DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Not everyone’s story is the same, just like not everyone is the same. Honestly, wouldn’t this world be incredibly boring if we were in fact… all the same?

We live in a society that tells us that if you are this size, you are beautiful. If you have this color hair or hairstyle, you will be pretty. If you are “just like this”, or “only like that”, or “be more like her”, and “just do what he does”, we will be identified as “ideal or normal.“I say, “no.”

Because I know that trying to be someone I am not, will just make me miserable. I’ve been there. I have tried in more ways than one to be “that girl” that I thought was going to get me noticed by my friends, by boys, by anyone. Sure, it worked for a while, until I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor crying one night because I was so exhausted trying to be this girl that I thought I was suppose to be striving for.

Now, I am not sure what your story is, but I am sure you can go back to a time in your life, or a moment, where you tried to conform to who society says you should be. It can be straining and take a toil on someone, especially a young male or female, specifically in middle school, high school, even college and it doesn’t even stop there. It trickles into adulthood and pierces at the heart. “If you could be more like this mom”, maybe your kids will like you. “If you hung out more with your kids instead of working”, maybe your wife and your children would appreciate you more. “If you just worked harder”, “if you only spent more time in church”, “if you only took better care of yourself”. These thoughts creep into our hearts and minds, if you say that they don’t or they haven’t before…I think I’d be amazed.

There is a fine line between doing something for yourself and doing something for others or because you want to conform to society. I have found many times that I think I am doing something for myself, then I take a step back and realize that I was doing it to please or satisfy someone else. BUT, there have been more times, recently, where I have started doing things because I WANT TO and because I have a PASSION for something. It takes time and a whole lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and to break away from what society says is “beautiful” and create your own beautiful. It is worth it though.

This is what is so beautiful about Jesus and the gospel. We are called to walk in the fullness of God and just be OURSELVES. God doesn’t call us to be like everyone else, he doesn’t except us to fit in with what society tells us we should be. He wants you to embrace your differences and be unique. He will give you the courage and confidence to break out of your shell if you ask. If you think that there is nothing “special” or “different” about you…think again. God created you in his image, there is a whole lot of special just in that! Then you add on all the gifts he has blessed you with, you are one completely amazing human being! Sometimes it just takes a prayer, or a whole group of people to help bring that YOU out.

B O T T O M  L I N E:

You are the only one who is like you. You are the only one who has your story. You are unique. It is okay to be different, it is okay to show that to the word. Break away from conformity and let your heart shine. 

DEAR JESUS,

Dear Jesus,

I don’t know where to begin…

or what to say other than thank you. I can’t help but want to cry in total gratitude.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be here if your love didn’t came down and scooped me up into your arms, wrapping me in love and grace. You didn’t have to save me. You didn’t have to die on the cross and say “it is finished.” You didn’t have to forgive the ones who wronged you. You didn’t have to pay for my sins. You didn’t have to give your life. BUT, you did. And you did it all because you love me. You saved me because you see me as worthy, even if no one else does. You saved me, a sinner.

You know, there have been many seasons of my life where I have not put my trust in you or I have questioned your authority. There have been so many times where I think “I got this, I can do this on my own, I don’t need your help”, however you know that. You know my every move, every thought, what I am going to say before the idea even comes into my head. You know what my life will be like in five years, even until my last breath, you have my life all planned out.

And constantly I find myself questioning your plan and your power, when I shouldn’t because you know what YOU are doing. I think it’s because I don’t have all the answers, and honestly that frustrates me. Because all I want are the answers.

There are so many days where I just feel lost and broken. There are times I don’t believe that you are listening to me. There are times where I cry in anger because I convince myself I am not important to you or that I’m not important to anyone.

Do you understand me? Do you hear me? Am I worth it? Am I good enough? If I changed who I am would people like me more?

But you tell me I am beautiful, even when I feel ugly. You tell me I am worth it, even when I feel worthless. You tell me I am whole, even when I feel broken. You tell me I am loved, even when I feel far from it. You tell me saved and redeemed.

BUT…Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t have been given the opportunities that have been placed on my path. I wouldn’t have been blessed with relationships or met certain people. I like how I can only be open and completely honest with you. I couldn’t try and hide anything from you even if I wanted to. I don’t have to suppress my feelings. I don’t have to hide my tears. I don’t have to hide who I am like I hide myself from other people.

A thank you does not even do you justice. You deserve all the glory and praise, forevermore.

YOU ARE WORTH IT

6 years ago…

There was a point in my life where I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t stand to see the horrible person I was. Everyday I felt like I was letting God and myself down. I felt like I was always bothering someone, that I didn’t belong or fit in. And when I did finally, “fit in”, I lied to myself so that others would like me. I get it, high school is hard. You constantly are seeking the approval of others. You want people to notice you. Or you want someone to just love you. But, no matter what age you are, the devil is always going to try his best to get you at your weakest point, and for me, that’s my self esteem.

Ever been there before? Have you ever felt like you are just floating around constantly seeking the approval of others? Or have you ever gone so far as harming yourself and your body because you couldn’t stand who you were and what you looked like? It’s ok if you have, because I have too. And the crazy thing about it all is, its a lie straight from the devil himself.

6 years later…

I love who I am. I love all my flaws, my curves, my thighs. I understand that I was made for a purpose and I was not a mistake. I rejoice now because I understand that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am not a mistake. God’s plan for me is so much larger than what I could ever think of. There are still days were I do not feel good enough and I start to compare myself to people who are “better looking than me”, or “have more going on than I do”, but that thought never lasts long. And when I do start to feel unloved, unworthy, or I don’t feel confident… I pray. I pray that God rids those thoughts out of my head and my heart. Because I promise those feelings and thoughts are not from God.

It’s ok to have bad days. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be upset. BUT do not dwell on it. Get up. Do your makeup. Stand tall. Buy yourself flowers. The pain and brokenness you may feel now is only temporary.

YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU ARE LOVED. You are more than enough, I promise. You are more than enough because your Savior Jesus Christ, says that you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14 || For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My Story

This is my story. My testimony. My walk with Christ.

It hasn’t always been pretty, things haven’t always been easy for me. And right now in this moment, thinking about the things that I have been through, I pray that somehow, someone, somewhere, will read this and understand.

I grew up going to church and knowing Jesus. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was a child, not even truly understanding the meaning of what it means to “surrender your life to Christ.” My parents are both Christians so I grew up following their example of what it means to live a Christian life. There was never really a point in my life I felt distant and confused when it came to my relationship with Christ until high school.

I struggled with many different conflicts in high school, freshman year right off the bat. I tried so extremely hard to seek the approval of others. I convinced myself that if I participated in activities that I knew were harmful to myself, that people would automatically want to be friends with me. So naturally, that’s what I did and I would come home the next day and just sit and think to myself, is this what my life is going to consist of? Nothing but partying, seeking the approval of others, harming myself? I felt completely lost by the end of sophomore year leading into junior year. I struggled with tons of anxiety and depression, that eventually led to a year of lashing out and harming myself. I honestly didn’t even know what I was doing until it was over. I felt like I was living a lie, to my family, friends, and myself. However, God was with me the whole time. Even when I would sit there, crying, feeling lost and broken, asking Him show up and save me. I was so blinded that I didn’t even recognize that He was there in the midst of my brokenness.

Fast forward to senior year, I started to change my attitude and perspective. I recognized that I will not make it in this world if I do not start developing and strengthening my relationship with Jesus. I started going to the Church of Eleven 22 and I immediately fell in love and found my church home.

I started school at The University of North Florida in the summer of 2016, and loved it. It wasn’t until the fall semester started that I started having anxiety and worry again, to the point where I couldn’t find a way to control it. I got back into a relationship, I was in a sorority, I had tons of friends, and school was going ok, and I was still going to church. Freshman year now looking back on it, seems like a blur. However, I know Jesus was present the whole time, and my relationship with Christ was growing.

The relationship I was in, now seems like it was a roller coaster of emotions, causing happiness and anxiety all at the same time. Many ups and downs, many nights laying in bed asking God, “where are you and what is your plan here?” Even when I was with people I felt alone and confused. Church was the only place I felt at home and loved. However, even though the relationship I was in was not perfect, I still wouldn’t have changed anything. God was present in the beginning, middle, and end and I am so blessed that God had his sovereign hand over the situation. I have learned that God doesn’t put us through anything that we can’t handle. And believe it or not, He puts us in situations that we can’t control to show us that He is in control. 

I took part in the Before All Things initiative through Eleven 22. I surrendered my life to Christ again in the spring of 2017 and I was baptized through Eleven 22 this past summer. Still even with that, there have still been many ups and downs. Living a life for Christ is not easy, but it is so worth it. Everything about Jesus is worth it, because he says we are worth it. We are beautiful, because he says we are beautiful. And we are valuable and loved, because he paid the ultimate price for us on the cross, demonstrating the perfect example of love.

I got the idea for this blog shortly after my baptism, because 1. I absolutely love writing and sharing my thoughts, and 2. because since I am called to be a disciple of Christ, that means we are called to spread the word, and what better way to do that than have a blog that is all about Jesus!

These last few months have been hard and full of confusion and doubt. But, I am so thankful to have so many loving and wonderful relationships in my life that have helped me keep a positive outlook on life.

Now, being 20, I have realized a couple things. I realize that God’s got my life in the palm of his hand. I am young and there are so many doors waiting to be opened. There is no need to be fearful or worry. I will continue to put my faith and trust into Jesus, because honestly I cannot do life without Jesus.

To sum this whole thing up, I am so overwhelmingly thankful for the price Jesus paid for us sinners. He goes before all things.