thoughts

Doing What You Love, Loving What You Do

So often I feel I hear others saying that they hate their job, or they hate the sport that they are involved in, or they are not a morning person yet continue to set their alarm for a 6 am wakeup call. I can totally relate to those feelings, as I am sure most people can! So why do we allow them to come to us so often? Before I continue on I want to put out the fact that, yes, I do realize that there are some things in life, such as school, that no matter how we feel about it, we just have to do. Life does come with some different factors that we just cannot control, but what about all the rest that we can control?

Everyone has the exact same amount of time. We all get 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week. How we decide to use this time however is totally up to us. I used to be a busy-body back just a few years ago. I would be involved with four sports at a time, youth group, Girl Scouts, Knowledge Bowl, Math Masters, a few other clubs, I was on the honor roll, you name it. I lived like this for my elementary days and pretty far into my high school days as well. Back during that time, that schedule worked for me and I enjoyed how my life was being spent! However, fast forward to today, and I would be surprised if you were to find more than two scheduled events on any given day. Not to mention I am only in a few organizations, and I only take around one to two exercise classes a week. Aside from these scheduled events, I do regularly exercise, read, bake, spend time with family and friends, etc. However, it is all on my own time, and I do it when I feel that I want to. This is what makes me happy. There are people who thrive off of being busy all the time and others who don’t. I now enjoy slow days doing things such as going to coffees shops to read, which I never had time fore before. My point here is to thrive off of what you love! So often people spend their time trying to do things the don’t enjoy. For example, as I mentioned earlier, many people will say they hate the sport that they participate in. So why do they continue to do it? Why spend your time doing something that you don’t love? When I was transitioning from my busy life into this more laid back style, and was in basketball, it was consuming me. DAY AND NIGHT I had practice, or a camp, or needed to be shooting or lifting. Then one day I realized: for what? Why am I spending all my time on this sport? I was miserable in games and practices and dreading spending any spare time with it. So why was I wasting my short amount of time that I did have trying to master this sport that I hated when I could have been reading (which I love to do), or spending my time elsewhere?

One person that has always inspired me in this area of life is my sister Lizzy. She is not a morning person, and she knows it. There are so many people I know that, despite not functioning well in the mornings, they continue to try and set their alarms early to get things done. Then when their time comes that they normally thrive during, the later hours, they are groggy and cranky, but not ready for bed. However my sister doesn’t do this. She requires quite a lot of sleep, and instead of trying to get up early, she always allows herself to sleep in or at least sleep as late as possible. She embraces who she is. I believe that our society needs to learn to function more like that. To embrace who you are and how you like to spend your time. If you like something, then do it! If you aren’t enjoying something, or even if you don’t like some type of food, then you don’t have to continue doing/eating it! Just because someone else likes to do a particular activity, does not mean that you also need to like it. Or just because your doctor tells you that carrots are good for you and that you should eat them, if you think they are gross, then don’t waste your hunger trying to choke them down! Instead enjoy the banana that you are craving!

The time that we have is so miniscule, despite what it may seem. So I am proposing that you take an afternoon and sit down with yourself, maybe with a pen and some paper as well. Ask yourself this: What do I like to do? Am I doing it? If so, rock on! If not, what am I doing with my time? Am I forcing myself to be someone I am not? Doing things I don’t enjoy? Trying to please others? If you have found yourself in this trap that so many other people find themselves in daily, then I suggest that you make some changes. You should do what you love, and you should love what you do. You should be able to embrace who you really are, and be able to truly say that you enjoy your life and the way that you are spending your time. This life is flying by, don’t wake up when you are an adult wishing that you hadn’t spent your childhood the way you did. Instead, wake up knowing that you pursue your passions and lived the life that was meant for you. Wake up knowing that you did, and that you are still doing, exactly what it is that you love and what it is that God gave you a passion for in this life.

Getting Out of a Rut

“Nothing in nature blooms all year long, so you cannot expect yourself to do so either”… A quote that I always refer back to anytime that I am going through a rough patch in my life. Lately I have been struggling with lack in motivation when it comes to my workouts, my schedule, my hobbies, basically everything… It just so happened that the rut I was going through came just before I was leaving to go to camp for a week as a counselor. I have been counseling at Storybook Lodge Christian Camp for a few years now. I enjoy being and working with other teenagers to help spread the gospel to young kids more than anything. When I am at camp, my life is totally different from when I am at home. I left on Saturday morning for a graduation party, spent the night at that friend’s house, then proceeded to leave for camp then next day and returned home the following Saturday. So for about a week I was living a life that was unpredictable and not in my control. As absolutely scary as it may sound, especially if you are like me and love to have a schedule and plan everything out, I couldn’t be more thankful for my past week.

I am used to always being able to workout, make my own meals, spend my time the way I like, check social media anytime I feel like it, not socialize if I feel like being my introvert self, going to bed early because #grandmalife, and not really going out of my comfort zone. This last week, however, all that was different:

  • I did not have time to do any workouts, as a counselor I am up at 5:30am and have a schedule that brings me all the way to 10:00pm.
  • I do not get to prepare my own meals. When you are at camp, you eat whatever it is the kitchen crew prepares for everyone. There was a time when I would not eat anything that I hadn’t prepared myself or would not eat ‘unclean or unhealthy’ foods. I am no longer in that mindset, I just eat real foods that make me feel good! Most of the times the kitchen serves amazing meals that have healthy options… although I would be lying if I did not say that there are times when there is a meal such as hotdogs, or pizza, or something that I know doesn’t make me feel good, or that I know is full of ingredients that I do not enjoy, so I would go into the kitchen and take some leftover chicken or whatever was in the fridge and make my own plate.
  • Camp is a very scheduled place! There is almost always something for you to do or a place for you to be… so I never really get to choose what it is I want to do like I normally do when I am at home.
  • When you are at camp, especially as a counselor, you are surrounded by other people. There is at no point when you can decide that you are just not going to not socialize for a day. Every time you open your eyes there is a camper there asking for some candy or a fellow counselor wanting to go get some coffee (an absolute must as a counselor.)
  • One of the biggest shocks of leaving home for a week is that I wasn’t able to use the internet at all. I get no service on my phone in the area that I was staying in. I would not say I spend a lot of time of my phone normally… however I do check my texts a few times a day, I like to listen to podcasts while doing things, I enjoy watching YouTube videos while getting ready for the day, and I normally will scroll through my Instagram feed a few times and post once a day. When I am at camp, there is no access to that for me. I did have a friend who allowed me to use his hotspot a couple of times so that I could catch-up a bit on Instagram before some of our morning counselor meetings when we had both arrived early… but otherwise, my phone was basically a camera for the week.

Like I mentioned earlier, the thought of knowing that this week would bring all these changes was not a fun one for my Type A personality, but the joy that I experienced from the break has been so worth that discomfort. Before this schedule shock, I was really feeling just so ‘blah’ about everything. Have you ever felt that? It is never a fun feeling to have about things that were exciting things just weeks ago. But due to the fact that I was forced to take a break from my normal routine, it allowed me to just rest and enjoy life. I now feel refreshed! My body has gotten so much rest and feels amazing, I got to switch up my meals a bit, I have gotten to talk to so many more people than I normally would not have, I have been put out of my comfort zone is so many different ways that I would not have ever experienced in my normal life, I was forced to stay up a bit later than normal and switch up my routine… There were so many benefits of this past week of changes. However, not only did I enjoy all those aspects, but they have also sparked a new fire in me. I was able to be given a chance to miss my normal routine at home, and now I appreciate it more than ever. Ever since being home, (for about two days haha), I feel a new motivation and drive that wasn’t there when I left. I woke up this Monday morning bright and early and had a great breakfast, walked my dog, had an amazing time spent with the Lord in my Bible, I got some summer plans set, I am writing this blog post, later I will be having lunch with my father, then I have therapy, after I plan to get some cleaning done, and then I am so excited to finally get a good workout in! Not having done so much of this for quite a span of time, it makes it so exciting to get to do it! I have decided to limit the amount of times I am even near my phone, but when i do check it, it makes me so excited to see what all my friends have been up to!

So what exactly is my advice to you? It is that if you are in some kind of rut, no matter what it is, take a break. Take some time off from your norm, or switch it up, try something new.. Just do something different for a while to give yourself time to rest and recharge and to focus on something else in life for a bit.. And eventually you will be ready to come back to that thing and you will be more excited and motivated than ever before!

Living Beyond Fear

Let me be completely honest with you guys.. I am a creature of habit. I do not like to step out of my comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, I do love new adventures, but I also love knowing exactly what is going to happen and how it will happen. I am a very Type A girl. In fact, I have a Passion Planner. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it is a brand of planner and it is so amazing. It allows you to plan all of your days in half-hour increments. As I bet you can imagine, I plan my life with that little book…The point I am trying to get across from you is that I would rather do something that I know the outcome of, verses doing something that is a complete mystery. Just a few days ago I was talking with my therapist about this subject. I was telling her that I was sick of not trying out all the activities and fun opportunities that I dream of because of the fear I have. We began talking about this because lately I have been determined to really find myself. After being out-of-touch with who I was for so long, (you can read my post about finding balance if you’re curious as to what I mean about this),  I am finally starting to find that amazing person again. The question however: Who is she? And what does she enjoy doing?

So the other day I had an afternoon to myself. My family was working, my friends were at school, my dog was asleep, and I had nothing to do. I was feeling really motivated, I really wanted to get something done. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself though, everything that I knew I used to enjoy just didn’t seem like something I could do at that moment…and so my afternoon ended up being one spent watching New Girl on Netflix. So later that night when I was feeling guilty about the wasted motivation, I started to brainstorm about what I used to enjoy doing on a free day, something I could have spent my time doing. I used to love to experiment in the kitchen! Trying to come up with my own recipes, or just testing out other people’s recipes! But I was so quick to dismiss the idea, even though I had a pantry full of ingredients and a kitchen just waiting to be used. I also used to love writing (a passion that I have clearly, quickly revisited). But at the time I was sitting there thinking that I didn’t want to write (despite having a large list of possible blog post ideas that I have in my journal and have been trying to find time to write). I have also always loved learning. Despite having a large math test to study for, I sat there thinking that I did not want to touch my book.

I told my therapist about all these different things that I could have possibly done, yet did not. Now don’t get me wrong, lazy days are a must!! Everyone needs to rest once and awhile! The problem wasn’t that though, it was that I did not want to be lazy. I felt like being productive, yet I could not get myself to do anything. So she was asking me why I didn’t try writing, or baking, or studying. At first I told her that I had no clue. In that moment I just felt like I wanted to do something, but not those things. As we talked it through, it became a lot more clear: I did not want to do any of those activities I loved, not because I ‘just didn’t want to’, but because I was afraid to fail. I was afraid to try a recipe and have it not taste great. I was afraid to write a post, and get writer’s block. I was afraid to continue studying my logarithms, and not understand them, as I hadn’t the day before. But what kind of life are you living if you only ever dream of doing the things you love, but you never actually chase those aspirations?

If you spend your whole life on this planet only thinking and not doing, well then you’re wasting your time. The thought of failing can be scary, but if failing is the worst that you can really do, is that something you should allow to stop you from pursuing your dreams? I wanted so badly to test out some new recipes, yet I allowed my fear of failure to stop me. So what if I failed? Maybe I end up with some loaf of bread that doesn’t taste so good, I can just try again the next day. Even if it did fail, I had that experience in the books. I can still say that I tried and that I did something that was worth spending my time on. Can you imagine if I had succeeded though? Then I would have a yummy treat that I could devour and maybe share with my family (if I was feeling generous…). I do not understand why I have allowed fear to rule my life for so long, why anyone lets fear rule their life. Our time on this earth is so minimal and so precious. We need to learn to spend our time wisely, because ask any adult and they will tell you that before the blink of an eye, you are going to be seventy years old asking yourself what you did with your childhood.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want to waste the limited time that God has gifted me with. It could end in a day, or in a million, but I have no clue. So I decided the other day, while sitting on my therapist’s couch, that I wa going to make a decision that day that I would begin from that moment on to live my life by. A decision that would allow me to wake up one day and feel that I did all that I could to get the most out of this life:

 

I am going to stop allowing fear to rule my life. Instead of making decisions based off of my emotions, I am going to start making them based off of my values.

 

Now first things first, you need to figure out what it is that you value in your life. What is most important to you? This is not a simple question…in fact, it took me an hour and a stack of about one hundred cards that each had one value written on them. Out of about one hundred possible things a human could value in their life, I took time to figure out which ones were the things that I found most important; the ones that defined me, define who I am, what I believe in, how I want to live my life. Those are what I am going to start living my life by.

So what exactly does this look like for me? Well, I have quite a list of different values that I put together. Some people value a few things, some values many, and that is okay! That is what makes us all unique! To give you some ideas as to how to live by your values, I chose a few to tell you about:

  • I value both passion and creativity in my life. Instead of basing my decision to not try out a new recipe for fear of failing, I should have decided I want to try one. Why? Because I value being creative and having passions. By getting in the kitchen, I would be fulfilling my love for creativity while pursuing a passion of mine! Instead I let my emotion of fear to decide that I was to stay out of the kitchen incase I didn’t make a tasty dish.
  • Another thing I value is purpose. Using my love of writing or my love of learning and acting on those in that moment would have been me making a decision based on that value. I would have been acting out of purpose. I believe we all have been given a purpose by God, and so to live out that has always been something that is important to me. However, like I mentioned before, I allowed fear to make my decision instead of my values.

I hope after reading those you now understand what it looks like to make a decision based off of your emotions instead of your values. Now I would like to leave you all with some thoughts, and a bit of a challenge. Do you want to keep allowing your emotions to control your life? The emotions you feel, the thoughts that come to you, the results of what you do are all things that you can not change. You can not change the fact that things might feel scary, or that your brain conjures up scary thoughts about the outcomes of trying something new, or that living your dreams could mean failure in some aspects. However, you can change the actions that you take. Instead of allowing yourself to choose your normal, old, beaten, path that has the same outcome…that path that, no matter what, will end up at a safe destination, you should try and choose the path that hasn’t yet been traveled. Make a list of what you value most in life, and decide that from now on you are going to use that list to live your life. Live your life, and make your decisions, based off of what you love, off of what will bring you joy. That is my challenge for you. I challenge you to allow whatever thoughts or fears might come your way to come. Instead of allowing them to make the decisions for you however, you need to only allow them to be there, only to be present. You need to allow that fear to come in, it is an emotion, and it is only healthy to accept all emotions. However, I want you to stop letting the fear overtake you. Allow the emotion to be felt, but do not give it the power that you have been granting it for so darn long. You have to say to your emotions that you accept that they exist, and that they are apart of you….however, that is it! They are no longer what will be running the show. Instead they get to stay silent while you now allow your values to be the ones who make the decisions for you. You will start making decisions like deciding to forgive a friend for a wrong they have done. You are afraid that if you do that they will continue to use that against you, but you value forgiveness. You also value your friendships and want them to stay as strong as possible. It might look like this, or it might look totally different. But whatever it is at the end of the day that you go to bed at night and can truly say you’re living your life for, and is important to you, please start making your decisions based off of those factors. I can promise you that if you begin to live your life that this, that one day, you are going to be able to wake up and say you are proud of what you have accomplished. You are proud of how you spent your life, and that you wouldn’t chose to ever do it over again.