Shame

Friends,

I need to sit down and begin diving in deep to all of the research that’s stacked up the last 5 years. The piles are getting really tall, and they vary from human trademark to human trademark. I am fascinated and thrilled by psychology and the human experience. You already know this.

Today I have too much to say, and not enough time to say it. The thoughts aren’t ready yet, there isn’t a clear enough picture yet. But what I can say is you have every reason to live in the light even when it’s hard.

Shame, the voice that tells you that you’re unworthy, you’re not good enough, you need to be perfect and strong and ____ and _____… that voice is a lie. That voice will keep you hidden in the dark, where it can do whatever it wants with you. I URGE you, guys I am serious about this. Live in the light. Trust each other. Take that risk. Don’t let the darkness win, because guys it’s when you are silent that you are holding hands with shame. Shame is nothing but a lie. You are worthy of love, you are perfect the way you are, you are good enough. Everything you are is good enough.

If we all really knew that we were good enough we would lay a lot more on the line every day. We wouldn’t be so hesitant and we wouldn’t be so afraid. We would LOVE people with courage. Tell it to SHUT UP guys.

Shame has kept me a prisoner for 6 months, because you know what?

I am not the wife I feel like I should be – the one who cooks and cleans in heels and makes it look effortless. That’s not who I am. I would rather be researching than cooking, and I’m not a quiet, nice gal. I’m here to express, to be authentic, to love fiercely, and I’m not going to tone it down. I am no trophy. As women I think we face a special type of shame from the pit of hell whispering that we have to be perfect at everything, and then we hold EACH OTHER to that kind of ridiculous standard! We applaud good cooking, and leave the work to the men?

Ladies, you have a brain and you may feel free to use it.

You are reading thoughts from an imperfect person. One who is dedicated to doing best what I do best, one who knows that vulnerability is hard but worth it, one who knows that there isn’t always a happy end to every life story. Life is hard work. It’s tough! It’s tiring. I get it.

But I’m done letting what I’m supposed to be get in the way of who I am. It’s tiring to live up to those expectations I put up for myself, so I am going back in and tearing them down. I will not be ashamed that I’m not a trophy wife. I will not be ashamed of my interests, my work, what I like about myself. I like my brain. (I like yours too, and plan on hacking into it for a living)

What do you love about yourself? Write it down. Give shame every reason to quit knocking on your door. Quick differentiation: guilt is being sorry for what you’ve done, shame is being sorry for who you are. I beg you to never be sorry for who you are. That shame will, if we allow it, weaken us forever guys, and then we’re not doing what we’re here for.

My goal, purpose, reason for existence is to help you/motivate you/kick you/love you into understanding that you are worth something. That what you have to give is needed, and it is enough because you are enough. If the world was full of people who know they’re worth something, we would live in a different world.

There are two things I’m sure of:
I am fiercely loved.
So are you.

j

P.S. My heart is pounding. Passion is a blessing, it is never ever ever “too much”.

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Filed under Close to my heart, Psychology

The concept of numbing

The concept of numbing is fascinating, isn’t it? It seems throughout cultures and people groups, humans feel deeply – shame, happiness, empathy, gratitude, failure. These experiences are universal, they are expressed through art, and they are largely what brings us together as human beings. We relate, we feel, we understand.

In the case of negative experiences, often to cope there is a numbing behavior exercised that we think will dull the pain. This concept is one of the most destructive delusions.

Numbing looks different for each person, which makes it occasionally difficult to identify. For example, the purpose or function of the alcohol in your life is the problem, not the literal drink itself. The making of the alcohol itself is somewhat of an art form, and in small doses alcohol is healthy for your heart. We attribute the wrong thing as the bad guy if we’re not careful. Television (relaxation in moderation) can numb you, food (needed) can replace intimacy, exercise (healthy in moderation) can be used to abuse your body. There are plenty of different ways we numb ourselves and forget about what we’re running from.

Digging up the root is far more solution-oriented than trying to deal with surface problems. This dig-up-the-roots approach will provide a quicker path to recovery than addressing behavior. It’s harder, but it’s where the real story is. Everyone has reasons for why they behave the way they do.

If you analyze the world too, feel free to drop me an email or comment so I feel normal. :) Thanks for peeking inside my brain!

j

Shirt // American Eagle courtesy of Plato’s
Earrings // Target

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Filed under Fashion, Psychology

A quiet heart

“A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Often times I’ve confused being content and being comfortable as one in the same. They can’t be the same. This is a lesson I will continue to learn. One he wills for us, one he doesn’t.

I’m a passionate person…I fly and crash.

The first opportunity I had to be on my own, I left for a college a plane ride from home. Not everyone needs to travel, but it wasn’t an option for me. I think we should pay large attention to the desires He gives, because they are unique to us and are active in our souls for a specific reason. Being comfortable makes my skin crawl and my soul long. I am so useless when I’m comfortable.

A quiet heart is different. We are commanded not to worry, to leave all of our tomorrow’s with Him. A quiet heart is “content with what God gives”. Being content is different than being comfortable. How often am I not content for the sake of following my dreams? How often do my dreams become the enemy of peace?

This is what I’m working through friends. To be lazy, comfortable, and without action is not an option. In that state, I loathe myself because I know I’m letting things die inside me that need to live in my lifetime. This was one reason for starting the blog, to be held accountable to the things I feel and know so deeply. Thank you for keeping my secrets and trusting me with yours.

Keep me to this: to know the Lord, and in knowing Him to keep a quiet heart. Not a quiet life, mind you, but a quiet heart. I believe a quiet heart means that we trust, that everything is filtered through how sovereign God is and how tiny we are. I believe it means that what we have right now is perfectly enough because He wills it.

Since “All is grace”, we can take no credit, not even for our desires or our dreams. Everything is a gift – which is enough of a reason to stop flailing before Him.

Stepping in that direction today. Join me?

Love,
j

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Here

We carry an atmosphere with us when we walk in the room. We set the temperature. Having a home of my own now, I’m even more aware of the atmosphere I create. Here on the blog, as you come spend a few minutes with me most days of the week, we create an atmosphere together.

Here we agree with Mother Theresa when she said, “When we judge people, we have no time to love them”.

Here we go deep rather than wide. This place is our reminder. This is where we stay grounded, stay creative, and remember we are not alone.

Here we love without conditions. Everyone’s invited.

Here we agree to disagree. We respect opinions. We share. We are not afraid.

Here we greet with hugs and kisses, we pass out blankets and tea, we leave our weapons at the door. We are unarmed. We are real. We learn together. We heal together.

Sometimes it’s ugly, most of the time it’s beautiful.

That’s what we’re about here. Feel free to make yourself at home. :)

Love,
j

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American Eagle

If you are friends with American Eagle on facebook, you will have noticed a familiar face on there today! More fashion posts headed your way next week…stay tuned!

xoxo

j

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Finding your passion

Q: A lot of your blog is about us following our passions. I don’t think I have a passion. How do I find my passion?

A - First of all you are brave for asking this question, and I really admire that. :) To find your passion, I’d recommend getting uncomfortable. Try new things, take a leap of faith, and see where you find yourself. I bet you have plenty of passions already, you just don’t know they’re there. When you take yourself out of daily life and go on an adventure, you find out who you are. Ask friends and family members what qualities they see in you. Spend time thinking about what you love, what excites you, what you do that doesn’t feel like work. I just read this quote the other day, and I feel like this is an excellent answer to your important question:

“For those who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions, and your interests together with what God said he wants us to be about — and that’s your answer. If you want to know the answer to the bigger question: What’s God’s plan for the whole world? Brace yourself. It’s us.” – Bob Goff

If you have a question, email me at jessicaiswriting@gmail.com, or facebook/message/text me, or send carrier pigeons.

This is a community of readers dedicated to improvement, and we would love to chat about your question. :)

j

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To my younger self

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about using well the influence we have — whether it’s big or small. In a few weeks I’ll have the privilege of mentoring three high school freshman on a weekly basis. Not only am I excited to hear about their lives and gain their trust, but I’ve been thinking of what I really wish I could have told my freshman self.

- Love your adventurous side.

- The math kids are the ones to be friends with. Seriously.

- White eyeliner is never okay.

- You come out on top when you make the right decision. Respecting yourself is always cool.

- The people who have swag right now will lose it in 4 years.

- You will be glad you had a job while you were in school. Work hard every day.

- You will be blogging on your lunch break 8 years from now. Do you know what a blog is?

- Always, always, always take care of yourself because you are important.

- Refuse to gossip.

- Hang onto the Lord. Without him, people get whacked up.

- You will be respected when you flash your smile instead of your body. I know respect isn’t cool. When you are out of this dump, respect will give you opportunities and connections with powerful people. Money is cool, no? :)

- Keep the precious things precious, and never betray your family.

- When your priorities are in order, you are going to succeed.

- Fight to keep on believing. If you can believe, you can do anything.

- Always love. Always, always love.

- Chin up, buttercup.

j

Scallop Sweater // American Eagle
Jeans // F21
Boots // Target

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Filed under Encouragement, Fashion