this one’s for my momma.
i’ve learned to process my thoughts through writing and these are just a few thoughts i’m willing to share that i’ve had the last 4 months.
20…the transition from teenage years to official adulthood. the same age Britney Spears was when she dated Justin Timberlake. having to decide if that pop tart really is breakfast material. knowing that almost every decision you make could impact your entire future. and like Taylor Swift said, “happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way.”
as if growing up wasn’t hard enough, being a 20 year old Christian in college is nothing less than challenging. standards are held extremely high, glory is fallen short of day in and day out and lessons are learned-often times the hard way. but, i wouldn’t trade a single moment of weakness, confusion or loneliness for the happiest feelings in the world if it meant losing my reliance on my heavenly Father. because as a believer, i know and trust that my faith will be tested for the sole purpose of furthering my strength in Him and reminding me that i can not do anything without His intentional grace and persistent love.
lets start with the things my sweet Jesus has taught me these last few months:
my value is not directly parallel to someone’s lack of ability to love me for who i am-flaws and all.
something i’ve been taught my whole life, yet never fully understood until just a few days ago, actually. no matter what i do…how much i workout…the number of meals i skip…how much of myself i so easily give to the people who don’t come anywhere near to deserving it…i will never ever ever be enough to the human eye. so why, then, do i strive for the world’s standard of perfection and continue to seek approval from people who were specifically made in the image of God, not made to BE God…who were not made with the physical ability to love me wholly and unconditionally or without flaw…from anyone who isn’t Jesus…who we know from scripture loves us more than words can say…why, Kenz? i needed to realize that not everyone will love me like i love them because we all fall short. i’m still figuring this one out, but in the meantime, i am learning to lay everything at the foot of the cross and refuse to pick it up again.
thinking i am not “pretty” enough or “smart” enough or “skinny” enough is a selfish lie straight from the pit of hell and it should stay there.
the only way i found freedom from believing these and countless other lies was finding the root of them. i had to dig and dig until i could pull them out of the ground and toss those little boogers into the trash. so i don’t have perfect skin or brand name clothes, i struggle in school, my thighs kiss…but these things don’t define me, my faith in Jesus Christ does. comparison-coveting-jealousy-insecurity-the amount of time i spend thinking of myself negatively is unhealthy and honestly just plain selfish. i shouldn’t be so self-consumed, but Jesus and others consumed…Jesus consumed until my cup overflows and my life radiates His Holy Spirit…others consumed; loving them until it hurts. the world wants me to think that i put too much effort into others and not enough into myself. thus, i have struggled to find a “happy medium” if you will. sometimes being everything to everyone can be exhausting and overwhelming. but the times i find myself more empty than i started are the times i’m not abiding in the Lord and going to Him with the things of this world. sometimes i take “treat yoself” to the maximum extreme and tend to lose sight of my calling to also love others and make them question why i’m always so willing and always so loving and always so encouraging. so, in order to find a healthy balance i needed to evaluate each circumstance for what they were. and i realized that no act of kindness is wasted. no matter how many times someone hurts me, we are called to love them without considering if they are worth it or not. everyone deserves the same love, regardless of faults and flaws. i mean, heck, Jesus loved the very people who committed His death on the cross by praying for them as they beat Him, cursed His name and spit at Him. when was the last time i prayed for the girls who leave me out or gossip about me? how about the boy who broke my heart, you don’t see me taking time out of my day to pray for him, do you? but more importantly, what about the lost? the ones who do not even know that Jesus existed to be the love they so desperately need? convicting, huh. i know…why should i say a prayer for the people who don’t give two poops about me? well, why would Jesus, a perfect man that you have never even seen before, die for you before you even knew about Him in hopes that you would receive His love and spend eternal life with Him? talk about heartbreaking. heartbreaking that i would try to limit the creator of heaven and earth and doubt the love He has for me by not showing His love to others! goodness. this was a lot for me to take in and i’m still in awe of how He loves us so much.
it is okay to admit that i suffer from anxiety and depression.
sometimes, the happiest, most joyful and encouraging people on the outside are fighting their battles alone. i’m not even sure when i first became depressed but i know that throughout the years it has progressively worsened. some days depression is so real i have to talk myself out of bed. some days anxiety takes over my whole body, taking my appetite with it. i’ve learned that admitting that i am depressed or anxious really is the first step to a long healing process. i have stressed myself into poor health and it has become evident that i have neglected to bring all my worries and troubles to the Lord, because when i do this i no longer feel weighed down by anxiety. God wants to help me, He designed me to rely on Him in times of desperate need and when i fail to allow Him in my life, it takes a major toll on my physical and emotional health. the only reason i am sharing this is because i no longer believe that i am the only one who deals with these and many other illnesses…i know that some people just need to hear it for the 15th million time that if they believe they are suffering from any emotional instability to get help. the first step, after admitting i was depressed, was prayer. find prayer warriors. tell your mom. tell a mentor or friend. tell someone. your life is too precious and valuable to let it be enslaved to something so dangerous. through this process of freedom from depression and anxiety, i am learning that i show signs of being both introverted and extroverted. however, i tend to be more introverted, especially when processing thoughts and dealing with circumstances. God made me this way and i’m learning to love it through his infinite and abounding grace. depression does not define me…anxiety is not where i find my identity; Christ is. i think this is why i find myself constantly wanting to be there for others…because i know that for the longest time i needed to just talk about what was causing my depression. if you know someone who shows signs of any emotional or mental illness, let them know that you are there for them for the hundredth time. be an encourager. be a light. you never know who is fighting inner battles.
“everyone is getting married or pregnant or promoted and i’m getting coffee…and it’s not even for me!”
brownie points if you know where the quote is from. but seriously, y’all. my very best friend since we were 4 years old is getting married in a month and it still doesn’t seem real. my cousin (who is, in case you were wondering, my age) is getting married in 3 months and possibly moving overseas at some point. i have friends graduating college and being offered jobs with political figures and internships that pay more than full time employment. and it seems like i’m just a bump on a log, doing nothing and being nothing. but, the Lord has graciously confirmed so many times that He has me in a different season of life than some of my friends, and that is okay. His plans for my life will look nothing like my best friend getting married soon. my future will not be the same as my friends getting high end, real-life, big kid jobs, and that is okay. i’m here for one purpose and that is to love God and love people. and through loving people, hopefully i will begin to understand my life and it’s reasoning.
i joined my freshman year, but never got the full experience until this semester. when i became a member i was 18 and not very interested in investing my time into activities besides date parties and mixers. i was in it for the social part. but after being inactive from it for two semesters due to health issues, i have learned to appreciate it with such a different perspective. we exist to glorify God in all we say and do, and we strive to show other’s His love through philanthropy events, dances, mixers and service projects. i have been plugged into the most loving, open and honest prayer group and i am trusting the Lord to allow me to become vulnerable with these ladies on a deeper level in order to help me pursue Christ and to help me grow spiritually. if anything, i have understood and valued this organization with fresh eyes and an eager heart.
and here is a list of things i find myself missing regularly:
- dad’s homemade saturday morning breakfast with my family.
- taking communion and praying with my family.
- the mission trip to Nicaragua my junior year of high school.
- varsity mixed choral. student council. drill team.
- Carrie Golike.
- being a nanny and taking kids on adventures and experiencing life with them.
- country back roads and summer nights.
- listening to my dad warm up for worship practice on the way to church.
- Morgan-yes i miss you too.
- when i was a pre-teen listening to love songs wishing i had boy problems so i could relate…now i just have boy problems and wish i could get rid of them
while i wish my walk was more consistent and i relied more on the Lord for strength every day, i am proud of who i am and how far i have come. i am excited to see how much more i will grow this year and the many years to come. here’s to learning and growing as we go, and here’s to Jesus’ willingness to so freely allow me to try again every single day.