OneWord365

“So, everything in your life is you holding a fist to people instead of an open hand. You’re holding tightly to everything in your life because you need the control rather than allowing yourself to be open to other people and let them have a deep impact on your life.”

The words my counselor (T) said to me at the beginning of November.

The words that have haunted me since he first spoke them that Tuesday morning.

When he said those words with that picture image I got it. I realized that I have been gripping my hands together so tightly that I have forced people away from me. I have forced myself into a tightly squeezed fist and molded myself into a closed-off person. A woman so hell-bent on achieving control in her life that she literally doesn’t know how to open her hand anymore and receive.

So when T pointed this out to me I knew that I was missing out on a world of growth because I don’t let people in to my life. We began working through this and I grew quite a bit. I realized that I have been silencing myself and that I am done with that. I have also learned that I need people in my life. I got a taste of that when I was in England this summer but I have ignored what I learned overseas. But I’m through with that now.

My word this year is open because I have been living most of my life closed off from everyone and everything. I have been shielding myself from everything—good or bad—and I’m realizing that is not a good way to live.

So regardless of how terrified I am about where focusing on being open this year will take me, I will do it because I know it is for my good.

So for starters here are a few things I haven’t been open with lately:

-To say that I am struggling to believe God is good and who he says he is does not cover it. There are days that I feel like I am drowning because I just don’t know that he is there. And then there are other days when people in my life remind me of who he is and I try and believe but I’m not sure if I ever get there. It’s been a rough year and I haven’t told very many people about it and the entire time I haven’t felt God’s presence or heard his direction except for a handful of moments—moments that were necessary and good but so far in between that it’s hard to believe that he really does care about me.

-I pour myself into work, school, crafting, ANYTHING so that I don’t have to deal with emotions. Literally. I don’t want to deal with any emotions that I experience so I throw myself into other things so that I distract myself and eventually I stop knowing how to feel. Which is never a good thing. I also avoid other people when I am doing this because like it or not people have emotions and I don’t like emotions so I avoid people. (Again, I close everyone out in order to exact control over my life…)

-I have zero desire to go to a physical church ever again. Being a female I was told blatantly by numerous people that my role was to be with the children in the nursery and that since I volunteered in the youth group I could never speak in front of the students unless it was a gender specific event. I felt worthless and belittled and I have a bitter taste in my mouth to associate with people who truly believe that about women in the church. Also, I know that I have things to say and that while I don’t want to be a preacher at a church I wouldn’t mind speaking to people (even though the thought of that terrifies me). However, any time I opened up my mouth to express my thoughts or to challenge an idea I felt judgment. And yes, I know that not all churches are the same but when you have been wounded deeper than deep, in a way that you never should have, you wouldn’t want to step foot in a church again either.

There’s more, but if we’re being honest (which I am) opening up about those three things exhausted me. I know this year is going to be one of growth and a lot of a lot of healing. So, here’s to focusing on one word this year. Here’s to learning how to open myself and surrender rather than close myself and control. Here’s to experiencing change. I don’t know what this year will bring but I do know that discovering how to open myself will be painful, difficult, and a challenge. But I also know that it will be worth it. How I know that I’m not exactly sure, but I do. And in the little bit of faith that I have I am standing on the surety that God will use this for His glory and for me to discover who He is because if I’m going to learn to be open then I’m going to encounter things. And encountering our Creator will most likely be on the top of the list. Just a guess (or maybe it’s a hope).

-Hannah

So what about you? Are you living by the OneWord365 challenge?

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Silencing Yourself

I finally got the tattoo I have wanted since I decided I would be getting tattoos. It’s big and that is the primary reason I have not gotten it until now. It wasn’t the size that was preventing me from wanting it but rather it was the size that I figured people would judge. Especially since I have expressed previous intentions of entering into ministry work after graduation. I know for a fact that camps and churches have some serious stigmas against tattoos, which is incredibly unfortunate but was the reason I had put off getting this tattoo for so long. But finally I realized something…after two months of thought and consideration…even if I do end up working for a ministry after graduation I will still want this tattoo. And if that organization does not want to hire me because I have a tattoo, then quite frankly I don’t want to work for them.

I realized that I really like tattoos and plan on getting more. Also, one day I plan on dreading my hair and even though stereotypes exist against this style/image of people it’s a big part of who I am. I realized that I have been silencing part of myself because someone might not hire me in the future. But when I was finally honest with myself I realized I didn’t want them to hire me if they don’t support tattoos and dreads. I realized that I won’t stop being me anymore in order to please other people, because that’s not healthy for my well-being. I’ve been silent for most of my life when it comes to what I want to do and I’m finally done with that. I’m done silencing myself.

When I had this realization it was really great. I went out within two days and got my new tattoo, the one I have wanted for a very long time and I was pumped. But there was something I forgot to do. I forgot to tell anyone about why I decided to get the tattoo and because of that silence I ended up hurting a dear friend who I never desired to hurt.

You see I have lived almost all of my life not voicing my actual opinion about things because I have never felt valued. So, when I had a life changing realization about myself it didn’t occur that I should tell people about it…especially the friend who had just expressed they wanted a very similar tattoo on their foot…

I didn’t know it but I had deeply wounded this friend—something I never wanted or intended to do. Because I silenced myself I caused someone else pain. Because I didn’t believe my insight had value, because I didn’t believe I had value, I hurt a friend.

Now, my friend is great and she finally, after a week and a half, got around to telling me that she was pissed at me. I explained why I got my tattoo and she told me I had to stop devaluing myself and believe that people genuinely care about my insights. Then she forgave me.

The past few days have been packed full of “ah ha” moments when it comes to the subject of me silencing myself. I have realized that it simply isn’t good for anyone—especially not me. Because even though it’s hard and I am definitely only beginning to believe this, I am discovering that I am worthwhile. I’m realizing that the Lord calls me His beloved and that’s all the affirmation I really need. He calls me worthy, loved, His child, and I am learning to believe it. So I’m not silencing myself anymore. I’m speaking up.

-Hannah

P.s. About the whole not-posting-in-eight-months thing…sorry. I was writing a book. Be expecting a post about that soon, because I’m pretty stinking pumped about it!

P.p.s. Here is a picture of the tattoo :D

Anxiety.

Anxious

 

I struggle with anxiety.

Sometimes I become so anxious about certain things that I cannot think about anything else. There have been times when my anxious thoughts have changed my way of living. Often, when I become anxious about something, I stop eating—mainly because eating makes my physically ill.

I do not remember when I began struggling with extreme anxiety, but I do know it was probably at a young-ish age, and at that time it was mostly associated with my phobia of spiders and clowns. However, nowadays I find myself becoming overwhelmed and consumed with anxious thoughts about my life. I continually think about and analyze where my life is now, and where I want to go with my life. I think about how school is not necessary for what I want to do with my life, but then I stress about the possibility of never being hired somewhere because I do not have a degree.

Anxiety is a vicious cycle, one that is honestly hard to stop.

Something that I have been continually anxious about lately is fundraising for my trip to England this summer. The trip I am taking with 7 other youth ministry majors here at JBU costs me $5000! That’s a lot of money…I am almost half way finished with my fundraising, but I only have about 7 weeks left to raise what is left.

My mind has been very focused on this lately, and I have been driving myself mad thinking of ways that I can raise more money…I feel as if I am not doing enough but at the same time I do not know what else I can do. I have sent out support letters, I am selling hair accessories both to friends around campus and on Etsy, and I am devoting all of the money I make from my 3 jobs to the cause…but it still falls short!

As I was dwelling on this fact and become more and more anxious, almost to the point of frustration the Lord began to remind my heart of the promise He gave me about this trip five months ago

He desires my presence on this mission.

I was so very humbled. God wants me to go to England this summer! He desires me to be there, and if that is the case, then He will provide the way for me.

I do not know where the rest of the money is going to come from. I do not know when the money is going to come—it might be the day before it is all due, May 1st. But I do know one thing, God is for me…so who can be against me?

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7 This is what I need to be continually reminding myself of. I do not need to become anxious about where the money will come from, or how I can do a better job of fundraising. I need to rest in His promise that He is behind this adventure. His desire is to see me spread His fruitful glory to those I encounter in England.

My anxious thoughts and doubts do not bring glory to His might and power. I will rest in His promises. I will rest in Him.

 

What have you been anxious about lately?

 

My Daddy

Daddy and I

 

I found myself in a bit of a pickle last night. Seems I had told my dad a bit of wrong information—information that almost made me participate in a HUGE mistake.

I will not go into detail about what that mistake was because honestly it is just really embarrassing for both myself as well as the person I would have had to call when I realized what had gone terribly wrong in my planning.

When I realized how misguided my information had been I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. In fact, my stomach immediately began to be nauseated and become filled with unease and anxiety.

And what did I do about this mistake? I tried to fix it myself.

However, as I began to try and sort everything out it became more and more obvious that things were not going to be as easy as I thought they would. I also came to the terrible realization that I was going to have to call my dad and tell him what had happened.

And I fought that reality like a ninja.

I did not want to call my dad and confess my mistake. I did not want him to be upset or annoyed that I had relayed false information to him and that the planning he had so willingly taken on for me was all done in vain. All I wanted to do was hide.

However, I finally called my dad and explained my situation. And what was his reaction? He responded by calmly reassuring my heart that everything was going to be okay and that he would take care of everything.

I was not anticipating this, which is irrational because my relationship with my dad is freaking awesome! And I mean that when I say it. I can ask my dad anything and he will tell me the hard honest truth, and I can tell him anything and he has never once judged me.

So why did I become so anxious about telling him I had messed up?

Because I forgot how much he loves me, no matter how mistaken I can be at times.

This was a beautiful reminder to my heart of God’s love for me. I mess up all the time, and I make a lot of mistakes. However, He is always there waiting for me to call on Him and tell him what happened. He willingly takes time to plan things out for my life and when/if I screw them up He is willing to fix those mistakes!

My earthly daddy showed me just how much he loves and cherishes me last night, which was a direct representation of how much my heavenly Daddy loves and cherishes me.

Have you ever made a huge mistake and did not want to fess up to it?