Investments & Adventures: September

Autumn happiness, combating anxiety, & the adventure 🙂

So I’ve never been one of those people who obsesses over autumn, & I certainly couldn’t care less about pumpkin spice anything… but I am SO excited for fall this year. It’s a little odd having temperatures in the 80s & up at the end of September after having spent last fall in Colorado, but Virginia is getting there slowly but surely. I don’t have any special trips to share this month–the only place I travelled to was Greenville, NC for a day and a half to visit my college & meet some professors. However, I do have a different adventure to share as you’ll read below! First, on a bit of a heavier note, my investment for the month was in combating anxiety.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or just know me more relationally) you’ll know that anxiety is something I’ve dealt with as long as I can remember. Even though the ways it has presented itself have changed over time, & although I spent the better part of my teenage years trying to combat it professionally, it isn’t completely gone. I’ve learned that the devil will do everything in his power to tear us down, most intensely when we are in our best alignment with God. For me, September has been proof of that–every day I was leaning into the Lord more & more and to be honest, the blessings kept flooding in from many aspects of my life. Of course, that’s when the devil would whisper lies trying to convince me of things I knew were not of God.

“You probably shouldn’t get your hopes up, because you’re just going to be disappointed again.”

“You might be happy now, but it’s not going to last long.”

“You’ll never be good enough and you don’t deserve what you’re receiving.”

All of these lies were the exact opposite of what I know God has been trying to redeem within me for the last two years, so I knew I couldn’t trust those thoughts when they entered my mind. But when they did enter, anxiety ensued, and it was a vicious cycle of highs & lows. Thankfully, I (WE!) have the tools to receive peace & rest from negative emotions through prayer, the Bible, & what I affectionately call “quiet time” spent with the Lord. These were the things I had to intentionally choose over my tendencies to dwell in anxiety. To be totally transparent, it was exhausting. I felt like a human pendulum as I sought to magnify the voice of God over the devil’s attacks on my spirit. Even though combating anxiety does not come without some exhaustion, I knew I could prioritize rest & relationships with those important people in my life in order to help myself cope with some of the “side effects” of the spiritual battle it felt like I was facing. As the month comes to a close, I can honestly say that those anxious thoughts have simmered down tremendously after fighting back the only way I know how.

If you haven’t heard the news… September’s adventure came in the form of a new relationship 🙂 I’m sure you’ll hear more about Jay in the blogs to come but for now, I am just super grateful that our paths aligned when they did so I could have such an admirable, endearing man of God to call my boyfriend.

I took a look back on a post I wrote about a year ago, “Not Afraid to Fall“, to remember that I had once absolutely dreaded this season of the year. I haven’t had that thought cross my mind even one time in 2019 until I read what I had written! I referred to fall as “my jinxed time of year”–that’s laughable to me today! All of this to say, God is continuing to redeem my story, every tear I’ve cried & every anxiety attack I’ve endured even though I am undeserving. If the colder seasons aren’t your jam and you’re starting to feel down like I did, remember that the Lord wants to show you what true joy is no matter the literal or metaphorical season.

Not Afraid to Fall

The seasons have nothing on me anymore.

Fall has never really been my season. Not because I don’t like it–believe me, I could not be more excited for sweater weather, the changing of leaves to my favorite colors, or the holiday festivities. Bad things just tend to happen to me during this time of year.

For the past three years, I’ve had some pretty dramatic life events take place in the September/October time frame. Cliff notes of Fall ’15, ’16, & ’17: I got myself into some trouble, totalled my car, & had a highly adored relationship end. Because of these things, I’ve had some trouble getting into the autumn spirit this year. To be perfectly honest, I’m terrified that something negative will happen again. As great of a place as I’m in now that I live in Colorado, I can’t help but feel like I’ll have to come down from the high at some point, & that naturally it’ll happen in the pattern that it has been.

I used to be a pessimistic realist. I would have a grounded view on what could happen, but with expectations of the worst. However recently I’ve been slowly transforming into an optimistic realist. I figure out possible outcomes, prayerful for the desires of my heart with faith that God’s will is sovereign over my plans anyway.  But now that fall is here again, I’m struggling to maintain that mindset. Ever since I found out I was moving to Colorado, an answered prayer to be placed somewhere that feels so authentically like home, my testimony began to evolve. I could have been called to move essentially anywhere, but God chose to bring me to a place where I’ve become more fulfilled in him and happier with myself than I ever have been. But of course, this didn’t mean that I would magically become perfectly content in every area of life.

In the time since I’ve fully settled in, I’ve been dealing with some heart issues. Haven’t we all? Whether it be bitterness, rejection, or resentment (a few of mine), anger, unforgiveness, or guilt, these things affect the way we perceive our circumstances. Thankfully, I’m wildly aware of those emotions and how they’re affecting my daily life. I talk to God about them all the time, & do my best to work on improving, but it’s never easy. In the thick of summertime, it was much simpler for me to ignore the parts of life which had me feeling that way. However with the change of seasons, this year in particular is coming with many changes in my personal life. Pair that with my history of ill-fated autumns & it’s a recipe for worry about the months to come.

Lately I’ve been running out of my positive momentum, and it’s been easy for me to feel like the good has run out on me. To feel like God’s giving everyone what they want except for me. I often neglect to remember how far I’ve come or how much I’ve been given because of the emotions that cloud my vision. I wrongly choose to focus on my losses instead of my gains. I fear that my waiting seasons will last much longer than I hope for & the inconveniences in my life will be much worse than I plan for. I only see what other people have that I don’t, instead of realizing that I have everything I could possibly need.

As I enter into my jinxed time of year, I’m struggling to maintain the optimism that I take pride in. What if my circumstances don’t take a turn for the better? What if I have to go through another loss this fall? It’s during these times of questioning that I have to remind myself of a powerful truth: despite any circumstances, I have everything I need in Christ. It doesn’t matter what this season holds for me, because there is nothing I can’t face when I put my trust in the one who holds the universe in his hands. I will choose to see the remainder of this year as an opportunity for growth, self-improvement, and contentment. Whether something unexpectedly wonderful happens, or the “trend” of events continues, I will see it as God teaching me to make the most of exactly where he has me, when he has me there.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13