Olive Branch

It’s been nearly a year since I lost my mind.

Tired,

I sat on my squishy bed with my laptop in hand, scrolling through a public file of your comments and replies, none of which were responses to me. I was

Hurt.

So I hid myself from you the best way I knew how, in plain sight. Running away from friendship like a soccer player running the cooper I was,

Surprised,

Or confused rather, that my definition of friendship had so many characteristics of you. How could the bar be set so high and low at the same time?

It’s been nearly a year since I lost my mind.

Spiteful

I sat holding my phone on your birthday. I had so much to say, but no heart to say it. I wasn’t ready to celebrate you. I had unresolved feelings, mismanaged pain, yet I was

Consumed

with good memories of you. Yes, good ones, but still I was so mad. The hardest thing about finished friendships isn’t the end, but the reminders. Like a

Stubborn

child refusing to nap, I pushed thoughts of you to the side. I wanted an apology, an explanation, but admittedly I wanted my friend back.

It’s been nearly a year since I lost my mind.

Content

with the fact you didn’t cross it as much anymore I was moving on. Is this what they call “growing up”? Moving forward as if nothing happened, with false ideas of forgiveness? I was

Convinced

only time could heal and surely it did. But when both time and distance are involved, sometimes they work against each other. My fondness for you, friend, never quite left, but it left me

Fatigued

and reconciliation ready. My fruits of forgiveness were ripe and I was fit to hand over the olive branch I tried to crush a year ago with my pride.

It’s been nearly a year since I lost my mind,

And today, I found it,

in the healing space between you and I,

in your harmonious hands,

in my best friend,

and I’m so thankful for you.

The Erryday: Tests

Two weeks ago, I created a video about trials and in that video, I reviewed James 1:2-4.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This week it’s all about tests. At first glance, I thought these were the same thing or at least synonymous. While they are synonymous, the difference is, trials can come from anything, friends, family, co-workers, the devil, etc., and are a way for you to refine your faith, leaving you purer than before and closer to the image of God. But tests, in my mind, are solely given to you by God. To me, it’s God’s way of checking to make sure that what He instilled in you during the trials is built to last. It’s His way of checking to see that what we’re learning in our quiet time, what we think we’ve mastered, what we boast in Him about when all things are well, still stand true to us even when everything seems to be falling apart.

To be honest, I’ve never met anyone who loves a good test or trial, but when you’re sitting in the midst of one like I am, you have to remember that God is still good and that without tests, there is no true movement towards sanctification.

Maybe for you, your test is in understanding God is your sole provider. It’s really easy to say that when you have a full-time job, benefits, a steady check, and life is good. But what happens when you’re laid off and your severance is running out? It’s a test. Will, you still say God is a provider, your sole provider, or will you doubt Him?

Or maybe it’s your health or the health of a loved one. It easy to say that God is a healer when no one is ill. But when your medial bills are racking up and you still can’t find out what’s wrong with you, things can get kind of scary. It’s a test.

Now, this by no means is meant to make light of tests or the tests you might be experiencing in your life. The goal of this blog post and video is to help you put things into perspective. Despite the tests, God is still SO good and we still don’t deserve Him, yet he chooses us daily. “I should be in Hell”, is my favorite phrase to use on days when I am particularly peeved with the Lord, because who am I really to be upset with Him?

But with that said, even through the tests, remember who He is, who you are in Him, and that He has already overcome the world, so there is no need to worry. Whether you’re on the mountaintop, or in the valley, understand that God has you in the palm of His hand, always.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt and light!

Vulnerability

V for Vulnerability

When I hear the word vulnerability, it’s like someone said the word “moist.” It just makes me queasy and uncomfortable. It’s funny because I used to think I had no issues being vulnerable, but what I really found out is that I’m great at keeping people at an arms distance.

The act of being vulnerable is uncomfortable, and I’m really bad at sharing personal details about my life.

I know what you’re thinking. “Sydney, you have a blog… about yourself. What are you talking about?”

I know, track with me for a minute. I do have a blog about myself, but much of what I share isn’t what I would call vulnerable information. I am willingly sharing it because it doesn’t take much out of me to share it. I share it because I love writing. I share it because maybe it can help someone else. But rarely do I share it with the intention for people to know the real me.

So about this vulnerability thing… For years, I’ve been praying for quality people and friendships to come into my life. I’ve wanted support groups, accountability partners, people who can look at me and say, “You’re not acting like yourself, what’s up?” even when I put on the facade that everything is good. I’ve wanted people who could call me out where I fall short, help me as I move towards sanctification, and much more.  Now, I’m finally in a position where I have those people, or I could have those people, but again, I keep them away.

I want you close, but not too close. I want you to know me, but only what I want you to know. Really I just want to be the introvert that goes to a coffee shop to be around people but doesn’t actually want to make conversation. That is me in a nutshell.

But as I learn more about what it means to live in community, I’ve learned those behaviors are actually the furthest thing from community. Community is allowing people to know you, all of you.

Not the Sunday morning you. Not the Beyonce version of “I woke up like this” you. But the you that nobody really wants to be around because you have problems, you.

Vulnerability is allowing people to get so close they could hurt you, but choosing the right community so that you can mitigate the unnecessary pain. You will get hurt being vulnerable, you will get hurt in community because people are imperfect, but as you exercise vulnerability in community, you begin to see what love actually looks like.

Vulnerability, community, and love. It’s hard to have one without the others, right?

It’s hard to be vulnerable, but it’s a prerequisite to community and love which are both things that we were built for because we were made in the image of God. So as I strive to become more vulnerable, no matter how hard and uncomfortable it is, I hope you strive to do the same.

Is vulnerability a hard thing for you too? Let me know in the comments below.

As always, until next time, get up, get moving and be salt and light!

The Erryday: Grace

Grace. Often, I find it so hard to wrap my head around this word.

By (Christian) definition, grace is “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”

To put it plainly, grace is not earned. It is the gift freely given by God… period.

Again, like I said, I find it hard to wrap my brain around this.

So you mean to tell me that there is nothing I did to earn this? That there is nothing, I can do to earn this? That the way I live my life will not help me “gain greater grace”?

If you’re puzzled too or are just realizing the magnitude of what grace is, then I’m right there with you. Often, in my walk with God, I have to revisit the idea of grace through faith, not by works.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s like every once in a while, I forget that I didn’t earn God’s grace or favor. He gave it to me (and you) because He loves me, and that’s it.

As someone, who is a type A personality and likes to control many things, my salvation, righteousness, and ultimately His grace are all things that are truly out of my hands because my Heavenly Father did it for me.

There are no works I can do to gain greater grace. There is no law I can follow either. The grace we experience from God is indeed a gift that we do not deserve, and as I remind myself of that, each time, I realize just how great and how gracious, the God I serve is.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt and light!

The Erryday: Trials

Trials are hard. I’m sure that’s something we can all agree on, but God never said there wouldn’t be trials. What we do know is “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 – ESV). This means that all things will work together to further our sanctification, making us more like Christ our creator.

While that might not be the thing you wanted to hear, especially if you’re currently walking through a trial or in a season of tribulation, I hope you do find comfort in its truth. God is with you through it all.

God is in the trials.

God is in the mundane.

God is in the erryday.

Until next time, get up, get moving and be salt and light!

The Erryday Video Series… yes, it’s spelled​ that way on purpose.

As I sit on the floor if my bedroom pondering about what content to send your way this week, I’m stumped. This is pretty bad news since I’m only a week into being back from a seven-month hiatus.

So with that said, I will simply share what’s been on my heart recently. I’ve been walking with the Lord since I was 9-years-old and walking with purpose (i.e., not being lukewarm about my faith) since March 2018. I can’t lie to you, my life since March 2018 has been the best it’s ever been. There have been trials, there have been tough days, but when you know, the Lord and the Lord knows you, even on your worst days there is so much to smile about.

I have truly been getting into my word, been so invested in my wonderful church and church family, and even attended a few Christian conferences, which has been pretty cool. One of the things I like doing is watching sermons online, Christian poets, and things like that. It’s a great way to keep me going and focused on the thing that truly matters, even when I’m doing tasks I could care less about, and that’s where The Erryday comes into play.

Often times, I see wonderful Christain people around me doing amazing things. They’re speaking at conferences, crossing every ocean on missions to create disciples, they’re church planting, they’re attending conferences, the list goes on. While I have done some of those things, much of my life isn’t that. Much of my life is simply the day-to-day.

I remember about a year ago, I came across a video from a Christian YouTube personality I admire, and he spoke about how, often, we think we’re going through the trials in life so that God can raise us up to more exciting things. We think that the Bible was only a book of miracles, we go to church, and we hear about those miracles, we get on social media and see people doing great things, and then we go home and think, “Wow, my life isn’t that great and exciting.”

But what we fail to realize is that’s because life has never been that exciting, not consistently. Much of the Bible is made up of people just living their lives, their normal, average, mundane, unexciting lives. Miracles are in there, but they weren’t an everyday thing.

We know that people’s lives on social media aren’t as amazing as they make them out to be, it’s just highlights. But through it all, whether it be reading the Bible, checking social media, or whatever I think, “Man, I have to be doing great things. God wants me to always be doing extraordinary things. God is with those doing big things.”

But one thing I’ve been learning is, that’s not true. God is with people doing great things, extraordinary things, and big things, but He’s also with you as you do the mundane things, the ordinary things, and the small things. God is always with you, everyday or should I say erryday.

I say erryday because sometimes that’s how I feel about the day-to-day. So exhausted with it that I can barely get the word out, definitely not every letter. It get’s boring, it’s not always exciting. Actually most of the time it’s really not. But because God is part of erryday, I can find peace, joy, and contentment in it because I know He is there, that’s where He wants me to be, and that’s where I can serve people well.

With all that said, I’ve started a mini-series. I don’t even want to call it a series because I’m not sure if I’ll create enough videos for it to even be called that, but with that aside, it’s a “mini-series” called The Erryday.

In this series, I film erryday, mundane tasks as I talk about a topic and discuss how I find God in it erryday. It’ll make more sense when you see it. The videos aren’t over 1:30 so they’re really short, and I use them as little reminders to myself that God is in the erryday. Also, much of what I talk about are things that I’m currently going through.

I hope you find this series helpful, especially if you’re like me and sometimes forget that God is in EVERYTHING you do, not just the big things. I’ll put a video up every Monday, starting next Monday, until the series is over… I don’t know when that will be.

Also, these videos are no Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino films, they are low budget passion projects, truly. But again, I hope you find value in them.

Also, if along the way you have any suggestions for mundane tasks that I can film or topics that I can talk about, put it in the comments below.

As always, thank you guys for your support. Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt and light!

 

By This Age I’ll…

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve given up the idea of doing things by a certain age in my life. When I was younger, doing that was fun because I just couldn’t wait to grow up. But now that I’m older, and I’ve begun to miss deadlines I’ve set for myself, the exercise of planning my life has become far less joyous and more like a reminder of dreams deferred.

But to be honest, that’s not the main reason I’ve stopped planning my life based on age and milestones. I’ve stopped due to a realization that some things just take time, certain things can’t be rushed.

This realization was two-fold, first coming from the amazing late 20 and early 30-year-olds that I look up to, and the other part coming from people in the Bible that “hit their stride” in their 30s.

Before I go any further, I have to say that I, like many other people, am a sucker for instant gratification. I want what I want and I wanted it yesterday! But whether you call it climbing the ladder, paying your dues, or the process, you can’t land at the “finish line” without embarking on the journey.

Many of the people I look up to are in their early 30s and are doing some amazing things. They’ve started businesses, they’re living the life there 20-year-old self would have never imagined, and what I find most remarkable is that they’re quite content.

Now, I can’t speak for them, but they genuinely seem to be content with where they are in life. Let me explain… I say content because that doesn’t mean that everything in their life is grand, they never struggle, and the embody Hakuna Matata vibe only. But it’s as if they’ve finally hit their stride.

Stride – to walk with long, decisive steps in a specified direction.

Though I’m only a young 20-something, I feel like much of what I’ve experienced in this season of my life is running, sprinting if I’m honest. If it’s not running to the next big thing, I’m racing to keep up with others, or to stay relevant, or to achieve something to impress people who I don’t care too much about.

While that has slowed down significantly for me since I quit social media, I often find myself still fighting aspects of that battle every once in a while. But it seems like as you reach 30 and beyond, you stop running, and start striding. Maybe it’s because you run out of gas and get winded, maybe it’s because you realize always running isn’t sustainable, or maybe it’s just because you know there is more to life, and working within your purpose as it’s been revealed to you is far more satisfying than striving for the approval of people.

Whatever it is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this change from afar in some of the people I admire. They’re truly striding, not breaking a sweat, not breathing hard, but living and loving life no matter what test or trials, celebrations or accomplishments come their way.

And as I thought about this, I couldn’t help but consider how this plays out in the Bible. Joseph was 30 when you became second in command to Pharaoh. David became king around the age of 30 as well. John the Baptist was 30 when he came out of the wilderness, Ezekiel was called by God to be a prophet at the age of 30, and of course, Jesus officially started his ministry at 30.

Why were they all 30? Why couldn’t they have been 20-something? While I don’t have the answers, I feel that each of them coming into their purpose around the age of 30 had little to do with them being actually being 30, and more to do with the journies (i.e., personal, spiritual, and physical) they all had to take to become the people they were at that time. They couldn’t just arrive in their purpose, they had to walk into it, and that takes time.

With that said, if even sovereign and all-powerful Jesus had to wait until 30, also He had to wait on the Lord’s timing to step into His purpose, I think I can humble myself to do the same.

I write all this to say that some things, no matter how much you want them, require a process of growth, maturity, and ultimately time. In this world, we can fake a lot of things, but you can’t fake true growth and the process.

If you’re like me and you find yourself wondering why you haven’t accomplished certain things by now, just remember that some things require you to wait, and all things are in God’s timing. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey He’s taking you on.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and be salt & light!