So, here's the thing. I have a tendency to be really bothered and concerned about things, people and circumstances I cannot change. I have wasted so much time beating myself up for my own mistakes, holding on to the bitterness from others' mistakes and drowning in anxiety when I don't feel I'm in control. Yah, all of that.
Talking to a lot of you guys and spending time in God's word showed me two things: that my struggle with being "bothered" isn't uncommon AND that through faith, I absolutely have the power to change it.
In fact, reading just a small portion of scripture will reveal to you that we are not called to live with anxiety, worry or all of the concern our society claims is normal. We just aren't. In fact, in the devotion I've been reading, worrying has been compared to insulting God's love and sacrifice for us, a waste of time, self torture and a bunch of other stuff no logical person would actively choose to fill their life with.
I wanted to write this post because I think today's culture creates so many opportunities to be so burdened with worry and concern. I called this post what I did to hammer home the truth that I'm a recovering "bothered girl". When life gets loud and worries roll in thick, I remind myself of and pray over these five things. It's done my heart so much good, so I wanted to share.
I challenge you to actively pursue these things when you feel yourself stressing and worrying about the situations and people in this life that you have absolutely no control over and, truthfully, no reason to worry about.
1. Walk your walk- One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from one of the overseers of my church small group. She said, “Walk your walk with Jesus, and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.” I wrote it down, highlighted it and underlined it. I have found myself whispering it on the bad days and smiling at the words on my heart when I feel spiritual breakthroughs. You’ve heard it before- comparison is the thief of joy. I think sometimes people don’t realize that Christianity is about a relationship. It’s about learning, growing, understanding, dedicating, loving, surrendering, opening up, pouring out and evolving. It is not always comfortable, but it is always valuable. It is not always convenient, but it is always necessary. It is not always easy, but it will always produce something beautiful. It will rarely look the same as someone else’s, but it is 100% right for you. When I accepted the fact that God wants to know ME, that He met ME where I was and seeks ME out in every season- the pressure to be like others melted away. Your walk will not be perfect. You will stumble. You may trail off and lose sight and make the wrong choice. You may feel unworthy and broken and inadequate. Keep walking. Keep walking your walk with Jesus, understanding that He gives you what’s for you, heals you from your specific areas of weakness and prepares you for what He has just for you. Walk your walk with Jesus, and don’t worry about what anybody is doing, boo.
2. Mind your own business- This one is hard because our culture is so much about staying updated on what other people are doing, eating and saying. Heck, I’m a blogger. I literally make posts about my favorite meals and outfits. I get it. However, I realized this year that so many of my negative emotions were attached to things that actually had nothing to do with me. I would get all in my feelings about negative/rude/judgmental comments from other people, negative opinions other people have about me, other people’s relationships, opportunities that I wanted going to others, “casual” gossip, etc. Notice that the common word in all of that is “other”. I have had to check myself so many times with this truth- it is not my job to decide who is good and who is bad. It is not my job to tell people how to live their lives. It is not my job to tell anyone how to manage their hurt, their flaws and their reactions. It is my job to love on people, show up and be truthful (but loving) when asked. Someone else’s definition of who I am has never been relevant. My definition of who I am is so important. The way God explains who His people are, in His Word, is every single thing. Stop wasting your time and energy trying to figure out why your “friend” takes jabs at you, why your co-workers don’t like you or why other people are living the way they do. It’s really none of your business. Pray for people. Be there for people. Love them and lay truth when it’s asked of you. You will make a bigger impact by how you live and love than by shoving your opinions and views in someone’s face, every day of the week. If someone is ugly to you, ask yourself why, and if, it really bothers you (not your ego and pride, but your spirit). If it does, talk to them. Ask questions. If you’ve done something to hurt them that you weren’t aware of, take the time to address it. Healing happens when we open up. You also have to realize, though, that sometimes people just won’t like you. The brighter, happier and more vibrant you are, the more critics you will draw. Things that take up more space (including energies) attract more attention – good and bad. Love and live well. The way people react to it is none of your business.
3. Protect your space- This feeds off of the whole minding your own business thing. We’ve all read the scripture about guarding your heart. The people you spend time with, the things you spend hours ingesting on social media and the thoughts you let resonate into truth are so important. One of the biggest struggles I have faced in my life is learning to deal with negative people…people who I love dearly but who can be so cynical, mean-spirited, judgmental and ugly toward others or just negative about life in general. I’ll just say this: spending time with people who suck the joy and light out of the room will suck the life and happiness out of you. In my experience, the people I’ve encountered who act that way are usually hurting and battling pain, insecurity and self-doubt. Hurt people hurt people, and hurt people sometimes have trouble finding the love and light. I get that. I have been in that place more times than I would like to admit. I know the kind of pain and darkness that can overcome someone’s spirit that keeps them isolated. I believe in unceasingly pouring love into people who are struggling, but I also believe that sometimes that love has to come from a distance. You don’t have to let someone suffocate you with their own negativity to love them through it. I have lost friends and had to distance myself from others. I've had to have tough, real conversations with some and had to learned to pray and set my mind and spirit up before hanging out with a few. I’m also very intentional with who I follow on Instagram, who I make weekend plans with and who I go on vacation with. Your free time is sacred. Your mind is sacred. Your heart is sacred. It’s okay to admit that someone doesn’t need to take up so much space in those places. You may actually find yourself loving them better from afar. You will be more able to give grace when you aren’t depleted of your own energy and joy. Also, there is nothing more life-giving than spending time with people who are happy, kind, confident and uplifting. Life is hard, and we will fall sometimes. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who want to, and who are a able to, help pick you up and cheer you on with pure, loving intentions.
4. Walk in purpose, and expect the opposition- In case no one has ever told you, let me be the one: YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON. YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT. You are here because you were wanted, created and had very real life breathed into you so that you could impact the world. That will be the case whether you choose to live in that truth or not. I recommend just doing it…it’s not like you having anything better to do. Sex & The City reruns, Instagram photoshoots in your bathroom and drunken nights out will only get you so far. Walk in your purpose, whatever that may be. I struggled for a while with my career and my faith. I wondered if God could really want me to work in a business that’s gotten such a bad wrap lately…one that gets slammed in almost every church service I go to for spreading “negativity”. I had been praying so hard. Then, one Sunday, two people from two different churches and totally different backgrounds stopped me in the same day, hours apart, and told me they could see and feel my spirit when I anchor and report the news. I wept that night. Real tears. I didn’t get it. I still don’t. But shortly after that, I felt this overwhelming sense of peace and heard this truth: God’s people are needed everywhere, including “the media” (sorry, I hate that term). Expect the doubt to creep in. Expect doors to close. Expect the funds to run low, the anxieties to pile high and the plans to fall through. Expect things to not go as planned. Expect all of that, and then KNOW your God is greater. Know the purpose He created you for is greater. Try not to find your worth and confidence in compliments, accomplishments and pats on the back. I don’t think that’s when God is doing His most important work. I think it’s when things are falling apart and the ugly tears are welling up. I think that’s when He molds and prepares you. The celebration, promotion and success are just the fruit. Expect the opposition. Believe and walk in the truth of your purpose. Build your confidence on that. That is something no one can take from you.
5. Do the kindest thing- I want to finish this little list of mine by reminding you that it’s okay to just not react to things. I had to learn this after so many failed attempts. I am so extra and reactionary, y’all. It’s okay to not “win” and argument or a situation. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to pray over the text before you respond, call the person back and let it go to voicemail for now or just breathe before responding. You’re never too far away to come back home to your center and what you believe. You’re never too broken or wrong to rekindle your identity and the best parts of who you are. Don’t let the noise or speed of our culture pressure you into a response or an action that you don’t believe in. Breathe, come back home and then do the kindest thing. In fact, I think the easiest way to live unbothered is to decide every day that you are going to do the kindest thing in every situation. It won’t be perfect, easy or fun. We live in the era of the clap back, where being the loudest and proving your point trumps being decent. I have bought into that so many times, but it doesn’t ever fix anything. Being “right” doesn’t heal or change hearts. Decide to do the kindest thing, regardless. You’ll breathe easier and walk taller.
I have prayed about this post for months because I think it's important. It's really important, and (for me) it will never not be important. Our culture is fast and loud, and I don't believe that will change. While that's awesome in a lot of ways, I think it creates an atmosphere that can weigh you down if you let it.
But the thing is this- Life is better when you're unbothered. Really. It is. I learned that this year. I have to remind myself of this truth weekly. The difficult people in your life may not all of a sudden decide to stop be trifling. There probably won't be a season of life where EVERY SINGLE THING goes exactly perfectly. Maybe not, but you have never stopped having a purpose. You have never stopped being capable of pulling your light out and letting it shine.
How we live matters. How we treat others matters. That means that how we love ourselves really matters. How we love the Lord really really matters.
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
The world needs your light. The world needs you. YOU are simply too important and cool to walk through this life bothered. Seriously.
With Love & Glitter,