17 for 17

Every year I write a post with a list of things I’ve learned in the past year. 16 was a year with a lot of change, but in a good way. So here’s a tribute to the best one yet and a prayer for the best to keep on coming.

  1. Spend time w people who love you
    1. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned this year a huggggeee part of having a life worth living is surrounding yourself with people who know you better than you know yourself. Over this past year I’ve met some of the most honest and wonderful people who know exactly what I need (sometimes even before I do).
  2. Be proud of your faith, of your passions
    1. I used to be scared to talk about my relationship with God out loud. I’ve always been comfortable writing about it, but speaking about it seemed like this whole new level of vulnerability that I didn’t know if I could handle. This year, through an AMAZING movement called #howtolife, I found my voice. I learned how to tell my story and through the process of it, met some of the best/ most genuine people within my community + grew closer to some of my closest friends. This year I tried to led the Lord lead me and let me tell ya, I really like where he did.
  3. Be spontaneous
    1. Aka – be the opposite of who I am. Spontaneity terrifies me. I hate not having a plan. BUT !!! it also encourages so much growth and adventures and more joy than I could have ever thought!
  4. Find something every day to fall in love with
    1. Because there’s SO MANY THINGS IN THIS WORLD TO ABSOLUTELY LOVE! Make it a flower! Make it a song! Or a new food! Or a new picnic spot! Every day! Find one. Make a list of them. Keep them and remember how wonderful all of this life we have is, even on days when it doesn’t seem so great.
  5. Pray whenever +++ wherever
    1. This little tip came straight from my sweet friend, Dasha. So often prayer seems to be the last thing on my mind, getting pushed aside in the mix of everything going on in my day. But the cool thing about prayer is it doesn’t have a specific way//shape//form it has to take. It can be on your drive to school, listening to worship. Or it can be in the middle of the day, when you are struggling in a class. Or it can be when you’re sitting at a bonfire with your favorite people in the whole world, thinking about just how lucky you are.
  6. Do stuff that isn’t like you
    1. I am someone very set in routine. Things without routine are not some of my favorite things. So I’ve spent the past few months trying to learn exactly how to get out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I still get scared or anxious, but for the most part it’s made me a wholeeee lot better of a person + my life has felt a wholeeee lot more fun.
  7. Work hard but don’t let it overrun your mental health
    1. The future a really cool thing in the sense that it is full of potential. But it also has been the sole focus of my life for a really long time. This year, I’ve taken the time to take breaks from just pushing and pushing towards the future. When you only think about how much better you still have to be, everything is stressful and it takes a huge toll on who you are. So take time to let your mind rest and be at peace – it’s worth it.
  8. Have people in your life where you both improve each other’s – if not it’s not worth it
    1. Shoutout to my Casey-gal for hammering this into my head for as long as she’s known me. Because life isn’t worth wasting each others’ time with meaningless friendships. Find people that make you excited for life, or that pick you up no matter how low you are.
  9. Make time for silence
    1. Sit in the quiet. Listen to the world around you. DO IT !!!
  10. Go on adventures by yourself – discover yourself more
    1. Something I’ve done this year is taken myself on dates: on picnics, to restaurants, anywhere + everywhere. It didn’t matter where, but the time to be alone and live in my own little world did. Learning to be okay with being by myself is a long process, but one I need + one I will continue to grow in.
  11. Notice the little details
    1. Being as detail oriented as I am, the little details tend to be what drives me crazy. But it also tends to be what brings the most joy to me. Find the little things in everything – from the different pinks in a bouquet of tulips to the tiniest details of your favorite songs – it’s a beautiful thing.
  12. Live in the moment
    1. A certain favorite person of mine has spent the past 7.5 months teaching me a lot a lot about living in the moment and not getting caught up in your future and past. Living in the moment is the polar opposite of what I am, but attempting to learn how to do it has made every little moment seem so much more valuable. The specifics don’t always matter.
  13. Nourish & love your body, inside & out
    1. This year I’ve learned that health and self love looks different in every human. What may look like a “healthy” life to you may be wrecking someone else’s body. Don’t use health as a way to punish yourself. Learn to listen to your body and embrace what it NEEDS (something I struggle with a lot). Find fun ways to work out. Learn new healthy recipes. There’s so many ways to love your body.
  14. Travel often
    1. And I’m not just talking big traveling – I’m talking within your city/ state. Learn to make every day an adventure. Find cool little restaurants, meet new people + learn their stories. Embrace the culture of wherever you are wholeheartedly, it opens your eyes to so many things.
  15. Be flexible, embrace change ( still working on this one )
    1. I’m going to straight up say it: I HATE CHANGE. It is probably my least favorite thing to ever exist. But it still happens and usually for a pretty good reason, so find the good things hidden within change + be thankful for the opportunities to grow.
  16. Experience growth and acknowledge it in others
    1. Let yourself change. Embrace it.  Watch the people that you love change too. Be okay with it, even if it’s different and scary. Change is a good thing.
  17. Realize that we’re all just doing our best
    1. Everyone tries to live a life worth living. Everyone is trying to be loved, to succeed and to find where their passions lie. Let them. Let them life and walk in the life they’re creating for themselves and do the same for yourself. You’re trying and growing too.

 

To another year of growth, happiness + everything else,

With love,

Elle

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The Light

Okay pals, time to get to know more about me than ever before on this lil blog of mine. Posting this literally terrifies me but I’m sharing my testimony in front of tons of people in two weeks so now isn’t the time to be scared about being open. So here we go.

I have struggled with depression for a while now. It’s gotten more in control – sure – but it also still is this heavy force that sometimes makes me feel like I’m drowning. It still sometimes makes me feel guilty for having a good time and it still sometimes goes on and on and doesn’t seem like it’ll ever end. Most times, I feel helpless at best.

I shake.

I can’t see straight.

I feel entirely not myself.

When I get into those little episodes, everything becomes way too real. Anything I think of, any fears or worries or bad thoughts, feel like they’re happening at that very moment. The worst part is, a lot of the time I’m too far into that horrible day dream to realize that’s all it is. And somehow, if I manage to get calm enough to pray, everything realigns.

Most of those prayers go something like,

“Hey God, I don’t really understand what’s happening in my head right now but if you could help remind me to walk in the light, Your light, that’d be awesome. Amen.”

It’s a lot easier to get caught up in that kind of a feeling than to rest in prayer, to rest in something that is actually there.

When I actually calm myself down enough to pray – here are some things that I realized:

⁃ none of it is real

⁃ this overwhelming sadness isn’t something that comes from God

⁃ Satan shouldn’t be able to grip so easily

⁃ there are people who love me, people who want to see me happy — and I shouldn’t feel guilty for that

⁃ there are so many better things to do than be sad

Maybe this isn’t that relatable, and I’m sorry if it isn’t – but there are so many beautiful things to love about life, and getting caught up in these walls of sadness and lack of faith in God’s plan isn’t worth it. So here’s a few verses I come back to when I’m trying to get out of those feelings.

Matthew 6:34

Philippians 4:6

Luke 1:45

Psalm 33:18

Job 33:28

If you’ve somehow stayed on this long enough to get to this point, I’m going to leave ya with this,

Jesus works. 
Even when it 100% feels like your life is falling into a million pieces and you don’t know what the heck you’re doing with it – there’s someone who knows exactly what you need (& that someone is God. Hah!).This quote has been hanging on my bedroom wall for years now and it’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. Things can get sad, I’m not going to lie and say that everything will always feel okay when you have a God this great. There are trials and darkness and a lot of fear and worry – but He is so much greater than all of that.

“Worry implies that we don’t quite trust God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.

Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives are brief … and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.”-Francis C.

Always with love,

Elle

In the Middle of It All // Gratitude

A little while ago, someone told me how I would never find happiness until I took time to be with the people I loved and didn’t let all the weight of responsibilities interrupt it.

Over the past few years, it’s gotten easier and easier to prioritize everything besides ~happiness~. A lot of the time it felt too fleeting. Truth be told, delving into more and more projects to build my resume or picking up more hours to work is a lot easier than intentionally having fun – but building relationships and a life worth living isn’t rooted in a good resume or having a little extra money, it’s in taking the time to enjoy the life given to us, to create in whatever way we might desire.

&&& I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THAT ! ! !

And in the midst of projects and the busiest season of the year, I realized that I hadn’t been taking any time to live.

So here’s to a weekend of late fight family feud, racing through the Met (backwards), coffee coffee and more coffee, and embracing the city with every last ounce of who we are. I may be tired, but my heart has never felt so full. THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE ! ! ! This is what we are supposed to feel like some times ! ! ! In the middle of chaos, sometimes rejoicing and truly truly living the life that makes you realize what an amazing gift life is is the absolute best thing you can do.

Everyone deserves those moments that make you look at your life and think, “I can’t believe this is real”.

It’s easy to feel like everything in life is a job, overwhelming and an endless cycle of work with no reward. Yet sometimes, taking the time to step away and stop everything besides having a mindset geared to fully embrace everything around you is the best remedy to it. We were given a life to make our own and fill with the people & places we love most, so why don’t we do more of that?

& if that’s not a compelling enouuggggghhhh of a reason to embrace the beautiful life we have, maybe these are.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

with love always,

Elle

The Now

Wow long time no blog post (seriously it’s been way too long)Anyways, in these past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of ~self reflection~.

And I mean A LOT.

So much of my life has been built around a schedule and a structure, but what purpose does a structure hold when it’s the driving factor in my life? Let me tell you, none. It has no purpose. I spent a large majority of this summer and especially this past week asking myself all of the what ifs

What if I had changed one thing? What if I hadn’t shown up that day? What if I hadn’t gotten a direct message about joining a new Christian movement?(shoutout HTL, love you people) What if I had said no?

What ifs trip you up. They get tangled and confusing until you’re sitting at the mess of what your life could be if you had changed one little thing. 

I was sitting shotgun in my best friends Jeep today thinking all of these what ifs out loud, thinking about how different my life was a year ago today and how I never would have thought I was going to be where I am now. He asked me if what if I have now is better than the life I thought I would be living a year ago – I’m not quite sure if I know that yet – but for the first time in what I can remember, I’m okay with not knowing what is coming. I’m okay with enjoying the beautiful people I meet and places I get to see in this new adventure of my life. I’m okay with living in the new and now because that’s the moment I’ve been given

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things;   do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Take a minute and look around at your life. Is it where you thought you were going to be? Is it the perfect moment that you are terrified is about to shatter? Are you taking this moment to forget about something you regret or one of your what ifs? I find myself doing that a lot. 
We were talking about this at church on Sunday and it’s been stuck in my head ever since, 

You are free from the burdens of yesterday’s mistakes

Think about the beautiful life we’ve been given (even though it doesn’t always feel that great) and think about all the moments you fill with regret. 

Why do we waste what could be an entirely new and perfect day worrying about how to fix our past? 

What’s past is past and it’s time to live in the now that’s been created for us. 

It’s taken a lot to get to this point of realizing that and it’s going to take a whole lot more to keep realizing it. But for now, in this moment, it’s more than enough to be grateful for the now that I’ve been given. 
With love,
Elle