The Next Four Years

 

Four years ago, I was 22 years old and had my life totally figured out.

I was in my second year of teaching and could cook a one course meal using a frying pan.

Curiosity killed the cat, as they say, and my roommate Kendra and I blew out the pilot light on our gas fireplace. It appeared to be a safety issue, but once we realized we were mistaken, we had to call our landlord. (Seriously, how were we supposed to know it stays on?).

I also forced Kendra to hide my snack food on me because I had no portion control (still don’t) but then after awhile she refused to do it because she says I got too aggressive when begging her to tell me where she stashed it.

Life was most certainly an adventure.

So I may be using the phrase “totally figured out” loosely, but I made it and am a fully (read: mildly) functioning adult today.

The last four years have challenged me, excited me, devastated me, taught me and changed me.

I’m not the same person, or even close to resembling the person I was 4 years ago.

So with the election looming, okay stalking, all around us, it has me thinking about the next four. What will I do with them?

In four years, I will be 30. Hopefully married, (please, Lord) maybe with a babe or six, and probably a much more mature version of myself.

Looking back at how the years have flown by, I know in the blink of an eye it will be here. 4 years will have come and gone.

4 years that potentially (this is purposely written before the election to leave out any names or political stances #strategy), hold someone in office that does not represent the values or the morals that I hold dear to me.

That leaves me with this question: even if the outcome of this election scares me and hurt my soul, what do I want the next four years to be about and what can I do to make it happen?

Do I want to make it obvious the next four years how I think the election should have gone and where it all went wrong?

Do I want to argue points endlessly about controversial issues?

Do I want to add to the broken relationships that have weathered too many storms over the election season?

No.

For the next four years, I want the world to see how I feel about my Jesus, not my President.

For the next 48 months, I want to point others to the cross, not to the latest headline.

(Maybe I should also brush up on my multiplication facts during this time, because I had to google 12  x 4)

For the next 1,460 days, I want the light that lives in me to shine bright in a world covered in so much darkness.

I could keep going into hours and minutes, but I think you get the point and I don’t want to patronize you.

We are called as believers to fight for justice and stand up for  the truth that is found in  the Word of God.

But we are not God.

We cannot fix the brokenness by ourselves.

It’s not our job to fix the brokenness.

We can fight for change and speak out against injustice.

We can pray and we love and we cry out for the help we so desperately need.

That is our calling. To do His work.

This calling does not have to include the tearing down of other people.

I’ve got to think that God cares more about how we treat and love  neediness of people, than he does about how we feel about the President.

When I stand before Him one day, will He say to me,

“What is your perception of the political situation in America from 2016-2020?”

or will he more focused on the ways I was His hands and feet to those who needed Him most?

We can stand strong in a way that honors God in word and action.

The next four years, and truthfully, the remaining time until Jesus returns, will not be easy for followers of Jesus.

When I am almost 30 years old, on the eve of the election of 2020, I hope those around me can say that I spent these precious years loving Jesus, serving people and striving to be more like Christ in a world that needs Him more than ever.

In four years, maybe I will own a house that has a garage door opener. #dreams

Maybe I’ll finally cut back on excessive amounts of processed foods and sugar.

So much can happen in 1,460 days. There is so much we cannot control that happens around us, but what we can control is how we respond and react to the chaos we see and we feel.

Love wildly for the next four years.

 

 

 

 

What God Does in the Discomfort

Patience and perseverance are not two of my strongest qualities.

Unlike some of the Olympian greats, I prefer not to work hard, push through tough circumstances or wait extended periods of time to arrive at what I want.

I prefer instant results with the least amount of work and discomfort possible. (Someone write this on an inspirational poster.)

Max and I have been working out together lately, and I am fairly certain he has started to realize that getting me from the parking lot of the gym to actually being inside the gym requires much more emotional and physical energy than the workout itself. The 100 yards from the car to the gym doors require a mental toughness and the patience of a practicing Monk.

The monk and me in happier times.

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Last week, we had to run into the store before working out, and I told him I wished I would get caught shoplifting and taken to jail so I didn’t have to work out.

*Disclaimer: I do not steal and have never stolen. This simply illustrates the emotional turmoil I experience the minutes before working out and the lengths, in that emotional state, I feel I would go to avoid it

I came up with many ideas of things we could do besides work out: eat, snack, lay around and watch TV; all of which sounded much more appealing than the gym and would feel much better in that moment.

On the walk from the car to the gym, I can come up with 10,000 reasons not to enter it.

I’m too tired.

My brain hurts.

I have other things to do.

I hate it.

Sadly, there have been many times I literally arrive at the gym, pull in the parking lot, park and then turn around and go home. No thank you.

But Max held firm to our scheduled work out, knowing full well that in one hour, when the workout was over, I would feel energized, happy and proud of myself for being physically active. It would be worth it for me.

We get into the gym, change in the locker room, and I meet him by one of the machines to begin the experience of physical activity. After just a few minutes, I whisper

“How much longer until this is over?”

Max just looks at me.

However, without fail, as I begin to put in the work, break a sweat and get active, I feel so much better. The endorphins start flowing, and all of a sudden I announce how much I love working out and how maybe I could even train for a marathon or do one of those 30 day cleanses to purify my system so I could be a spokesperson for healthy living.

Again, he just looks at me as I have gone from one extreme, preferring prison over the gym, to sudden motivation to push my body to the highest level of athleticism.  He knows we will go through the same emotional roller coaster together in 2 days. He continues lifting.

If I have learned anything over the years, I have learned that my emotions and my feelings cannot be used as tour guides or directors for arriving at what is best for me.

In the past, some of the best paths the Lord has placed me on felt like way too much work and  and way too painful.  Many of the best decisions I have made were often the most terrifying and the most uncomfortable. Choosing another way would have felt so much better at the time.

Looking back now, Praise Jesus I fought through that pain and held on. His greatest blessings came through my biggest disappointments and challenges that felt horrible.

Look at the stakes in this tree: I bet that tree is pretty uncomfortable. He wants to be free of that discomfort and stand up on his own. All the other trees look big and full and healthy, and these stakes feel as if they are getting in the way of that. But those stakes are designed to support, protect and make the tree stronger in the long run, allowing roots to grow. He will feel full and healthy when he makes it through this. Although momentarily painful- enduring this season is important for this tree if he wants to withstand the winds and storms that are coming his way. His roots have to be developed and strengthened. It’s not his time yet.

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While making decisions based on  feelings may satisfy short term discomfort, like the stakes in the tree, long term joy and fulfillment comes when you push through tough situations, do the hard, but right thing, and hold fast through the discomfort.

Unfortunately, most times in our lives, the results are not as instantaneous as how we feel pre-workout and post-workout.

A lot of times, like the tree, you may have the uncomfortable stakes in place for years before you can see why they were necessary in the first place.

How many times in my life have I thought I knew what was best for me?

I can actually answer that question by saying almost every single day.

Almost every day of my life, I could believe that what is best for me is what would make me feel good at that moment.

What quick decision or step could satisfy this longing, desire or discomfort?

In the case of right and wrong: agreeing with someone and not standing up for something I know is Biblical because it feels yucky and offensive.

In the case of friendship and relationships: holding on to bitterness because forgiveness feels so much harder.

The hard conversations that would be easier avoided.

In the case of the gym: going home and laying down with a jar of peanut butter.

Clearly I am using the gym as a deep and academic metaphor for the times in our life where God is using a little bit (or lot bit) of discomfort to achieve a purpose bigger than us.

Something where you know God has you there for a reason, but it would be super easy to take the escape route to avoid the pain.

 

But what is God doing in the discomfort and the stretching?

What purpose or lesson is God teaching me or using me for in that season?

There are many situations in life that feel so uncomfortable at the time, but prove to be the very things that shape us and grow us and mold us.

Throughout my life, I have done everything in my power to manipulate circumstances to quickly achieve whatever the desired outcome was. God usually takes longer than I prefer, so I have been known to take a step before the path is ready.

The results are usually faster, but never, ever better than the outcome God had waiting for me.

Like clockwork, my premature actions trying to band-aid and quick fix my momentary discomfort results in a messy explosion, me laying my plans at His feet and Him ultimately having His way in me. His better way.

My human tendency is going to always be to try to weasel my way out of discomfort to get momentary relief, or an illusion or cheap substitute of what I want.

To take off the stakes that are supporting me and developing me. To leave the gym as soon as I get there because I’m in a bad mood. To leave a situation before God is finished working on it.

 

I’ve been on a journey the past few years to stop letting my ever-changing emotions make decisions for me.

The walk from the car to the gym can be a long one. You want to turn around and take the easy way out. The stakes might be uncomfortable. You want to remove them.

But I’ve learned, and am still learning, to grow in the discomfort, push through the things that don’t always “feel good,” and believe that when it’s all over, I will look back, stronger, happier, healthier and so very glad I didn’t go home to snack the night away on Schuler’s cheese (with a hint of horseradish) and crackers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Fellow Women: 10 Times I’m Not Judging You

“Don’t judge me.”

I say it. My friends say  it. Strangers jokingly say it to each other in passing  (at least I did this week to an elderly gentlemen as he caught me opening a bag of chips in the grocery store parking lot).

Although I am sure this isn’t just a “women’s issue,” I do find it more apparent amongst my own kind.

Most of the time it’s in fun and harmless, but I feel even in the most lighthearted of times, it can reveal a deeper insecurity about ourselves as women and how we want others to see us.

In a society of social media highlighting the very best of others’ lives, we are stuck examining our own monotony, our own mess.

It’s easy to judge ourselves when we are comparing the grind of our daily life to only the smallest, most edited portion of another.

So I propose that we stop using the J word. To ourselves. To each other.

So let me tell you all of the times I am not judging you.

I am not judging you for your messy house. Listen, I can barely take care of myself. It’s exhausting and I have no one to blame but me. Honestly, how does anyone keep a kitchen clean? I make half a sandwich and it’s as if Subway opened a free lunch buffet on my counters open to the public. It’s comical to me when my friends with multiple kids apologize for their mess. I think to my little apartment and how you can’t even see the floor of my closet most days.

I am not judging you for finishing your entire plate of Fettuccini Alfredo and then ordering dessert. Once a colleague gently told me that  she couldn’t take me seriously with the chocolate all over my face. (I had gotten myself into the chocolate fountain that day.) I once snuck into the staff lounge after hours and ate sheet cake in the dark. I double fist donuts on the reg. Need I say more? Get on with your Pasta loving, self.

I am not judging you for your misbehaving kids. I don’t have kids of my own, but I am a teacher. You can be the best parent, grandparent, teacher, or babysitter in the world, but something in the air of a grocery store, restaurant, or any public place in general can turn children into monsters. I don’t think you’re a bad mom or a bad teacher or a bad caretaker when your 7 year old does his best impression of a 2 year old throwing a tantrum. I get it.

I am not judging you for binge watching your favorite show on Netflix instead of doing something “productive”. Because I was once so emotionally caught up in a show that I prayed for the characters before bed. I have seen the entire SERIES of the Office at least 3 times. Do you know how many hours that is? Last night I ate Sugar Snap peas, pretzels, and spoonfuls of peanut butter all in bed while watching Friends. Don’t get me started.

I am not judging you for wearing sweats to the grocery store. There is a reason  there is no documentation of some of the outfits I have worn in public. My running errands attire is “Homeless Chic.” Your sweatpants are classy compared to some of the outfits I have gone out of the house in.

I’m not judging you for not working out. Because yesterday, although I did eventually make it to the gym, I sprawled across my bed audibly protesting the even thought of moving. I yelled to my roommate across the apartment, complaining about my plight of missing motivation. I literally, at one point, rolled around on the floor in agony at the mere thought of moving. Do not tell me that you not working out is more shameful than that embarrassing show I put on.

I’m not judging you for not being organized. I am a teacher and at end of the year I needed to hand back approximately 1,350 papers that I forgot about. They were in no order and represented about 20 classes of students. I literally threw them in a big pile on the floor and the students went “scuba diving” to find their names. Kids were on their hands and knees, slipping on papers and searching for their names.The papers stretched out almost from wall to wall. Don’t talk to me about not being organized. I need an intervention.

I’m not judging your for your emotional meltdown. I have cried in the arms of people I barely knew because they caught me at the wrong time. I’ve started sobbing over tiny details because they remind me of bigger ones. We don’t all have it together all the time. Most of us just try to keep it together sometimes.

I’m not judging you for your relationship problems. Don’t feel embarrassed about the issues you face in your relationship, with your children, in your friendships or your marriage. I’ve been there (minus the whole married with kids one #workingonit). Anything you have been through, I bet I can relate in some aspect. I have sat at my work desk and sobbed during my lunch break over breakups. I’ve muddled my way through a horribly wrong relationship in search of finding the right one. Your problems aren’t worse or crazy. They are normal.

So maybe, just maybe, there may be some areas of my life where I have it all together right now. You may have caught me during a week where my apartment is clean, I washed my hair regularly and chose broccoli over french fries.

But your large plate of pasta has been my half a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts in one sitting.

Your messy kitchen has been the trunk of my car that houses enough random goods to provide the essentials of life to a small family.

Your insecurities about how you look in leggings is me avoiding going to the doctor so I don’t have to see how much I weigh.

Your tears have been my sobs.

Your unbelief has been my hours of questioning.

Your mess is my mess.

There is beauty in all of the messy, imperfect parts of you and in your life, me and my life.

Let’s not be afraid to be real around one another. Real is good. Real is powerful.

I’m not judging you.

 

 

How Replacing One Word Changed So Much

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend said to me, “I feel like you’re just anxious about being anxious right now…”

And I replied, “Welcome to my brain. Please stay awhile.”

When I told him that I would love to try out his logical, structured, factual engineer brain for a day, he responded, “Does that mean I would have to try yours?” (he wouldn’t last an hour anyways, most would fall due to exhaustion).

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Bless his heart.

Anxiety has always been a part of who I am. It is not WHO I am, but is is a part of me.

My brain is awesome, but it can also be terrifying.

My family tells stories of me as a 6 year old, standing in the corner wringing her hands as we were dropping off my sister at summer camp.

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Baby Jenna had constant anxiety that her stomach rolls would actually eat themselves.

My dad had to physically carry me (and as you see in the above picture, that was no easy task) into my first day of 1st grade, my first tennis lesson and my first time ice skating. I’m actually surprised no one contacted authorities over the amount of times I was transported into activities against my will (but for my own good).

( In my parents’ defense, I would BEG for them to sign me up for these events, have them register and pay for me and THEN refuse to go once I got there. I was a joy and a breeze to raise.)

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Jeff and Beth. The MVPS of 1990-2008 when I lived with them.

Every major disruptive change in my life (good or bad) typically results in some level of an anxious response.

While “certainty” and “known” are my favorite words, “uncertainty” and “unknown” are my worst enemies.

There are times that fear and anxiety absolutely control my life.

Not to discredit all the “worrywarts” out there who  get moderately stressed or nervous on occasion, but I am talking about deep, paralyzing anxiety that stops you in your tracks.

Anxiety and fear that envelopes you and sometimes you don’t even know why.

Panic and dread that come over you and make it hard to breathe, let alone explain how you’re feeling.

A racing mind that only slows down enough to find another thought to become obsessed with.

If you have never struggled with anxiety, you are probably reading this thinking I am absolutely crazy (no argument there).

If you have struggled with anxiety, you’re reading this in relief saying “Thank the Lord I’m not the only one.”

Everyone’s anxiety is different and manifests itself in different ways and with different triggers, but most anxiety is rooted in uncertainty and losing control.

If you’re bored one day and feel like messing with an anxious person’s head (that is a psychotic thing to do and if that sounds appealing to you, please stop reading here), there are two surefire words to spiral them into a frenzied panic:

What if

 

A few months ago, I was struggling through an intense time of anxiety and had gone home for the weekend to be doted on by my loving parents (because I’m still 12). On my way back to Grand Rapids, I spent my time wrestling with my thoughts WWE style.

Fear  was attempting to take over as I obsessed about the what if’s of an unknown future.

What if

What if

What if.

But then I felt God say to me, in a way that was so much different than the voice of anxiety and so contrasting to the emotional ups and downs I was experiencing:

Why are you so afraid of my plans for you. What do you know about me?

I need you to get to a point where EVEN IF I lead you into unknown territory and EVEN IF your plans are not my plans, you trust me, because you know I am good.

This world is full of uncertainty. I wish I knew exactly what God wanted from me and my life every moment of every day, but I don’t.

The “what if” game has no certain outcome. It has limitless answers and the wilder your imagination, the longer you can play. (Spoiler alert: this is a game where everyone loses).

What if leads me down a road of uncertainty and turmoil.

For example, let’s play this game for kicks and giggles with a pretty shallow what if question:

What if I left my curling iron plugged in? LET’S PLAY.

My apartment could burn down.

I could lose everything.

I would have no where to live.

I would live out  of my car and drink river water.

I could be found alone on a street at night sleeping and be kidnapped and forced to work as a gardener (the worst job I could ever have).

I would work long days in the hot sun with no contact with the outside world, harvesting radishes and using my tears as a watering device.

Wasn’t that fun? I started with a curling iron and ended up working as a kidnapped gardener.

So on that car ride, I felt God remind me of His faithfulness. I changed the word “What” to “Even.”

Even if.

Even if leads me down a road, although maybe unknown, still certain.

Even if forces me to fall back on what I know. Not indulging in my disturbingly vivid imagination of every possibility that could happen.

Even if someone I love abandons me.

Even if that candidate wins the election.

Even if all of my friends have babies that are in seventh grade by the time I get married.

Even if I lose my job.

Even if my apartment burns down.

Even if His plans are different than mine.

What do I know about God? What has He shown me in 25 years that I have rest in?

That He is faithful.

That He has picked me up from ashes before and He would do it again.

That He is sovereign over this world and sovereign over my life.

That He is in control.

That He has placed the best support system on planet earth in my life and I would never be alone.

That He works everything out for my good, regardless of the pain it takes to get me there.

So even if the worst case scenario happens to me in this life, even if I lose everything, I know for certain that He is faithful and His plan WILL come to a beautiful place of redemption that tells a story much bigger than the one I was planning on telling.

There have been seasons in my life of deep grief and heartache. Times where I was so broken I didn’t know how I could ever be restored.

Yet faithfully, He put the broken pieces back together and created something more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

“Even if” changed so much for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have devoted years of my life to learning to live with anxiety and this one phrase was not the magic cure. It helped to change a pattern of thinking, yet I am very aware that anxiety is much deeper and can be much more severe.

God has supplied me with many different tools, people and support to live freely and joyfully. If you have any questions about my journey with anxiety, I would love to talk with you. I am so open on my blog, but there are obviously personal details about my life and my journey that I keep private, but if you are someone who struggles with anxiety and wants more of my story, email me any time 🙂 My dream is to start some kind of anxiety support group 😉 #forrealthough

jennawiley@yahoo.com

Blessings,

Jenna

Blessings,

Jenna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Matter Where You Are On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s 2009: Went to Pizza Hut on a double date, saw “He’s Just Not that into you” and promptly broke off the relationship the next day (got back together 5 days later)

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Brittany and Ryan. And Pizza Hut Pizza. #valentinesdoubledate

Valentine’s 2010: Young and in love- Went to a banquet where no dancing was allowed so we just took pictures

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I had just learned how to curl my hair. Amazing.

 

*As I was going through pictures, I realized that I was pretty much always with my college roommate, Brittany around the Valentine’s holiday. Since I obviously am not going to post pictures from my own relationships, (that is a WHOLE new level of Taylor Swift), I am having pictures of me, Brittany and Ryan tell the stories. I don’t technically have permission to do this but I just group texted them letting them know.

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**Brit just texted back: we are all good

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Valentine’s 2011: Young and in love- celebrating a 2 year anniversary and all things Valentines in Chicago

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Cookies and coffee circa 2011

Valentine’s 2012: Heartbroken, country playlist on repeat for the remainder of 2012

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February 2012 with my roommate. Pretending to be happy but slowly dying inside.

Valentine’s 2013: Still kind of heartbroken, but back in the game

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Starting to feel bad that I spent pretty much every Valentine’s weekend with her….Sorry Ryan #needyfriend

 

Valentine’s 2014: Got into an argument over dessert, made Valentine’s dinner with the peel still on the shrimp so had to spit out the skin onto napkins. Ordered iHop for breakfast the next day to make up for the fight.

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Pancakes fix everything

Valentine’s 2015: Reeling from a breakup 4 days before. Worked in the church nursery, went to Applebee’s at 11pm with a friend. Was in email communication about of buying  $800 hypoallergenic cat to fill the empty spots in my heart

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A picture of the  actual $800 kitten I almost bought myself

 

Valentine’s 2016: Absolutely, totally content 5 days a week. Need reminders about God’s plan and encouragement from friends 2 days a week. Loving and appreciating contentment in this stage of my life. Thankful for amazing friends, the most precious nephew, and an incredible family. Crazy about my job. Happy. On a sugar high from Valentine’s cards from the kiddos:

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Thanks, kids.

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The strongest romantic feelings I have currently are about lipstick. And that’s fine with me.

 

Over the past 7 or 8 years, I have experienced pretty much every emotion about Valentine’s Day.

 

Hating it.

Loving it.

Indifferent to it.

Feelings are temporary. Rough patches don’t last forever. Broken hearts mend,  time passes. God heals, friends encourage.

Wherever you are this Valentine’s Day, take it for what it is. A day in a season of your life. A day. Not a day that defines you. It’s not even a day that says anything about you at all.

It’s a 24 hour period that may evoke some emotions within you, and that’s okay. Because before you know it, it’s over and nothing has changed. This is a moment in the timeline of your life.

I never thought I would be where I am this Valentine’s Day of 2016. But over the years, I have learned that some of my most intense disappointments have been God’s biggest blessings.

It has been a journey of ups and downs: Pizza Hut and cats and Applebee’s and pancake breakfasts. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Happy Valentine’s Day, no matter where you are on your timeline.

xoxo

Jenna

 

 

 

Lost Close to Home

I was on my way to my friend’s house the other night, and overly confidently decided to not use my GPS.

I called him and asked for a refresher on street names (which he patiently gave me even though I had been there numerous times before) and continued on my way.

About 5 minutes later, I was  stuck in his neighborhood and had no idea how to arrive at the house.

I made some turns, went down a few dead ends, made some more turns and then realized there was no way I was getting there on my own.

So, I asked my girl Siri to get me the rest of the way. I asked her for help, and she so graciously whipped up the little life-saving map on my phone and began to give me directions.

I realized she was giving me walking directions.

I was so close to the house, 400 feet to be exact, that she had to give me walking directions.

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Siri also enjoys turning on me when the kiddos I nanny decide to change my name to Weirdo Head in my phone. She can’t be trusted.

And such is my life.

These types of things happen to me often.

During the summer months, I love/hate to run.

Usually I run the exact same route to ensure I can expect every twist and turn and cross street. I don’t like surprises.

Since I moved this summer, the running territory was totally new and there for my exploring. I am a creature of habit, so “exploring” for me is running around the subdivision about 1 mile from home.

One August day, I began to run, feeling good and adventurous.  The robot voice from my Nike app gently let me know I had hit 1 mile.

Feeling great!

Then 1.25 miles. Average pace- 11 minute miles! Woo, I was unstoppable (sarcasm).

So there I was 1.25 miles outside of my apartment complex and I realized I am trapped in a subdivision. It was one of those confusing subdivisions that is in a weird shape and has 14 culdesacs and 17 side streets. I had no idea where I was or how I got there.

The obvious thing to do when you are lost is to live tweet the whole thing.

For your reading ease, I put the oldest first so you could read the story in chronological order from my escapade in August.

‏@jennakay_tweets
I specialize in getting lost in extensive subdivisions when I’m running

‏@jennakay_tweets
I have no idea where I am right now and I’m only 1 mile from home

‏@jennakay_tweets
So many streets and turns

‏@jennakay_tweets
At this point it could be hours til I’m back

‏@jennakay_tweets
I’ve run up two hills so logic tells me to look for hills going downwards

‏@jennakay_tweets
However my logic has also failed me many times before

‏@jennakay_tweets
#lost1milefromhome

‏@jennakay_tweets
Ok I have never seen any of these houses before

‏@jennakay_tweets
Maybe I should stop tweeting and start figuring out where I am

‏@jennakay_tweets
Need to find the main road

‏@jennakay_tweets
Crap it’s a culdesac dead end and thought that was the exit

‏@jennakay_tweets
I am determined to make it out of this maze of a subdivision without Siri

‏@jennakay_tweets
I’m giving it another quarter mile

‏@jennakay_tweets
These no outlet signs are starting to freak me put t

‏@jennakay_tweets
Out

‏@jennakay_tweets
Can’t tweet and run

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Shaking my head

I eventually used the trusty walking directions to get me orientated back to a main road, and I arrived safely at home a few minutes later.

The irony of my running drama was that I was 0 .7 miles from home the entire time.

I was so close. But I was still totally lost. I still couldn’t do it on my own.

I had no idea which way to turn. I might as well have been 300 miles away.

This is so true when I try to do things on my own strength and ability in life: like I am SO close to where I need to be, but  no matter how hard I try or how many turns I take, I can’t get there.

It’s unbelievably infuriating. Realistically I should have been able to arrive at both of those places without technological help, but the metaphor of this story is reliance on God for even the smallest journeys of life.

The past year of my life has felt similar to being lost close to home; I KNOW I am close to the destination and I TRUST that I am not far from where God is leading me. But I am not there yet.

Some trips I am fully relying on Him for every step of the journey. But others, usually the smaller trips, I get confident that I can do them on my own.

There have been a lot of times in my life where if God had the voice of Siri, he would have to say,

“Recalculating…Recalculating…

Oh, Jenna you were not supposed to go down this road.

This is the wrong turn.”

Sometimes I realized it too late; damage had been done and there were consequences, while others God so graciously saved me from what could have been awful repercussions.

While I might still declare I don’t need to use my GPS while driving and try (and fail) to arrive places on my own, in life, this year is going to be full of twists and turns. I don’t stand a chance facing them on my own.

The beginning of a new year can be overwhelming: 365 days of unknowns face us.

No matter how small the journey, my prayer for myself and for others is that we commit to handing them over to God before we even take that first step.

Blessings not chins,

Jen

 

 

 

 

10 Resolutions I Wish I didn’t Have to Make

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I am certainly the definition of a “Half Adult.” I prance through life blissfully unaware of what is happening.

Here are some New Years Resolutions I wish I didn’t have to make this year, but I do.

  1. Scrape my back windshield when it’s icy, instead of reversing blindly and hoping for the best
  2. Figure out what it means to have a 401K
  3. Stop eating cereal in bed and sleeping amongst crumbs
  4. Open all mail addressed to me, even if it’s not pretty looking
  5. Stop leaving dishes in my car
  6. Pay attention to the tags on clothes detailing how they are supposed to be washed
  7. Remember what doors I entered in large department stores without taking pictures
  8. Make sure to confirm it is a costume party before wearing a costume
  9. Start washing fruit before eating it
  10. Use more socially appropriate conversation starters with people I just met.

Wish me luck!

 

Blessings, not chins,

Jenna