confessions of a control freak.

I have a confession to make.

Lately my life focus has been on one thing, and one thing alone. Getting us out of our little apartment and into our very own home. It has come to the point where Brent offered to pay me five dollars every day that I don’t bring up moving, buying a house, or my discontentment with where we are now. So far I’ve got an empty glass jar sitting on our dresser, but I’m sure that i’ll start bringing in the cash any day now… [since I’ve already ruined my chances by 1PM on a Sunday afternoon…]

If you are wondering why I would ever want to move, what could possible be wrong with my precious little abode, or how I could even wish more for my life, I have one word for you. Discontentment. Actually maybe nine words. The grass is always greener on the other side. 

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I say all this in humor, but seriously, in the process of all this house nonsense, our goals for the year, even for the summer, and me attempting to “pinch pennies” which is truly not me at all, I feel like a specific message has been made very clear.

The good things in my life are not produced by my own control.

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[1.]

My love story is the very most perfect example of this. Picture an 18 year old girl who is heart broken over the fact that her high school sweet heart just ended it for the last time, that her hopes and dreams of marriage and babies and not having to finish college are crushed, and in fact her very future is ruined. Wondering how she could pull herself up off the living room floor, wipe the mascara off her face and live her life like a normal person [have you noticed by this point that I am a drama queen?].

But let me tell you, this girl never thought that same high school sweetheart would walk back into her life two years later, she never planned that he would be her very own one day. 

I tried the whole manipulation thing with Brent, and it was not becoming. In fact it was icky and gross and looked clingy and pathetic. By my own control I could not salvage our relationship, or what I thought we had. It was not until I released my vision for life and said, Ok Lord. Do what you will because I am just a mess.

That was when he brought Brent back.

I laid him on the table, the Lord said pick it back up.

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21st birthdays, [2012]. 

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[2.]

Fast forward four years. Graduating college, something I never really thought I’d do. Searching for jobs in all the wrong places, being ok with time to rest and space to learn and discover. But not really being ok. Every time I sat in front of Lancaster Online job listings or dug through Chamber of Commerce boards I came up not only empty handed, but also very stressed. 

Well maybe I could make that work, maybe I could put up with it depending on the pay.

I don’t know, I could see myself doing that… Being that…Working for them. Anything to fill this void of who I am. I’m no longer a student, I need a job.

But I felt like I was where I needed to be.

It was once I laid down my expectations and took a little break [which in reality is not the end of the world to do after 15 years of some level of schooling], that I walked into the studio at Jeremy Hess Photographers and was offered a job that fit me perfectly. 

Starting this past week I took a position as Studio Coordinator for a business built around creativity, reallness, and a love for people. A position I couldn’t have dreamed up if I tried.

Release control, allow good things to come.

Because who ever really said, Good things come to those who control?

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[work with my favorite photographer and friend].

 

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**To those who are struggling, with relationships, with life decisions, with college and jobs and all that stuff.**

I totally get hurting from break ups, it really is life changing. I also get, in a very fresh-on-my-mind way, trying to figure out what life is supposed to look like. How will I support myself? How will I use my degree? What am I supposed to be doing in life?

There are practicalities to life, stuff you just have to figure out, go to the Lord and the people around you for guidance, and get decisive on. The question is, are you trying to control your life or are you trying to go where the Lord leads, listen for His voice, and are you willing to lay down what you have to, instead of pressuring yourself to make it happen?

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While I am dreaming of houses and backyards and more kitchen counter space, I am trying to choose looking back at my life and the patterns created. It isn’t until I do this that I am able to release the moment, and realize that the main good things in my life were not created by me and my planning, penny pinching or controlling of my circumstances/the people around me. Searching Prudential home listings like it’s my day job will not get me very far if I am not willing to just let it go

let go, 

control never brought good things anyway

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the challenge of sacrifice.

Lent.

I feel like every year it rolls around and I’m googling, going what is that again? [confessions of a true preacher’s kid]. I know about “Fat Tuesday,” Fasnacht Day, and my this-week-recent epiphany that those aren’t just a Lancaster County thing, it’s Pancake Day to the rest of the world. 

But what is lent again?

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I really love the way Ann Voskamp describes it in her own variation of what this day means.

“Okay… Lent. It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”

So it’s that time before Easter when we prepare, we think on, we realize the greatness of what once happened that has forever changed us. Meditation on the foundation of Christian belief. 

What is lent to you?

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Somewhere along the line I picked up on this whole giving up stuff for lent trend. I gave up my share of social media sites ranging from the days of Xanga to the more recent, e-mail. I traded in my fav rap music for WJTL, and at one point I completely gave up shopping for anything deemed “unneccesary.” (At that point I was living at home so this ruled out pretty much everything). I was devoted in my choices and diligent in my upkeep, asking friends and family to hold me accountable, and even handing my debit card over to my mother. But there is one lent I will never forget.

Five years ago I gave up desserts for lent, and it led me down a path that I never would have chosen. In my mind I was choosing something that, like my many other pledges, meant something to me and would be difficult to live without. I’m a sucker for chocolate and this seemed like the most appropriate choice to induce due suffering during this time of sacrifice. It didn’t take long for the legalism in me to grow, “Sorry I can’t eat that chewy bar, it’s s’more flavored and that is a dessert.” “The ingredients on this box of oat bran say 5g sugar, I would probably consider this a dessert.” “Yea, um, peanut butter is used in icing and icing is a dessert soooo..no thanks.” 

 

You get the picture. 

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If you’ve read my story before then you can guess where this is going. It was about this time, five years ago, that I allowed myself to fall into a trap of obsession that led me where I never should have gone. I wasn’t choosing lent as a means of intimacy with the Lord, I was choosing it as a means of control, a good kick-in-the-butt to get me where I wanted to go but just hadn’t. 

I would spend too much, then panic, so I’d offer up spending.

I’d like and post and comment too much so I’d freak out and delete the app.

I’d wanna get fit so why not swear off “bad foods?” 

and the list goes on.

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This is not a piece written with the intent to criticize. Whether you celebrate lent with sacrifice or you don’t celebrate at all, you are the one who knows the heart in your decisions.

This is my challenge to you.

Is lent really in the purging and the self-criticism if we break? Is it about how long we can stay away? And God-forbid we succumb, because then the fast is broken.

What is the heart behind your lent, behind your pledge to give of time, of resources, of yourself?

I believe that there is a beauty in the failure, because that is when I am truly saying

 

thank You. I need You. what You did, it’s incomparable.

incomprehensible. 

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“Lent isn’t about forfeiting stuff as much as it’s about spiritual formation.

…To empty the soul to know the filling of God.”

-Ann Voskamp