XOXO

I just recently looked at my stats for the year 2014. Sometimes I do this to see the numbers, views, etc. But as I looked at my annual report (the real fancy one) I was utterly SHOCKED at some of the stats from last year.

My blog website had a whopping 1300 views from 11 different countries. These countries included, the U.S., Canada, Belize, Honduras, Nigeria, India, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and a few others. It blows my mind to think that my little blog could be on people’s computer screens in other countries. I’m just a little Louisvillian girl writing from the heart. But when you pair that with the internet and word of mouth, anything is possible.

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By reviewing these stats I realized something: ANYONE has the power to change the world with words. I have no idea if my blogs have had any kind of impact on the people who read them, but I can continue writing regardless of who reads. I usually never write as if I want thousands of people to read. I don’t have a lot of followers or a large audience. I don’t normally have a blog “theme”. I just write to process my thoughts and feelings. I want to share them so that other people can take a look at their life and process their own thoughts as well.

I like to write in this intimate form of writing. Unfortunately, for an English major, my grammar, sentence structure, and overall writing style isn’t exactly ideal, but I care about the message, the thought, the emotion of what I’m writing. Writing from the heart will always be my favorite way to write, but I hope I can write something that truly and honestly encourages and challenges people to think differently when they come across my page.

To those who have supported, encouraged, and challenged me to keep writing: thank you. I deeply feel that love. This post is a shoutout to all you lovely people.

But also to those who write, whether you’re a famous author or a community blogger: keep pursuing your thoughts, keep stretching your mind, keep sharing those moments, those revelations from God. This post is for you, too.

You really never know what your words can do for someone else. So keep writing.

XOXO

Angela

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Raw

We all have walls we live behind. Sometimes, I have to actually picture myself walking with a wall around me in order to really understand what this metaphorical “wall” means. I always read about emotional walls we build, but it’s easier to imagine walking around with an actual wall to understand just how weighty that wall is. We don’t want people to see or feel our real, raw emotions. We just want people to see that picture of us going out with all our not-so-best-friends. We want people to like those things and be jealous. Don’t look at the screen like that.. At some point in our lives, there is at least one picture or post we make so that someone (or somones) feel jealous about what we’re doing.

I’ve talked in previous blogs about my dislike of pictures and just picture perfect media in general. These are the most tangible resources we have for these walls we build. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at someone’s social media page and thought, “dang they just have it.” And then I can’t stand myself. All I want to do is make my Twitter feed funnier, make my Instagram pictures prettier, and send goofier snapchats. And thus I build my wall. The fluffier I make my media, the higher my wall gets. People don’t have to see who I really am or how I really feel.

I remember one time I was actually really mad about something that I did and hated myself for doing it, but I thought I could tweet about and make it out to be funnier than how I actually felt because I wanted people to laugh and think that I didn’t care. I got a good amount of favorites and retweets, but it didn’t change the fact that I ACTUALLY felt awful about it. But I made it out to be this funny, humorous thing that I’m sure people just laughed at and moved on.

I can recall another time I made my profile picture on Facebook a picture of me and 4 friends with Ben Rector when he came to Louisville several years back. A friend commented and said, “You girls always look so happy!” When I read that I literally LOLed. I was thinking, “Little do you know I was actually an emotional mess all night over a silly boy who doesn’t even like me.”

Why do I do stuff like that? I’m SO GOOD at making my life look posh. What does this do for me, though? It doesn’t make me feel any better about a relationship I have with a friend if we take a super cute picture together. The next thing I think is that if my friend really cares about me, she’ll post it on Instagram. As if Instagram is the holiest of holy places for a person to show how much they care about you.

What do we really get out of life if we are never raw with our thoughts and feelings on the daily?

What if we had a social media website that recorded and shared the details of our lives that we try to hide? Imagine if there was a little camera on us all day and at the end of the day, it would post all of the stupid, dreadful moments from the day and we all had to watch everyone’s terrible moments. I’m chuckling just thinking about that! It would most definitely be weird, but I think it would stop us from thinking that people are squeaky clean.

We really need more people willing to share their struggles. Maybe not on social media but to share their struggles with God, themselves, and the community around them. We’ve got to stop telling people we’re doing fine in order to fill some cultural expectation. We need people wiling to admit they want to be selfish. To share the temptation of wanting to have sex all the time. To shed light on their addiction for approval. To be vulnerable about the jealousies they have against their friends.

All of these and more. A dear friend once sent me a devotional about confession and this is what stuck out to me the most, “In order to be fully loved, we must be fully known.” We can’t really have people’s fullest love for us if we don’t allow ourselves to be fully known by those people. It takes a while to get there. And I’m learning that I suck at actually letting people fully know me, but I know the weight of that truth. And that’s what I truly want out of life. To be raw and not be scared that whoever I am raw with will leave my life.

Cold

Bare hearts and minds are warm, inviting, vulnerable. When you share your thoughts, your cares, your struggles with other people, your life is more inviting. A little warmer, a little fuller. Everything is inspiring to you, you see the best in people and you love them entirely.

Shielded hearts and minds are cold, uninterested, hard. When you keep your thoughts, your cares, your struggles from other people, your life is a bit uninviting. A little colder, a little duller. Everything is uninspiring to you, you don’t want to see the best in people and you can’t love them entirely.

How can two opposites exist in one person throughout a lifetime? I’ve felt and experienced both of these situations.

But right now, life is a bit cold. Truths that I once found inspiring and hopeful are just words on page. Words like, “captivity, bondage, and freedom” don’t hold a lot of meaning to me anymore. I used to be fueled by the truths of God but the further you go down a road without him, the easier it is to leave entirely.

Little choices you make away from him, end up being the big ones down the road. Everything adds up eventually and you get to a place asking yourself, “How the hell did I get here? Who I am?”

I can’t help but think seasons of doubt, frustration, and anger are all apart of the journey with God. The thing with any relationship is that there is ALWAYS strife. There is always going to be times where things aren’t good. Luckily with God, he doesn’t leave just because we’re frustrated with him. Never once have I ever walked alone.

How many times do I not trust in God’s goodness? Why do I think he’s great for other people but he’s not always enough for me? I find myself thinking, “Wow, that’s so cool that God is moving in their life, but I don’t see him working in my life at all and nor do I really care.” And I usually leave it at that. I like to coop up in my room and settle for little things to help me feel better. WHY. I ask myself, “Why is he not good enough for me right now? Why do I settle for stuff that doesn’t bring joy when I already know his truths are most definitely GOOD?” It’s a matter of not wanting to give up some of my selfish ways. It’s one thing to know that and entirely different to actually do it.

I just don’t want to do it. So it’s probably gonna be an extra cold winter this year.