known.

This weekend reminded me of one of my greatest fears.

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Letting people in.

I love people. Like, I REALLY love people. I’m an extrovert. Building relationships is my lifeblood. I want to be a counselor. I build emotional attachments to TV characters when I spend too much time by myself watching Netflix. Ope. Just admitted that. Hello!

What I mean by “letting people in” is not a will-you-pray-for-me-I’m-going-through-some-personal-stuff-I-don’t-want-to-discuss kind of vulnerability. It’s the I-need-you-to-walk-alongside-me-in-this-struggle-and-see-it-all kind of vulnerability. But when I truly let people in, they see more than what I think they bargained for: pain, conflicted values, pride, care, envy, genuineness, deceit, love, insecurity.

Ew. Sick. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Why would anyone want to see that? And maybe I don’t want to see it in them either! Let’s all live superficially and be in emotionally distant relationships, ok?! You stay in your corner, and I’ll stay in mine. Let’s meet in the middle when we have something funny to share. Anything beyond the level of “OMG did you see this GIF?” should be kept to yourself.

Ok, no. I don’t mean that–most days. I really want to be known. I really want to know others. To love them fiercely and unconditionally. But gracious, it is hard and terrifying.

I just re-read a poignant, old blog post that accurately describes this fear that I’ve clearly dealt with for some time. I’m learning how to be known and to know others in this new phase of life. It takes a slower pace than I expected. It requires me to let my guard down. If I build the walls higher around me, they’ll only take longer to tear down. The process only will be more arduous and leave more scarring.

But isn’t that the nature of overcoming fear?

Admitting the fear, working toward a solution, taking risks, willingness to accept the process? That’s exactly what opening yourself up to others’ love, critique, and acceptance is all about–the process. We might get burned. People might disappoint us. Our vulnerability is at a level 10, and we only hope those seeing us so completely raw will respond with grace.

Grace allows the muck inside to be seen without judgement. It gives space to explore the uncomfortable emotions. Such grace places value on knowing yourself in the process of knowing others. How can we truly seek to know others and be known if we don’t first know and accept ourselves? Grace makes this possible.

Oh, how we experienced such grace this weekend.

A dear couple who has selflessly invested in and mentored us in ways we could never repay came to town this weekend. Señor and I spent hours being heard. We dreamed, planned, expressed fears, and received prayer. We are so blessed by their presence in our lives. They remind me of the importance of letting people into our life journeys.

It’s worth the risk.

run away with me.

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Sometimes, you just need to run away.

From stress.
From expectations.
From routine.
From the chaos of the everyday.

I’m not promoting escape to evade your problems. I’m talking about running away for the sake of renewal.

Lately, it’s hit me like a brick that I can only handle so much. I am a finite being. Elementary yet fundamental concept, is it not?

Señor and I so desperately need renewal. We have been operating on empty for weeks now. Our sleep has suffered. Our bodies are weak. Our relational intimacy has taken a back seat (real talk). And our hearts are weary. We’ve made changes this semester to our daily routines, but it isn’t enough. It’s time for a true and total rest.

So, we’re running away.

Next week we’re spending a few days in the mountains (hooray, spring break!). No phones, no internet–we plan to unplug as much as we can. Also on the docket: exploring, sleeping, cuddling up to Redbox movies, quiet, Jesus time, and lots of conversation about life, the future, and how we can practice intentionality with each other the second half of the semester. Oh, and we’re not going skiing because…well…need I explain my-accident-prone-Midwest-self for the 20th time?

It’s a known fact that señor and I take advantage of any chance to travel–even if it’s just a few hours. In the four years we’ve been together, we’ve traveled to 6 countries and almost 2 dozen states. It’s an obsession. And this is how we feel about it:

DSC_0637(Brought to you by Grant and Laura circa 2010–on our honeymoon in the Bahamas. I just re-discovered this picture, and it is a true gem. No-beard-señor is a rare sight these days. More importantly, we had only been married a week when this was taken, and we are clearly LOVING our lives. The memory warms my heart more than I can handle.)

When was the last time you ran away to be renewed?

healthiness (and other uphill battles).

If you’ve interacted with me much in the past month, you may have seen a crazy look in my eye. It’s midterms. Or, as some may call it: weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Y’all. I’m wiped.

It’s been a heckuva semester so far. I thought that working 20 hours a week, taking 12 hours of class, and being an extrovert who will always drop homework to hang out with people was a good idea. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There’s this thing called rest that we all need. It’s like we’re finite or something. Bananas. I’ve been noticing that God has been forcing me to rest. Take Sunday, for example. I had every intention to work on my 15-page paper that’s due on Wednesday. Instead, I slept in (oh, whoops DST), caught up on blogs, and spent quality time with my husband. It was marvelous. And so needed.

Wellness has been seriously lacking in my life.

Whether it’s what I eat, how I spend my time, or the sleep (or lack thereof) that I’m getting, it’s been hitting me that I haven’t been taking care of myself. To make big changes is always an uphill battle, though, amiright? Here are some recent changes I’ve been working on, though.

Food. Good food.
DSC_4337A few months ago, I shared about cutting dairy out of my diet. It was basically the worst. Sometimes, I get emotional about it. A girl just wants pizza sometimes, OKAY?! I digress. Eliminating dairy was the best decision. I’m finally getting to a point where I don’t dread how I’m going to feel after I eat. I’m learning what works and doesn’t work with my body. Señor and I also invested in the glory that is a Nutri-bullet. Y’all. It is legit. Getchyoself one now. We mix 50% leafy greens, 50% fruits, almond milk, and nutrient powder in a smoothie every morning. We’ve basically felt like rockstars ever since we started. And having a healthy smoothie for breakfast actually reduces my desire for McDonald’s at lunch. MIND BLOWN.

Not-your-momma’s workout videos.
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About 4-5 mornings out of the week, Jillian Michaels yells at me, pushes me to my limit, and tells me not to “phone this one in” in one of the greatest workout videos I’ve ever done. She’s so hardcore. I’ve been working with it for a few weeks now, and it has been kicking my TOOSH. No, really. My booty hurts all the time. And my thighs, abs, inner thighs, arms, etc. Working out has never been my favorite. I ran a half-marathon 2 years ago and you would have thought I  just finished first place in the NYC Marathon. I’m still very proud of my accomplishment and like to bring it up when I feel the need to sound athletic. “Oh, you do yoga. That’s cool. I ran a half-marathon once…When?…Oh, not too long ago.” <<<<< what a joke. Working out has always been something I’ve had to push myself to do. But this recent work-out video I’m hooked on is seriously helping. I’m a weakling, and I know it. And señor’s concerned I won’t be able to carry our future babies if I don’t start working out now. Truth hurts. So does Jillian Michaels.

Playing & resting.
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It can be hard to find time to play in the midst of grad school. Homework could always steal away your attention. But it’s something I’m working on allowing in my schedule. Last weekend, we had the privilege of watching our friends‘ dog, Lucy. She is my new favorite animal. She also loves attention. So, we played. We played a lot. It felt so good to have a little critter around to be silly with. Honestly, Lucy brought such joy to our weekend. It reminded us to be ridiculous, let loose, and be playful in the midst of all the craziness. It also made me realize that I need a dog or a baby in my life ASAP.

Change can be hard. It’s a total uphill battle sometimes, especially when patterns have been set in place for so long. The reality is that I’m not even a year into this grad school adventure. Starting healthy habits now is critical.

So, if you see me with a McDonald’s bag, back away because I’ve probably earned it.

I’m just kidding. I’ll let you have a couple fries, and we can be friends.