Stop doing what you should be doing.

It’s been well over a month since I’ve written anything.

These last four months in California have taught me so much about myself.

Something that I have learned recently is that I continue to ask myself

what should I do?

or

what am I supposed to do?

I firmly believe that we live in a culture that constantly tells us that we have to be something that we don’t have to be in order to happy or reach success.

I am extremely guilty when it comes to this topic.

We say- be yourself and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

But do we really?

Over the last four years I went to a small Christian university that captivated my fellow student body and I in a bubble. And I have come to the conclusion that I actually really miss that bubble.

I miss knowing that there are many other peers of mine experiencing the same struggles that I am that are open to talk about it and listen.

I miss knowing that I have many leaders including faculty and staff, church members, spiritual life members, and friends that are older than me who were only moments away from me to help guide and direct me on the right path.

However, as much as I want it to be, the bubble isn’t the real world.

I have come to learn that the only way that other  young Christians can grow and succeed in life that have experienced, or are experiencing the same things as myself is to hang on tight to Jesus.

How do you do that?

Find their new church home, devote yourself to prayer, and really stick to the Word. Having a solid life group also is extremely important.

Personally, I thought I knew where I wanted to be in life after college and my internship but now I think that the Lord has other plans for me.

I let the thoughts of what I should be doing or who I should be completely consume me, and started finding value in areas of my life that are actually meaningless compared to what I actually deserve.

I had a good conversation with a friend and explained prior to what I felt was going on, and how I felt so confused and lost about where my life was going.

She asked me if I had prayed about it.

At point my prayer life honestly sucked.

I was not holding myself accountable, and just fell off the grid with my prayer life.

I excluded God from this area of my life even though it wasn’t intentional.

So as much as I wanted to ignore her question, I pondered it and realized that praying was exactly what I needed to do and ask for clarity.

Later that day God opened my eyes and asked me the simple question

Why are you settling? 

That simple question opened my eyes from the last month where I felt totally lost and misunderstood.

I let the thoughts of who I should be, where I should be doing, and where I should be going take over my life.

And it really hurt me.

Although, I serve a God who loves me so much that He never fails to remind me of my worth and what I deserve.

He tells me that He’s been there for me since the very start, and will be my biggest cheerleader every step of the way even when I feel like I have to fight these battles on my own.

He reminds me that His plans are far above my own and He has much more amazing plans for me than I can ever make for myself in a lifetime.

He reminds me that I don’t have to take my problems into my own hands alone, and I don’t have to settle for any kind of temporary satisfaction to forget about the present momentarily because He can take care of everything right now.

If you’re struggling to figure out what you’re doing wrong, or why your plans aren’t following through the way that you planned ask God why.

It’s okay to ask why when you don’t have all the answers yourself.

He will show you the way.

He’s already brought me so far, and I know He isn’t finished with me yet.

Don’t give up.

Keep pushing.

Keep praying.

Don’t lose hope.

You got this because He’s had you since the very beginning.

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One Blink.

A little over three months ago I saw my life flash before my eyes.

It was a cold, but yet fun filled night with friends planned out in the city. Every good night has to come to an end sometime, right?

On our way home, my friends and I were driving down the freeway, and within a blink of an eye we were hit by a drunk driver.

I remember before we collided I had this strange feeling. I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t anxious. However, I knew something was coming. I looked to my right and I remember seeing the car, and then just knowing that we were going to get into a car accident before it even happened.

Shortly after this moment the car started to merge over from my side of the vehicle, and he clipped the front side of our car, leaving us stranded with a totalled vehicle on the side of the freeway.

It’s crazy to think about how fast it all happened- kind of like how it is in the movies.

You have that feeling that something is going to happen.

You see the vehicle right in front of your eyes.

And before you know it you’re getting hit in the face over 100 MPH by a very large bean bag (well, maybe a little bit more firm than a bean bag).

I felt like I was in a movie.

I had this strange and yet strong ring in my ear from the pressure from the airbags, and I smelled this weird smokey sensation.

I looked around to see if all my friends were okay, and thank the Lord we were.

That night we walked away we a totalled vehicle, but we also walked away with minor injuries, and lives waiting to be filled with more personal testimonies.

That night really put certain things in my life in perspective.

As I saw the other vehicle colliding with ours the only automatic response that my mind, body, and spirit had within me was to proclaim, “In the Name of Jesus.”

I was not the driver that night, and I had no power physically to move either vehicle. I didn’t know any other way to respond, or control the situation except to fully surrender my fear to God and take authority over enemy’s plans for our life that night.

The Lord has His mighty hands on us that night because the situation could have ended very poorly considering all of the factors, but Jesus had another plan. He loves us so much that He wanted to show us how much more life He wants for us to live through HIM and light this testimony for the world to see.

I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks since I was about 18 years old. I believe that I have been fully delivered from those attacks since the moment I threw my anxiety pills in the trash after my mission trip last summer, and even in the moment when I should had felt anxious the most, the Lord brought me peace and confidence.

I had never felt so calm, bold, and courageous during a time of need like this in my entire life! That night the drunk driver drove away, we were left in the cold with a totalled vehicle, and a slightly bloody nose.

Earlier that day before I went out with my friends I was on my way to Starbucks. Before I got out of my car something drew my attention to my airbag caution label on my visor. I remember just staring at it thinking, why am I looking at this?

About ten minutes before the accident I had taken my seatbelt off to take off my coat. That night I walked away with a sensitive ear, and a few bruises but the timing that God had with that seatbelt saved my life.

My mom also told me earlier that day she saw my picture on our fridge at my parents house, and she said that I was really on her heart and she continued to pray for me throughout the day, specifically for protection.

I firmly believe that God sent this situation for a purpose. I believe that He was trying to teach me multiple lessons on this day. I believe that He was revealing to me that no matter what the situation is, and no matter how out of control things may seem, He will always find a way to rescue us because He has an amazing plan for each and every one of us, and He will continue to walk with us upon completion.

After that night I began to think of all my sins that I had made.

I thought of all the rude comments, or even gossip that I’ve said about others.

I thought of all of the bad choices that I made that were not very Christlike.

I thought of all of the times when I have tried to taken control of situations when they were out of my hands in the first place.

And every single time my mind wandered back into the past, Jesus brought me back to the present and reminded me that He is not a god of punishment and getting even when we have wronged HIm. He is not a god of compromise. And He is not a god of disownment.

He is a God of love, forgiveness, and grace. He is a God who restores, provides, heals, and supports. He wants us to come to Him for our every need and to take care of us.

He wants us to hand over our current situations, and surrender our control over the things that we can and cannot control, and realize that He is sovereign.

No matter our past, our choices, our mistakes, and even our future mistakes- He will always be there to rescue and restore us.

Romans 8:39 New International Version (NIV)

39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

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It Never Gives Up

Today I attended a new church.

Last blog post I really pushed on the importance of taking Jesus with you everywhere you go, and why it’s extremely important to find your home church when you are in transitions of new chapters of life.

Today at church the pastor talked about getting more of Jesus.

Many of us have our own unique way that we are able to connect with Him, but it all comes down to our relationship with Him.

Every relationship has foundational needs. One of the most important foundational needs that every relationship has is communication. Our prime form of communication with Him is through prayer.

So many times followers of Christ question why they are not getting the answers that they are searching for, feel like they are stuck, or are overall disappointed with their current standing with their relationship with God because they don’t communicate.

It’s an easy thing to forget quite honestly. Personally, when life gets busy I forget to communicate regularly with those around me, and especially with the ones that I care for the most. I get too caught up into multi- tasking and saying that I will get back to them later that I put it off so far that its too far out of my reach, and I just forget.

We live in a generation that has become so dependent on themselves that we forget about including God in the most important part of our lives. We try to figure all of the answers out on our own, and get angry and frustrated because things aren’t going our ways.

But that’s just it.

Being a Christian does not mean that everything is going to go our way every single time- or anytime for that matter.

Being a Christian does not mean that we are going to have the answers for all of our questions and the solutions to solve all of our problems.

Being a Christian does not mean that we just post a status on Facebook thanking God for blessing us with an opportunity,  a job, or even a relationship and then look the other way when we are out of the spotlight and take all credit and forget about the one who gave it to us in the first place.

We were not created to have all the answers.

We were not created to solve all of our problems.

We were not created to create our own happiness.

We were created to love and to be loved. 

We were created in the image of God and with the minds of Christ.

We were created with a purpose and for a reason, but that purpose was not to be the ruler over our lives because we definitely can not handle it all by ourselves.

Today, I was convicted of this very same lesson.

I am guilty of trying to figure things out on my own and forget about including God in the difficult areas of my life.

I’m guilty of depending on my own understanding more than trusting on the Truth, God’s Word.

I’ m guilty for settling for second best because I am secretly impatient and hate waiting when I know that God is moving and I just need to be still.

Today was a huge reminder for me that I don’t have to do everything on my own. This is as constant and a daily weight that I struggle putting down everyday.

Personally, I need to communicate more and talk to God about my struggles, my needs, and even my heart’s desires.

I know that I can’t ultimately create my own happiness by myself without it crashing and burning in the end and I have to be patient and trust in the perfect plan that He has for me and my life.

Setting side that sacred time that you devote to Him is vital for the growth and future of your relationship with God.

Talk with Him.

Tell Him your biggest fears, the highlights of your day, and even all about that annoying coworker that you really struggle to love. He wants to hear all about it, and He wants to do everything He can to help.

Never question yourself why God wasn’t there because He was carrying you there every step of the way.

Matthew 7:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

All you have to do is knock.

xoxo

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Take Him With You

One thing that I believe is extremely important for any Christian is to find solid accountability.

When I first moved to Southern California my top priorities were to make a lot of friends and just to get involved- like any other college kid I think I had what they call FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

I’ve been in the area for about three weeks now and I am amazed of how empty I had been for so long. I had plenty of friends and I was going out and doing fun things every night, even after work.

However, something was missing.

Last week I went to my first small group since I left Chicagoland and what I felt that had been a closed off part of me had finally been opened again.

I let the fear of missing out consume me to the point where I had forgotten to incorporate the most important aspect of my life into this new chapter, Jesus.

It’s so true that when you leave a comfortable place, like for me, a small Christian university, that you’ve been at for so long it can be very easy to fall short with your faith.

I had been feeling a lot of unknowns and hesitations lately and I wasn’t entirely sure why and then it hit me.

I forgot to take Jesus with me.

I forgot to give Jesus full control over new part of my life, and He was the one that gave it to me in the first place.

It’s a common mistake for Christian to want to take the reins during a time like this- so exciting and new. But that’s when we get stuck, stressed, and empty.

Last week was a huge reminder that no matter how good I think I have things going for me, at the end of the day I have to give it back to the one that gave it to me in the first place because He holds the keys to everything. I just have to open the door.

I am so thankful for the followers of Jesus that have entered my life during this time to push and encourage me during this season of growth.

Never stop chasing Him, especially when you think that you have everything going for you. Because He will never fail you and He will never stop chasing after you.

xoxo

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Dreams do come true

Today I was in one of my official days of on the job training for my internship. Many are aware that I recently moved to California for this new and exciting opportunity, but I don’t think that I had emphasized it enough that I was interning at the happiest place on earth, for the Walt Disney Company.

During training today we discussed some of our favorite memories of Disney, and why we feel the way that we do. I explained to my fellow peers about how much I loved seeing the castle for the first time ever. My family wasn’t able to take my siblings and I to Disneyland, or Disney World when we were kids. However, the excitement that I had when I saw that castle for the first time was more than likely at the same level that I would of had 20 years ago if I had saw it then.

As young adults we are often told that we need to be the best, or be in this unbearable competition for success. But why is it that we are hardly told to chase are dreams anymore and to go after our heart’s deepest desires?

I have always been a huge Disney Princess fan. I love everything about Disney Princesses, but my favorite part about Disney Princesses would be the storyline and purpose that each of them hold to especially encourage and inspire young girls like myself since the very beginning.

One of my favorite Disney Princess stories is the Little Mermaid.

I would think that most of you reading this would probably have the general idea of who the Little Mermaid is and her story. If not I will highlight some main key points.

Ariel, the Little Mermaid, is an ambitious young girl who wants to adventure and experience life. She is incredibly fascinated by land and humans. However, she is a mermaid and this is where things get a little complicated.

Ariel lives in a completely different world than the one that she feels called to be in, and desires to grow in. She, like any other person, has her struggles. Her father does not approve, there’s a lot of unknowns which can be dangerous, and of course she found herself a cute boy that she can’t take her eyes off of.

Ariel has so many obstacles that try to get in her way, but she pushes through each and every one of them. Yes, she does fall a few times and make a couple bad decisions, but that’s life- trial and error.

We are NEVER going to know unless we try.

Ariel continued to persist in the hard times, and took down each obstacle as she came her way. In the end, Ariel not only was able to live the life that she had been dreaming of, but she also was able to take this incredible journey of life and grow. She went outside of her comfort zone, challenged her own strengths, and went beyond the expectations of what others set before her.

And she got her Prince ;).

It’s the stories like these that encourage and inspire me to not give up on my own dreams and continue to strive to exceed the expectations that are set before me, and to obtain my heart’s desires.

I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be mentored under the company that has created not only these stories but inspirations that personally remind me to never give up on my dreams because they do come true.

xoxo,

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A Whole New World

Within this last month I have made a lot of new changes and began such an exciting chapter in my life.

To highlight just a few of the changes,

I bought a new car.

I moved across the country.

I started my dream internship with the Walt Disney Company.

For about the last six months I had been praying like crazy specifically about this new chapter of life. After I graduated from my undergrad I knew that I wanted to do something fun and exciting. However, I wasn’t entirely sure what exactly it was that I was supposed to do. I saw a bunch of my friends applying to jobs and hoping to just get an entry level in their field. I saw many people try to stick around our college town and be comfortable. And I also saw people who just wanted to chase their dreams.

I fell into each of these categories. After graduation I went straight to the applications and started applying for all kinds of jobs just to get out of the midwest. I didn’t have all the right intentions to what I wanted to do, and I knew that. I remember that I had this one moment when I was again applying for jobs where I clearly heard God’s voice telling me to stop searching. 

That moment scared me quite a bit and I wasn’t sure what to think. I then started to ponder the thought if I was supposed to either go back to Indiana to my hometown, or stay in the area of my college town. I absolutely love the community where I grew over the last four years at my university. I loved the area, the people, and just the overall memories that I have. Again, after a lot of thought and prayer I did decide to stay in the Chicagoland area for a while because that was where I felt and heard God the most. I had an amazing church family, a solid friend group, and uplifting leaders in my life right in front of me.

So I decided to stay in the area for a little while, but in my heart I knew that there was something more that I needed to do. Towards the end of summer I applied to the Disney College Program in California with no intentions of thinking that I would ever get in. The California program is extremely difficult to get into, and I had never applied before. I had a good friend that previously did the program and got a lot out of it. And in the midst of all my job applications, this one happened to also make its way into my submitted applications list.

About a month later I was notified that I was accepted into the program under the department that I not only wanted that I truly want to grow in. I couldn’t believe my eyes that I was chosen over thousands of applicants to participate in the Disney College Program in California and I could not be any more ecstatic.

Disney has been a company that had always been near and dear to my heart, but I never had even imagined that I would ever be given the opportunity to work and be mentored by them. Currently, it has been about a week since I have arrived to Southern California and I have been in love with every piece of it since the very second that I have gotten here.

My overall dream is to work in Corporate Social Responsibility where I can show the world the importance of community and coming together for a bigger purpose. Words cannot explain the joy that I have for this opportunity to work for the company that believes that dreams do come true.

I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving for this incredible blessing that the Lord has given me.

And it’s only the beginning.

If I can encourage you about anything in regards to chasing your dreams and actually living them I would tell you three things:

  1. Don’t let anyone who didn’t go after their dreams talk you out of yours.
  2. It’s okay to be scared, but don’t let fear be an excuse. Chase your dreams scared until all the fear is gone.
  3. Never lose sight of the bigger picture. You were created for a purpose and all the desires that you have laid on your heart are important. Don’t forget that.

Here’s to my newest adventure and hopefully the next step to yours.

xoxo

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2018: Making Dreams Reality

First things first: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

New years always call for new goals and resolutions.

Personally, I have always been the type to make a super long list full of things I want to accomplish and experience, but maybe only completing half of the things on my list. If I was really lucky I may have completed 3/4 of it.

Although, I love the idea of planning and dreaming of amazing new things to do for the upcoming year, I know that sometimes some of these ideas are just going to be fun ideas. I know that some things are fun to just think about and in reality I may never even attempt them.

Why?

I’m not too sure what the exact answer to this is. Whether this may be the influence that society contributes to going with a certain flow, or maybe even family trying to push you to be realistic about your choices too many of us don’t attempt to make our dreams our reality.

I was born in West Virginia, but grew up in a very small town in Indiana. I was surrounded by corn fields everywhere and it took me at least 20 minutes to drive to my nearest Walmart. I experienced having four seasons year round, but if you didn’t drive something that was 4-wheel drive during the winter you better plan on staying inside most days.

I absolutely hated almost everything about living in the midwest and my heart was always to make something big of myself. This last May I graduated from my undergrad with my bachelor of science degree.

After graduation I made a promise to myself that I was going to stop putting things off and go all in. Just like I have imagined since I was a little girl I am finally moving out west to the city of angels (well close enough) and making my dream come true.

About four months ago I accepted a position with the Walt Disney Company as a college intern and continue my passion for event planning. I am beyond excited for the amazing opportunity and have waiting so long for this to come. I am finally down to the single digits until my big move and I will be living near the sand, sun, and the stars.

After graduation I went on a mission trip for the second time to the Big Island, Hawaii. I met this incredible woman of God at one of the churches that we worked with and she was prophesying over many of us.

Her exact words to me were, “You’re a voice”.

I have always had a passion for people and connecting others for a bigger purpose. I have no idea where God is going to lead me in this next chapter of my life, but I have no doubt that He is going to use me and the talents that He has given me for something great.

Within this last year I have traveled from coast to coast, graduated with my bachelor’s degree, began my master’s program for my MBA, accepted a position with Disney, and now finally moving to California.

One of Disney’s mottos may be “Where Dreams Come True”, but for me this is more than a motto. It’s my next chapter of life.

Here’s to new friends, new adventures, and new experiences.

Here’s to 2018, where dreams come true. And making my dream my reality.

Happy New Year.

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Present Timing Over Perfect Timing

Have you ever heard of that little saying where there’s a will there is a way?

Tonight one of my good friends was updating me on a recent life event, and I just so happened to tell them, “Hey, where there’s a will there’s a way”.

She reminded me, “Yes. And He is the way so we are all set!”

Isn’t that good truth?!

Although, we don’t always get specific times and deadlines when it’s time to go that way.

I personally needed this reminder after the last couple of months. The summer after graduation I moved back to my small hometown in northeast Indiana. I personally thought that there wasn’t much to do there except see my family and old friends from high school. After about a month of spending time with family and friends in Indiana I felt called to move back to Chicagoland, where I went to school.

I was a little confused because I ultimately thought that I was meant to be in California right now. Whenever I had the smallest little bit of free time I would search and apply for new jobs online. That was what the majority of my time consisted of when I was at home. I grew frustrated because I felt this strong tug on my heart to go to California. However, I was not entirely sure what exactly it was that I was supposed to be doing, or where I was suppose to be going.

After a lot of sacrificed time in prayer and devotion, I felt another call to move back to Chicagoland. I didn’t how or why, but I followed my instincts and knew that I needed to listen and follow this call  that the Lord had for me right now. Although I didn’t like it at the moment, I knew that this was right where He wanted me in the present.

It has been about two months since I have moved back to Chicagoland and I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and blessing in disguise. I didn’t think that I wanted to move back here, but this was exactly what I needed right now and God knew.

During my senior year I was so focused on making sure that I passed my capstone courses, working, and completing projects that I didn’t take enough time to ingest the environment, experience, and memories waiting to be made right in front of me. I neglected a lot of amazing opportunities that could have had such impact for me but I didn’t take advantage of them to experience them. Two months later I am in awe of this blessing in disguise that God has given me a second chance to become again consumed in this environment and be filled with His love and blessings through the amazing people who He has surrounded me around.

I had many days where I thought that I should already be in California and working my dream job, but then God comes right back up to remind me that He has placed me right where I am at for a reason and a purpose for right now. I remember thinking God I just need this experience, or have this chance… And during those times I remember thinking why am I drifting away from Him, or why do I feel so far away from my relationship with Him? Why do I feel so shaken in my faith?

However, over the past few weeks, even in my lowest times, God has continued to remind me that He is still in control and taking care of me. Within the last few months I have been accepted into a dream internship with the Disney College Program in Southern California, I have accepted a position within the PR field with an agency, I have started my MBA program, and I have continued to build and grow the relationships and more that I wish that I would have during my senior year of my undergrad.

Friends, God knows the deepest desires of our hearts and He will go above and beyond to meet those desires. Secure sacred time with Him that you set aside just for Him, and spend time with Him daily! I am a living testimony that He is a God of His word who keeps His promise!

Where there is a will… There’s a way, and He IS the way. Therefore, we can be confident knowing that everything will work out, with Him by our sides. He is the way and the way always wins. Trust in His timing. His timing is perfect, not our own.

Romans 8:28 New Living Translation (NLT)

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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Tired of being the better person.

I have a friend, let’s call her Sarah.

Sarah is in her early 20s and in college. She is extremely sweet and speaks very authentically. Sarah and I had a long heart to heart conversation one day about how hard it is just being the better person all the time.

There are no doubt days (MANY DAYS) in my life where I just get extremely frustrated with family, friends, and even strangers for the most ridiculous things.

I personally have a take a step back sometimes for some fresh air to cool off because we all have those days where someone just pushed the wrong button.

I’m a very fast paced and scheduled person. I know what I need to get done, I know how to do it, and I know when I need to get it down. I normally have sticky notes everywhere and bright highlighted streaks through things just so I can remember them. I try so hard to keep myself in line that I forget that there are many other people in my life who I cannot place perfectly the way that I want them to be.

Some of these people may be pretty difficult and frustrating.

They may hold higher positions within your workplace and all you can do is say “Yes sir, or yes ma’am” and do whatever they tell you to do although you are hating every second of it.

These people may be family members and because they are family you feel obligated to treat them the way you do because that is what you are “supposed to do”.

Or maybe you have no idea who these people are and they are rude and disrespectful and they somehow keep showing up in your life.

And the only thing that you can even think of to do is to be the better person.

And sometimes that’s the only thing that we can do.

But why?

It’s hard!

It’s hard to respect someone who thinks of you as someone so small and unimportant.

It’s hard to love someone who continues to compare your worth to something objective.

It’s hard to care for someone who has no idea what they’re doing with their life and has so much potential for their future… but you love them anyways.

So why do we do it?

Why do we have continue being the better person regardless of how hard, draining, and hurtful it can be?

Because it’s our duty.

Because it’s our calling.

Because we were created to do so.

We were created to love and to be loved.

We were commanded to love everyone (our brothers and sisters, our families, our neighbors, AND our enemies).

This doesn’t mean that this was supposed to be an easy job. It does mean that it is possible and its worth it.

When Jesus was being crucified by US for OUR sins, He cried out to God stating,

“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing,” Luke 23:34.

If Jesus was able to be the better person during this…

We can be the better person too.

Next time you are stuck in a situation like this and you are discouraged, frustrated, or even angry remind yourself of this.

Take a step back and remind yourself that you were not created to be discouraged, frustrated, or angry. Remind yourself that you were created for a purpose and that you have worth. Remind yourself that many of those people out there that are making you feel the way that you do are probably lost and are in desperate need of Jesus just like everyone else. It’s your responsibility to shine His light their way, to love them where they are at, and to love them with the heart of Jesus.

Also remind yourself that once a upon a time you were probably in a similar situation to theirs. You were lost and needed a Savior to reach down and show you the way. If He did that for you, why cant He do it for them?

Don’t give up. Keep loving. Keep being the better person.

It’s not easy.

But it’s worth it.

1 Corinthians 16:14English Standard Version (ESV)

14 Let all that you do be done in love.

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A Second Chance

I remember exactly where I was at during this point of my life last year.

I was a senior in undergrad, trying to survive my classes, pass my capstone courses, and do whatever I could to put my name out there before graduation.

I was doing the best that I have ever done before in school- making really good grades and actually retaining and comprehending the information that I was being fed.

I went to a national conference and got my name out there to some really big company like Warner Bros. Tv., Vera Bradley, and a couple different event planning firms and grad schools. And I also received my first job in my field as a social media and communications assistant for a global nonprofit that absolutely loved people and Jesus- two of my favorite things.

Although I accomplished a lot of goals that I had intended to complete, there were quite a few others that I had really wished that I didn’t let go of too easily.

In order for me to actually become serious and as disciplined as I was during this time of my college career I had to make a lot of sacrifices and unfortunately that made me distant myself from a lot of things that I cared about the most.

After a lot of thought and consideration- especially from the summer before- I made the decision to not return the following year to a job that I really fell in love with, stop volunteering for a ministry that truly developed my relationship with Jesus as a young teen, and even deciding to hang up my racket months earlier my senior year from a sport that I dearly loved.

It really didn’t occur to me that I was not only walking away from certain areas of my life during this time, but I was also unintentionally cutting off a lot of relationships with people who were by far the biggest blessings that I was ever given. And that sucked.

No, I did not see myself continuing to work in education, getting a job as a youth pastor, or even becoming a professional tennis player (like I’d ever even come close… lolol).

After doing a lot of reflection, I was reminded about how these different areas of my life have molded  me into the person that God has created me to be.

Fast forwarding to after graduation: I never thought that I would move back to Chicagoland after graduation. I thought that I was going to move straight to California, get a job as an RD at a university, and start a master’s degree in management and leadership.

Boy… Was I wrong!

As the summer began to wind down I started to realize that my plans were not as great as my God’s. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it I knew that I wasn’t ready to make the move to California yet and the jobs that I was trying to make “work” wasn’t cutting it.

Finally I laid it down on the line and gave in. I surrendered all of my selfish ideas and plans to God and confessed that there was no way that I could press play and make my “picture perfect” life go into action. I realized that I was kind of doing what I did in my previous undergrad years again- trying to do it all and be the poster child of a college kid until my head explodes.

During this time I realized that I had to be okay with not knowing everything all the time and being okay with the unknown. I had to realize that my plans are not perfect and they will not always go the ways that I want them to no matter how many sticky notes, highlighters, and stars I put next to them in my agenda.

Finally, I recognized that my worth does not come from whatever success or accomplish that I make in the workforce, in the classroom, or even on the courts. It comes through the love and compassion that Jesus has for me and that is more than enough.

A few weeks go by and I finally receive an acceptance letter from a company that I did not plan to receive. After sending out a lot of resumes, cover letters, and applications Towards the end of summer I accepted my job offer from the Walt Disney Company for the Disney College Program in California. I remember filling out the application and thinking that it would be a dream to come true to work for the company that reminded me as a little girl, that dreams can come true… but I was not expecting getting accepted at all.

Then I remembered His ways are higher than my own. I can’t thank God enough for this opportunity to further my education, to be mentored, and work for a company in my field that is so near and dear to my heart. Shortly after my acceptance letter I tried to fight the idea, but I knew that I needed to make the move back to Chicagoland.

Throughout my entire time in college I tried so hard to create myself getting involved in more clubs and extracurriculars than I can count, mentoring underclassmen, leading worship, playing a collegiate sport, and trying to build relationships with those around me. However, the junior year slump hit me pretty hard and by the time senior year came around all I could focus on was just finishing and getting that “dream job”.

Looking back, I realize that I was not as intentional as I should have been during my senior year. That is probably the worst regret that I have throughout my entire college years and thinking what if. Just because I had to make some sacrifices did not mean that I had to let go of some of the people who meant the most to me. And for that I am truly sorry. I had many nights after graduation in full thought thinking about certain people in my life and what I could have done, or what I could have said to help them or just be there for them. And that was the worst pain that I could have ever of felt.

I love people. I love my family. I love my friends. And I love knowing that I can and somehow make an impact in the lives of others. But this last year I felt so disappointed in myself because I felt like I was not able to do that, or was in the place to do that.

Personally, coming back to the area again felt like God giving me a second chance.

I don’t want to ever look back and think “what if” again.

I don’t ever want to have a friend have to reevaluate our friendship and question if I really care about them or not.

I don’t want to look back and think what if.

To those that ask and wonder if God ever gives second chances…

He definitely does.

Don’t underestimate the power and grace that our God has for you because it is never-ending and will continue to pour graciously out on you.

If I could encourage you about anything, don’t ever miss out on any opportunity especially if it involves continuing to grow more like Jesus and showing others His love for them.

And another thing- if you are given another second chance, don’t take it for granted.

You were given this opportunity for a reason. Grab a hold of it and make the most of it.

So life update: I am now a grad student getting their MBA (also something else that I said that I was never interested in… jokes on me, I actually like it a lot!) and working as a social media assistant. In three months I will make my big move to Southern California to work in event planning with the Walt Disney Company. My hopes are to also continue to get involved with PRSA and other young professional networks, network within entertainment publicity, maybe join a club tennis team, and just become totally immersed in this new adventure showing everyone that God puts in my path the love of Jesus.

Until the big move, I am loving the joy, peace, and comfort of being surrounded by so many Christlike and loving individuals that helped me grow and become the person that I am today in the bourb. I love all my fellow tigers so dearly and am beyond thankful for this opportunity to reconnect and grow some seeds before this new journey.

Here’s to second chances, to new chances, and to no looking back.

xoxo

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