10/19/2015

To-Doism Part Two

In To-Doism Part One, I wrote about how, in the pursuit of doing everything right and getting everything done, we miss out on the point of life: Jesus. We forget to breathe, we forget to trust, and we forget to sit at Jesus' feet like Mary because we were rushing around like Martha. If you haven't read Part One yet, check it out! 




           I don't know about you, but the Mary life sounds wonderful! I really want to live like Mary who just sat at the feet of Jesus, content even in the chaos. But here is where I get confused. Does living like that mean throwing responsibility in the wind? What about hard work? What about giving Jesus the gift of our life lived for Him? These questions pop into my head, and instead of ignoring them in order to feel free, I want to answer them in order to understand freedom

And this is what I discovered: and. 

I know, I know. I don't make sense at the moment, but hear me out. We don't have to choose. It isn't either sit at Jesus' feet or work for His kingdom. It isn't rest in Jesus or do schoolwork. There's an and in there, a while in between the two stances. We sit at Jesus' feet so that we can work for His kingdom with the right motivation. We rest in Him while we do schoolwork. We learn, however hard this is, to leave the self-driven ways of to-doism and learn a new way: Jesus. 

I'm tired of speaking in vague terms that inspire but don't transform into action. So, it's time that I gave some ideas on how to combat to-doism and start living a life seated at Jesus' feet while working for His kingdom. This is not an extensive list, nor do I pretend to give five easy steps to a joy-filled life, because it doesn't work that way. Instead, I want to show you how I've discovered sitting at Jesus' feet looks like in real life. I want to give you examples of the hard work that goes into not working so hard that you forget the point: Jesus. And here it goes, here are some things that I do to sit at Jesus' feet in a to-doism world: 

-I start my morning with a little prayer. I may be half asleep and wishing that I could be all-the-way asleep. I may just want to check my phone's notifications and get started with the day, and sometimes, I do those things instead. But I know that more than sleep, more than affirmation, and more than getting everything done that day I need Jesus. And starting the day at His feet sets a good example for the rest of the day. 

-I like to stop for a moment on my way to wherever I'm going and look around. I look at the creation that God has made and thank Him for the beauty all around. I really wish that I did this more often, because what crushes to-doism more than things that are done, ready, and beautiful all in God's timing?

I may or may not have risked my life by taking this picture while driving. Don't try this at home, kids


-I also find that doing something according to the talents God has given me banishes to-doism. Telling a story, drawing a figure, or writing a poem may not feel productive, and that's what makes them so great at combatting to-doism! These creative outlets allow me to breath, live, and refocus on the things in life that motivate me and make me feel satisfied, and when this is done right, it is all to God's glory!

Getting ready for The Nutcracker
-Finding the little quiet moments in the day to pray connects me to a God who is always with me, during "Bible Time" and "school time" and every other part of my day. Because, when I think about it, the whole day is "God's time," because He made time. And so I pray in my car on the way to school, while showering after ballet, or while brushing my teeth at the end of the day. I'm finding more and more times to pray now that I've discovered that every place can be a sanctuary, every place can be a seat at Jesus' feet. And let me tell you, prayer can kick to-doism's butt.

-When I struggled with anxiety in middle school, my dad gave me a wonderful illustration that I never forgot. He said, sometimes I'm so concerned about not worrying that I end up continue to dwell on worrying! It's like trying not to think about red by thinking: don't think about red, don't think about red, don't think about red, when I should really just start thinking about blue. Sometimes, the best cure to to-doism is simply to distance myself from the stress and do something else. That doesn't mean avoid the problem or let go of all responsibility, but sometimes I just need to watch some Netflix or read a book. A renewed mind clears a lot of things up.

-I also find it encouraging to visit with others who understand me and will encourage me. Whether that means talking to my Mom for an hour or reading a book by someone who has a heart going in the same direction as mine, this can give me courage because I know that I don't face these problems alone.

Like at a TobyMac concert!!!! I loved it because it was so oriented on the love of Jesus!


-Listening to music that gives God the glory refocuses my thoughts off of me and my issues and onto a God who is stronger than I could ever imagine. Sometimes I'm just too worn down and tired to form my own praises, so I plug in a Passion album, David Crowder music, or something else honoring to God and let the words fill my heart, replacing the to-doism that once reigned with praise to the King who will forever reign (if you get that reference, bravo).

-And let's face it, sometimes I just need to go to bed. Somehow, I get most emotionally vulnerable at night, and the best thing to do is not stay up late and solve the problem but to go to bed and realize in the morning the simple solution.

Waking up from a nap had like like...


-But nothing satisfies more than God. Nothing. Sometimes I don't believe this, and I try to live life on my own, which never works out very well. But I know that I need God, and that He is peace for my heart and joy for my soul. And so I come to Him.

How do I do that? The above ideas are great, and I find them very useful, but the most straightforward way is to read the Bible. I know that this sounds so simple, and it unfortunately can become just another thing on my to-do list, but to read the Bible is to see the truths of God! To read the Bible is the most simple way to sit at the feet of Jesus. Even if I'm busy and feel rushed while reading it, I still make sure to read some of God's Word because I know that it is better than anything else that I have to do that day and will fulfil me more than checking everything off of my list. I don't always feel the peace, but I live in it. I wrote a blog post about how to study to Bible here if you want to know where to begin or how to understand God's words.

She never distracts me from my studies... (sarcastic voice on)
Honestly, I don't know exactly what this life of sitting at Jesus' feet can really look like. I don't have it figured out not do I resist to-doism all of the time or even most of the time. In fact, I struggled this past week with to-doism, trying to get everything done and yet yearning for rest. I avoided sitting at Jesus' feet until I felt ready and my checklist allowed. I felt rushed, hushed, and generally unjoyful. And that is why I needed to remind myself of Jesus' sufficiency and grace maybe more than any of you reading this needed it. I can't do it. And that's the point. 

Keep living in the grace of God, fellow sisters, and don't let to-doism steal your joy! Let's learn how to sit at the feet of Jesus while we work for His kingdom! 

Comment below which of the ideas on the list you have found helpful in the past or can't wait to try in the future! And do you have any thoughts of to-doism? I truly want to hear them! 

Princess Hannah 

10/10/2015

To-Doism Part One

I noticed something when I sat down and read a number of y'all's posts recently, and this something upset me a bit.  It made me upset because I do the same thing, and it is now considered normal to see this still-unnamed-quality everywhere we turn. It destroys our weeks and robs our joy. It lies and waits in places we don't expect and creeps up on us so slowly that we don't recognize it. 


You're probably worried now. I am too! 

What I see in many of the good-girls/blogger-chicks/any-young-adult-that-cares-about-life is this: to-doism. (A word that I made up for the occasion.) 

/to-doism/ (pronounced to-do-is-m) 1. the act of keeping one's eyes focused on a schedule so that one misses out on the joys of life. 2. trying to get everything done in a timely manner. 3. commonly called stress. 






To-doism sneaks up on us. It takes us by surprise, because it first appears necessary and good. After all, we have to get everything done, so why not plan the day to make sure it all fits? Schedules and lists and calculations help, right? Tasks, Bible time, cleaning, school, prayer, family. Good things. Good ideas. But it lacks something.

Yes. Getting everything done is good. And for some people, a busy schedule won't lead to to-doism. But for me and my sensitive, gentle, perfectionist spirit, a lifestyle of schedules and never-ending tasks leads to to-doism. And it isn't pretty.

To-doism leads to stretched, tired, stressed, inadequate feelings that scream rest and work at the same time and leads us towards neither.  To-doism puts all of the emphasis on ourselves and what we can and cannot do. It gives merit and punishment, but never grace. It over-exaggerates and makes everything more dramatic. It focuses on the temporary, day-to-day things instead of heavenly joys. It keeps our eyes on our feet while a beautiful sunset fans out ahead.

We have a to-doist friend in the Bible that I want to sit with today, and her name is Martha. Let's read Luke 10:38-42:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" “Martha, Martha” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Who here connects with Martha? I have a feeling that many of us do. We just want to serve Jesus, make sure that the homework gets finished, and keep on top of the ever-demanding list of wonderful things in our life. We're always busy, and even when we're not, we know that we should be doing something. Don't get us wrong, we do these things all for the glory of God! We love Him and want to give Him a wonderful, well-prepared gift. 

But the trouble comes when, in the preparing of this gift, we forget who we're giving it to. We get distracted and weighed down, and we can't understand why because we're doing everything right. Right? 

But what if, just imagine this with me, what if there is something better than giving Jesus the very best, well-prepared gift imaginable? What if there is something better than making dinner for Jesus? What if Jesus invites us to a life that does contain work and lots of it, but which is also seated at His feet in rest? What if He emphasizes relationship more than workmanship? 

Oh, how wonderful that sounds! And the best part is: such a life is possible. Jesus does desire us more than the gifts that we have to offer. A life of rest at Jesus' feet can happen, and just because I LOVE this part of the story, I will read it again: 

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:40-42

Jesus is the One. 

Jesus is better. In fact, Jesus is Best! And right here, right now, wherever you are with whatever you haven't checked off of your to-do list yet, Jesus invites you to sit at His feet and center yourselves around the One thing truly needed: Him.

Inhale His presence and exhale love. Rest today in His enoughness, even if you didn't get everything done yet, even if a mountain of homework and a dirty space reminds you of the list of things demanding attention. Choose to believe that you really only need One thing, and He gives Himself to you this very day!

You see, He invites you to a relationship not centered on workmanship but based off of love. Jesus loves you, and it has nothing to do with you and your abilities, and everything to do with Him and His grace! Oh what joy!

Friends, next time to-doism threatens to steal our joy, may we kick it in the derriere because we have our eyes and heart focused on the One, Jesus! And then we can begin to truly live.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

So let's sit. Sit at Jesus' feet and He will be enough for us and our busy schedules and restless minds. Oh, however hard it is, we must learn the simple act of sitting! Part Two will explore the practical ways of resting at Jesus' feet with a Martha-schedule in front of us, so you don't want out miss out on that as we continue to explore how to combat this ever-growing problem of to-doism!

Comment below if you struggle with to-doism. Also, I really want to know how you rest at Jesus' feet! Your answer might make it into my next post, so join in on the conversation!

Princess Hannah 

10/05/2015

My Rebellion Against the College Dress Code

A funny thing happened in middle school: I discovered my own style. 

I remember the early middle school days where I just wanted to wear what everyone else wore. All of the other girls wore jeans to church, and little peer-influenced me wanted to dress like that, sporting Aeropostale shirts and flare jeans instead of the dresses and skirts that Mom made me wear. Why couldn't I just blend in? What couldn't Mom let me wear jeans? 

Then things changed. My Dad started his own church where people dressed very casually and Mom finally said that I could wear jeans to church! Now I could dress like everyone else! Except now, no one my age went to this church, so I couldn't base my style off of the general crowd. But, the important thing stayed the same, I could wear jeans. 

Yay? 

That's when I discovered something wonderful: I can dress however I like to dress. Not how that other girls dressed. Not how Mom wanted me to dress. Not how the celebrities dressed (for this was my pre-smartphone era). I discovered how I wanted to dress. And guess what I discovered? 

I prefered wearing dresses than wearing jeans. 

And I discovered much more than that. I figured out that I love vintage-inspired clothes, peter pan collars, black lace skirts, pearls, and sparkly earrings. I continued to discover the style that I loved to wear, even when I again immersed myself in a group of peers. 

And now, I face a new challenge: college. 

I'm pretty convinced that the unwritten college dress code is Nike shorts and free t-shirts. A messy ponytail and a quick swipe of mascara completes this professional look, paired with strappy sandals or tennis shoes. No I must ask: will I go back to the middle school days and go with the flow of fast and easy dressing? Will I trade my own hard-fought style for the college dress code? 

No way!

And so I present to you a fashionista's rebellion to the college dress code. It is full of skirts and colorful jewelry and lace tops. I even brought out some wedges on a day where I only had one class! Now, please don't think that I wear these kind of outfits every day! I usually wear a pair of jean shorts or pants and a cute shirt with some earrings, but I wanted to go above and beyond this past week and wore something extra special each day of the week! 

So without further ado: my week of revolutionizing the college-girl's wardrobe! 

Day One- Rain or Shine 


It's the rainy days that need a little extra sunshine. And these polka dot rainboots can lighten any day! (Although it didn't end up raining after all.) 



Day Two- Ready for the Catwalk


I gave my second speech in Communications on this day, and the right pair of shoes can instantly boost confidence! The effortless half-tuck and rolled jeans made me feel very on top of things! 



Day Three- India Inspired


I really loved this outfit! The necklace made it extra special, because rescued women in India made it! We receive beautiful jewelry and accessories from similar groups of women every month from Fair Trade Friday



Day Four- Lace and Pearls


I told you that I love peter pan collars, lace, and pearls! 



Day Five- Don't Forget to Smile


This outfit doubled as a concert outfit for that night, and I felt super excited to sport the music-festival/fall chic! This sweater is sooo comfy and versatile! 



And on Saturday I didn't get out of my pjs and work-out clothes. Let's keep it real.

I hope that this post inspired you to discover your style even if it requires a bit of rebellion against the norm. It takes time to figure it all out, and I don't pretend to have it all together, but I had so much fun making these outfits! An extra special thanks to my amazing Mom, sister Abigail, and sister Elisabeth who took pictures every afternoon for a week! I couldn't have done this post without you guys!

Comment below your favorite outfit that I wore! And also, I want to know your style! Where are you on the journey of discovering your fashion sense?

Princess Hannah

10/02/2015

The Effort of Being Effortless

Inhale. 
Point my feet, lengthen my fingers, make sure that my knees are straight. 
Exhale. 
Flatten my back, engage my core, don't forget to look at the hands.
Listen. 
Go faster now, don't forget the "and," it's okay to smile, Hannah.
Ballet. 
They must never know the work that we do to make the effort look effortless. 

In honor of World Ballet Day on Thursday, I present you with some videos of yours truly warming up, putting on pointe shoes, and showing off some pointe work! 





Comment below what you learned about ballet today! And what are your weekend plans? I get to go to a concert! And I also prepared all week for a great post coming soon, but it must wait a bit longer, and you will understand why once I post it! And because it's way past my bedtime, farewell!

Princess Hannah