You’re Not Alone

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Loneliness is a terrible feeling. We are now in the thick of this quarantine era of life, it’s a forced time of being alone. Dear Danielle and I have noticed how the days slip away and you have to create structure or time just melts. Hopefully you’ve found a rhythm, a way to make sure your mind stays active rather than become a zombie. This is a hard time for everyone. Whether you’re introverted or extraverted, we need connection, and when you can’t actively step outside of your home, the isolation turns to loneliness. Loneliness can be a dangerous place, it often leads to depression and a deep yet unknown sadness. I want to talk about this time, you may be grieving the way you used to live your life, but in this moment, know that you’re not alone.

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Keep Moving Forward

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

This scripture keeps coming into my mind.

In every season it feels like there always comes a crossroads. A time where decisions need to be made and the next chapter will begin with whatever choice is made in this moment. I’ll be honest, in my life, these decisions aren’t comfortable and often are the result of hurt. I think about how in college, I was interning and it felt like the next steps were so clear, that I would just continue into that path. That wasn’t the case, life often has a way of shifting and moving, and most of the time it’s not the way I would like. So often I used to write and preach about how God’s plan is so much better, yet during these same times I had my plan all mapped out. Things just made sense, but the truth is, God’s plan is so much better, it just means that we have to get uncomfortable to take a leap.

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Meaningful Memories

I love taking pictures. People used to mess with me for how much I use Instagram; it’s one of my favorite things. I don’t like it or use it to try and become an influencer, I see it as a photo journal. I get to post highlights of my life and share that with others! I don’t share my entire life on there, but it’s a fun tool I get to use with my pictures. I take lots and lots of pictures every day. I think this love of photos started when I used to get on trips or to camp and I was given a disposable camera from my parents. I could take up to twenty-seven pictures!

The main reason I take so many pictures is that I want to remember moments so I can look back at all of the meaningful memories I have.

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Navigating Different Storms

Well, for pretty much everyone at this point, we are in lockdown. Only able to head out into the world for our essential needs; which means our everyday routines look slightly different. I’m sure many of you have learned that without some sort of schedule in your day, you can get sucked into the endless cycle of entertainment. For some, the boredom has begun to set in, working from home has become difficult to figure out with families, layoffs may have you in a state of fear about tomorrow and the coming weeks, and maybe the battle against this virus is beginning to have you lose hope.

Don’t lose faith.

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Faith in Fear

This is a pretty scary time to be alive. From a little over a week ago where there were scattered stories of this virus, it was easy to distance ourselves from the reality of it, and now, it’s here. We’re in self-quarantines, learning to social distance, and being extra careful about the need to go out and how to operate in the world. It’s a pretty giant shift to culture. While it has been a blessing to many, to have time to unplug and press pause on the constant of work, many of us have the fear in the back of our minds. To be honest, I was not too worried at the start. It was a virus, I just had to be mindful of washing my hands more and not touch my face. Then more and more reports started coming in, it wasn’t just deadly for the elderly, but for people my age as well. Then Disneyland shut down, and we knew it was only a matter of time before Disney World would close as well.

The voice of fear started to get a foothold in my mind.

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Traverse the Fog

I really love a foggy day. There’s just something about the way light dissipates and creates a haze around everything. It makes me think of chilly autumn days, somethings I didn’t really get to experience down here in Florida. You can see in a general sense of where you are headed, but the details get murky. It’s a fun thing to experience, but only in nature. When it comes to our minds, mental fog can really dishearten and muddle your sense of purpose.

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Wanted: Have a Seat at the Table

I think one of the biggest things I have observed and learned about people is that we all have the desire to be wanted. Social science, psychology, even medical science shows us time and time again that we need to have people in our lies. As humans we crave relationship, but when we are without it, we struggle. We begin to feel outcast, our mental health declines, and our well-being starts to fade. We want to be wanted, but the opposite of being wanted is rejected, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

I’m starting this off because I think this is an important concept to understand, it’s one that I struggle with, but I was reminded of the power that relationship has. Moving down to Florida was a big change for my dear Danielle and I; we knew about one person, but other than that, we were completely alone. Being an adult has challenges, making friends is about a million times harder and awkward. In school and as a kid, you just see people and say, “we’re friends now,” and it happens. As an adult, you have work, contrasting schedules, differing stages of life, and a myriad of complications that hinder building relationships. It takes more intentional steps to build relationships.

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i may not know what’s next, but i choose to trust the adventure.

The first month of the year has now finished. It feels pretty wild already; I’m not sure about you, but it feels like so much has happened. Yes, the world has had some crazy things, but in my own life, it feels as if a million things have happened all at once. I started a new position at my job, which is requiring me to have some very late nights, so my head feels off. I do well with consistency, things I can plan on happening in a certain order, but when your work schedule is new every week and you don’t have advance notice of those times, it starts to drain on you. My dear Danielle was in a state of flux since her program ended, getting random shifts and then finally, getting confirmation of a part time position. We’ve dealt with drastic Florida weather changes that has been creating lovely sickness, weird neighbors getting mad at how loud we are (cause those early morning toilet flushes are just us being so mean), and a sense of unknowingness about the future.

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Remember the Victories

Corn mazes are a blast to do in the fall season. Back in North Carolina, there was a place that every year, would make a massive maze in some silly picture with corn. It’s fun, but also strange. Dear Danielle and I did one a couple years back; it was a cold rainy day, so it was perfect for a spooky maze all to ourselves. The goal was simple, go in, find the stamp stations, and get out. Easy! Well, not really. Since it was a rainy day, there was a ton of fog and lots and lots or mud. We started out strong, but halfway into it, started running into mud puddles and were getting turned around. We only needed one more stamp, but we started losing it just a little. Not with each other, but with this labyrinth that we couldn’t seem to find one little area. As we are both completionists, we had to get that last stamp, no cheating for us! I started to lose hope, but Danielle reminded me, in a pep talk that would rival any Disney Channel original movie, that we could do it, we hit all the other areas, we are not letting one stamp stop us!

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Trust, Even When It’s Hard

My dear Danielle is so much more of a daredevil than I am. She’s the skydiving, dirt bike racing, spooky forest, adrenaline junkie; and I’m super jealous. She somehow tricked me onto the “Fury 325,” which is a fitting name for Carowinds’ roller coaster, one that is called a giga coaster and the fifth tallest, seventh fastest, and fourth longest roller coaster in the world. Yes, I had to look all of that up, and I hope it lets you know how terrified I was to get on this. I figured I could chicken out, but her dad was there, and of course I had to show I was a brave guy for his daughter. I remember feeling so sick as we waited in line, and I said, I’ll be fine as long as I’m not in the front row. We then got the front row. I remember the hot sun beating down on me, and Danielle yelling, “look it’s Charlotte!” I turned my head and saw the entire city of Charlotte, North Carolina. I then remember the coaster being a jerk and stopping for a little bit at the peak, then we dropped. I thought my skin was going to peel off of my face, certain that even though I have never had a bad heart, that it would then burst out of my chest.

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