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!

Hey Strangers! I’m Back…

Hey Blog Family,

Sheesh… it’s been a while. It’s been since February, actually. I’d love to say I’ll never take a break that long again, but that is something I cannot promise because I don’t know what the future holds. What I do know is that I’m back for now and I’m excited to push out good content, but it will be a little different this time around.

On my home page, you might have noticed some new additions to the menu bar, both, digital marketing and faith. I’ve added these because much of my content will revolve around these two things.

Why digital marketing? I thought this was a lifestyle blog?

Good questions! I would have the same questions too, but honestly, this blog is a place where I come to be creative. I’ve been blogging (minus my breaks) for the past four years, and it’s no surprise that a lot can happen in four years. From personal growth to changing interests and new convictions, I want this platform to evolve and change with me, and I hope you guys are along for the ride!

With that said, I am adding digital marketing content to my blog because, in a sense, my blog is my portfolio. I put much of my creative work up here, but for those who don’t know, I actually do digital marketing for a living. I have a Masters of Journalism focused on Digital Content Strategy with a concentration on Social Media and a certificate in Business. To say the least, it’s a big part of my life and I’d like to share my knowledge with those who are interested. Also, I’d like to direct any clients or future clients to that page for information they can use to grow their business. So if you’re in need of a digital marketing consultant, a new and specified digital content strategy for your company, or someone to run your social media platforms, hit me up in the comments, I’d be happy to chat!

So why faith?

Guys, a lot has changed since the last time I blogged, and I must say my life has changed for the better. One of these days I’ll put up a post about my testimony, but to keep a long story short, the Lord Jesus Christ has truly been working on my heart, in my life, and through me on many different things over the past six months, and He continues to do so every day. When you come across something so good, you just have to share it as frequently as you can. So for those who are not religious or of other religions, feel free to stick around and read my content, I’m sure you’ll find life and value in it as well. But I do want to say that my Lord and Savior will have a strong hand in the content I create moving forward and if that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to exit out of my blog.

With that said, that is my mini life update, and I’m so happy to be back creating content on this platform. I hope you guys are excited for what’s to come.

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

Revelata: How You Can Help “Me Too” and Sexual Assault Survivors

2018… the year of the woman, or at least that’s what the tabloids say. With movements like Me Too and many female celebrities, gymnasts, and more coming out with stories about how they were sexually assaulted and taken advantage of, it leaves me wondering, how many women have experienced this and continue to experience horrors like this on a daily basis? After asking that, my next question is, “How can I help?”

These days, it seems like anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, even the people closest to you, and without you knowing. This means that often times, understanding how to help your friends, family and yourself prevent these situations from happening can be a little gray.

Honestly, I don’t have the answers for best practices to prevent sexual assault. If you would like to know more about sexual assault, the signs of it, and how to get help or report it, please visit rainn.org, or call their hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).

But despite not knowing how to prevent it,  I have found an organization that is actively helping survivors of sexual assault not only cope but thrive by providing resources to help them work through what has taken place both mentally and physically. This organization/company is called Revelata.


What is Revelata?

Revelata, a Latin word meaning “to unveil” began in December 2016 by Meagan McDougall. This name was chosen because, “as a survivor of sexual assault myself, I understand that it is like an unveiling process to reclaim your strength and identity after being assaulted,” said McDougall. Ultimately, this company was created so that she could use her “experience and passion to help other victims, ‘unveil the survivor within.'”

So how is this done? Well, Revelata is an Esty shop that sells natural skincare items and jewelry at reasonable prices, using 20% of its proceeds to provided resources to local sexual assault centers. By doing this, Revelata allows these centers to develop and host art therapy courses for survivors, their families, and their close friends.


What You Can Buy On Revelata.

The Bracelets

“Each 8mm beaded bracelet is handmade with 20-25 beads to represent the 20-25 women, out of 100, who are sexually assaulted at least once in her lifetime.” Powerful, I know! Also, each one is made my Meagan McDougall herself.

To make the bracelets, McDougall first searches for beads that inspire her and have meaning (i.e., jade-colored beads promote wisdom and consciousness, while rose quartz beads promote self-love). From there she chooses different combinations to arrange the beads in, accent pieces and then counts the beads out to ensure there are between 20-25. For those wondering, the bracelets are made with elastic nylon cord to ensure its longevity.

 


Soaps, Lotions, and Creams

I was given the opportunity to try a few of Revelata’s soaps and lotions. I tried the charcoal face wash, the soothing oatmeal honey soap bar, and the custom homemade body butter. What I love most about these products is that they are all natural! You know everything that goes into each of them. But the other thing I love about these products is that they work!

The charcoal face wash definitely stripped my face of all impurities, the oatmeal honey soap bar was gentle on my skin and served as a mild exfoliator due to the oatmeal chunks in the bar. But most of all, my favorite product was the body butter. I used it the first day I received it and immediately saw the results. A little goes a long way, and at first, it may seem quite oily on the skin, but my skin absorbed the oil in a matter of minutes leaving it soft and hydrated.

To say the least, my convenience store-bought lotions do nothing in comparison to this one. It’s my new go-to body cream, and I will definitely be repurchasing it. Not just because it’s effective, but also because it supports such a wonderful cause.

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The future of Revelata.

Revelata is growing and has big plans ahead. In the near future, Meagan McDougall plans to, “lay the groundwork for bringing in an art therapist to host biweekly classes for survivors at a local assault center,” as she aims for Revelata to be a “conversation starter around art therapy for trauma.”

McDougall also plans to launch a stand-alone website and online store apart from her Etsy site where she can grow her following, and launch a monthly subscription box, The Unveil Box. In this subscription box, she plans to offer unique items that are not sold in regular inventory. This includes necklaces, bracelets, and gemstones specific to each month. Definitely be on the lookout!

Also, Revelata is well on its way too big things as it was featured at the RAW Artists DC Showcase in May 2017 where McDougall was able to share about her company, mission, and touch the lives of those who would listen.

So again, I ask the question, “How can WE help.”

Through spreading the word about Revelata or purchasing their products, you will aid in helping victims of sexual assault get back on their feet again. Though sometimes we cannot always prevent these unfortunate things from happening, we can be there in support and solidarity for those who have had to suffer through these wrongdoings. Here is an opportunity to help.

Head over to the Revelata Etsy page and take a look at the products offered. Everything is affordable with prices starting as low as $2 and nothing above $50. Also, Meagan was kind enough to offer all my readers 10% off your purchase(s) when you use the code SYDNEY.

To add, you can follow Revelata on Instagram (@revelata_), and for those who may be interested, Revelata will be at the Raw Artists Atlanta Showcase on March 15th, 2018.

All in all, I hope you take the time to check out all Revelata has to offer, but more importantly, find a way to support survivors of sexual assault through Revelata or something else.

Often times there are a lot of things that happen in the world that lead us to assume there is no hope. But I believe the good will always outshine the bad, and it is up to us to create the word we want to live in. One day I hope to live in a world where sexual assault is never a topic of conversation. But for now, I hope we all do what we can to support those affected.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life.