How the Done List Saved My Sanity & Refreshed My Faith

how-the-done-list-saved-my-sanity-refreshed-my-faith

If you couldn’t tell from any of my previous posts, I’m one of those classic Type-A, list-writing, goal-driven, oftentimes perfectionistic girls.

 

I’ve written about how much this affects my life – about how it’s caused me to struggle with accepting grace, accepting my worth, and living fully, freely, wholly.

 

But this year, this 2017, I’ve implemented some things into my life that have helped me make grace tangible, my faith just as a part of my life as every other thing on my lists.

 

And the first thing is my Done List.

 

Many people in the world have to-do lists; whether chicken-scratched on a loose scrap of paper, dictated into Evernote, or perfectly printed in a notebook, we’re all familiar with the concept. It’s our own human way of organizing our lives, of creating little goals with checkboxes and a dose of self-motivation thrown in.

 

But I don’t use to-do lists. I use something called a Done List.

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Of Love and Grace

of-love-and-grace

Love’s crazy and amazing.

 

It’s past one o’clock in the morning. I’m writing, I’m thinking, I’m praying, I’m dreaming. I’m reading, I’m hoping, I’m feeling, believing.

 

Nights like these are good nights for me. Every so often I glance up from my journal and fix my gaze on my twinkle lights, my sky-blue walls, my slatted shades, my messy space – and I take a breath again.

 

I’ve never been in love. At least, not yet. Sure, I’ve had a few crushes here and there, like we all have had growing up, but there’s something about love that just captivates me, awakens my senses to something greater.

 

As I sit here on my bed, legs tucked gently under me, clad in an oversized sweatshirt, leggings, and hair such a mess…I’m honestly quite overwhelmed.

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When God Feels So Far Away

when-god-feels-so-far-away

 

What do you do when God feels so far away? When there seems to be no feeling at all, no Voice, no overwhelming peace? Just the absence of anything deeper?

 

That isn’t how I wanted to start this post. I wanted it to sound beautiful, inspiring, but though it’s laced with desperation, it’s imperatively honest. Because for this past week, and maybe even for this past month, I’ve been there.

 

It took me a while to come to that conclusion – to be truthful with myself – to let myself admit that I haven’t been feeling my faith recently.

 

At first thought, I was horrified that it would even cross my mind that perhaps God wasn’t speaking to me as I clearly remember Him doing. It terrified me that maybe…I’ve been relying on myself so much, that life’s been so good, so easy lately, that I’ve forgotten my need to rely upon Him.

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My Ink-Stained, Remembrance-Filled Practice

my-ink-stained-remembrance-filled-practice

Hey, can I let you in on a little secret?

 

Yes, you. Right here, right now.

 

I have a pretty good memory, for the most part. I can recall so many details from conversations and places and events that happened ten years ago. I can remember sights, smells, tastes, emotions, all so vividly.

 

But there is one thing that I can so easily forget…and that’s goodness.

 

Not goodness in the world, I don’t mean that. Look up random acts of kindness on Tumblr and they’re right there. Goodness isn’t too difficult to find in people’s actions, even when this sinful world’s in chaos.

 

But sometimes…I forget those simple truths I’ve known for years. Sometimes, I forget the goodness of God.

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Why I Hate Four O’Clock and Fridays

why-i-hate-four-oclock-and-fridays

It’s sheer irony that I’m writing this at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon.

 

This post has been gradually constructing itself in my head for a few months now, through the ups and downs of assignments and writing projects and stress and joy and all the lovely and not-so-lovely things that my life’s made up of.

 

Every day, around four o’clock in the afternoon, I get this feeling I can’t quite explain. It’s something of dread, of feeling as though I’ve wasted the day, this overwhelming sense of not-enough-ness.

 

It’s weird.

 

And Fridays, you know, “Thank God it’s Friday?” Those days send me into a panicked frenzy…because there’s something that’s taken me a few YEARS to fully understand, but it’s been here for a while:

 

It’s the feeling that the weekend’s finally here, but I haven’t done enough.

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Why Do You Do What You Do?

why-do-you-do-what-you-do

 

Why do I even do this?

 

Deeply breathing, I eke out the words, one by one. And slowly, slowly, my fingers begin to glide over the keys, and I let my thoughts run.

 

I don’t really know what I’m doing.

 

Oftentimes, the words come out more vulnerable than I’d like them to be.

 

What if I’m not living the life I’m supposed to be living?

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Why I Journal

Why I Journal

I originally wrote this post for Joanny White. Click here to read the original post.

 

Journaling has been something that I’ve done for a long time. Whether I completely realized what I was doing or why, when I was younger, I’m not completely sure. However, I do know that keeping a somewhat-consistent journal has benefited me immensely as I’ve grown – both physically and spiritually.

 

So without further adieu, I give you five reasons why I journal.

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Joy in the Mundane

Joy in the Mundane

I know I’ve been focusing a lot on the topic of joy recently.

You would think that I’d be a joyful person all the time (hello, joy is part of my name!) but honestly, I’m not.

(Perhaps I’m simply rehashing everything I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes, I just need to write things that teach me, because I’m far from perfect or complete!)

A few days ago, I got into a terrible funk where I was moody and depressed for a few hours. Why? I have no idea why. I wrote in my journal to get out of it, and realized that no part of my writing had anything to do with joy in it.

But wait, we don’t have to be happy all the time, do we?

No. Nowhere does it say that we have to be happy all the time. Why? Because happiness is dependent on circumstances – and circumstances are never 100% perfect.

True to my blog’s name, I’m going to share a journal page snippet with all of you.

“Wow, I just read what I wrote earlier. It sounds so dark and hopeless. But it’s not. If I can’t find joy in the mundane, I’m making my joy circumstantial. A horrible decision, really. Life is really okay. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. My joy should come from Jesus, and not from accomplishments or possessions or circumstances. No, it’s never easy or pain-free. But I will make it through. For this isn’t the end.”

Joy is always possible because hope is always always available.

 

I started to get fed up with my mundane life in which I do practically the same exact thing every single day. I wake up, I do school, I go to karate (or at least practice it), I read and/or watch TV, I write, I go to bed. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Maybe a little exaggeration there, but I think you get the point.)

I veer toward the side of believing that joy comes from great things that God gives us. Like: opportunities. books. money. friends. freedom.

Joy isn’t happiness. Joy is a life choice and lifestyle. I recently read an amazing blog post about marriage and it talked about making the mundane and ordinary days just as wonderful as the particularly romantic parts. It struck a chord with me, because I often forget that same concept in my daily life.

For me at least, I tend to find “joy” when things go my way, or I’m happy. But that’s not joy.

Joy comes from hope.

Hope is knowing that I’m never alone.

It comes from gratitude.

I am so thankful for my salvation because I am so undeserving of it.

I have joy because I am blessed down to my soul. I am loved and treasured and I belong to my Creator.

This has nothing to do with happiness, because it’s an attitude.

I still have my days where I feel like I’m in darkness, but we all do. It’s absolutely impossible to be always happy.

But we can always put on the attitude of joy. Joy is substantial because its foundation is on hope. This hope isn’t wishful thinking, but assurance.

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

When life is mundane and difficult, joy is possible because we have assurance that faith in God – the only solid foundation – will never fail us. Our souls are saved and secure. We are loved. We were bought with a high price. We are new creations.

Life is hard. Yeah.

But it isn’t the end, nor should we let it be.

Joy is beautiful. Joy is possible, even when it’s impossible to be happy. Joy is amazing, because no matter what, we can find it because of what Jesus has done for us.

That’s where we find joy.

*aj