Cleaning out the Boxes

Last night, my roommate found me on the floor of our home going through boxes. Piles of birthday cards lined the floor. Notes and letters I have saved for years.
Some had less significance—the sender merely signed their name following a manufactured message. Some letters were painful—the memory of past loves I hadn’t heard from in years. Other mail made me smile—like Lora’s letters from the field in Utah, Joel’s letters from South Sudan, or Kristin’s updates from nursing school in Virginia. I found little homemade coupons from my mother, redeemable for a dinner out or fishing on the lake. Vivid and bittersweet were these memories worth embracing.
My roommate sat on the floor next to me bringing her own boxes with her. We took turns reading aloud from our piles. We sighed at the touching, encouraging words from our relatives, old friends, and mentors. We laughed at the inside jokes and wild stories. We cried tears of joy and regret before pouring ourselves a cup of hot tea and going back to our boxes.
Those vibrant, young girls full of hope and dreams seemed like different people than the ones sitting on the floor. Where had those girls of adventure gone? Why was their world so gray and unfeeling? What had stolen their light?

My roommate and I made a pact—to rebuild the parts of ourselves we loved and had forgotten. We would clean the cobwebs off of our indifferent hearts and reach for the ecstasy life had once brought us. We would seize new possibilities to become the people we always wanted to be. We would be hard workers, truth-tellers, risk-takers, day-dreamers, friendly neighbors, intentional forgivers, and thankful spirits.
But to be those people, we had to start by letting go.

I needed to let go of the pain and the clutter of my past—the icky, filthy muck that was building up inside of me. While I believe it’s good to have memories, it’s a tragic thing to stay stuck in what was or what could have been. That’s how a heart stays so fragile. It’s like ripping a bandage off a fresh wound. No healing can be done that way.
I said goodbye to the old love letters. To the agonizing reminders of missed opportunities and broken friendships. I made space for new stories and new people. I told myself that it was okay to love again and let my heart heal. I didn’t have to try and be smarter, funnier, or more beautiful than everyone else. I just had to believe in love at all costs, in the goodness of others, and in a stronger me. I had to dare to have a voice that is worth being heard. To stand up for humanity and be the feet of Jesus on this earth.
After cleaning out my boxes I felt a weight lifted from my chest. I was free and forgiven by the grace of God all over again. I was inspired to write, practice yoga, dance, and pursue college courses. My roommate helped remind me that it is never too late to be the person God created me to be, the person my spirit longed to become.
So, to all of you who yearn for a second chance, today is your moment. This life you have been waiting for is happening now. It’s valuable, powerful, and exploding with color. It’s calling you to tell a new narrative. Don’t beat yourself up for what might have been because you were given today. Use your neglected imagination and create something new.

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Life in Brussels: A Few Observations

For the last three weeks, I’ve been living at the heart of Brussels, Belgium. I’ve met people of different nationalities that have come here for one reason or another. It’s exhilarating being in a place of so much diversity and culture.

I want to share a few things I’ve noticed in the last three weeks. I’m sure I could make a list as long as a short novel, but I will try to be as brief as I can.

Bikes, Buses, and Trains

According to the CIA online world fact book, Belgium is a country about the size of Maryland but with a population of 11.2 million. Within the region of Brussels, people rely on the metro, trams, and bus system and they use the train to easily travel outside of the city. For example, Amsterdam and Paris are only about a two hour journey by train.

Many people ride bicycles and there are special bicycle lanes all over the city. This cuts costs and saves energy. Cars are much smaller in Europe than in the U.S. A person with an SUV would stick out like a sore thumb here. The roads are much narrower and there are a lot more roundabouts.

Speaking of cars, I have never seen anyone pulled over for speeding or any other traffic violation in Brussels. While I have seen a number of police cars and other emergency vehicles, there is a lot less regulation on the streets.

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Their Relationship to Alcohol

Belgium may be known for their beer, but alcohol is treated differently than in the States. More people are responsible with their drinking, including those under the American legal drinking age. In the States, alcohol has a more negative association. It’s forbidden to touch a drink before being 21-years-old and more likely abused.

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Sunday Really is a Day of Rest

In Brussels, most stores (apart from the really touristy areas) close all day. The roads aren’t busy. People are outside with their families. They put aside their work. The church I attend meets in the morning and in the evening, regardless if it’s a holiday or not.

In the U.S. Sunday is typically a day where we do our shopping, catch-up on work, grab a quick bite to eat, and meet our minimal amount of time with God by attending service. This isn’t always the case, but sadly often true. Americans have it so easy because most things stay open every day of the week from early in the morning to late at night. We have big stores, long hours, and we even stay open on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

 

People Put Down their Phones

I have not seen a single person taking selfies, posting things, or shooting videos the way Americans do….Well, maybe the way millennial Americans do. I rarely see people, including young people, buried in their phones when they are with their friends at the park or at a restaurant.

Obesity isn’t an Issue

There are large green spaces in the city, usually with statues and fountains. In Brussels, people walk more, ride bikes, and altogether are more physically fit. They don’t eat three heavy meals like in the States. They enjoy long dinners and have lighter breakfasts and lunches.

I went to see a movie Monday and the concessions worker didn’t ask if I wanted a large popcorn and a large coke. It was a small bottle of coke and a portion of popcorn for two people. Not like the big buckets we have in America. In other words, they know how to portion themselves here while still enjoying the good stuff.


I know this wasn’t my usual post with themes on facing personal fears, trying new things, or the occasional movie review. I wanted to give a glimpse of the major things I’ve noticed about the culture in Brussels. Next time, I hope to write something more along those lines but I hope you enjoyed learning a thing or two.

The Lookout: First Week in Brussels

Ten days ago, I arrived in Brussels, Belgium, the famous city of beer, chocolate and priceless architecture. My insane jet-lag made the first two days quite a blur, but now I feel comfortable in my surroundings. Well, comfortable might be a stretch.

God is undoubtedly teaching me to be present. He’s breaking down my walls of caution by showing me there is more to life than what I know, and what I think is best. He’s teaching me to observe and to listen to his voice when I feel like hiding.

There were a lot of differences I noted when I arrived. For instance, there are more nationalities than I expected. The common language is Dutch, French, and many locals speak very good English. I’ve never felt so embarrassed being the silly American stereotype by knowing only one language.

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My first Sunday night Bible study, I met people from France, Australia, England, Korea, China, and the U.S. We shared a meal, drank a few local beers, and had a great discussion on the first chapter of Jonah.

If you aren’t familiar with Jonah, it’s an outlandish story about a prophet who gets a message from God to call out the city of Nineveh for the evil things they are doing there. Jonah rebels, runs from God, gets swallowed by a big fish for three days, and in the end, fulfills God’s mission. As I participated in the group discussion, I felt like God was speaking directly to me. In terms of hiding, I was a lot like Jonah.

The weeks leading up to my new adventure I was pretty calm. But when I arrived, I felt panicked—like heart pounding, breathing heavily, sweaty palms kind of panicked. I thought coming here had all been a mistake. Why would I give up my perfectly comfortable life in the States to go somewhere I knew little to nothing about and didn’t know a single person?

In fact, it’s my nature to want to serve God and do his will as long as it’s convenient, doesn’t interrupt my plans, or make me uncomfortable in any way. I am a creature of habit, schedules, and safety. I don’t like feeling unprepared or out-of-place.

But if I regard my time in Brussels as a significant act of God, then it’s a joyful encounter. It is a front row seat of his hands orchestrating love and wonder to the people here. It’s a chance to see the world with fresh eyes.

I toured an art museum for the Belgium painter, Rene Magritte where I marveled at the imagination and conflict of his artwork. Magritte said, “To be a surrealist means barring from your mind all remembrance of what you have seen, and being always on the lookout for what has never been.”

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I believe that’s true of art, travel, and life. I can stay in my harbor or I can choose to brave the unpredictable waves. I can step out on faith being on the lookout for every opportunity to hear God’s voice. I can submerge myself in a foreign culture, make new friends, and have new stories.

I pray you will listen to that voice. It may not be easy to shut out the doubt. I’m not saying be fearless but don’t hide. Say yes and see where God will lead you.

The Houses Where We Live

I have lived in this three bedroom house for two months now. Sometimes it feels like home. Other days I worry how I’m going to make the rent or buy groceries for the week.

Usually, the most relaxing parts of my day are the morning and afternoon walks I take alongside my dog, Finn. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. Shortly after “The Force Awakens” was released, I was introduced to this little mutt outside Centennial Park in downtown Nashville. The name felt fitting.

I moved to Nashville from Northern Virginia. The winters are strange here, unpredictable from one day to the next. One day, I’ll bundle up in my warmest coat, gloves, and scarf. The next, I’ll wear a short-sleeved shirt.

Finn and I like watching the gentlemen t-off at the golf course down the road. We walk in silence, noting the houses and yards, and feeling the cool air on our bodies. Occasionally, he will see another dog and nearly knock my arm out of socket from pulling on his leash. On these walks, my mind wanders all over the place. I think about my day or the future.

I am a proud sponsor of making lists. I make them for everything—books I’ve read or want to read, places I want to travel, career options, things to buy at the store, etc. I need my lists, not only keep my sanity, but to make sure I am working toward something. I love that sense of accomplishment even in the smallest ways—from the laundry, cleaning, bills, and jobs around the home.

But no matter how much work I put into this old house, I’m constantly thinking about the next thing that needs to be done. The porch needs re-stained, the driveway gravelled, the gutters cleaned, and the backyard landscaping needs work. While missing out on the simple, beautiful fragments of everyday life, I’m thinking about, “What’s next?”

A house is like a life. The older it gets and the more stories it has. As time rolls on, it gets beaten too. A hole here and there. A leaky faucet. A loose door.

I am this house—this small house, a few decades old. It seems insignificant in comparison to the grandness of others but it has charm. It has determination and warmth.

I try my best to make it presentable to whoever may appear at the front door. I patch the holes and I decorate its walls with lights and pictures. But the dirt and the stains appear at the surface. The polished exterior is unmasked illuminating tarnished pieces.

This house and I share a similar story. We have our imperfections and our quirks. But we have much going for us too. Maybe, as it turns out, those three rooms represent a much larger picture.

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To maintain a firm foundation, I need to invite God to live here with me. God, in three persons, mends my soul, the cracks, and the corners. He touches all the places I can’t reach, and keeps me warm and dry. He holds me together in one place, completely absorbed in his greatness.

Somehow I don’t feel so alone. I don’t feel the need to have every part of my life to the standard I think it should be or what it’s expected to be. God leads me one day at a time.

When my friends and family join in this place, I don’t hide the mess. There is celebration. There is joy and laughter to be held here. There are no masks. Like the houses we live in, there are stories in the making. We can look at that scratch or tear as a roadblock, or we can see it as part of the journey.

The City of Stars Shine in Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’

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Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone tap dancing in Griffith Park.

 

Not a single person walked away from the latest Damian Chazelle film without a renewed ecstasy for their long forgotten dreams. From the opening sequence on a busy LA highway, to the dim jazz bars, to the delightful dance numbers by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, “La La Land” is a sure achievement for both critics and audiences.

Like the affairs of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gosling and Stone return to the screen in this lighthearted romance set against the starry skies and vibrant sunsets of modern day Hollywood. Sebastian is a struggling jazz pianist who longs to open a club. He is dedicated to keep the sound of pure-jazz alive but not without a few setbacks. He falls for Mia, an aspiring actress, working as a barista on the Warner Bros. lot.

Both Sebastian and Mia are escapists, enchanted by the magical zeal of Hollywood’s past. But the journey gets rocky when they have to balance their love for one another and their delayed dreams.

Writer-director, Damian Chazelle established himself in the 2014 Oscar-nominated film “Whiplash.” It’s clear that Mr. Chazelle is enamored by the golden age of jazz in its relation to modern society. The music of Justin Hurwitz will sweep audiences off their feet with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

 

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Gliding among the stars in Griffith Observatory.

 

“La La Land” is far more than a reprise of old Hollywood. It’s a love letter; a tribute to artists of all trades who long to make it big. The weighty themes of desire and rejection are paired with fantastical colors, stunning cinematography, and six original songs. The cinematographer, Linus Sandgren, shot the film in 35mm CinemaScope, as it was method in the 1950s and 1960s.

Being a fan of “Rebel Without a Cause,” I am thrilled by the scene where Sebastian and Mia ballroom dance in Griffith Observatory. It is a wordless segment lasting roughly five minutes where the couple glides among the stars. The use of silhouettes, chorography, and cinematography are all memorable tidbits, making “La La Land” high on the Oscars nomination list.

Another favorite scene was the epilogue, another wordless sequence taking place five years after Mia lands her big break in her acting career. Sebastian has also achieved success in his jazz club. The film loops the characters from their first encounter to the moment they finally meet again.

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Less than two weeks since “La La Land” opened in select theaters, there is a great deal of talk about the 89th Oscars. The film has also been nominated for a number of Golden Globe Awards including Best Original Score, Best Song, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Picture for Comedy or Musical. I am hopeful that “La La Land” will sweep away many awards for its bold originality and unforgettable melodies.

Fantastic Beasts and the Pre-Potter Wizard World

JK Rowling makes her screenwriting debut in the Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which hit theaters Friday, November 18th. Yet again, Rowling astonishes all with her ability to expand the wizardry universe in this stand-alone feature. The story unfolds in 1920s New York City featuring an all new cast of wizards and creatures.

Eddie Redmayne did a tremendous job playing the animal-loving underdog, Newt Scamander. Scamander is an English Magizoologist and unlikely protagonist; preferring the company of strange and magical animals to that of people. For those who followed the Harry Potter series, Scamander is similar to Nevil Longbottom and Luna Lovegood.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Potterfans are familiar with Scamander as the textbook writer of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He believes animals to be misunderstood much like himself. His goal in coming to America is to release the thunderbird back to its home.

When his creatures are accidently set free, havoc is apparent between muggles (called the No-Mag in America) and the wizarding-kind.

** Spoilers **

But focusing on Newt Scamander losing his magical creatures would be missing the point. At the end of the film, he recaptured all of his missing beasts. This isn’t much to go off of for a sequel.

In fact, another four installments have been confirmed by Warner Bros. Fans suspect that Rowling has some ideas up her sleeve for the future of the franchise.

At the climax, Scamander discovers Gilbert Grindelwald, the most powerful Dark Wizard at the time, only surpassed by Lord Voldemort. He is known for his desire to control Muggles and take possession of the Deathly Hallows.

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Grindelwald was connected to Albus Dumbledore through their childhood in Godric’s Hallow. The two brilliant, young wizards shared an interest in the Deathly Hallows for different purposes. It was after the death of Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana, their friendship ended. Dumbledore went on to defeat Grindelwald in 1945 in the greatest wizard duel; afterward, he was placed in prison.

 “And at the height of his power, when Dumbledore knew he was the only one who could stop him, he dueled Grindelwald, and beat him, and he took the Elder Wand.” –Harry Potter

Some predict the next films will illustrate Grindelwald’s rise to power and his relationship to the Dumbledore family. There are theories that Grindelwald takes such a liking to Credence for his power as an Obscurus because Ariana Dumbledore was herself an Obscurus. He observed how powerful she was and wanted to use it to have control over wizards and muggles.

There will likely be a battle in the last film between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

There has also been speculation if Credence is really dead. Scamander saw a piece of Credence’s Obscurus escape at the end of the film. Maybe he thinks there is hope for Credence and chooses not to say anything in the presence of The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA).

The next chapter will also explore the future of the no- mag communities and the magical communities of America. Many Americans were outraged after Senator Shaw was killed by an Obscurus.

Scamander points out how backwards the laws in America are in comparison to Britain. In the United States, there is no inter-marriage between muggles and wizards. This also puts a restraint on some of the main characters the audience was introduced to in the new film.

Questions continue if Newt will be the central character or if the story will shift to Dumbledore? Will the next film take the audience back to England and the beloved hallways of Hogwarts? Does Voldemort play into the prequel as it progresses?

 

Sources:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/12/entertainment/la-et-mn-who-is-jk-rowlings-new-protagonist-newt-scamander-20130912

http://www.harrypotter.wikia.com/Newton_Scamander

http://www.pottermore.com

 

 

To My Dear, My Love

7/15/16

I’ve never met you.

But maybe I have in passing on the street. In all my favorite stores—the coffee shops, bookstores, on the Nashville streets, or outings in the park.

I’m thinking about you wherever you are.

I’m thanking God for this sweet beautiful place I am in my singleness. I’m working, serving, and soaking up time with my friends. But I miss you too—in the busy and the slow times. I miss you when I’m happy and when I’m sad. When I’m hiking those mountains on the AT on my own.

I imagine you up there overlooking that mountain with me. I imagine us building our lives together. I imagine our devotion, our passion to serve our glorious, true hold God. I imagine us building a family together.

I love you Mr. Someone.

I’m waiting patiently for you. I’m praying God will be your source of strength, hope, and love. I pray he will guide you in the way that is right.

We’ll be together someday. But until then, I’ll keep waiting. I’ll praise God for my blessings I have with me now. He always listens and answers. He is kind and good.

Lindsay

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8/14/16

Some days are harder without you.

I have my God. I have my family. But I am a selfish human being. I miss you near to me.

God has glorious made plans I didn’t know were possible 6 months ago. 3 months ago. Even 3 weeks ago. He continues to amaze me—by his deeds, his creation, and his grace.

He fills me up beyond measure. No other one could satisfy.

I can’t wait until we get to share in this joy together. When we are dumbfounded by the plans of God without our knowing.

We are finite beings trying to control our destinies. But the plans of God are carefully knit. Beautifully crafted. A wonder to behold. A treasure that has been found. He makes it know to us.

Surrender.

That’s the craft I been practicing though far from ever mastering. I want to be all in. I want to believe what he says is the whole, perfect Truth that existed before the beginning.

He will call us together in his time. I’ll be here. I’ll be preparing to become your bride. I love you Dear Mr. Someone. I delight in the plans God has for us.

All my love,

Lindsay

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8/17/16

I’ve been anxiously waiting for you to walk into my life. I’ve been looking around and seeing what everyone seems to have that I am missing. The things I want so badly sometimes. The things I think I want.

I’ve been searching instead of experiencing the satisfaction only God can give.

My mind is years down the road. It feels like I’m racing ahead trying to catch up with the crowd. I haven’t stopped recently to thank God for the place I am now. I haven’t treasured this moment. This week. This day as though it was my last.

I know you’ll show up My Love. I know when God knows we are ready, we will experience life together. We won’t be able to experience the goodness our love produces apart from Him.

We must deny ourselves on a daily basis. We must prepare our hearts and minds for the future ahead by being the friend, coworker, son, daughter, brother, sister, or neighbor to those we encounter.

We must be genuine and filled by grace.

I’m so thrilled to meet you. I’m overjoyed for the plans God has for each of us.

I love you Mr. Someone.

Lindsay

Heart Shift

Something shifted in my heart lately—some stomach-turning, toe-tingling, courageous feeling.

I sat in the car with a friend the other day after Bible study. It was a rough week for the both of us. I spilt my guts about this guy I liked but didn’t think the pace in our relationship was moving in a godly direction. In other words, we were getting physical too quickly.

My friend looked me square in the face. With her most sincere, affectionate tone she said, “Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.”

I let this roll around in my head for a few minutes. I didn’t want to believe that. I didn’t deserve to be kicked to the curb by a guy who barely knew me. I didn’t deserve the kind of relationship based more on sex than real intimacy.

The more I thought about the relationship the more I began to ask myself the questions the devil wanted me to ask. They are the questions that pervert my mind in its most fragile, defenseless state. What did I say or do wrong? Am I worthy of being deeply loved? If I can’t make a relationship work with him then will I ever be able to find lasting love?

Two weeks was all it took to feel alone. Two weeks to invite weakness in my life disguised as happiness and perfection.

But nothing is such an unbearable crash as perfectionism. It will bring insecurity, fear, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders. Perfection won’t bring you closer to someone else. It will demand that we are all hallow human beings. Perfection is incapable of truly seeing someone at their worst and loving them anyway.

“Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.” Maybe I just hate the truth behind those cliché words. I hate how this truth is (to the big picture) rewarding and completely excruciating at the same time. It’s the glass half full or glass half empty scenario.

Will I remain stuck at the point I messed up or will I learn from my mistakes in the future? Will I own up to my faults or will I blame someone else? Is it possible to be beaten down and get back up praising God for the life I have? It is possible to trust with all I have that he will lavishly provide for my life?

Through my setbacks I patiently wait for the Lord to lead me though these dark places. That’s where the heart begins to change. That’s where it becomes clear that my hope is not found in the world but it is found in Christ alone.

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Even when I’m sailing on the waves of emotion, my hope in Christ is my strength. I don’t have to have all the answers to my life. I don’t have to strictly follow some five-year plan. I don’t have to compare myself to what other people are doing. I just have to trust him a little more every day. In the words of Mumford and Sons, I will “love with urgency and not with haste.”

So to all the ladies out there don’t let mistakes in a relationship make you forget who you are. You are a fearfully and wonderfully made treasure. You have friends, family, and many adventures ahead that God is preparing for you.

Stop planning and longing for what’s next but allow God to bring it to you. Allow God’s love to fill you, to empower you, to enrich you.  He will surprise you with a love greater than you can imagine.

The Ultimate Adventure

I spent the last year after graduating college trying to “figure out” my life. What career am I going to have? Where am I going to live? Will I get married or remain single the rest of my life? How am I going to save enough money to do things with my free time?

If only I had more money, more time, more support, more resources, more confidence, more motivation I could do the things I want. I could make a difference in the lives of others. I could see the world and make change happen.

Then the Holy Spirit quieted my heavy thoughts. He asked this question: “When will your life ever be enough to begin the journey I have planned for you?”

If I trusted that Christ died on a cross to save me because he loved me so much, why didn’t I trust him to take care of my day-to-day burdens? Why didn’t I trust the God who performed miraculous deeds with my own life?

It was then I realized I didn’t know who Jesus really was. I wasn’t blown away by all he had done for me. I didn’t long for him like the world did for money or love. I was thirsty for something greater than this world could satisfy.

New York Times Bestselling author, Katie Davis described abundance in Christ this way. “I was coming to understand that what it means to be real is to love and be loved until there is nothing left. And when there’s nothing left, and we feel we’re all in pieces, God begins to make us whole. His love sets us free and transforms us.”

His love is greater. There are no barriers or conditions to his love. I don’t have to prove myself to gain his acceptance.

I’m normally not the type to brag on myself. I don’t like standing up in crowds or giving speeches. But I wanted to share what God has done in my life recently. I wanted to give him the credit because he is great and righteous.

Three weeks ago I got a job offer in Nashville, TN. I was running low on money. I had bills and loans to pay but I trusted in God’s timing. I prayed long and hard for him to provide—sometimes on my hands and knees. His faithfulness never ceases to astonish me.

I don’t have my life “figured out” and I’ll never have it planned to a T. I trust the Lord to make me whole in him. I trust him to guide me in the way that is holy and pleasing to him. I know I don’t have to fear. I don’t have to be afraid. Knowing Christ is an adventure.

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I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live…The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. (Psalm 116: 1-2, 6, ESV) (Photo taken on Clingman’s Dome along the AT)

A Fresh Start

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I’ve wanted a do over.

I got a low score on that test because I changed my answers. I second guessed myself. I didn’t say what I wanted to say, so I overlooked my chance at intimacy with that person. I missed an opportunity to serve because it was too far away and too dangerous. When my friends were together, I chose to stay back instead. I chose the effortless activity of watching TV instead of starting that project or hobby I really wanted to do.

I chose to stay where it was safe instead of taking a chance. I limited myself. I promised myself “next time” or “later.” I was afraid. But it wasn’t the end product that scared me. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid others would have the wrong perception of me.

I wasn’t just limiting myself every time I said, “No, I can’t do it,”  “I should just stick with what I know,” or “Other people will say I’m a failure,” I was labeling myself.

Not good enough. Shy. Weak.

I had big ideas but they weren’t compatible with the lies I was feeding myself. Anytime I was faced with a challenge I began to believe these lies, and it wasn’t long before they were true.

English author, Virginia Woolf wrote, “I will not be “famous,” “great.” I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”

Was it possible to change, to open my eyes, and become who I wanted to be? Could I remove my stamps once they left their mark? Could I get another chance?

Even though I come from a Christian background I was always fascinated with the idea of reincarnation. I don’t mean in a sense that I wish to be reborn as a butterfly, a cat, a cow, or an oak tree. I wanted to experience a life—my life where the scars, worries, and unmet expectations were whipped clean.

A rebirth, a fresh embodiment, a new start.

But what if my second chance is learning, redefining, and regaining my sense of self in the life I have now? Maybe I could change my labels and limitations. I could redefine my restrictions.

What if I made failure my friend instead of my enemy? What if I accepted that struggle and criticism was a part of life? What if I changed my later mentality to a now mentality?

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I chose to write under the title Reincarnation of Lindsay Lore to expose the areas in my life I was resisting to let go.

What restrictions are you putting on yourself? What lies have you spun into labels telling yourself that you’re not good enough? What voices make you believe you are stuck?

If you give yourself a second chance and tell yourself you are not afraid, perhaps you will embrace failure and let go.