23

Thoughts on my 23rd

As I enter into my 23rd year, I come with pure joy. A feeling I don’t believe I’ve ever truly felt before, until now. Joy from the grace God has given me and the patience He has shown me, specifically in my walk with Him. But also joy, because of how He has gently restored me, even though I don’t deserve it.

His patience to wait on me to buy into His goodness and understand His reckless and never-ending love that can be found nowhere else but in Him has meant everything to me. And because of that, I plan to remain faithful all my days and practice long-suffering until the day I see His face. Because kindness like this isn’t something, you forget. It changes you. It gives you peace. It’s something you tell and show the world because words simply aren’t enough.

It’s fruit.


Things I’ve Learned at 23

1. Plan

You can plan all you want, and still, God has the final say. Become comfortable with submitting your wants to Him, but also understand that when your plans don’t come to pass, the author and creator of your faith is overseeing your life. Things will work out as they should, and He has your best interest in mind.

2. You’ll Have Questions

Questions… that’s the polite way to say doubts. Whether you have questions about your purpose or your role here on Earth, there will always be things you think of that God hasn’t fully revealed to you.  The crazy thing is, some of those things might not be answered in this lifetime, and that’s okay. But one thing I will say is, meet your doubts with faith every time. Sometimes you won’t have all the answers, but if you had all the answers, it wouldn’t be faith. Let faith be the bridge between your doubts and God’s plans that you can’t see.

3. Pros & Cons

There are pros and cons to everything. I know this is a simple concept and yet it has taken me 23 years to understand. Every decision has a consequence whether good or bad, and once you are able to truly see the two in every decision, then you will make better and more informed ones.


Things I’m Thankful For at 23

1. Perspective

I never knew the power of perspective until recently. Perspective can have you feeling like the scum of the Earth or the luckiest and most blessed person in the world all while dealing with the same circumstance. Protect your mind, and keep your perspective in order. It’s so important, and I’m thankful for the change in perspective I’ve had this year.

2. Family

It’s funny, I feel like I always put this one, but it’s true. There isn’t a year that goes by where I’m not more thankful for my family than the last. You can’t choose family but God gave me a pretty good bunch, and they mean the world to me.

3. Chosen Family

In this year I’ve lost a lot of friends, I’ve gained a few, and I’ve kept a few as well. My support system (chosen family) has played a big role in my life this year as I’ve grown to understand the power of community. I’m thankful for the people in my life who put up with me, hold me together, encourage me and do life with me, daily.


Goals for 23

1. Continue to grow my faith.

2. Nurture the relationships in my life.

3. Better understand/find my purpose.


Twenty-two was an amazing year, and I’m VERY excited to see what 23 holds. Until next time, get up, get moving and be salt & 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!

Yoga, Pure Barre & Kickboxing Review

As I have mentioned before, my college career ended on March 3rd, and I wasted no time implementing a solid workout routine. While I dedicate an hour and a half each morning to cardio and weights, I like to throw in a few exercise classes to spice things up.

Yoga

If you are anything like me, you’re probably under the impression that yoga is easy. Probably because most “yogis” are super chill and yoga is all about stretching, right?Well, that is a myth. It honestly depends on the class you sign up for. Some yoga classes are more focused on meditation, others on your core, balance, restoration, the list goes on. If you want to do yoga only because you want to stretch, then I think you’re better off just stretching by yourself.  But if you want to stretch, work on strength, balance and your core, then yoga is for you.

The first yoga class I ever took was a hot vinyasa class. I think I overestimated my abilities. While I didn’t die during the workout, there were a few times I came pretty closes. (I know! I’m dramatic.) While I am new to yoga and still learning about the different styles, vinyasa is definitely a more advanced form. Try it if you want, but you will definitely understand what I’m talking about when you’ve held a plank for five minutes, you’re sweating bullets because the room is a sauna, your muscles are shaking, and your instructor is telling you to “Just breath through it.”

I highly recommend that you take flow or sequence classes that are not hot as your introduction to yoga. Once you’ve done those, you can slowly incorporate beginner or intermediate hot class as you get more comfortable and begin to understand what yoga is all about.

I like yoga because it is a very self-reflective practice. Whenever I go to yoga I know I can work on myself, but in the presence of others. Often at the beginning of class, you’ll set a focus for yourself or as a class. A common theme of many of my classes has been letting go of anything (any energy) that doesn’t serve you.

It’s a great way to clear your mind, push yourself mentally and physically, and meet other amazing people in your community.

Pure Barre

It’s all about “finding your shake.” What is “your shake,” you ask? It is when your muscles start to shake as you fatigue them during an exercise or movement. Barre is an exercise that closely resembles the movements and workouts of ballerinas. As the name alludes to, you work with a bar and a few other items (2-3 pound weights, a small exercise ball, and circular exercise cords) to get the most out of each workout.

Pure Barre is all about working in opposite directions. You will hear the phrase “heavy tailbone,” because it helps to isolate muscles and ultimately “find your shake.” As someone who trained as a college athlete, I find pure barre to be quite challenging. Pushing through fatigue is hard despite the fact that all movements are minuscule. It causes me to work my mental toughness just as much as it makes me work physically. This has been refreshing because one of the biggest lessons I learned during college athletics was mental toughness. I’m glad I get the opportunity to work that “muscle” as well as all my other ones.

Boxing/Kickboxing

I have tried both boxing and kickboxing and have decided that I like boxing more. While kickboxing is fun and very similar, I just find boxing to be more my style. It’s easier for me to focus on punching combinations without adding in kicks and switching my footwork.

But let me backtrack and start by saying boxing and kickboxing are both great workouts! You will definitely sweat and be tired after but isn’t that what you went there for? Usually, you will have a warm up that is honestly harder than actual boxing or kickboxing workout. It will consist of jumping jacks, different variations of squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, mountain climbers, etc. Then you go through a series of boxing or kickboxing combinations for multiple rounds. Depending on where you go and what class (boxing or kickboxing), your workout could end with 10-15 minutes of abs, boxing with a partner, or something similar to the warm up.

When I attended my first classes, I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s definitely worth the hour you’re paying for. There is no doubt you’ll get a quality workout in.

I hope this workout review was helpful, and that it inspires you to get active for at least one hour every day if you are not already.

Let me know in the comments below if you have ever tried these classes, if you plan to, and other workout classes that I should try in the future!

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