Tuesday, September 13, 2016

LIFE IS LIKE A PAIR OF RIPPED JEANS

"Poor girl...we need to buy her some new clothes", she said.

"No grandma, that's the style now. They are supposed to be that way", I said.

"She probably can't afford any new trousers", she said.

"Rips are cool grandma. It's hard to explain", I said.

This conversation was a lost cause. It was a true, real-life example of an extreme generation gap.

Today, ripped jeans are fashionable.

In fact, the more rips, the merrier.

Now, they are even labeled "destroyed" on the tags.

Yes, that means they were manufactured to be torn up...on purpose,

And yes, that's identified as cool for many of us.

For my grandma, on the other hand, ...well in her eyes, it is not cool at all.

Instead, it's a public declaration of being homeless,

An automatic target for pity,

And an outward cry of total desperation,

All at once.

Still to this day, when I think about that conversation we had about my friend's jeans, I laugh every time.

It didn't matter what I said, she would never understand,

And you know what, this scenario reminds me a lot of life.

Yes, life. Very broadly but also very specifically.

Just like ripped jeans, life can also be very torn up.

It can seem destroyed actually.

It can appear to be falling apart.

Yet, somehow it is still put together.

Life? ..Put together?..

Yes, and sometimes it's hard to explain how it can possibly be restored to someone who doesn't understand how the pain could ever make sense.

Well, here's how.

God created us, knowing that we would be broken and torn.

Originally we were not manufactured to be that way, in the beginning,

But when sin entered the world, so did pain, brokenness, rips and tears.

Yet, God still managed to turn it all into something beautiful.

Through Jesus.

Jesus came to restore the brokenness of the world.

That doesn't mean that He made the mess just go away when He sacrificed Himself for us.

No, the world is still very torn and full of sin,

And yes, horrible things still happen everyday,

But Jesus made a way to see it all differently, from a new perspective.

He made it so that God would see His perfection, rather than our destruction.

He made it so that we could be restored and beautiful once again.

Just like a pair of wrecked jeans are still put together to form a nice outfit,

so our lives are just walking wrecks, still put together through Jesus to form beauty.

Those who don't know Jesus, won't get it at first,

Just like my grandma didn't understand the jeans.

Many will look around and view life as meaningless mess,

With ultimately no tangible source of hope, whether in life or death.

Until, one moment of truth, when they meet Jesus for themselves.

That one moment when they open their eyes to see that maybe it was meant to be that way,

And maybe it will make sense someday,

And maybe God has a bigger plan to restore humanity into something greater.

This involves reinventing the old plain law, and bringing something new and exciting,

Bringing Jesus.

Jesus read our tags. He knew we were destroyed,

But He saw that we were worth buying, even at the cost of His own life.

He proved that just because something is broken, doesn't mean it can't be made beautiful.

Even though our lives are ripped up, falling apart, complete messes, Jesus can restore them still and call them worthy of loving,

Worthy of using for a greater purpose.

Without Jesus we are just a pair of ripped up jeans, with with a baggy old stained T-shirt, crocs, and a cowboy hat.

It just doesn't work.

With Jesus we are a pair of ripped jeans with a trendy top, perfectly rugged boots, and sweet shades.

It's a match made in heaven and in the end it's all put together, just right.

The big picture is the full story, the full outfit, not just the torn up parts,

But something about the tears adds to the story anyway and it wouldn't end up the same without them there.

After all is said and done, a life with Jesus, including the brokenness and all, will end up beautiful.

It will end in eternal life and everlasting glory.

So what will you do?

Will you let your life be paired with the hope of Jesus?

Or will you pair it with a world of hopelessness?

If you don't know anything about Jesus, you are probably reading this and responding a lot like my grandma did.

It's hard to grasp how everything is coming together to form one big story of restoration.

In all actuality, I didn't grasp it as well either until last week.

Before last week, I had a few rips here and there in my life,

A few little mishaps,

But last week, I acquired a gaping hole in the right knee.

I experienced the most brokenness I've ever felt.

Everything I thought was good in my life, fell apart.

I labeled it as finally hitting rock bottom.

I was at the lowest point I'd ever been in,

But of course, here I am writing this blog, with the hole still there,

And I'm here to tell you that just because it's there, doesn't mean I have to give up hope and throw my life away.

As a matter of fact, I've also experienced more hope this week than I've ever had,

Hope in Jesus.

Hope that this hole is here for a reason and that it will be made beautiful in it's time,

Because that's just what Jesus does, because He is good.

There is a good plan for all of us, despite the hardships and trials.

This is how we can still have joy, even when we can't see why hard times are happening.

In desperation we also learn a lot about what or who we are depending on.

Now I can say I have surrendered what I was holding on to and,

All I want is Jesus,

All I need is Jesus,

Every second of every hour of every day.

I want to pray to Him, sing to Him, and live intentionally for Him every day that I'm alive,

And when my life is at it's end, I'll look back on this time and I'll say two things.

For one, I'll say "What in the world was I thinking wearing jeans with holes in them, that was seriously the strangest trend this world has ever created".

Two, I'll say "Wow I thought my life was messed up when I was 21, but you should see it now, it's literally torn up to shreds. One thing hasn't changed though, and that is the fact that Jesus was there through every single tear and He's the One who brought me through it all."

To my defense, writing an analogy comparing the gospel to a pair of jeans, isn't the easiest thing to explain.

So cut me some slack here,

But hopefully it made some sense and you weren't blankly staring the whole time like my grandma did during our conversation.

Instead, I just hope you'll remember Jesus throughout your day and never forget the gospel.

It's crazy how even the most simple things can remind us of Him, when we choose to see the world that way.

Even an old, tore up pair of super cool, trendy, washed out jeans can be beautiful.

"Right grandma?"

"....."



Always Love,

Darcy


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

4 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU CAN'T STOP OVERTHINKING

Dear overthinker,

Right now you are probably wondering if you have time to read this.

You are considering whether you should just scan through it or if it's worthwhile.

The reason you are thinking this is because you know you've already spent too much time scrolling through social media, when you decided to stop by my blog.

This happened most likely because you are trying to avoid something else you need to do.

But you still have to finish thinking about it before you begin anyway.

So you might as well mindlessly spend this time allowing your brain to be consumed with the thoughts that you must address regardless.

Well, my fellow friend, hopefully this post will be worth your time and slip some helpful, almost sub-conscience ideas into your overwhelmed mind.

I am one of you.

I understand.

Life isn't easy when you can't flip off the switch inside your head.

Yes, I do believe there is a switch up there.

I believe it because I've seen the evidence of it.

I know people who can literally think about nothing at any given time.

Frankly, I cannot grasp this concept even when I try to close my eyes and imagine a switch causing the room inside of my hollow head to go pitch black.

Even then, a little sheep ends up running by.

Then that sheep reminds me of my cousins who are sheep farmers,

which then reminds me that I need to visit them soon,

which then reminds me that I need to spend more time with family and friends rather than being busy,

which then reminds me that I'm busy,

which then leads me into my never-ending to-do list on repeat.

Something like that.

Am I just crazy?

Don't answer that.

But maybe, just maybe, all of us overthinkers are a bit crazy.

And maybe, just maybe, it can be to our advantage if only we allow it.

You see, the reason we think so much is because we want to do things right.

Some call it perfectionism, others call it paying attention to detail.

Either way, when every aspect of a task is thought of before it's done, it usually turns out pretty awesome.

Thing is, it took forever to get to that point because you thought about it for so long.

So a plus side is that we do things to the best of our ability and usually we have some pretty great ideas to bring to the table.

The downside is the emotional toll that overthinking takes on us.

On top of the tasks we are thinking about, comes the thoughts of all of the struggles that we need to work through.

Then, all we can do is think about the pain.

We replay every insult we've heard, every mistake we've made, and every heartbreak over and over.

We blame ourselves.

We blame everyone else.

We believe it when we feel like we are "too much" or "not enough".

Many times, our thoughts are self-directed and self-degrading.

We can't understand why they won't go away.

We can't understand why they are there in the first place.

We can't see why God allowed any of the heartache to originally occur.

We can't see why it doesn't make sense.

Why can't it just make sense?

No matter how much we think about it, we can't make sense of it.

So what do we do?

Well, we just keep thinking about it until maybe one day it does.

Until one day, when God decides to show us why He allowed all of these things to happen and we will finally be able to see how every single painful event strung together to form a perfect story.

A beautiful story.

Someday, it will.

Until then, we wait...and wait...and wait

And the sheep keep appearing over... and over ...and over.

And yes, we even go a little crazy.

Now, I know this is technically just advice from a fellow struggling overthinker BUT I do believe I have a few tips to help when your head is about to explode and you're desperate to make your mind stop.

In order to clear my head I usually resort to four things:

1. I go to the beach. The beach is my happy place and my sad place. It's where I go when I want to get away from it all and let the wind carry the thoughts away from my poor tortured soul and throw them into a sea of vastness, where they can never be found again. That is, until they wash back up when I return back to reality. Still, the beauty of the beach distracts me from my tasks and my problems. So my suggestion to you is to find a place that you love to go, and let it free your spirit, even if it's just for a short time. Let it be so amazing that you can't help but think that since you're there, life isn't so bad after all.

2. I listen to worship music. Something about music soothes my soul every time. I forget how much it helps sometimes and don't always realize the necessity of it in my life. In fact, having it constantly on in the background at all times, changes the atmosphere and slows down my thoughts in general. I find myself subconsciously humming and singing along, which scientifically improves morale (fun fact). Not to mention, worship music invites the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is the Prince of Peace, bringing a sense a calmness and reassurance. In His presence, is where we can find rest in the midst of our restlessness.

3. I recite verses of truth in my head to distract any thoughts that contradict what God tells me to think on. Here are a few of my favorites:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV
I love this verse because it reminds me that the war that I am having with my own thoughts is not against myself, but rather against the enemy who is putting the thoughts inside of my mind to discourage and destroy. Ultimately, I have control over what I am thinking about if I choose to acknowledge every useless or ungodly thought and replace it with something good. (Of course, this is still a daily work in progress for me.)
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 ESV
The reason why many of us overthink is because we are trying to figure out what we should do next. We are listing pros/cons, weighing the options etc. When really, we simply need to renew our minds with God's truths and promises, in order to understand His will for us. This is all we really need to do, we don't have to try to figure everything out.. but trust me, I know that's not very natural for us overthinkers. 
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." ESV 
If our thoughts are running rampant we need to test them against this verse and if any of them don't line up, try to take them captive and replace them. 
 4. PRAY. We need to pray that God will take away any anxieties, fears, worries, doubts, pressures, stress, restlessness, etc and thank Him for all of the good things we have. We can be thankful for so much and talking to God continually throughout the day helps us turn our struggles into prayers and our pain into praise.


Now, I am far from perfect at doing all of these things consistently everyday.

In fact, I zoned out several times while writing this blog and started drifting into daydreamland about other things in my life.

But I do believe these are the keys to a calm mind.

I know because they are in God's Word and everything He says is true.

Plus, I've experienced His peace that passes all understanding when I am participating in them and I know it can only be divine (aka it's impossible for me to experience it on my own).

I will be praying for each of you reading this to find peace.

I know it's hard, especially in heartbreaks and struggles.

But everything starts with our thoughts.

The second we let them go, we let our whole selves go.

Sometimes all I want to do is let my mind run wild, and wallow in my misery.

But it's really not worth it.

All God wants is for us to praise Him and seek His presence in our lives.

If we are doing that, everything else will work itself out.

So let's do our best to not even try to make sense of it all.

Or else we will just be left with a whole lot of sheep and a farm full of worries.

I always have to end with something weird like that, sorry.

But you have to admit, it was pretty profound.


"May the God of peace be with you all. Amen." Romans 15:33





















Always Love,

Darcy

Saturday, September 3, 2016

I DON'T WANT TO BE A BLOGGER ANYMORE

I wasn't planning on writing this blog.

Usually I have a rough idea of what I am going to write about before I begin.

This time, I'm just making it up on the spot because it's coming straight from a passionate build up of self realization I've had over the past month.

Now, I know I told everyone that I was going to blog about my travels and write a book review on my most recent read.

Yes, I had an amazing time on my trips to Chile and Peru.

Yes, the book I read was incredible.

And yes, I do still plan on writing about those eye opening experiences in my life.

But you know what I've found on my path to self discovery?

I've found that I am not very motivated to be a "blogger".

What?!

Yes. Yes it's true.

Why? You ask.

Well to be honest, "bloggers" write about traveling, DIY, fashion and little tips and tricks to improve quality of life through crafts and cooking.

And that, my dear friend... that's just not me.

Don't get me wrong, I love reading those blogs and that's why I started blogging in the first place.

In fact, I am very involved in all of those areas.

I just don't particularly like writing about them.

Trust me, I've tried to copy those perfect bloggers and I've planned so many beautiful posts.

Key word: Planned

Thing is, you don't see those blogs anywhere on here do you?

Nope.

That's because I can't be somebody that I'm not.

I am an emotional human, and I must express it somehow or I feel trapped in a fake mold.

My feelings are written all over my face and even though you can't technically see my face, I think you can still clearly "read" my emotions.

Eventually I envision this blog being jammed packed with my world travels, photography, music, business, and all of the things that I love to do in life.

I want that, I really do.

Unfortunately, I can't guarantee if it will be written in the traditional blog form or not, so no promises.

Every time I try to write a practical post, I end up spilling my feelings all over it, like a hot cup of coffee on a new white shirt.

That's just the kind of writer I am.

I am not a typical blogger.

Rather, I am in the field of what I like to call "Emotional Relations"

...I totally just made that up

...or maybe it's a real thing, I have no idea.

Anyway, yes that's me. I like to relate with people on an emotional level.

Of course I want my writing to help people.

But not in the practical "DIY" type of way.

I want you to read my posts and be like "YES, me too, I feel that way all the time".

Not "YES, I can't wait to cook that recipe tonight".

Ya feel me?

So yeah, I am not going to quit blogging.

I'm just going to quit trying to be a blogger.

Because if I try to be something I don't enjoy, then it won't really get anywhere, as you can see from my lack of writing motivation recently.

I think this lesson applies to everything in life.

Actually, it could be the one thing that you can take away from this strange little post of mine.

That is, "Don't try to change your style to match everyone else, just be you."

It sounds a bit cliche but it is so true.

God made each of us with unique talents and gifts.

We can't add or take away from how He made us.

We can improve, yes.

We can learn new things, but ultimately we are who we are.

The best part is that we were made exactly how He wanted us to be, so just because we may lack in one area, doesn't mean we can't approach it in our own different way and be great at it.

We need to embrace our strengths and accept that we can't be anyone else.

For example, I have come to accept that I can't be a perfect blogger, like the ones I admire when scrolling through my Insta feed.

But I can be the perfect me, the way that no one else can.

And hopefully I can use my style to relate with you on a deeper, personal level because that's what I am truly passionate about.

So I QUIT.

I quit being a blogger.

You can't fire me for completely procrastinating on all of the posts that I planned to write for the past month!

No, because I quit! So hah!

And guess what?

I already have a new job.

In.. Emotional Relations.

Sounds very professional, I know.

Thank you, thank you very much.

But for real, I love you guys.

Thanks for letting me be me and share my heart with you.

I hope I can help you feel understood and let you be you too.

I can't wait to write more but for now, I won't plan anything.

I'll just prepare myself for spontaneous moments of emotional overflow.

See ya next time.

But just make sure you don't wear a white shirt because before you know it, you'll end up spilling your own feelings all over it too.

That was really cheesy.

With that being said, I think I'll just stop here.

Ok bye!























Always Love,

Darcy