Month: August 2016

Creative Outlet

As I begin my junior year of college, I am already wondering how on earth I will be able to find time for all the things I need to do, not to mention all the things I want to do! I drafted this post during a past semester, but I needed to be reminded of the value of creative outlets and the importance of deliberately carving out time for them. I seek to challenge you in this post, but more than that, I am decisively planning to make creative outlets a priority amidst the madness that I’m certain is about to ensue!

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Processed with VSCO

It’s a busy world. Life is crazy.

I have so many ideas, just a plethora of things that I want to do and create–letters I want to write, pictures I want to take, memories I want to sketch, poems I want to finish, songs I want to learn, ideas I want to express.

The list could go on and on.

I find that I live in this world of constant motion, perpetual noise. I find myself in a treacherous pattern of always going from one thing to the next, keeping my sights set on the next moment when I will be able to take a deep breath. I slip subconsciously into the mindset of: If i can just get through this Monday or that project or this double waitressing shift or that event

This list could also go on and on.

But the reality is that another thing will always exist. The moment I cross “the next thing” off my list, “the next next thing” is right there to take its place.

Sometimes I get frustrated when someone says “I didn’t have time for that.” And another individual will correct him with an ever-so-predictable, “No, you didn’t make time for that.”

Now, as much as I adore that beautiful blend of good intentions and pompous condescension (and I do), sometimes “making time” is not realistic. Maybe the reason I didn’t have time to post on my blog (or whatever “that” is) was not that I neglected to “make time” by squandering precious hours immersed in social media and binge-waching Friends on Netflix. Maybe it’s not because I wasted my afternoon sleeping  or texting or catching up on all the greatest Snapchat stories. Maybe I needed all twenty-four hours in my day to write a paper for a difficult class, listen to a troubled friend, finish a time-consuming group project, answer my mom’s phone call, attend a class lecture, go to work so I can pay my school bill, and sleep for a few hours so I’m ready to repeat a similar cycle tomorrow.

See, sometimes it is not realistic to “make time.”

So I’ve decided that sometimes….it’s okay to just “take time.”

So maybe instead of getting a 93% on my project, I get a 91%…maybe I chat on the phone with my mom for 10 minutes instead of a half hour…maybe I get 5 hours of sleep at night instead of 6 hours…a little opportunity cost in action.

Take time.

Take time to refresh your mind. Take time to create beautiful things. Take time to challenge and inspire people. Take time to write about what you love. Take time to journal about your day. Creative outlets are essential and immensely valuable.

That’s why I have decided to take time for them. I think you should too.

Defeating Defeat

Do you ever just feel defeated?

In a funk? Stagnant? Not where you want to be? Unable to overcome “it”? Stuck?

Obviously. We’ve all been there.

Today was one of those days for me in a myriad of ways, and by the end of the evening, I was certainly feeling like I was in some sort of funk, stuck in my own way, stagnant in my poor perspective, and unable to overcome my attitude. In a word, I felt defeated.

On today’s agenda: a double waitressing shift.
Ideal? No.
Big deal? No.
Unreal? Oh yes.

Laying out all the details of my day would be a pointless waste of time, not to mention ridiculously boring. But in a nutshell, I got the raw end of Murphy’s Law. That’s right. If it could go wrong, it did; and my reaction was no exception.

Just after my coworker left for the day, I was seated two tables at once, one of which consisted of fourteen people. No problem…until two of the drinks in the machine ran out almost synchronously, the phones began to ring, the impatient man at my table treated me poorly, and my manager snapped at me for taking too long to deliver food to my massive table among other things.

Unheard of situation? Hardly. It was a typical day in the life of a waitress.

Did that stop me from responding 100% incorrectly? Of course not.

I mumbled under my breath all the while I changed the drinks in the “stupid machine,” rudely demanded that the kitchen workers make themselves useful by answering the phones, treated the man at my table with the same lack of patience he showed me, and after snapping right back at my manager, complained about him to another waitress later in the day, leaving an onlooking trainee with a stellar first impression of me.

Talk about everything going wrong and causes of “funks.”

I left at the end of my second shift feeling horrible. I was still upset at the situations, frustrated at customers, annoyed at coworkers, and bitter toward my boss. Most of all, I was fed up with myself.

I felt defeated. How could I have so thoughtlessly marred my testimony? How could I have reacted so aggressively toward people who desperately need to experience love and grace? And so I continued in my funk, unable to create a solution to my defeated mindset.

And then it hit me.

I can only be defeated as long as I am focusing on myself.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I stand in a perpetual state of grace (Romans 5:2). I abide in the finished work of Christ! No bad day of mine could ever change how my unchanging Father looks on me as His child. The only thing that can be defeated here is defeat.

So if today you’re feeling defeated, determine where your focus lies. Because as long as our eyes are fixed on the cross, we cannot remain stagnant. We cannot be overcome. We cannot live in a funk. We cannot stay stuck.

We cannot be defeated.