New Year, New Word

As you may (or may not, if this is your first visit to my blogosphere) know, I gave up New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago. I decided it was time to stop changing things about myself and start challenging myself to simply be better.

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Each year I choose a word that will become a mantra, a creed, a manifesto to use for the whole of the year.

2016’s word was “Free” and to be honest, it was the opposite of a free-ing year. At times I wanted to be anywhere other than where I was. But in the aftermath of the year that seemed interminable, I can’t help but reflect upon those inalienable rights that I have taken for granted, like…you guessed it, Freedom.

But I don’t want to start this year with the same mistakes as last year. The challenge is to be better. And better is what I intend to be.

With that being said, this year I have chosen the word “Believe” to represent my journey through 2017. Somewhere between New York, California and Florida I stopped believing. I stopped believing in myself, in humanity, and in basic human decency. And while my belief in God never wavered, my trust in Him sure did and my belief in His plan over mine definitely took a hit. God and I have been in a bit of a knock down, drag out for the majority of the year.

But let’s be honest, I was only one doing any fighting in this relationship.

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Believe is one of those airy concepts like “Dream” or “Imagine.” It’s not quite as tangible as other words might be. “Trust” is a word you can sink your teeth into, but Believe…it’s more abstract. There are a lot of ways it can be applied.

That’s exactly what this year is gonna be about. What exactly do I believe? What do I believe about myself? What do I believe about the world? What do I believe are the best practices from a political standpoint? And how does my belief in faith translate to my daily life?

This is a big one, guys. You know how you never pray for patience because if you do God’s gonna throw something or someone at you that will force you to BE patient? This feels like that kind of mine field. Figuring out my core beliefs could take me anywhere.

The Liz of 2016 wasn’t ready for that kind of adventure. The Liz of 2016 wasn’t ready for that kind of challenge. The Liz of 2016 was merely treading water. But no more!

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I hope you’re ready to share in this journey with me. And I hope you choose a word that will represent your year. If you decide to give up on resolving to change, then share your word in the comments below and I will do my best to encourage you this year.

What I’ve learned most from 2016 is that community and encouragement are more important than ever. There are way too many things in this world, in this country that will divide us if we let them. The way we speak, the words we say, the colors of our skin, the religions that we practice. That’s why we have to find common ground. The fact that we are all flawed human beings is a great place to start!!!

Have a Happy New Year and know that I BELIEVE in you!

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Yes…YOU!

I Don’t Know About You…

Pray for Orlando

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a horrific tragedy, like what took place this weekend in Orlando…my city, takes place it’s hard for me to collect my thoughts. If my thoughts could be seen they’d look like this…

ANGER

SADNESS

PRAYER

WHY GOD

back to ANGER

a little more SADNESS

And when I sit down to speak about it or write about it, I feel fractured between wanting to find assurance that the world is a way more beautiful place than it feels and not really believing that it is. Fractured between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. Fractured between thanking God for my life and asking Him why things like this happen at all. Fractured between knowing that my everyday life is waiting and wanting to become some sort of vigilante assassin the likes of Elektra or Black Widow.

Lord knows I’m not alone. Take a look at social media right now and see that people are fractured. Spirits are torn apart. And yes, it’s beautiful to see my city come together and rally around the victims and their families. It’s amazing to see the blood banks so full of donors that they had to turn people away. That is an encouraging sight that we cannot forget!! But we also cannot ignore the bigger community of humans that continues to be divided when horrible things happen. Half the country says “get rid of guns,” the other half clings tightly to their weapons. And who is right?

Can we all agree that humans aren’t the only common element in these tragedies. Can we start to talk about other countries that don’t have the staggering statistics of gun violence that plague the whole of America? Can we start holding the human(s) responsible…responsible, not the community that human is a part of, not the religion that human is a part of, not the sexual preference that human identifies with?

I am not the white, American that killed Christina Grimmie on Friday.

And neither are you the statistic that groups you to a killer. If you take up semi-automatic weapons or any other kind of weapon and shoot up a bar of happy people celebrating life…then you are that KILLER. It’s that simple. It should be.

But it isn’t. Why the hell isn’t it!!!??

There’s the bigger issue at work here. The issue of people vs people. Forget the fact that an Islamic extremist shot up an LGBT club. Forget the fact that a white man with 2 guns killed a singer the very night before. Forget the fact that a South Korean shot up a college campus or that a privileged, white, Stanford student raped a girl and is getting off with light sentencing. Forget all that for a moment. Only for a moment because we have a human problem.

Until humans value the lives of other humans above their race, religion, sexual preference, gender orientation, occupation or anything else that divides us as simple human beings, then the blood shed will not stop. 

I read someone who was arguing that if we make gun laws stricter, then we have to take away people’s cars because car accidents cause more deaths than shootings. I think they’ve missed the point. It’s easy to miss the point if you’re looking for reasons to miss the point! The operative word here is accident. Car accidents are horrible and tragic and sad and i wish they never happened to anyone, ever. The difference is that shootings like what happened at Pulse on Saturday night are no accident. No one “accidentally” purchases an AR-15 and then “accidentally” calls the police to “accidentally” align themselves with a terrorist organization and then “accidentally” shoots 50 people dead and wounds 50+ more. Nope…not an accident!

The people who are spreading hatred towards Muslims for being killers and towards the LGBT community for deserving death for “sinful lifestyles” and towards white men for being rapists and black men for being thugs are hardly better than the killers themselves. The lack of respect for human life doesn’t begin when a gun is purchased. It doesn’t begin when the trigger is pulled. The lack of respect for human life begins long before that. It’s in the words we say to one other. It’s in the way we handle conflict. It’s in the way we choose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. And it’s in the way we respond in the aftermath.

How will you respond?

I implore you…do more. Even if it’s as simple as trying to change your own damn mind about something. Even if it’s simply seeing another person’s point of view, stepping in their shoes, trying to understand instead of sticking your feet in the mud and holding your ground come hell or high water.

“The time is always right to do what is right!” You know who said that? Martin Luther King, Jr. You know how he died? From a gun shot. Do you think that would have changed the message of his life of non-violence? Would he have bought a gun if he knew he’d die from one?

I would never suggest you lose your right to bear arms. It is Constitutional. I’m simply saying there’s something missing in the Constitution. The right to live. Is that not more important? Is that not something we can agree upon? I’m scared that the answer is no. And that is not encouraging at all.

I don’t want to end on a note of sadness. I like to keep it upbeat. But I don’t think I have it in me to turn this one around. So I’ll simply end by saying that I love you.

What color are you? I DON’T CARE.

What do you believe? I DON’T CARE!

Where do you come from? I DON’T CARE!!

Who do you love? I DON’T CARE!!!

I believe in you. I think your life is worth living. I just love you!

Having a Moment

I was recently described by someone as “busy…in a good way.” As in, always working, always going, always doing, always trying. I do think of that as a good thing. I like to stay busy. I like to think of new projects to try, new songs to write, new blogs to post, new Instagram challenges to complete, new workouts to do. Busy is a very good word to describe me.

Last night when I got home from my long, busy day, I looked up and the moon was so bright. The stars were so pretty. I felt compelled to lay down in my drive way and just stare up at the sky, listening to one of my Spotify playlists. I can’t tell you the last time I just looked up at the stars and thanked God that He made them for me to look up at.

There were days when I was living in New York City that I begged God for a chance to stare up at the stars. But the lights of the city blind us to how bright the stars can be. The moon isn’t quite as awe-inspiring when  you’re standing in the middle of Times Square. So after 8 years, I forgot to stop being busy and to look up.

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But last night I remembered. I couldn’t even take a good picture of what had my busy brain standing still. That gif I found is cool, but it’s not what I was looking at. My phone couldn’t accurately capture the beauty of the moment. We live in such a technologically advanced age and still, transcendental moments like that can’t truly be shared with a photograph. There’s something about the experience that just can’t be translated by pixels.

Do you know all the things you miss when you don’t stand still for a moment? Florida is hot and in May, well, it’s not the hottest it can get, but it can be pretty sweat inducing. But at 10pm  when you’re not moving a muscle and you are lying on the ground watching stars, you can feel a breeze. I actually got a little chilly on a May night in Florida. I could smell Jasmine that has overtaken the fence and I could hear planes as they flew by, taking people to destinations that I dream of seeing one day. As the people on those planes slept on their night flight, I watched them and heard them and smelled jasmine and felt the breeze.

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When I was little, I used to think the crescent moon was a completely different moon from the big round one. Of course, as I got older, I learned about lunar cycles and how the light of the moon changes with seasons and ocean tides. And how the crescent and the full moon are the same moon. They just look a little different.

I laid there contemplating how when you watch clouds, you actually have something to watch because clouds change shape as they move through the sky, but stars are constant. They sit proudly in the night sky. They don’t have anything to prove. They don’t need to entertain.

I laid there for 30+ minutes and walked away with probably as many bug bites on my arms and legs, because that’s what happens when you lie on the ground feeling breezes and smelling jasmine and watching planes and contemplating stars. You don’t even realize you’re being bitten, because the beauty of the moment outweighs the pain.You don’t care because something bigger is happening. You have become a part of something bigger. In that moment you aren’t just a girl lying on concrete, staring at the stars…you are a Queen of Narnia. You know the path is before you and the world is behind. You have transcended even just for a moment to be a part of something good and true and something you don’t even understand because you are a soda can and God is the ocean (thanks Francis Chan.)

I’m sad the moment ended, but moments have to come to an end. That’s the nature of moments. That always makes me think of the Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.” My second favorite musical of all time. The baker’s wife has a moment in the woods with Cinderella’s prince and after it’s over she wonders…”What was that?” Moments leave us wondering why we can’t have more of them. But then she sings some of my favorite lyrics in Broadway history…

“Oh, if life were made of moment,

Even now and then a bad one-!

But if life were only moments,

Then you’d never know you had one.”

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Fear and Hatred in America

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I am baffled. I am disillusioned. I’m super confused. And there’s one word that can sum up all my feelings…TRUMP.

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Photo from BusinessInsider.com

Someone please explain to me what the actual hell is happening in our country right now? How can anyone get behind the hate-mongering that Donald Trump has been spreading since the beginning of his campaign. Are we so desperate for something different that we’ll just accept the first racist, bigot that comes along and shouts…”Make America Great Again.” Sounds a lot like “Make America White Again” to me.

It’s true. America is a great nation. A nation of freedom and opportunity, where a person with a dream can come here and have a chance at seeing it realized. What will happen when we start erecting walls and kicking people out? What kind of dreams can we expect from a nation that is ruled by fear and hatred instead of dreams and aspirations.

I don’t like to get overly political in my blog posts. This is a happy place where I like to gush about Star Wars and Disney and Marvel and Jane Austen. A place where happy thoughts live. It’s hard to think happy thoughts when the prospect of a Trump presidency is even remotely possible.

The scene at his victory rally in South Carolina can be described as nothing short of scary. Trump shouts, “Mexico is killing us — absolutely. We’ll do the wall. Don’t worry. We’re going to do the wall. We’re going to do the wall and by the way, who’s going to pay for the wall?”

And the crowd shouts, “MEXICO!” 

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Photo from Humanismandculture.com

This scene conjures up the image of a young charismatic Adolph Hitler screaming about how the Jews were killing the Germans. That they needed to be eradicated. People adored Hitler and believed Hitler and were devoted to Hitler. The way people adore and believe and are devoted to Trump. They take his words as truth. And no matter what he says, they give him passes. They let the bar drop a little more every day. And no, I don’t think the comparison is undeserved or harsh. I think it’s spot on.

If you believe that Donald J. Trump is a follower of Christ, then I call into question your definition of a Christian. Christ spoke of peace. He spread words of love. He talked about loving God above all else and loving our neighbors second of all.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12: 30-31

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Photo from Slideshare.net

No commandment greater than these. Guess who our neighbors are…

The thing about harkening back to the golden age when America was “great” and ISIS didn’t exist…America was not without troubles in the “golden age.” Women didn’t have rights, African American’s didn’t have rights. Anyone other than white males didn’t have rights. There was a Civil War. There was slavery. There were 2 World Wars. There were concentration camps on American soil for the Japanese. There were assassinations and an arms race with Russia. There was a war in Vietnam and a war in Korea. Let us not forget the struggles that America has gone through to get to where we are today. America will never be without troubles.

See, we live in a sinful world. Plain and simple. And as long as we are humans, that sin will remain. The best we can hope to do is confront that sin with understanding and love. Not anger and suspicion and hatred. That’s not the kind of country I want to be a part of. That’s not the country I love. When America becomes something unrecognizable, what will we do to change the tide? What will be required of it’s citizens to uphold the freedoms that all men and women deserve?

America was never without greatness…what America are you living in, Mr. Trump?

What’s Your Word?

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

The past is very important. Of course it is! It’s the path we’ve taken to get to where we are today. There is value in the past. Value in learning from the mistakes we’ve made (and we’ve made mistakes.) Value in celebrating the magic we’ve experienced (and there sure was some magic!)

I’m someone who easily forgets and yet somehow I still hold on with both hands. I hate to admit that I find myself dwelling on those darker, harder, sadder, angrier moments occasionally often frequently. The ones I shouldn’t hold on to at all. Sometimes I get bogged down with the beautiful moments too. Trying to recreate the past. Instead of allowing new moments to be created, I’m too busy trying to relive moments that have come and gone. But they were just that good! Shouldn’t I want to find that happiness again? Isn’t that a good thing?

The thing is, this is rather a new revelation about myself. I didn’t realize I did this. At least not to this extent. WOW. That mirror can be a hard thing to look into sometimes.

Instead of lamenting this…well…lamentable behavior, I’m actively choosing positivity (it’s sorta my thing!) I choose to inspire myself to be better. No one else will work as hard as I will to inspire the future I want to see for myself. NO ONE!

I won’t recount to you my hardest trials and biggest triumphs of 2015. You can go look to past blogposts or my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the cliff notes. There was good…there was great (birth of my nephew deserves a shoutout!) There was bad…and there was certainly ugly with a capital UGH!!!

Forget all that! I’m walking forward…no…running forward. I have big, bright moments in my future and I’m eager to get to the good stuff.

I’ve mentioned to you, gentle reader, that I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. And I don’t. Resolutions tend to be about changing ourselves. Temporary solutions that don’t last longer that mid-January or if you’re really lucky February even. The truth is, I don’t want to change who I am. I like me! Moles on my face and all!

I want to inspire and allow me to become my best self. So instead of a long list of character flaws that must be changed immediately, I pick a word. A word I want to live out in my daily actions for the whole year. Sure, somedays I’ll fall short. Other days I’ll jump high and long and clear the hurdles. But the point is, I’ll be trying. Me…this unholy mess of a girl.

In the year 2016, I Liz Tailor, choose to live FREE!

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-Free from my past actions.

-Free from unrealistic expectations.

-Free from debt.

-Free from negativity.

-Free from judgements.

-Free from convention.

-Free from borders and boundaries.

-Free to create.

-Free to live.

-Free to love.

-Free to travel.

-Free to come back home.

-Free to share.

-Free to inspire.

-Free to write and sing and run and fall.

-Free because I serve a MIGHTY GOD who “knows the plans for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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Part of discovering what it truly means for me to be free, I also want to explore how I can help those who aren’t blessed with the freedoms I have. Human Trafficking is a cause that has long been on my heart. So I hope you’re ready to hear about my journey to learn more. And perhaps the causes you are passionate about will take a front seat this year as well!

Tom Petty Quote "Freedom"

I hope you join me in choosing a word to live by instead of unrealistic lists (I know that up there is a list, I like lists) that you cannot ever hope to live up to. And I hope with all my heart that you find what you’re looking for in 2016!!

What’s your word this year?

Finding Inspiration

I’m a pretty inspired person. I find inspiration in music. I find it in movies. I find it in books and blogs and friendships and in daily quiet time with God. Out here in California I find it when simply gazing at the sunshiney sky or a perfectly placed palm tree.
But sometimes the well runs dry.
So I made a list of the things that usually help me get my inspirational groove back.

Step 1: Turn to God
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This is usually the first place I turn. I admit, sometimes it takes a back burner in the quest for motivation and inspiration. But it should always be first. My favorite devotions are “My Utmost for the Highest” by Oswald Chambers and “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. I try to do these consistently. When I reach a stagnant moment, I will always have a place to turn.

Step 2: Make a List
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After placing my path back in God’s hands (time and again) I try and list the dreams He’s placed on my heart. The passions that I can’t shake. The “unreasonable,” “unaccomplishable” musings that fill my brain and heart constantly. In list form, they seem much more attainable!

Step 3: Watch any and all Marvel movies
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For some reason the MCU really sparks my imagination! I dream of being a superhero. I dream of saving the world. And after watching Captain America or Avengers, it just seems easier to accomplish.

Step 4: Walk, Run, Jump, Spin
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When I’m in a season of laziness and drought, it’s easy to forget or ignore the things I love most. Happiness doesn’t seem attainable in the darker moments. But I love working out! I really do. I had a guy at Crunch gym, a guy who was trying to sell me on a membership by the way, tell me that people work out to lose weight or gain weight or look better, but never because they love it. To which I responded, that’s nice…show me to my spin class. Cause I love spinning!! The feel of aching muscles, muscles that you may have forgotten existed is what keeps me moving.

Step 5: Read
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In addition to my Bible and my daily devotionals, I love to read biographies and autobiographies of inspiring people. People like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn and Bobby Kennedy and Mindy Kaling and Ellen Degeneres and Rock Hudson and Felicia Day and Amy Poehler and anyone else who strikes me as an inspiration. Their stories inspire my own.

Step 6: Write
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How can you expect to write about life if you aren’t living one. Staying home and catching up on 11 seasons of Supernatural may lead to some searing pieces about the show, but it won’t give you life experiences or insight into the greater struggle. So do all the other steps on this list and then write it all down. Share your life with people. Or take up a challenge like #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) I’ve never written a book in my life…but I’m gonna try it!

How do you stay inspired when inspiration seems lost?

The Beach is My Dream, the Ocean…My Nightmare

I love the beach. Perhaps you follow me on Instagram. If you don’t…come on over: @nerdinthesand. But if you do then you know without a shadow of a doubt just how deep my love for the beach runs. It is a physical representation of the happiest place I could ever imagine being.
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I feel calm when I’m at the beach. I feel like I’m home out there. I feel like I know myself so clearly and that if I just reach out I could probably touch the hand of God, like in Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. I don’t feel like a hurricane when I’m at the beach. I feel like a palm tree, deeply rooted and able to stand the harsh hurricane winds. My soul says, “Do your worst for you can’t touch me out here.”
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Everywhere else I’m the hurricane and the surrounding trees have to survive me. But here is where I am truly what I was made to be. A
song sung on the breeze. A shadow on the sand. Perhaps that’s why being away from it for 8 long years was just too long for my soul and eventually the shore had no choice but to call me back.

I do not feel the same way about the ocean. The ocean scares me. Deeply, down to my toes.

My mom likes to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Every July I start to hear about things like Goblin Sharks and Vampire Squids and Fangtooth Fish and Giant Tube Worms and all manner of creatures that sound better suited for a horror film than for the ocean. A place I think we truly don’t belong. Though I don’t at all feel that way about space….interesting.

If Atlantis were a real place and it was up to me to search the depths of the ocean just to find it, then it would stay lost forever.

On my recent road trip up to New York with my brother we drove through Delaware. This took us across the scariest stretch of road I’ve ever been on. The Lucius J. Kellam Jr Bridge – Tunnel. It’s series of bridges and tunnels that stretch over an expanse of the ocean itself. Not a bay or a lake or a gulf or a stream, but the edges of the ocean. Look left and you can just make out a distant horizon that must be the shoreline, but look right and you are faced with the expansive stretch of deep blue sea with no end in sight.

I thought for sure that while we crossed it, some catastrophe would hit. Maybe we’d get stuck in that tunnel for hours on end only to be engulfed in the very ocean the tunnel was supposed to protect us from. Or we’d get stuck on the bridge in traffic and a Sharknado would come sweep us away into the ocean where the rest of the sharks were lurking.

I was never afraid of the ocean as a child. It’s only in adulthood when the overactive fears of our imagination are given a voice. As children we have those same fears, but the monster under the bed is just a shadow and shark attacks are less likely to happen than car accidents and lightning never hits the same place twice.

Adults know that shadows only exist where there is a sliver of light. We know that sharks are a reality and of course lightning can hit the same spot twice, it’s not like it has memory or anything.
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The beach is my dream and the ocean, my nightmare. How funny that the two should be so intertwined for I could never have the dream without the nightmare. For one to exist, the other has to as well! The irony is not lost on my. Or rather God’s imminent sense of humor. He’s constantly laughing at my fears, the way a loving father laughs at a child who’s too scared to look under the bed. “Sweetheart, there’s nothing under there. Don’t you trust me? Have I ever let you down?”
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What I Feel vs. What I Know

I’ve been reading Jamie Tworkowski’s, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, book called If You Feel Too Much. And I’ve been taking my time with it. Every page I read, I feel like I need to savor it because there are gorgeous profound truths in the pages of this book. Things that Jamie went through that speak to my heart, especially as I go through this transition. And so it’s taking me months to read a book that would normally take days. But I don’t want to rush the words.
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And in one of the chapters Jamie pits What He Feels against What He Knows. So the title of this blog post is pilfered from his book. Borrowed, really. So, thank you Jamie! Thank you for your words. For the difficult things you experienced so God would give you the words that you are now giving to me.

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Here’s What I Feel versus What I Know at any given moment in any given day…

I feel sad. I know that it’s temporary.

I feel happy. I know that’s temporary too.

I feel like I’m bad at everything. I know that I’m not.

I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to offer this world. I know that I do.

I feel fat. I know that I’m not and that there are people who actually struggle with obesity or eating disorders and I am not one of those people. So I know that my insecurities stem from a place that is not worth validating.

I feel like I’m not enough. I know that I am just enough or else there would be a whole lot more of me to go around and there isn’t. So I must be enough.

I feel like I’ll never fall in love. Or worse…no one will ever be able to fall in love with me. I know that I am the only thing standing in the way of that happening.

I feel like God made a mistake when he mixed the ingredients that make up my brain and the very essence of who I am. I know that He didn’t, because God doesn’t make mistakes and for some beautiful, unknown reason He chose to make me.

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What we feel and what we know are constantly at war. We are not meant to move with the emotions that come and go. Ebbing and flowing like the tides on the shore. They are as inconstant as the wind. And in Florida, the only thing you can count on is that the wind is there, but never which way it will be blowing,

We are meant to move with the knowledge and discernment that only Christ can offer. Even when we don’t feel Him there…He is. Even when we don’t feel strong…we are. Even if we think we can’t carry on…we will.

If we allow what we feel to dictate our actions we will always be ruled by the flaky, unpredictable self. And God asks…no He demands more from us.

So I feel like I don’t know what’s coming next. But I know that if I’m listening, I won’t need to.
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The Nerd Returns to the City

“Well… I didn’t expect that!”

I was so sure that the tears I’d cried over leaving New York were because deep down I wanted to go back. I wanted my life back. I wanted what was familiar and what had become “normal” for years.

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But there I was, back in the bright lights and I felt like I was gonna jump out of my skin. I am not an anxious person and I’m not a worrier. But everything about being back made me feel anxious and made me worry. I was late to meet my friends. I was bustling along the streets. I was stuck on the train that seemed like it would never move.

This was the life I’d lived for the past 8+ years. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer (and let’s just be honest…it was always for poorer.) This was how I’d lived. Blissfully unaware of the madness of the city because I’d become a part of the madness. I was the madness. I understood it and it had become a part of me. I fell in love with it. (Read about That Time I Fell in Love)

The first weeks back in Florida, I had a frog permanently living in my throat. I was on the verge of crying every single day. My mom asked me if I wanted to sing at church and I burst into tears saying, “It’s too soon! It’s not the Journey.” My friends suggested I try online dating to get over a certain person I may tell you about someday, but I burst into tears just reading the profiles saying, “It’s too soon! I’m not ready.” I drove out to the beach and even that didn’t feel right at first (despite what my Instagram portrayed) and I cried the whole way back saying, “It’s just not New York. It doesn’t feel right!”

Everything seemed to be a pressure point. Everything seemed to set me off. So, here was my chance. To make the choice to stay on the path God called me to walk on or to turn back around and run to something comfortable. It’s funny to call New York comfortable. It’s the least comforting city I’ve ever lived in. Surrounded by 8 million people and constantly alone. But when you acclimate to something it does feel comforting to be a part of it. So New York was the comfort and Florida was the challenge?? What an unexpected outcome!

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I was truly shocked by this panic attack. I’ve never even had a panic attack before, so I can’t be sure that’s what I was experiencing. But my heart was racing and I couldn’t breath… so I started to pray.

To be honest with you, I’ve been mad at God. Why did he call me to leave my beloved city? Why did he bring me down to Florida where my purpose is still being figured out? Where my friends and family already have their lives figured out down here?

I decided at some point that I was too angry to listen. I decided that I was going to make my own way!

If you’ve ever gone your own way, you’d know it’s not the right move! I know it’s not the right move and one restless night God hit me hard with the news that I was supposed to be listening! And this feeling that I felt in New York was just confirmation that I’d made the right choice in listening to God. That moving was His plan, not mine. And that my new challenge was to listen for the next light he shines in front of me instead of buying batteries for my flashlight and finding my own path.

It’s not a revelation. It’s not new information! It’s just a daily reminder that I need to constantly turn my eyes up to Him. And a daily reminder that I am right where I need to be. Even if it’s hard! Especially if it’s hard! And trust me…it’s been hard.

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