hush.

I have always thought of myself to be a good conversationalist.
Listening, talking, giving advice, repeat.

This belief didn’t just appear out of no where; it slowly emerged to the surface through years of people seeking me out to talk and asking for my advice. Even if I have never been through the situation being described to me, I always found a way to put myself in their position as well as everyone involved, and give my opinion based on each point of view. This really helped people get out of their own head and see the entire picture, then make a decision on what to do from there more clearly. At least, so I thought.

Self-reflection is terrifying; especially when the reflection forces you to undo everything you thought you knew about yourself. But, I guess, that’s the point. While I know my thoughts and opinions hold weight and can have meaning to others, I’m learning (slowly) that sometimes the most meaningful thing you can be is silent.

ECCLESIASTES 3:7
a time to tear & a time to mend; a time to be silent & a time to speak.


This lesson has been very hard for me; because if you’re talking to me then you obviously want my opinion, right? Until recently, I couldn’t accept the fact that that very belief is arrogant. Maybe, just maybe, this person is coming to you to be heard. And that’s it. Maybe their words and thoughts have been silenced by a sea of people just waiting for their turn to toss in their opinion on a situation that does not apply to them; so they’re coming to you for another chance to be understood. 

I am not saying that your input is never needed; I am saying that more often than not, all that is needed is your presence. Sit, listen, and wait. 

PROVERBS 17:27
the one who knows much says little; an understanding person remains calm.


It’s hard to know when it’s right to stay silent; but there are a few moments that I am learning to reflect on to help me understand when it’s time to speak up, and when it’s time to be still.

  1. obedience.
    obedience manifests self-control. only when we are silent are we in a place to truly hear what is needed from us.
  2. rest.
    in the moments when we feel anxious, be silent. no good can come from speaking from an anxious heart.
  3. ego.
    stop letting pride control our tongue. sometimes, we are wrong. sometimes, others matter more. 
  4. regret.
    if we speak out of pride or anger, we will be ashamed of our words later. 
  5. repeat.
    if we have said it more than once, don’t speak. in these moments, silence says more.
  6. fear.
    do not be quiet due to timidness, be quiet to keep the peace. if one person is already angry, it’s best to quiet the mind, take in the situation, and revisit once things are calm.

JAMES 1:19
take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.


Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or heartache. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in our hearts. 

But, we are human. Sometimes, our emotions take over. Sometimes we speak out of hurt, fear, anger, insecurity. Sometimes, the need for peace doesn’t seem to matter until the moment we’ve realized we destroyed it. But luckily, we are human. So we have been given the ability to ask for forgiveness, and the ability to forgive. Peace can be rebuilt. 

It just takes patience, understanding, calm conversation, and sometimes, the ability to be silent

All relationships come with a middle ground in the event of conflict; but if we’re too busy shouting at each other from opposite ends of the battlefield, we will never get there.  Hush, & be still.

 

 

header image by pynk magazine

the list.

It all starts with a list; an idea. These credentials paint a picture of our idea of the perfect person who we have convinced ourselves we are meant to be with. Typically,  we are influenced by fictional movies and books from our childhood that have become deeply rooted in our minds.

Tall. Handsome. Funny. Successful. Dresses well. Employed. Independent. IDEALLY, a prince. 
You get the idea. 

The list is undoubtedly what we will spend the rest of our lives using as a checklist for the potential “love of our life,” and thou shall not deviate from The List. Settling is never an option.

But consider this: what if never deviating is, in fact, settling? What if having one specific idea of a person is just a one-way path to disappointment? Not because the idea of this person doesn’t exist, I’m sure they do (to an extent); but because you would be selling yourself short by adhering to The List. You could argue that The List was created for the sole purpose to ensure that you wouldn’t be settling; but, what if the result of your list ends up not being at all what you want and you’ve fooled yourself thinking this specific idea of a person could fulfill you? What if the result leaves you completely unhappy?

Well, you’ll undoubtedly keep looking for another somebody; but with the same requirements. Whether you realize it or want to admit it, you are once again running through that list in your mind weeding out the possible contenders. You may not be always thinking about it; but it has become so ingrained into who you are and your standards  that it has become difficult to look for anything else. You have developed a “type” that is tough to walk away from. You might even consciously tell yourself that you need to “try something new,” but do you actually listen to that advice? 

If your answer is no, then your result will always be the same.

Here’s your solution: make a new list. 

Literally. Write it down. Not a list detailing the person you want; but a list detailing the  l o v e  you want.

The love of your life shouldn’t be a list of credentials describing what a person is, it should be a list detailing who a person is and the feeling that they give you. 

Warmth. Security. Protection. Adventure. Excitement. Support. Commitment. Humility.

Whatever the feeling is that you’ve been searching for and longing to experience, those are the standards you should seek out in a relationship. Who cares if he drives a nice car if he doesn’t open the door for you? He may say “all the right things” but does he take the time to listen to you? Who cares if he buys you dinner if he holds it over you in the future? Does “quality time” really matter if you can’t be off of your phone for an hour to give your whole heart and mind to the person beside you?

This new list requires your partner to be kind without pride and expectations; to be protective and have your back without the risk of the anxiety brought on by jealousy; to commit without regret or the need for constant reassurance due to insecurity and doubt. 

This new list also requires you to be the same kind of partner in return because rethinking your priorities and expectations forces you to look at who you are and what you bring to the relationship; and if you are lacking in an area that you are requiring from someone else, then maybe look inward and work on that aspect of yourself as well.

We need to start looking outside the cliche need for “tall, dark, and handsome” and begin prioritizing how we are being treated. 

Your list may be different from mine, but we should all be looking for a love that satisfies the feelings that we crave. 

So, what’s on your list?

iridescent.

Have you ever thought about how a movie about yourself would begin? 
What would it look like?

I’ve always pictured my opening scene the same way:

I’m sitting by a closed window in a quaint, aesthetically pleasing café with my notebook, a laptop and a cup of coffee. The weather and mood of this scene has always changed depending on my disposition and the stage of life that I am in; but I almost always picture a cold winters day or a brisk fall morning with deep, de-saturated colors. It gives a sense of yearning and contemplation, with an ever so slight essence of hope for more things to come. I was never sad or feeling downhearted in these scenes; just always waiting for something. My gaze went consistently from my writing, to the window, and back. Even as a I read through my old journals and study every instance where my “movie” is mentioned, I never write down what I’m looking for. I just know that I’m looking.

I haven’t thought about the opening scene of my movie for quite some time; in fact, the only reason it’s on my mind now is because I did a deep-dive into the drafts patiently waiting to be published on my blog. Out of the  s e v e r a l  unfinished posts in that folder, this one captivated me. Not for the moody setting or the unanswered question of what exactly I was hoping to find, but because my opening scene that I picture today has changed entirely.

I’m still in a quaint little café by a window with my laptop, journal, and cup of (now iced) coffee; however, the colors have changed. It’s no longer deep and brooding. It is full of light and vivid color. It must be spring because there are flowers framing the window where I sit; and instead of being on the inside looking out the window, I’m outside on the patio—and from time-to-time, I look up. The feeling is of overwhelming gratitude. I don’t feel the need to gaze in front of me in search of something more to come because I’m genuinely happy and thankful for exactly where I am.

So what happened between these visions?

I’m still me. I still prefer my coffee to be mostly cream; I still write in 3 separate journals for different purposes that only make sense to me; I still go out of my way to say hello to every dog that crosses my path and I will wave across a sea of people if I see a baby make eye contact with me; I still put way too many chocolate chips in my undercooked-mostly-dough cookies and no, I will never stop; I still clean the counters and somehow miss all of the crumbs from my sandwich earlier that day; I still giggle when the little bubbles from dish soap spurt out of the top; I will still choose a decade-old cheesy chick flick or classic Disney movie over a thoughtful documentary on my nights alone because nostalgia always wins in the end; I still drop whatever I am holding, especially if there’s no saving it once it is dropped ( i.e. miso soup—sorry Caleb); I still sing way too loud and out-of-tune; I still have an uncontrollable urge to buy every pink water bottle I see especially if it has gold writing on it; I still haven’t figured out how to properly hang wet clothes so that they don’t wrinkle and, honestly, I probably never will; and I still get way too emotionally invested in fictional characters and refuse to throw out any book I have ever owned.

Yes, I am still me. The difference is, I’ve humbly accepted it. I am blissfully and irrevocably happy to be who I am. I’m no longer gazing into the distance waiting for something to come my way; because I have absolutely everything that I could ever need. I have my family, my friends, my love, my health; I also have insecurities, and heartache and doubt from time-to-time. But I no longer see those moments as setbacks or something to dread. Life happens; and while life happens, God is right there by my side. He’s got me, and He’s got the ones I love. One of the biggest realizations I had during this journey is accepting the fact that God needed to be with me before He was ready to give me to someone else. I had to put in time with Him and myself before I could offer anything to anyone else. That relationship had to mend first. Once it did, everything else made sense. I stopped searching for a picture-perfect life, and started accepting the bright and messy life that has been put in front of me.

My life is no longer filled with fleeting and de-saturated periods of waiting; but it is bursting with fulfilling, never-ending moments of pure joy and vibrancy. I may drop my miso soup that was generously bought for me, and I may trip on absolutely nothing and feel the need to dramatically fall to the ground; but I will do so with a smile on my face and laugh uncontrollably leaving my mouth. I’ll have moments of deep sadness and need some guidance, and I’ll have moments of pure joy and try my best to spread that feeling to everyone around me. Exactly who I am, whether I’m on the ground covered in soup or standing on the balcony of a 5 star resort in Mexico, I’ll be happy.

Because that’s life. Isn’t it wonderful?