Give it up

I think we all have those days where nothing really goes our way. Nothing is really how we want it to be, and nothing we can do will change that. It’s out of our control. We all have those moments where we think…
“If I could just change one thing about my life, myself, this choice, that decision…”

but more often than not, the situation is out of our control. That’s hard to accept. we’re human. we want to be in control. Many of us would consider someone we know or even ourselves “control freaks”. I’ve definitely known a few, including myself.

It’s difficult to be okay with not being in control, but handing the situation to God is the only way we can find peace. Handing it to God, however, isn’t always the easiest thing to do. More often than not we try to solve the problem ourselves first, sometimes knowing it will fail. We don’t always know that we aren’t trusting God. Sometimes we drift away without realizing it, and we are ALL guilty of this.

After stepping back and seeing what area’s of your life you are being a “control freak” about, it’s easy to feel guilty for not trusting God and drifting from him so easily. I know I have.

During camp this summer I realized I had pain stuffed inside my heart from situations that took place over a year ago. I realized I hadn’t fully given it to God. And recently I think I was so ready to be on my own and in college, that I forgot how much his presence blesses my day. And now, seeing the absence of Christ’s love on my college campus, my heart hurts for those around me and I realized what a blessing it is to have such a strong Biblical community like the one I’ve got back home.

And that ties in perfectly with what I learned at camp.

“practicing the presence of God”

It really does take practice. To live every moment in the presence of God, understanding and visualizing his existence right there with you in every situation and circumstance.

It’s challenging, but let’s work harder to give it all to God, and to give him the glory, the power, and the honor, forever and ever, amen.

 

Live Different,

Maddison Farris

 

 

 

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over-communication?

 

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Over-communication. Is that even a thing? Is it possible to over-communicate? If it is, I’ve never done it. I remember a time when I had a job at a certain fast-food chain (a truly hard time in my life), and my boss was not very good at communicating. or just being nice. They also were a bit scary to me at the time, so I was afraid to ask questions. I was so afraid if misunderstanding and being a bother that I wouldn’t ask clarifying questions in order to avoid being wrong and then end up doing the original task wrong anyway because I didn’t ask the clarifying question. Don’t do that.

I can remember staring at some cupcake holders for nearly five minutes trying to decide if I should just go ask if the chocolate ice cream goes on the bottom or the top because I knew she had told me, but I forgot! I knew that if I knocked on the office door and asked she would roll her eyes give me a disapproving look, so I made nearly fifteen cupcakes wrong. The chocolate goes on top. I had put it all on the bottom.

The summer camp I work at- our leader would always say “It’s better to over-communicate than to have a miscommunication”. This helped me to not be afraid to ask questions because even at camp I feared people getting mad at me for not hearing or understanding the first time. But it’s okay! we are only human! I was scared that they would react like my boss did, but our leaders welcomed questions! They welcomed clear communication and made it a priority. This made jobs and tasks go so much smoother, and I wasn’t so afraid of just talking to people!

I know this post is short, but the thought came to my mind so I put it to work.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That may sound silly but some people really are! Don’ be afraid to ask questions or Live Different.

Peace out.

EKC 2019 (pt. 1)

This year I had the blessed opportunity to serve on D-team at Kansas Extreme Camp! I met a ton of new people, grew stronger in my faith, learned a lot about myself, and made memories I will never forget. I served from May 30th-July 4th. serving at camp, however, was not an easy or in any way a simple task. There were many instances where I questioned my capability or readiness for this sort of position. But as camp went on God gave me the energy I needed to finish strong.

As I said before, I doubted many times that I was meant to be on the Discipleship Team. So as a quick word of encouragement I want to share this- as we learned, Satan tells us lies to try and disorient us and stop us from being who we are in Christ. Satan wants us to be quiet and uninfluential, but we should strive to practice quick recognition of these lies and not let Satan influence us.

on with the post.

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Our theme this year was “Wilderness”.

Matthew 4:1 “And immediately the spirit led Jesus into the wilderness”

Had you guys ever noticed that it is indeed the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days!? At camp, we learned that, in fact, God allows us to enter into a time of disorientation or wilderness for three reasons, and we can find these reasons in Deuteronomy 8.

Deuteronomy 8:2 “And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not”

To humble you

To test what is in your heart

TO see if you will walk in obedience

We go through wilderness experiences for a reason. I’m sure that all of us can think back to at least one time in our lives that proved to be extremely difficult. Maybe you found yourself questioning God’s plan for you like I did, or not trusting that God was all you needed during a hard time. Can you think back on this time and answer the three questions? Were you humbled by this experience? Was your heart exposed and tested? Did you walk in obedience during this hard time?

Personally, my wilderness experience was accepting the fact that I was created different from everyone for a reason. I struggled so much with my appearance, especially between the ages of 11 and 15. I mean I didn’t even was to look in the mirror some days because I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw. Everywhere I went I felt like people were looking at me and talking about me because I was so focused on myself and not God. Of course, if you know me now you know that my appearance is the least of my worries, and let me tell you, accepting that not everyone will like you is something I highly recommend.

I have worked so hard to get certain people to like me. both in the past and recently, but I’m almost never successful. It took me way to long to realize that no matter what I do not everyone is going to want to be my friend and that is okay. And once you accept that you are who God wants you to be and you look how God wants you to look and you believe you are walking where He wants you to walk, THEN WHAT PEOPLE THINK DOES NOT MATTER. I’m not saying to ignore people completely, you know. Listen to your family and friends because more often than we realize, God speaks to us through other people. HOWEVER, it’s so unbelievably freeing to let go and just be.

Now, I could write way more than three paragraphs about this, but I will save it for another post. This is the bulk of what I took away from camp. I’m planning to write “what makes a good leader” very soon because that’s the other huge thing I learned, but this post would be too long with both topics together.

Also, please continue to pray for me as I am leaving on July 24th to go to Tokyo, Japan on a mission trip to be an encouragement to Mayuko Shono, a missionary friend. If you would like to know more about the trip like what we’re doing or specific things you can pray for, feel free to email the address below anytime.

You guys, in a world so full of darkness and broken spirits, it’s important to Live Different each and every day.

Maddison Grace

ImLivingDifferently@gmail.com

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What Do We Think?

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What do we think? Thinking is a bit complicated… Especially when you’re an overthinker such as myself. Sometimes it feels as if all of my thoughts board the fast train to “Worst Case Scenario Central” as soon as they’re born. As you probably know, overthinking can lead to difficulty with trust and huge amounts of doubt and worry. This can make even the simplest of friendships very hard. But what do we think?

Our heads can get so full of all the things we think. Did you know we have around 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day? Some days I feel like I have closer to 100,000 thoughts, especially when I’m overly tired. But anyways, our thoughts can make a strong barrier between what think and what we feel. Thoughts can flow into our heads one right after the other, and it can be hard to make them slow down or even stop. I believe most people experience this pretty often. As I’ve gotten older and gotten to know myself, I’ve discovered that I’m a pretty indecisive person. I’ve been getting the same two drinks at Starbucks for three years, but I still spend 2-5 minutes thinking about/looking at the menu. I’ll change my outfit 2-3 times before I leave the house. I’ll stress about what I should even eat for breakfast that I’ve just given up. I drink coffee.

It is so frustrating when we can’t control what we think or think clearly.  It’s OUR brain it should just do what we say right!? When a thought that you don’t like keeps coming back to you, throwing itself in your face. A couple of years ago I went to Bible camp and the whole focus was “take every thought captive“. To illustrate this we set up a challenge for the campers. The older interns wore bright yellow shirts which read things like “worry”, “doubt”, and “no one loves me”. Then some of the younger interns (like me) dressed up in crazy outfits, got wild props like ukuleles, tree branches, and someone even ran around with a vacuum cleaner… Anyways the campers goal was to catch the bright yellow lie and it was my job to distract them. I would chase campers, tell them I wanted to show them something and feed them obvious lies while I tried to keep their attention. It was hard for the campers to realize what was going on. the rules had been explained, but they still got distracted pretty easily. at the end of the game, all the “distractions” were rounded up and shoved into the staff shed while the camper rejoiced their victory. to this day, that is the most realistic representation of what we need to be doing every. single. day.  We have to catch the lies. We have to stop them before we take them to the gates of our hearts and give them value by believing them. Satan feeds us lies every day. He wants you to be quiet and wants you to believe that no one will listen or care. I constantly struggle with doubting my friendships. Those thoughts are wrong. We don’t need those. Just throw them in your mental trash bin and move on.

 

Clean out that clutter in your brain this week while we all continue to Live Different.

Maddie Grace

How To Get Over That Low Self Esteem

 

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As a teenager, I have made countless visits to my old frenemy, Low Self Esteem. This friend of mine, however, disliked he may be, has taught me a lot about myself, and about how to treat others.

Low Self Esteem first came to visit me around the age of 12. Having been homeschooled my whole life, I was only recently realizing that I was quite different from everyone else. Not only in my physical appearance, but also in my mannerisms and actions. Well, as a 12-year-old, this basically destroyed me. 12 Year old me was convinced that she would never be able to make friends at her new church but 12-year-old me’s biggest concern was that she would never have a boyfriend.

That’s right. That was what I was most worried about, and I’m sure that a lot of girls can relate. At that age, the idea of a “significant other” what getting thrown in my face every ten minutes. (at least that’s what it felt like). All that mattered was who like who and what one person said to another when no one was looking. Looking back, its the dumbest thing I ever wasted my time on, but it taught me a lot.

Often times it feels like everyone is in a relationship besides me. It hurts. I’m just gonna say it, it sucks being single, it really does. But 12 year old me learned a lot as she prayed every day for God to help her wait patiently for her future husband. When 12-year-old me felt sad or upset with the way life was going she would pray for God to reassure her that He had a plan. 12-year-old me needed lots of reassurance that God would give her good friends, and eventually a husband.

I continued to live and pray like this until I was 14. When I was 14, I was fed up with having girlfriends who found it so easy to talk to guys. I was sick of wanting a boyfriend. 14-year-old me prayed one day. She prayed that God would take away her feelings and just save them for later. God showed her verses in the bible that helped her trust his plans. God answered her prayers and younger me had no crush’s till she was stupid around the age of 16 and thought that a boy might be worth her time. He wasn’t. End of story, now moving on to current me who just wants to get through high school!

ANYWAYS now that you know my story, I can tell you what it taught me! Feeling low and even wishing I didn’t exist has taught me to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. I can understand hating the circumstances that God has given you. I can relate to hating yourself for being different, even if you just can’t help it. I can understand feeling so bad about yourself that you just wish you didn’t have to deal with life anymore.

Feeling alone and as if I would never make friends taught me to reach out to other people because it’s possible that they feel or have felt that way too. ALSO during that time in my life, God showed me that even when it feels like no one else is there for me, He is. He always is. God never leaves you. He stands beside you and helps you through your struggles.

So overcoming low self-esteem is ridiculously hard, but there are many ways to get through it. Listening to music is a great one. Songs like “He Said” and “In Christ Alone” and even songs like “me too” by Megan Trainor helped get my confidence up.

Finding your identity in Christ is a crucial step to building confidence in yourself. If you know who you are with Jesus, you can show that to the world knowing that the King of Kings has your back. When you’re at your lowest is when God can make himself know easiest because you are searching for love and comfort, and that’s exactly what he want’s to give you.

So having a tough teenage life with complicated friendships and relationships kinda sucks, but it’s taught me a lot. There are things in my life that I wish were different, like I wish that I could have lived in the same place all my life and knows the same people. Everyone has things they wish were different, but believe me when I say that God has you where he wants you, and if you’re not where he wants you, He’ll get you there.

Within all the crazy, awkward, and cringe-worthy experiences we have, there’s always something we can learn. Never forget to Live Different as you trust the plans that God has for you!

P.S If you actually read this whole thing, thank you so much! you have no idea how much I appreciate it! feel free to like and comment or message me directly at any time. Love you all ❤

Lost Love of Mail

This topic was suggested by a friend, so let’s see where it goes!

I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid I loved getting mail! I would always pray that I got a letter from someone, not even caring who. There was something about receiving a letter enclosed in an envelope that someone wrote just for you. The sentimental meaning goes far beyond anything that an email can carry.

Well, not that I’m receiving multiple letters every day from colleges all over America, I don’t long for letters near as much. However, I do have a couple of pen pals (Love you guys!) and I’m always so happy when I get letters from them! I’m sure they feel the same way. Mail is great.

Now listen, mail is so much more important then we let on. I mean, without the post, America would have had a hard time getting on within the government and all through the country. I know that we have the option to use things like email and texting, both of which are much faster. However, do you get the same feeling of excitement when you hear this “ding” of your inbox? you can touch the physical letter that you know the writer touched as they wrote. you can’t experience that feeling of joy, knowing that someone took their time to reach out to you. It’s just not the same.

We’re getting lost in a world of technology. Especially us teenagers. So, I encourage you all this week to write a letter to someone! it can literally be anyone. It’s so much fun! Get yourself a desk set for your cards and envelopes, go get some stamps, and start writing!

Happy Posting!

As always, don’t ever forget to Live Different.

It’s The Holiday Season

Hey all! It’s been awhile! I didn’t post for thanksgiving because I’ve been planning this post for awhile.

2018 has been an insane year… I think we can all agree to that. We’ve all had ups and downs, gains and losses, oh yes’s and oh no’s. 2018 Has given us all joy, pain, fear, regret, happiness, excitement, and love. As we bring this year to a close, many of us (including myself) dream of boxing this year, or pieces of it, away and not expecting to open those boxes for a time to come. 2018 holds some memories that we don’t want, and other that we pray never to forget.

This year has been a year of realizations for me. I’ve realized that, if you’re not paying attention, time flies much faster than you’d like it to. I’ve also realized (through a lot of tears and angry journal entries) that as long as you have your family, friends are optional. This year has been a hard one for me in regards to friendships. For the longest time I would feel alone in a room full of people and as if I had no one to talk to but my sisters. As of right now I believe that I am surrounded by friends and family who care for me. I believe that God gave me this experience to teach me a valuable lesson. Family first, AND that I don’t always need to be the center of attention. That was a hard pill to swallow, but I’m glad I did. Through this I also learned that sometimes the people that really care for you are the ones that you hardly pay attention to. That one friend that you don’t see very often, but still texts you to see that you are doing well.

2018 had been full of experiences. It’s been a long year. Thanksgiving this year was different for me. It feels like I’m only just now starting to realize what it is to be thankful and appreciative. The more I see of the real world, through my college classes and work, the more I see a selfish and disrespectful world. I’m starting to see why people say “welcome to the real world”. It’s not a fun place.

Christmas this year has been strange. I don’t feel the same anticipation for presents that I did when I was younger. I guess I’ve just learned that worldly things are not as valuable as many believe. Money is  a man made thing by the way. God sees no value in it. I did get things that I wanted, and I’m very happy. BUT I know that I don’t NEED anything.

I’m Almost 18… Super scary! 🙂

In some ways, I think I’m ready for life, but in other ways, I know I’m not. I dream of college every day, but I’m scared of leaving home. I want to meet and make new friends, but the ones I have are pretty great… There are so many reasons to go and so many to stay, but I think it boils down to trusting God and taking that leap of faith.

So here’s to 2019. Let’s make it a great year. I’ll graduate, start my college career (for real), and become a legal adult. Wow. I can’t wait for the great adventures I’ll get to go on with my family, friends, and anyone else that wants to tag along. Here’s to a year of trusting God, loving life, enjoying friends, and Living Different.

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