On having it all together.

bloomingflowers

“Sometimes people that are not okay look a lot like people that are.”

Glennon Melton (told ya’ll I was obsessed)

I’m starting to get this weird feeling.

This feeling that nobody really knows me.

I feel like such a fraud.

BECAUSE I AM A FRAUD.

I love writing through my pain and connecting with people but I very methodically dance around my actual life in order to not freak people out.

Like I can tell people what I’m feeling and how I’m coping without actually sharing the dirty details of my sorted adventures. Sometimes this is important. Sometimes I need to heal and work through my bad decisions and that does not mean telling you about them.

But sometimes it feels a little fake.

Because you guys see this girl who runs a non profit and goes to Kenya and loves little chocolate babies.

Or you see this girl who does makeup and must know everything about beauty.

Or you see this loud confident girl who just LOVES life and thinks of hilarious instagram captions (okay maybe only I think they are funny).

Or whatever you see I’m afraid that none of it is true.

I am supposed to be this girl and I should have it all together.

I mean my life IS AWESOME. Just not because of me.

I do run a non-profit (with like a billion other volunteers/board members/incredible humans) and I am recklessly in love with my Kenyan family. They love people better than anyone I’ve ever met and they understand faith in a way I’ve never seen before. THEY are the reason that anything we do works. 

While I don’t know everything about beauty, I do enjoy learning. I love to learn about different types of beauty, color theory, and make up – it’s not vain to me. It’s just fun. I didn’t make these things up – you know how I learned all I know about makeup? Freaking Youtube. You could be just as good as me if you have an internet connection.

And if you think I have it all together, you haven’t read one word I’ve ever written. I am a sobbing, neurotic, dramatic mess.

I have a lot of things to be proud of and thankful for.

And yet, I still fell. Everything around me still came crumbling down. I’m not sure how and I’m not even sure when it happened but it did. My whole entire faith fell apart.

Everything I believed in just fell. Nothing made sense and all of it hurt. The verses, the songs, the religion I had known for so long – it all felt numb to me. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself believe it anymore.

For me, it was my faith that fell apart. Maybe for you it’s something else – your job, your relationship, whatever. Sometimes we are so tied up in what we are trying to make our lives look like that we forget what they actually are.

So I did what any normal and slightly addict prone person would do – I tried to find validation and worth in literally any other source. Alcohol, men, whatever. Pretty much anything because feeling this weight of guilt & shame from leaving my faith was too much. It hurt too bad.

I was not the same girl I used to be. I was different. I couldn’t unfeel and unsee all the injustice that I was witnessing. And I couldn’t make a case for the church – they were the ones causing the pain and my heart hurt too bad.

I had to become numb. Alcohol numbs your inhibitions. The attention of men numbs your loneliness. Anything to make those large, loud feelings of mine shut up and go away.

I just wanted to be numb. I’m a feeler. A big feeler. I am zero or and I am one hundred. Most of the time it’s one hundred. So when everything feels like too much, I have to shut it up. Addicts understand. Our addictions help us not feel.

I want you guys to know that before all of this – I LOOKED REALLY FREAKING OKAY. I went to work, I hung out with my friends, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I’m sure if you looked at my facebook, life seemed wonderful. I made sure that my life seemed wonderful. I made sure that I looked okay.

But I wasn’t. I was desperately lonely, I had painful questions about religion, and I was incredibly low. Just low. Not sure about what or why but I was.

All of these demons came to pass in one fail swoop. A few months ago, everything came crashing down. I realized that everything in my life was what I was DOING but not actually who I was. It took me so long to start to even feel like myself again..but like I said, I’m not the girl I used to be.

And I think that’s okay. I don’t have myself on a pedestal anymore. I thought that I wasn’t allowed to struggle because I ran a non-profit or because I was a Christian or because I did so many okay-persony things. That because I had seen Jesus be so good in my life that I wasn’t allowed to question my faith or my life or anything.

I THOUGHT SO MANY THINGS.

The gospel  cleansed me and healed me and redeemed me AND THEN I THREW IT ALL AWAY.

YOU KNOW WHY?

Because the gospel cleansed me and healed and redeemed me before I even knew how much of I screw up I would become.

A lot of times as Christians we think our lives are whole after we accept Christ. That once we accept Jesus that we won’t ever question or struggle or whatever again.

That’s a load of crap.

WE ARE HUMANS, YOU GUYS. We are literally hard wired to mess ourselves up.

We just have to be human enough to ask for help.

That’s where I failed. Because I thought I was too good to fail. Too good to question Jesus and the bible and God. You guys, God is a pretty awesome guy or gal or whatever (I hate putting gender roles on God, God is too cool for that) and I think that God is big enough to handle our questions.

The church? Yeah I’ve got issues with a lot of the things that religious people do but that’s okay because I’m learning that those people are humans too.

And if I want grace then I have to give grace too.

I just wrote this because I want you to know that sometimes people who are not okay look a lot like people that are. That I hid my addictions, my doubts, and my fears underneath this layer of OKAYNESS and that it was all bullshit.

I wasn’t okay. And I’m still not okay. But I feel free enough to talk about it now.

I want you to know that if you were a Christian and now you are not and now life is weird and you’re not really sure what you are then that’s okay too. That sometimes we think we have to look all perfect and be all great and that’s just a load of crap. You are wonderful and worthy and your reality is YOURS and it’s true. No one can tell that it’s not. If it’s hard, if it’s easy, whatever it is – own it and be honest about it. Don’t be too scared to admit that you’re not okay. 

Cause no one is okay. We’re all working through this messy life together and adding guilt on top of our mess is like way too much work. So stop all that.

I hope you give yourself some grace and know that no one is ever so well off to not fall of the train. We all fall off from time to time. Jesus knew that was gonna happen so He died on a cross for us and promised to unconditionally love us.

That’s pretty neat in my opinion.

Also if you’re reading this and you don’t believe in Jesus – you’re cool and you deserve love and respect because you’re a human being and I love you. We don’t have to share the same faith to recognize that life is hard and we need one another. If you’re struggling through something, that’s just fine and whatever it is, we’re here for you. Just know you don’t have to act like everything is perfect, it’s not and that’s life.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote as of this week…

“If flowers can teach themselves how to bloom after winter passes, so can you.” — Noor Shirazie

You will bloom again.

Thanks for reading,

Crissy

Advertisements

Why I’m a valley girl.

valley

I have a confession.

I am a stalker.

I do not have a stalker.  I AM a stalker.

To Glennon Doyle Melton aka Momastery

I’ve never met someone who can be so vulnerable, so beautiful, so freeing, and so loving all at the same time. The woman is truly my favorite writer/speaker/person ever. Look her up now and begin your obsession.

I’ve had the insane honor of meeting her twice and getting to hear her speak both times. On life, pain, love, and everything in between.

It seems like our paths always cross when I’m in some deep spiritual turmoil and I don’t think that’s an accident. Not because I need her guidance to go through the turmoil but I need her reminder to TALK about the turmoil.

Without her freeing words, I would probably still be a shell of a human. Too scared to talk about where I fail because I felt like no one was allowed to fail.

She talked in Chicago a couple months ago about valleys and mountains. About how everyone wants to be on the mountain top but that’s not where life really is.

I’m going to expand on this beautiful truth but I just want to be sure that Glennon gets all credit for this thought process.

The peak of the mountain seems so desiring. After hours of work, and oxygen masks, and freeze dried food (I know NOTHING about climbing a mountain, do you eat freeze dried food? I made that up), the peak is where everything comes to a finale. You can see EVERYTHING from the top. You have conquered something that was previously unconquerable, to you at least.

But the peak is cold. The peak is lonely. And you cannot be on the peak forever. The oxygen will run out, there is no food up there, and it’s really freaking cold.

The valleys are the places that we loathe, right? The bottom of the mountain where we can’t see anything and where we are just so low.

But don’t knock the valleys – that’s where life happens. The valleys run right by the river, where the grass is green and the water is sweet. You can survive in the valley just fine. You don’t need an oxygen tank and odds are, a lot more people will be down there with you.

I’ve been in a valley for a while. For most of the time, I’ve really hated it.

I’ve cried A WHOLE LOT. It’s been a really foggy valley too. Nothing has really made sense and I couldn’t see the end in sight. I couldn’t explain why I was feeling the way I was, I didn’t have answers for anyone (including myself), and it was all just frustrating.

Life was so foggy that I missed all the parts of the valley that are beautiful. I couldn’t see the river, I couldn’t see the grass, I couldn’t see anything. Life was anything but lively. The fog took over. 

I gave in. I decided that if the fog was where I was going to walk that I must be alone and that if I was alone, I could figure out the best life for me.

Well if you’ve ever chosen to do life alone, you probably know where this is going.

Heartbreak. Shame. Isolation.

All of it.

All because the fog blinded my eyes from seeing the river.

I was never alone. Jesus was right there with me the whole time. But I chose to decide that he wasn’t. I chose to want a substitute for the river. For that living water that I needed so badly.

The beautiful thing about that river though is that even though you can’t see it, it’s always there. Water doesn’t stop flowing just because we choose not to acknowledge it’s presence. Eventually the rush of the current will be too loud to ignore.

The love of our Savior does not go quietly. 

His heart for us is just simply too strong. 

A lot of people hear Jesus’ audible voice. That’s not me. So if that’s not you either, I want you to know you’ve got a comrade in that. But I do hear his voice through people. People like Glennon for sure. But especially through my tribe.

Man, my tribe has been stellar during my foggy season. I have never been loved so well in my entire life. I have never seen Jesus more vividly than through the way that these people have held my heart in theirs.

That kind of love reminds you of the river. They are the streams that lead back to the source. I heard them call me home. 

So I found my way back. The future is a little messier now but that’s to be expected. Life is messy, that’s not a surprise to anyone. My little journey off on my own made my life a tad messier but loads more beautiful.

My messy is also my beautiful. They are one in the same. 

So that’s why I’m a valley girl. Even if it means being a foggy, messy, one. I know where I’m at now. And while I don’t know much else, I know I’m by the river and that’s good enough for me.

If you’ve found yourself in a valley, welcome to the club – we are so happy to have you. Someone will get you a pamphlet on the activities down here. Just promise me that you’ll stay close the river, if you’re not sure of much else – be sure of that. Don’t be ashamed of being down here and don’t envy those on the peak. We are all here and we are all welcome.

This place by the way is called love. Love is a party and everyone’s invited. 

Glad you could make it.

xo,

Crissy

More thanks than I could ever voice to Glennon Melton for welcoming me into her life through her words. I’m seriously considering moving to Naples so we can be best friends. But for real, her words through this tough time have been my healing. She has shown me Jesus through her vulnerability. I don’t know if she’ll ever see this but sister if you do, thank you. Thank you for everything you choose to give to the world. You have created a space for all of us to be free, in our mess, in our joy, in all of it. Thank you for making life a little lighter by loving a lot bigger.

Doubt and Freedom.

This weekend I spent two days at a conference called Storyline. Storyline is about helping people find their story and reminding them that their story is already beautiful. It is a reminder of not only how to find what your story looks like but how to help you tell that story to everyone you know.

They asked this question multiple times, “What will people miss if you don’t tell the world your story?”

This struck me the first time I heard it on Thursday and it strikes me again today.

I’ve been walking through an interesting time in my life. I’ve been doubting.

Doubting anything and everything. I’ve never doubted that Jesus was good or that He even existed but I’ve been doubting pretty much everything else.

And in the midst of all that doubt, I felt fear. I was scared. I was scared of what other people might say, I was scared of what people might think of me, and I was scared of people leaving.

And to be honest, people have thought things, said things, and left.

This time of doubt isn’t over but my fear is.

I’m done being scared of people. I’m done being scared of what people think. I’m done being scared of people leaving.

You know why? Because the people who stick around when your life gets muddy are the only ones who deserve to be around when your life (seems because it never is) clean and clear.

This time of doubt has been frustrating for me. I haven’t figured out the origin of the doubt, the purpose of the doubt, or the destination of it.

I’ve been all, “GOD WHERE IS THIS GOING AND WHY?”

Doubt is like that. It really pushes you to your limits. And unfortunately only people who have trudged through this mud can relate.

I’ve finally decided to embrace the doubt. To not only recognize it but work through it.

I’M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE.

Blind faith is not faith. I’m sorry if that offends you. But I don’t want to follow Jesus because I’ve been brainwashed to follow Jesus or because my friends follow Jesus.

I want to follow him because I love him and I trust His commands. There are a lot of people who are intimidated by this thinking. They think how can you question any of this? How dare you not think exactly like us and do things exactly the way we do?

And you know what, those people are scared too. They are scared of the unknown. They are scared of a faith that might look different from theirs.

In this season of doubting, I’ve felt intense shame and isolation. I’ve felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel anymore. I wasn’t allowed to work through anything anymore. That I was supposed to become some robot that does what people say even if I don’t agree with them.

But after this weekend, I AM FREE.

I am free to walk through this without condemnation because Jesus wasn’t about that life. He didn’t judge people based on their questions, He loved them with His answers.

You know what Jesus did? He broke bread with them, He talked to them, and He loved them.

HE LOVED THEM.

What a concept. That we can be a part of someone’s life without telling them how they should live but just by loving them.

Bob Goff said something that will resonate with me forever. He said “people don’t want to be told what to do, people want to be told who they are.”

I finally know who I am. Because I just spent 2 days with 2,000 other people who were reminded who they are.

This doesn’t mean I have all the answers but this does mean that I have a plan.

I want to love people fearlessly and recklessly.

I want people to look at me and only see grace, hope, and love.

I want people to reminded of who they are when they are with me and I want them to know that who they are is beautiful. No adding or subtracting, they are beautiful.

I want people to feel like they are enough every time we have a conversation. I want them to never feel less when they are around me.

I want to be the kind of person that always makes room for other people to feel free.

If you are doubting anything in your life – your faith, your job, your relationship, your purpose – THAT’S OKAY. Never accept the status quo as the norm. Always question. Always ask for more out of life.

You know why?

Because YOUR STORY MATTERS. You matter. You deserve to have an incredible life and sometimes that means questioning the norm and embracing the tension.

Just imagine this scenario today. What if all birds didn’t fly? What if they could but they didn’t? What if one bird wanted to fly but all of the others thought of this concept as stupid and then shamed the bird in question? What if the bird let other bird’s standard for life define theirs?

This bird, who was created to FLY, didn’t fly because of the other birds following the status quo.

We were created to fly. Go and fly, friend.

stock-footage-shadow-of-an-birds-flying-to-the-sun-by-red-sunset-over-the-ocean

And if you need some encouragement and some hugs, I will be glad to meet you for coffee and squeeze that gorgeous neck of yours.

Be loved and free today,

Crissy