You’ll Never Influence the World By…

There’s a quote that says the following:

You’ll never influence the world by trying to be like it.

I think sayings like that can be severely brushed over, but isn’t that a temptation for all of us? That we listen to the world and try to pretend we can be just like everybody else and we will fit in, be happy, and everything will be okay?

I’ll tell you what, that has been one of the BIGGEST struggles of my life, especially growing up in school!

As a middle schooler, all you want is to fit in. You want to have friends, be liked, and have everybody think you’re pretty. You put the “popular girls” up on this stage because they have what you want, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

In high school, sports are everything. The popular people are the football stars, the lacrosse players, and sometimes even the swimmers. They are viewed as “extra-talented” and everyone wants to be like them. But what about the pressures they’re under? Just because you’re popular doesn’t mean your invincible to critiquing.

My point in all this is those people (regardless of what they do) are following what the world is telling them to do. The world presents us with a checklist, and if we can mark off all the boxes, we get a gold star. If not, ridicule follows. But when you get to adulthood, what does that really mean?

When I graduated college, I got a rude awakening when I entered the workforce. I had been interning for years and had worked multiple jobs, but it was nothing compared to what I experienced when I turned 23. The expectations never end, the checklists are updated, and you’re thrown to the wolves.

Doesn’t this sound like a MAJOR discouragement? Doesn’t it sound like it’s impossible to find peace and settle down?

Friends, that’s because it IS! We can never please the world because it’s ever-changing, and we can never find peace and joy from something finite because by definition, peace and joy aren’t finite themselves. Our cavity that calls to be filled can only be filled by Christ (Psalms 42), so why are we trying so hard?

This week, start thinking about how you can distinguish yourself. Push away from the pressures from the rest of the world and recognize that it’s totally okay to be yourself! You are not responsible for how others’ react to what you’re doing; therefore live in the freedom that God made you, your talents, your ambitions, and your interests exactly the way it was meant to be.

Being Vulnerable in the Now

Hey everyone!

This past Sunday, our pastor at church preached on Jesus’ resistance to being controlled by the fear of man. He didn’t fear rejection, being judged by friends and family, or by being tossed as an outcast. At the end of the sermon, our pastor touched on a bunch of questions that challenged us to let the Holy Spirit convict us of our tendencies to be controlled by the fear of man.

One of these questions that really hit home to me was the following:

Are you afraid of making mistakes (or decisions) that may make people think less of you?

Friends, this has been the terror of my heart for so many years that I practically broke down right then and there. I have been so concerned with how other people think of me that I didn’t give any room for Jesus to speak truth to me. I blocked out His voice and tuned my heart to the world’s channel.

So, in light of all this, I thought I would share something that has been changing my life for a little over a year now. It may turn a lot of people away. It might make people huff and puff because they won’t believe me. But that’s okay! I’m not looking for praise, recognition, or immense amounts of support. I just want to share something with y’all that’s been on my heart: Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO).

Now, I know what you’re thinking… ugh, is she just trying to sell us something that’s probably way too expensive? I bet she’ll start to get pushy about it and never let it go. Guess I’m moving on.

Oh friends, this is far from the truth! If I’m being honest, that’s exactly what I thought when I first learned about YLEO. Doubt crept up in my heart and I pushed away from it for years (you can even ask one of my besties Alaina, it took her forever to finally convince me!).

Today I’m not asking you to purchase anything. I’m not asking you to go all in and change your lifestyle right away. In fact, I’ll be doing just the opposite.

I love YLEO because of how much it’s changed my life. Like many of you, I have issues dealing with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and a bunch of other issues. I’ve tried medications over the counter, behind the counter, whatever you wanna call it! It wasn’t until I found YLEO and truly became invested that I started to see results.

While YLEO never claims to cure any diseases, mental illnesses, or even sicknesses, they are incredible for supplementing products we already use in our home. They promote a sense of well-being, support the immune system, help boost moods, and create an overall space for incredible emotional healing! And if you know me, that has been SUPER important in my life lately!

Anyways, let’s get down to some awesome details. I’m going to give three reasons why I absolutely adore YLEO, along with examples of blends I’ve either diffused or products to help in the day-to-day!

1) I was sick and tired of being sick…

Okay friends, this is one of the BIGGEST things I have been struggling with recently. From June 2017 all the way up until the beginning of April 2019, I fought cold after cold after stomach bug. I pumped myself full of OTC medications like Mucinex, Sudafed PE, and Vicks Cough Syrup (amongst many others!), and while they would make me feel better for a few weeks, whatever I had kept coming back. I visited urgent cares and talked to nurses and doctors, but they couldn’t seem to figure out what was going on. I was put on steroids, z-pack’s, and other medications, only to find the same thing returning again and again.

It wasn’t until I finally tried ImmuPro from Young Living that I finally started to find relief. As a disclaimer, I am still taking Advil and Tylenol as needed for aches and pains here and there, but I was finally able to get control of my common colds with this puppy! It is a fantastic blend of strawberry, wolfberry, raspberry, reishi mushroom, orange, and many other naturally-occurring ingredients that help promote immune system strength. While no product is perfect, I was able to find relief from something I’ve been battling for years! You can find more info here!

2) …and tired.

Let’s get real here. How many of us fight our pillows, begging for sleep at night? I know my hand is raised waaayyy up in the air!

The past two months have pretty much been awful for me when it comes to the rest category. Going to bed at 9:30pm, only to wake up literally every hour crying because I couldn’t hit that REM cycle. I didn’t want to try sleep aids because I knew how addictive many of them could be, and I had visited the doctor so I knew I didn’t have sleep apnea or anything severe. I just simply couldn’t get to sleep!

Maybe it was from stress, maybe it was from travel, maybe it was from our dog sleeping in our bed now. I still don’t know, but what I do know is how incredible this sleep blend works that I discovered by doing a little research into what essential oils help best with sleep!

Just add two drops of each to a diffuser and enjoy for up to eight hours!

I like to call this blend Peaceful Dreaming because every night I start diffusing it ten minutes before bed and pretty much pass out after that! It gets me through just about seven hours now, in comparison to the barely two hours I was getting beforehand! Even though this may not work for everyone, I love being able to share things that anyone can try at home! You can find more information on Cedarwood here, Lavender here and here, and Peace & Calming here!

3) I was sick and tired of having too many chemicals in my house.

One of the most eye-opening moments for me was discovering the website/app Think Dirty (you can download it here!). It ranks products in your home from cleaning to beauty to pretty much anything on how dangerous it actually is for your health and for those living in your home. I used to use products like Mrs. Meyers, Clorox, and Tide but when I tested them against the app, I was shocked! I had no idea there were so many things in products we use every day that might be damaging our health!

My point in all this is I wanted to switch. I wanted to completely clean out all the nastiness in our home and replace them with good, honest, natural products that also didn’t break the bank (because hello, organic and “all-natural” product prices are through the roof!).

When I asked one of my friends who enrolled me in Young Living what she suggested, she immediately pointed me to Young Living’s line of Thieves cleaning products. All the ingredients in their supplies are naturally occurring, and as an added bonus, practically all of them are safe for pets too, which was a HUGE worry of mine!

Fun Fact: Essential oils don’t eat through amber glass like they do plastics or metal.

I decided to give YLEO’s Thieves Household Cleaner a try when I received a 2oz sample pouch of it in my starter kit. All you have to do is follow the directions for dilution on the back of the pouch, adding however much water you need for the uses it gives! I filled two 16-ounce amber glass spray bottles (I use these ones!) with just that one pouch, and those bottles lasted me almost an entire year! Friends, this saved me soooo much money because it went so far and lasted so long! It works on every surface in your home (I even use it on carpet when our dog has accidents) so you can imagine how happy I am, having a product I can use for pretty much everything!

The point I wanted to make in sharing all this is I truly believe Young Living has helped point me in the right direction of a healthier lifestyle, and I want to focus on sharing that with others instead of pushing people to buy something!

This week I’d like to challenge y’all to share something you’re excited about. It doesn’t matter if other people might think it’s stupid. It doesn’t matter if not everyone shares the same excitement you do about whatever it is that makes your heart beat. What matters is you put yourself out there and are starting the process of changing your mind to no longer rely on the approval of others. Because when we start to shift our gaze from the ones who yell to the One who calls, it makes all the difference.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)

How I Learned to Understand Disrupting Grace

It’s safe to say that no one likes to be disrupted in life.

We enjoy planning out our days, getting excited about the future, and hoping and praying that everything works out just the way we want.

Let me ask you this: when was the last time that actually happened?

If I’m being frank, I don’t think that’s ever happened to me.

And I’m more than thankful for it.

When we put our own plans ahead of the Lord’s, what do we often times experience?

Disruption.

And is it comfortable? Heck no! It’s awkward, annoying, and down-right painful at times!

This Easter I’m realizing that pretty much all of my plans that I made and the expectations I had for marriage were shattered. I wanted us to live in our apartment in Hilliard for a few years, save up to buy a house, and then get a dog. Then, a few years after that, we’d settle down some more and have kids, and so on. I would be happily working at my job downtown, Joe would love working at Riverside, and we’d be sitting pretty in whatever income we were making.

I think it’s safe to say that assumptions can sometimes be more damaging to us emotionally than the fear of knowing “the unknown” that lies ahead.

We assumed we would get a house before we got a dog. Enter Mack about a month into our marriage. Then three months later, we bought a house. Between adopting Mack and buying a house, I got a new job. It looked like I had gotten it all wrong.

Needless to say, I felt incredibly disrupted by my plans changing again and again. I was confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Why would the Lord allow me to get so excited about things, just to have them come crashing down?

Friends, there’s one thing I have learned so far in our (almost) one year of marriage that has completely transformed my faith: God cares more about our hearts and how much we trust Him, more than anything else.

Therefore, if something doesn’t go your way, think of it this way: God is disrupting you by giving you grace. He has much better plans for you and wants to give them to you.

This Easter season, if you’re struggling to trust the Lord because you feel as though He hasn’t been answering your prayers, take heart. When He speaks, He does what He says He’s going to do. If He can raise Christ from the dead, He will certainly pull you out of the grave you’re stuck in.

“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'”

John 13:7 (NIV)