Taylor Swift & Jesus

January 31, 2019

Today I am going to tell you about the time I had the honor of touching Taylor Swift’s hand. I’m not just bragging, I promise this story has a point. It was at her Stadium Tour stop in New Orleans. I was at her concert with my friend Blaine, another huge Taylor Swift fan. (Yes, I am unashamedly a Swifty or whatever they’re called. I have been a fan since her first album and I think she is one of the more talented song-writer’s of our generation). Blaine and I PLOTTED how we could end up in one of the coveted spots along where she walked through the crowd at each show. We sat on the phone trying to book tickets for a while before taking our best guess as to which seats where the closest to her walkway. We arrived at the concert and went to our seats. We stood through part of the openers scoping out the availability of space standing along the railing of her pathway. We ended up in a little corner that was really part of a walkway to get to seats that was along the path Taylor would cross about half-way through the concert. We stood there, beginning in the opening acts, claiming our spots along the pathway. We sang and danced and enjoyed the concert. About a song or two before Taylor would begin to walk through the crowd people began to crowd along the railing. It began to get uncomfortable but we held our ground and stayed in our place. Then it happened. She got off the stage and began to walk through the crowd. Her pathway was wide but small enough that she could grab people’s hands on both sides. With all the hands around me I thought surely, she will miss mine. In that moment I wanted her to touch my hand more than anything else in the world. As she slowly moved closer I found myself cheering and screaming in spite of myself. Then she was right there. She grabbed my hand. It was only for a brief moment but it felt like much longer. She squeezed my hand and moved on but in that moment I felt the love she has for her fans. She is a big star. She does not have to walk through the crowd like that. I’m sure it is an incredibly overwhelming experience to have people reaching out from all directions, desperately trying to touch you. But she loves her fans and she wants them to feel that love. She wants to connect with as many of them as possible. So she created this pathway to do just that. After she squeezed our hands, Blaine and I turned to each other and I remember I was just crying. All because a celebrity, who I had been a fan of for years, touched my hand. 

As I was thinking back on this experience I began to wonder, what would life be like if we were super-fans of Jesus? If we plotted and planned anything we could to get close to Him? To See Him? Jesus also loves His “fans”. He also wants to do everything He can to get close to us. That’s why He makes Himself available in the Eucharist every single day. Y’all each week at Mass we have the opportunity to touch Jesus, to have an intimate relationship with him. Each time we go to Eucharistic Adoration, it is like Jesus is inviting us to a private concert. He wants to make Himself available to us. He wants to be adored by us. But in the same way He adores us on a much more personal level than any celebrity or even human person ever could. What if we went crazy for Jesus in the same way we go crazy over celebrities? What if we let Jesus dictate the trends we follow and the plans we make the same way celebrities do? What would life be like if we were able to comprehend the fullness of Jesus in the Eucharist? 

Word of the Year: Patience

January 29, 2019

       At the beginning of a year, I’ve never really sat down and tried to think of a word that I needed to take to prayer or focus on for that year. However, thinking back on 2018, a word that comes to mind is “trust”. The year I was supposed to graduate college, I found myself in a really weird place where nothing in my life looked how I thought it would. I really had to learn to trust in God and His plan. This is something I constantly struggled with (let’s be honest I still do sometimes) before 2018, but the struggle intensified as graduation approached. Throughout the year I continued to pray for trust in God’s plan again and again and at some point I began to accept that He did have a plan for me that was greater than anything I could have imagined. But the issue was, I lacked patience. I would think to myself “Well I know God has a plan for me and maybe if I do this it will speed it up”. I trusted that He had a plan but I didn’t want to trust in His timing. Obviously if His plan is perfect, then His timing is perfect too, but in my head I felt like I could somehow speed things along. 

     Towards the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 a word that kept popping up for me in prayer was “Patience”. I realized that in so many ways I was lacking in patience. I truly believed that God did have a perfect plan for me, but I didn’t want to have to wait for it. I also teach middle schoolers and patience is something that I can always use more of because they really know how to test your patience. The more I have been praying for patience, in God’s timing of my life, the more at peace I feel with where I am right now in His plan for me. I really don’t know what is coming next but I know that I need to embrace where I’m at and stop trying to “skip ahead” to the next chapter of my life. I’m really excited to see how my perspective changes over this year and I’m looking forward to whatever fruits might come out of this prayer for patience!

This is me

January 22, 2019

Hi friends. I’d like to think of you all as friends, even if you’re new here. As friends we have to trust each other. We should be honest with each other. That’s what I vow to do. I vow to be brutally honest with y’all. And that won’t always be easy for me. That means I will have to be vulnerable with y’all. Vulnerable with you, my sweet friends, in ways that maybe I was once afraid to be vulnerable with people I had known for years. But I am going to make a promise to be real and vulnerable with y’all if you choose to follow along. 

You see, in May 2018 I graduated college. Throughout college I struggled a lot with feeling like I actually belonged where I was. Feeling self-conscious and second-guessing all of my little choices and big decisions was, well, second-nature to me. And to be fair, it always has been. I’ve struggled with anxiety and insecurity for years. I remember feeling so alone, in a dorm FULL of people. I remember feeling like my friends were hanging out without me and thinking to myself “of course they’re hanging out without you, why would they want to hang out WITH you?”. I remember being self-conscious abut the number of people in my instagram posts because I didn’t want people to think I went off to college and didn’t make any friends. As I got older and had been in college for longer I still found myself second-guessing every friendship I had. I always had this little voice in my head telling me that these people didn’t actually want to be friends with me. In my insecurity I didn’t allow myself to be real and vulnerable in some of my friendships. I believed the lies I was telling myself that I was not enough, that I was not wanted. I was insecure and clung to the few relationships I felt sure of. I placed my identity and my sense of belonging in other people. Introducing myself as, “Oh I’m Sydney, ________’s friend” or “I’m Sydney, ________’s girlfriend.” But y’all, here’s the thing, no human can handle the pressure of you placing even a part of your identity in them! What I did not realize was that my identity belongs in Christ alone. He is the only one who can handle that pressure. Not only that, but he wants that! He wants you to see that your identity is rooted in Him and Him alone! Because what is really better or more secure than finding your identity as a son or daughter of the King of Kings? 

I had a lot of really positive changes my senior year of college. I caught a glimpse of what true joy could look like in my life. I learned how to feel secure in myself and my identity in Christ. Through this, I found an independence and a confidence that I never had known before. With all of this came a greater sense of trust and I gave God the biggest “Yes” I had given Him so far, when I decided to be a teacher in rural Mississippi.

If you are still reading then you are almost caught up, I promise I’m almost done. This is not my WHOLE life story. 

I went into the real world feeling secure in myself, my relationship with God and with my friends. I felt so sure that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. But y’all, adult life is hard. It really is. I got busy. And I let my priorities change. I found myself scrolling for hours on social media feeding myself the lies of what society tells us is good. I was lonely and constantly filling my life with noise between Netflix and Social Media, I would sit there and numb my mind to my loneliness for hours. I would tell myself lies about how much better all my friends’ lives were. How they were all having way more fun than I was. When people asked me about my job, I told them I loved it, which is true I LOVE my job. But I live in a town where there are few opportunities for people my age and I am lonely. I let social media become this toxic influence in my life. 

But I’m here now. I changed my priorities, I made more time for prayer and stopped lying to myself about how everyone’s instagram highlight reel is real life and that I am the only one who is experiencing loneliness. I’m here to share my stories with y’all. Yes there are other people out there doing their best to live their faith. Yes there are other people out there who are in their twenties and have no clue what they are doing. Yes there are other people out there who are 22 years old and not married, engaged or in a relationship (shocking I know). Yes there are other people out there who have to google "how to open a can without a can opener” because they never thought to buy one. Yes there are other people out there buying into the lies that this world tells them about who they are and who they should be! I am here to remind you to stop believing these lies. I am here to do life with y’all, if you want. This is me and this is real life.