The key to Christmas cheer

You are enough. Keep that in mind this Christmas season. 

The chatter at parties can quickly turn into brag fests by well meaning family and friends. 

My Susie got accepted into Harvard and Yale. 

Well, Billy is now the head of his department. 

What about you?

Uh…I’m about the same as last year. Everything is rocking along quite normally. 

There’s nothing wrong with being excited and sharing good news. When else can you tell all the family?

Just keep in mind that you’re not the center of the universe, the star of the show. 

On the flip side, don’t walk away from a Christmas gathering feeling like a failure because you can’t compete with the success of others. 

It’s not a competition! 

We’re all on different paths. Respect the differences, okay?

Christmas is the time for families to encourage each other and to reflect on the important things in life. 

It doesn’t have to be a stressful, overwhelming experience. 

Enjoy the egg nog and banter over a plate of Christmas fare. Remember, you are enough. Let yourself relax for once. 

Wrestling with the Truth

IMG_1694Who doesn’t love stories about go-getters who look adversity in the eyes and say, “I know you don’t believe in me, but I’m going to do it anyway”?

I know that I love to read about the tenacious efforts of other people.

Their lives are filled with adventure and learning. No amount of barriers or persecution will keep them from achieving their goals.

Are you excited yet? Can I get a hip, hip, hooray?

But there’s one person you don’t cheer loud enough for. One person who you think is limited or needs to be limited. One person who must not try unless success is guaranteed.

Yourself. Or, in my case, myself.

I’m not talking about becoming a pompous jerk who is self-absorbed.

I’m not talking about getting angry when others do well.

So what am I talking about then?

  • Allowing yourself to believe that you are talented, equipped, and able to do all the things God puts in your heart to do.
  • Allowing yourself to believe that now is the time to live your life.
  • Allowing yourself to try–even if you fail–and knowing that your efforts are not in vain.

Maybe I should just stick a Dear Audra at the front of this post and call it a day……

I struggle with these truths.

In the face of a great adventure with a greater purpose, I want to throw up. Knowing that all of the risk and work will result in a beautiful story, a God story, doesn’t make it any easier.

Remember what we talked about yesterday?

Following the voice of God does not always leave you comfortable.

But I would rather have holy discomfort than stay in any comfort zone I build for myself.

I want to be tenacious, but I need some help. Help from the Holy Spirit and help from you too.

Put the matches down

Integrity is what you do when no one’s watching. 

My 8th grade English teacher, Ms. Blackmon, taught me that definition. 

She gave us an example too. 

You’re all alone on a stretch of country road late at night. You approach a red light and no one’s around. Do you run it? Or wait for it to turn green? 

Your decision, she said, is the true measure of your integrity. 

This little story has always stuck with me. During times of temptation I catch myself. 

What about my integrity?

We’ve all had friends and family fail–and not the ones we expected either. 

They were so nice!

Their lives seemed so perfect!

What you do, who you are when no one’s looking really matters. 

I think that’s why sincerity is such a hot commodity these days. 

“Just be real,” we say, “Be honest about your struggles.”

I’m all for it too! Goodness knows that I screw up a lot. 

But we need to be careful. 

Asking others to be sincere means we can’t burn them at the stake.

This is true when a friend or relative makes a mistake or even expresses an opinion that differs from your own. 

Self-righteous witch hunts are what drive people to wear masks. 

The root of integrity–and all good character for that matter–starts when no one’s looking. 

Maturity is a process, so don’t hide your struggles. 

And, lastly, don’t be so quick to strike a match. 

Becoming friends with failure

My relationship with gravity is a bit tricky….

Cracks in the sidewalks? They are my enemy. I’m pretty sure they snicker every time I trip. Dancing in front of people? Not gonna happen. I will not be on Dancing with the Stars anytime soon.

I always look around if I fall or spill my drink or knock the entire contents of my purse onto the floor.

It’s embarrassing. No one else is that clumsy, right? No one else falls or makes mistakes or….

How ridiculous does this sound? Of course other people make mistakes! Of course they trip and fall on their behinds.

Me dancing like no one's watching (even though everyone was watching).

Me dancing like no one’s watching (even though everyone was watching).

So why spend so much time running away from failure?

For me, it’s because I don’t want to look like an idiot. I’m not the biggest fan of taking risks and it’s a lot easier to blend in. I want to stay safe and comfortable.

Safety and comfort are bad friends. They tell a lot of lies.

Yes, yes. That’s way too hard for you. Just stay back here and watch so-and-so. They are a lot better at it than you anyway.

Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure.

Scientists don’t cry because their experiment didn’t work out the first time. They just say, “Uh. That didn’t work out. Okay. Let’s try it again, but tweak this and that.”

Athletes don’t freak out when they miss a goal. Sure, they may be disappointed, but they just work harder to make the next shot.

We all fail. We all make mistakes. You’re not alone, okay?

Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying new and exciting things.

Here’s what many people won’t tell you:

Success has a little brother. His name is Failure. They actually have a great relationship. And you can’t be friends with one without being friends with the other.

The Problem With Might Nots

Next weekend I am moving up to the Washington State area to live closer to my dad and family up that way. These last several months have been rather surreal because it’s hard to believe that this move is actually happening.

Now it’s here and I’m so excited! There are still a lot of variables, but I’ve done all the research that I possibly can.

All that’s left is to move.

Our lives are in a constant state of transition. Learning and growing, opportunities arising, new horizons to be explored—these are normal, commonplace occurrences—are at least they should be.

Maybe you stopped reading this a few seconds ago because you think I’m a young, naïve daydreamer. You might be right. But I can’t stop moving forward because I might fail.

So many people are paralyzed by the words “might not.”

I might not get the job. I might not get married. I might not have any friends….The possibility of all your “might nots” coming true are slim to none.

Notice what I said: Of all your might nots. I didn’t say that there wouldn’t be a time that failure wouldn’t come.

But that doesn’t mean that you take up residence in a plastic bubble and stop trying.

I’m tired of being paralyzed by what “might not” happen. The only time I am guaranteed to fail is if I take no action.

Life is full of change. It can be scary at times. There are challenges and risks involved.

However, I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t believe that the challenges and risks weren’t worth the rewards. The rewards outweighed the risks every single time.