Wednesday, October 31, 2012

fear of approval + owning your story

owning your story.  what does that even mean?

today i sat down with the intent to write about 'my story'.  i wanted to write about who i thought i was and the experiences i've been through that i think make up who i am and what i stand for.  basically things that have happened in my life that make me, me.  i definitely believe that we are all living out different stories for a purpose and a reason.  ((read a million miles in a thousand years by donald miller if you want to dive deeper into the 'living out a story' thought. great, great book.))

so, i sit here and stare at the computer screen.  i'm unable to adequately put into words what my story actually is.  i'm unable to articulate the purpose and passion i'm trying to live out.  the purpose that god has uniquely designed me for.

and it hit me.

until recently, i have let other people determine my story.  i possessed a deep and heavy fear of approval.  it was so strong that i didn't let my true self out from under the different masks i wore.  i adopted stories from people that i admired and i let other people determine what my story was based on their assumptions of me.

you know what i realized?  it's so easy to live in fear.  it's so easy to just please others and do what you think is expected of you.  it's easier and less challenging to live out someone else's story.  to act like them.  make decisions like them.  we think that if we do this, we guard ourselves from hurt.

the truth is, by wearing a mask and living our lives as someone else (or a bunch of different people), we are essentially telling ourselves that we aren't worth it.  our story isn't meaningful or "special" enough to be known.  in the end, we do more hurt to ourselves by going down this fearful road.  the sad this is, the longer you let fear and other people define you, the farther away you get from your true purpose.  it gets harder to unearth who you really are.  god designed me in such a beautiful and specific way.  when i trust in him and believe in that truth, i am blessed beyond belief.  why would i want to shy away from that?

and, i guess, this exploration of all the years i was too afraid to live out my own story makes me unique and forms my story more than i'm giving myself credit.  i guess it's a "preface" to the rest of the story of sorts.

so, all of this to say that i'm striving to take the mask off.  with god's help + strength, i'm taking a time-out and not playing the game of fear any more.  if this means being uncomfortable, so be it.  i would much rather live in discomfort, rest in god's grace and strength, and feel confident in the woman i am than live in comfort while hiding who i am.

phew.  that felt great to get out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

offering grace

Ok.  I'm about to get real.

I'm so judgmental.

There. I said it. ((deep breath))

I'm so quick to judge others.  I easily can criticize myself.  For some reason, "real life" just isn't good enough.  That woman at the coffee shop with her screaming baby? -- she totally should leave the room instead of sitting there and letting it echo (been there, done that).  That man sitting next to his wife, but barely putting his phone down long enough to even give her a loving glance across the table? -- he is so selfish.  Don't even get me started on myself.  I should dress a little cuter, make healthier dinners (perhaps granola with a side of cheese and crackers the 3rd day in a row isn't that great?!), I should pursue my husband more, and be present with R when he's wanting to play.

Grace.

What a beautiful word, right?  I thought I understood this word for years.  But, surprise!, I really didn't.  Our family is in a crazy (but good!) season right now, and these messy & ugly little realizations are bubbling up.  God has a funny way of making that happen.  We go through different situations in life (good and bad), and some times deep, dark things about ourselves are unearthed.  I'm so thankful for this.  Thankful that I'm provided with a chance (or 2... 3... 6 chances) to be able to learn more about myself through God's character.

I think my focus on "perfectionism" is what influences my judgy outlook. Vulnerability is scary.  And, in order to be vulnerable, you need to accept the messiness of life. You need to accept the brokenness of yourself and everyone around you. We can't be perfect. We have fallen. Time and time again.

Grace.

God's whole plan. God's grace is beautiful. Life takes on a different light once we accept his grace and live/act out of his grace. I don't think I really ever took the time to stop and receive God's grace until recently. I thought abut it a lot, but i never accepted it. Maybe because deep down I thought I was "good enough"?  I ignored the mess and desperate need for him.

So, today (and every day to come) I'm going to try to accept vulnerability and God's grace. Accept the beautiful, beautiful mess that we are as humans and the crazy lives we live.  I want people to see Christ when they interact with me -- not a "perfect" or put together Meg.

I'm going to pray that the second my eyes open in the morning, God moves through me during the day and I shut off the thoughts in my mind telling me that I need to be better and try harder.  Those "p words" will be the end of me (perfectionism and pride...).  I know I will fall and fail time and time again -- but that's the reality of it all.  Accepting grace is a totally different thing than just understanding grace (which is still quite important).  

Grace. Grace. Grace.  Rest in grace.

Rest.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

sayings on a saturday

Often times I get paralyzed by perfection.  I have so many ideas and standards and goals and ... and ... and ...

... that I just forget to move.  To do.  To believe in the passion and direction that God has placed on my heart.  Thank goodness I don't need to be perfect or have it all figured out.  

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

click for image source




Friday, October 19, 2012

currently on my mind :: a little list

Today I'm taking a little break in the heavy thinking to post some pictures and write a little list of what I'm loving lately.  What can I say ... I'm a list lover!  I hope you're able to slow down for a bit today and appreciate some of the beautiful simplicity around you.


I'm loving ... 


... warm and veggie packed stews.  I just made black bean and zucchini chili the other day.  It was so scrumptious, spicy, and filling.  Put it on top of a baked sweet potato and you will be oh, so happy.  


... lots and lots of house projects.  I have officially hit a "nesting mode".  I think it's the cool and cozy fall weather.  My latest project at the top of my list is finishing the backsplash in our kitchen.  Our plan is to affix steel on the wall and paint it with chalkboard paint (magnetic and writable ... so cool).  Cheap and artsy.  I love it. 


... fall walks.  The colors are hanging on just a little bit.  It's always sad to see the vibrant colors go, but the short seasons makes me appreciate the beauty even more. 


... feeding this little man.  We're introducing more and more real foods.  It is incredibly funny to watch him try new things.  I will never forget his "avocado face".  


... going on little adventures with these three.  Some times I have to take a step back and really appreciate where I'm at in life.  Almost like a little reality check.  I'm a wife!  a mom!  what?!!  I am one lucky girl.   



turn up the tunes! :: mumford & sons

click for image source 


My husband has been talking about the new Mumford & Sons albumn for weeks.  We play music every morning while the coffee is brewing. I think it's our small attempt to making waking up a little easier.  I will seriously lay in bed as long as I possibly can in the morning.  It's like my feet are incapable of hitting the floor. So, the music helps.

Anyways... back to the new Mumford albumn. Whenever there is something new, I'm usually the one that is too good to get into a fad and try it out.  I will especially not get into some thing new if it's popular.  Because, let's be honest, that just isn't cool.

So, even with my husband pleading me, I have been dragging my feet with picking up the albumn and listening to it.

Until today.

Whoa.  Listening was like water for my soul.  The symbolism (whether intentional or not) is incredibly beautiful.  In the song "I will wait", there are lines that go ...

Well I came home like a stone
And fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust, which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun

And I'll kneel down, wait for now
And I'll kneel down know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step, and relent
Well you forgave, and I won't forget
Know that we've seen and him with less
Now in some way shake the excess
...
Now I'll be bold as well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So tame my flesh and fix my eyes
A tethered mind freed from the lies

But I'll kneel down, wait for now
I'll kneel down know my ground

Raise my hands, paint my spirit gold
Bow my head, keep my heart slow
---

For me, these words are saturated with such an intense feeling.  It's crazy how our ears and heart are connected and how moved we can be by melodies and lyrics.  Some songs just make intense emotions pump through my veins.  I guess you could say I'm a feeler and I feel deep.

Go take a listen -- you won't be disappointed.






Thursday, October 18, 2012

dress for the day :: color addition

dearabbyleigh.com


I'm linking up with dearabbyleigh again today for Dress for the Day.  She's spreading the word about setting the tone for your day through what you choose to wear.

And, you know what?, these posts have taken on a meaning so incredibly more important than scarves, outfits, and fun hair.  Don't get me wrong - those things are small ways that we appreciate ourselves and, most importantly, strive to accept and believe in ourselves.  But, these posts have shown how women are working on accepting the skin they're in.  The body beneath the clothes.  It's a journey.

How we dress is just the starting point.  Choosing fun clothes that feel good makes us feel important and valuable, but these feelings need to start in our mind & heart to.  I often struggle with believing that I deserve to look good.  That sounds crazy, but I think it's something many women struggle with.

So, here's to the journey of loving the skin we're in.



Adding pops of color to my outfits have become my lastest thing. There are times I fall into a grey or black rut, and wearing colors just brightens my mood and adds a little spunk to my step.

The lighting in the photo above is a little off, but I'm wearing red shirt and a mustard yellow scarf.  I can't get enough of the mustard yellow color lately.

Photo courtesy of the local coffee house bathroom.  Love it. 

Head on over to dearabbyleigh.  Join this awesome initiative & share your story.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

we all have influence :: weekend conference recap

{{This is just the beginning of many posts about the influence conference.  I was completely wrecked by the women I met and by this conference.  Wrecked in such a good, good way.  Please excuse my crazy thoughts as I still sort all the amazing, amazing things out in my head.}}


+++

Good gracious.  Where do I even start?  This past weekend I had the honor of joining 200 other amazing, fun and gracious women in Indianapolis at the Influence Conference.  Before heading to Indiana, I was excited about making new friends, having some much needed time away, and gaining some knowledge about how to use my voice online.  That sounds nice and all ... but, wow, this conference was

so.
much.
more.

I'm still recovering from how the speakers and conversations with others left me incredibly wrecked, but encouraged.  I made friends with women I had never met before "in real life" and clicked instantly.  These women are some of the most genuine, real and admirable women I know -- no joke.  I learned creative and tangible ways to use my voice and influence online.

I'm sorry if this all sounds a little gimmicky, but it's all entirely true.  

I left my house early Thursday morning feeling worn out.  Nervous.  Unsure.  Guilty.  Exhausted.  Being a new mom and in a new phase of life has thrown me for a loop.  Over the past few months I have questioned myself and my purpose.  My confidence has slowly slopped down into a valley.  I often felt unsure of how to act, what to say, how to live my days.  I made everything look pretty and perfect on the outside, while I felt like such a screw up and crazy person on the inside.  


While at Influence, I had the atmosphere and space to come to terms with the mess I had going on inside of me.  I connected with other women that struggled with wanting to "do it all" and came to terms with being broken and real about life.  We came together and shared our stories of encouragement and brokenness.  Jessi said it perfectly, "When we want to do it all; when we try to minister out of ourselves, we will bleed out.  The problem is... our blood is no good.  Jesus already did it all and His blood is good enough."

I left Influence feeling full.  Full of confidence in who I'm created to be and want type of artist with influence God created me to have.
I learned to believe in the influence I am blessed with.  
I realized that I need to ensure that I am being influenced by God before I try to influence others.
I now understand that believing & receiving the gospel are different things.
Letting people in is needed.  Being vulnerable is needed.
There are AMAZING women out there once you open yourself to being vulnerable with them.
It doesn't matter how many followers I have.  God will use me how ever He pleases.
Goals and asking for help when needed is where it's at.
Believing in my brand, protecting my brand, and thinking about my brand whenever making a decision is crucial.
Living in His grace and ministering out of His grace is so humbling and needed.

Most of all ... I should know and accept myself.  I have influence now.  tomorrow.  next week.  next year.  How am I going to use it online and off?

At Influence I was able to connect again with God and myself.  I was able to see how He wired me.  I needed to take a back seat to and surrender my "plans".  Who knew that going to Indiana would be life changing?

Now, I'm surrendering every day and every decision to Him.  He's planting new ideas and adventures in me that I'm so, so excited to take on according to His plan.