It doesn't feel at all like tomorrow is Thanksgiving, anyone with me on that? Nor can I believe that it'll be December next week.
They say time only goes faster as you get older.. I guess they weren't kidding.
Before tomorrow rolls around and inevitably we get blasted with huge newspapers full of ads and commercials for Black Friday, can we just take some time to first pause and be thankful? Even if you do it for thirty seconds after reading this.. just take a moment to reflect on your life.
Sure, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have tons of great deals.. prices you cannot beat.. but I can almost assure you that being present with the family and friends around you without hiding behind screens and having your face in the ads will beat any of the deals that you find. Don't let the pursuit of the hottest deals make you miss out on the precious moments spent together with those you love most.
Ya see, those deals, the big shebang that Black Friday & Cyber Monday have become, they're for just that.. things. We're a society that's overly focused on things and on what we don't have, and we wonder why there's so much negativity, hate, lust, and envy in the world.
Sure, we can buy things and treat ourselves, but once we get them, don't we typically feel a temporary satisfaction with it, then we're looking ahead and thinking of what else we need. We let this time of thanks give way to dreaming of obtaining the next hottest item, while losing focus and appreciation of the very life and blessings we've been given and the people around us.
As I've gotten older, things have become less important to me. People, relationships, experiences, those have become my strongest desire. I want an actual conversation without someone being too absorbed in their phone to pay attention, I want to ask questions that people don't typically ask because I want to know you more than just what's on the surface, I want to experience nature and all of the beauty in the world, go where the connection on a phone is weak. Yes, I do like to have things and I do like to be treated and to treat others, but that's not my highest priority.
To love, to serve, to listen, to hug, to hold someone's hand, to wake up early to watch a sunrise.. those are the things that make my heart happy, those are the things that money can't buy but that I wouldn't trade for anything in this world.
When it comes down to it, we can always buy more things, but we can't buy more time. We can't buy time back that we wished we would've been more present, that we wished we would've loved on people just a little harder, that we spent neglecting those around us because we were too focused on the physical items in the world around us.
This year, whatever it brought, think about it and take some time to truly be thankful. Sure it might not have been your best year, or maybe it was your best year yet, wherever you're at, be thankful because every good and bad moment was strung together for your good and molded you into the person you were created to be.
So in the next few days, slow down and just be present. I can almost promise you that being present will be an even better present to those around you than any gift ever could be.
Here are a few quotes/verses and a song to get you in the holiday spirit if you aren't so already.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May your hearts be full of love and laughter and sweet memories.
I've been trying not to get in the Christmas spirit too soon because I'm always be thankful and celebrate Thanksgiving first, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't listening to Christmas music as I write this-- N*SYNC and Michael Buble to be exact.. Can you ever really listen to their albums too much? The answer is no. ;)
Also ironic because I'm also sitting outside on our steps next to two pumpkins and the sun is shining and it's a beautiful beautiful day. It's hard because some people I follow on Instagram and such have snow already and are decorating for Christmas, soooo it just gets me in the spirit so Hallmark Christmas movies & Christmas music it is. (ooooops).
The middle of the week can be a challenge. We're halfway through another week and maybe you're still going full force or maybe your feet are starting to drag a bit. Whatever you're feeling, this passage popped out to me today when I opened my Bible and it consistently serves as a reminder to me to continue on on the pursuit of what sets my soul on fire-- with joy, reassurance, and excitement.
I have it boxed and underlined and circled and all sorts of marks on it, and it's one that gives me encouragement, especially at times when I have doubts.
1 Timothy 4:12-16
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
You may be reading this and be older or younger than me, but what I want to tell you is that it doesn't matter your age. You don't have to be this or that age to be an example.. to listen, to serve, to love, to do what you love, to take chances, to dream big, to start something new, to stand out.
Some of the people I look up to most and receive the most encouragement from are younger than I.
If you have a passion burning inside of you, it's there for a reason. Choose to do, not to neglect and settle for a comfortable life because you're afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone. I've almost turned down opportunities because of the fear of what others would say or think. If I would have done that... I would have missed out on incredible experiences, friendships, and opportunities that came about because of one leap of faith.
Whether you're doing what you love full time or it's still a dream in your heart, don't give up on it and don't neglect it. It's not there just for fun. It's there for a reason and you were created to bring it to life.
You have no idea who you're going to inspire, encourage, and reach by pursuing the gift inside of you. Don't be discouraged when it doesn't come to fruit over night, either, because I can attest to that-- sometimes you're going to have to be real patient. I won't lie, it's not fun, and sometimes during those seasons of planning and dreaming and working on it that we're going to have to do things we might not want to and don't enjoy as much, but I also am confident that the wait will make it that much more meaningful and worthwhile.
So friends, I hope you find encouragement in this. Don't think to yourself that you're too young or too old to do something, because there's no more perfect moment than now to try.
Rise & Shineeee
It's Monday morning.
I bet you're probably thinking.. Gah. Great. Another week. Where'd the weekend go? Back to the grind. Why does it get dark so early now? Why this, why that? Where's my cup of coffee? The struggle is pretty real.
I'm not a fan of the early nights because that means less hours of daylight and being cooped inside longer, BUT it means earlier sunrises and I'm a huge fan of that.
Maybe it's because I've been awake since 6:15 and it wasn't pitch black outside and that's why I feel so energized right now, but this morning I've felt like a bundle of joy and have had a lot on my heart, so I just wanted to share a few things with you-- things you might need to hear, things you might need to be reminded of, or things you don't relate to, but someone in your life might need.
Whatever you're going through right now, whatever you're feeling.. whether you're struggling with something or you're doing okay and have no complaints, we all need to be reminded sometimes that we're not alone in what we're feeling, and that no matter how we feel today, we're each loved, we're each of value, and we're each here for a very special reason.
If you're in a season of waiting.. be patient. (I can attest to this one because I need to repeat this to myself at last 20 times per day).. Don't grow weary and bitter, but try to remain joyful through it. Colossians 3:23 is always on mind mind as I wait and carry out my daily life.. And whatever you do, do heartily as to the Lord and not to men. When you shift your perspective from having to do something that you may or may not want to do, to instead doing it for the Lord, your attitude will change. Will you drag your feet or do it with more enthusiasm? If you're waiting for the right job, the right relationship, someone to apologize to you for something, the right timing, the right ______, whatever it might be, know that God's timing is perfect. Try not to rush and buzz past the present moment, living and dreaming only of what's ahead. Be present where you are and know that where you are, what you're doing is for a reason and in the right time, you'll be given the opportunities and people you need to be all that God created you for. Use this season to grow, learn, love, serve, and seek out new opportunities. Don't spend it idle, but do. Do more, love more, serve more, strive to be all that you can, and your heart will feel more-- more gratitude, more love, more grace, more joy.
If you're afraid.. find you strength and courage in Him. I feel like this message has been repeated to me over and over lately, through Bible studies, friendships, sermons, and songs. That God has something in store that will probably scare me, but I don't need to be afraid. What we can do instead of being afraid? Trust His promise that He will provide everything we need. I've been pointed to this a few times-- Philippians 4:19-- And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. He'll provide for us. We need to step out in faith and trust that He will meet us. He has our stories written and He won't leave us lacking in anything that we need to carry out our purpose. He will provide. Stepping out of our comfort zones can be scary and intimidating, but He'll use you in ways you can't even imagine if you give Him the opportunity to do so.
If you're feeling anxious and full of worry.. know that this doesn't come from God. He thinks good thoughts towards you, but the world will try to steal the truths from you. It will try to tell you:
You're never going to be able to do that- you don't have what it takes.
You need to panic right now because of this or that.
You're not good enough.
You're five seconds away from a breakdown.
Your heart begins to race, your mind goes 100 mph, and you feel overcome with panic. Take a breath. Close your eyes. Speak truths to yourself rather than these lies. If you take a look at the world around you, all of the beautiful incredible sights we see, all of the birds and grains of sand.. God created each and every little detail of it all, and He created you- and you are worth more than it all. Do not worry about anything, but trust that you are of value and so worthy of everything good.
As a new week begins, stay confident in who you are. Seek to be joyful instead of anxious. Seek to love instead of being bitter. Seek to be thankful instead of envying what others have. Know you are loved. You are valuable. You are a treasure. Soak in those truths and go into this week with a refreshed mindset, and your light will shine into the lives of those around you.