Feel. Struggle. Be. (without the whole world watching)

In an image-obsessed world we tend to try to capture who we are with pictures or words. Our posts aren’t going to accurately reflect who we actually are. How naive of us to think that we can define ourselves with such concrete and subjective measures? A word has a meaning that remains the same forever, it might have slightly different connotations to different people but its overall definition remains the same. Pictures are just a screenshot of a moment from a single viewpoint in time. There is so much you can’t see in pictures. A picture can’t compare to reality because it’s missing so much. I think pictures have their purpose and I love pictures because they allow us to remember important moments in our lives. They act as a trigger to meaningful memories. They wont have this effect on others though. They can’t convey the feelings you have felt from those moments or the atmosphere of where the picture was taken.

Its those things that define us. Experiences, emotions, thoughts, and human relationships are what make us who we are. The most important moments in your life are going to be little and they aren’t going to mean anything to others. We need to stop sacrificing experiences by trying to capture the moment. If you’re at a concert. listen to the music. Let it surround you and fill your whole body. Pictures and videos cannot recreate the the atmosphere of the crowd or the booming bass in your chest.

If you’re outside, enjoy what’s around you. Notice details you’ve overlooked previously. Think of everything you don’t even know exists because you’ve disregarded it previously. You may have seen something many times or walked past it, but have you really seen it? Notice the way the veins of every leaf branch out from the center and how beautiful nature is. Notice the pattern and texture of the bark on the trees. Notice how when you look into the sky, nothing lies between your eyes and outer space, try to fathom ho much space that is. Notice how the wind feels against your face when you’re riding your bike. See things without preconceived definitions, see them like you’re seeing them for the first time. Question and explore.

Tell the people that mean the most to you how much you appreciate who they are, but don’t tell the whole world. Why would the whole world need to know? Proving to the rest of the world how you feel about people takes away from their importance. Have meaningful conversation. There isn’t a point in being something you’re not.

Our world is fast-paced and busy. We often don’t have time for ourselves, so when we do get that rare opportunity, don’t waste it by taking pictures, especially if those pictures are going to be used to make people have a certain image of yourself. You know who you are and the people that mean the most to you know too. Everyone else doesn’t deserve to see how special you are. You’re a combination of every feeling you’ve ever had. There is a part of you that comes from those nights when you sit alone and think. There is a part of you that comes from little moments you’ve experienced when no on is around. Humans are complex and intricate, even though most of the time we like to push that part out of ourselves in attempts to provide an image people will desire. We like to pretend we don’t feel, because that makes us look vulnerable. We like to pretend we don’t have struggles because that makes us look weak. We like to pretend that we’re not different. Feel. Struggle. Be. And the whole world doesn’t need to see you do it.

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Regardless of what happens today, make it great. Happy Monday, friends.

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Roadblocks [ for you, Maris ]

This post is dedicated to my marvelous older sister, Marissa who is struggling with a bacterial infection resulting from her weakened immune system due to Crohn’s disease medication. Since she is fighting this infection, she cannot take her Crohn’s medication because it weakens her immune system and wouldn’t allow her to fight off the infection. To prevent the symptoms of Crohn’s without medication, she is on a strict diet where she can only have 200 calories of food per day. She also has to consume 4 Ensure nutritional shakes every day. As you can tell, those shakes would get pretty old after awhile. Unfortunately, her treatment will last for about 3 months. Love you, sister.

Maybe you’ve begun to understand that your path will not be straight and narrow. You’ve come to terms with the idea and have accepted the fact that it’s happening. How do you navigate this so-called curvy and indirect path? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you.

Step 1)

Before you can get anywhere, you have you put complete trust in the Lord that He will provide. This is easy to say when we have good days but so much harder to carryout on our bad days. It takes tremendous courage to be able to surrender control of your plans. Even when you’re at your weakest point weak and you’re more vulnerable than you’ve been in your entire life, you have to trust. Sometimes when I’m really struggling, I remind myself of God’s love for me. He sees me as a child and protects me like a father. I am his weak and vulnerable baby lamb and He picks me up when my human limitations fail and carries me away from danger. It doesn’t matter if I make mistake after mistake he will always greet me with open arms, I need never be ashamed to approach God. He knows me better than I know myself.  His love forms a force field around me. Even when the effects of this fallen creation try to take me down, God says that He will lift us up after every trial. God doesn’t see earthly struggles as any challenge to His mighty power. God has the same love for you! When you are reminded of God’s tremendous love for you, it will bring you renewed strength.

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Step 2)

We tend to get ideas in our minds about the general path of our life and the events that happen along the way. We have a map. Inevitably road blocks will arise. This is okay. This might not make you feel better but everyone is struggling. Everyone. Everyone you see each day even if it be but a second of interaction where you quickly make eye contact and then return to your daily life, has a story. Their story is perceived by them as vividly and intense as your story is to you. Imagine that. They have road blocks too even if it doesn’t seem like it on the outside. Dwelling on the fact that our problems are worse than other people’s problems is a poisonous thought. It might seem to be true but even if it is, this thought will not make it any easier but rather it will remove any joy from your life.

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Step 3)

Navigating these road blocks can be hard because sometimes they really suck. Something I’ve recently learned though is that sometimes you have to take your eyes away from the end point. You might not have a plan for your entire life but you do have to take action now. You have to do something right now that will at least get you closer to even a small goal that you have. You have to have a strategy. Set a goal and determine a strategy to get there. For example, I currently don’t have a major. Instead of going into panic mode about how I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, I have to figure out  a strategy to move closer to figuring out my career goals. I worked with my adviser to create a schedule for this semester that will allow me to experience different topics. I have met with advisers in other majors, trying to determine if I might be a good fit. I still haven’t decided but I am getting closer. Your goal might be to consume 4 nutrition shakes a day. In order to achieve this goal, you have to take it day by day. Set up a specific time schedule and reward system so that you can stay on track.

Step 4)

Your struggles will never define you. This isn’t to say that you can do it alone though. You need people, You need friends and family that can encourage you and make you laugh along the way. Let them be there for you. Let them help you. Sometimes people get the idea that accepting help from others is admitting weakness. This isn’t true. We are all weak at some points in our life and we all need help.

may God