Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones.

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I should have known that it was a sign of foreshadowing. But, caught up in my own ignorance of the universe and all the signs God was giving me, I called it cute and went on about my business – tending to my own day, my own needs, my own desires, and everything me, me, me.

Until I was stranded in a busy street in the middle of a hot afternoon with Rachi and a broken down car that was blocking traffic. Talk about embarrassing – people kept honking their horns at me or tossing their hands up in the air in frustration. And it wasn’t because they were creepy old men who thought I was attractive – it was because I was just flat out in their way and they just wanted to get home.

Tell me about it, brother. I just wanted to get home too. And I did, eventually. The sweet tow-truck driver showed me a lot of grace and patience as he towed my car and let me and Rachi sit in his passenger seat, enjoying the air conditioning – a novelty when both your car and your apartment have no 21st century forms of air flow.

People sometimes assume that I enjoy being the center of attention simply because I am a performance major at school. Dead wrong. There is always a time and place where acknowledgment is welcomed, but ultimately I fear/dread/hate/loath/detest being the center of attention – especially when it means LITERALLY stopping everything and everyone in their tracks. In that moment, I wasn’t sure whether to be furious at the world, to break down in tears, or to check out and zone out into my own little alternate world (not a drug reference, for the record!). But alas, a very attractive 26 year old tow truck driver, lover of dogs, and post military duty, man came to my rescue. I was humiliated. I hate being the center of attention, I hate asking for help, and I hate, hate, HATE situations that are 100% out of my control.

When I finally got home I broke down in tears – I can’t fix this. I can’t control this. I can’t do anything to make this better. And it actually only got worse.

One car rental, one more trip to the shop, and a lost grill (yes, the grill FELL off of my car?!?!) later I’m sitting on a $2,500.00 bill and still have a broken window switch and an unreliable car.

Dear universe,

Is this karma because I complained about my car not having AC. Or a working rear window. Or a decent radio. Or literally ANYTHING that’s wrong with it – which is apparently a LOT?!

But my car starts. At least, it starts some of the time.

I’ve realized so much during this painful, tear-ridden, headache-inducing, scary, and frustrating process…

  • Your friends truly care. They will make time to do their best to help you and take care of you.

  • People won’t take you seriously if you walk around with your shoes untied.

  • You don’t have to apologize for a situation that is out of your control.

  • Regardless of your age, it’s okay to call your parents and cry.

  • You have to trust that other people will be honest with you about their limits/boundaries and their wants/needs. This is mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.

  • There’s an extra fee if you rent a car under the age of 25. Apparently I’m still a child.

  • I mean, are you even really in college if your bumper isn’t hanging halfway off your car and your window isn’t duct taped and your gas gauge isn’t consistently on “empty”?!

  • People who honk at you on the road are probably having their own type of really rough day.

  • God will use these moments to design you, if you let Him. They don’t have to destroy you – they can be moments of growth.

  • It’s okay to be upset, angry, frustrated about the things in life that are outside of your control, but you shouldn’t allow them to exhaust you.

  • Relying on others for help does not make you weak, needy, burdensome, etc. It makes you human.

  • Breathing is always a good thing to do.

  • Duct tape really does fix a lot of things. Be proud of your rainbow duct taped car window.

  • There is no such thing as too much diet coke.

  • It’s perfectly acceptable to call your mom at the end of a long, rough day and tell her everything that’s heavy and also that you love her. She’ll probably take the opportunity to remind you that she loves you too.

  • Your Dad can (and will) be your (and your bank accounts) greatest advocate – he wants to help you. Let him.

  • You will look back and laugh. Hopefully. And even if you won’t, tell yourself that you will because it makes things seem less stressful now.

  • Take your vitamins, kids.

  • Stay hydrated.

  • It is not greedy to ask God for things – ask Him for a new car, money to deal with the one you already have, or just ask Him for some sort of solution. Never let the dialogue between the two of you die down.

  • It’s okay to whine. For 10 minutes. Then you better put your big girl pants on and move the heck forward with your life. Don’t let Satan win by poisoning your heart/mind with negativity and doubts.

  • Cry, scream, write, throw things, take a nap – do whatever it is you do to release all the heavy stuff but whatever you do, DO • NOT • GIVE • UP!!!!!

    You are valued. You are wanted. You are loved.

My comfort zone has been completely obliterated this past week – I have had to advocate for myself and deal with things I’ve never had to deal with before. I’m still here to tell about it, so at least I proved to myself that I am okay. I survived. I asked for help and the world didn’t completely turn on me and shut me down. I am still standing, breathing, and able to laugh and smile with my dear friends.

I am so grateful for this sweet summer time and the new found freedom that comes with not having 20+ hours of class commitments each week. Last night a sweet friend and I took our dogs for a walk around Gallup Park – I love spending time with this lady and her pup because we can be so real with each other. She gets it and she’s open and honest and I admire and appreciate that. Then this morning I spent two hours over brunch with one of the dearest ladies I’ve ever met – such a sweet, spunky soul and a heart for God that I aspire to have. It’s so freeing to be able to sit across the table from someone and hear them say, “Me too!” or to be able to listen to their stories, their struggles, and to be able to say, “Really? I was afraid I was the only one!”

Moments like these are what fill my soul up – they ground me and remind me that there are such bigger things to life than money, cars, mechanical mishaps, etc.

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my every day to make God belly-laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
-Shauna Niequist

What is it that you want with your life? This situation has been scary and it’s forced me to be vulnerable. I took a leap of faith in deciding to go to Belize this July with a group of wonderful people – the cost was about $1,300.00 – money that I didn’t have at the time that I agreed to go on the trip. But sure enough, God always provides and by the skin of my teeth I was able to just BARELY find the money in time. Regardless, God was there…planning, preparing, testing, etc. And because that money was just BARELY there, I’m now left with a staggering bill and nothing to even begin to start paying it off with. Thankfully, my parents are right by my side and lending a helping hand (and a helping credit card) but I’ve got to be honest – this feels like failure. It feels like the most uncomfortable situation in the world (a gross exaggeration, I know, but that’s how it FEELS, even if that’s not how it is in reality.) As uncomfortable as this has been and likely will be for the next few months, look at the amount of growth that’s already come out of it – look at the way it’s forced me out of my comfort zones in a multitude of ways. I’m not suggesting that it’s ever a good idea to live outside of our financial means, but isn’t it sometimes worth it to maybe live on the edge? It’s important to have life vests that we can throw on when we reach rough waters – friends, family, church family, etc. And I have these people – they have come to my rescue more times than they realize and I am so so grateful.

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Of all the great things in life that we can experience, isn’t personal growth one of the greatest? I can choose to allow myself to be defeated, to give up, to put my life on pause because of these repeated issues with my car or I can choose to accept reality for what it is, ask God for guidance, and keep putting one foot in front of the other (albeit, both figuratively and metaphorically). At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and realize that I spent my entire time here on earth being comfortable. I want to have had life changing experiences that have shaped me, grown me, challenged me, and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I want to have seen, tasted, and experienced the world and all it has to offer. I want to tell stories of bad things that happened in my life and how they led to better things and I want to tell stories about great things that happened because I wasn’t afraid to take that next step. That next step – the one that is scary, the one that makes you anxious, the one that excites you, the one with no clear pathway in view. I want to take leap after leap of faith. I want to spend time with the people that really matter and do the things that truly matter. I want to live a life of experiences – not routines, alarm clocks, monotonous days in and out, in and out. No, I want to accept that life won’t go as planned and I want to lean into that and allow myself to step outside of my comfort zone – allow myself to be shaped in positive ways by both the good and the bad experiences I have in life.

Most of all, I want to be receptive to whatever God is trying to teach me in these tough moments. I want to be present and be real with the people around me. I want to teach, lead, and share what God has done and is doing through my life – I want every day to be a day that increases my awareness of God and my love for all He has done for me, my life, and the world in which we are blessed to reside.

Not every day will be “good” but every day will have some good in it.

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All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”
Orson F. Whitney

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