Go F*** Yourself.

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I bet a lot of you clicked on this solely on the fact that “F***” is in the title.
Well, folks, it’s not what you think.

Free.

Go free yourself.

Almost always we are our own limitations.  We place ourselves within made-up parameters so that we never go very far.  So many times we, as humans, are so afraid of failure or rejection that we put on our own shackles, just to hold ourselves back to a level far below our potential.

Don’t be like that.  Unlock those shackles you clasped around your own feet.  Break down those invisible walls.  Reject those parameters.

Go. Now.

Go free yourself.

You were made for beautiful, wonderful things.  Big or small, you are filled with purpose.  You are full of life.  You have been given talents and passions, dreams and capabilities to make a difference, to be a help.

What are you waiting for?

Be free. 

“You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections.”
(2 Corinthians 6:12)

“For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”  (Galatians 5:13)

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

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I Am Thankful For Heartbreak and Failure

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I have seen so many “I am thankful for _______” posts in the past month that it got me thinking: What would I put on such a list?  Of course the normal things came up: my family, friends, health, home, safety, freedom, love, Jesus, faith, the World Race, America, clean shaven men, hand-holding, soft rainstorms, mountaintops, laughter, joy, hugs, kisses, smiles, frozen Greek yogurt, technology, fuzzy blankets, cold weather, bonfires, music, snuggles, accents, books, education, ASU, random acts of kindness, God-following men, letters via snail mail, and the list goes on and on.

Then, I got to really thinking and decided I was missing two important things: heartbreak and failure.  Yes, at first I argued with myself.  “Heartbreak?  Failure?  Those aren’t so pleasant.  Why should I be thankful for them?  I usually try to avoid them.  It makes no sense at all to be thankful for having had a broken heart or having failed.”  Oh, but it does!

You see, we are all naturally inclined to be thankful for the pleasant things, the things we want more of and hope to never be deprived of.  I am among the world’s worst at simply trying to avoid unpleasant or uncomfortable things/situations/people.  Someone breaks my heart?  That’s fine, I’ll just move on and try to pretend it never happened.  You know, avoid those memories like the plague.  That’s totally acceptable, right?   Unfortunately, no.

I believe a part of growing up is accepting that life is not always a series of pleasant, enjoyable moments that come together perfectly as long as you “do things right.”  Things are going to happen.  Despite perfectly executing that “next step” agenda that we are taught to strive for (college, career, marriage, kids, etc.), there will be unpleasant moments.  There will be broken hearts.  There will be failed attempts, plans, ideas, and relationships.  That’s part of the process, and really, it’s one of the best parts if you think about it.

I happen to love the metaphor that places God as an artist and we, as people, are His masterpieces.  Instead of thinking of us as paintings or sculptures, I like to think of each of us as mosaics.  Each tiny piece has been broken off from somewhere, rearranged, fitted into the whole, and is an integral part of the big picture.  Each time your heart has been broken, whether by a friend, a partner, a family member, boss, or even a stranger, those pieces are scooped up, rearranged, put back onto the canvas, and fitted into making the big picture beautiful.  Same thing goes with every failure.  Every failed test, failed relationship, failed plan, failed job, failed idea – it’s all used into making your big picture beautiful.

A song out right now by Casting Crowns that I have grown quite fond of states:

One day I’ll stand before You

And look back on the life I’ve lived

I can’t wait to enjoy the view

And see how all the pieces fit.

On that day, I do believe I will be seeing the most beautiful picture of my life – my life’s very own mosaic masterpiece crafted by God Himself.  Each heart break, each failure – it’s all working together along with all of the joy, the love, the excitement, the adventure, the pleasantness of this life.

So, nestled on my list of things to be thankful for you can find “heartbreak” and “failure” somewhere amongst the others, probably hanging out somewhere between “traveling” and “men wearing ties.”

This Person: Advice to Myself

Don't stand at the horizon and look back -- look forward.

Don’t stand at the horizon and look back — look forward.

There’s comes a time when you realize you aren’t sure what happened to your old habits, old characteristics — and you miss them.  The good ones, anyway.
You miss…YOU.

I used to think everyone was inherently good.  I used to never tell secrets because I grew up realizing that people are never as trustworthy was you want them to be.  I used to want to help people no matter if they were rude to me, nice to me, or seemingly worthless individuals.  I used to guard my heart so well that I could never get broken — but that came with a price.  I used to say what I thought because I had innocent, naïve, loving thoughts.  I used to welcome anyone and everyone as a new friend.  I used to go after whatever I loved, whether I was good at it or not.  I used to chase joy instead of reputation.

When did I become someone who forgot these things?  Someone who lives differently, and loves selectively.
I’ve become vulnerable, but for the wrong reasons and to the wrong people.  I forgot how much I know that trusting someone wholeheartedly is a great risk, reserved only for ones I know are worth the risk.  I became someone who doesn’t always use words kindly.  I have become a person who is no longer all inclusive to others; someone who runs from others as soon as they offend or hurt me.  I’ve become someone who chases a “good reputation” and lives in fear of doing anything that might “look bad,” rather than chasing joy and delighting in my freedom.

My advice to myself?
Love inclusively.
Trust carefully.
Search for the good in someone until you find it.
Forgive always.
Help whenever you see a need.
Use your words kindly.
Never fear.
Chase after joy.
Be bold enough to embrace failure.
Be true to God.
Dream big.  And bigger.
Be free.
Pray harder.
Never give up hope.

The truth is, sometimes I just don’t know what kind of person I’m becoming.  The person my parents are proud of?  The person my friends are entertained by?  The person chasing after success?  The person afraid of truly going after her dreams?  The person who looks good on paper?  Or the person doing all she can to become who she wants to be — not who her world and the people in it are trying to make her into?
For now, I’m going to take my own advice and see what happens.  After all, the one person you know you can trust is yourself.