Naked in the Desert

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I’m sitting on my balcony, crying over a green juice and the faithfulness of God.

Don’t worry, I’m not normally this emotional over some cold-pressed broccoli and kale, but I’ve spent the last 21 days drinking only water and the occasional herbal tea.

Before you think I’m completely crazy, let me explain.

Three weeks ago in San Diego, I made a decision with the Lord. I was going to venture into the wilderness with Him. I wanted to pursue Him whole-heartedly and to build a foundation on which I could grow a deep relationship with Him. I don’t know that everyone needs to go to these measures to build that foundation; but I knew I needed to put aside the things that were distracting me from Him: food, social media, and entertainment.

And thus began the hardest three weeks I can remember.

From the beginning, I was plagued with doubts about whether or not I could even do this. Last time I tried to fast, I made it two days and then peaced out and ate a cheeseburger (side note: that’s super unhealthy… never fast for two days and then jump right in with a cheeseburger!).

My body was cleansing itself from toxins and I was miserable, and then I was bored by the taste of water, and then I began having vivid food dreams, and on and on it went. I was weak and wasn’t hanging out with many people, going to bed early and trying to pray and read my Bible in every moment when I would normally be eating or watching TV or hanging out with people.

But it was rough. Even with the support and prayers of the few people who knew what was going on, I still felt alone and afraid.

I felt naked in the desert.

There’s one morning in particular that I remember feeling this way. I was sure that I couldn’t do this another moment (much less another week!). But as I was crying, something broke and I began to share my heart in prayer. Things that I’ve closed the door on long ago, things that I’d forgotten about, dreams that I’d become disillusioned by. And as I stood there in my desert, open and vulnerable before my Creator, something changed. After that I began to crave time with Him. Prayer wasn’t something I just checked off my list, but I actually woke up wanting to talk to Him. That real relationship I had set out to find was beginning to form.

Don’t be fooled though. There were many days when I was hangry and didn’t feel the presence of God and had to force myself to open my Bible (there were also days that I didn’t open it at all). But there’s something beautiful and powerful in trusting God’s heart and intentions towards you even when your emotions and circumstances tell you differently.

I’m not telling you about this season to show off how spiritual I am or how much self control I have. I know myself well enough to know that I absolutely do not have the self control needed to make it through the last three weeks. But I’m telling you this to remind you that seeking God is a choice. I had to wake up every day and choose God. To choose to rely on His strength and on His grace to get me through that moment, that hour, that day, those weeks.

As my season in the wilderness has come to an end, I’ve had a new set of doubts. What if beginning to eat again undoes everything that I learned in this season? What if I just drift right back into my old habits and comforts?

I laid in bed for two hours this morning, afraid to get up and drink juice.

One of the beautiful things about this season in the wilderness is that it does have an ending. And I’m reminded that God isn’t only allowed to speak in the desert. He doesn’t stop working in my life just because I start eating again. But it is still my choice. I must choose to make Him a priority in my life, even when everything else is clamoring for my attention.

And to be honest, there will always be other things striving for first place. In seasons of plenty it’s easy to just focus on our own pleasure; and in seasons of scarcity it’s tempting to forget God in the midst of our pain.

So, no matter what this next season holds, whether wilderness or garden, let’s choose to turn to our Father. Because there is no taste in the world that can compare to His presence.

Naked in the Desert

Floating on Air

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It’s rare that something leaves me speechless, only able to only communicate in fragments of emotion and memory.

Singing the chorus of LIVING ON A PRAYER with twenty other people sandwiched in a small airplane.

The flip-flop of my stomach as I slid toward the door.

An overload of sensory triggers as I looked out at the expanse of earth at which I was about to throw myself.

I hadn’t allowed my brain to think about it until it was too late and kneeling at the edge of a plane wasn’t the moment to start.

Suddenly, I was in the air and my fear was gone. It was simultaneously the most peaceful and most exhilarating minute of my life. I spread my arms wide, embraced the wind into my lungs and the sun into my eyes, and allowed myself to feel alive.

When I arrived safely on the ground, I finally let my brain go. Whirring and spitting, it tried to understand why I’d willingly thrown myself from a plane.

But I asked it to step back. I didn’t need it to be logical right now, because my heart had decided that embracing life is always worth a little risk.

Floating on Air

10 Non-Resolutions You Should’ve Made This Year (and still can!)

Originally posted on Thought Catalog (http://tcat.tc/1peGTm8)

1. Get off of your phone.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to say it – turn your phone on silent. There is so much science to prove that being more “connected” with the world makes you less connected with yourself and it also makes you more lonely. So turn off the cellular device and utilize whatever skills you have, whether that is going on a hike, writing a poem with actual ink on actual paper, or just drinking a cup of coffee. Do it without the distraction of instagram notifications.

2. Give your soul some space to breathe.

This year, I’ve been learning how to make space for myself. I’ve realized that I need time to figure out how I feel about things and that both time and space are vital to my well being. For me, this has translated into not doing things (whether that is shopping, social media, eating, dating… etc) out of boredom. We all have methods of coping with (read: hiding from) our emotions and it is important to recognize and minimize those habits so that we give our souls space to breathe and process the world around us.

3. Ask for what you want.

I’ve never been good at asking for what I want. I tend to walk through the doors that open for me and either accept it or complain about it until something better comes along. But this year, I realized that it was time to express my needs and desires and actually ask for what I want – whether that was in romantic relationships, friendships, professional opportunities, or just from myself. You may be the person who knows what they want and pursues it relentlessly – and if you are, i admire you – but I think we all could benefit from evaluating what we want and asking for it without hesitation or embarrassment.
4. Say yes or no when YOU want to.

This comes down to setting boundaries. I used to say yes to everyone, all the time. But I began to wonder what life would be like if I were less busy and actually had the balls to say no to people. Maybe I’d be more productive in things I was legitimately excited about, instead of being worried about tons of obligations. I’ve found that saying no to what I need to allows me to say yes to the things that I want to.

5. Go ahead and let people love you.

If I’m being honest with you all, I’d say that I don’t know how to let people love me. Like many of those around me, I tell the truth that fits the perception I want people to have of me. But I don’t let the whole truth. And if someone doesn’t know the whole truth, they aren’t able to love all of me. And that’s a shame, because there are so many facets of my inner world (and yours too!) that people can and should have the opportunity to love. So instead of running away from vulnerability, let’s take the rest of this year to intentionally make connections and let people love us!

6. Learn something new.

I graduated from college almost two years ago and was so excited to never be graded on anything again. But last year, I realize how restless I’d become. I needed to branch out, so I’m learning as many new things as possible. Now, hear me out, I’m not saying we have to STICK TO the things we try or that we have to reach pro status at any of them; but I think it’s important to learn new things, even if it’s just learning ABOUT something. So far this year, I’ve tried learning German, how to freestyle rap, how to cook beets and kale so I’d actually want to eat them, about the political climate of Nicaragua, how to dougie, and all about the Zika virus. I think that being curious makes life much more fulfilling.
7. Enjoy the colorful moments.

Colorful moments are everywhere; whether it is late night cake and tea with a friend, flirting with the cute guy in the waiting room of your therapist’s office, or enjoying the flowers in your neighborhood. It’s super important to take a step back to enjoy the little moments that make your life worth living. Yes, structure and goals and success are important, but what are outlines if you’re not able to color in them?

8. Find adventure.

Adventure has been one of my keywords this year. I’m taking an archery class, skydiving, and taking a trip to Nicaragua this year. But what I’ve found about adventure is that it happens in the small moments. Adventure is born out of bravery and bravery is born out of fear. So look around at the things that you’re afraid of and choose to do them anyway. That is adventure.

9. Speak who you are.

Last year was the time when I realized that I wanted to be a writer, and this year is about me owning up to that realization. Unless you are literally the bravest and most honest person that ever existed, I think we all have that thing that we want to be but are afraid to admit it. I’ve straight up ignored people who’ve asked me what I want to do, but how bad would it be to say that I’m a writer? I think my brain makes it scarier than it actually would be. So let’s all own up to our dreams and speak out who we really are.

10. Be WEIRD.

I’ve been obsessed with being liked and with fitting in for most of my life. I didn’t want to be made fun of, I wanted to have friends, and I didn’t want to be the center of any controversy. But the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that I’m totally weird. But you know what? WE’RE ALL WEIRDOS! So why not let our freak flags fly? Why not be obsessed with musicals or coding or Avatar or whatever we want to be obsessed with? Let’s let ourselves be weird because that’s the way we find the weirdos who are just like us!

10 Non-Resolutions You Should’ve Made This Year (and still can!)

If I Were Able

If I were able, I would put the universe in my pocket

and bring it out when I need to remember

that I am part of something bigger than I know.

If time allowed, I would get lost in the empty space

between my thumbs as I hitchhike from galaxy to galaxy.

If it didn’t slip between my fingers,

I would scoop out the stardust and toss it asunder

so I could dance amidst moonlight and constellations.

If my eyes would let me, I would stare in wonder at the treasures

that swirled around me like my most perfect dreams.

If words existed, I would name the stars

for the way they make my eyes sparkle

and I’d share those names with you every time I saw you.

If you would let me, I would take you with me to every corner

of every universe so you don’t have to feel alone.

If I were able, I would hold the universe within my pocket

to help you see that this moment is just your beginning.

k.k. // If I Were Able

If I Were Able

Never Were

I’m afraid your touch will burn me like a splash of boiling water that I never meant to come in contact with. I always hoped that you would stay safely within the confines of my teacup; so i steeped your love and then avoided it until it was too cold to drink. You were never created for a teacup, but I kept you there because i assumed you wouldn’t like the way my hands held you or the way my lips drank you in. It is not you I am afraid of. What if my shaky hands can’t hold you and you fall and seep into the earth? What if, in the end, i have consumed you and am only left with empty china? I want to keep you safely in my teacup, but you are not content to stay there while your soul drifts up into the morning air like steam. You were never destined for a teacup and I was never strong enough to keep you there.

k.k. // Never Were

Never Were

Guarding Shards of a Broken Heart

Guard you heart above all else, for it is the source of life.

(Proverbs 4:23)

In middle school, my notebooks were littered with hearts. I dotted my i’s with them and every period or colon was another opportunity to perfect my symmetrical symbols for love and connection. My margins were filled with heart-eyed smiley faces, patterned hearts, and hearts with arrows through them.

I was obsessed.

As a young girl, I was told that my heart was the thing that should be protected above everything. It was the box that held all my hopes and dreams and aspirations. It was the source of everything good. But it was also the thing that, if broken, would cause me the most pain.

And it did break. Circumstances broke it. Boys broke it. Friends broke it. I broke it.

Over time, my heart became a fragmented image of what it once was. My i’s were dotted with tears instead of hearts and the hearts that had once been filled with cupid’s arrows were now pierced with rejection and disappointment.

What had gone wrong? Why was this thing that was supposedly the most important part of me the thing that was causing the most pain?

I decided that I must’ve been doing something wrong and swore that I would protect my heart at all costs.

As I set out to be my own hero, I found that the only way to not feel the broken edges was to not touch the shards.

“This is part of growing up.” I said, “I should stop being a silly girl. I should be strong.”

Fast forward to my mid twenties. I’ve lived this way for so long. I put the pieces of my heart in a box and locked it in a room no one was allowed to enter. I would tell people about my heart, but I would never let them near it. I couldn’t. What if they dropped the pieces? What if the edges cut their hands? My silly heart had caused and sustained too much damage, no wonder we were supposed to protect it.

But sometimes, it takes a person who will push past your facade and who is willing to be hurt by the shards to show you that that is not how your heart was meant to live. I wasn’t protecting my heart by disengaging from the pain, I was suffocating it. I was living my life tiptoeing around shards of emotions.

So, if that isn’t how I protect my heart, what is?

I feel a million miles away from the answer to that question. Or at least a million miles from being able to live out the answer to that question.

But maybe protecting your heart looks like not pretending you are okay when you’re feeling like your life is falling apart.

Maybe it looks like unlocking the box that has held the pieces all these years and letting them air out.

Maybe it looks like finding people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and dive into the messy parts of your life.

Maybe it looks like vulnerability and connection.

Maybe it looks like taking those broken pieces out and inviting God to heal them and protect them for you.

Maybe protecting your heart looks like relinquishing control.

I don’t know for sure. But I do know that I’m tired of being afraid of my heart, of what it might do and what other people might do to it.

I’m ready to value my heart enough to not lock it away in a box.

I’m ready to stop guarding the shards of a broken heart.

 

Guarding Shards of a Broken Heart