people that I dont even know yet. I am taking all the old pressure off being a Christian, because I know it doesnt matter if I am not perfect, or I screw up every now and then, because even if I forgot to pray earlier, or I was a major bitch three minutes ago, I can pray now, and be nicer next time around. Bigger and better is the best way, in my opinion, to live life. I highly recommend it. It might take you a few months to implement it, but what is a few months hard work, when you are rewarded with positive life change? Excitement and achievement are priceless.
I recently decided to start memorizing scripture. Of course, it was about one of the things I struggle with the most.
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” -Leviticus 19:18
I have had to repeat this to myself countless times over the past two weeks, and quite frankly, I’m still not a better person for it. I usually don’t even remember the verse until just after I’ve snapped at someone, or I have maliciously done the opposite of what I know someone wanted.
Verses like these remind me of how much I have failed to be like Christ, and how much grace I receive (that I do not deserve).
I am also reminded of how far I have to go when I give advice to others. I had a conversation with one of my sisters about loving people even when they continually make you feel like shit. Halfway through my admonition to her to extend grace and express her feelings in love instead of anger and bitterness, I was reminded of how I hold on to that same anger and bitterness. Every time I resolve to share my feelings lovingly, I fall short, and lash out instead.
Often I wonder if that person will ever change, but what I really need to focus on is changing myself. Loving people is hard. There really is no other way to succeed, except for maintaining my focus on Christ. Without Him as the center of my life, nothing is possible.
I am trying to love better, but sometimes, love just sucks.
I was extremely happy to be able to have a lengthy conversation with one of my brothers the other day. It is rare that we are able to talk, but it is always a good time!
As the eldest sister, with only one brother who is older than me, I never thought I would get advice from my younger brother, but now that most of us siblings are adults, the relationships between us have become level.
I think my favorite advice from him is when he compared my dating life to a salad.
The other night, we talked about church, community, and scripture. He emphasized the importance of memorizing scripture.
I brought it up in my Bible study last night, and my my girlfriends and I decided to commit to memorizing a different piece of scripture every week. We are starting small this time, with Leviticus 19:18:
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
As someone who is a master at holding grudges, this is a perfect way for me to start. I like the authoritative ending, ”I am the Lord.”. It leaves no room for me to back out or make excuses to do anything less than love.
My brother left me with a few other reasons to memorize the Bible. Most importantly, he reminded me that Jesus quoted scripture to Satan when he was being tempted.
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Not only is this passage from Deuteronomy a great reminder to learn the Word, it is also a great set of verses to show your dad when he tells you getting a tattoo is wrong. ;)
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing songs and spiritual hymns to God with thankful hearts.
Psalm 119:9, 10, 11
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you-don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
I think my family would laugh if they read the title of this post. I am known for being passionate about a new activity or job…until I master it. Then I become disinterested, and am ready to start the next new thing. Sometimes, however, I come back after a few months…or years. I pick it back up where I left off, possibly with a little more wisdom or experience, possibly not.
I have not written in a long time…not in my journal(s), not in my blog, not even in my head. I had almost forgotten about this little corner of the internet, in fact. Once in a while, I page through old journals, reading who I was back then. Usually I am embarrassed, and I quickly slam the cover shut, and shove the book away for another time when I am feeling nostalgic and a little less self conscious. I do enjoy seeing how far I have come, and how many things have changed in just a short span of time. If I was dealing with that relationship ending now, I might not have been so hung up about it. If I was making the decision to move back into my parents house (word of advice: DONT) I might have stayed in Nashville that one time two years ago. If I was deciding between a guy I really wanted to be with, or working hard on honoring God with my life, well, I learned that lesson, too.
In spite of my failings, and my constant striving to be in control of everything, I am redeemed by God’s grace. I could never hope to come close to deserving it, but then, neither could anyone else.
In the past year alone, I have been blessed with some new, incredible friends, a better job, an even better job, an opportunity to make money by doing things that I love, a cutie pie new little nephew, a new brother in law, a car that did not break when the mechanic told me it probably would, and countless other things.
What does all of the above have to do with me quitting something, and taking it back up again? Maybe not a whole lot. But you have to write about something, right?
Its been awhile.
It HAS been awhile since I last blogged.
The other night, I was making a 1 am ice cream run with my sister. On the way back to the apartment, I was pulled over for failing to stop at a stop sign. What ensued absolutely made mine, and my sister’s, night.
What happened FIRST was, after we passed the stop sign, headlights went on, and the police car began to follow us. We both saw that it was a cop, and spent a few frantic seconds peering into the rearview mirror, and out of the back window. I am sure he saw us, and thought we looked ridiculous. He followed us for a few hundred yards, and we thought nothing would happen, but after a few more seconds, he turned on his lights.
My sister screeched like a hawk, and jumped about three feet in the air. I said, “Oh no!!” and then we both tried to figure out why I was being pulled over, since I had not been speeding ( thanks to Arthur. Because of him, I have reformed. ) I guessed that it was because I had not stopped completely at the sign.
I pulled over, grabbed my license and registration, and frantically searched for the ticket i had received a couple days previous, for failing to have my vehicle inspected.
The police officer approached my vehicle, and shined the flashlight in our eyes. Probably a scare tactic. Although he was very nice, so maybe that is just procedure. He asked me if we had been drinking, and I said, in the squeakiest voice possible ( I get flustered when these things happen, OK???? My voice squeaks when I am nervous. ) “no sir, we were getting some ice cream, I can show you the ice cream, sir!!!” He looked at me like I was an alien, and asked me how old I was.
I said “um, I forget”
ok now do not hold that against me!!! I have a valid reason. He had asked meif we had been drinking, and the first thought that went through my head was “I am over 21″. So that thought stayed in my head, and when he asked me, I couldnt remember that I was 24.
I did make a smashing recovery though, and eloquently stated “I mean, im 24! Im sorry, I forgot, mumble mumble mumble”
Ok so maybe I mumble when I am flustered, too. Look, my natural hair color is blonde. These things that happen are not my fault!!!
Anyway, then he looked at me again, not only like I was an alien, but also like I had sprouted two, maybe three more noses or something.
Maybe he was just looking at my three chins.
I better start running again.
ANYWAY, this whole time, keep in mind that from the passenger seat, you can hear “tee-hee! tee-hee-hee-hee!” and a few other giggles and snorts from my little sister.
So THEN the officer flashed his flashlight on the expired inspection sticker on my windshield. Thankfully, I had regained my senses because I virtually exploded with an answer before he even asked the question.
I got a look of happiness and relief on my face, pointed at the expired sticker, and said exictedly, I already got a ticket for that, officer!! I have it in my car!!!”
By this time, I am sure the officer thought I was absolutely insane.
I dug around in my messy car again for a minute or two, and finally found my ticket. I shoved it in the police officers hand, and exclaimed with glee, and with much stupidity, “Ive never been so happy to have a ticket in my life, sir!!!”
I think my sister almost choked with suppressed laughter at this point.
He looked at me again, paused for a moment, and said, “well it is better than getting another ticket, that is for sure. “
He smiled, handed it back to me, told me to make sure that I stopped at all stop signs in the future, cautioned me to drive safely, and hoped that I had a good night. He began to walk away, so I stuck my head out of the car, and said,”Thank you officer, you have a good night too!!”
I should insert here, that I said that with the utmost sincerity. I really am a friendly person, and I appreciated his nice-ness.
My sister and I drove away, and burst out laughing.
Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it all. It was hilarious.
I just moved back to Virginia. This means that I get to spend lots of time with my baby sister. She isn’t really a baby anymore, but she still is my baby sister. I hope she lets me say that for awhile longer
This evening, we made gingerbread cookies, and then we had a gingerbread house throwdown, miniature style.
We had several instances in which they fell apart, but more frosting took care of that. After we made them, we ate them. That’s ok, because they were miniature. However, I will be eating absolutely ZERO cookies tomorrow to compensate for that. AND I will be taking at least two walks.
I really thing I need to stop having these baking throw-downs though, I keep losing. First, to a bachelor, now to my little sis. Maybe my future as a baker is not as stable as I hoped…
Merry Christmas everyone. Please eat at least seven cookies so that I do not feel so guilty.