Hungering for Joy

The idea that we’re “not enough” permeates our lives whether we’re aware of it or not.

Think about our typical day. We wake up and think, “I didn’t get enough sleep.” or “I don’t have enough time.” We spend so much of our time complaining or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… We don’t have enough money. We don’t have enough work to do. We don’t have enough weekends. We’re not talented enough. We’re not driven enough. We’re not smart enough.

Before we even sit up in our beds each morning, we’re already inadequate in our own eyes. What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.

It makes complete sense why we have become a nation hungry for joy…because we’re starving from lack of gratitude.

I am enough.

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It’s Personal!

“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!” – Brene Brown

Why Independence is Over Valued in Our Culture

Our culture puts too much value on independence. The truth is, to be truly independent, is to be alone.

Some call this strength, but really it’s often laziness. As humans, we’re designed to need other people. To believe that you can go at this world alone is like setting your soul down on a couch, never allowing it to exercise.

See, if you spend enough time alone, it soon becomes very hard to be around other people. You begin to think that the world belongs to you- that all space is your space and all time is your time.

You become so used to being able to daydream and keep yourself company, that other people are merely an intrusion. And this is terribly unhealthy.

God doesn’t want us floating through life alone, or sitting in front of our computers. He doesn’t want our lives to play out like a movie called Independence. He wants us interacting- laughing together, praying together, eating together…

If loving other people is a bit of heaven, then surely isolation is a bit of hell. While we’re on Earth, we get to decide in which state we would like to live.

5 Things I learned From Losing My Best Friend

beauty girl cry

Three years ago on this day, and for months after, I wanted to die. I had just lost the man I’d been in love with for four years in a tragic accident. He was also my best friend. When I say I wanted to die, it’s strange because it makes it sound as if I was suicidal. But I was never suicidal. It’s hard to describe the feeling and might be one of those things you can’t understand unless you’ve been there, but at the time, my future looked so black, I couldn’t imagine life without him. Besides, I wanted so desperately to see him and was convinced he was on the other side. I only hoped to die, so that we could be together again. It was the last sort of logic that I had left at the time.

Now here I am, three years later, and my perspective is quite the contrary. It’s hard to believe that today marks three years. Three years of pain, longing, and questions but also of healing, growth and indescribable grace. I question whether we can fully comprehend the sweetness of life without first experiencing its bitterness.

Today, as I miss my best friend like always, I realize not only was it an incredibly sweet gift to do life with him, but the lessons I’ve learned since that loss remain invaluable. Here I share with you 5 things I learned from losing my best friend.

  1. There is nothing more important in life than your relationships. As Max Lucado so tactfully puts it, “When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” We are called to love others. It is our mission. Our reason for being on Earth. And not just to love them halfheartedly either, when it’s convenient to us, for example. But to love them wholeheartedly, at all times, through all situations, no matter their actions or behaviors. This might seem like a daunting task but it’s this sort of love, relentless and all encompassing, that people most need to see. It is the kind that we need to be most intentional about giving. Develop relationships filled with love like this, and you will know what it means to live.
  2. The best things in life aren’t things. They can’t be touched, or even captured. To try is fleeting. They flutter around like butterflies, here one minute gone the next. An ever-elusive bunch. And when we grasp for them, we miss. But this is what we have hearts for. Our hearts get it. Our hearts know that the best things can’t be described with words. They must be felt. Our hearts know that the best things aren’t tangible…that these things aren’t meant to be captured or even understood; only appreciated.
  3. There are angels on earth. And they exist in your close friends and family. People are placed in your life for a reason. They’re strategically chosen and uniquely capable of holding you just how you need to be held at any given moment in time. We’re all just taking turns on this journey called life, so give love to others while you can. Before you know it, your time will come and you’ll need someone, too. It is then, that you’ll find your angels.
  4. Pain can be a good thing. The good thing about pain is that it breaks down the walls of your ego and forces you into the present – enhancing your awareness of and appreciation for all of the people in your life. When you experience deep suffering, you become comfortable with it. This allows you to empathize with others in ways you wouldn’t have been able to before. It causes you not to run from future sufferings, but to sit with them. Most importantly, it allows you to grow. The best lessons are often found when we are facing unanticipated change and loss. In those moments of vulnerability, longing, and desperation, we learn who we really are and what we are capable of. Pain is not a bad thing.
  5. Life goes on. You don’t think it will and you certainly can’t imagine it doing so, but it does. Whether you take part in it or not, life continues to go on all around you. Time waits for no one. The good news is, even if you’re deep in grief or simply feeling stuck, eventually you, too, will go on. There’s a hole inside of you from the loss and that hole never really seals back up. But that is the beautiful part. You learn to live with the gap, to embrace it. It becomes a part of you. It allows your light to shine through.

Greet Everyone You Meet…

Greet everyone you meet with a warm smile, no matter how busy you are.
Don’t rush encounters with coworkers, family and friends.
Speak softly. Listen attentively.
Act as if every conversation you have is the most important thing on your mind today.
Look your children and your partner in the eyes when they talk to you.
Stroke the cat, caress the dog.
Lavish love on every living being you meet.
See how different you feel at the end of the day.

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Date Wisely

Contrary to popular belief, I actually think that our generation takes dating too seriously. I mean, think about the purpose of dating. We date someone to figure out if he/she is “The One”. This is everyone’s end goal, right?

I think the problem with today’s relationships comes when we begin assuming that our partner is “The One”. This is when “love is blind” and a whole myriad of other problems come into play. Some people have developed a fear of commitment because the pressure on today’s relationships is so high. Other people will stay in relationships they don’t like just because they’ve spent such and such amount of years together. Too many people miss out on great opportunities and too many others hang on long after they should let go.

If we meet someone we’re interested in, start dating, and decide we want a relationship with that person, perhaps we shouldn’t look at it as though we’re committing to that person but rather that we’re committing to find out if that person is the one. And if weeks, months, or even years down the road, we figure out that he/she is not, we shouldn’t be ashamed to leave.

Our breakups aren’t failures, they’re stepping stones. Our exes aren’t wastes of time, they’re teachers. And every person you don’t end up with brings you that much closer to the one with whom you will.

I think if we went into relationships with this mindset, things would go a lot smoother. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not married, you’re single. And while right now, it’s not that serious, one day it might be…so date wisely 🙂

There Are Days…

There are days where I’m filled with so much inspiration that I can’t accomplish anything except new prose.

I can try to go about my normal life but time and time again, it’s proven pointless. I can’t shut the inspiration off. I have no control or choice in the matter.

On days like this, from the moment I wake up, my brain is so overwhelmed by thoughts and words beyond me that I forget how to perform even the most mundane tasks. I am like a zombie unable to relate to what’s going on around me. My only relief is to succumb to the Source and write it all down.

I suppose if you were to ask me my name on one of these days, even that would take me a second to remember.

Today is one of those days.

Stillness

I think I know why people are uncomfortable with stillness; being alone with the quiet of their mind.

What will my thoughts be? Will I be sad? Judgmental? Angry? Hateful? What if I am tormented by my racing mind? The inevitable underlying fear behind it all remains: Who am I?

But you are not your thoughts. Nor are you your feelings. If you can grasp this truth, you can learn to separate your self from your mind. The freedom that arises from this sort of separation will change your life. You will find that your thoughts are nothing to fear afterall. And more importantly, you will learn the healing power of stillness and the truth about how amazing you are, and have been all along.

Waiting to Live

Some people spend their whole life waiting to live.

Waiting to love.
Waiting to create.
Waiting to move.
Waiting to apply for that job they always dream of.
Waiting to start that business they envision.

Waiting until they’re ready.

It’s not uncommon for people to spend their lives in this way; waiting to live.

If Our Inner Selves Could Talk, Here’s What They Would Say

I trust you.

I know you know how to get things done. How to engage yourself with the world and then retreat.

You can eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re tired. You know how to shower, clean up, and pay your bills on time.

You know how to say “no” and how to say “yes” and when to do both.

You can let the right people in and show the wrong people out.

You know how to ask for help. And company when you need it.

You know how to forgive yourself. Stand by yourself. Be close to the people you choose.

This is your adventure. Your life. You got this.

You’re in charge and I trust you.