Weeds and Lies

So i’ve become a gardener. I bought gloves, seeds, a hat and anything else gardening-ish that would make me legit. I have this problem  (and my husband can vouch) that when i find something i’m interested in, it consumes me. I go full force into said thing for a solid three months until i move onto something else. Michael still dislikes me for the piano he had to move into our old little house that i played 4 times. I’ve tried to change this about me but in all my 25 years, i just can’t.

I have the fight to start something but rarely to finish it. I would love to have home grown peppers and tomatoes on my plate but i don’t know if i want to put in the work to grow them. I want instant gratification. Don’t we all?

The thing about gardening is there’s weeds. I have kept myself up at night thinking, “what if i can’t tell the difference between weeds and my precious little veggies?” Of course like most things in my life, my brain takes me somewhere else altogether. I started thinking about my own life and how sometimes i can’t tell the difference in weeds and these beautiful, nutritious things i have growing. Between the lies i tell myself and the truth.

I was thinking about my garden and how i would be so disappointed if i watered it and talked to the peppers like i was a plant whisperer and killed them because i thought they were weeds. But if you don’t pluck the weeds, they will suck all the life out of your plants until it kills your garden completely.

The thought of taking care of something scares me to death. How i’ve managed to keep two dogs alive for a few years is beyond me. But learning to keep things alive is molding me to be a better human. (i hope)

One of the biggest lies i tell myself is that i can’t do it. I looked at my husband literally ten minutes after i planted my seeds and said, “these will never grow.” And that’s a lie i constantly tell myself. “Brooke, you won’t succeed. You won’t make this job, marriage, relationship or garden last.” And that’s my lie.

Lies become crutches. Sometimes you tell yourself lies so much that you don’t know the truth. You don’t know the difference between a weed or your tomato. If you are feeding your lies more than your truths, they will grow larger and larger and overtake your mind. Whatever you tell yourself and whatever lies you think are harmless, have the potential to suck the life out of you. Whatever lies you are feeding yourself, cut them off at the root.

This is so much easier said than done, i know. You literally have to retrain your brain. You have created this groove in your brain that keeps getting deeper and deeper with whatever lie you are telling yourself. Just like a carpenter carving away creating deep grooves. He has the power to create so many different objects but it depends on how he uses his knife.

Loving yourself is hard when we live in a world so quick to condemn. I’m cutting my lies off and not showing them any sunlight slowly but surely. I have a good friend who tells me all the time that i am worthy to be happy and deserve it. And i PROMISE you, if you keep telling yourself that, it will grow and grow and give you more nourishment than you could ever imagine.

A prayer you can use:

“Lord help me know what lies i feed myself and what truths i feed myself. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Please help me distinguish them and make them black and white. Show me the weeds in my life. Show me how to stop them from growing. Help me retrain my brain with truth and not lies. I want to be alive.”

-B

What the Bible says about anxiety

I have prayed and prayed about what to write about. I’ve started writing a few blogs and then they just came to a halt. I realized today I knew what i needed to write about…I’ve actually known for a while and I keep saying, “not today God…NOT TODAY.” But God pushed me and not in a bad way. I want to start off by saying I am not a medical professional. I have my degree in Psychology but so does half of America. You can pretty much google different disorders and hey, you probably know just as much as i do. But, I am going to talk about this because it’s personal. I’ve been going to therapy on and off for about 7 years. If anyone who has a mental illness knows this to be true, when you think you’re better, you think you’re ALL better. Medicine tricks you sometimes into believing you’re okay. Anxiety, for me, has been a lot like that. I thought I was better and needed no help only to take 10 steps back.

Recently, my anxiety has increased dramatically. I blame my job and having a lot on me but thats probably not the case. The case is that I think I can handle it alone then I realize I just can’t. My anxiety comes in waves. It’s a constant struggle of wanting solitude and wanting to be with friends. I want to handle my crap myself. I want to be bigger than any mental illness. Unfortunately, you can’t wish anxiety away. In a world that’s fallen & fractured, nervousness and worry lurks around every corner.

 Have you ever almost missed a step while walking down the stairs and your heart races but usually subsides within a few seconds? Imagine that feeling lasting anywhere from 2-30 minutes multiple times a day and you have no control over when or where it happens. Followed by sweating and feeling like you’re going to faint and you can not catch your breath. There’s such a stigma when it comes to mental illnesses that needs to cease. I’ve known about my anxiety for years but no one else has. I’ve been called antisocial, snobby, shy, awkward and pretty much everything except a white girl. All because no one knew I was dealing with something that wasn’t visible like a broken leg. Imagine someone telling you it’s in your head and you’re just being dramatic. It’s a constant battle of wanting to be brave and wanting to crawl in a hole and never come out because you feel like no one understands how you feel. Anxiety is relentless and there have been days where I feel like I just can’t go on. 

There is one thing that has helped me more than medicine, therapy and solitude ever could and that’s Jesus.

If anxiety, fear, stress or worry creeps up on you, remember, you are only human. That God forgave you for your sins and you are PRECIOUS. I have constant feelings of inadequacy. Like no matter what I do at my job or my relationships that I just am not enough. I always had this weird connection with the stars. Ever since I was a little kid, I could just look at them for hours and feel how powerful they are. Then I stumbled across this verse..

“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”- Isaiah 40:26

How much more valuable are you than the stars?? If the same God who calls stars an army, imagine what He’s doing in your favor if you are willing and unafraid.

The bible tells us that we will have trials and hardships. Anxiety is a tool that the enemy uses. Knowing that gives me extreme peace. In most cases, I am anxious over something I have no control over. That’s when God steps in.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Phil. 4:6

The best defense is continuously communicating with Him, sprinkled with thanksgiving. Try to confess and talk about your nervousness. 

It took me a while to seek help. Talking about what is bothering you really puts things into perspective. Saying how you are feeling out loud speaks volumes about you and that you will not be defeated. The words you say or type have complete power over your life. His word is powerful. Speak it in victory and not fear.

If you are having any of the symptoms I talked about above, i encourage you to seek medical help, but also pray. pray without ceasing. I hope you love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”-Psalm 118:6

If you are in this battle, you are not alone. The devil can use it for evil but only God can use it for good. God speaks volumes about rest in the bible. He created the Sabbath specifically for it. Rest and realize God is on your side. It’s all downhill from there.

Prayer

I have been MIA for a while. Honestly, I haven’t felt worthy of writing. I want to write about things I know and lately I don’t know a lot. I really don’t know a lot about prayer either. But, I’m assuming a lot of people are in that same ship with me.
I have been thinking a lot about prayer these past few weeks as I try to grow closer to God. I feel him now more than ever and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my line of work. That’s what i’m going with.

I’ve been working out…well attempting to. I hate it. I have always wanted to be one of those people who loves the gym. Who wakes up every morning ready to bust out her yoga mat or run ten miles on a treadmill. That just isn’t me. I can’t stay still long enough. I am always a week ahead or 5 years in the past. I’m rarely taking the time to breathe and focus while working out. I have been relating this so much to prayer. How i’ve never been very good at praying because it requires me to be still. I literally think about what I want to pray before i pray.

Up until recently I just didn’t want to pray. I would say I would pray for people because that was word vomit and polite. It made me start thinking how many people have said that to me. How many people have said they would pray for me and didn’t. Because I am so guilty of this.

Sometimes you are the one who prays and sometimes you’re the one who gets prayed for.

Growing up, I went to a church where everyone would pray out loud during alter calls. I remember hearing all these grown men pray these intense prayers and me being a 12 year old girl was so intimidated. So I just didn’t pray. No one ever taught me until recently that you don’t have to have this silver lining, elaborate prayer. That God wants you to talk to him in the car, in the mall, at work…where ever you are.

How amazing is it that in the midst of someones chaos, they take the time to utter your name to Him.

I’m here to tell you, you don’t need a storybook relationship with him. That you are just enough the way you are. Every broken, bitter, chaotic piece of you, he wants.

I don’t know why it’s easier for me to pray for strangers than people I know. But I’m working on it. I’m working on keeping my word to pray for the people I love, because prayer, just like humans, is a beautiful thing.

always in your corner,

B

Person Centered

“do you feel important?”

I went home last night and started thinking how i’ve probably never asked anyone that before. Then I started thinking how different would life be if I had been asking people in my life this all along. Or what if people had been asking me this? This training that I am doing is called Person Centered and I realize how much I am not that. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Humans are incredible. The hard thing is there is no guidebook as to what to say to people or how to be more person centered. We are products of trial and error. We fail each other. We say terrible things. But people will surprise you if you let them.

So what would happen if we became more person centered? At our homes? At our jobs? What if you were really kind? What if you started asking people what would make them feel important? I hope if you’re reading this, you’re a little kinder today, tomorrow and five years from now. Don’t write people off because you don’t understand them. Stay surprised.

XO,

B

love me like Jesus does

i wrote an entire blog and erased it. It felt so fake. It was everything I wanted to say but it wasn’t. It was sugar coated. So i’m starting over. I don’t ever want to lie or tell you things just because you want to hear them. That’s not reality.

Bookstores, coffee shops, car rides after midnight and you. That’s my church. I’ve felt God more in those 4 things then I have in a pew in a very, very long time. My preacher last Sunday told us that he would not talk about what is going on in the world regarding homosexuality, transgender, abortion or the killing of animals. He talked about why he wouldn’t talk about those things and I could feel the tension in the sanctuary shifting. They wanted to hear those things. They wanted to voice their opinion and hoped the preacher shared the same one. I was proud of him.

But on the drive home I was thinking about how those things are relevant but it does not make you relatable.

If someone’s completely heartbroken, your view on equal marriages is not going to mend their shattered organ. I sometimes think God allows certain things to happen in your life so you can help others cope when it happens in theirs. They need a shoulder. They need one more piece of you when you think there isn’t a piece left. Heartbreak happens and it takes you off your pedestal for other people. They need you to love them like Jesus does. That’s what we should be teaching in church….

The Jesus I know didn’t go around hosting political campaigns or wait for a jury of peers to make a decision. He simply asked…

Do you love me?

The questions of sexuality, equality and religion will never heal a broken heart. But loving Jesus will. And loving other people like you love Jesus, surely will. In a world consumed by what’s going on in the news, be a light they can find their way home to.

always in your corner,

B

it keeps no record…

I am changing. Slowly but surely.

4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.-1 Corinthians 4-5.

I have read this verse a dozen times over the past decade. Always skimming over it. Always acknowledging the words but not digesting them. Until one morning, “it keeps no records of wrongs” smacked me in the face. You see that’s how my brain works. It will bring up intense things I HAVE to share while just drinking my coffee and it won’t leave me alone until i do it justice by writing about it.

I may be non confrontational but I can remember you trying to cut my hair with scissors in the first grade. I will hold you accountable even if i’m the only one. I realize a lot of my relationships have failed because of this. My, “how could you do that to ME?” fight was no better than us working through it and me bringing it up 5 years down the road..

I have had an argument in the past that literally went something like this…

Him: “why won’t you come to see me?”
Me: “because you didn’t come come see me 2 years ago when i asked..”

Back then i thought i was doing the right thing. I thought I was winning. The, ‘i’ll make you regret doing that to me’ ego that most people have will not let you win. I have hung up the phone thinking i showed him….No. I have showed him that I am too immature to stay silent when no words were needed. No jabs to the throat were needed. That is not love. Holding someone accountable is God’s job…I’m not saying to let people run all over you but this is not your job. How can you ever focus on yourself if you have a mental tally system going on in your head of every time someone doesn’t live up to par for you? You have enough to worry about. This is not love. Love keeps no records of wrong. Try it for a day. Then try it for a week. Then a month. Stop punishing people for the same sin they’ve repented for years ago. I promise it will make you less stressed. There’s a valuable lesson to be learned when you forgive and don’t bring it up years down the road. It’s called peace.

Someone told me this was good…this was good that I knew how to change. I hope so…

Stay focused. Slow it down. Stay humble.

xo

B

Miracles > Magic

I have been reading this book called, “A Prayer Journal,” by Flannery O’Connor. I went into this book with guns blazing expecting it to be the holy grail to an insight to God that i didn’t have access to before i picked up this novel. I was wrong. I felt like i was betraying a 21 year old girl from 75 years ago who is long gone. I wanted to unread it. I apologized to Flannery. Like i knew her deepest, darkest thoughts. I can barely handle my own thoughts about religion, much less someone with so much despair writing about it.

I know she meant well. I know that in maybe a year, or ten that i will feel differently about her prayers because i am fate-driven. But as of now, i feel like i know her secrets that she didn’t want some random 24 year old girl to know. She begged God to make her a famous writer, I mean, thats all she wanted. I couldn’t help but whisper to Flan, “God didn’t owe you that…”

Then i shut the book. I thought about all the things i ask him for. He doesn’t owe me any of it. God never promised me that he would give me my expectations. He did promise me that I wouldn’t have to fear the future and to give me hope for it. Which is WAY better than any of my humanly expectations. I thought how selfish she was. How all she prayed about was herself. I don’t think I liked her because she reminded me so much of me.

I had this vision in my head of someone praying for health while holding a cigarette in their hand. This almost humorous vision. I was mad at this book. She prayed about being a famous writer and then wrote about praying about it. It was so odd to me. Then i thought how often do i do this. How often do i beg God for something but refuse to change my habits..you want to be healthy? put the cigarette down. you want to be a writer? pick up a pen. In a society where instant gratification is what we want, it’s hard to accept this; God and magic do not correlate. God and miracles do. I don’t expect to wake up one morning with a book on my nightstand written by me, from God. (Santa is the one you should talk to about that.) But, what i can count on is that he will give me patience to sit still and let him speak through me to write.

You see, him giving you the equipment to make something is greater than him handing you something. Nightstands don’t come assembled. It takes tools and putting shelf B on upside down 7 times before you really needed shelf C. But man, it’s one hell of a nightstand that you put together after getting your Ph.D. in Big Lots instruction manuals. God is working on your pieces to make you one hell of a (insert expectation here) for him. For HIS credit. Miracles > Magic.

Thank you God for not treating me as my sins deserve.

XO
-B

Stagnant

A friend told me recently that to be comfortable is to be stagnant. It made me think, who wants to be stagnant? I remember going camping with my parents around the age of 9. The hike took forever and my nine year old chunky self was not a fan. But, some of the lessons you learn when you’re young will play a huge role in your life later on, whether you realize it or not. On this trip, I went to fill up my water bottle with water that I could reach, that wasn’t ever-flowing, that was stagnant. My step dad grabbed the water bottle from me and told me never to drink stagnant water, that there are mosquitos surrounding it and it carries bacteria and to always drink running water because it is fresh and clean and always moving from deep in the mountain.

I thought about this after my friend told me that being comfortable is being stagnant. You don’t drink stagnant water because it can harm you, so why are people so comfortable living a stagnant life? Running water is beautiful, fresh and better for your well being. It can also be dangerous. Falling into powerful running water with a rip current can harm you if you aren’t careful and can take you under. But that’s the thing, you have to risk that chance in order to have fresh clean water without any bacteria that can harm you from the inside.

Being stagnant in life to many can seem appealing. There’s no rip current, no movement, no danger. But who is happy there? Jumping off a waterfall gives you more adrenaline than floating at the bottom. Constantly moving is something everyone should be doing. We should not remain stagnant. We should not be afraid of falling in and going under. We should take that leap and drink from that fresh current.

I like scary. More times than not, being scared of something leads to something great. Another level of yourself that you need reviled. I hope everyone who reads this picks the current. Swim against it, take a gulp of water from that mountain instead of safely filling your bottle up with shallow, dirty, non-fullfiling water. Choose. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the job you want? Is this the person you want to love? Choose. I used to think by the time I was 25 I would have it all figured out. I don’t. And that may be one of the biggest blessings in disguise.

XO,

B

(my song for this post is Riptide by Vance Joy :))

I believe…

I believe that the sun is the best form of therapy. I believe to follow your heart over your head. I believe in being innocently wild. I believe you should learn the difference in holding a hand and chaining a soul. I believe you’ll regret every chance you didn’t say yes to. I believe you’ll find yourself more in a foreign country than at a 9-5 job. I believe that failing is not always failure. I believe in books and being alone. I believe that luxury doesn’t mean wealth. I believe that something that burns the soul is hard to forget. I believe women should inspire each other. I believe we stress because we forget we aren’t God. I believe in a good cup of coffee. I believe the way you see the world can change your life. I believe nothing can substitute expierence. I believe there isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you didn’t know their story. I believe for every bad thing in the world, there is 1000 more good things. I believe you should wear what you want and don’t feel guilty about it. I believe we have more fire in us then what we want to believe, even if we don’t see it for ourselves.

XO,

B