Normally I would say, "Happy Monday!" but we all know that's a total oxymoron. 'Twas more of a "meh" Monday, ya know? Truth bomb.
I've had a little more free time than normal this past week and have gotten back into the groove of writing each night. I'm also diving back into a more regular schedule with my small group gals, our first meeting of the fall season happened this past Thursday night at my place. I'm so excited to have a community of women to grow with and do life together on a regular basis! It's the best I tell ya.
The photo above was taken at a childhood friend's wedding back in June. I've known Kelsey since I was 3 years old, so it was almost surreal to be a part of her big day! Kris and Kelsey were Homecoming King and Queen in college (um, okay, cute) and started dating soon after. I love every part of their story, from how they met to how they've grown closer to the Lord since dating to becoming teammates for life. This past weekend I was able to celebrate a similar story as I headed with my friend, Jillian, down to Seaside, Florida for Kurt & Kaci's wedding (see her wedding shower post here). We took a couple of days off work and arrived early to enjoy the beach before the festivities began on Sunday. Jill's boyfriend, Matt, drove up from Orlando where he attends school to hang with us for a couple of days as well. Love on love on love!
Anyways, this entire weekend while at the beach, all the loves stories being told got me pondering the idea of stories in general. Not simply the ones we know of our lives up till now, or the ones we hope will be written into our future, but the bigger concept of why God uses them.
Because I think there are so many stories in our lives we can easily ignore or miss.
And it got me thinking of the ones I've been living without even realizing it. I believe God communicates with us through the story of our lives-- after all He has written us into the ultimate story. So if we're not paying attention, we not only miss out on a really cool story, but more importantly direction from Him. I think so many of us are constantly seeking answers on our own strength about where we're headed. I know that's my status quo when I'm getting antsy. But while our heads are down, attempting to solve the puzzle of our life, God is waving His hands and shouting our name to come live life with Him instead. I don't think the pressure of knowing the next 50 years of my life, let alone the next 5 years, sounds like something I want to carry. In fact, I'm sure of it. And I believe it's in that space of letting go of control where God does His best work. So I'm giving up and saying yes all at once.
When I was a young girl, I always wanted to take the lead. I hated sitting in a stroller because I'd rather be the one pushing it. I loved to teach my younger brother everything from mastering a math problem to learning new dance moves (you're welcome, Peter). I was the kid in school to volunteer as an out-loud reader on a daily basis. I moved to California the summer after my sophomore year of college and lived with strangers in order to pursue an internship with a small start-up. After taking a year off of playing basketball my junior year of college, I couldn't let the opportunity of playing my last year of college pass me by. I've stepped through doors that have led to rooms to grow, love, and adventure in. Some have redirected me elsewhere. Regardless, there has always been purpose with each jump.
Now I'll say there have been times in my life when I've pursued specific opportunities to heighten my appearance to others. There have been times when I've pursued opportunities simply to please others. But there have also been times when I jumped feet first with God by my side and He blew my expectations away. I'm trying to remember to keep that third option as the only option. I'm trying to remember I have been made worthy of a full life, and that it's simply a matter of paying attention to what's already been written. When I acknowledge He is my only audience to live for, I can start being honest with myself and the people around me.
So here we are! The truth is, running away from opportunities hasn't been a common theme in my life story, and I'm not sure it ever will be. Instead of shying away from my tendency to jump in head first, something I've noticed myself do in the past year, I'm ready to start embracing the story that's always been told in my life.
I'm starting my own side business.
Gah! It's true. I could not be more excited and terrified at the same time. Fear has already tried to creep it's way in, but I've been praying through the decision and know it's time to go for it. It's been a consideration for quite some time, but this time around, I feel the motive of my heart is to honor the story He is trying to tell. Sometimes we just gotta make the best decision we can with the knowledge He gives us the freedom to choose!
I won't reveal quite yet what I'm planning to do but let's just say it's a big part of my life already. It's a way for me to keep pouring into my community here in Nashville while feeding my entrepreneurial spirit. I have this goal that if I'm still in Nashville by the time I'm (God willing) able to buy my own house, I want it to be filled with things that really matter. I want my walls to be hung with photos of the people in this city I adore. I want guests, when they walk into my home, to genuinely know I love my community. I guess I'm simply trying to start the building process now.
Tonight I've been filing through photos of my favorite moments in the past year. A lot of them having to do with people and food (hint, hint), a significant part of my life. No surprises there!
Maybe you'll take some time today to compile your favorite moments, too.
And just maybe you'll see a story there that's been told all along.
Here's a little iPhone action from this past weekend in Florida!