Moving Forward.

February 20, 2014
(From a letter I wrote to a friend)

The last couple months- and specifically, the last couple of weeks- my heart has been very burdened for the poor and marginalized in a way that feels… different (for lack of a better word) than it has before. I have felt a monumental level of angst that’s led me to feel like there has to be something more than where I am now- which in itself feels weird…where am I more needed than Skid Row? This place is on fire. I mean, I have always been burdened in this way to some degree, but something in me is very unsettled. To clarify, I am not unhappy, rather I feel sort of comfortable…even in my discomfort feels comfortable…I’m not sure if that makes sense.

I don’t really know what this means, but I just keep hearing God say “I have more for you.” I feel sort of like He has given me a vision for the radical, but my eyes can’t seem to focus or see any further than just a combination of colors and shapes — no real clarity.

And that angst never really went away. It did seem to be at bay for a bit… until April.

This time it came with such significant force there was no denying it. Or ignoring it.

I started praying that God would make things clear and move me forward, fairly certain a physical relocation was to come of this… Within 4 days my roommates and I simultaneously decided to move out of our apartment. It was them who brought it up first and it was a shock. A good shock. And I cried because I knew God had heard me.

In June we moved out…and well, I never moved back in… anywhere- really because I just didn’t know where to go. I was certain God was calling me somewhere, but it had yet to be determined. So while my roommates packed up and moved their stuff into their new homes, I purged my belongings and stored what I couldn’t fit in my car or didn’t immediately need. And thus began my new life sleeping on people’s couches, and in their guest beds, and staying in my old bedroom at my folks’ house, and for three weeks in a little room at Younglife’s Woodleaf camp.

It’s a strange feeling when you don’t have an actual space of your own. As what one might call a “loud introvert” this has been extremely difficult for me at times. There are days my brain aches for my own bed to crawl into and block out the world; somewhere to comfortably read, write…or let’s be honest, mind-numbingly watch Netflix. (Yes Netflix, I am “still here” just play the next episode and stop judging me.) Sleep now comes less easily and I’ve had to learn the art of  creative grocery shopping and food preservation. (I’ve also said quite few swear words looking for clothes that have somehow been lost in the abyss that is my trunk.)

But it’s also been kind of awesome.

I’ve learned to carve out spaces for myself in the oddest places to find seclusion for my often reclusive mind. I’ve built and solidified relationships with the people who’ve taken me in and allowed me to act like a full-fledged housemate. I’ve learned to ask for help. (note: This is still a work in progress.) I’ve learned what it looks like to make God the source of my comfort and the consistency I crave, and I’ve seen His love for me in ways that leave me dumbfounded and speechless.

This week though, I had to take the next step- the one I knew would be the hardest.

Monday morning I went into work and I gave notice at my job. August 31st is my last day with Skid Row Housing Trust. Just writing that knots up stomach and starts the tears all over again. This feels more terrifying and more sad than leaving any apartment I’ve lived in. In this place I feel like I found myself and learned what it means to just be. It’s the place I’ve met, walked away from, and re-met God over and over. This place is my heart, these square miles my home. So much of who I am is a reflection of Skid Row and it’s scary to leave, to learn who I am apart from it.

But deep down, I’ve known this was coming. I heard it in that angst so many weeks ago, and I prayed for it when I asked to be move forward. So I’m confident I am being called elsewhere- as hard as I’ve tried, quieting that voice in my soul isn’t possible- I had to listen, I have to go, I have to use what I’ve learned somewhere new.

I would love to end this by sharing exactly what’s next, but I can’t, because I don’t really know.

I have some ideas and some tentative plans, but nothing is really solidified yet.  It’s all quite weird, frightening, and really exciting. I feel like a blank canvas, ready to start something new, somewhere new, knowing full well that I will take Skid Row with me every step of the way- it’d be impossible not to; this place is woven into the fiber of who I am.

I am it and it is me, forever.

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Pardon Our Dust.

“Live a good story.”

I’ve heard that expression a lot the last few months. I’ve seen it posted on facebook and recently, I even saw it tagged on a billboard. (Told you the streets of L.A. are mean.)

The thing is, every time I see this trendy  “Live a good story” catch-phrase, I can’t help but cringe a little bit. I’m afraid that in our efforts to live a good story it’s becoming really, really easy lose sight of living a life we love, for one that’s a great anecdote. And this ideology seems to fit snugly into the digital world in which we’re living- encouraging us to curate a good story for people- which is not at all the same as enjoying your life humbly and authentically…even if others aren’t gawking in admiration or worse, envy.

Oh, in case you missed it, I am talking about myself here. Guilty. As. Charged.

As a writer, occasional speaker, and advocate, this can get muddy and weird. Not to mention, hard to navigate- so much so that I often balk, whine, and want to quit altogether. I’m constantly trying to figure out what needs to be written, what stories need to be shared, and which of life’s moments should be safeguarded as sacred and personal. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

That said, a lot’s been happening as of late. In short, I’ve made myself virtually homeless, living out of boxes in my car, moving around between Younglife camp and different people’s homes while I try to figure out where my next one should be. It’s hard to recall the last time I woke up and immediately, in my sleep-fogged mind, knew exactly where I was. It’s strange, uncomfortable, kinda awesome and quite honestly, makes a fairly decent story– which is perhaps why I’ve been finding it so hard to write about. I’m currently in the process of sifting through which parts should be offered for public consumption, which are meant to be lived out loud and which belong to me and those who are woven into them.

The answers will come, I’m sure of it. And so will the words. But until they do, here is my offering; all of my favorite interwebbing things that have nothing to do with my life or advocating for folks without homes, but have been hoarded in my phone for times when I need to pee my pants a little:

B7sA6yxCAAAQa15B-UQYMACcAAwWu4 ccc Fqimm My-virginity-is-safe-up-here

I am afraid I will never love any future children of my own as much as I love this kid:

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We need you.

I don’t write a ton of poetry…and I share far less than I write, but I think perhaps this one needs to be heard.

I’m certain if asked, each of us could make a laundry list of injustices we see in the world begging for change, desperate for healing. While I don’t believe each one of us is called to act upon every broken construct, as that would be impossible, I do believe we are all called to something– to watch, listen and act where we are moved and able.

So consider this my appeal, a battle cry of sorts- pleading with you to start, to keep going and/or to begin again ushering love into this crazy broken world. We can’t do this alone.

We need you.

We need you to fight.
To stand up for what you believe in.
To see the injustices of this world and be committed enough to deconstruct them piece by piece.
To be brave.

We need your hands.
To lift.
To carry.
To build.
To exchange tangible grace with those who crave it most.

We need your voice.
To scream for Truth.
To sing of peace.
To comfort with love.

We need your arms.
To wrap around the lonely.
To block out the cold.
To break down walls and build monuments in their place.

We need your heart.
To love this world into shalom.
To offer forgiveness to the broken.
To offer hope wounded.
To remind a desperately pained world that better days are ahead.

I need you.
To remind me that you need my hands.
To remind me that you need my voice.
To remind me that you need my arms.
To remind me that you need my heart.

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The Lost One.

I’ve cried a lot today. Big shocker, two/thirds of you think, knowing my familiarity with tears. That’s okay, I thought it too even as I wrote it.

Tears keep streaking my cheeks because while I am dumbfoundly excited and proud that after months and months of painstaking work my team and I have managed to identify, process and house 66 people, we lost one. In the week leading up to her move-in she was around and then just gone. Vanished. We have no idea where she could be.

This reality is not new to me, it happens all the time working with a transient population, but something about this one feels more off than most. Miss K is a tiny older lady, who speaks broken English and is often rather confused- the fact that she has managed on the streets for as long as she has speaks volumes as to her tenacity and strength. I admire that about her.

“You should be happy! Go celebrate the 66 people who will sleep safely in BEDS tonight!”

“I am! I am! I am ELATED…but I can’t deny the knot in my stomach with Miss K’s name on it. I don’t care what we do, we have to find her.”

And while I am deeply saddened and determined to find Miss K and bring her home, that’s not why my eyes keep spilling over.

I’ve mentioned before that my getting-to-this-far point in my life has been colorful. I went through years of being all over the dang map; struggling with substances, faith, doubts in that faith and deep seated insecurities that led me to make some very poor and dangerous choices.

But God never gave up.

He never stopped coming after me, showing me His face when finding me curled up behind life’s dumpsters and ditches. He never said “Well shit, looks like I lost her- but whatever, look at all these other wonderful children I have!”

I don’t know if anyone would have blamed Him if He had.

But He didn’t.

He kept looking for His lost sheep until He found her. She was messy and dirty and full of shame, but He didn’t care, he was just happy she was coming home where she belonged.

And I think I finally get it, to some very small degree at least.  At the end of the day it’s not about numbers or statistics, it’s about people- each one being unique and special and loved. I am overjoyed when I see the faces of the 66 others, but the real celebration will begin when we welcome our last one home.

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Keep Watching.

I saw Jesus last week. Not literally- I mean, I did see a couple shaggy haired hippy-types (swoon), but I didn’t actually see him walking about town- put your phones down, I don’t need an intervention just yet.

No, I saw Jesus on Skid Row.

I saw him in the eyes of all 31 new residents as we handed them keys to Skid Row Housing Trust’s newest apartment complex.

I heard his voice in my new friend as she tearfully sung me the Hallelujah Chorus when I informed her that after months of bureaucratic red tape her paperwork and lease were finally completed and ready to be signed.

I saw Jesus in the heart of my co-worker Ally,who sat with our new visually impaired resident, guiding him hand-on-hand as he signed his new lease.

And again in the smile of the man who disclosed to me his HIV status, claiming his diagnoses to be the thing that saved his life, waking him up to the self-destructing lifestyle he’d been living.

I saw him in the team that I work with, whose tears matched my own as we welcomed these folks home after weeks of insanity-inducing work.

And if I am being totally forthright, it sort of confused me. It’s hard to wrap my head around the beauty beneath the ash that is right in front of my very eyes, while it feels like the rest of the world is being engulfed in flames.

I find myself reading through article after article, heavily weighted and haunted by the state of our country’s race relations, by the destruction left in the wake of the earthquake in Nepal and by the absolute evil that is terrorizing thousands on the other side of the world and wonder how it’s possible to see joy, beauty and hope, fearing that I am simply out-of-touch.

Maybe if it were in my own backyard I’d feel differently, I’ve wondered- only to remind myself that it is in my own proverbial backyard.

I’ve been reading a lot of Psalms lately- primarily because I find comfort in David’s wayward emotions, he makes me feel less crazy- or at the very least, understood. In chapter 34 he claims that God is near to the brokenhearted. It makes me laugh to think that I once memorized those words to get me through a break-up and repeated them again when moving a few years back- those things seem a bit trivial to me now, but I can’t deny that they were true then and feel even more true now.

So maybe that’s just it- maybe he is more near in this place, to these people I have come to call my own. David talks repeatedly about how much our Lord loves justice and that His heart beats compassionately for those in need– maybe He’s set up a tent down here too. Or maybe He just knows how desperately I need to see His face some days. I don’t really know, I don’t understand it- I am still wading through dichotomy and theology of it all.

But I believe He’s here and I believe He’s in all of the “there’s”- the places where people need to see Him as badly as they need their next breath.

So I will keep watching.

I will look for those glimpses of His face, praying that not one of us misses him in all this mess and heartache. I will keep hoping that the ash reveals to us a beauty unheard of and I won’t stop praying for shalom.

Join me?

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Advice Column.

I’m not very good at taking advice, but man I am sure given a lot of it. My old roommate/close friend Megan once said to me, “when I have advice I think you should take I typically try to word it in a way in which you end up thinking it was your idea.” Did I mention Megan is brilliant? She has inadvertently advised me to make some of my better decisions in life.

It should come as no shock however, that I loooove giving advice- especially about relationships and what one should do with their life…two things I have zero business acting like the authority on, but whatever it’s your choice if you’re dumb enough to take it.

It’s barely a hyperbole to say that roughly 80% of the advice I am ever given is something to the effect of, “Rachel, you really need to chill,” because well, I lean just a teeeeensy bit on the anxious side.

I’ve been hording a Word document for some time now of some of the best and most ridiculous remaining 20% of advice I’ve been given the last few years and thought I’d share it; Enjoy. Maybe you can even glean some healthy insight (especially regarding your teeth; your friends).

Relationships are not a pissing contest, Rachel- stop trying to win them.
-my former boss

Don’t date idiots, you’re too pretty to do that- you never want to waste your face.
-my resident, Pam

You don’t trust yourself enough. Look in the mirror, say ‘I am a bad-ass’ and trust yourself.
-my pal T.J.Stafford

You need to start dressing cuter and more girly when you run or go to the gym- either that or just expect to only get hit on by women and players who don’t care if you look like a little boy.
-my co-worker/friend Richard

Stop falling in love with potential- who is the person now? They will change, we all do, but you need to know that even if they don’t, who they are now is worth laying your heart on the line for.
-my mom

Men like women who wear make-up, they don’t like duds- are you following me here, Rachel? No, you’re probably not…Rachel START WEARING MORE MAKE-UP.
-my resident, Andre

You should aspire to be a CEO or famous or something that will deem you important enough to have an assistant so that they can start doing all your tech work before you get fired for breaking something important.
-our I.T. guy

You should brush your teeth less aggressively- they are not your enemy, they are your friends.
-my dentist

You should go on the show Naked and Afraid- you’re weird and hippy enough to make it work.
-my co-worker Gilbert
(note: this is NOT true, I’d die the second a snake came near me or I had to eat a bug.)

You should start wearing costumes on dates, that way even if they suck they’ll be funny.
-my boss Joey

You should marry a doctor so that you can you delete your Web-md app.
Emily Crawford (my cous-sis-bff and brilliant musician)

You should marry a lawyer so that you’ll finally decide that you really belong in law school.
-my grandpa

You should marry Matt Kemp.
-my resident, Sheila
(note: I AM TRYING.)

You should marry my single friend ______.
-76% of people I have ever met post my 25th birthday

You should never marry an actor. Ever.
-my friend Jeff…who is an actor

Keep your head in the game, kid.
-me to myself, almost everyday

Feel free to add your own in the comment section…advice you’ve been given that is, not advice for me, as I probably won’t take it. 🙂

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Winging It.

A week or so ago I got a message from someone with a question I get asked a lot (and I ask a lot to others); How do you keep going? How do you cope when things are hard? Because I find it nearly impossible to write short answers to anything I care about (ask anyone that I’ve ever sent a text message to), I wrote back a small dissertation that I thought I’d share, as I find it to be a vital question and something so so soooo important when living out any peace-waging effort.

I have not cornered this market, but here are some things I have picked up along the way:

Counseling. I have been in and out of counseling for years. I first started going after being held-up/car-jacked in college and started displaying really odd behaviors, fears and nightmares. I was interning at AIDS Project Los Angeles and slowly a job that I had LOVED was turning me into a complete wreck. If needed, counseling is one of the greatest tools, once you can humble yourself enough to say “I freaking need help.” (That part took me a long time- in fact, someone else made my first counseling appointment for me and strong-armed into going. That said, I think everyone in the world could benefit from it.)  It has really assisted me in processing things when I’ve thought I might lose my mind. It’s also helped me learn how to set up healthy boundaries- learning where to let go and recognize that I can’t make people’s decisions for them even if I want to and that at the end of the day, I really have very little control over anything has helped me a ton.

Art/Writing. I am not some incredibly talented artist- most of visual art is in a closet at my parent’s house and a good majority of the things I’ve written are in journals that I’ve made four different people promise they’d burn unread in the event that I die unexpectedly or decide to run for presidency- but finding a way for me to express myself has been a huge processing tool for me. Sometimes in the midst of something it’s really hard to see it for what it’s worth, I’ve found that reflecting upon things after the fact can be a pretty powerful healer and motivator.

People. I am INSANELY lucky in the human department. I have the best support system. I have a group of girls I call my “home team”- we send each other texts constantly updating, making jokes, asking for prayer, encouraging one another, screaming cuss words when we’re frustrated, etc., as well as a family that just won’t quit.  Knowing that I am never walking alone has changed everything for me. Getting to a place where I was not too prideful to reach out and ask for help is not always easy for me, but it’s ALWAYS worth it. Having the right people around you who know you and know when it’s time to be gentle and empathetic and when it’s time to call you out on your crap is everything. I am not always easy to call out- I am super sensitive and more often than not will either cry and/or get defensive, but the people who love me the most are not afraid of that, they love me enough to push through those barriers. They also love me enough to know when what I need to hear most is “give yourself grace, Rachel.” This doesn’t mean I am never lonely- I think everyone is to some degree or another, but there is crazy freedom in being loved by people who understand you.

My faith. It took me a long time to really understand that God loves me, but He has really made my eyes open to that in the last few months in a way I’d never seen before. He’s done a lot of reminding me where I’ve been and how present He’s been from the beginning. Faith has always been a huge part of me, but it’s fluctuated, it’s never been simple or easily packaged- the thread it’s woven in and out of the facets of my being though make it impossible for me to deny. God has been really, really good to me and again, placed really amazing people in front of me who constantly reminded who He is when I fail to remember. I went through a period where I really, reaaallly doubted that God was real and found so much grace in my questioning. God is not afraid of my spinning head and through His allowance of me being in that place, I would say, I can see Him more clearly now than I ever had before.

Recognizing that I am fighting WITH God, not against Him. For a long time I would get really pissed at God and scream things like “If you were really good you wouldn’t allow injustice” or “DAMMIT, FIX THIS!” and the response I heard back the loudest: “That’s what you are here for, Rachel.” We, as solo humans can’t fix everything, but God will call you where He wants you to right the wrongs you can for His kingdom. Often times that calling looks less like a huge blaring sign and more like this is what fires me up the most- this is what speeds my heart-rate, I’ve gotta do this.

Looking at the micro, not just the macro. I HAVE to celebrate the small victories, not just the large. Looking only at the bigger picture constantly threatens to swallow me whole. Lao Tzu’s quote “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is one of my favorites, because it’s TRUE. Very few things will ever change overnight, but each step, each victory makes a dent and should be celebrated. Some days that is celebrating that one of my residents has been living indoors for an entire year, while other days it’s that someone who struggles with alcoholism ate a sandwich before they started drinking instead of doing so on a dangerously empty stomach- BOTH are victories, both deserve to be accounted for.

I know there are a million other, perhaps better, ways* to cope with the messiness of life and seeking shalom, but this is what I have learned to be most effective for me thus far. There’s a chance I could look back ten years from now and think wow, I sure was naive… but for now, these processing tools are working for me. I have a piece of paper taped to my computer at work that says “we’re all just kind of winging it” and I think to many degrees that’s true- it’s simply a matter of finding what helps you wing it with the most sanity, inner-peace and motivation to keep you fighting for what’s good in this world.


*wine, definitely wine


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Weighty Matters.

(April 1st)
“What year were you born, 1971?”
“That better be an April Fool’s joke.”
“A what?”

“Can I please have your gum when you’re done with it, Rachel? I’d like to test your DNA.”

(The Monday after Easter)
“How was your weekend, Miss Rachel? It was kind of a big one for you and your people, eh? Wellllll, maybe a rough one for your Jewish side, but I bet the left side of your body was alll ‘wooo! it’s our time to shine!’ ”

“Okay, be real with me- are you more excited about your big Easter holiday yesterday or that today is the Dodgers Opening Day? I imagine you consider them both holy so I am just curious.”

“Hey lady, do you want to buy a joint?”
“Uhhh, do I really look like I am someone who would be down here to buy weed?”
“Well yeah…kinda.”
“That’s fair. No thank you, sir.”

“Miss Rachel, come here I want to pick you up to see how much you weigh!”
(He then proceeded to sit outside my office yelling out guesses for 25 minutes. His first was SEVENTY pounds over.)

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That is the Gospel.

Yesterday was not my finest day. I think I started complaining the minute I woke up. From the guy cutting me off in traffic, to a meeting I needed to help facilitate, to being hungry during said meeting- EVERYTHING was frustrating and annoying me. I am not proud of this- in fact, if you’re reading this it’s because I lost the debate with myself as to whether or not it would be okay to just erase this part and admit to nothing. At one point I stated to a friend, “I should be quarantined today, take away my phone and all human contact, I think it’s most beneficial thing for society.”

As you might expect, that didn’t happen, life had to go on as did the workday much to others’ chagrin I am certain.

Right now at Skid Row Housing Trust we are in the middle of leasing up a new building, which essentially means we are in the process of identifying and then housing 60+ new residents, bringing them off the streets into their new home. To say this is an honor would be a huge understatement, but to say it’s insanely stressful and often times confusing as all hell would be too.

In the afternoon we were slated to hold a workshop for 32 folks that will soon be moving in; these workshops are neat in that we get to spend time with the people that will soon become familiar faces, but they are also harrowing- they consist of A LOT of paperwork and working around what feels like 3,000 yards of proverbial red tape.

As the workshop began a man named Tony walked in. I didn’t recognize Tony by face or even by name, but assumed it was just because I’m still getting to know these folks. As it turns out however, I didn’t know him because his previous documents had somehow slipped through the cracks and we hadn’t been tracking him at all. Ugh. [insert multiple cuss words here.] We ended up having to send him back by bus to his referring agency, which was roughly 15 miles away, to retrieve his forms, however when he made it there they turned him right back around and sent him back to us empty-handed. To say I was mad would be putting it mildly. These are people’s lives! I screamed in my head. Why would somebody be this careless?! And now I am charged with telling him that we can’t move forward? Awesome. [Expletive] awesome.

Almost in tears I went to him and explained the situation, apologizing over and over that things were unfolding as they were. I expressed to him that I couldn’t imagine how frustrated he must feel and promised him that we would follow-up and straighten out the situation at hand, to which he replied, “This day has been ummm interesting but not frustrating. God told me a long time ago to stop worrying, so I don’t. It doesn’t make any sense to worry- I’ve never been promised simplicity, but I have been promised grace.”

I sat there with my mouth agape as he went on, “A problem is not a problem really, Miss Rachel- a problem is merely a solution waiting to be realized and once you realize the problem you can act upon it and it becomes history. We’ll get this mess figured out, don’t worry.”

I don’t know if the kids these days still use the expression “you got served,” but if they do, I am fairly certain this qualifies.

I sat there humbled and appalled by my own arrogance, entitlement and impatience with others’ imperfections, reflecting on how much I think I am owed by the world before Tony came back to THANK ME for listening to him. WHAT?! He thanked me?

I was speechless.

That is grace.

That is love.

That is peace.

That is the gospel.

While Tony is obviously pretty incredible, he is not alone in his faith either- it’s close to impossible to talk to three people on Skid Row without hearing God’s messaged preached to some extent or another by at leasts one of them. “I can’t imagine it would be very comfortable to be an atheist on Skid Row,” a local pastor recently told me, “there is a culture of Jesus marked all over this place and it’s real. Knowing genuine need tends to connect those dots in a way that I may never understand- to be honest, I think most of this community probably has a better grasp of Him than I do.”

It’s true. I am asked often what it looks like for me to “bring Jesus to Skid Row”my answer: “You mean, how do they bring Jesus to me? Because I think that’s probably more accurate question. I know Jesus better because I know the patrons of Skid Row.”

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Dear Me,

This was originally written to myself, for myself only- but after sharing a tiny snippet, a couple folks asked to read it. My initial thought? Umm, HELL NO. But then I decided to listen to my own voice below and worry about the dry heaves later. The inspiration came from my stupidly-talented-artist friend Tom, who is in the process of finalizing a pop-up gallery show he titled Make, what you most need to find.” I asked myself the question What do I most need to hear? and this is what came out unedited…well, mostly- I edited out a few parts that were perhaps too personal- nobody needs to read me talk myself in circles about relationships. 🙂

Dear Me,

Life is scary and it will hurt- that’s ok. You’re going to take risks and some will break your heart, in fact, many already have- that’s ok too. You know what you love now, but don’t stop falling in love with new things and new people. It’s ok to be afraid, just don’t let it determine your steps. What makes your heart beat faster? Do that. Your hands may shake and your voice may crack- but do it. Face it head on. It’ll be messy, most good things are. Don’t be afraid of the mess.

Stop being so fearful of your own voice. You love to write so stop whining and just do it. Be bolder; your best pieces have been those that’ve induced some panic and even a few dry heaves. It’s not wrong for people to know you in this way- it’s uncomfortable and weird, but remember what I said about good things being messy? God gave you this voice, use it- some people won’t listen to you…so what? They don’t determine who you are any more than you determine who they are.

You’re never going to please everyone, so stop trying. You break your own heart over and over striving to make everyone happy. Not only is this not healthy OR possible, it’s kinda selfish- compulsion to act in order to make others like you is not nearly the same as moving out of the goodness of your heart. Don’t be afraid to say no, but don’t use that as an excuse to get out of the things that make you squirm in discomfort.

Don’t forget what you know about God right this very minute; that you are insanely loved. You struggle with doubts, you over-think things- it’s ok, don’t freak out, you’ll get through them as they come- just don’t let go and don’t allow them to be an excuse to do whatever the hell you want. Keep fighting for it. God will too- take comfort in that.

Learn to be grateful for what you have, comparing yourself to no one else on either side of the spectrum. There will always be someone worse off than you and there will always be someone better- comparing yourself to either robs you of true gratitude and turns people into statistical competition.

Learn to let others take care of you- this is not weakness. Being in need is weird and incredibly uncomfortable, but learn to embrace it. People love you, they want to walk with you- let them. People want to be the hands and feet of Jesus for you, let them.

Don’t forget to follow your heart- use reason too, but really listen to your heart, it will guide you far better, with more clarity than your anxious brain will. Learn to know when to let go and when to hang on. This can be a confusing one, but it’s vital. You’ve spent years fearfully hanging on to what you’ve needed to release, while also giving up on things that have just needed a little more patience and energy. There is a time for both, but it will take some discerning to figure out which is which- your heart will know, listen.

Lastly, give yourself a little more grace. You have been making mistakes your whole life and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll stop now. It’s ok to be imperfect- perfection is a lie. Nobody else expects you to have it all figured out, so why do you insist that you must? That kind of life is exhausting. Embrace the mistakes you make- it allows others to embrace theirs too, it’s not comfortable, but you’ll to be ok…I promise.



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