Complacent Confession

I have a confession. It’s something I’m not proud of. I haven’t failed to be critical of others, but I have come to the conclusion that I’m the one with the problem. I have all these frustrations with our culture. I want to change the world. But, I’m not willing to change myself. I am complacent.

Complacency is defined as “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.” I’ve found that I’ve settled into the cycle of complacency and it’s something that has snuck up on me. I didn’t realize it’s a problem in my own life until just recently, when I was willing to admit it to myself through self-reflection. It’s something I easily point out in others, but this time I’ve realized that the only direction my finger can point right now is in my direction. It starts with me. So often I think, “Man. I just want people to get this,” or, “Wow, wouldn’t our world be better if everyone did that?” I see all these things I want to change in this world, yet find that I’m unwilling to change myself.

I find that as I sit in church on Sunday mornings, listening to the sermons and thinking to myself, “Okay, this is the week that things will change.” Yet, another week goes by and by the time Sunday comes around again, I realize I didn’t make the changes I was hoping I would. I hadn’t spent more time in prayer, I didn’t read my bible more and I didn’t have many meaningful conversations. I haven’t been willing to put in the work.

So often, I allow excuses override my desire to commit.

I recently read a book by Eugene Cho called Overrated. The main question on the cover asks; Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world? I had to sit with this question. It’s challenged me to stop and think about what I’m actually doing. Eugene points out that our generation, according to statistics, shows more desire to make a difference than any other generation. Are we going to be the generation to reach this potential? Or are we an overrated one that is all talk and little to no action?

Through social media and the ability to connect with hundreds and thousands of people, we often think that we are making a larger impact than we actually are. We may retweet an article about injustice or post a Facebook status about how we volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. We do these things thinking it will make a difference. We do these things and feel like we did something good for the world. But is it truly requiring much sacrifice from us? Is it enough to make a difference? Or should we be doing more?

Now, I’m not saying that posting articles about social issues or going out into the community and volunteering is bad. In fact, I encourage those things. However, I believe it’s dangerous to just stop there and accept that as your one and only contribution. When Jesus calls us to follow him, he’s not asking for just something, he’s asking for everything. I’m preaching to myself here too because I’m realizing that there are areas in my life where I need to be sacrificing more. I need to be willing to commit more to God; to purse the passions and gifts that he has given me. I keep claiming the things I need to be doing more of, but then fail to follow through with doing them.

So, here is my confession to settling into this complacent culture. Feel free to hold me accountable to never settling and to pray for me to be motivated to work towards my calling.

Last year, someone prophesied that I was called to be the change this culture needs. God is calling me to step up and that I have a voice. It’s a long story that I will tell another time, but notice the words carefully. I’m called to be the change. Not promote the change, not talk about or write about the change. I need to be the change. It starts with the willingness and commitment to changing myself. So here’s my confession to being complacent and a public commitment to begin changing that.

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Running Away

I remember the first time I tried running away.

I was just a kid and my sisters and I were messing around in the car ride back from dinner. Our parents got annoyed with us for not listening to them so they dropped us off about a quarter mile from our house and told us to walk back. I was so mad I didn’t want to go home. I told my sisters I wasn’t going home with them and that I was going to live with my neighbors down the street. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen, but I truly did want to run away at the the time. I didn’t want to have to talk with my parents when we got back and so I tried to run. My sisters ran after me and literally picked me up and carried me home.

That was the first time I tried to run away, and recently I’ve realized that I still struggle with this tendency to run from issues. Instead of physically running away, I’ve built up walls that have allowed me to hide from truly dealing with deeper issues. Similar to the story of when I was a kid, putting in the work to admit you were wrong and actually talking through things is scary. It’s much more appealing to run somewhere you can start over and not have to worry about disappointing people.

If my sisters weren’t there to bring me back, I must say it would have been interesting to see where I would have ended up and how long I would have lasted on my own. It’s funny to think about, but at the same time such a lesson to learn from. My sisters loved and cared about me enough to put in the work to bring me home.

They knew where I needed to go and they put in the work to get me there. That is what accountability is.

I realized that I struggle with accountability. There’s this fear I have when people share things with me. I’ve had all sorts of people open up to me about significant struggles. I feel as though in the past year or so I’ve had friends and people close to me share just about everything; eating disorders, suicide attempts, sexual abuse, rape, alcohol addiction, depression, sex and anxiety. You name it, I’m sure I’ve heard it. I am able to listen, I am able to give advice, however accountability is something I just don’t know how to do. Unlike my sisters, I don’t have the strength to carry people where they need to go. I live with regrets of letting so many people run away, and also myself. So I run.

I have always told myself that I don’t take on the weight that others carry, however I’m realizing I was wrong. I do carry people’s problems, and this has hurt me in the past. Therefore, my solution has been these walls. These walls have been put up so that I won’t have to be there. I listen and give good advice, but I don’t stay long enough to hold people accountable. I have a tendency to withdraw because I know I don’t have the power to fix them and I know I can’t handle the pain. So I run.

I’m realizing that my fear from accountability is wrong. I can’t continue to use the excuse that it’s not important. I can’t let the discouragement of my past prevent me from looking for accountability. If I don’t learn how to look to people for help, as well as being there to support others, I will miss out on what God has.

It’s true, I don’t have the power to fix people. It’s true, people don’t have the power to fix me. However, I am in the wrong to underestimate the power of God to do great things through accountability. It’s time to learn how to tear down walls without fearing what may be behind them. It’s time to be there and ask for God’s strength to help carry people because I know I can’t on my own. It’s time to develop a heart to love. I need to learn how to love how He loves.

Love does not run away.

It’s time to let God truly work in these relationships. It’s time to say no to excuses and yes to the work ahead. No more isolation, no more fear, no more excuses.

Running away is never the answer.

How Are You, Really?

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How are you? Let me guess. “Good?

Well, what if you’re not good? Are you going to say it?

When we ask people how they’re doing, are we prepared for them to say something other than good?

Lately I’ve been bothered by how we don’t even take the time to really answer this question. Part of me wonders if we even know how to answer it. Do we take the time to stop and think about how we are actually doing throughout our day? I find myself so busy that I get caught off guard when someone asks me how I’m doing. I honestly don’t even know how to respond most of the time. My first thought is, do they actually want to know how I’m doing? Because if I’m going to be honest, I don’t want to be judged for it. My second thought is, do I even know how I’m doing? If I truthfully answer this question, it’ll take a moment for me to know how to respond. Maybe it’s that moment of our time that not many of us are willing to give.

I wouldn’t say that we don’t want to be real. I think that we have forgotten how to be real. We may have even forgotten what is real. I know I find myself struggling with all this and I sometimes wonder if it bothers others as much as it bothers me.

Maybe we’re trying to keep up with what our profiles are saying. Our Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat stories are painting a portrait of a perfectly happy self. I think there’s this idea in our heads that everything has to be good, or better than it is. It seems like we live in a comparative culture and everyone is working to highlight their lives, not showing what’s really going on.

Maybe we don’t want to be known as a negative person. We don’t want to burden others with what we are actually struggling with. Crazy thoughts in our heads may be saying, “I’m feeling depressed or I’m having a bad day, but everyone else around me seems fine so maybe theres something wrong with just me. It’s not worth sharing.” We believe these lies that we aren’t allowed to say what’s really going on.

Maybe we just don’t take the time to do so. I’m especially guilty of this one. People will ask me how I’m doing in passing and all I have time to say is “good” and by the time I get the words out, they’re half way down the hall. It frustrates me because I feel like if you don’t care, then don’t ask. It goes both ways though. Sometimes when I ask people how they are doing, I don’t even give them enough time to think about it and respond. I’m realizing it’s time to change this habit because who am I to get upset about something I catch myself doing too?

I’m not buying into this whole “everyone is always good” phenomenon.

I’m sick of this fake “good” and I want to start thinking intentionally about how to be more real. It’s time to learn what is real and how to be that. If you’re actually good, say what is good! If you’re not doing well, say what’s really going on with you! Let’s encourage one another to take off our masks, stop trying to put on a face and lets talk about what really matters.

We need to be freed from living a surface-level life. The only way we can overcome the darkness in our lives is if we bring it to the light. What is kept in the dark will continue to have power over us. If you’ve got a lot to praise about, don’t hold back. Share what God is doing in your life! By holding things in, we are feeding into this fake culture. We can’t just continue to hide behind shallow responses. We need to start caring. We need to start loving. We need to give people the time of day.

How great would it be if, when we asked how people are, we actually cared about the responses?

It starts with you.

How are you, really?

Unexpected Love

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This past year I’ve been on the pursuit of love. Not a romantic one, but the world’s most intimate one: a love for the Lord.

I remember last year being so bitter towards love and the idea of it. Surrounded by a community that places such a high emphasis on dating and marriage, I felt insignificant and as though I couldn’t be single and happy. My bitterness played a role in my worship as well. I questioned whether or not I could even worship God truthfully because I questioned whether or not I truly loved him. The words I was singing felt like lies and I had to take a large step back from the community in order to find myself and work through my thoughts. I was incapable of loving God because of my struggle to love myself.

I was so broken. I was going through my quarter life crisis. I was 20 and questioning everything. Everything I valued felt like it was being taken away. I had no clear vision as to where I was going. More than willing to drop out of school, I felt a call to missions and felt like I wasn’t living my life to the fullest. I remember sitting with my roommate and ranting to her about how I knew I needed to be doing more with my life, but didn’t know what that was. I was believing lies about myself and she listened to all of it, bless her heart. She was there for me during one of my lowest points. I wanted to just move on but had no Idea how.

My self-worth was so low that I felt like my life was not worth living anymore. I remember telling my roommate I didn’t feel capable of being loved. The words she said to me that night, “Halle, that is a lie,” have stuck with me.

Those words, “That is a Lie” have done more for me than I can even begin to explain. I remember just looking at her and having this crazy moment and realizing how right she was. Yet, it was a lie I was believing. That short phrase was the beginning to my freedom. It didn’t happen over night, but that was one of the major turning points in my life. I started doing more self-reflection and going through and pointing out the lies I was believing, and I was believing a lot of them.

I had this journal from that semester filled with some harsh thoughts and lies. I remember looking back through it and pointing out the lies that I was buying into about myself. I decided it was time to stop ignoring these lies and stop letting them have power over me. It is crazy how God was working during that semester. God gave me time to do this necessary reflecting. I was diagnosed with mono and it gave me a lot of free time. That was how I started getting into writing and sharing what God has been teaching me through this blog.

I made the commitment to go a year without dating. I made the commitment to God to remain single until October 1st, 2014. It was time to rethink singleness. Over a year has passed now and, well, I’m still single. But there is a night and day difference between who I am and who I was last year.

I remember praying passionately for God to reveal to me His love. I knew it was there, I just didn’t know it personally. You know? I told God to help me to live my life to the fullest, willing to go wherever He’d send me. God revealed to me that my ministry was here this whole time.

This year He has called me to be a freshmen RA. There’s a lot more to the story, but basically God has been overwhelming me this year with love through these girls. For example, on my birthday my girls surprised me by filling my room with 72 balloons! Each of them had something thoughtful written on it and or hershey kisses inside. I have never felt so loved in my life. I am blessed beyond I deserve and I have had nights where I fall asleep with tears of joy because I just don’t know what I ever did to deserve any of it. God has not only blessed me with an awesome floor of girls, but also a great RA staff, teammates, professors and friends. He has revealed to me that there is value in every day and in these relationships. I am experiencing a freedom and joy in my life that I have never experienced before.

My bitterness toward love was a personal bitterness I held because I didn’t know how to love myself. I didn’t see any value in who I was and I felt like I was failing everyone, especially God. I felt like he was calling me to do big things, yet I felt like I wasn’t doing anything significant. That was a lie. I wasn’t failing anyone. It was a time in my life where God was calling me to be still.

I am still always processing this past year, but one thing that has been clear to me is that God is showing me love in unexpected ways. I’ve been having a hard time accepting all these blessings and affirmations because I am still trying to replace these lies I have about myself. It’s a process that takes time, but for the first time in my life I am learning that I am capable of being loved.

My Mind is Not Here

In twelve days I’m moving out! In less than 2 months, I’m leaving the States! Not that I’m keeping track or anything, but anyway I guess you can say I’m somewhat looking forward to it.

Do you ever find yourself looking forward to something so much, that it makes it hard for you to enjoy where you’re at? This semester has been challenging in just about every possible way. Most of the semester was spent thinking about what is coming next: a four-month adventure living in Costa Rica! I literally haven’t stopped thinking about this trip and I still haven’t fully registered in my head the fact that I am Actually leaving!

At the same time, it’s hard to “be here” in a sense that all I keep thinking about is what’s coming. I keep looking forward to studying abroad and I forget that while I’m so focused on what is to come, I’m missing today! It’s like my mind is not here. I don’t really think about how hard it’s going to be when I leave all of my friends and family. So, Instead of trying to think about how much I want to leave I really need to shift my thinking to how much I appreciate here. It’s important to take the time to look around and enjoy where we are at.

Yes, God has a future and a plan for the future (Jeremiah 29:11), but he also has a plan for today (Psalm 118:24) and He wants it to be lived to the fullest!