You Were Made to Be Courageous

How-Courageous-Are-You.png

The story I am about to share is probably long overdue. Over the past two months, I’ve tried to sit down and write a blog post about it, but I just couldn’t find the right words. Today, I had a random spark of inspiration to try again, and as I logged on to WordPress, I had a notification that today is my blog’s anniversary! Funny how things work out like that. So back to the story at hand…

About two months ago, I felt God calling me to lead what my church calls a “journey group”. Basically as a church, we spend 6 weeks exploring a topic through the weekend message, individualized reflection, and small-group discussions. This year’s journey was called the “I Am” journey, and it was all about digging deeper to learn about who God created us to be. We were pushed to learn about ourselves wholeheartedly —  the good, the bad, the ugly.

Going into the journey, I had just landed an amazing ‘big-girl’ job that would have transitioned to full-time right after I graduated. It was a high-paying job at an amazing family-owned company with a lot of opportunity to travel. After deciding that I no longer wanted to pursue the medical route, it was a dream come true.

However, throughout the six weeks of the journey, I really started to feel unsure about this new venture, and I felt lost. I knew God was trying to tell me something, but I wasn’t quite sure.

During the fifth week’s service, He spoke loud AND clear. Memories and recollections of events in both recent and very distant years started flooding in my mind all at once —  all memories that had tied into my long lost dream of becoming a teacher. I can’t really explain the sensation I felt, but out of nowhere I felt tears rolling down my cheeks because I was invigorated by this message from God but also so, so scared.

I brought it to my small group first, and they all undoubtedly encouraged me to think a lot more about this message, and they believed that it really was from God. So the next step was perhaps the hardest for me. I had to muster up the courage to sit my parents down and tell them I was considering furthering my education to pursue a career in teaching.

Keep in mind this would mean giving up an amazing job opportunity that every parent wants for their child coming right out of college. I was so afraid they would be upset or think I’m crazy, but after dinner one night, I broke down and laid it ALL on the table, and you know what? I am SO blessed to have such supportive parents who took it all in, encouraged me to take my time to think about the situation, but assured me they would back me 100% either way. I felt so free and relieved that I could start putting this new plan from God into action.

The following weeks weren’t easy as I frantically searched for a job more related to the education field, applied to the Master of Teaching program, and made a few difficult phone calls in regards to the ‘big-girl’ job. But I can surely tell you that the uncomfortableness, stress, and confusion was all worth it.

Two months later, I have landed an amazing job working at a Montessori school where I am surrounded by phenomenal coworkers and children who teach me countless new things each and every day. Finding my current workplace was a God send because it has been such a good fit mutually, and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been in a workplace. I can’t explain it, but I can come home from an eleven hour work day absolutely exhausted but energized all at the same time. It’s a beautiful thing that only comes from finding true enjoyment in my job. I let my visions of job and financial security go in pursuit of the plans that my Father had for me.

Time and time again in the last few months God has proven to me that He is pleased I took this leap of faith, and now I really feel like we are walking through life together. Now, let me assure you, everything isn’t all flowers and roses as I have a lot of decision-making to do with exactly what direction I want to pursue with my educational future, but I strongly believe that God has something amazing in store if I continue to rely on and trust in Him.

Friends, I didn’t share this story because I want you to quit your job tomorrow because you aren’t in love with it. I share this story because I want you to be COURAGEOUS like our Father made you. Whatever that looks like for you, if God is calling you towards something, don’t let fear get in the way. I assure you His plans are better than anything you could dream for yourself.

Love always,

Megan LouAnn

Reflections

1071353-sparkles-wallpaper.jpg
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

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!


prophet
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