A nose ring, tattoo and some boots.

A nose ring, a tattoo and boots. These three things may seem like they have no relation to one another, but they mean a lot to me. It may seem silly and some people may read this and think it's weird such random things could matter so much, but they do. I have reached a new place in my life, after a lot of hard work and counseling (you can read more about that here), where I truly am okay with who I am. I can say I am who I am and I know that I am enough, there's nothing I can say or do or any level of perfection I can achieve that will make me more valuable. Through this process, I've realized how often in my life I've made decisions based on what other people said, their opinions or how I thought they would react to something. I am such a people pleaser, that I would let others thoughts dictate my choices. (I like to think I'm a recovering people's still a process!) So I was thinking back to moments in my life where I've felt like I haven't done that and three symbols jumped out at me. My nose ring, my tattoo and some boots.


When I got my nose pierced, it was, honestly, the first time I can remember making a decision to do something that I purely just wanted to do, knowing that other people didn't approve or thought it was dumb or may look at it and think it looks bad. I didn't care, it was something I had wanted for awhile, so I did it. The same with my tattoo. It was something I had thought about, that meant a lot to me and that I really wanted regardless of what others views on it would be. Now the boots, weird right? I feel silly even exposing this to the world, but when I saw these boots in the store, I loved them and I had really been wanting a pair like them, but I almost didn't buy them. I felt like they didn't "fit" who I was, that I would be deviating from who I was wearing this pair of shoes that didn't seem to "reflect" me. I know, dumb.


In all these instances, it was all about what other people thought and how I would be perceived, or rather, how I thought other people would perceive me. I'm annoyed that it's taken me this long to figure this all out. Why did I spend so much of my life and so much of my time worried about what other people thought? Why did I spend so much of my time letting my choices be dictated by others opinions, like a puppet on a string sometimes. I was scared to go with what I wanted because of how I would be perceived, that I wouldn't be good enough or liked enough anymore, that I wouldn't fit into a mold that I thought people put me in. It's so messed up and I have experienced so much freedom from realizing that I don't have to worry about what others are thinking. I know who I am, that I really shouldn't think so highly of myself that everyone even notices what kind of shoes I'm wearing and that it's so okay to make decisions for my life...because it's my life.

As silly as it may be, I'm thankful for my little nose ring, my tattoo and these boots. They're all reminders to stay true to who I am, that my goal in life is to not keep everyone around me happy and to fit into a box that I or others have put me in, but to know I am who I am and that is enough.

When "Let it Go" Became a Holy Moment.

I know there's been a lot of buzz around the movie, Frozen, and the song, Let it Go, and while I really liked the movie and the song, I haven't been quite as obsessed as other people have been. I know most parents are ready to burn the DVD because they've watched it so much and their kids won't stop singing and I can't hear someone say "let it go" without the song popping in my head, but I haven't thought too much about it. About seven months ago I started counseling. (I know, kinda a random jump, I promise I'll get back to Let It Go, I didn't just want it to be stuck in your head for the remainder of your time reading this :-) ) For whatever reason, there is a stigma around counseling that I think is so completely wrong. Where some people think that going to counseling means you're broken, something's wrong with you and you're crazy, I think it means you're brave, you realize your mental health is just as important as physical health to be a whole person, and sometimes we need a safe place to let it all out. (and sidenote...we are all broken, we all have something wrong with us and everyone's a little crazy, but I digress...) I'm not shy about sharing with people that I'm in counseling and how much I love it. (although, I never really thought I would post about it here) I've gone to counseling off and on since college and it has always been the best decision I could make.

Counseling this time around has been a little different. Other times I've done counseling, it's been for a specific reason or situation of life I'm dealing with, and this time it was just because, well, of life. There was just so much transition, so many things happening and I had so many feelings and I just felt like I needed to let it all out there to someone who had to listen and not judge. Best decision I've made in a long time.

This journey I've been on through counseling has helped me arrive to the truth that it's okay to be who I am. It's helped me realize the deep issues and struggles I've had that made me think I was never going to be enough. It helped me identify the natural tendencies I have that lend towards counting myself as less and shifting to be the person who everyone needs and likes rather than staying true to who I am.

To go into everything that's come from counseling would be pages and pages of writing, but I will say the last seven months have consisted of some of the hardest, but most rewarding work I have ever done. I am not the same person I was seven months ago. I have discovered who I am and that I don't have to apologize for that. I have truly realized that I am good enough, just because I am me. I have come to face my issues and work through them and realize it's okay to feel things besides happy and "good" feelings. I know that my life is my life, no one else's and I can walk through each day with the knowledge that I am staying true to who I am. I have felt empowered, I have experienced freedom and I know what it means to be whole.

Part of my counseling is something called EMDR therapy (it's too long to explain what that means here), but it has been incredible what it has done for me. So at one point today, my counselor asked me what I noticed during EMDR and the lyric from Let it Go (you thought I forgot about that by now, didn't you?) came to my head when she sings, "Here I stand" and then the rest of the song flooded my head.

We decided to play the song at the end of my session, so as I sat there with my eyes closed listening to Let It Go, I felt like I was experiencing a holy moment (after I stopped myself from almost laughing out loud because it seemed a little ridiculous), with the help of a Disney song. It was a moment where I fully realized where I had been, where I was, and where I was going and all I had processed and journeyed through the last seven months. "Here I stand, Here I'll stay"...this is who I am, this is where I'll stand, knowing who I am, whose I am and letting go of this "perfect" person I think I should be so that everyone else is happy. While this song played, in that little moment in a small therapy room, I felt like Jesus was there. I felt like I could feel and know my worth and value, that I know the confidence I can have in who I am because I am one who is dearly loved, that I can keep living life unafraid and let go of anything that has made me feel less than enough or that I'm not able to be who I really am. It was a moment of freedom and holiness. Who knew a Disney song could usher in such a moment!

Just in case you don't know the song I'm talking about, find it here! Also, a sidenote, but if you're reading this and you actually made it to the end, you should consider looking into counseling! I think it's something everyone should do in their life and it's so beneficial for so many reasons, even if you don't think something is "wrong", but that's just my two cents, and not that I'm telling you what to do or anything like that... ;)

One word for 2014.

Last year I started picking a word for the year. This is different than a resolution because it's not made to be "kept" but rather to encompass all I want the year to be about. For 2013 my word was confidence. It was kinda crazy how 2013 really did end up being the year of confidence for me. I never thought choosing that word in January would be followed by so many opportunities to grow in who I am as a person. Just thinking over the year of all that's happened, how I started grad school, transitioned in my job and bought a house (just to name a few), and how I handled those all is a testament to why God placed that word on my heart. I could write pages and pages of how I've grown in my confidence in Christ and in myself this year. I've been thinking about my word for 2014 and a word keeps coming to mind that I can't shake no matter how badly I want to. I'm a little nervous committing to it because if 2013 was any indication of what could happen, I'm not sure what's in store. It may seem silly or dramatic, but prayerfully considering a word to make 2014 about has become a big deal for me. Words mean a lot to me so picking one that I can continually go back to and choose so I intentionally approach my year in a way that is beneficial to myself and my growth is important.

So...I've decided my word for 2014 is Unafraid. I wrote this a few months ago about being unafraid, not fully realizing what I was saying but knowing I had to move forward in a way that I am free from fear and anxiety. I have gained confidence in Christ, in myself and in others this past year and I think I now need to live into that confidence and keep on this journey unafraid...

Unafraid to fully live.

Unafraid to speak up when I know I should say something and stay silent when it's wiser to say nothing.

Unafraid to ask the hard questions.

Unafraid to embrace the doubts I have and explore them.

Unafraid to fully receive and give love.

Unafraid to pursue freedom from the things that weigh me down.

Unafraid to work hard.

Unafraid to make changes when they need to be made and accept the things that need to stay the same.

Unafraid to embrace my life for what it is and not what I think it should be.

Unafraid to be who I am rather than who I or anyone else thinks I should be.

Unafraid to challenge the status quo.

Unafraid to fail.

Unafraid to admit I don't have it all figured out and life isn't always black and white.

Unafraid to fully love God, myself and others. voice may shake, some days may be better than others, my over thinking mind may be asking my heart what the heck are you doing, people may disagree, mistakes will be made, but I will move forward in love and grace and I will be unafraid.