jessebrandon-337

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written, for many reasons. We left jobs, we moved across the country, we got settled, I got a new job, and we took one last vacation before all my vacation days are gone. So now seemed like a good time to finally get back to this. And I had a revelation today, one that has been swimming through my mind unconsciously until about 30 minutes ago.

I’ve realized that I started slipping back into a very passive way of living. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been enjoying life, participating, getting things done, even being productive. BUT, I hadn’t been setting my aim toward any internal goal, I hadn’t been using any sort of compass to keep me grounded, I hadn’t been looking for Jesus in the midst of anything. Houses, jobs, friends, etc started falling into place and it unconciously seemed like my need for God got seemingly smaller and smaller, so I thought. I found myself uninspired by the Bible in the morning when I would sit down and read. I would get sidetracked with a text or somehow find my fingers clicking instagram and it seemed like a conditioned response to boredom rather than genuinely wanting to be on it. I remember saying to Clint, “I hate social media and I don’t even want to be on it and yet HERE I AM.” Just scrolling. And scrolling. And dying inside, but still scrolling.

I actually kept annoying myself because a voice in my head kept screaming, “GIRL YOU KNOW YOU NEED JESUS BUT YOU’RE JUST GOING TO BOOKS AND YOUR PHONE AND YOUR FRIENDS AND BEING OUTSIDE. I SEE YOU.” And the difficult thing is, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, they all serve a purpose. My problem was that I was feeling uninspired, disconnected, and bored with God. He wasn’t getting my bursts of energy or my excitement or even my devotion. Heck, He was barely even getting my time in the Bible half of the time. But I’m getting off track..

My point is, I had slowly migrated into this reactionary day-to-day, which mostly consisted of errands, seeing friends, checking my phone, being on social media at any point I was bored, just going from one thing to the next without a second thought about God. But slowly, I could feel my soul doing a 2 degree shift. It wasn’t huge, it wasn’t even a conscious choice. It was just a result of drifting without anchoring to the right thing. And slowly but surely, the reality I lived in also did a shift. I could hear myself being more negative, complaining more. I could feel myself falling into thought patterns of deep regret. Events that had happened months, even years ago, would pop into my mind and create a sense of unforgiveness toward myself, of wishing things had gone differently, that I had been different. Which in turn created this self loathing and disappointment with me. The reality of my mind became the reality I lived in. My reality was disappointment, discontent, frustration, hopelessness, doubt.

Many of the thoughts I had were ridiculous, seemingly untrue, and vastly exaggerated. Luckily, I have a husband outside of my own train of thought to reel me back in and align me with what true reality looks like. Luckily, I have a God who wrote down the truth for me so I can go back and align my life with that. But since I was feeling uninspired with the Bible, I wasn’t really checking in with that. It took me going on this vacation, and realizing that my thought life reality followed me even here, that I had to take a look at what I’m doing to create it. Most of my thoughts I had been believing were not from God. I was wasting so much time and beautiful moments because my head and heart were clouded with negativity and dissatisfaction. I realized how much gratitude I had lost for the little things I had once recorded and reminded myself of. I had lost that practice that held in joy.

So I set my compass today, and I hope you’ll join me. I immediately took out my phone (which I’ve now set restrictions on social media time) and wrote a long list of everything I’m grateful for. It may sound cheesy, but it works. This heart of mine nearly grieved at how much I had been wasting and missing recently, until I remembered again that I don’t want to live in regret anymore. I’m going to be grateful today, and tomorrow, and the next day. I’m going to list what’s beautiful, what I have, what God is doing, where He is the midst of things. I’m going to write out His promises for my life, I’m going to read them out loud every morning. I’m leaving so many things behind. I’m leaving complaining, and speaking doubt and negativity. I’m losing my regret, my constant turning around and pointing at my past and saying “but why did it go this way?” or “why wasn’t I better?” Because I have the gift of today. I’m so tired of wasting it. Pointing back at regret and living in this reality have been costing me so much self-love, momentum, and peace. My shift to gratitude and God’s promises re-centered me to the reality I want to create and what I want to pursue– hope, positivity, love and Jesus.

A mentor of mine, Abi Stumvoll, gave me some advice one day when we were talking. She said, “If you’re going to live in a false reality, you may as well live in a happy one.” I’ve kept that close to me since then. We CREATE the reality that we live in, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. Then we reap what we sow. If we let our minds and hearts run unchecked, untethered to truth, we will create a reality that aligns with it. I want my reality to be joyful, grateful, content, inspired, hopeful, connected, simpler. I’m going to do everything I can to carve that path out in my mind, because I get to create it. And it’s never too late to start over.

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