How can I build Your kingdom if I’m building my own?

When I start dyeing my hair I think it’s to prove I’m over some dumb boy drama. In reality, it proves the opposite. I dye my hair because I need some change without a total life change. I want to change something without changing who I am. I dye my hair to turn something negative into a positive. The real reason I dye my hair to have some control over things out of my control. And I keep dyeing my hair until I forget why I started dyeing it in the first place, until I really am over it.

I’m usually over it by the first time my roots start to show, but then I keep dyeing it for a few more months. It’s not even about the boy, it’s about the plans I made with that boy (or sometimes without the guy…oops). Because it’s like starting a new chapter. Because when writing the story of my life, I break it down by boys. Each chapter is a different crush and most likely a different hair color. There’s a couple pages in-between boys but that’s not even really part of the story. A majority of my life stories revolve around what I learned by liking some guy. Saying it out loud, it sounds so dumb! I mean, my life doesn’t revolve around boys. I have a full life, filled with intention and purpose. But for some reason, there’s a little voice in my head saying: “yea, but girl, do you have a man?” There’s this little voice in my head that says no matter what I accomplish or do, it means nothing because I don’t have someone to share it with.

I’m scoring the winning 4th quarter touch down with no team. I got a head coach though, Lord. You direct my path. You gave me the play book and taught me the plays. I have some assistant coaches called family. Defensive coordinator is my mama. My mama teaches me to protect the home-front. Offense coordinator is my daddy. He teaches me to take what I’ve got and run the dang ball. Special teams coordinator is definitely my bubba. He shows up to get me to that extra point. The strength and conditioning coach is most certainly my sister. She challenges me every step of the way. The wide receiver coaches are my extended family: the aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins. They’re teaching me how to pass when we’re spread out. They’re the ones teaching me how to be the fastest on the field when there’s trouble.

I even have cheerleaders who are the friends that cheer you on win or lose. I got people in the stands filled with church family that show up on the good days and the bad, most likely with food. I got a band filled with co-workers that want me to succeed and that depend on me. The viewers at home are all the people I influence, sometimes without even knowing it. I have all these beautiful and wonderful people around me helping me win and picking me up when I lose. Still, I feel incomplete sometimes. Like I’m missing this big part to life, that everyone seems to have figured out except for me. I’ve been trying to be the whole team all at once. Some days I’m the quarter back. Some days I’m the running back or wide receiver or tail back or kicker. Whatever everyone else needs from me, I’ll be. I adapt. I change. I move. I run. I pass. I jump. I kick. I tackle. I guard. I block. I am a one woman show. I literally do it all. But some days, I wouldn’t mind just being part of the team, and not the star of the show.

Some days, I soak in all that You coach me. Some days, I’m stubborn and don’t listen at all. Some days, I completely rely on the coach’s decisions. Some days, I make a fool out of myself thinking I’ve figured it all out on my own. Some days, I thrive on the support from the coaching staff, fans, cheerleaders, and band. Some days, my ego is so big it literally takes all the air out of the stadium. Some days, I’m full of grace. Some days, my end zone dance is so obnoxious it distracts from the whole game. Some days, I take the loss like a champ, learn from it, and get em next time. Some days, I’m crying into my helmet on the side lines over a big loss. Some days, I’m playing no matter the weather; rain, snow or shine. Some days, I’m riding the bench when the depression hits and the game is literally played without me. Some days, I’m writing bible verses on my cleats and cheeks. Some days, I’m a hot mess getting in all kinds of hot water. Some days, I use my fame to help those around me. Some days I use it to show my ignorance.

So, here is my prayer. Lord, help me to have more good days than bad. Help me to learn from the bad days. Lord, help me learn how to be appreciative of the game. Help me to appreciate the people in my life. Help me to see what your teaching me. Help me to see what you’re preparing me for. Lord, help me to keep from getting burnt out. I pray that I remember why I play. I pray I remember to find joy in playing. I pray that I think about all those people counting on me and rooting for me. Father, I pray I give it all to you. I pray I lift up all those people in my life. I pray I give you all my failed plans and all my successes. I pray I give you all the glory. I pray that I consult that playbook daily. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I can throw my hands up. Worries down.

Sometimes I let the little things get to me. I get stressed real easy. I’m learning to work on it, but it is a slow process. Ya know, 24 years in the making and I’m still learning. If you want to add some drama to my life, put me into a car where there the gas is below half a tank. Ok. Then watch me have a panic attack. Anything below a quarter of a tank, practically gives me a heart attack. My mother is the complete opposite. She hardly ever drives a car with more than a quarter of a tank. I’ve tried to see her point of view, but I just can’t do it. I know my limits. I like to feel safe and having lots of gas in the car helps me feel better. For her, it’s not a limit at all. It doesn’t even phase her. On the other hand, I’ve learned to control my anger a long time ago, so that it is not a problem. Of course I still get mad but, like today when someone inconsiderately pulls in front of me without using a blinker and I have to slam on my breaks. It’s just plain rude, but I saw my hands grip the steering wheel and immediately said a silent prayer. Lord help me. Then I let go, of the wheel and the anger. I didn’t even honk or anything. If only I could let my anxiety go that easy.

I turned this song up on the radio as loud as it would go and sang until I pulled into the driveway.

We all have things that bother us. We all have things we need to work on, but I tend to focus on all the things I need to fix that I forget to just be ok. I don’t have to have everything figured out right this red hot minute. Lord, you and I both know I am not a patient woman. I am a Margaret. I stay busy and run around making sure everyone and everything is taken care of. I forget to be like Mary sometimes, to just enjoy Your presence.

After leaving work, I went to Home Depot and bought a couple of shelves for the closet to hang up my clothes and start unpacking some. I texted my person, of course, and told her about how “it’s a small step.” She responded with “that’s a big step!” That put my heart right into perspective. So, before I go unpack all my clothes, I need to pray.

So, this is my prayer. Lord, thank you for showing me how to turn the big bad things into small things. Thank you for showing me how to turn the little good things into big things. Thank you for changing my heart and showing me that my perception of things is important. Thank you for helping me let go of the little things and to appreciate the big things. I pray that I spend more time with you. I pray that I worship you more. I pray that I lay everything at your feet more. I pray that I come to you more. I pray that I take this song with me. I pray that I let go of the cold and bitterness from my heart. I pray that I remember that the things around me are temporary and your love is eternal. I pray that I break up with my doubt. I pray that I get to know the God I know even more. I pray that I keep reaching for you. Thank you for the reminder that this is just the beginning. I pray that I let freedom in. I pray that I come alive when I let go. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We won’t be ruined.

Thought Catalog posted this article called “10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be” by Tim Hoch.

1. “You ascribe intent.”

Way to start the article off by calling me out. This first one caught my attention and really got me thinking. I do this way too often. I take things too personally. I take them straight to my heart and I dwell on them for days. I let one little thing that one person said affect my whole outlook. I try to stay very positive, but if I’m being honest with myself, it doesn’t take much to take away my positivity. I need to work on this. I need to stop jumping to conclusions about other’s behaviors and opinions towards me.

2. “You’re the star of your own movie.”

“…people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, your movie is ruined.”

I need to remember to give my script to You, Lord. I am not the star here, You are. I need to remember that you write better stories than I ever could. I need to remember that you have the control over my life. I need to stop letting others have power over me. I need to stop imagining what is happening next and just enjoy the present.

3. “You fast forward to apocalypse.”

Tim Hoch, how do you know my life so well? Like I do this daily! I have gotten better at this though. All through high school I did this! When bad things happen I was always ready for the worst. It’s good to be prepared, but I needed to calm down. Sometimes the mountains really are just molehills.

4. “You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.”

We are taught as children when you need something communicate it. (For a little while we communicate by crying and screaming. Maybe I just didn’t learn past that baby stage.) I expect people to do things because that is what I would do, but not everyone can read my mind. No one knows what I want or need until I tell them.

5. “You are waiting for a sign.”

I don’t think I have a problem waiting, rather than missing the signs that are blatantly obvious to everyone else. Sometimes, I am completely clueless.

6. “You don’t take risks.”

I got this one. I think I am too good at this one. Every single time I like a guy, I make some kind of declaration and tell him. It is unbearably awkward. I watch too many rom coms where people don’t tell each other that they love each other. So, I got it in my head that I wasn’t going to be that person. I was going to admit my feelings and let the pieces fall where they may. I had this idea that one day someone would like me back and it would make sense why the others never did.

7. “You constantly compare your life to others.”

Ok. I get it. I’m working on it. This one has been told me to quite a few times lately.

8. “You let other people steal from you.”

“If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.”

This one. I can’t even. My mind is blown. Wow. I never thought of it like that, but it totally clicked.

9. “You can’t/won’t let go.”

“These are getting a little harder aren’t they?”

I’m sitting here agreeing that the list is getting harder, but I had no idea how deep things were about to get.

“Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?”

Woah! This is where I started crying.

Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to ‘manage’ your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.”

Excuse me, Tim Hoch, have we met? Because you seem to know way too much about me. I am so glad he said there was no such thing as closure. People have talked about closure a lot, especially right after the funerals. I never found any. I never understood what it meant. I know they are in Heaven. I have faith in that. I have faith that You are taking care of them and of me and all the people that loved them. I may not have found closure but I did find a better relationship with You, Lord.

10. “You don’t give back.”

“One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.”

I love this one!! He said “get involved in life.” I love that especially since I felt like I was watching my life slip away. I was sitting on the sidelines of my own life. I felt like I had no control over anything. I felt like things and people were being taken from me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Then I remembered this song.

So, this is my prayer. I pray that I take Love & The Outcome’s song with me this week. I pray that I remember that you are with me always. I pray that I remember this list. I pray that I continue to grow. I pray that I continue to work on my relationship with you and with those around me. I pray that I keep trying. I pray that I keep moving. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.