Saturday, May 7, 2016

In Awe

It's a quite Saturday morning. I have a laundry list of things to do (including laundry) but, instead of beginning the rush of trying to get everything done, this morning I'm sitting still. As I sip on my coffee curled up on the couch, I'm listening to the Best of Worship Spotify playlist. The music always moves me and warms my soul but, as I gaze out my window at the rich green trees drenched in vibrant sunlight, there is a stillness that fills me with humility and grace.

"At The Cross" by Chris Tomlin is faintly playing and my heart physically hurts. It's not a weary-hurt, rather my heart is heavy with love and joy, peace and serenity.

At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I'm in awe of You
I'm in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
and my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus

The truth in the words of the chorus shake me to my core every time I hear them. Something is different this morning though—this morning I feel free. The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions both in my professional and personal life. My days have been filled with the highest highs and the lower lows, with several days of just simple normality. It's a lot to process and make sense of. I feel as though I've been walking through fog with little bursts of clarity. I'm exhausted.

I think we can all agree that this life we walk through has a tendency to beat us down and wear on us, often without us even realizing it. This quiet morning reflecting on the Lord's grace, patience and plan is a reminder to turn to Him in the good, the bad and the in-between. 

I read Rediscover Jesus earlier this year and one chapter has really stuck with me. It posed the questions:
Why is it so hard to fully surrender your life to Christ?
What are you afraid of? 
Do you really think you will loose a part of yourself if you surrender to Christ?
Why is the unknown, the "free fall" so scary?

Then Chris Tomlin's words flash into my mind, "At the cross, I surrender my life," and the tension that I was unconsciously holding releases. Every day is a fight against the oppressor yet, when I allow myself to fully submit to the Lord, life doesn't seem so weary and hopeless. When Christ's love ran red, my sins were washed white. By pure grace and sacrifice, I have the ability to live life with love and joy, peace and serenity. I am in awe, pure awe of You. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Writing used to come so easily to me. It started as just a thought and, instead of letting it slip my mind and end as just a thought, I'd explore. Dig in and look at it from every angle. My ability and desire to write a post slowly started to dwindle the more time I spent in the corporate world. Knowing that my boss or peers could jump on my blog at any time made me think twice about posting. Perhaps it was just the atmosphere of my first job or perhaps it goes deeper into outgrowing my college-self, but I didn't want everyone to know what I was thinking.

I started going to a bible study. I'm better understanding His word.
I didn't like my first job out of college. I learned a lot though.
I searched for a job for five months. It was disheartening and felt endless.
I gave up Facebook for Lent. I didn't miss it.
I started a new job. I got to tell friends face-to-face, not via social media about it.
I moved into my own apartment. I felt free.
That job I started. I love it.
God is good. He's working in my life every day.

So much has changed. I started this blog my freshmen year of college as an escape, as a way to let off steam. It helped. It got me in trouble once or twice, but overall I was able to write what was on my mind and move on. This blog has chronicled summer internships, trips overseas, losses and visions for the future. I've loved it; seeing my crazy thoughts and dreams come to life. I'm thankful for that late night during freshmen year when I didn't want to study for a test, so I decided to write about my detest for the class. My procrastination for school turned into an amazing outlet for me.

Although I don't think anyone really keeps up or reads my blog,--and I'm ok with that--I felt a certain obligation to "close it out" or "wrap it up". I've taken to journaling and keeping my thoughts for myself. My writing is still powerful and a worthwhile outlet for me, but now it's just mine. I don't have to tweet about it or post a link. It's just for my benefit; it's personal. Privacy and anonymity is powerful; I think our society has forgotten that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's my birthday & I'll cry if I want to

Today was my 23rd birthday. Old and current friends reached out on social media and via text to wish me a happy birthday. I got my free birthday Starbucks latte. I went to dinner with friends. My parents had cupcakes when I got home. I am healthy. I have a job. I have a loving family. I have a car that runs. I have access to nutritious food. I have a warm home and roof over my head. Summed up: I am extremely blessed. There is nothing missing from my life that I truly need for survival. From the outside looking in, my life is happy, neat and seemly effortless.

What I have come to realize is that, while my life is very blessed and I thank the Lord every day for all He has given me, I am making myself unhappy. I don't want to say that I am a people pleaser--I have worked very hard over the past four years to take into consideration the expectations of others while first and foremost staying true to myself--but I am overly agreeable. I don't want anyone to go out of their way on my account. Today, however, on my birthday, I expected... more. Perhaps this was too high of an expectation, but I imagined the day feeling different, special, mine.

What I have come to realize over the past few days is that I will go out of my way to make a friend or family member's birthday special. I will build it up for them, tell their peers, bake them their favorite dessert and wrap a gift. (Ok, I really like birthdays.) I think that I build up my own birthday as well, except I don't tell my peers or try to make people feel guilty if they forgot. There is no Megan running around on my birthday to make me feel special. It stinks and makes me a cross between mad and sad.

Once that mad/sad emotion settles in, I get even more upset for being mad. I feel guilty and self-centered. I try not to want to be the center of attention. Normally, I don't want to be the center of attention. Just one day a year though, I want to be the person that people seek out, the person that people go out of their way for to celebrate.

I feel convicted for even writing this, but I needed to get it out. Crying a few times and fighting back tears on your birthday, isn't the best way to celebrate what a wonderful year I had had, all that I had accomplished and all that I had experienced. I am inconceivably blessed. Beyond words, I am blessed. My parents, brother and sister-in-law, friends and extended family are such a strong support system. I'm not sure if my expectations are just too high or if the stress of other circumstances in my life are making me crack. I have learned to go with the flow and not let petty things bother me, but I also need to learn when and how to voice my anguish. I brush things off and tell people "not to worry," yet I am breaking inside. The heaviness from my hurt drowns me. Even as a swimmer in high school, I am terrified of drowning. Now the challenge is to learn how to swim in this and not let my unvoiced expectations rule situations. Here's to learning something new in the next year!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What wonders time can bring forth

I think the easiest and most direct thing to call it is anger. For so many years, as long as I can remember, I was angry. It took on different forms--frustration, annoyance, impatient--but it still seemed to underlie the majority of my emotions.

Even when I was happy, I was jealous; when I was joyous, I was disheartened; when I was seemingly at peace, I was uneasy. 

I searched for years for things that would fill me up, to make me happy and joyous and at peace. I would make a new friend, get a good grade, learn something new and, for awhile, I felt fulfilled. It was a fleeting sensation and never lasted. So I dedicated myself to more organizations, interviewed for bigger and better committee boards and internships and befriended more people. It was all consuming and I was good at it. I'd get every position on every board I applied to. I was turning down offers. I was in demand. Yet, I spent more time trying to find things to help me feel happy than I spent actually celebrating life. 

I'm not sure when it happened, when it finally clicked. Perhaps two years ago, maybe more recently, but I finally realized that I was running. I was running from myself, from taking a moment to pause and look internally at who I was, who I was becoming and who I wanted to be. This realization was honestly more terrifying than actually sitting down to figure myself out. I was living blindly. I had nowhere else to run, no other pages to turn. 

I tried to sit down, but couldn't turn off my mind. It was constantly running, looking for the next thing to add and consequently mark off my various to-do lists. Again, I don't know if I can pin down the time or place when I was finally able to just stop, but it just happened. I started saying no to things that I wasn't passionate about. I started doing things "just because." I stopped getting and posting on Facebook so much. I picked up my phone and dialed a friend's number instead of just texting. I started investing my time in the things that matter to me, instead of the things that will set me apart on my resume.

Much of this change started with my new bible study, although that is a topic for another time. The thing is, I realized that this time, right now, matters. I don't get it back. I hated myself for being single, but realized that I won't be on my own and able to do my own thing forever. I hated myself for working freelance (although not for lack of trying to find a full-time position), but realized that this experience has taught me what I don't want in a job and where my professional strengths and passions lie.

All of it. Every smile, encounter, moment, every day is shaping me. When all is said and done, I want to recognize the shape I am molded into. I want to like what I see. So while I also hit the gym so I like what I see in the mirror, I have to hit the books (aka The Bible) and spend some time alone with Him. Time. He has a plan. Patience and faith in His timing has become my constant prayer and it's a good one. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Technology stealing our story

I watched a TED talk recently that spoke about technology and how it is changing the way we as individuals and as a society communicate. It made extremely valid points: technology is making silence uncomfortable, we'd rather look at our phone than look someone in the eye, we run from conversations and turn instead to texting and messaging. In summary, technology, and social media for that matter, has made conversing with people awkward, strained and all but impossible.

The talk was given in 2011.

The future that the speaker painted is our reality now. I'm currently headed to California for a conference. I squished between two people and yet, I am on my computer and have my headphones in to listen to--and half pay attention to--the movie playing on the flight. I'm guilty of it too. The constant battle.

Since I graduated college and have begun working, I've realized how technologically lazy I have become. In one regard, I have given up texting. I commute an hour to work, so I have begun calling friends and cousins on my ride. By the time I get home, I don't want to touch my phone. I just want to make dinner, watch the news and go to bed by 9pm. On the other hand, I constantly use technology, searching the web on my phone, looking up a number, on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. I am fascinated by technology and plan on working in the communications field, with technology communications specifically, for a long time.

I pride myself on being able to talk to anyone, so the idea of falling victim to this trend of technology scares me. I'm fighting it. It is easier to get lost in the apps on my phone than strike up a conversation with a stranger, but what kind of boring society is that? It's a society that I am not willing to be a part of. We must do the uncomfortable to be gracious. We must look up from our devices to see the beauty in others' eyes. We must start talking to be able to share our story and learn new ones.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was my year

2014 was always the year that I looked forward to. It was the year I would graduate college--whether it took me four years or four and a half years it would still be 2014. It would be the year that my "real life" finally started: my own fancy apartment, a fab job, maybe a dog (doubtful, but part of the dream). It was going to be a great year. As I write this on December 31, 2014 and reflect on the year only a few of the things in my 2014 dream happened, but it was the year of me and I wouldn't have changed one part of it.

I did graduate college, I graduated cum laude from my dream school in four years. I traveled to Italy, a dream that I had had for years. To make it even better, I traveled around the most beautiful cities for two weeks with one of my (now) very best friends. I haven't landed the dream job yet, but I've been fortunate to intern with an international PR agency for the past five months and have gained so much knowledge and experience. I have yet to even go apartment hunting, since I don't have the fab job to pay for a fancy apartment.

These were great accomplishments and, what I thought, life-halting set backs. Looking back on the year though, I've defined it as the year of me. Loosing my grandmother at the end of 2013 was hard. I faltered in my relationship with The Lord for the first half of this year. I lost sight of who I was and what I wanted. When I realized this and took a step back, I began to really focus on who I was and I what I wanted in life. I tried new things, spent time alone, went out of my way to satisfy my curiosity. I learned about life and about myself. Going into 2015, I am confident in who I am and aspire to be. I am closer with God today than I ever have been. I have accepted the cards I have been dealt and take comfort in knowing that The Lord has my roadmap in hand.

2014 was my year and I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Titus Taught Me

It has been quite awhile since I have written, but I'll do all of the catching up later. Right now, I want to talk about Titus. This book in the bible is a short, but powerful letter from Paul to one of his most trusted friends, Titus. In the letter, Paul is giving Titus the responsibility of whipping the "Christians" in Crete into shape and explains to Titus--and in turn you and I--how to handle difficult situations.

Paul leaves no room for interpretation. He calls the Cretans out as "liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons" (1:12) Paul goes on to say that "they must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they out not to teach--and that for the sake of dishonest gain" (1:11). Right there: dishonest gain. Paul is calling to our attention that doing and saying things for the betterment of yourself and not others or deceiving others, isn't right. He tells Titus to silence them so they cannot spread that wickedness.

Ok, so they're faulty Christians, but is what they are actually doing really that bad? Paul explains, "they claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him" (1:16). What's the saying? Actions speak louder than words? That's the one. I have never been one to throw bible verses around in day-to-day conversation. Although I believe in God's word, I have found that when people begin quoting scripture in a regular conversation, I get very defensive. I believe what they are quoting, yet it really bothers me. I've come to accept that I'm not a quoter, I'm a doer. I act out (or try to) God's love and mercy through my actions. So, I love that Paul makes a specific note that people's actions display The Word of the Lord. We can't just talk the talk, we have to walk the walk as well.

Once Paul points out the bad, he translates into the good and how we, as Christians, should act. Perhaps my favorite verse in all of Titus is 1:8: "Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined." Hello! It's like a professor just gave you the answers to your final exam! Paul is spelling out for us how to be good people and show God's love and mercy. So, let's break it down...

Be hospitable - Mi casa es su casa.  I don't know about you, but sometimes I don't want to share. Be it food, an article of clothing or a favorite reading chair, many times I find myself getting upset because I want it all to myself. Be nice. It's just stuff and we should be happy that someone else finds joy in the things we find joy in.

Be one who loves what is good - Gossip, ignorance, bullying (emotionally or physically). The list could go on, but it's all bad and it tears other people down. If it's so bad, why is it so darn easy to do? Doing what is right and good is hard, but God, through Paul's letter to Titus, is calling us to turn the other cheek, to be inclusive and to give to others.

Be self-controlled - Think before you act. Think before you speak. Be yourself and have a personality, but be respectful of yourself and your talents. On the opposite side, don't get worked up easily or snap at someone. Again, think.

Be upright, holy - So this trait on the list really bothered me at first. I really struggled with the idea that someone who loves God is put on a pedestal; they are better than the people around them. I read it again and again and I finally came to the conclusion that for me upright refers to being confident and holy means to respect my values and not be ashamed of them. Once I finally got to this interpretation, I loved that Paul was calling me to action, to stand up straight and fight for what I believe.

Be disciplined - Ok, so this is hard. I don't know about you, but I was notorious for scheduling an hour or two of studying each night in college, but instead going to the gym or watching Netflix. How about sitting down to read your bible? What about something as simple as calling our parents or a friend each week/month? It's hard to carve out time for these things. But Paul is giving us the challenge to sit down and really work on our mind and body so that we can be in tune with the Lord. It's hard, no doubt, but God is always there to help us along!

This is already much longer than I thought, but I want to encourage you to read Titus in the New Testament. It is super duper short--it took me about 10 minutes to read and I am a crazy slow reader. Once you've read it, walk away and then come back and read it again in a day or two. See if anything new pops out. It's a beautiful part of the bible that I am enjoying digging into. All of these interpretations are my own, but the best part about the bible is that each verse means something different to each of us. God gave the bible to each of us individually and I am learning just how powerful the bible is for me. Love and prayers for all that is good!