Living intentionally.

As much as I want to, I can’t make life perfect. I can’t.

mandykatephotography

Every time there’s tension in a room between people? My first impulse is to make (dumb) jokes until both parties can’t help but laugh and make up and forget all about the reasons that they were angry in the first place. I know, I know… my INFJ is showing.

Every time a friends heart is broken? I’d love to give whoever shattered it a piece of my mind as well as my fist. But then that person would be upset and even though I would still be angry at them, I would want to fix that upset person, too.

Every time I hear about someone I love struggling with anxiety, depression or an eating disorder? I would love to give you a big hug, a reassuring word and a listening ear and hope that it all magically disappears.

Someone I love gets cancer or has a parent with cancer? Well, rest assured that I am a mess trying to imagine life from your viewpoint and how I can possibly make it better for you.

The thing is, more than anything, I want the world to be a perfect place. I want conflict to disappear. I want the people I love to be happy. I want cancer and other hellish diseases to be wiped off the face of the earth along with all of the pain that they cause.

I want to make everything better, for everyone, always.

But, I can’t.

I can’t control disease. I can’t control the actions of the people around me. I can’t escape the consequences of my own sinful actions. I can’t control the emotions of people in a room. I can’t.

In the words of Hannah Brencher, “I can’t be all the things.”

This is the vast majority of my problems lie. In my most rational thoughts, I know that it’s an impossibility. I know that. But you try convincing my emotions of that.

But. I can make a difference. I can make a dent. The little things matter.

So often, I find myself caught up in the overwhelming desire to fix everything that I forget that I can fight to mend some things. I forget that every word I say, every little gift, every second of my time… all of those things, small as they may seem, are actually the big things. Every minute that I am given is a gift. I can choose to gift my corner of the world with it or I can squander it away thinking about the things that I can’t control.

It’s all about being intentional.

And that, friends, is my goal for the new year: to live intentionally.

My theme for 2015? Intentional living.

Thoughts on this “Grown Up Life” Thing.

1. Making friends with zero pre-existing in the area is hard.
2. 7:00am is sleeping in. And it’s wonderful.
3. Dry shampoo, pepper spray? Same thing, right?
4. When does laundry fit in to this whole work + coaching + eating + sleeping thing?
5. Tires are shockingly expensive. Ouch.
6. “Any big plans for tonight?” “Netflix.” always the correct answer
7. Why are things like “Gotta go, my kitchen table is being delivered” coming out of my mouth?
8. One day, I get mistaken for a high schooler at work. The next, I don’t get carded when I’m buying drinks. I’m confused – do I look old or young for my age?!
9. “My kid [insert story here] this weekend” “Wow, cool. Netflix and I had some pretty great dates this weekend” – conversations with everyone at work
10. “You’re making me feel very old” – how do you respond to this?! Thanks? Sorry?
11. Accomplishment of the week: I only ate take-out 5 times in the last week! 50% improvement from last week.
12. “Wow. Kids these days” has escaped my mouth numerous times. Oops.

I’m moving home.

Life has been, well, something these last few months.

 

I phased out of the temporary job I had held during my weeks of unemployment.
I interviewed for a tech position, and ended up with a offer to be a school librarian.
Which, I gratefully took, fully intending on staying until at least the end of next year.
But, instead, my battle with anxiety and panic attacks caused me to rethink.
So, in two weeks, I’ll be staring up at the ceiling of my childhood room.

 

I haven’t lived there for 4 years, so to say I have a lot of mixed feelings is a vast understatement. I love my parents. The emotions I’m feeling is nothing against them – I am so grateful that they are willing to let me come home for this season. I’m worried because I’ve grown up and changed in the last four years. Will moving back force me back into childhood? To face up to feelings that I thought I’d left behind for good? My friends aren’t the same, which is just the bittersweet truth. In leaving Winona Lake, I’m leaving friends that have become family, a college town that is home to me and a small group community whom I love doing life with. I’m returning to a place where I’m going to have to figure out how to make friends and find community all over again.

 

But, what I have to gain by moving home outweighs what I am leaving behind. I never would have uttered those words before now, but I am in a place where I am in desperate need of rest, rejuvenation and new job options.

Psalm 71:14

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This verse. In the middle of tragedy, hurt, confusion… David pens this. This rough spot in his life… it spurs him to praise You more and more.

I pray that this is me. In the middle of watching people I love fall apart, in the middle of fearing the worst, in the middle of uncertainty about jobs, careers, life… I will praise You. More and more.

It all makes my soul run to You.

You ARE good. This WILL work together for good. I refuse to stop trusting in You. In the hope that I have come to know.

I love you, Jesus. May you be exalted in my life, even right now.

Coffee Shop Stuff.

Title thanks to this gem of a video that I still quote on a regular basis.

10 reasons I’m convinced that coffee shops are the place to be.

coffee

1. No judgement for the amount of coffee you consume in the 4 hours you are there.

2. You’re not in your house and you’re not at your desk, but you’re still in a productive environment if you want it to be.

3. Coffee. Coffee everywhere. Coffee all the time.

4. It forces you to slow down, relax, and enjoy the company of others. Even if it’s just listening to the table next to you talk about the book they’re reading.

5. Mocha. Espresso. Latte. Coffee for all.

6. The heartbeat of life – relationships – beats here. People get together to share a drink, chat and talk about life. Coffee cultivates relationships.

7. People-watching, ya’ll.

8. Acceptable ambient noise-level for anything – homework, reading, talking, internet surfing.

9. Introverts can get much needed “alone” time to recharge, but still be in a “social” setting. Extroverts can be in a much needed “social” setting, but still have the ability to get work done.

10. Coffee.

A Thought or Two

A couple thoughts that echo my heart today:

“The problem is, it’s not about waiting at all. You don’t meet the man of your dreams while waiting for take off at your launch site; you meet him when you’re BOTH in orbit chasing the adventure of faith and purpose that is your inheritance, for the face of God Himself.

We are not witness to a generation of women created to wait for anything or anyone. Women of God are created to stand and fight the good fight for the kingdom of Heaven just as men are. They are as strong as Esther, as faithful and courageous as Mary and as worthy of devoted pursuit as Rachel. 

Somewhere along the way the message was relayed that in order to be completed for service in the kingdom and adventure on this side of Heaven, you need a man.

This, is complete and unadulterated crap.”

via Julian Williams

 

“What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.

If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.

If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute. It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

It shows that while marriage is good, He is the greater goal.”

via Grace for the Road

Soul Friends

I don’t know how to express my heart other than for you to just read parts of my journal entry from tonight…

Jesus,

Thank you for the way that you’ve bonded us together in You. My Guat team never fails to push me back towards You and to strive to live for You and like You. It’s not even our conversation, it’s merely their presence that pushes me towards you.

I’ve never felt so completely at home with so many different people before. My heart is so full when they’re in my life. Tonight, I talked to a few, and I literally feel like I could move mountains. They encourage me to seek after You and Your heart without saying a word.

I think it’s because I know their hearts. And they know mine. Knowing and being known at a level far beyond the surface is something we all want, isn’t it?

I’m just so thankful for them, my words cannot even suffice to express.

Who knew that a team of 19 strangers could change my life and fill my heart, even four months after we’ve all been together? My heart and my spirit just come alive when I speak to them.

Thank you for not only knowing me deeply, but giving me people in my life who reflect that to me on a human level. You give the BEST gifts.

Love,
Mandy

Paul said it best:
“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.” – Philippians 1:3-4