9/6/14

The Reckless Pursuit of Your Calling


What does it mean to live recklessly in the fullness of who you are meant to be? Uninhibited by the negative voices, the preconceived notions and the fears we have about pursuing our dreams and being the woman we are called to be?

That is the exact thing I have been asking myself.

 Last week I met a man on a plane to Austin. He was in the Army and had many amazing stories to share.  We got to talking about life and his dreams post-army. His deepest longing was to own a shop to work on old cars, to have a high reputation and show his cars at shows and work on them with his young boys. I was so excited for him. I could hear the passion in his voice when he talked about cars. I asked him "So when are you going to start on this!?" His response fell lackluster to his previous passions, he shrugged and muttered "Its just a dream, I'll probably end up working in management somewhere. It is safe and I am pretty good at it."

When did we stop being so courageous with our hearts? Maybe it was when life left us feeling empty for a season, or when we failed at work or in school, or look a leap of faith and fell flat on our face. When the waves of life come rushing in (and they will) we need to use these setback experiences to learn to swim. To swim with the tide of our vision, to swim against the currents that swoop us under, and too float on the love that is always, always for us.


Cool. So how to we get there? What does it look like to recklessly pursue your calling?

1. Know your calling.
What are you on this earth for? Some ways to find out is to ask yourself: What is your vision? What has God said? What makes your heart beat? What are you pinning, talking about, and instagramming? Who is your idol and why? Interview your closest friends and family about yourself, you may be surprised at the strengths they tell you! Questions Questions Questions. Know yourself.

2. Map it out.
This might look like a journal or a inspiration wall. It might look like collecting quotes, images, or just day dreaming and imagining the perfect location. This is where dreaming really comes in handy. Dream big, write it down!

3. Tell a friend or a mentor.
When you tell a friend about your dreams, and really talk to them about your desires, have them hold you to it! Have dream catching dates, go to tea and spill your heart out. Don't be afraid of failure, these are the people who will be there to catch you if you get off course and remind you why you started!

4. Do something.
Anything. I fell into a stagnant place of dreaming up my plans and never taking action. Always wanting to be someone but never taking the time to be the best me. Whether this is working on yourself, taking a college course, or getting out of your comfort zone, anyone who has experienced success is moving.

5. Make short and long term goals.
Share them with friends and business mentors alike, hold yourself to them and be mindful of grace.

Keep dreaming, Keep moving.

Thank you friends and tribe of readers for constantly inspiring me and pushing me to pursue my dreams.
With love,
Madison

8/12/14

End the Taboo



In light of our recent loss, I feel it's appropriate to share about depression and mental illness. Many people still don't know how to talk about mental illness, it's still taboo even though 40 million people in the US alone are fighting depression. If we open the air to talking about these issues we can give more understanding, love, and grace. What if the struggle to overcome mental illness looked like people's fight against cancer? If you know someone in your life who is struggling, don't write them off. You wouldn't tell your friend to deal with chemo alone! Educate yourself. Love them.
If you are struggling, you are not alone.
You CAN overcome. 


Here are some resources I found helpful in educating myself and better understanding those I love who are battling depression:
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14218/how-to-cope-when-your-partner-has-depression-or-anxiety.html


http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/family-difficulties/coping-with-mental-illness-in-the-family/

http://www.pathways2promise.org/family/impact.htm

8/8/14

Positive Thinking: the Reality

Positive thinking. Cutting out the negative, those who bring us down, the bad thoughts. That is my goal. But there is a flaw with positive thinking in our culture. We stop being honest.
Hear me out, because this is something I have come to understand after much thought and prayer, searching the bible, and listening to mentors in my life.
There is so much good in renewing our minds. Here are some biblical quotes on positivity, thinking correctly, and renewing our minds:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. Matthew 15:11

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

So in light of those truths this is where I am: When positive thinking as a lifestyle was exposed to me I felt like it was ridiculous to be honest.  But God desires us to live a life filled with his goodness, renewed by his word, loving people, seeing the good, removing the ugly thoughts, conversation, gossip, sarcasm, cutting remarks, and those who bring us down, to be set apart. This is TRUE. This is biblical. This is not new age, this is an everlasting truth.

However. There is an issue I saw creeping up in my life. I could no longer block out negativity and pain when it came to me in full on waves. It can be easy to remove so much negative that we no longer deal with pain and burdens but block them out.  We are ashamed to feel the pain of painful situations. What happens when we can't hide from the tough realities of life? What happens when our families are falling apart? What happens when death comes into our life without warning? What happens when a best friend is hurting and we are too consumed with our own happiness to bear the burdens?
 This is where I have been. And I'm not ashamed. In fact I'm glad to see more clearly now that renewing our mind and cutting out the negative is a tool God has given us to be able to cope with these situations in honesty and in truth with grace. No longer ignoring the pain of this world, because in this world we WILL have troubles. But take heart, He has overcome.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

7/14/14

Honor and backyard loving.






I began writing this post originally about my dear friend, Erin, who is twenty five today. We celebrated her and her twin brother Everett at our house with a party planned by Everett's wife. The longer I thought about the night and my friendship with Erin the word "honor" just coming to mind.  Honoring others, I have come to believe, is the core element in a thriving friendship and a thriving community.

It stems from a place of gentleness, a place of letting go of the control we want over others and choosing to unconditionally love. This love empowers people to be who they really are.

I love this quote from Danny Silk on honor:
"A culture of honor is created as a community of people learns to discern and receive people in their God-given identities. The clear fruit of establishing a culture of honor is that the resurrection life of God begins to flow into the people's lives, homes, and communities, bringing healing, restoration, blessing, joy, hope, and wholeness. If we don't see this fruit, we must ask ourselves if we are truly honoring those around us as we ought."

That quote is so powerful to me.
I think quite possibly because I am just coming to understand honor. See, my background is not one filled with loving others deeply for who they are. I grew up in a culture of gossip and disrespect, so much so that it became a pattern I had to break free from. In high school I developed unhealthy friendships, ones filled with hidden bitterness, jealousy, and gossip. I surrounded myself with these toxic behaviors because it felt comfortable to me. Coming from a "split home" I never fully learned to give honor to my parents or family either. It was in getting married and coming into authentic community where I started to see these ugly patterns for what they were, and start dealing with them.

If "life flows through honor" then death must flow through dis-honor, or hatred.
Sometimes the mean-girl patterns are so engrained in us from our past that we don't realize how toxic they are.  If you have hidden toxic patterns in your life, cleanse them. Start with love. Let go of the need to control, the need to be seen, the desire to be accepted. Position yourself with open arms and ask God, the God of all love to help you break free.

In close, I am so thankful for Erin, who has loved me and accepted me in much immaturity and allowed me to grow at my own pace.  Her radical friendship has opened my eyes to an honoring community and I am so grateful.