When a change of plans reminds you that you’re enough

Life is weird and unexpected and crazy and difficult and wonderful and confusing and chaotic and interesting all at once.

And it’s beautiful—so, so incredibly beautiful.

I own a planner, but sometimes I don’t know why I even bother with it. Sure, it helps to remind me of appointments and plans I have, but it also gets filled with too many tasks that shouldn’t necessarily be added to my already-almost-overflowing plate. I often feel like those unaccomplished things on my list are staring back at me, mocking me with words that make me feel like I’ve failed. Like I’m not doing enough. Like I’m not giving enough of myself. Like I’m not trying hard enough. Like I’m not succeeding enough. Like I’m, simply put, just plain not enough.

And even though I know those thoughts are all lies, every once in a while, I let myself believe them.

This isn’t my author bio photo, but it almost was.

I wrote a book (which I can’t wait to share with you VERY soon), and it’s filled with constant reminders that you are enough—that you are valued, and you are loved, and you matter. And all of these things are true about myself, too. So why do I let these feelings of running a never-ending race in which I’m doomed to cross the finish line in dead last get to me so much?

I blame it on being human and having emotions.

I sat across from my dear friend and mentor Cristy earlier this week and poured my heart out with these feelings to her. I tend to bottle my emotions, so they all come out at once when I least expect them to, and the tiniest thing generally sets them off. She sat there with me and listened and spoke truth into me and reminded me of my value and in Whom I find that value. She encouraged me to take time later that day to rest—to do nothing and to be OK with that.

As a teacher, I’m a fan of spring break, because we truly do need rest more than we realize. I took some time that afternoon to lie in the sun by the pool and bask in its warmth. I turned on sounds of ocean waves to take me back to my days in California when I would sit on my favorite lifeguard tower or the sand and stare out at the ocean (I miss you with my whole heart, SoCal) and did something I hadn’t let myself do in far too long: I relaxed and did nothing. It felt so nice.

Almost 80 degrees and freezing

After a while, I decided to dip my toes in the water, and my reaction would have made you think that I was attempting the polar plunge in sub-freezing temperatures. It felt crazy cold! For some reason, though, I wanted more of that. I’ve been trying to increase my running mileage and speed lately, so my legs have been taking a beating. Even though I hate ice baths with everything in my being, I thought it might be good for me to suffer through one. I stared at the water, letting it challenge me to a dare. I went and sat on the side of the pool and dangled my legs into the coldness, the water only coming up to about the middle of my calves.

I don’t like the cold. At all. I don’t think that it’s a good idea for people to experience it, but some insist on being fans of things like snow and skiing and using the air conditioner. I don’t get it. As I looked down at that water, though, I knew that I was going in it soon. I didn’t want to, but I needed to—for reasons beyond a simple ice bath. Before I could talk myself out of it, I slid into the water until my legs were completely submerged. And even though I acted like I was a passenger on the Titanic who suddenly found herself in the middle of the icy Atlantic Ocean with no door that was clearly big enough for two people to float on, I survived.

I needed that victory.

I only lasted about seven minutes, but I did it. To me, that moment felt bigger than being able to highlight items off of my to-do list. While I was in there, I read from a book that sweet Cristy had given me earlier that morning, and there was a truth in there that I needed to be reminded of in this season fo my life: He will never put me where He cannot sustain me.

Saw Jules at the airport

On Wednesday, I went with two other teachers and 13 kids to D.C. for a film competition. I felt like I was running on fumes, but I knew that I needed to be there. It was only a few hours after we arrived that the organization in charge of the contest notified everyone that it had made the decision to cancel it entirely. After communication with our district, it was decided that we would all come home as soon as we could get a flight back. We ended up being in D.C. for barely 24 hours, and it felt like one of the longest days that the earth ever rotated around the sun. All of us were tired and confused and frustrated that the organization waited until everyone had arrived to make that decision, but one thought kept resonating in my mind and heart.

He will never put me where He cannot sustain me.

Good thing she isn’t actually driving yet.

Life won’t go as we planned all of the time—probably even most of the time. But I know that that’s a good thing. If everything panned out the way I wanted it to, I’d be much more of a mess than I am most days. The reality of my life can’t always match what’s written in my planner, and I feel like I’m in a continual pattern of learning to embrace that. I want the days when I end up jumping into cold water. I want the days when trips have plot twists, but you end up making some hilarious memories on an unexpected journey. I want the days when my heart feels emotions that it didn’t predict it would feel. I want the days when I can sit in the sun with no concept of a schedule. I want the days when I remember what it was like to be a carefree kid again and have zero worries in the entire world. I want the days when the storms blow in, and I am stuck on my sofa with nothing to do but nap.

And I forever and always want the days when God reminds me of his immeasurable love and grace and sufficiency in ways I never imagined.

Remind yourself that you're enough

I hope that you don’t have to question whether or not you’re enough in any area of your life. And I hope that, if for some reason you do, you are immediately reminded of just how much you are valued. None of our days will be perfect, and that’s OK. Sometimes it’s best to embrace the mess for what it is and replace your frustrations and anxieties with joy and gratitude in the small victories.

Because those seemingly small victories are often much more significant than you realize.

Because it’s OK if your plan fails

I consider myself a pretty intelligent gal, but there are certainly times when I don’t necessarily use my intellect to its full capacity.

Cue my everyday life the past few weeks.

I recently bought one of those wallflower things from Bath & Body Works—you plug it into the wall, and then you add this little bottle of scented goodness to the contraption, and it makes places smell fantastic. I probably described that slightly poorly, but it’s 2019, so here are links to the wallflower and to my most recent scent of choice.

When I was in Florida this summer, I tried to plan the perfect cannonball just like I tried to plan a perfectly scented apartment. Neither worked out.

I was rather excited for my plan of making my apartment smell like a pumpkin cupcake on the reg, so I plugged it in as soon as I got home and went about my hectic life. When I got home from work the next day, I couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t as pungent as I’d hoped, and I looked and noticed that the bottle was completely empty.

Huh? That’s odd. Was there a strange odor in my place that sucked up all of the good-smelling stuff?

Obviously that’s a silly assumption, and my apartment doesn’t smell bad, so it didn’t make sense. Plus, I don’t even know if that’s how science works. It’s not my thing. But I just left it as it was and told myself that I’d buy another refill bottle the following weekend when I actually had a few minutes to go back to Bath & Body Works.

When I returned home from hanging out with my nieces the following Sunday with my beloved fragrance in tow, I repeated the same steps from the previous week of plugging it in. I got to work on a few things on my computer while watching football and then got up to get something from my kitchen. As I did, I glanced at the wallflower and saw that the bottle was empty again.

What in tarnation?!

And then it hit me: The bottle was upside down. The directions had specifically warned against that. Insert the palm-to-face emoji girl. That was me in that moment.

I was slightly frustrated at the fact that I had wasted two perfectly good bottles that would have filled my entire apartment with a scent that would tease you into thinking you were actually about to eat pumpkin cupcakes simply because I hadn’t followed instructions properly.

Isn’t this something I try to instill in my students on a daily basis?

I think one of the reasons I made the mistake—not once but twice—was because I wasn’t truly paying attention. I was too busy focusing on all of the other things I needed to do and also thought that I knew exactly what I was doing in setting up the wallflower. It’s honestly not an extravagant scientific process. You seriously just plug the thing into the wall and screw the small bottle full of heavenly aroma in there.

I also wasn’t paying much attention this past Sunday when I was at my parents’ house. I still get a lot of mail sent to their house (it’s all junk, so thankfully the mailers haven’t found out where I really live), and my dad won’t throw it away for me because he says it’s against the law. I gave you permission, man. But that doesn’t fly with him, so I had a huge stack of stuff to trash. I went through it, ripping all of it up and putting it in a trash bag that my mom had brought over by where I was sitting. (Yes, there was enough of it to warrant its own trash bag.) The Cowboys game was on, though, so I was paying much more attention to the television than what I was actually doing.

I love how entertained my mom is by this.

After I was finished going through the pile of what ended up being all trash, my dad took it out with the rest of the garbage and set it outside near their alley for pickup. When it was time for me to go over to my brother’s house for my weekly hangout time with my besties (my angel nieces), I couldn’t find my phone. I remembered that I had brought it in their house with me, so I knew that it wasn’t in my car. It wasn’t in my purse. It wasn’t in the chair where I had been sitting watching the game. My mom jokingly asked if I had accidentally thrown it away with all of the mail.

Crap.

She didn’t think I was serious when I said I probably did, so she called my phone. We heard nothing. I searched around again, and she called it again. Still nothing. We laughed together as we walked to their driveway about to go dig through trash, and I made a comment about how I’ve had to dive into a dumpster once, so this wasn’t new to me. She’s also had to go into a dumpster before to retrieve something, so she said it must run in the family.

That’s something to be proud of, people.

When we got out there and started lifting up the multiple trash bags, she called my phone again. Sure enough, I heard Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” blaring through the stench of plastic and garbage that had been sitting in the Texas heat—much less soothing than a pumpkin cupcake. My dad had put the trash bag with all of the mail in it inside of another trash bag with food and whatnot, and that bag was beneath a bag of everything that was in their cat’s litter box.

This is my life, friends.

Just a typical Sunday of digging through trash trying to find my phone

We finally got to the bag that had my phone in it, and I dug it out. I know people are going to ask me this, so the answer is yes, I did wash my hands. It’s like when people asked me if I showered after jumping into the dumpster. I know I don’t wash my hair very often, but I’m not a complete savage. And, once again, just like with the wallflower situation, when it came to getting rid of all of that mail, I was in such a rush and thought I knew exactly what I was doing and what the best plan was when I should have been paying more attention and remaining in the moment.

Oh. Hey, life.

There are many times when I think my plan is the best plan, and I end up being wrong. Those situations make it necessary for me to reference one of my favorite Key and Peele lines: “Whereas I was not incorrect, they did not mean what I thought they meant.” I was just talking with a friend the other day about how it’s always funny to look back at what we thought would be best for us at certain times in our lives, only later to realize that it truly was much better to leave every plan in God’s hands and let Him take care of the way everything works out.

I’m 34 years old and more single than Steve Urkel. That definitely wasn’t part of my plan years ago. I mean, I should have been in love and loved back for years at this point. But I also wouldn’t be the person I am today if that had happened. For some reason or another, I’ve been meant to be single for this long. Sure, I hope to have my lobster come into my life soon, but I also have to trust that, if that’s even meant to happen, it will happen when it’s supposed to and not simply when I think it should.

After all, I don’t want other areas of my life to end up like an upside down pumpkin cupcake wallflower that doesn’t serve the purpose that it should of making the world a much more pleasant place or a phone ringing the iconic “Love Story” from the bottom of a nasty trash bag.

Some glues just don’t stick

Every once in a while, an idea that seems pretty genius in my head turns out to be not as great as I hoped.

And then bad things happen.

I’m in a bowling league at work, and some of us on my team decided it would be a good idea to make shirts. After all, we clearly need to match in homemade tees every week. We had somewhat of a plan in place, and I didn’t think it would be too difficult of a process. I mean, I used to make shirts in high school all the time. Well, perception changes a little from when you’re a teenager to when you’re a grownup.

And apparently so do shirt-making skills.

For starters, it’s possible I wasn’t quite as prepared as I should have been. My teammate Amanda and I stayed late after work one day last week to start the shirts. She pointed out that the paint I brought wasn’t fabric paint, but it says it’s for all surfaces, so we are crossing our fingers that it lasts. Then there was the paintbrush issue. The paintbrushes were all too thick for the lettering we had traced with a permanent marker and the use of a projector, so I ended up painting all of the letters with the wrong end of the paintbrush—you know, the one without actual bristles. I don’t care to discuss the ridiculousness of this any further.

Again, this is not how I had pictured it in my head.

glue
Don’t trust this one.

Then came round two. I took all of the shirts home to paint the backs and to put the patches on the sleeves. I don’t own a sewing kit, and it wouldn’t matter if I did, because I don’t know how to sew anything on anything. They are iron-on patches, but I also don’t own or know how to use an iron. So, really, there was only one option available to me: glue. I have craft glue and super glue, so I decided to use both—for double the durability, obviously.

In “Sparks Fly,” Taylor Swift sings the line, “My mind forgets to remind me you’re a bad idea.” Even though she’s talking about a guy in this case, I feel like I could sing this in my head in so many situations in my life—this one included.

There’s something wrong with my super glue. It was way more liquidy than any glue should be, and it practically exploded when I tried to use it on the first shirt. The rest of the shirts got the craft glue only, and that was a really bad idea, too. Craft glue needs to specify that it is weaker than you might think and does not last on iron-on patches trying to be glued to T-shirts. It’s just a suggestion, but I think a lot of other people out there might appreciate to know this information. Needless to say, none of the patches lasted a full 24 hours, and I ended up stapling mine to my sleeve. Amanda knows how to sew and will be fixing the rest.

This sort of reminded me of when I was in the sixth grade and tried to make kalaches for a school project. The result ended up being a bunch of crumbs divided into squared-off sections with little cherries in the middle of each. Nothing on that baking sheet resembled anything close to a kalache, and my mom ended up having to help me (or make them for me while I sat there and pretended to absorb some of her baking knowledge).

I think this happens more than we’d like—we have these great ideas of how we think things should turn out, and then they don’t exactly go according to our plans. I know for me it’s because I sometimes act impulsively without really applying that whole “logic” thing. But it’s really important to make sure your glue holds. If you’re trying to make something great but attempting to hold it together with something without lasting value, the result will likely end up falling apart. It’s much better to make sure you have a forever glue.

There will be times when our plans blow up in our faces, and there will also be times when we get something way better than we thought possible. Regardless, it’s good to be ready for whatever comes our way.

Which means I probably need to buy more super glue.