so this one deserves a backstory : i’ve done a lot of back & fourth with this post. & i mean a lot, you guys. i originally started writing it on father’s day, & it was pretty all over the place. daddy day tends to be a little blurry for me & all that seemed to make it’s way into my writing. so, i’ll get to that stuff later. like maybe in one whole post from now – later. buuut this just so happens to be my first post since like JANUARY & i didn’t want to start this party on a weird note.
so here is something. it’ll be messy – but happy. hopefully.
right now i am coming to grips with something that is really ugly.
it’s something i’ve known my whole life, but recently it’s come to my attention in a whole new uncomfortable way. it’s the big elephant in the room on multiple occasions.
yeah yeah, i know i just said i was gonna keep this thing bubbly. but if i play my cards right, i think this might still end up that way. bear with me.
this topic is : failure. the fact that i am really really good at failing.
i’ve spent a large part of my life in sin. before i met Jesus… my heart was hard towards a lot of things. & i mean a lot.
after Jesus, i began seeing changes in myself that i surely could never take credit for. the Lord was taking my stone-cold heart & making it warm & homey in there. & not trying to boast about it here, but people were noticing.
as i began interacting with the world & people around me, i began hearing all these stories of how i was impacting people with my words. that i was an example of what it meant to love Jesus with my whole heart. to let God use me. & that was my goal. in the most authentic, genuine, & innocent way.
after a few years in a place that had totally flipped this little ohio gal upside-down (in the best way possible), i came back home. i did a lot of back & fourth during that time too.
i struggled with finding a church. i struggled with keeping myself pure. i fought with my parents.
the devil had a huge grip on me, chloe the Jesus girl. & i was no longer setting an example. most of the time now i just cringe at that idea. being an example.
i have failed at being an earthly daughter. as well as being a daughter of the King. i’ve failed at being a sister. a friend. a significant other.
i’ve gone & made a mess of myself.
of my testimony.
& that is not a fun thing to admit. to you guys as well as to the Father.
sometimes it’s easy & i’m all like “hey God. i’ve messed up. i’ve messed up bad & i know it. i know that i have done you wrong & i need your forgiveness. today & yesterday & every day from now i need it. i don’t deserve it by any means, but Lord you are Good. You are Good & You do Good. i thank you for that. amen.”
& other times it’s like “uhh hi. God. umm, so i did this thing. & i’m not proud of it. You know that. so can you uh.. i guess forgive me? please?”
i take my Heavenly Father for granted all the time. the fact that i serve a loving God. who loves my flaws, yes, but doesn’t want me to get stuck & wallow in my weaknesses forever. i know better. He taught me better. i am more than that.
& because i am fully aware of that fact & have been extremely embarrassed by it… long time no see, friends. this is me emerging from hibernation – aka, the longest case of writers block. like a bear who’s breath absolutely reeks after that many months of snoozing in a cave.
& because of that, i feel this should be called : the art of losing your way with God. & in tern, losing your way with words.
after finding myself utterly lost in this season. a season where i’ve spent countless nights scribbling “what’s next?” all over the pages… i think i’ve finally found my answer.
to prepare & develop. to dig through all the fluff & keep the good stuff front & center. take the good pieces & build a new you with them. someone who has the capability to grow.
i am eighteen years old. & there’s a lot i have yet to learn. but along that journey of learning. of cultivating what it is that i have now… i have made a list. a list of rules i want to live by. especially with college approaching so quickly.
i didn’t know how many rules to come up with, so i just went until i couldn’t go no more. & interestingly, i stumbled upon number eighteen before i could stumble no longer.
so, here you go. this is what you get. the happy part.
rule number one – people are messed up, covered in flaws. i get that. chloe, you get that. you are that. & it’s ok. find abundant amounts of grace in those pockets. find it, embrace it. drink it like water.
rule number two – always be teachable. don’t think just because you’re getting older you’re any closer to the point of knowing absolutely everything. or anything even remotely close. so cling to those who know what’s up. & who are willing to share their secrets. be humble with every ounce of knowledge you gain.
prayer. rule number three is – prayer. boatloads of it. don’t ever take it for granted. & don’t misuse the term. telling people, “i’m praying for you.” when in reality you aren’t.
rule number four – keep calm. & clean. chaos squashes creativity.
rule number five – screw society. you will never be able to embrace a life built by fragments of expectations put in place by tiny screens & people who don’t know a thing about you & who certainly don’t deserve to.
rule number six – don’t keep things bottled up. you end up looking like a monster after eating up your insides for that long. & honey, that’s gross.
rule number seven – keep the thank you cards coming. even when there’s nothing to celebrate & no one gave you money. if you thank people for merely their existence, they just might be thankful for it too.
rule number eight – try try try to make yourself happy. find your joy away from seeking other’s approval. soak up time in God’s word like you used to. listen to more hillsong & less simon & garfunkel.
rule number nine – experience > stuff. enjoy every moment you’re privileged to breathe through, good or bad. & stop spending so much time shopping online.
rule number ten – weed your garden. ditch the bullcrap. & i don’t mean till up a tiny patch of land & dump some seeds in holes. i mean write it out of your system. write your angry letters & send them straight to God’s mail slot. take the lies holding you captive & pull them out by the roots. replace them with fruit. (phil. 4:8)
rule number eleven – don’t worry about things that aren’t here yet. wait it out. give every moment it’s very own birthday. & suck it up. wrap that fist of fury in a pretty little box & hand it over with a smile when the time’s right.
rule number twelve – a follow-up to rule number eleven. stop being scared of college. let loose. be a talker. a listener. share. take in every moment. be there. be alllll there. be all up in there. be kind & love everybody you meet. don’t be afraid to ask questions. come to grips with the fact that you will probably get lost pretty often. make friends, honey.
rule number thirteen – a rule borrowed from ellen deGeneres. “never follow anyone else’s path. unless your lost in the woods & come across a path. follow that path.”
rule number fourteen – give. always give. & don’t hold back.
rule number fifteen – never stop being a slow little turtle. let the nickname, “turt,” grow old with you. be deep in each & every moment. don’t rush anything.
rule number sixteen – never judge a pair of shoes you’ve never had to walk in.
rule number seventeen – let the Light of your Savior & His oober-sweet Truths seep deep into your soul. change if you want. never be afraid to do that. you’re never too old to be done growing.
rule number eighteen – forgive yourself. let go of the version of yourself who didn’t know better. love her. love her hard.