Let's Choose Well

Let's choose well.

What I'm holding onto and letting go of in 2019.

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2019 will be a year of…choosing well. I want to choose rest and calm instead of chaos and just being busy. I want to choose agape love when I'd rather distance myself or be bitter. I want to choose to do the hard, holy things that will really help me become who I want to be.

I want to choose well. I want to choose time with Jesus instead of just running around doing things that don't matter or scrolling my phone. I want to choose well what I put in, because I know it will be what comes out. I want to choose honesty, vulnerability, and being real instead of having to always appear to have it together. It may make me shake and want to hide, but there is no reason to apologize. The invitation to be authentically you is right here. We're all human and it gets messy, but the mess is beautiful.

I want to choose to say "no" when a "yes" would be more comfortable and gain approval.

I want to choose to build; build strong relationships, build trust, build ministry, and build more skill in what I do. Sometimes, I may need to break it down and start over, but I want to be careful I'm not just doing that because I'm afraid to stay and put work in.

I want to do many things this coming year; more heart-to-hearts, more selfless actions, more listening, more writing, more asking for help when I need it, more ministry and counseling, and more celebrating life just where I'm at. But most of all, I want to choose not to rush God in what He is doing. I want to be present in every moment, not wishing I was someone else doing something else, living a different life. 2019 will be a year of choosing well every day.

I'm saying goodbye to rushing through life and not making the best choices, or not making one at all because I'm fearful. The more I choose well, the more time I will have, and be at peace knowing it was my best yes. The more I choose well, the more I will love this life I'm living. The more I choose well, the more I will release what isn't meant for me and hold onto what is.

2018 was a year of new adventures, friends, experiences, and change. I flew for the first time and travelled to Florida, South Carolina, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. I met two people who quickly became very close friends. I wrote for More Love Letters, started this writing corner, fundraised for mental illness, and wrote hundreds of letters. I started certified counseling training and started writing my book. I saw one of my childhood friends get married and stood as her maid of honor. I spent time with my favorite little ones and laughed until I cried. I did long distance with my people and made it work. I've had lots of tacos, lemonade, and have seen some stunning sunsets.

It wasn't without a lot of loss, heartbreak, transition, and uncertainty. I lost a friend to suicide. I was ghosted and left, without any explanation. Friends were hospitalized, and my heart skipped a beat not knowing if they were okay. My heart was broken multiple times by guys I thought cared. Trust was shattered and I was replaced. I changed churches and am about to move hours away. I struggled with my health and relationships. I fell and saw those closest to me fall, but I also saw them get back up.

It was the hardest year yet, but I wouldn't change it for anything. I wouldn't want to miss what God did in my heart and life. I'll never forget it, but He's not done yet. I don't know what this year will hold, but I'm choosing hope.

Let's make the best of this year and just do the thing! Cheering you on, friend!

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Dear Depression, I'm Breaking Up With You

You don't control me anymore.

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Dear Depression,

You may no longer control my life. You have caused me pain countless times for reasons I will never know. You come and go, and you ruin me every single time. You have left me feeling like an outsider with everyone who loves me because no one can understand a monster like you. You have made me question my worth more times than I have been confident in it. You have broken some relationships and tested others with the intent of breaking them. You love to see me at my worst, you love to break me down and watch me struggle to pick up the pieces. You love when I give up, you absolutely thrive from it. It fuels you but not anymore.

You may no longer enter my life and my mind, you are unwelcome here. You will no longer beat me till I am bloody or turn me against myself. I will remember my worth every time you whisper in my ear that I am not worthy. I will fight like hell to hold on to my happiness when you are ripping it away from me. I will not let you win because your constant terror and hate has strengthened me, and my hate for you is what fuels me. I will not give up, and I will not let you take any more than you already have. I have lost days and days to you and you will get no more of them.

You had the chance to push me around. You had me questioning who I was. You had me backed into a corner. You had me running away and you had me desperate for any type of life that didn't involve you. I knew that you would never leave me, so I had to choose to leave you. I had to run and fight and pull myself out of it. I had to fight to breathe and fight to think, but finally, I am rid of you. You do not control me any longer, I am free. Good try, but I won this one.

Sincerely,

The girl you cannot break

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How To Survive Long-Distance Friendships

With the right people, you can more than just survive long distance; you can thrive.

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As we get older and become adults, staying close to friends tends to get harder. Adult life can be full of trying to get through college classes, keep a job, stay healthy, figure out what you want in the future, and stay connected to the people that mean the most to you. Many days it can feel like an exhausting juggling act of keeping your school, work, social, spiritual, and personal life somewhat together. I think we all knew these things come with age to a certain extent, but somehow we thought it would be easier to juggle. Or maybe we knew many things would suffer, but never thought it would be those relationships closest to our hearts. That has definitely been the case for me.

Nearly everyone in my life has moved away to attend college, gotten married or just moved away in general.

I used to see friends at church multiple times a week and be able to plan outings often also. But when people started moving on, I wasn't prepared for the loneliness I experienced. More texts and emails were typed to each other. More letters and notes were written. More phone calls were dialed and voices heard on the other end in between breaks and vacations.

I always thought things would become more ideal when everyone came back, but now I'm the one leaving for the first time. For a lot of the times they are here, I will no longer be the person who is always here. I will no longer be close geographically to "my people" but they are still close to my heart and I will continue to invest in them if they are five minutes away or five-hundred miles.

Life often takes people across the city, across the state or even across the world from us.

People go to college, graduate school, pursue dreams, get jobs, get married, and eventually settle down. We can either lose our long-lasting friendships, or we can choose to fight harder to maintain closeness. I chose the latter; not because its convenient, but because its worth it.

Recently, I had a friend tell me out of sight meant out of mind for him and he just couldn't do long distance. While this isn't the case for me (I'm constantly thinking of and missing people), I understand how it could be an issue. You aren't seeing the person on a regular basis, so you somewhat forget about them and the need to maintain your relationship. You don't have to let out of sight mean out of mind, though.

Your friend may have a boyfriend or girlfriend, parents, jobs, kids and tend to get distracted by everything around them. This is normal to let your everyday life consume your thoughts, but you can make room to let other things enter your mind too.

Have things around your place to remind you of them, set reminders to check on them and get into a habit of catching up with people while doing chores or going somewhere. There are a few people I try to text on the daily — sometimes it's me reminding them I'm thinking about them, something random I saw that made me smile or telling them good morning.

The smallest things often make the most impact — a text, quick phone call so they can hear your voice, hand-writing a letter (the way to my heart), or a video call while you both study. Tag each other in posts and send each other selfies or other pictures. I don't know about you, but it makes me happy to see a notification from one of "my people," knowing they were thinking of me miles away.

There is nothing that says two friends can't remain close and spend time together, even if it's not physically.

It takes more intention and effort than it does to grab lunch with your roommate, but I've found that I'm often closer to long-distance friends because neither of us takes our time for granted. Connecting and getting together takes more effort than just a regular meet up, but is completely worth it.

Keep the lines of communication and honesty open. When you don't have the chance to see your friends often, it means that when you do see them, you need to make the most of it. Show up and always be fully present. You both deserve your planned bonding time to be special and prioritized.

As we all get more settled in our lives, the amount of time will change and priorities will get swapped around some.

Your time and energy are valuable, but you get to decide where it goes. I try to focus less on doing things I feel obligated to (that I don't have to do), and more on those that I know will fill me and encourage others that I love. It's all a choice we have to choose to make. Will you share the pain, but also some of the biggest joys with another person that you choose no matter the distance between you?

The best things in life take work and long distance ones take extra work, but I'll never regret keeping up with those who are near and dear to my heart. Together we can face anything together, even if that means being vulnerable over video call instead of across the table! Let's do more than just survive long-distance friendships — let's thrive.



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