My Life is Not My Instagram Feed.

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Like many people, I’m coming off a holiday high. I had a great time with our family celebrating what might be our last Thanksgiving in the house I (mostly) grew up in. My parents have put their house on the market and will be hopefully moving closer to me soon – yay!

I’m not big on Thanksgiving food so the appeal is not really the food so much as the people and the downtime, and as my sister would say, the taaalking. More than any other time, my parents house is where I’m able to relax, be myself, and leave my phone in my room. I’m pretty terrible at this most of the time, but I’m working on it. I’m following my own advice to my high school girls and reducing the number of times I check social media and I deleted all social media except Instagram from my phone – baby steps, people.

10 years ago, if you had told me my life would be what it is today I would have laughed. If you had told me my goals and aspirations I would have politely smiled, but silently judged. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is mostly due to the people in my life continually speaking truth and guiding me when I am so lost I don’t even know I’m lost.

I think this is one of the reasons social media can be so alluring and dangerous. We’ve all heard it before, but it still holds true. It’s easy to post the great pictures or see someone else’s life and want what they have, but we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes – sometimes even in our own lives. In the last year my life has changed so much in ways I would have never imagined. I’ve moved, changed jobs, made friends, lost friends, mourned the loss of life and celebrated new births. Some are great changes and some have been really, really hard. Either way, 18 months ago I could not have predicted any of the changes.

For me, this has been one of the greatest and most unexpected benefits of living in community. I am surrounded by people who know me – good, bad, and ugly, and who want the best for me. These people give correct me, listen, provide connections, and create opportunities I wouldn’t have on my own. We celebrate successes and grieve losses. We sacrifice for each other and sometimes literally, carry each others’ burdens. side note: Have I said thank you to the many people who’ve moved me many times? If not, THANK YOU! They make me a better me and I would like to think, a more true and fuller me.

No, my life isn’t just what you see on Instagram. It’s a lot messier. It’s a lot more complicated and nuanced. But it’s better – even with the ugly. My life doesn’t come with an editing filter and although there are times I wish it did, I am better for it. I am better without the filter and so is my life. Sometimes, I just have to remind myself.

 

 

I am my Mother’s daughter.

It’s happening. I am becoming my mother. Or should I say I am my mother. It seems that the adage about daughters turning into their mothers is true. However, this is a GOOD THING. mostly. 🙂 You see, my Mom is pretty awesome. Honest. Friends used to call my house – yes, I had a cell phone (eventually), but we had terrible service in my house so if you called my cell phone it was always a race to say “let-me-call-you-back-on-my-house-phone-because-my-phone-doesn’t-work-in-the-house” before the call dropped so eventually my friends just called the house and would sometimes ask to talk to my Mom, not me. I mean, I’m totally over it now, it’s not like it was a slap in the face to an already hormonal teenager or anything. But that should tell you the level of her awesomeness. So in honor of Mother’s Day I wrote an acrostic poem about my mom. Hopefully it will make her cry because if I have to cry all the time now, then so does everyone else!

M – My, you’re an awesome Mom
O – Oh my! You’re an awesome Mom
M – Mention did I that you are an awesome Mom?

In all honesty, I would not be who I am today without her (you can judge for yourself if that’s a compliment or not). She is one of the strongest women of God I know. She is incredibly wise, yet humble and gives wholly of herself to her family. She taught me the importance of listening by staying up until 2am to talk with me many a night in High School. She models humble strength daily. She loves and respects my Dad. She knows and loves God’s Word and taught me how to study it. She calls me out on my sin. So here’s to you, Mom, thanks for everything. I hope that one day I can be even half the woman that you are.

Happy Mother’s Day to all and to all a good night, err day!

To Cry or Not to Cry

Please take a moment to view the above video (stop watching at 1:16).

Good. Now you have an appreciation for my perception of myself when I cry. Ridiculous. One peculiarity that you should know about me is that I HATE to cry. I’m not just talking about “I-get-red-in-the-face-and-I-don’t-want-anyone-to-see” or  “I-wimper-like-a-hurt-puppy-and-I-don’t-want-anyone-to-hear.” No, I feel weak when I cry. Vulnerable. Exposed. Ashamed. Most of all, I hate crying for no reason, crying in sports, and especially crying in public.

This past weekend I participated in a leaders’ retreat through my church at the Grove Park Inn. There is always something special that goes on when all 400 leaders get together. Everyone is bought in to the teaching, skits (yes, there are hilarious skits at adult retreats), and especially musical worship. At one point Friday night, I began to cry. Not tear-roll-down-my-face-in-a-graceful-movie-like-way. Nope, this was big, fat, rolling, uncontrollable tears that eventually turned into uncontrollable heaving sobs. Great. In a room full of 400 people, all of whom I respect tremendously, here I sit/stand sobbing uncontrollably. If I had a top 10 list of things I never want to do, this would be on it.

Later, once the time of worship had ended and I regained control of myself (mostly), I reflected on what happened with some of my close friends. We laughed, shared a vulnerable moment or two and moved on. Deep down I was still a little upset that I was so weak, pitiful, vulnerable in front of so many people. When I discussed the issue with my mom she immediately said, “Taylor, stop. You need to stop seeing crying as a weakness. God was drawing you to Himself in a legitimate spiritual way, through the prayer of others, and you were resistant, resentful and you see it as a weakness. That is not OK with God. You need to start praying for an attitude change. Stop trying to be superwoman.”

WOAH. I was crying before she finished talking. Talk about a call out! But you know what? She was right. As much as I hate to admit it, God used that experience to humble me, draw me near to Himself, and bring me into deeper community with other people. Why should I resist or resent that?

To be honest, I still don’t want to change my attitude. I (mostly) hope that day comes, but I think I made a baby step forward this weekend in being able to see some good in my vulnerability and tears. Thanks, Mom. I guess the challenge is how do I move forward from here.

Do you have people who know you well enough to call you out? How do you pray for a heart change when you don’t really want your heart to change?

Life happenings.

Here is a little recap/update of what is going on in my life:

1. My sister is coming home in 11 days. To say that I am excited would be putting it mildly.

2. I love the way Tim Keller writes. He takes big theological ideas like The Reason for God and breaks them down simply. I am currently reading Generous Justice and it poignantly emphasizes the need and motivations for justice.

3. I am so thankful for my family, with whom I was able to spend 5 days with over Thanksgiving.

4. I also read The Hunger Games books over Thanksgiving. I think I will do a book review soon. I definitely enjoyed reading them. They are all quite easy to read (I finished all 3 in less than 2 days) with basic social commentary as well as some indirect commentary on human nature.

That’s all for now!