Reflections

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Original image from zrysxw.com

It’s been all over social media: 2016 needs to die! Worst year ever! And hey, maybe it was the worst year ever for some people, but I’m willing to bet it was the best year for others. There’s really nothing magical about the difference between December 31st of one year and January 1st of the next, but I do think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the past year, how it’s been, what you learned, and what you want to do better next year. There’s nothing wrong in admitting that everyone has something (usually many somethings) that they need to work on, so I’m all for New Year’s resolutions.

Overall, this year was pretty good to me. Although nothing can top my Spain trip from last year, I was still able to make it to Florida and North Carolina on mini vacations this year, making new memories with people I love. I completed my CNA certification, and although I’m not actively working as a CNA (bless those of you that do), I learned a lot in that course and gained a respect for all CNAs out there because it’s one of the toughest jobs one can do. Unfortunately, I also got to see the ugly side of some health care facilities which was hard, but educational.

I started my senior year of college, and although it was my heaviest course load to date, I finished with a decent GPA. I took the GRE in preparation for the possibility of grad school and scored well above what I needed to. I started actually volunteering at church in their Kid’s Club and have been inspired by several little 3rd graders. Those kids are crazy smart, let me tell you. I’ve gone through a few spiritual dry patches, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t mean that God is any further away than normal but that maybe I’m not spending enough time looking towards Him. Our world is a continuum of distractions, and it’s so important to find time to detach from those distractions and just be. I think I got very distracted this year. It’s nearly impossible to be 100% on fire for Jesus 24/7, but I did learn that spending quiet time with Him every day can help.

Looking to 2017, I think the biggest thing ahead for me is graduation. *gulp* Lots of emotions surrounding that one which I’m sure I’ll touch on in a later post, but there is one huge thing I’ve realized. I’m going to have to change my tagline! “a college student trying to find her place in this world” is no longer going to cut it. So I plan to spend now until May 7th thinking of a new tag line and more importantly, a refreshed direction for my blog. I’d really like to see it take off next year, but I’m going to have to dedicate the time into helping it do so. Unfortunately one post every month or two isn’t going to draw in readers, but I think after graduation I’ll have the time I need to make something happen. *fingers crossed* I genuinely hope that each and every one of you reading this had a happy holiday season and will have an even better 2017.

In case you missed it, here is my previous post, Finding Unwavering Joy.

Stay classy,

Megan LouAnn

Finding Unwavering Joy

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Hi friends, it’s been a while, but I’m happy to be making the time to sit down and write again finally. I can’t believe it’s already November! I swear I blinked, and this fall semester just flew by! I guess that’s what happens when you are a senior in college and not only trying to maintain a good GPA but also trying to figure out what the next step is after you walk across the stage at graduation. I have less than six months until I’m a college graduate, and I have no idea how to feel about it. Actually, to be honest, I feel everything about it if you know what I mean. Relief, sadness, anxiety, exhaustion, joy. Everything. But today I want to talk all about one of those feelings – joy – and not just in the context of graduation.

In this day and age, it’s really hard to have joy in all situations. Social media has become a ‘joy-sucking’ funnel in many cases. FOMO, fear of missing out, has become a serious issue for all users of social media. You can watch snapchat story after snapchat story of people hanging out together and having a good time, and sometimes you can’t help but wonder why you’re sitting in your pajamas at 6pm on a Friday night. Aside from FOMO, social media is like a drug that we just can’t get away from. We are constantly checking our phones to see who liked our picture, who said what about the election, how are people reacting to XY and Z. Social media is like a cold that you can’t quite shake. We are a generation who puts so much emphasis into how we portray ourselves via social media and how others perceive us. And let me tell you something, it’s sucking the joy out of our lives.

Now, I like Snapchat just as much as the next person, and I’m guilty of over-thinking about if I should post a picture to Instagram or not for fear no one will ‘like’ it. But when I sit here and say that, I can’t help but think about how silly I sound. Because the truth is that our joy will never come from how many Twitter followers we have or if so and so liked our Instagram picture. That is all 100% fabricated joy, and it’s dependent on our situations and circumstances. What if it were possible to have joy in the midst of no matter what trials we go through in life?

It’s a very hard value and lesson to learn, but it is possible. When we put our hopes and dreams not in the people surrounding us but in our Father’s hands, only then can we have true, complete, unwavering joy. Despite our circumstances, despite what is going on in the world around us, we can have joy through Jesus at all times. This is not a naive way of life, but a Christ-like one. Put your faith in the One who made you, and I think you’ll find that there is immense power in not caring what other people think of you. When you’re able to walk through life only caring to please your God, you will be able to conquer anything.

Unfortunately, this joy isn’t something that can be found over night, and it can be lost much easier than it is found, but I encourage you to seek out that unwavering joy that can only come from the one true King because it will be a journey that takes you much farther than you can imagine.

I hope you all have a blessed week and Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading!

Stay classy,

Megan LouAnn

What’s Your Talent?

The following is a reflection from this weekend’s message from Crossroads, so feel free to watch the service via crossroads.net to have a little bit of background on where I’m coming from!


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Original image from crossroads.net

You know those quizzes and surveys that float around Facebook that tell you what your major should be, what Hollywood actress you’re most like, and what kind of tree represents your personality? I’m addicted to them. I know that for the most part, they’re kind of silly and don’t usually represent anything that remotely resembles the truth of who you are, but they’re fun. I think a lot of people enjoy taking those surveys because we desire to learn more about who we are or who others perceive us to be. But it’s weird — we seem to spend the majority of our time engaging in friendships, relationships, etc. while trying to learn all about other people, but do we really spend an adequate amount of time reflecting on who we really are? Because we are so much more than a ‘science major’, ‘Audrey Hepburn-like’, ‘pine tree’ type of person.

I can list off a lot of things that I am, a lot of things that I like, dislike, places I like to go, movies I like to watch, etc. but it’s not so clear when I try to think about who I am at the core. What talents has God instilled in me, specifically, to share His word with the world? What about me is different from most others around me? What do I bring to the table? Those questions dig a whole lot deeper than what’s my ‘favorite this or that’, and because of that, they’re so much harder to answer.

However, God has given each and every one of us a unique ‘spark’ and a unique way of functioning. If we were all the same, could you imagine how dull this world would be… Sure, there probably wouldn’t be nearly as many arguments, fights, etc., but would you want to live in a world where everyone did what everyone else was doing? Everyone thought what everyone else was thinking? Of course not. Our differences are what makes this world utterly beautiful despite all of the inherent brokenness. The best teams are made up of very different individuals who all bring a specific edge to the group in order to achieve a common goal.

I believe that God is never going to shout down to us and say something like, ‘Hey Megan! I gave you the unique ability to do XY and Z, so start doing that more!’. He might – I mean that would be pretty wicked – but I think God’s desire is for us to go through trial, error, and exploration to figure it out with his guidance. So where do we begin? I think a good place to start is to take a survey developed by the Crossroads team that addresses five true talents given in the Bible from Paul in Ephesians 4:11-13.

I know what you’re thinking… ‘Megan, you literally just said five minutes ago that online surveys are silly and don’t tell us anything about who we are!’. I know, I did say that five minutes ago. However, this survey comes from a context that can certainly help us discover more about who we are, and although the ‘True Talent Indicator’ isn’t necessarily a perfect representation of who you are and what your God-given talents are, it’s an excellent place to start. I encourage you to take the time to do the survey and then more importantly, take the time to reflect on your results and what they might mean for you. Pray about it. Talk about it. Think about it. Here’s the link:

crossroads.net/truetalentindicator

As for me, I had a near tie between Futurist (prophet) and Trainer (teacher). I plan to reflect on this over the next week and return here on Sunday to flesh out some of my ideas. Let me know your results in the comments below! Thank you all for reading, and I hope you have an amazing week!

Love always,

Megan LouAnn