I saved this photo from when I was in the country last weekend. One of the reasons being that we sometimes only capture joy but yet with out sadness joy doesn't exist so why only capture joy? It was special and simple because you saw the weight my eyes felt. I think so many times social media only shares the filtered beautiful parts. Many of us do that because of "boundaries" to what we share while others feel dismantled and confused as to why our life feels completely unfiltered and broken hearted. I don't dare strive to or desire a life filtered. I hope to only share the bits that have been semi-processed that still respect the relationships around me. So hear I am, with a heavy heart. A heavy day. Learning a lot and ultimately wanting you to know you aren't alone in it. I want you to know you'll figure it out, let time heal, pray for the Lord to strengthen your heart, soften others, and understand that it will take a lot of time. More than you desire. That's okay. It's truly going to be okay and I think what you needed to hear tonight was: That you'll be okay. Your capacity is being stretched and that's beautiful. One of the most beautiful pieces of you.
I got some new kicks! Thank you Nike for making small enough and still cute shoes for my little feet.
I went for a 3 mile run today and I ran past the place I fell. I was scared I'd do it again but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. That I could hop over the broken stone and make it on the other side of a smoother surface. I think that's what we all hope for right? To get through the pain of whatever life experience we are going through and pray that we will come out stronger. A little better. A little bit more aware of how we step next time. Sometimes we feel broken like that cobble stone but there's hope that there is a smoother surface we can get to. If your heart is broken or heavy, I pray that you will have clarity on how to mend it and if you don't have clarity - just wait. Psalm 91 says: Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.
If you need to take time and be in a place of waiting - know no matter the outcome you will gain strength because you waited. It was worth the wait.
The irony of this is kinda hilarious. I went for a run today and as I'm headed back and it's getting way too dark for this gal to be out running the streets, I'm listening to "Awesome God" by Hillsong. I'm just really into the song and the next thing you know I go flying in the air forward, slide across the cobblestone sidewalk on the pads of my hands and my knees stop me from going in the road... meanwhile I yell the biggest F*BOMB this neighborhood has ever heard. So loud that a car stopped and asked if I was ok. I looked at her and I just said: "yes, thank you! That just hurt really bad." And then I kept running... I got further away from the embarrassment, cried a little, my hands and knees are swelling by the minute but I couldn't help but laugh at myself. The mess you find yourself in whether you put yourself in a hurricane or not, you sometimes have to fall forward to move forward no matter how painful it is and if you yell loud enough, someone will ask if you're ok. // I'm sorry cabbagetown for my dirty mouth in the heat of pain.
With my job at So Worth Loving, I've seen a lot of heartbreak. I've seen a lot of human. Any struggle, lie, addiction, pain, or burden has involved another human being. At least 2 people have created hurt whether it be intentional or unintentional. Whether it be a mean harboring comment or a destructive lifestyle. Recently, I've been having lots of conversations with people that are in healthy and balanced relationships to others that are hurting and in a hard spot. The common denominator for the couples that are struggling would be trust, connection and lack of dependency. That they are scared to be dependent on their person, especially when growing up as a christian. Everyone has a different upbringing but what is commonly heard in a Christian household is that you are taught to depend on the Lord for only He is where you find your satisfaction, contentment, support, and love. While I believe that my contentment can't be found completely in another person, I wonder if the pendulum has swung to the extreme and it has given a pass to not have a dependency on our person at all. God designed us to desire one another. That is why God made Eve. Adam couldn't survive on his own. He needed the connection of another.
One of the most humble acts we can do for each other is say: I need you and how can I serve you. I believe this because: to say you need someone is admitting you can't do life all on your own. To ask how can I serve you is saying: I want to know the inner thoughts of you so I can support. If our actions show that we would be fine with or with out our person, then why do we do life with them? Could we be saying "I don't need you but I'm glad you are here." And if we are living this out with them, then we are simply co-existing and not connecting.
Coexisting : to exist at the same time
Connection : being together. a means of communication. an arrangement to execute orders or advance interests of another.
As I'm verbally processing all my thoughts in this blog post (I'm a scattered processor, sorry!) it has helped me to understand why I have this desire for connection and I'm still learning about it. This is something you don't learn in high-school, they don't have a class called "Connection 101". While I found a deep love for poetry, scripture, and literature, I'd stay after school to hang out with my teachers to learn from them, talk about life and discuss my thoughts in addition to dating and exploring what I felt I deserved and how I could love another person. Growing up, connection was something we are taught by either the curiosity on our own with trial and error or the people around us that have displayed their meaning.
I talked with a girl yesterday that had just experienced a break-up. I could tell she was so broken hearted. I could see the hole she had in her heart by just sitting beside her at the coffee shop. Confused, scared, but hopeful of healing, she said it was so tempting to let him come back in her life because she misses the companionship though she knows he's not good for her. I told her: Write down what you want. Define it. Pray over it. Make a value statement whether you are married, dating, or single. What will the kind of life you want look like with another person?
I did this a while ago and here is what I came up with:
I want to live a life of laughter and always choosing joy. A life where there is balance. Where we are lifting each other up and equally desiring to serve others together. I want to be lead and remain humble accept a challenge. Where we make choices to take care of ourselves because we know it benefits the other. We work closely together on making an impact in the world. Thirsty for understanding and depth. Depth in each other, others, and the Lord. Living a life of curiosity and passion for why we are on this earth. Asking lots of questions together and learning how to remain rooted in Jesus.
What would yours look like?
In the midst of all of my swirling thoughts and questions, I've been reading this book called Love Sense, The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships by Dr. Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist, professor and researcher. This book outlines the logical understanding of why and how we love. From the days when you married to inherit land or choose a healthy spouse that can bear children. Connection, values, safety, and attraction were not necessarily a primary and now in western culture it is the primary. Below is an excerpt of the book that I really enjoyed.
"Dependency is a dirty word in western society. Our world has insisted that healthy adulthood requires being emotionally independent and self-sufficient; that we, in essence, draw an emotional moat around ourselves. We talk about being able to separate and detach from our parents, our first loved ones, as a sign of emotional strength. And we look with suspicion at romantic partners who display too much togetherness. We say they are too involved with, too close to, or too dependent on one another. In consequence, men and women today feel ashamed of their natural need for love, comfort, and reassurance. They see it as weakness. Far from being a sign of frailty, strong emotional connection is a sign of mental health. It is emotional isolation that is the killer. The surest way to destroy people is to deny them loving loving human contact.
The idea that we can go it alone defies the natural world. We are like other animals. We need ties to others to survive. We need emotional connection to survive. Neuroscience is highlighting what we have perhaps always known in our hearts - loving human connection is more powerful than our basic survival mechanism: fear. We also need connection to thrive. We are actually healthier and happier when we are close and connected. Consistent emotional support lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system. In terms of mental health, close connection is the strongest predictor of happiness, much more so than making masses of money. It also significantly lessens susceptibility to anxiety and depression and makes us more resilient against stress.
We've long assumed that as we mature, we outgrow the need for the intense closeness, nurturing and comfort we had with our caregivers as children and that as adults the romantic attachments we form are essentially sexually in nature. This is a complete distortion of adult love.
Our need to depend on one precious other - to know that when we "call" he or she will be there for us - never dissolves. In fact it endures "from cradle to grave". As adults we simply transfer that need from our primary caregiver to our lover. Romantic love is not the least bit illogical or random. It is the continuation of an ordered and wise recipe for our survival.
But there is a key difference: Our lover doesn't have to be there physically. As adults, the need for another's tangible presence is less absolute than is a child's. We can use mental images of our partner to call up a sense of connection. If we are upset, we can remind ourselves that our partner loves us and imagine him or her reassuring and comforting us. Israeli prisoners of war report listening in their narrow cells to the soothing voice of their wives.
It is secure attachment, what nature set us up for, that makes love persist. Trust helps us over the rough places that crop up in every relationship. Moreover our bodies are designed to produce a cascade of chemicals that bond us tightly to our loved ones. Emotional dependency is not immature or pathological; it is our greatest strength.
We are not created selfish; we are designed to be empathetic. Our innate tendency is to feel with and for others. We are naturally empathetic species. This part of our nature can be overridden or denied , but we are wired to be caring for others. We are not born callous and competitive, dedicated to our own survival at the expense of others. Our brains are wired to read the faces of others and to resonate with what we see there. It is this emotional responsiveness and ability to work together, not our large thinking brains alone, that has allowed us to become the most dominant animal on the planet. The more securely connected we are to those we love, the more we tune in and respond to the needs of others as if they were our own.
Being the best you can be is really only possible when you are deeply connected to another. Splendid isolation is for plants not people.
Troubled couples are fixated on specific incidents, but the true problem is broader and deeper. Distressed partners no longer see each other as their emotional safe haven. Our lover is supposed to be the one person we can count on who will always respond. Instead, unhappy partners feel emotionally deprived, rejected, even abandoned. In that light, couples' conflicts assume their true meaning: they are frightened protests against eroding connection and a demand for emotional re-engagement.
In contrast, at the core of happy relationships is a deep trust tht partners matter to each other and will reliably respond when needed. Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing, and finding deeper connection. Int is a dance of meeting and parting and finding each other again, minute by minute and day by day."
Q U E S T I O N S :
1. So after you have read that excerpt, what are your initial thoughts?
2. If you are spiritual, I am curious of what your perspective is on the science of connection with an earthly person and finding the balance with Jesus.
3. What is your value statement? What will the kind of life you want look like with another person?
I saw a young woman crying in her car this morning. She was sitting at the red light and she took her glasses off to wipe her eyes. Something heavy was on her heart and I want to tell her:
You'll question why people or places can leave such an imprint on your life. You'll be curious on what your purpose is and how you should shape it. You'll have thoughts on why you said yes to some things and turned away other things. You'll have moments of sheer victory and moments left broken hearted. You'll experience emotional highs and the lowest of lows. You'll learn what makes you alive, you'll learn what makes you cry and you'll learn what makes you grow. And in those moments you think that maybe you just need a pep talk or words of encouragement... but I want to tell you: let yourself feel and let yourself cry. Let yourself feel every ache and pain. Let every drop come out of your eyes. Don't hold it in. Let it out. It shapes you and forms an emotional depth that you didn't know you had. The life that you live and every emotion that comes with it can be used to help another person you might cross paths with so don't cheat that person that could use your help because you were too scared to feel and too scared to process and too scared to love. Whatever you may be crying about may not be the end of something, it might be the beginning and you'll get to the other side.
I'm in month three already in 2017 and I can't believe we only have 9 more to go until 2018. So far for 2017 I made a commitment to myself that I would keep learning when I felt paralyzed. I want to not stop asking questions and I want to continue to be thirsty. I told a friend recently that I like to share bits of my process in growing through good and bad times because it's when I'm the most willing to recall all the vulnerable details. I would normally wait to share it until I come to a complete thought but I don't want to do that this time around because our thoughts are never truly complete. In fact, I believe unfinished thoughts can be some of the most beautiful because we are willing to let them be a "to be continued" moment in our life.
If you've followed along on social you've seen my journey of quitting my full-time job, owning a business, becoming a leader, growing a vision, being a wife, a friend to many, and learning how to be the best version of myself that I can be. It's been a very fast 5 years and with all the change and evolution of who I am becoming the recipe would call for messy and not smooth and I'm okay with that. It's when we are successful that we are weak. When we fail and struggle is when we see our strength. I truly believe God has given me that strength for it is not my own strength I want to depend on. I've seen the messy parts of myself that isn't anything to be proud of but I've seen the messy parts that have made me more aware of who I am, who I am not, and who I want to continue to become. I've read many books and listened to too many podcasts on personal development and I've asked experts what their perspective is on God, purpose, love, shame, guilt, and all the beautiful and broken things that make up a human being.
I don't know where that drive comes from or the curiosity to desire more depth in understanding. It may be that I'm not content with being. It could be that I always see ways of improvement and get an emotional high from seeing and feeling. Growing up my dad would always share Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Rob Bell, and Jim Rohn videos with me. We would listen to podcasts over and over and we would talk about what they meant. The school I attended took an hour long there and an hour long back and I would sit there and listen while every now and then snoozing off, for most of the time I was listening. I guess you could say I grew up conditioned to be curious about people's lives.
I've journaled a little over 22,000 words since January 1. My one encouragement to journaling is to not with hold what is inside you for fear it's right or wrong. I joke that I would one day write a book but I'm not sure where to begin on the topics I'd share and discuss. I'd like to think my book is more conversational then speaking from a place I'm certain of. I'd want to leave people understanding that we are in this together. This thing we call life. If your desire is like mine, it's to leave this earth believing you fully lived what God has for you and you fully felt what He wired you to be. My prayer is that He will trust me to be a part of others doing that as well. The next few weeks I'm going to be sharing the bits I'm learning. The videos I'm watching and the podcasts I'm listening to. My hope is that you ask questions in the comments below. What you are confused on.. what struck you.. and what you wish you could have answered. I think there is so much power in community hearing, asking, listening, sharing, and believing. So let's do just that and do it together. I'm terrible at grammar but if you want a place to be curious, I'm a safe place for that.
Have you found peace with your mistakes? - I love this song lyric. My therapist said today that blame and shame can't exist for long because every pain and heart ache we experience will lead to an awakening in our soul that we didn't know we needed. Every heart break you'll experience in life is an opportunity to learn how to fight different for yourself and for the people around you. Ive been praying for hearts these days.. when I feel overwhelmed by the aches of this world. Aches of things I've contributed to. When I have a heavy heart and not many words, I just ask God to be with hearts of individuals that hurt. That are confused - mine included. Hearts that are in need of comfort. I think He likes us talking to Him even with little words then no words at all. We all know I never really struggle with talking a lot.. but these days I do. So if you ever don't know what to say to God... just start with little words. If you prayed 3000 words in your journal to Him, He'd love it. If it was 3 words He'd love it. The fact that you thought about being close to Him, He loves it and He will embrace you with every inch closer you get to Him.
Dear Entrepreneur, Doer, Leader,
When you are working hard to achieve your dream it is easy to find yourself living in the day to day motion of hustling. You have those days where you don't tell anyone how you really feel. I know because I've had them. The days you want to quit. The days you think, gosh I'd rather work for someone else. I could have a salary - getting paid for my strengths and not reminded of my weaknesses. Those are hard days. Really hard days. You wonder to yourself, what am I doing, why am I doing this, is this a waste? Am I pouring my heart into something that may never become the vision I hope to see it evolve into? You wonder those things when you feel like a tiny blip on the radar and you haven't paid yourself in 3 years. Your home life is stressed, your work is stressed, and you are stressed. Stress stress stress blah.
This post isn't to fill your heart up with fluff... it's to say. I've been there, I am there. It's to say - yah what you are feeling is real and no you aren't alone.
I have come to the realization that you need to acknowledge when you are exhausted, drained, and tired - It's easy to get caught up in the motions of doing going doing and going.
Here is what will happen if you don't refuel. You'll be pouring yourself into your team, your finances, your friends and then your left exhausted every day sitting on the couch at 10pm watching one of your guilty pleasure shows because you honestly don't want to face the fear of pouring your heart into something that you could potentially fail at. You read articles on the depressed entrepreneur and think "that's me" and yet you don't know how to get out of it.
Well, I had an opportunity to attend Leadercast for the first time and LOVED it. I am so thankful conferences like this exist and I am even more thankful for the people that thought it's important to provide healthy content for leaders. It actually made me very aware that I am thirsty and have been operating out of a dry place for some time now.
Here are some notes I took and thoughts I have:
"Do not allow your calendar to conspire against you." - Andy Stanley
Are you an entrepreneur dealing with major anxiety?
TWO THINGS YOU NEED TO GET - A HOBBY AND FREE TIME! Just say no to things. People are demanding your time. Texting, emailing, facebooking, calling, DMing... You have to for the sake of your energy and creativity say no and develop boundaries. A dry and empty leader can't lead.
"Bravery is not a solo sport." - Rorke Denver
Delegate and learn to trust your team. When you started your company it was just you but now in order to grow a team must be developed. Don't let the mentality in your company be: "you are working for me". Let them know they can take on ownership and with out their talent and freedom your company can't grow. You can't reach your goal and vision with out them!
One of my friends and mentor told me - When you wake up, think "what are the things I can delegate today".
"Lean into pain for pain is a growth opportunity for you and your team" - Rorke Denver
I've been avoiding pain. I've tried to handle pain and tension of growth on my own instead of with my team and I've learned I also have no margin to allow growth which is why I am fearful of pain. It would be one more thing I have to "deal" with and you never want to add more to your plate when your tired.
"Focus on strengths and quit obsessing over weaknesses for you start to live out of them when you obsess over them."
- Bill Mcdermott
Welp that quote slapped me over the head. I started living my life out of feeling alone, drowning in my weaknesses and constantly wondering "how?".
A close friend and mentor said to me last Friday: You are growing into the influence God has given you.
When he said that it was like the closing to the notes I took and I realized that with growth comes pain. I need to lean into that pain and not run. I've been running because I'm terrified of failure and I am terrified of letting go of control. However the "control" I think I had is me running my wheels in one place and not allowing me to move forward.
So Here are some things I am doing - do them with me:
- Decide your work hours and stick to them. Create a habit and rhythm! Be disciplined in your calendar.
- Get to the office early and delegate then you can look at what you have to do with a clearer mind.
- Define the amount of time you need through out the day to process your meetings and mark that in your calendar. Schedule margin.
- Decide who your core people are that are priority in your life. When you define that, it is easier to say no to others that demand your time.
- Find a hobby. Find some sort of enjoyment outside of your work. Mine is crossword puzzles and learning to ride a motorcycle. I look forward to getting off work now instead of wanting to work all hours of the night.
- Define the ways of contact. You can reach me at my email or phone. Not insta, not twitter, and not facebook.
- Pay yourself. When you are building a company your profit goes into the overhead, employees, and new product but it's so important to pay yourself. To be honest... I've taken 4 pay checks in 3 years and it has worn on my self-worth in the company. SO Even if it's $200 a month. Do it.
So here is to you entrepreneur, doer, leader,
You were called to lead and whether your company or organization will fly or fall, you have to think it's not because you were scared to grow and learn. Give it your all, while trusting your team, refueling yourself, and creating margin to breathe and live a happy life.
Check out my interview with Southern Living!
I got to a chance to share my thoughts on the theme given to me: UGLY. Over 400+ Creatives in Atlanta at Creative Mornings filled the room and it was a real honor! Watch the video below!
Creative Mornings is a worldwide meet up in over 100 cities connecting like minded creatives for a morning that includes keynote, FREE donuts and FREE coffee!
Find your city here!
What is one lie you've been telling yourself?
There is beauty to be found in the pain and victory to be found in the fight. Fight against the lies you've been telling yourself and watch your relationships and career flourish. Nothing good is easily achieved.