Day 4 – Choose Joy

So, I took a few days off my 30 day challenge, but for good reason. I now work at Target and Caribou Coffee. I’ve been a tiny bit busy. 

As I’ve been busy being a cashier and making coffee drinks, I’ve had a lot of time to think about my current and last seasons of life. 6 months ago I quit my job, moved into my parents house, and flew across the country to hang out with middle school and high school students. For most of that first few weeks, I didn’t have time to think about the immensity of my decision. It hit me like a ton of bricks the last day of our training for YouthWorks!. I QUIT MY JOB! moved into my PARENTS HOUSE and have no idea what I a going to do for work starting August 1st. What the hell have I done!?!?

I’m not going to lie, I have had some terrible days where I feel like I am a huge failure and I should probably jump off a bridge. Nothing screams success like being in your mid twenties, unemployed and living in the bedroom you grew up in. I’ve already talked about how I have been learning humility in this process but I don’t think the whole process is just about being humbled. I think that it needs to take one more step; I need to choose joy.

I hate the saying “choose joy” more than most things, but it’s choosing to accept the current situation and either fight your way out of it or find the good in it. So, in an effort to choose joy, I am going to list a few crappy situations that I have annoyingly chosen joy within. I’m doing this mostly for me, but you can laugh along with me, or make fun of me… both work.

– I am working at Caribou Coffee making literally HALF of what my hourly wage was at the radio station.
* At least I have some kind of job, and I get to be incredibly sarcastic to people the whole day.

– I live with my parents.  * It’s free, they feed me, allow me to have boys in my room, and never ask where I’ve been all night.

– I owe my parents money, a few credit card companies money and the balance in my bank account is the lowest it’s been since I was 19     * yeh, this is just depressing, I’m not gonna even try to be happy about it.

– I am single. About 2 years ago, I honestly thought I would be married to the man of my dreams by now… I am not (note the above statement about living with my parents)     * I have some awesome friends who laugh with me, challenge me, fight with me, and will watch a movie with me on a Friday night. For now, I am happy.

Am I happy about the above things in my life each and every day? no. There are still days I just wish I could click my heels and go back to a few moments in my life that I felt were perfect, but honestly, where’s the fun in that? After every mountain summit is a valley and I’m just excited to climb another mountain one step at a time. 

Day 3 – Humility

When I first started thinking about this challenge I thought up about 100 “fun” things to do that would write me a better story, but after really thinking about it, I realized that I’m going to have to go through some junk too.

Today is a day of junk, a day of lesson learning. Today I am learning Humility

Let me give you the run down of my last 2 days. 

* I now work at Target. I make almost minimum wage. I had an 18 year old boy ask me what high school I went to. After learning how old I am he proceeded to ask me what I have done to screw up my life so much that I am now a cashier. Sweet.

* I was in the running for an AMAZING job. I was perfect for it. Today, I got a rejection letter. I honestly thought I was the one who was going to be hired. nope.

* Sometimes when I’m being a big goof I will say things like, “Duh, I’m awesome” or “Of Course, have you seen me? I’m Gorgeous!” Those are not actually things I believe or have been supported in these last few days. I do not feel awesome, nor gorgeous. 

So, the heart of this lesson… humility, knowing that I am not the best, not the most popular, not the most desired, and not the most awesome. I am a work in progress, the best parts of me are still being refined and changed and until then, I need to not claim my confidence on who or what I am, but in who God is changing me to be. 

I’m going to be awesome, I have a list of 3 things I want in life, and right now I have none of them… not even close. I am effectively humbled and hoping that I’ve learned this lesson so I can get on to the more fun ones.

Day 2 – Say what you need to say

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQtGqmi2O2U]

As I look back at my story these past few years, I’ve realized that there are several times I should have stood up for myself, said no to someone, or been unafraid to speak my mind. I know is seems shocking that I, Laura, did not say what I wanted to say at one point in my life… but I promise, it’s happened. 
Think about it… are there moments that still haunt you. Moments you wish you would have stood up for yourself, or someone else. I have one that hits me every day. 
It was year ago when I had an old friend contact me out of the blue. It was exciting, fun, encouraging, and honestly, just really nice to laugh with someone again. Things progressed, words were said and I found myself starting to fall for this guy who I didn’t really know anything about. I think that’s one thing I’m learning about myself, that sometimes my heart falls for the idea of someone, while my mind just sits passively by. There were a lot of “sweet nothings” thrown my way, with each one throwing me deeper into confusion… I guess… hmmm….
Ok, the whole point of this back story is that I have been sitting here, now a year later, still very bitter, and VERY angry that I was told things I wanted to hear but then never saw action behind them. I mean, I’m 25 years old, I have most of my life together, I’m not a disaster, I’m a pretty decent package and I don’t  deserve to be played. 

So today’s challenge is to Say what you need to say. This is going to be a reoccurring challenge over the next few weeks as there are a lot of things I just need to say. Yesterday, my challenge was to have COURAGE  and start this adventure, and in an ironic twist, I also need courage to say what I need to say today.  

I’ve made the phone call, I’ve said my piece, and I’ve deleted their number. Damn… I’m going to be honest, I feel better, but the fairy tale princess in my head was wishing for an apology. Alas, I said I was hurt, I was mad, and that if they weren’t going to be a real friend and be who they said they were, I was going to peace-out. Now I have to stand behind my word and know that I am worth far more than idle words and failed actions. Hey, did you know that you are too? 

You are worth far more than lies, than cheaters, than harsh comments about things that you love. You are way more awesome than all the drama, all the stupidity, and all the games. So maybe today is your chance to say what you need to say to that person in your life, and then stand behind it knowing that there is restoration, healing, and joy in getting all that junk off your chest and cutting out those pieces of your life that hurt you. Do it! I promise, I’ll be here for you :)

Day 1 – Courage

It was about a  year ago that I picked up the book A Thousand Miles in a Million Years by Donald Miller. I remember the first time I opened it’s pages… and then quickly closed them and put the book back on the shelf. Donald Miller books and I tend to have this relationship; the kind where I read a few sentances, feel some slight conviction, get angry and decide I’m an adult and don’t have to read this book if I don’t want to. It’s the 20-something equivilent of a temper tantrum. So what caused this particular tantrum? Don had described his life, and then decided that if someone was writing a book of his life, it would be a terrible story, and no one would want to read it… Much like my own story. 

I had spent nearly 3 years living in Fargo, ND. Yes, there were some fantastic things about being there, but I had gone through a loss, and found myself sitting on a couch watching crappy tv every night, and expecting people to feel bad for me. In good stories there are often sympathetic characters that come alongside the hero, but in this case, my plight wasn’t worth pitying, it was self-inflicted, self-pitying, and really…honestly… very bitter. 

I’m not sure what lead me back to ACTUALLY reading Donald Miller’s book, but once I got past feeling bad for myself and being angry, I found encouragement and change. I found the phrase that haunts me every day. 

Live a Better Story

Seems simple, right? Just get off the couch, change your life, write a better story and be blissfully happy…. right?  Something I think we often forget about any good story is that there are moments of conflict, character testing, struggle and pain. All good stories have it!  It’s the only way the hero can become something greater. 

It was time for my 1st struggle in my new story, my moment to be the hero and act corageously… It was time to quit my job, move across the country and do something I had never done before… work with teeenagers!!! 

It was in Savannah, GA that I met Andy Gill. Oh, Andy… I’m glad I met you. You see, Andy is on the same great adventure I am. We both quit our jobs, moved across the country for the summer, and knew that when we returned home, we would be unemployed. We had decided to live a better story. Yikes. 

It is with great joy that I can now blame Andy for this blog, this adventure and these next few weeks of my life. Andy has challenged me to live 30 days of awesome or to put it in a way I understand better: 30 Days to a Better Story.

So today is day 1. I’m not guaranteeing that these will be 30 consecutive days, but it will be 30 different adventures that will grow and stretch me, and maybe even make me face some fears. 30 days to start a new chapter, be transparent, and know that my story just keeps getting better. 

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