Browsing Category: Deep Thinking

An Ode to the Tough Times

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I am in love with the tough times,
inspired by challenges,
by the battles life calls us into,
by the strength to keep stepping,
and the courage to admit
you just don’t know how anymore.
I am inspired by those moments
where what looked like weakness
is suddenly transformed into strength.

I am inspired by the love
that rushes with open arms
to provide a safe place
for those confessions to land.
The love that speaks the truths
you are enough and you are worth it.
The kinds that bolsters our courage,
lends us the battle gear we’ve been missing,
and connects us with the rest of humanity.

Those sacred moments
where vulnerability encounters
pure love and grace
is where God becomes tangible.
It’s where though nothing
in this crazy life makes sense,
somehow, it all makes sense.
The things that matter come into focus
and the rest seems to fall away.

The secret is: the things that matter are hard things.
They ask for a lot of attention to survive,
requiring us to fight for them.
But the beauty of the fight
is that it reminds us just how much heart
and tenacity we each have.
The strength we have,
the courage we have,
the depth of hardships we’re capable of surviving.

And without being asked,
compassion rushes in.
It doesn’t fight the fight for you,
it doesn’t try to rescue you from the pain.
But it puts on a pair of boxing gloves of its own,
wipes the blood off your face,
hands you a bottle of water,
reminds you who you are and what you’re fighting for,
and says,“I’m with you, you can do this.”

And even for the strongest of us,
there is comfort in being reminded
we’re not in the ring alone.

The Year of the Comeback

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Since I moved to Nashville 4.5 years ago, life has been non-stop change & growth. And sometimes growth & change can happen so fast that you feel like you lose yourself in the process – like you don’t know who you are anymore.

This time a year ago I chose revival to be my word for 2014. I had dreams of feeling alive again rather than in a perpetual state of blah. But a year later I’m left disappointed that revival hasn’t happened. What’s even more disappointing is realizing it was my own fault. “I just want to feel like myself again” I’ve been saying.

But, if I’m really honest that’s not ultimately the goal – I can’t, nor do I want to be, the person I HAVE been. 

When a sports team makes a comeback it’s because they have a “come to Jesus moment” & decide to work. They decide to push – hard. They decide to lay it all on the line, to be all in. They decide that knowing they gave it all they had is ultimately the greatest success no matter the outcome of the competition. And they start playing the game differently because they know different is the only thing that can change the course.

So, 2015 will be the year of the comeback – not going back to my old self, but simply being comfortable in my own skin again.

ps – This shall be my theme song for the year
pss – This is my favorite comeback story I’ve heard recently

Show Me Your Scars

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Show me your scars. Tell me your battle stories – don’t hold back the details, I want to hear it all. The heartbreak and loss and grief. The hard times when joy was merely a discipline, not a feeling. Tell me of the times when you wanted to give up, when pure adrenaline kept you holding on. Be honest about your questions and your doubt. About the times when you had to reconcile faith with reality and the days when you weren’t sure if that was really possible.

Show me your scars with pride because they are evidence that you survived. That you’ve fought hard and your heart is better for it. Your scars have made you resilient. They’re the birthplace of your courage. Signs of your humble strength.

Show me your scars – the dark places where light shines through. The emptiness now filled with connection. Show me your scars and I know it will be safe to show you mine.

Addicted to Adventure

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My name is Katie & I am an adventure addict. Any personality test I take will tell you I thrive on the spontaneous. That I get bored easily. That I’m not satisfied with status quo but rather individuality.

And all of those tests would be accurate. But can I be really honest? I am suffering from adventure fatigue.  

Too often I feel like I am simply collecting experiences for the sake of experiences. Experiences are what shape & mold us, yes, but I’m beginning to believe that doesn’t happen without some curating. 

We live in a culture that has encouraged in us a fear of missing out so we say yes to everything. But I’m beginning to fear missing out in a different way – the depth of life I miss out on because I want to keep my options open rather than committing to something. 

I have a wide variety of interests & I’m a people pleaser. So naturally “no” is nearly non-existent in my vocabulary. But I’m wrestling with how to change that because my entire being is desperate to be whole. And I become more convinced that whole isn’t possible without saying no to a lot of things. A lot of good things. Maybe even some great things. All to create space for the best things – those I deeply value & am passionate about.

I am beginning to wonder what my life would be like if I became a curator of experiences rather than a collector. If I had an end goal in mind & those experiences were stepping stones rather than distractions.

But first, I have to do the work of figuring out what that end goal is. Endless adventure does a really good job of filling time, of keeping you busy & therefore thinking you’re achieving something. And while there may be small achievements along the wandering path, what do they really mean if they don’t move you in the direction of your purpose?

In Suspense and Incomplete

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I wrote this post a year ago reflecting on what had been three years of living in Nashville. Reading it now it feels almost a bit self-prophetic.

“It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Leave.” (Donald Miller)

Returning home to Nashville after 11 days of traveling earlier this week I was unnerved by my lack of excitement. I couldn’t wait to be home, but for the first time in as long as I can remember my soul wasn’t longing to be back in Nashville.

I walked into my apartment hoping for that “ahhhh, I’m home” feeling. I’m still waiting. I missed my friends, sure, but not in the way I used to. I was glad to be sleeping in my own bed, but that could’ve been in any city. I was happy to be back in the Southern part of this grand country but just so that I could say y’all without getting funny looks and even strangers would be hospitable. But a certain giddiness about returning home was missing.

Is it possible that I’m falling out of love with this city that has been such an instrumental part of my story? That’s a scary question to ask aloud. Because the truth is, I want to be giddy about returning home here. I want it to still feel like home. I want it to be the place where I feel like I belong.

So what do you do when you’re living somewhere between before and not yet? How do you find peace for your soul living in limbo as it senses change coming without a clue what that means or looks like.

Perhaps there is nothing to do but continue living, and waiting for the next step, knowing that you’ve survived leaving before and you can do it again.

“Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The Fear of Being Found Out

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a thousand people stood in line
to hear a couple words of mine
afraid i will miss a beat
and everyone’s watching me

i don’t know why i’m still afraid
it’s not like it was yesterday
i’m the one stopping me
from all that i want to be

If Colbie Caillat sings about it I know I’m not the only one who fights the fear of being found out.

In general, on the surface there’s not a lot that scares me to the point that it holds me back. Usually the fear of “what if?” wins out for me. But recently I’ve had to own up to my fear of being found out.

Maybe you know the fear – your anxious spirit perpetually on edge waiting for your life to come crashing down around you. Your life – who you are, what you do, all of it – feels fragile.

There are moments when this fear can be all consuming & down right paralyzing.

It usually starts from a very positive thought or overwhelming gratitude – “Is this really my life? Do I actually get to live this story?” I have that thought at least once a day. But when I think about it too long doubt creeps in & starts asking me who I think I am to be living this life.

It was four years ago today that I made the move from Appleton to Nashville. Not only did that move relocate me physically but it took my life in a direction I had never ever imagined.

When your life looks so different than any story you could’ve written or any plan you could’ve constructed, it’s almost impossible not to be overwhelmed by the greatness of it. It naturally leaves you feeling like you’re living in a dream.

Most of the time I find myself living waiting to wake up from the dream – certain that the moment is going to come when the plot completely turns & I’m suddenly living in a nightmare. The moment I realize that what I’ve thought is my life really was just a dream after all.

I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this fear & I think it has a little something to do with self-worth. Something has convinced us we aren’t worthy of or don’t deserve the life we have. And while it may be true that we don’t deserve it we live in a world of grace that doesn’t so much care if we “deserve” it or not.

One of life’s greatest gift is moments when we get to see ourselves through other’s eyes. My friends are one of life’s best mirrors – I learn more about myself by listening to them than from any self-discovery process I try to engage in. Listen to how your friends would describe you and chances are you will hear that you are completely worthy of the life you’re living even if you don’t “deserve” it.

Through other’s eyes we see that we are worthy in spite of our struggles & weaknesses & that most of the time we are our own worst critics. In those moments we’re reminded “I’m the one stopping me from all that I want to be.”

photo-2I got a new tattoo a couple of weeks ago – the emblem from the Tennessee state flag. It sits on my forearm right under the word “surrender” It’s my daily reminder of the story that has been & continues to be written for me. A story that I am worthy of living because of grace. It’s the story of a girl who, surrounded by the spirit & community that is Nashville, has learned how to be. A girl who is learning to own every bit of her story, celebrate the unimaginable, & step out of her own way.