You Can’t Know Everything

You Can’t Know Everything

I’m a planner. I like to have things put together in advance and thought out. I like to know where something’s going to be and what time, what’s going to happen when we get there or what’s going to be expected of me once I arrive. While I love surprises, I do not like the element of surprise in reference to work or events I am helping with. I like to have all the tools I need available. I want to always be prepared. I don’t like last minute pop ups. I am not a fly by the seat of my pants type girl.

I’ve been put in situations where nothing was planned or thought out and we were scrambling to put things together within a certain time frame. I’ve had moments where I thought I had thought out every detail and missed something so I had to improvise. I’ve helped people with functions they were doing whether it be a birthday party or Christmas party or a business event and there was something forgotten or missing so we had to make what we had work or go back to the store for the hundredth time.

What I’ve come to learn in these situations is that it all came together. It all worked out how it was supposed to. It may have been stressful or overwhelming. There were moments where I would think “What am I going to do?” or “I don’t see how this is going to work out” but it all did. Even with my planning and lists or trying to anticipate the things that could go wrong something popped up that I didn’t plan for and it still worked out.

These moments are a lot like life. Sometimes we get ourselves so worked up over things trying to anticipate the problem and all we end up doing is creating unnecessary stress. And sometimes some of the problems we tried to plan for never even happen or a problem we didn’t anticipate happens instead. But eventually it turns out as it should or sometimes even better than we anticipated!

The point is, in many ways, we are walking through life blind. We can set goals, reach achievements or mile stones. We can create bucket lists or have our lives all mapped out but no matter what we are going to come into bumps in the road. There are going to be road blocks. There will be things we planned for so we are prepared to resolve the issue and then there will be the unexpected. We cannot know everything. We can’t always plan for all the things life will throw our way. And that’s ok!

I’ve learned through life’s hiccups it’s made me more resilient. It’s made it easier in certain situations that when the unexpected happens to adjust accordingly. It’s funny that as parents when our kids don’t get their way we will tell them “You can’t always get what you want” or “Things won’t always go your way” but we neglect to remind ourselves of the same things during this thing called life.

So here’s a reminder that we can’t know it all, we aren’t supposed to know it all and for the things that we won’t have a plan for God will provide the tools,wisdom and knowledge to handle it. Embrace the unknown. There’s so much freedom in not worrying constantly about the outcome of things and watching God bring it all together. After all, not matter what, He’s working all things together for our good! That gives me great comfort and peace and I hope it does the same for you.

It’s Ok To Change…..

It’s Ok To Change…..

your hair color, your mind, your style or anything about yourself and life that you don’t like . Most importantly it’s ok to grow into a different but better version of yourself. For the most part, I am a pretty passive person. For me that word passive pretty much equals people pleasing in the since where I always want those around me to be happy (Although, I have learned that I’m only responsible for my happiness and my happiness alone). I try to be accepting of people’s flaws and I try to be very understanding of whatever it is that they are dealing with. I’m a pretty empathetic person. When those connected to me are going through difficult things I tend to feel their pain, literally it seems. I feel as if I am suffering right along with them although their situation is not my problem.

Because of this personality flaw and strength, (I consider it to be a little bit of both) I tend to take on a lot. I overlook a lot. Ignore certain things. I even rationalize certain behaviors that most would deem unacceptable or give the benefit of the doubt when it’s clear as day what is going on. I know that it’s because I don’t want to rock the boat. I know it’s because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable and I don’t want to argue about something that is not as important to me as it may be to other people. Not that I shy away from confrontation. When something bothers me enough or I feel like it needs to be addressed I have no problem talking about it. But something about me that I know needs to change is my worry of hurting people or upsetting people and doing it at the expense of my own feelings and well being.

Over the years as I’ve grown and learned more about myself I could see and feel the changes in me. Those changes would scare me! Not because they were bad, they were good changes. I didn’t always handle them well or communicate them as effectively as I should have but the changes were necessary to my personal growth. I was afraid that making the changes internally that I needed to make would make people not like me or be angry with me. I was afraid that I would lose connections with friends or friends would not be able to relate to me. While to others it seems like a silly fear, to me it was a real one. I wanted to be better but not at the expense of losing people. Let that sink in for a moment. Too many of us want to make changes in our lives. Too many of us want to be better moms, wives, sisters, friends, etc. but fear losing relationships so at the expense of who we are and who we want to be we’ll delay or stunt our own personal growth. We will hinder or sacrifice our personal well being for fear of being judged or walked away from. But no matter who you are or what you do someone will be upset. So it’s an irrational fear and not worth hindering the changes needed for your own personal growth.

The saying that those who really love you will love you no matter what happens or who you are is not only true but important to people who struggle with this. Relationships can be complicated but they don’t always have to be if at the core of those relationships is love and acceptance. Unconditional love is not loving someone as along as they fall in line with our exact beliefs or what we want. Unconditional love is loving someone in spite of the the fact that we don’t always agree and the other person isn’t always who we want them to be. So don’t be afraid to change. Don’t be afraid to be better. Don’t be afraid to look at yourself and go “I don’t like this about me and I need to work on that.” If it means stepping away from somethings or some people that’s ok. It doesn’t mean it’s the end. It’s actually a new beginning. I have the most amount of respect and admiration for people who know who they are and stand true to that at the risk of people not liking them. It’s ok for people to not like you as long as you LOVE yourself. It doesn’t make you perfect or better than anyone else but it makes you better than the person you were yesterday.

So fight for the changes you need to make and don’t let the fear of losing anything or anyone take away from that. It’s not worth it. But growing into who God has destined you to be will be worth it in more ways than you’ll ever know because you’ll change into a person that you’ll love even if the people you’re afraid of losing don’t……

Overthinking Much?

Overthinking Much?

Ok who does this?!! I dooooo!!!!! While I have gotten better, I still over think almost everything and at times I make a rather simple task or decision really complicated.

If I text someone and they usually respond quickly and it takes 4 hours I’m like “Are they mad at me?” Mind you I haven’t done anything to them so I don’t know why I even go there and then when they do respond I over analyze the text message and I’m all like “Ok they don’t quite sound like themselves…” now in their response they clearly said they were busy trying to meet a deadline at work but I’ve just created a whole argument where there was no issue.

Don’t take me to a restaurant or give me 5 colors to choose from or ask my opinion and have 7 different options. My brain will overload, short circuit and it could take a while to get to an answer. I think-as I sit here overthinking this blog- that over thinking comes from the need or desire to be perfect. We want things to look perfect or sound perfect or want to make the perfect choice when sometimes there really isn’t a perfect choice. There’s just the choice that works for you.

Relax! I often have to tell myself to just calm down, take a deep breath and choose the chicken! Picking food should not be stressful and making a decision should not be solely based on what someone else might deem perfect. Of course it’s understood that with certain things you want everything to look a certain way-such as weddings, birthday parties, or your outfit. But in all honesty what looks perfect to me or you will not always look perfect to someone else. So here we are stressing about how exact we want something to be when someone’s going to look at it for two seconds and go “Oh cute.” And then they’ll move right along.

I remember having a conversation with a friend not too long ago about how I’ll do something and I put a lot of effort into it but it’s not received the way I think it should be. To me it looks great! It looks perfect. But when someone else sees it their version of perfection is not the same as mine so they want to tweak this or change that. And I’m like I don’t get it. This wise friend says to me “It’s not personal. If it’s someone’s vision, their baby, their dream you aren’t going to understand or see it like they will. So remove your feelings from it and just continue doing your best knowing that no matter the outcome it’s not you personally.” In that moment I received so much clarity.

We want what’s perfect for us but it’s not always perfection to everyone else and that’s ok! Stop stressing about it. Stop over thinking the colors or the theme or all the other minute details based on what others might view as perfect cause they just might not see it that way. Focus on what works for you. For me that takes a lot of pressure off and then I stop overthinking things that aren’t meant to be difficult.

Like Forest Gump said “Life’s a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get.” So just roll with it!

Be A Mess

Be A Mess

We are always talking about having it together or getting it together. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “I need to get my life together” or how many times I’ve heard other people say it. We all have goals. I am sure that there are things in our lives that we need to focus more on and be better at such as being a better mom, friend, wife, co-worker etc. There is nothing wrong with working towards being a better you or working towards being more organized in life.

I remember a time in my life where I put constant pressure on myself to have it all together; to have it figured out. My house was always presentable. I had a system and everything was organized and in it’s place. It didn’t matter when someone came over. I put all of my effort into constantly staying on top of the laundry, house work, taking care of the kids, I cooked at or around the same time daily, I never left dishes in the sink. I could have worked all day, came home and did school work for college, cooked dinner, bathed the kids and got them in bed-it could be 11:00 at night and before I got in the bed I was going to wash those dishes. I was going to sweep and mop. I was going to vacuum and pick up all the kids toys and I was going to throw in that last load of laundry. I was exhausted and irritated all of the time trying to live up to some unrealistic standard I’d set for myself based off of outside perceptions. I didn’t want to be judged or called a bad wife or mother. Just want to throw something in right here-set your own standard. Do what works for you. It doesn’t matter what others say they aren’t living your exact life.

But in some ways aiming to get all of that done sounds good. I’m being proactive right? Getting a head start on the day. But what good is all of that if you are mentally and emotionally exhausted the next day? What good does that do if you can’t focus at work because you’re tired therefore you’re not putting in your best effort, which your employer deserves? How does cramming a million and one tasks into one day- a day that has probably been long enough already-help you? How does the lack of sleep and irritation help your kids when they want to play or cuddle or tell you about their day but you’re too tired to listen or engage?

While it’s important to take care of home and all of the other outside responsibilities we carry, there’s no time limit and there’s no need to try to cram each and every task we can think of into one day. (There are several days in a week for a reason ya know?). We put all of this pressure on ourselves to be “put together” and if we aren’t “put together” then we are always telling someone how we need to get our lives together. You know something I learned? Most people, especially moms, are not looking for someone who has it all together. Yes, we want to be surrounded by people that inspire us and encourage us to be better but if we are honest we are looking for that one person who is struggling just like we are so that we feel less like failures and less alone.

This all became clear to me when I had a friend come over to hang out one day. She has two small kids and one of her kids is the same age as my youngest. When she got to my house I was in the middle of trying to straighten up and folding/putting away stacks of laundry. I learned that day that just from that moment I encouraged her. She said “You come across as the kind of person that seems to have it all together and it was refreshing to see that you were dealing with the same things I’m dealing with.” I was like “Yes!  I, too, struggle and run around like a chicken with my head cut off.”

So be a mess sometimes. It’s ok if there’s a few dishes in the sink at night. It’s ok if the house isn’t perfectly clean and put together every day of the week. What’s most important is taking advantage of the time to spend with your husband after he’s had a long day and just wants to blow off steam or to take the time and watch Moana for the hundredth time with your kids. (I honestly like Moana. I watch it without my kids LOL). But I’ve had some of the best moments with my kids when I just ignored my long list of things to do and just popped popcorn and hung out with them.

Your mess is encouraging someone. You are not alone. You are not a failure. You’re not perfect and that’s ok. Your kids aren’t going to grow up and go “Mom, remember all those times the house was in perfect order and the laundry was always clean and dinner was always ready and waiting? Yeah….good times.” But they are going to remember the time they had a bad day and you took them out for ice cream or the moments you spent playing with them when you had so many other things to do. So let the cookies crumbles where they may, literally, and focus less on the mess and more on the important moments in your life that you will never get back once they are gone.

Own It

Own It

We all have flaws. We all have not so good personality traits. We have things about us that people love and then things about us that drive people insane. There’s no way around it. No point in denying it. There are things within each and everyone of us that we could be better at. Sometimes we are aware of those things. Other times we may not know that others perceive us a certain way or that we even have that personality trait.

Maybe you’ve heard something about yourself and thought that’s so not me. Or maybe someone has said something to you about your personality and you thought they were being rude but upon deeper reflection you realized that what they were saying was true. I’ve been told I’m too sensitive. And I’m like what does that mean? I’m allowed to have feelings. And I am but what was meant was I take too many things personally. I’ve been told I’m gullible or a pushover. It’s been said to me that I’m consistently cranky and irritable in the morning and that whatever I’m feeling in the moment is all over my face. I’ve been known to be easily irritated. And you know what? All of these things are true!

But when people say these things to us initially our first response is to either be hurt (because who wants to hear negative things about themselves?!) or to be frustrated with the person who said it to us. If people never brought these things to our attention we wouldn’t learn and grow into better individuals. So here’s what you have to do….own it.

Accept the fact that sometimes you’re rude and cut people off in the middle of talking. Accept the fact that you’re controlling. Accept the fact that you’re a know it all. Accept the fact that sometimes you lie and your friends know it. Accept the fact that sometimes you’re a little whiny. Accept the fact that you tend to make things all about yourself. Accept the fact that you’re inconsistent and often cancel plans. Accept that you’re petty. Upon self reflection when you find the things that people say about you to be accurate, accept it; own it. It’s your best chance at improving.

And you know what else I’ve discovered? Once you own it when people say it to you again or you find yourself in a situation and someone makes that comment if you respond back “I know” it doesn’t sting so bad or at all. It may not even bother you anymore. And if the person has ill intent in telling you it takes away their power to see you hurt or frustrated. We are all a work in progress. Not one of us is perfect. Sometimes God places people in our lives to help us deal with things that we aren’t aware of or are aware of and we aren’t listening to the Holy Spirit convicting us. Those things that people have said to me about myself I’ve intentionally worked on, not that they are now non existent, but I’ve grown significantly because I made the choice to improve.

So learn to accept the whole person that you are not just the great qualities. Own the fact that you’re a work in progress and when you do you’ll be at more peace with yourself and those around you. And having all of these flaws doesn’t make you any less of a person. You’re still great! But not dealing with them can hinder you from walking into the greatest blessings of your life. So examine the things you need to work on, own them and then continue being fabulously flawed and owning it you!

What Have You Invested?

What Have You Invested?

I’ve always been the type of person that likes to help or wants to be supportive of those in my life. It’s my way of showing love. Took me a long time to understand that about myself. I’m not into recognition or props. Just a thank you is fine. But it gives me great pleasure to be there for the ones that I love.

I’ve invested a lot of personal time and energy going above and beyond to help the people God has placed in my life. I’ve gone to kids programs or events in place of parents that can’t be there or I’ve gone just to show support. I’ve picked peoples kids up from school, or practice or other events. Or taken them to school or practice or other events. I’ve shown up to parties early and helped set up. I’ve stayed late to help clean up. When someone has been ill or hurt I’ve checked on them, stopped by their home, gone to the hospital and sat with them or held their hand while they were going through something uncomfortable or painful. I’ve made gift baskets for people who were in the hospital, released from the hospital or at home on bed rest and couldn’t come out. I’ve made a meal or dessert for someone who needed it or asked someone over for dinner because I knew they hadn’t had a home cooked meal and didn’t have money to keep eating out. I have had the pleasure of driving a friend early in the morning for an outpatient procedure, waiting for them then driving them home and making sure they were ok. I say pleasure because someone has done the exact same thing for me so I was blessed to be able to do it for someone else.

I’m not saying all of these things to boast or brag about myself but to bring to light that we often complain about what people don’t do for us or how they don’t help us but what are we putting out? What are we giving? What are we investing? I remember early on in my path of growing and learning to serve Christ I didn’t work and so I didn’t really have money to sow. I thought that this was the only way to give and often felt bad or like I wouldn’t be blessed because I couldn’t give financially. Thank God I learned that sowing a financial seed in church or blessing someone financially is not the only way to sow! Giving your time and sacrificing personal things you could be doing elsewhere is a form of sowing. That’s why we are encouraged to volunteer at church.

I have learned that what I’m expecting others to do for me I have to be willing in some part to do those same things for other people. We can’t constantly place expectations on others and we are not willing to do those same things or similar things to help someone else. One day we may fall ill and be bed ridden or need someone to pick our kids up from school but we’ve never taken the opportunities presented to do the same for others. It doesn’t mean that you go against what boundaries you have set up for your life and put yourself in situations where you’re taken advantage of. It also doesn’t mean it’s ok to always be doing something for that one person but they’re never there for you. But it does mean if you’ve got a sick friend check on them if you want someone to at some point check on you. If you’re complaining about that coworker that never offers to help when you have something big going on, take a step back and ask yourself when’s the last time you’ve done the same thing for someone else? I know sometimes certain things are out of our comfort zone and I shared a post about staying in our lane, working our strengths. Sowing time isn’t limited to just what we’re great at. Sometimes the sowing of our time could be sitting with a friends kids while she goes to the doctor or showing up just to sit with someone who’s having a tough time. And keep in mind that the same person you helped may not be the person who brings you the return on your investment! God may send it through someone else that you weren’t even expecting.

We often place expectations on those around us but fail to acknowledge the other ways they show up in our lives. We might help someone paint their home and then when it’s time to paint our home they don’t help with that but they ordered pizza and fed everyone for the night. Instead of being grateful for that we will complain that they didn’t help us paint not one time. Well maybe they suck at painting! Or maybe they’ve got a sick child at home and couldn’t invest time painting but still wanted to be helpful. So either you take the real blessing of pizza or you let them paint and then you’ll be wishing for them to take their painting “blessing” back. We have to learn to stop trying to choose how those in our lives want to bless us and accept the blessings that they’re giving from the heart. I don’t know about you but I prefer the heart filled blessings! And if you had a whole bunch of people show up to help you paint there’s the return on your painting investment so why did you need that person anyway? But you needed food and so that’s what God placed on that persons heart.

So I want to encourage you to not only take the opportunities God presents you to bless those around you, but to also take a good look at what you’re investing in before you complain about what someone’s not doing for you. It’s so easy for us to look at what those closest to us do not do or what we feel like they don’t do enough of. But take a look at the person as a whole and remind yourself of the other ways they’ve invested in you. Then when you find yourself on the brink of making a list complaining about what they don’t do (which I’ve learned that complaining is a sin and communicates to God that you don’t think He knows what He’s doing-or don’t appreciate what He’s doing….so we need to get our ungratefulness in check!) ask yourself what seeds have you sown lately or at all…..

You Are Valuable

One of the best memories I have to this day is when I worked at the shoe store The Finish Line. I came in at 17 years old as a cashier and eventually became the head cashier. There wasn’t anything I didn’t know about the system. I could trouble shoot and work my way around certain issues. I learned how to find the reports needed by management. So much so other stores came to know how well I knew my job and managers would call to ask me questions with things that they needed help with.

Not only did I know how to do my job well, I knew a little bit about every area of the company. One thing I learned from the managers I trained under is even though you may not have all the answers, you should be able to answer basic questions about the company and the different areas within the company. You should know who to tell customers to talk to or how to help customers resolve basic issues. I took that with me to every job I worked after that. I always made sure to keep myself informed.

By the time I turned 19 I was asked to be an assistant manager. Not just by my boss, but my regional manager, who was a step above my district manager, specifically stated that he thought I’d make a fantastic assistant manager. It was a big deal! I was hesitant but eventually accepted. You have to pass a test so to speak to get keys to the store as a manager. You can be promoted to assistant manager or an MIT (manager in training) but you can’t work alone and close the store if you don’t have keys that give you access to do several things within the facility. You have to run the floor for a full day (9am-9pm) successfully to earn your keys. This means handling employees, shift changes, making sure every area was covered, ensuring employees are meeting their goals, delegating, customer complaints/issues, opening and closing the store, etc. You had to do this on your own all day while a senior manager evaluated you. They would then report back to your manager and the district manager and you’d learn whether you passed because you’d get keys.

This is a lot of work and trust for an organization to put into any employee. Yet alone a 19 year old. But those people around me saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. They saw my value. They recognized that I was an asset to the company and they wanted to ensure that they not only kept me as an asset, but also wanted to nurture and grow my worth as an asset by teaching me, encouraging me, and training me to be the best that I could be. Because of this I was one of the best assistant managers in my district. Managers wanted me at their store.

My district manager, Bruce, further recognized my value. Whenever he came in to check in on our store or to evaluate our store he always, always made a point to take me out for ice cream and just talk to me about my thoughts, the store, my goals within the organization. He treated me, not like I was some 19 year old kid filling a space needed in an organization, but like I was a valuable tool in the organizations success. Because of that I worked harder and made it a point to ensure I represented the company well.

You’re just as valuable. Maybe someone hasn’t told you lately. Maybe you feel like you don’t contribute much to your job or your family or your friendships but you do. Maybe you don’t think that certain thing you do at work is noticeable. You’re doing it to be nice or you’re doing it to ensure things run more smoothly but day in and day out you’re putting forth your best effort. Someone has noticed and when you aren’t around to do that certain thing at work the value that you bring to it is missed.

Don’t discredit yourself because someone hasn’t confirmed your significance. In due time all of the work and effort you are putting into your job or your friendships or your family will began to produce fruit. God sees all that you do and all that you are. He has a way of recognizing and reminding you of your worth and there’s no one better at doing it than Him. At one point in my life I was struggling with my self worth and God sent someone to be with a brand new coach purse (at the time almost every purse I owned was a Walmart purse-nothing wrong with that) but I didn’t think I was worth much. Certainly not worth owning an expensive purse that I never would have bought for myself. I didn’t think I even deserved it. But take away the focus on the name brand purse and focus on the value being brought to light. I didn’t think I was worth much and God was reminding me that you’re worthy and valuable-just like this purse. He’ll do the same for you. So walk in confidence knowing that you are treasured not just to those around you but to God. He values and adores you!