Be Still.

I’ve been stressed. Emotionally. Mentally. This semester has been much harder than any other I’ve ever faced, and I am the queen of taking on way too much and being way too busy, so that’s saying a lot.

This semester, I’m tackling 18 credit hours, directing a Spring Sing show, planning a Soundings Unveiling, helping put together the Soundings journal, working two jobs, and juggling relationships with friends, family and a boyfriend. When homework isn’t taking up every second of my free time, I’m trying to catch a moment of sanity with one of the people I love. On top of that, I’ve been working towards looking for a place to live and searching for an adult job after graduation, which if I’m being quite honest, is absolutely terrifying.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to shake off the fact that I feel like I’m drowning in everything I’m trying to do. The worst part of it all is that I didn’t have to do everything I am doing, but I decided to and due to my commitments, there’s no turning back. I’ve called my parents to vent way too many times. I’ve cried on Brad’s shoulder more than I’d like to admit. I’ve had to cancel plans on people. I’ve worn my body down so much that I even got pretty sick at the beginning of this week with a terrible cold.

“Paige, you need to give it to God and rest.” My mom told me.

Not that I listened. At least not at first, because I’m much too stubborn for that.

“I can’t,” I claimed. “I have Spring Sing Practice, homework to do, classes to attend. I can’t just stop.” Of course, I ignored my mom’s wise advice and pushed myself a little harder, even though I didn’t really have the strength do push. Day two of sickness and I was worse off than the day before.

I called my mom again.

“Did you rest?” No. “Paige, you need to trust in God and give your body a day off.” I try not to be dense multiple times in a row, so I figured I’d listen to my momma this time. So Wednesday, I took a day off. I skipped my only class. I slept. A lot. I prayed to God to heal me. I didn’t go to Spring Sing (a shocker, I know!) I just stayed in bed and when I wasn’t sleeping, I worked on homework while drinking hot tea and snuggling into my sheets.

Thursday hit and I was feeling 100 percent better. I took a day off to take care of myself, something I should probably do more often. Yet, that one day wasn’t enough. Instead, I found myself stressed out all over again. I had exams. I had Senior Salute. I had work stuff. I had homework to turn in. I had Spring Sing. And that was just in a single day. Not to mention, I’d been feeling homesick in a way I’ve never felt before, because I can’t drive home anymore. My parents are 23 hours away and that hurts a little more than I’d like to admit. It didn’t really hit me until I picked up my cap and gown and the only people I wanted to show were my mom and dad, because I knew that they’d be excited to celebrate in this small victory with me.

So dealing with the stress of my day, I called my parents again on Friday. I told them I was overly emotional. I told them what I was dealing with. I told them I needed a break. And like any good parents, they both gave me advice about how to handle my crazy life. I’d never been so grateful for speaker phone.

And if I’m being honest, my mom has been the key to telling me the thing I need to hear in this time of stress time and time again, even if I wasn’t really willing to hear it. I’m at a really difficult point in my life. Everything is changing. My brother just got engaged. He has a baby on the way! My sister is finishing up her master’s degree and living life in Kentucky. My parents are loving life in Miami. And here I am, failing at being an adult. I don’t know what I’m doing. I just want my mom and dad to take care of me like they’ve done before without having to ask them to do it. I want life to be easier and I don’t want to deal with all of the challenges I’ve taken on.

Why do I feel this way, though? I’ve never felt this way before. And then it hits me. My mom’s words. Her wisdom. Things she keeps saying, but things I’ve refused to hear.

“You have the strongest faith out of anyone in our house.” Not currently, I think.

“You should start your day with God.” I start my day running out the door, because I’m already running behind.

“Reading the Bible in the morning always makes me feel better. Also, praying to God when I first wake up.” I think about the thousands of things I have to do when I wake up. Not God.

“Oh, but I talk to God throughout the day, too. I’m always talking to God.” I only talk to God when Brad reminds me and does it with me.

And most importantly, “Trust in God. Place it in His hands. He’ll take care of you. He always does.” But mom, I’m trying to take care of myself!

As much as my mom has been reminding me, I haven’t been listening. I’m not giving my worries to God. I am not letting Him guide me. I’m not letting Him control my steps. I am being a worldly person by trying to handle all of these things on my own–a feat that no one can do!

Which is why I’m telling you that I’ve made the resolve to give it all to God. I graduate in less than 70 days and I don’t know what life will throw my way at that time. Nonetheless, I’m giving it to God.

Spring Sing is a week away and I’m nervous and excited. Soon, all the practices and craziness that have been the last month (year seems more like it!) will be over with. I will have so much free time, I don’t think I’ll know what to do with myself. (Though spending much needed quality time with my loved ones seems like a good place to start.) And GIVING IT TO GOD!

This crazy semester full of too many classes will be done with soon. Soundings will be over in April. Everything will settle down, but God will always be constant, so I’m giving it to God.

So today, I’m making time for God. I’m being genuine in my prayers and actually giving it to Him, instead of just talking at Him and trying to maintain my control. I am enjoying the sunshine He has created. I am breathing in a moment of rest and enjoying the stillness on this wonderful Saturday.

After all, God tells us to “Be still and know that He is God,” something I have not been doing. So today, I’m being still.

Will you be still with me?

20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 2

I always enjoy the anticipation of birthdays and today is no different. Tomorrow, I will be spending my birthday with my friends and boy friend in OKC, so today my mom has been preping for my family birthday celebration! She purchased ingredients to make my favorite dish-seafood Alfredo (from scratch, I might add). We also traveled over to Nothing Bundt Cakes and got a dozen bundtinis and I received a free little cake for my birthday! My mom also bought balloons, which my dog is terrified of. Tonight, we will eat dinner as a family, celebrate another year of my life, and go bowling. It’s such a joy to celebrate my birthday on more than one day with people I love so much.

With that being said, yesterday, I shared the first 7 of the lessons. Today, I’m sharing 7 more! Here’s to Part 2. Hope you enjoy.


 

  1. If you have the opportunity to travel, do it.

    Two years ago, Dr. Rix offered me the chance of a life time- to go on a mission trip. I turned him down. This past year, he offered it to me again! (I doubt this happens often.) I accepted this time around, and got to explore Swaziland, various parts of South Africa like Kruger Park and Cape Town, London, Rome, and Pompeii. It was magical. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to travel more!  I was able to see parts of the world I’ve learned about in classrooms. It was amazing to see pictures from textbooks come alive. There was this constant sense of exploration. More importantly, it was really eye opening to see the difference in how people around the world live. For instance, in Swaziland, college is such a blessing because it’s a very rare opportunity for them. People eat simply and don’t spend a lot of money. Then, you travel to a place like London where everything is expensive and extravagant. It’s a completely different world. Traveling really opens your eyes.

  2. Teachers have the ability to remain a constant in your life even when you’re no longer their student.

    I have contacted multiple teachers from high school this year. I’ve received advice for my future, such as how/where to apply to grad school. I’ve been given praise. I’ve even been given ideas for things as small as a research paper. My teachers from high school still teach me even now that I am almost finished with college. Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie especially remain close to my heart thanks to text messages, social media, and phone calls. I know that these people still care about me and my journey. They will continue to care as I grow older and settle down into life. It’s nice to have them around. It’s also a blessing to be able to turn to them for advice, because they’ve all lived life and can offer wise words. This is true for college professors as well who are consistent faces around campus, but whom I no longer have classes with. Even professors who have moved away still keep in contact via Facebook and email. They are willing to write letters of recommendation and serve as mentors. It’s a blessing and I believe all students should work towards building these types of relationships.

  3. Best friends remain best friends even when you’re miles apart and don’t talk often.

    My friends from high school are still my best friends now, something I am constantly reminded of. My best friend Miki sent me a beautiful Christmas/Birthday present this year with a card. She’s called me to tell me good news. She’s updated me when she’s sick. Even if we don’t talk every single day, I still talk to her. The same is true with my best friend Tori. She has had such an amazing year- getting engaged, getting accepted into grad school, and finishing school in 3 years! Each time, she’s called me to tell me the news right away and we’ve been able to celebrate. Just the same, when she had someone really close to her pass away, she informed me of that also. Friends are friends are friends. No matter the distance, I know I have these friends in my life forever and for always. (I even get to be apart of my best friend’s wedding as she starts to plan her big day!)

  4. Bills Suck. Paying for things suck. Simple as that.

    I’ve learned that bills are the absolute worse, especially because it makes it so hard to get ahead when you are paying things you owe. I don’t even have that many and it still frustrates me to have to pay money each month towards various things, like my cell phone. I think when you live at home and don’t need to buy your own groceries or laundry soap or even toilet paper, you really take for granted how much things cost. This year, I’ve learned the hard way that everything costs a lot of money and budgeting is hard. Thankfully, I’ve found some handy apps to help me track everything, though! Like Mint.

  5. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. 

    For me, coffee is greatness. Seriously, I drink at least one cup a day. I like to explore coffee shops. I like Starbucks. I even like brewing my own pots of coffee in my dorm. Coffee is where it’s at. I could drink coffee all day. Even at night. It doesn’t keep me up, but rather, it warms my soul.

    Find your coffee. What makes you happy on a rough day? What makes you excited? For me, it’s coffee.

  6. Finding a church home is both scary and exciting.

    I think prior to this year, I always chose to go to church where my friends went. It was just super comfortable and I didn’t have to make any decisions, which was great. However, this wasn’t helpful, because it meant that if my friends didn’t go to church on Sundays, I didn’t either. Somehow, I lucked out with Brad, because he wanted to tag along with me as I journeyed to find a church I liked. We tried a lot of different places. It was weird making decisions. It was weird not knowing everyone at the churches we visited. It was even weird being introduced at the places we went. Thankfully, it was also really wonderful. No matter what church we visited, people were so great! They got to know us. They told us about their church. They loved God. Honestly, it was amazing. The best part was finding a church that Brad and I both liked. After visiting numerous places, there was just one church that felt more homey than the rest. We visited a second time. Then a third. Finally, we placed membership. With that being said, this semester was the first semester of my college career that I never missed a Sunday. It’s been great and I am so happy to have a church home that I chose with Brad’s help. It is a place that focuses on community and service and loving one another. It also focuses on God and I feel like I constantly learn there. It’s great. (In case you are wondering and you are in the Edmond area, we attend Dayspring COC! If you are in need of a home, try it out.)

  7. Reading is and will always be good for the soul.

    I love reading. This is no surprise, especially given that I am an English Writing major. However, school makes reading for fun a bit difficult, especially due to all of the reading assignments I have had for classes. I really hate this, too, because reading has always made me feel better when I am feeling pretty bad. Lately, I’ve been given the chance to catch up on reading for me, though! It’s been such a blessing. I love books. I love their ability to take you somewhere new even if just for awhile. I love being able to read something quickly. I love words. I love story. I love it all. Not to mention, when you finish a book that really speaks to you, it is easy to look at life a bit differently. Reading and I will always have a special bond. I encourage you to pick up a book and get lost in it for awhile. If you are anything like me, you won’t regret it.

 

Alright, the last 6 will come your way tomorrow when I actually turn 21!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

As always, I offer blessings,

PB

20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 1

The really neat thing about my birthday is that with each new year, I start a new age, too. Around this time last year, I reflected on the official closing of my teen years as I entered my 20th year. A lot of things had changed at the time and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I tackled this next step of adulthood. Though, now that I’ve lived a year of my twenties, I strongly believe that no one really knows what they are doing–at least not early on.

With that being said, my 20th year has taught me a lot. Who knew? I figured it would be nice to reflect on some of these lessons before tackling another milestone–21. Due to the length of these lessons, I’m spreading it out over the next few days. Enjoy Part 1.


 

  1. Friends you think will be in your life forever will leave and that’s okay. 

    A lot of people told me the friends you meet in college will be your friends forever. That may be true, but the first friends you meet in college won’t necessarily be there forever. I’ve realized that the friends I clung to so hard my first semester of college served their purpose, but no longer do so. Some of them moved away. Some of them stayed. Nonetheless, we’ve drifted. We aren’t enemies. We don’t hate each other. Our paths just diverted into various directions. My love for these people is still there, but I learned that I can do college without them and life goes on without their constant presence.

  2. Relationships develop at their own time. You can know someone for a long time before a friendship ever develops. It’s all about timing.

    This summer, I worked at a church with some other OC students–most of which I had known prior to the position, but never really gotten the chance to get to know one-on-one. For instance, my now good friend Chelsae and I had several of the same friends. I was even in her profile picture during rush season our sophomore year. But I had only ever talked to her a few times and we never hung out. After working together, we went to the movies and hung out constantly afterwards! We just clicked. This was a girl I had heard about constantly my freshman year, hung around once or twice my sophomore year, and now, my final year of college, is easily one of my closest friends at OC. This was also the case with Kelly, a girl I had worked on Soundings with for a whole year, before sitting down and getting to know thanks to work. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t think Kelly and I would make good friends while working with her on Soundings, something I told her. Boy, was I wrong. She is easily the greatest person I’ve ever met and knows me better than I know myself sometimes. Oh, and I can’t forget Brad. He was someone I had crossed paths with multiple times- Pi Fall Banquet, “coaching” Pi’s football team, etc. Yet, we didn’t get to know each other until we worked together. This summer brought me so many solid relationships and each relationship was with someone I had crossed paths with before. However, God developed the relationships when he felt I needed them.

  3. Family is family no matter the distance.

     This year, I officially lived in Oklahoma all year. I stayed through the summer and I’ve even been there for most of Christmas Break. This was a time of growth and independence, but I also learned that my family is still here for me if I need them. My parents are always a phone call away. I can make the journey to see them. They can journey to see me. My siblings are here for one another in times of need, even if it is simply in a group text message. We are still family no matter what. We support one another and have each others’ backs.  This is a lesson I am still learning and will continue to learn as my parents move to Florida. Distance will be hard on all of us, but we will grow through it and love each other more because of it.

  4. People don’t like to be placed on your to-do list. 

    If you know me well, you know I am the type of person who plans everything. I follow a pretty strict to-do list each and every day. I like to cross things off. I’ve learned this year that although I like to pencil people in, people like spontaneity. They like to do things spur of the moment. AND they do not like being crossed off your list–especially when that list consists of tedious things like homework, dishes, and laundry. At first, this really bugged me, because I like knowing what I’m doing each and every second of the day. However, I’ve learned that it’s much better to just go with the flow sometimes. (This is something I still need to work on.) But for now, I think healthy compromise is a thing, so I’ll plan AND have random time with friends and it will be great.

  5. It’s okay to cry. 

    I’ve always hated crying, because I feel weak when I do so. I feel like I’m being a baby. Rightfully so, too, since my siblings always made fun of me for crying while I was growing up. It also probably has to do with being super vulnerable with people and I mean, who does that? Yet, this year, I’ve cried a lot. I’ve cried to my mom, who always handles it well. I’ve cried to my dad, who always feels so bad because he can’t do anything to make it stop. This also makes him feel awkward (I think. He may disagree.) I’ve cried to my friends. I’ve cried endlessly to Brad. I’ve cried on floors, beds, in my car, in the hallway of the business building, in my professors’ offices, and even in parking lots of restaurants. I’ve had the whimpering sobs, the snotty ones, the hiccupy cries, and even the cries where I can’t breathe because the act of crying is all my body can manage. Each time I’ve cried, people have comforted me. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve realized I’m not alone. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve felt much better afterward. You see, crying lets it all out and your body knows when you need to do it. So, let it out! You’ll be a stronger person for it.

  6. It’s okay to feel your feelings.

    Actually, this is kind of funny, because I tell people this all of the time, but I don’t think I tell myself this enough. You feel the way you feel for a reason. Don’t shut off your feelings! Feel it out. Figure out why you feel that way. Then, deal with it. You have feelings for a reason. Don’t suppress them. If you’re having a bad day, it’s okay to feel upset about it. If you are having a good day, be happy about it! Just don’t dwell on negative feelings–get them out and let them go.

    (Also, shout out to the people who remind me of this. Especially those of you who throw it in my face that I say it constantly. You help me feel my feelings.)

  7. Babies will make you feel better- ALWAYS.

    This may not be a shared opinion, but I promise you that babies make me feel better. Especially Baby Parker. I’ve had so many rough days, especially this semester. Going over to the Parker’s house and holding Baby Parker instantly cheers me up. She has so much life to live and she is happy and lovely and just yes! Instantly, I feel better. Babies snuggled into you and make you feel warm inside. The troubles of your day instantly melt away. They are truly God’s greatest gift.


 

Alright, that’s all you get for now. Part 2 will be up tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed reflecting on them.

 

Blessings,

PB

A Plea for Help

depression-quotes

I took an online quiz today and it told me I was depressed. Normally, I don’t put much thought into online quizzes, but this one was a bit different. You see, I told my friend yesterday that I feel sad all of the time-even when I have absolutely no reason to be sad. This morning, I woke up to a text message from her with a quiz that determines a person’s level of depression.

I’m moderately depressed. Basically, I’m depressed enough to need to talk about it, but that’s all the results really said. There was no encouragement or ideas of who to talk about these feelings with. Super helpful, I know. Thus, I blog.

I knew the outcome of the quiz before I clicked submit.

Do you have motivation to do the things you need to do? No.

Do you look forward to anything during the day? No.

Do you find yourself feeling sad more than happy? Yes.

Do you find yourself feeling sad when you should be feeling happy? Yes.

Did you know it is estimated that 350 million people of all ages deal with some type of depression? It makes sense. There is so much negativity in this world. So much destruction.

More than that, there is so much to live up to. You have to be your best, the best. You are always competing against people. You are always performing and providing people with what they need. It can cause a lot of anxiety and feelings of not being good enough. If rejection doesn’t play a hand in depression, I’d be pretty surprised.

The worst part is I don’t know why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. Not really. I know I’m loved. My parents tell me how much they love me every single day. I have great friends. My boy friend constantly goes out of his way to show me how important I am to him. So why do I feel so unimportant? Why then, do I feel like I am not gaining any sort of fulfillment out of anything I do? How come I can be surrounded by people who love me and feel so unloved?

My mom and dad are moving away. Maybe that’s why? They were in Miami this week and I think it really put everything into perspective for me. I’ve never been more than 3 hours away from them. Now we will be 23 hours apart.

Or maybe it’s because the holiday season is coming and I know I’m working Christmas and my siblings won’t be home for Thanksgiving. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ll be turning 21 on December 31st and for once in my life, I don’t have my birthday completely planned out down to the second of how I want to spend it.

Maybe I’m depressed because adulthood is knocking at my door and I just can’t do it. Graduation is 158 days away. There are 158 days separating me from the next stage of my life. A life I’m not ready to tackle just yet.

The things I used to find so much enjoyment in I no longer do. I sit down amongst my peers and think to myself, “I have so many other things to be doing right now. I don’t want to be here. Why am I here?” And it isn’t because what they are doing isn’t important, because it is. It’s just not something that reaches the same level of all the other things I have on my plate, at least not in my mind.

Maybe I’m depressed because I’m overwhelmed. Projects. Exams. A Christmas Market to plan. Soundings meetings. Work Meetings. Time Sheets to fill out. People to help. People to spend time with. No time to sleep, but feeling exhausted every second of the day. 3 weeks left of the semester to get so many tasks accomplished and the whole time I feel like I’m drowning. I need help. I just don’t know what kind of help I need or how to ask for it or what to do.

And the words, “You did this to yourself” echo in my head as I replay a conversation I had with someone at lunch the other day. She’s right. I did. Not that her words were helpful in any way, shape, or form. If anything, they cut me deeper than anything I’ve ever been told before, because I did. I brought this on myself. I know she’s right.

Depression

So what am I going to do about it? Well, I’m going to share how I’m feeling. Hopefully, that is a good enough start.

I’m overwhelmed. I’m lonely. I’m exhausted. I’m busy. I’m sad. I’m hurting. I’m in pain and I don’t even know where the pain is coming from.

But I don’t think these feelings I am having make me weak. I think, if anything, they remind me of where my strength is to be found. I’m going to take this battle one day at a time, because I know God is on my side.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” ~Psalm 34:17

“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” ~Psalm 40:1-3

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” ~1 Peter 4:12-13

God is with me. If you are feeling similar to me, I promise He is with you too.

I’m hoping for better days my friends. For you. For me. For everyone.

Until then, I think it’s important to count my blessings. I used to write down all the good stuff that happened to me within a day. I found myself drifting from this habit, but I want to start again. Maybe you should give it a try, too? After all, God blesses us with more than we really give Him credit for.

Blessings,

PB

 

Family Matters

Family-Bible-Verses-1

I am the most home sick I think I’ve ever been in my life. I keep seeing posts from a year ago, two years ago, six years ago even, that remind me of time that I spent with my family. My mom making dinner. Long conversations with my dad in our white rocking chairs that find their place in the garage. My brother playing video games and me sneaking in to sit on his bed for a few hours– no other sound but my brother’s random voice breaking the silence to speak into his headphones. My sister and I jamming out to indie music with the windows down as she drove with no destination in sight. Our dogs going crazy any time someone walked passed the window or rang our doorbell.

When I was younger, I wasn’t home as much as I should have been. I didn’t take advantage of the time I was given to spend with my family. Instead, I was always with a different friend, or gone for the weekends because of debate, or playing softball, or staying at the high school for long nights of theater rehearsals. And when I was home, I slept or kept to myself, because I was “peopled out!” My mom would constantly ask me if I was sticking around for awhile, and of course I’d explain to her that I had much more important things to do. I wasted quality time with my family, and I didn’t think twice about it.

I can’t help but want it back, especially now that I think about the fact that I haven’t seen my family since July. I think about how everyone else got to go home for summer vacation, but I made the decision to stay in Oklahoma and take more classes. I think about the fact that my sister is in Kentucky and that my family will soon be scattered all over the United States, because the Brown’s don’t stay in one place very well. Instead, they take the next adventure head on with full intentions of having a great time the whole way through! I love my family for their love of traveling the United States and placing their claim on new places. They open their hearts to everyone they meet and love people and help people and it’s great.

I’m homesick and I’m jealous. Honestly, I might even be a tad bit selfish. The other day I sat at my friend’s house and did laundry. Her mom loved on her and got us dinner and made me feel so welcomed. A few days later, I was with my boyfriend and his family at their home. We sat around a table, ate lunch as a family, and played an intense card game. Afterwards, we sat around the television, watched a football game, and ate pie. These two moments, although extremely nice, made my heart ache for what I don’t have while I’m in Oklahoma– my family.

I guess what I’m getting at here is not to take time with loved ones for granted. When you are younger, it is a lot easier to make time for your mom, dad, brother, or sister. But you are the one in charge of doing so. Cherish the movies you go to with your mom, or the father-daughter dates you go to with your dad. The conversations you get to have on car rides to the store- those are important! The family dinners where your mom makes you turn off the TV so everyone can discuss their day- those are necessary. Going to church on a Sunday morning and holding the hands of your parent while you pray to God, well I’d personally say that’s the best part out of anything.

God blessed you with a family. He blessed you with a home to go to. So don’t question that. As you get older, make time for the people who love you every day no matter how terrible you are to them. They love you at your best. They pick you up at your worst.

With that being said, I get to go home in 9 days and I cannot wait to see the people my heart has been aching for lately.

The Key to Success is Not to Stress

3 years ago I was a senior in high school. Life was easy in retrospect, even though I thought it was hard at the time. I remember being nervous about the next stage of my life. I was constantly questioning what move I should make. My thoughts circled around the same 3 questions: What college should I go to? What should I major in? What do I even want to do with my life? 

It’s funny to me that 3 years later and I’ve only answered two of those questions: Oklahoma Christian University and Creative Writing. It’s even funnier that with those 3 questions, I still find myself asking similar ones now that my college graduation is approaching. When April arrives, I am supposed to have the rest of my life figured out. Everyone keeps asking me what’s next, and I honestly have no idea. And once again, I find myself stuck with the same 3 questions. What Grad School do I want to go to? What do I want to get my Masters in? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? 

I find it humorous that 3 years later and not much has changed. The future is still trying to rule my life. I am still biting off way more than I can chew. Opening up to people is just as hard now as it was then. Feeling inadequate when I find myself struggling with a subject takes a huge toll on me, whether Pre-Calculus or Accounting. Extracurricular activities, although fun and worthwhile, are still extremely demanding and trying at times.

Thinking about how much has changed in the last few years, and then noticing that nothing has really changed at all feels really stagnant. I feel like there’s been a lack of growth. I want to say that I am leaving college this full fledged adult, but I’m not.  I’m still learning how to budget my money. I am still teaching myself not to procrastinate. I am reminding myself that God is important always and that He shouldn’t get pushed to the side. I have to tell myself that contacting my parents is important and making them a priority is necessary. Being a friend and allowing people to be a friend to me in return is crucial for survival.

Most importantly, I am learning that words that helped me manage my senior year of high school can help me manage my senior year of college as well. I posted on my Facebook about an assignment I have due in a few weeks and asked people to share quotes that helped shaped their lives, specifically their faith. My old debate partner and sweet friend who is just now beginning her first year of college reminded me of a quote that helped her through these last couple years. Funny enough, it was my quote.

“The key to success is not to stress.” It was words we lived by in our little debate world. We could only prepare as much as we had time for. We could only perform to the best of our ability. Everything else wasn’t in our hands, something that was hard to accept at times, but the absolute truth nonetheless. Words I told Marissa to focus on I had so easily forgotten in the last few years. I am pretty grateful for the reminder, now, as she told me that through this silly little mantra I developed to make us feel better during hard times, she was able to focus on God’s plan. She focused on God’s understanding, and not her own, something I have been struggling to do lately.

You see, my final year of undergrad is here. I am taking my final classes. I am working. I am participating in extracurriculars. I am living the best years of my life. So why am I wishing this year away by focusing on next year? Why am I throwing away these moments for knowledge of my future? Why am I fearful of messing up? Not being good enough? Not doing enough?

I have prepared myself all that I can. I have worked as hard as I can. I have no control of the future. I only have control of my present.

So today, I am thankful for Marissa, for reminding me of my own words. I was wise for living by that silly little motto of mine, and I think I’m going to bring it back into my life. After all, the key to success really is not to stress, because I know God’s got this.

Let’s Get Flexible


snap“You need to be more flexible.” My sweet friend told me as we sat across from one another in my living area. “I don’t know how to say that without it sounding negative. But because you’re not being flexible, you’re causing yourself unnecessary stress.”

At first, her words slapped me across the face. What did she mean, I needed to be more flexible? Did she not see how flexible I was being? I was hanging out with people without scheduling it. I was letting my RAs postpone things, even though I thought they needed to be done! I was doing things for people that I didn’t have time to do. I was the most flexible person there ever was. 

Except, I really wasn’t. Not even in the least bit. When something hasn’t been planned out, I feel like my whole life is out of whack. When I have free time, I feel like I make terrible decisions on how to fill that time. When I do have a schedule and someone throws something else at me, I feel like my brain is going to explode due to the massive stress headache that forms in the front of my head.

And you know what’s really crazy? I keep trying to tackle on more! My mom’s friend needs something done for her son, and I do it. My dad needs help answering questions, and I help. My friend needs me to help her move her stuff. Why not help? My Pi sister is having car troubles? I’ll take her to get it fixed! My day to day is so planned out and I try to do these helpful things that seem so small, but then feel so overwhelmed by how much they put on my plate. Add on to that, random job opportunities like babysitting on Sundays for an hour and a half. (Note, Sundays are my only free day. They are the days where I sit on my couch after church and do literally nothing, because why not?) I got offered a possible promotion in December at the church I work at. Classes haven’t even started yet, nor has club stuff, or Soundings, or Yearbook, and I feel like I can barely keep my head above water. So why am I feeling the need to take on more and more? 693131ee0b094af34a30b6ebfc8142b7

I have this need to do absolutely everything. I want to be everything to everyone that they need. I want their lives to be easier, and I don’t care how hard that makes my own life. It is the people pleaser in me. Which is where the problem really stems. I should not be looking for more to add onto my plate. I should be prioritizing what I already have to do, and learn how to say NO, something several wonderful people keep reminding me. But also something that I have not been doing very well.

It’s perfectly a-okay if I can’t do everything. For my own sake, I think it’s important to write that out one more time. It is okay if I cannot do everything! With that same thought process, my friend was so true. I do need to be more flexible. Days come and go. Life is not something I can plan out and I know that. It’s time to start acting like I know that, however. Something that I do not often do.

This year is going to be busy. There are going to be times where I feel overwhelming amounts of stress. There will be issues with people that I will have to deal with. There will be homework assignments and exams to study for. There will be friends who are in crisis mode. You cannot plan life. You must have enough wiggle room to be helpful, but you also need to be helpful towards yourself by saying no when you absolutely cannot do something. And that’s okay.

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I guess what I am getting at is that the stress I’m feeling is my fault. I’m putting it there. No on else. That extra job babysitting on Sundays? I don’t need to take it. Little things here and there that I don’t have time for, I don’t have to do those either. My friends and family will understand, but only if I tell them.

I’m thankful for a friend who would challenge me to do more, to be more. Because of her, I’ve been able to reflect on something that has clearly been weighing me down. Now, I feel light. I’m ready, or at least as ready as I’ll ever be.

You Can’t Pencil God In

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I have gotten used to my planner, my Google Calendar, and even my schedule being written down on my fridge. I know what I am doing each and every day. My life is pinpointed to the very second and I get alerts constantly reminding me where I need to be and when I need to be there. The organization is like my security blanket, or my safety net. It allows me to feel secure in my life. With my schedules showing me every second of my day, I can note the time I get to spend with friends, the workouts I’m doing with Kelly, the work things I have to get accomplished, and any time in between to spend doing insert random task here. My life has literally become a series of to do lists, which is slightly ridiculous. I’ve scheduled my life so much that I cannot handle a single second out of place.

So what happens when your boss completely rips apart that schedule by adding two extra days of training and completely disrupts the plans you’ve put so much effort into making? Well, you definitely cry on the phone to your dad like the non-adult you are, because your life just fell to pieces. Maybe I was being a little dramatic. And maybe my dad is the real MVP in this story, because what father likes listening to his baby girl heart broken and a billion miles away? Not him, let me tell you.

But he listened anyway. He told me to suck it up in real dad fashion, while also telling me I needed to stop crying, because he felt terrible that he wasn’t here to fix all my problems. Guys, my dad is actually the best man on this planet in case you were wondering. Of course, I told him he wasn’t being helpful and asked for mom. I was wrong in doing so, because my dad was just what I needed at that point in time.

He hung up the phone. I stood in the bathroom at work, looked at my tear stricken face, and took a deep breath. It wasn’t the end of the world. I could adapt. I was a strategic person. I splashed some water on my face and went to work watching children with a better perspective on the not so welcome changes that had come earlier that day.

You might be wondering why I decided to share this over dramatic story, so here it goes. Being an adult is hard sometimes. Working a real job comes with a bunch of new territory you may have never experienced before. Your boss is going to expect some flexibility. You might not have time for your friends. You might have to move some things around. But that’s a-okay. After all, if we sit with our whole entire lives planned out, we never allow ourselves the opportunity to experience the extra moments in life, like buying a cup of coffee and sitting in your car for an extra few minutes because your favorite song came on the radio.

One more thing. I was planning life so much, that I tried to pencil God in. Silly, I know. I was so focused on every little task that I had going on. I wanted to be as focused on God as I was a few weeks ago when I was doing His work in Swaziland. At that time I had been praying so much. I had been learning about the Old Testament. I was researching God’s word and reading it as much as I possibly could. For two weeks, God was every part of my day and I wanted it back so badly. But I was going about it the wrong way.

You see, I told myself 60 minutes of God time a day, whether that was writing in my prayer journal or going to church or reading my Bible. And when I tried to schedule God in my life, I found that I did not have time for Him. He was not a necessity. Actually, He was one of the first things to go when I found myself crunched for time, because He would always be there. How messed up is that?

I talked to Kelly about it. She’s pretty great at dealing with my mental breakdowns. She told me I was going about it wrong. She asked about how I managed to make God such a big part of my day when I was in Swaziland, or prompted it out of me in the way only she can do. When I thought about it, the answer was simple. I filled all of my free moments with God. An extra five minutes between class? I’d write a prayer for someone. 30 minutes until lunch? I’d read my Bible. A random hour after dinner? I’d sit down with a friend and have a discussion.

You can’t pencil God in, because He should be found in all the moments of our lives. Not only should we be doing all of our work for Him, but we should be filling every extra minute with Him too. He should not be an option, but more a way of life. He should be found in every second of our day, and if we try to schedule every moment, we lose a part of that. That’s pretty sad if you think about it, because doesn’t God deserve every second that we get to live?

So, I want to leave you with this verse.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 Being an adult might be hard at times, but I trust that God is guiding my steps and leading the way. When my boss changes things up on me, it’s a reminder to be flexible and adaptable. Being Type A won’t always be doable, and that’s okay. I’m going to have good days and bad days. All of my days are God’s days, which is something to remember the next time I try to pencil Him in. 

Blessings,

PB

Done with Counting Down

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4 days until I move back to OC. 2 weeks of training. 31 days until my senior year of college begins. 2 semesters until graduation. 156 days until my 21st birthday. 273 short days until college graduation. Time flies when you begin to think about the future. Numbers seem scary, especially when they tick away, counting down one number after the other.

So if these numbers are so scary why can’t I stop thinking about them? The last 2 years went by so fast! Much faster than I could of ever expected. In that time, so much has happened. I worked my first real job, then a second, and a third, and now I’m about to enter into my fourth. I did adult things, like buy my own phone, put my car in my name, and get a credit card (and pay off that credit card multiple times). I put work before fun, like last summer when I worked 40+ hours a week. To top it all off, this is what I asked for. I put myself in this world of extreme adulting and growing up. I wanted this. No one else made me do it.

I’ve been asking to be an adult since I was a child. I wished away life so many times with words, constantly saying, “I can’t wait to be older! I can’t wait to be in charge of my life! I can’t wait… I can’t wait… I can’t wait….” And as I was wishing life away, my life was passing me by so fast! I didn’t think about the fact that it might be my last softball game, or last debate tournament, or high school dance. I didn’t think about the fact that soon I’d have debt to my name (thank you student loans!) or that I’d be responsible for other people in my life. I didn’t think about the heartbreak that would come or the fact that relationships at my current age are intended for marriage, thus they are more serious. I didn’t think about the fact that my friends would be getting married and having children. Or buying houses and getting “big kid” jobs.

I wanted to be an adult so bad, that maybe I wasted the parts of my life where I was able to sit back, relax, and just have fun! Instead, I became this bundle of stress, making every single decision I ever made for my future, instead of the present moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been blessed and my work has paid off. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about my parents words to me on a regular basis.

“Paige, are you having fun? Are you doing fun things? Are you doing things for yourself?” 

Sometimes, I know for a fact that I can answer that question with a 100 percent absolutely not! I’m working on my homework. I’m working my job. I’m doing this or that, and sometimes I’m so deep in trying to play at being this adult, that I forget to breathe. I’ve acted the part for so long now, that I don’t know how to stop. And soon, it won’t be acting anymore, but an actual role I take on. Thankfully, my parents have realized that it’s okay if I’m not a full fledged adult yet even if I haven’t. Thankfully, they encourage me to spend time doing something I love, like reading a book. They encourage me to splurge on myself sometimes, especially with things like my social service club, Pi. It’s almost funny that the adults in my life encourage me to embrace my last bit of childhood.

You see, I constantly hear people saying they can’t wait for insert future point in their life here, but I say STOP! It’s time to live for today. Live for the moment. There is a reason why people say that, even if it may seem cliche. We only get this time in our lives once. Don’t get me wrong. Work is important. School is important. But so are lasting friendships. So are memories that last a life time.

I know I grew up too fast. I also know I did not have to do so. I chose that on my own, because I was constantly wishing away the now for what I could be in the future. Well guess what, I can be that person any time I want. I don’t have to wait for it. I can embrace it right now!

So countdowns. They’re silly. Wishing away my 20th year for my 21st? Stupid. Counting down the days until college is over and I have to get a job and enter the real world? Stupid. Counting the days until I move back into OC, completely silly!

My 20th year has been the best year of my life, even with all of the heartbreak and letdowns. It was full of being a world traveler, working hard, and making great friends. It was a year full of making mistakes and learning from them and it will continue to be for the next 156 days.

My summer home has been a home of love, friendship, and growth. The Herndon’s have been the most amazing people and this summer was a chance to relax and just breathe, something I didn’t even know I knew how to do.

The last 2 school years have been full of friendship, hard work, and fun experiences. So I know the next 273 days will be the same. Pi sisters, family Christmases, all nighters to write a paper, random date nights with friends, crying, laughing. Life. That is what this year is for. The adulthood that comes after, well it can wait.

As for me, I’m choosing to live in this moment. I’m choosing to embrace each day, because I am tired of wishing my life away.

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She Speaks for the Glory of God

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I have always been a talker. I love to be front and center. I love discussing things. I love giving my opinion on any and all subjects. Public speaking has never been a negative in my life. In high school, I gave speeches in class, participated in Speech and Debate against other schools, and even led pep rallies every Friday in front of the whole entire student body. Speaking was easy.

Yet, as I prepared for my mission trip to Swaziland, speaking to others caused a deep fear inside of me. I was so scared and full of negativity, that I even spent time crying out of this terrible fear. I began to ask myself, “What am I supposed to say? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I say something culturally offensive? What if what I do say isn’t a good representation of God.” There are so many reasons why my thoughts were wrong to have.

First of all, my thoughts were not God centered. Notice the I’s in those statements. I was making public speaking about me! Not God. Which is wrong, because the point of the mission trip is to bring glory to God. It is to represent Him. For God to gain ALL of the credit. My fears were irrational, because it was never about me. It’s always been about God, and only him.

Secondly, I was blessed with the gift of public speaking. God has always allowed me to speak well in front of large groups of people- exceptionally well! The fact that I would question Him in a gift that He gave me is disappointing. Because of God, I have been able to talk with so many people about God’s love. I’ve been able to lead devotionals. I’ve been able to pray with people. I’ve been able to give my testimony. God has never failed me and has always given me the right words to speak when it comes to showing Him praise.

It took a conversation with my dad to make me remember all of these things. He was so encouraging and reminded me that God opened up the door for my mission trip for a reason- because he knew I’d be able to do work for Him! Like usual, my dad was so right about this.

When I got to Swaziland, students were full of questions. We were in charge of leading groups and getting people to discuss things. This came fairly easy for me when I understood the work, because I am a natural discusser. I love discussion of all kinds. I thought to myself, so far, so good.

Then, I found myself working at the MOM project with some students from the African Christian College. I inquired about how they decide who teaches the kids Bible stories each time. Then, Darian, one of the team members for my mission trip, saw that Veronica was teaching the next lesson, and before I knew it, she made it to where I was the new teacher. I was so afraid before my trip about what I’d discuss, and I didn’t have to be, because God gave me everything I needed to say. You see, they plan out each lesson, so I was given a topic. I had to tell the story of the Tower of Babel. Easy enough, right? And in ways, it was.

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However, it was still new and a challenge for me. You see, I’ve never taught children before, so I had to make sure I was being a story teller. I needed to keep it at their level, so that they could learn about God. I needed to make sure they were active in the story and that they didn’t get lost or bored. There was one more challenge. I had to do this through a translator. You see, in Swaziland, most of the children learn English in school. Unfortunately, a lot of the children we were feeding were not in school, or not at the level in which they could readily speak English yet. For those who could, they got my version. For those who didn’t, well an ACC student shared my words with them. It was such a unique and difficult situation. It was also really rewarding, specifically as little faces with big smiles looked up at me.

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My next opportunity to speak was at ACC’s Women’s Chapel. Again, I was nervous. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I didn’t know what to speak about. Focusing in on prayer, I wrote down a prayer specifically about what to say and what kind of message to speak about to the women of ACC. Again, God showed me that my worries were silly. At ACC, they have a theme for chapel each week. That week, it was “Don’t Forget.” Not only that, but they had verses for each day. I had Mark 3: 20-15. They basically spoon fed, but you will hear no complaints! I had all that I needed. After talking to Dr. Rix, who was leading the men’s chapel, I got some ideas and began to write my short devotional.

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I talked about something familiar to me- family. You see, in Mark, you have the story of Jesus and Beelzebub. More importantly, you see Jesus getting denied by his family. “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). Jesus was trying to get rid of demons and his family questioned him! However, the true magic of the story happens in verses 31 through 35. “Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and the told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

You see, I was able to talk about family. The family we are born with. The family we choose (sport families, debate families, friendships, college families, church families.) You see, in Mark, Jesus demonstrates that some families we don’t choose. We just get thrown into them. Other families, well we get to decide that they are the right family for us. Our Christian family, the one we receive when we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, that family is a choice. We choose it. We live with them. We love them. We hold them accountable and they hold us accountable. I am so blessed not only by the family I was born with, but also all the families I’ve gotten to choose, because they continuously help me grow in my walk with God.

Here I was freaking out about how to be a missionary. I was nervous about the abilities God has given me. I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to speak. As I was wrapped up in all of these thoughts, God laughed and guided me. He spoon fed me the whole time. He placed my words in front of me and I spoke. For Him. He gets all of the glory.

It’s not about what we can do as individuals, but instead what God can use us for. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do God’s work through a gift that He has blessed me with.