Forget the Formula

When I was a young preteen I used to go to the McCracken County Public Library basically all the time. I was home-schooled so hanging at the library was the cool thing to do. I had read practically every single book in our small young adult fiction section. I was starting to think that I had read every single book ever written when one day out of sheer boredom I wandered into the young adult non-fiction section.

That was the day I discovered a whole new world. A world where instead of reading about cool guys and middle school romance, I could un-lock my own successful love life. I snuck over to the section to read American Girl book after American Girl book. I had finally found it. The wealth of knowledge and science and formulas that would help me understand how to have everything I had ever wanted.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 1.47.41 PM

A lot of my present frustrations stem from my constant search for guaranteed formulas. Although, it feels silly now to put so much faith in those purple and pink books about how to tell if someone likes you, things haven’t really changed all that much for a lot of us. We still ask, what do I have to be/do/say/have before I can find love and connection?

I ask engaged couples how it feels to be in such a secure place of knowing that you are loved. I ask them how they knew and how they ended up in a place where they were “Ready To Commit”. I hear a lot of the same things. They stopped looking. They stopped waiting. They reached a place of completion and then boom, God gave them the love of their life.

This made me really scared. I had gone through a lot of periods of waiting. Sometimes I grew tired of waiting and impulsively liked some boys I knew were bad news. I have looked back on some seasons and thought, you know what, that makes sense. And it’s not like I don’t like a lot of the parts of being single. I can serve, live for God, and grow in him with absolutely no true outside commitments.

But there is a part of me that knows that this is not how things are supposed to be for me forever. I can be content, patient, and even whole in Christ. But I am not created for a life without love and connection.

I have fought with this a lot over the past few years. When it became clear that I was not getting married right out of college I was honestly thankful. There are a lot more pros than cons to starting my post-grad experience without a ring on my finger. But that doesn’t diminish the fear that I have.

Every time I tried to plug myself into the formulas I had seen, I knew things weren’t going to work that way for me. The avenues other people took to find love were not going to lead me to the right place. I did not know what to hope for or work towards.

I cannot and will not deny that I want to be married. I want to be married to a person who loves Christ more than anything, that serves with their whole life, and that shows me everyday how to love like Christ. That isn’t wrong. That is biblical. That feeling isn’t going away.

Not denying that longing is my version of the formula. That is still following God’s will. Not letting it consume me, but also not drowning it out to the point where I have a creeping anxiety that my desire is preventing me from connecting with God. Casting your anxieties, sharing your joy and your pain with the Lord does not mean that you suppress yourself and become an inactive protagonist in your own story.

Our lives, our stories, are a shared conversation between ourselves and God. We are giving ourselves to him and he is living in us. I can give my heart to heaven, but if I don’t invest love and care back into others in the world, then heaven never gets back to earth.

So if you are like me, let me remind you that God’s plan for our lives and love is much better than a formula. Just because it worked for your mom or your roommate doesn’t mean your story will be the same. Free yourself from the pressure to stop searching for connection. Come to God with every part of your heart. He knows you, and He won’t let you down.

Humans Drool

When I was 14 years old I went bowling with my youth group. My ex-boyfriend was there looking handsome. But he wasn’t the only one looking good. I had just gotten my braces off. As my favorite artist at the time Ke$ha would say, I was feeling “hot and dangerous”.

We were in the bowling alley, talking, and I was doing everything I could to express “don’t you wish you hadn’t given up on me? Look at me now.” I don’t remember what we were talking about but what happened next is forever engrained in my memory.

When you get your braces off, it takes a while for your mouth to get used to it. It is not uncommon for you to produce more saliva than usual. That is exactly how I ended up drooling in front of my ex.

“Did you just drool?”

“No.” I denied it. I had obviously just drooled. It was a lot of drool. It just poured out of my mouth. But I looked him in the eye and denied what had just happened, even though we both knew it wasn’t true.

256953_10150267391243410_6593131_o(Photograph: circa 2011, aka: time I drooled in a bowling alley)

Even though things have changed since I was 14, a lot of things have remained the same. Mainly, my insecurities regarding perfection. For years I have struggled to let my guard down to see the slobbery, awkward mess I am behind the leader, student, daughter, friend, potential love interest (Anyone? No? Even after that drool story?) and all the other things I want people to see me as.

Perfectionism tells me that I cannot mess up, I cannot be flawed, I cannot do anything that would make me have to say, “Yep, you’re right I just drooled.” or “I am late because I was eating a burrito.” I know that sounds funny but seriously, imagine if you did that thing that you hate when other people do it – and it wasn’t even for a good reason.

Perfectionism convinces us that if we are good enough, we won’t ever need anyone to give us grace. We will have it all under control and we will have earned the love and respect of others. Hold on though, that includes the love of Christ.

I started to get really anxious about what I was supposed to be doing with my life as I got closer and closer to graduation. I wanted to be able to do everything, take every opportunity on with excellence, proving without a shadow of a doubt that I am capable of any career. I wanted to never be late and never make a mistake.

But that isn’t being human.

Imagine working for someone who is always on time, never misses a day of work for anything, is always the last to leave, and basically everything about them oozes “I am better than you and you will never measure up.” I don’t want to work for that guy. I want to work with people who say it is ok to not know the copy code or take a day off when you are sick. When I think of it that way, I always ask myself, “why would I want to be that guy?”

You can lead people by example by embracing your humanity. Showing grace for yourself and for others. When you humanize yourself, it becomes so much easier to humanize the people around you.

Humans make mistakes. That is why God gives us grace. Not because we asked for it, because we thought we could handle it – He gives it to us because we need to learn to use it. Accepting you are human is the first step to building a healthier lifestyle.

So next time I make a 65 on a quiz I will tell the girl sitting next to me so she feels better about her 75. Next time my boss is running late, I will remind him that I get how much of a struggle mornings can be. Next time I am human, I will reach out and share that with my neighbor.

Because I want to love people well. Your neighbor doesn’t need a critic or a measuring stick, they need the same grace and love that Christ offers us everyday.

Find Your Voice

Ready to start blogging? Learn how to find your voice as a writer.

One of the biggest road blocks I faced as I entered the world of communications was trying to find my voice as a writer. Blogging is essential as a communication student to be able to practice writing and find your voice as a writer. Blogging was a whole new world of writing for me. I had written formal essays, casual stories, and angsty poetry, but I had never written for anything like a blog. Brandi King shared her wisdom with us this week about three key things that have helped her be comfortable and successful as a professional.  Knowing your audience, connecting to humanity, and not taking yourself to seriously are also the first three steps you need to take in order to find your voice as a blogger.

Your blog should have an ideal audience, but most importantly, you should blog for yourself. Being able to reflect on my other blog, dollhousepursuit.wordress.com, has been critical in seeing my growth as a person and as a writer. One of the great things about keeping a blog is that you are able to write about what you are passionate about. Looking through old blog posts, I can see how God has been working in my life. The readers of my blog can share my experiences and passions by reading my posts. Blogging is a way to create a community of people with common interests through sharing your experiences.

Don’t be afraid to share on your blog. If there is something you are struggling with, you are passionate about, or you want to share, go for it. Your blog should be a place where you can be real with your audience. When your blog connects with the humanity around you, you are given the power to make a difference with your writing. Vulnerability in your writing can really set you apart as a blogger.

Finally, your blog should be a place where you can have a little fun. Tell your corny jokes and be yourself. A blog isn’t an academic journal, it’s a casual way to write and share your ideas. It will be much more enjoyable for you and your audience if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Your content matters, but so does the delivery. Making your blog enjoyable to read will help the content stick with the reader.

Blogging should be something that you enjoy doing! You have the opportunity to write and communicate to the world. Take the opportunity to gain experience and grow as a writer and a person. Once you know your audience, connect with humanity, and have a little fun, it will be easier to get started and turn that blank document into a blog post.

A Brief Introduction

Canon and communications? Allow me to quickly explain. Canon is the greek term for an acceptable form of measurement. I want this blog to be a form of measurement of my growth as a communication student. As I grow in my faith and field I want to be able to share my lessons learned. Whether it is in technique, advice, or experience, I want to be able to share my life with you as I navigate my way through college. I can’t wait to grow with you all. Welcome to Canon and Comm.