My "Sole" Overflows

I came that they might have life abundantly.”
A “long time ago”, when I was about 14, a close friend mailed me a letter. At the end of this letter, he wrote: “Within us all is the strength to fly, the love to sustain us, and the dream to make us try.”

When you are 14 years old, it’s very easy to accept these words of inspiration at face value. How inspiring! How uplifting! How empowering!

But in the 12 years since the words were coined, I’ve come to a sound conviction: My friend was wrong. Dead wrong.

As the eldest of three children, I can tell you a thing or two about “inner strength.” There is a set of criteria that many would argue govern the psyche of the eldest child. While I know that this does not hold true for everyone, it certainly holds true for me. My mother recounts a story of a defiant two-year-old standing in the middle of the bathroom with one hand on her little hip, the other outstretched waiting for her toothbrush to be placed in it: “Me do it myself.”

I was always the obstinate do-it-myself’er, always telling my brothers and sister, my friends, my classmates, my parents, and everyone in between how it was going to be and how they needed to do it. There was no challenge I could not meet. There was no barrier that could hold me back. It was that same attitude that willed me to load everything I owned into my car and uproot myself from the only life I’d known. Piece of cake, I remember thinking. I’ve got this covered.


It was around that time that the self-reliance on which I’d proudly stood got ripped out from under my pretty little heeled feet. I landed in a heap. And it hurt. Bad.

Broken. Sometimes, this is how I’ve come to think about my heart and my life. This word has been reverberating in my mind for a week, ever since last Sunday when the feelings of loneliness I’ve managed to ward off for the past year began to resurface.

While there is certainly a will within me to achieve and to try, I’ve found my strength will eventually falter. I realize I am limited and can’t fix everything. I can’t give myself the kind of love I’m longing for…the kind that will heal a heart that has been hurt over and over and over. I can't make myself trust again. 

Furthermore, I realize, with increasing astonishment, that everything that I have touched, everything that I have every tried to piece together with my own two hands, is flawed. Try as I may, I cannot produce anything that is perfect. And the more I try, the more I mess it up.  

It is here that my personal convictions diverge from the popular mantra of the generation in which I live:

“Look into yourself.”
“You have everything you need inside.”
“Believe in yourself.”

It both infuriates and terrifies me that we so openly accept this crap (yes, it's crap) as truth.

If the last three years have taught me anything, it is this: I desperately need to be saved—everyday—from myself. I need to know a love that sees my flaws and accepts them, because they may not ever go away. I need someone who understands the deepest way that my heart has been hurt, and can offer the means to heal it. I need someone in my life who is more wise than I can comprehend, who understands the reason I was made, and who can guide me on the path toward the life I was destined to live.

So, anyone who understands even a smidgen of the Christian Faith knows where I am going with this. In truth, I've never been alone (since I was 12) even in the height of my "I've got this covered" days. If the past year and a half has been anything—it has been a lesson in giving every little pain and hurt to Him, one piece at a time.

There’s a freedom that comes with this kind of realization and this kind of practice. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. But I know that I’m on my way to some better and bigger than myself…and that it really has nothing to do with me at all. 
Look at the nations and watch-and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.


Jubilant July

(A Month In Review) 

As we near the 4th day of August, I thought I’d take a moment to briefly wrap up some of the best—and worst—moments of one of my most favorite months: July.

As many of you already know, July heralds the very best day of the year (besides Christmas): My Birthday. In my personal opinion, this day should be an official holiday. Last year, I stretched the celebration across the span of an entire week. This year, it was extended to nine exhausting and fabulous days.

As I kissed the first quarter of my life goodbye, the resolution to embrace 26 with open arms was made. While it is a custom in our culture to dread getting older, I’m actually quite excited about the last half of my 20s. I’ve found a career I quite enjoy, have explored and embraced the hobbies I love and (most importantly) I’ve learned to be comfortable (blissfully happy, even) in my own skin. Besides, people tell me that their 30s were their favorite years. It's all uphill from here.

This year, I spent my birthday with the people I love the most (My Family) at one of the places on earth I love the most (The Beach). Who could ask for a better way to celebrate the beginning of a new year?

July brought with it record heat. It also brought the appearance of some new friends and “interests." Here are some highlights of the very best July 2010 moments and my recommendations for making any month of the year one to remember: 

Things To Definitely Do…
  • Take a boat ride with the Vagabond Cruise line from Harbor Town (in Sea Pines) to Savannah for the day. Drink Mimosa’s, stand on the bow, let the wind blow your hair. Make peace signs.

  • Spring for a Trolley Ride through Savannah. The sites and the city are breathtaking and the guides are entertaining.

  • Dine at the Café on City Market in Savannah. The great service and air conditioning will provide a welcomed relief from Savannah summer heat. (Also, the Antipasti Salad is positively delish.) Don't forget to take a picture with Marilyn.
  • Buy your mom a kite and fly it with her on the beach.
  • Relax by a pool with the fam.
  • Treat your parents to dinner out one night. 

  • Dance. Especially on the beach. In the moonlight.

  • Go for long runs in the park. You'll feel ablaze, but the physical strength and emotional highs are worth the sweat and effort. 
  • Try a pair of “Switchflops.” They’re versatile, fun, and different.

At the same time, I have just a *few* recommendations on activities to avoid.

  • Wear your sunglasses while bodysurfing in the Atlantic. The sea will steal them.
  • Leave your journal on a plane.
  • Work on your vacation (not for even a minute)
  • Have a bedtime of 1:30 a.m.+ for 7 nights in a row.

Ah, so far 26 is a wonderful age. And last month was one for the record books. Here’s to many, many more to come.