Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

A few months ago, this blog got a new lease on life as I began consistently posting. Before it fell silent once more.

However, while in the past my blogging just kinda petered out for any number of lame excuses, this time it was an intentional stop.

I love sharing my heart on this blog. The fact that I can have a platform to share my thoughts, feelings, and what I’m learning with lots of people is incredible.

Where I've BeenBut I also have a desire to connect with people face-to-face. To live life with the friends around me. To watch a movie or make dinner or go to the park or play games. To listen to what’s going on in someone else’s world. To share my heart and thoughts with them. To know and be known.

And the desire to write and the desire to “live” are at war with each other.

Writing takes time. Living life with people takes time.

And there’s only so many hours in the day.

So for the past few months, I’ve tried to be more intentional about relationships with close friends. I’ve had lots of coffee and ice cream and dinner. I’ve started going to lunch with my group at church instead of always rushing off after service to “get things done at home.”

I took a trip to California to visit my family and four friends came with me. I’m planning a few outings with friends from church. I’m looking forward to squeezing in as many summer adventures as I can before it’s time for fall adventures.

It’s been incredible. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve grown even more. I’ve discovered things about myself and what I want my life to look like (and it’s different than I thought).

But along the way, I remembered why I started writing and blogging in the first place. I want to put all the amazing things I’ve learned into writing and share with those who will listen.

All my experiences and lessons and discoveries have been bubbling up inside of me. And if I don’t start sharing, I’m going to explode. The lengths of texts to close friends have already been steadily increasing (and I’m a long-winded texter even when I have my blogging outlet).

Lessons like how I realized I had some misconceptions about marriage. How for the first time in my life, I feel like a “whole person.” How I’m learning to accept God’s love for me. How I’m dealing with the legalism I’ve allowed to creep into my life. How I’m finally comfortable in my own skin and who God wired me to be. How I discovered how many things I have been taking for granted. How I’m learning to say “no” to the good so I can say “yes” to the great. How there are a lot of unknowns in my life, but I’m not freaking out and trusting God has it all under control. How I’m utterly content with my life. How the “caged bird” feelings I’ve had for years have ended because I realized it wasn’t a cage holding me in, but the simple fact that I was not yet ready to fly. (I warned you they’re all about to burst out.)

So I’m coming back to writing. I’m going to try to be consistent, but we’ll see. If I plan to write on Saturday morning and I get an impromptu brunch or beach invitation, hanging out with friends is going to win.

But blogging is moving up on the priority list. Because I’m on this crazy adventure called life. And I want to write and share about it.

And encourage you to live your own wild and crazy awesome adventure.

Whatever that looks like for YOU.

Almost Getting in an Accident and Small, Almost Insignificant Decisions

I was driving home from work, listening to an audiobook, and minding my own business.Car accident

I turned on my left blinker to change lanes. However, a white truck was coming up in the left lane and he was going faster than I was. I decided not to almost cut in front of him and turned my blinker off.

Less than a minute later as we were approaching the red light and a wall of cars, the car in front of me slammed on her brakes, swerved into the left lane, hit the white truck, and ran him off the road.

Except for one last minute, almost insignificant decision, I would have been the one who got hit and then off-roaded into the grassy median. Instead, I was 50 feet behind the accident, and watched what would have happened if I made a different choice.

Now, I didn’t have this huge life flash before my eyes moment. Honestly, if I had been where the white truck was, I still would have walked away from the accident. And my car would have been in need of repairs, but most likely would still be drivable. The car that swerved wasn’t going very fast when it happened. But it still would have been bad. And I escaped.

Thanks to one small, almost insignificant decision.

You probably know where I’m going with this, so I’m not going to wax too poetic.

But as I continued driving home, I paused my audiobook to think. How many times in my life have I “missed an accident” without even realizing it? How many times have I almost been in the path of disaster, big or small, and yet somehow avoided it? Knowingly or unknowingly.

My life is not my own. Sure, I’m responsible to make decisions. But at the end of the day, God’s the one on the throne. He’s the one guiding events.

And He’ll protect me or allow me to experience “bad” things as He sees fit.

I might not understand what’s going on. I might not always get it. It might hurt. I won’t always get to see the black Nissan that would have hit me if I had been in a different place at a different time or made a different decision.

But when I do see the metaphorical black Nissan, it’s a great reminder to pause and thank the One who knows more than I can possibly imagine. The One guiding all events. The One who loves me more than I could possibly imagine. The One who has an incredible plan for my life if I walk in His ways.

The One who gives significance to the small, almost insignificant decisions.

When have you made what you thought was a small, almost insignificant decision but turned out to be a much bigger decision?

6 Promises of God

Aren’t the truths of God beautiful?Promises of God

I love how even when life gets tough, weird, confusing, or just plain awful, God is truth. He is trustworthy. He is dependable.

But, let’s be honest, in the midst of the tough, weird, confusing, awful times, it’s very easy to forget those truths. Or they stay in our minds, but don’t make it to our hearts.

A few months ago, I realized I was easily thrown around. Life would be going well when all of a sudden something small would happen and throw me completely off-balance. I slowly figured out what the problem was.

I wasn’t trusting the truths of God.

I knew the truths, but I wasn’t fully trusting, believing, and applying them to my life. So being the writer that I am, I knew I needed to write down those truths and keep them where I could easily refer back.

I’ve gone to my list often since I put it together a few months ago. It’s changed a bit as I’ve grown and learned. It’s been great.

And I want to share that list with you.

Here’s the thing though. Don’t get caught in the “in the mind, but not the heart” trap I have. You may read “I have been saved by His grace and nothing more” and go, “yep. Know that one. Next!”

I want to challenge you to actually think about it. Because my mind and theology totally believe that. I have been saved by His grace and nothing more. No doubt in my mind.

However, when I start frantically making sure I’m crossing off alllll the things on the “Good Christian” list and am stressing about not having enough time to do fill-in-the-blank-with-a-good-deed, and am worried about disappointing God because “I’m not doing enough,” my life is not reflecting the truth I profess to believe.

Hence this list that I refer back to.

Here’s my challenge to you. Read this list. See if any of it sounds like truths you have difficulty remembering/applying to your life. If it does, awesome. Write those verses where you’ll be able to see them often.

If it doesn’t, that’s awesome too. What are some of the truths you need to be reminded of? What verses remind you of those truths? Maybe you agree with the truths I need, but have different verses you’d like to use. Please share! I really want to hear—this is by no means a complete list and I’d love to add yours to it!

1. He loves me more than I can possibly imagine

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Ephesians 2:4-5

2. I have been saved by His grace and nothing more

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

3. His burden is light

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

4. Nothing can separate me from Him

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 (this is probably one of my favorite Bible verses)

5. The Holy Spirit is in me

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26-27

6. He will supply all my needs

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles.” Matthew 6:31-34

What would you add to this list? Share with me in the comments below!

Unplugged Mondays

UnpluggedA few weeks ago, I was discussing time and priorities with my pastor. Naturally, he asked what I did when I got home from work most nights.

“Well, it’s different on Wednesday when I have Bible study, but for the most part, I cook, eat, exercise a few times a week, read, talk to my roommate, or talk or text people. And that’s pretty much what happens until I go to bed. Well, I also usually end up hanging out with friends once or twice a week in the evening. I want to be writing more in the evenings to work on my blog and potentially get more involved in ministry, but I’m not sure where that will fit. Oh, and I do need to rest some time in there, too.”

(For “phone/text conversation” perspective, I have plans to talk to a different friend on my way home from work every day this week. And then there’s the other people I have full-on, serious text conversations with in the evenings. #extrovertproblems )

“What’s your biggest distraction when you get home?”

“Oh, well, definitely my phone. But the tricky thing is, I usually have really good conversations with people, so I don’t want to completely take that out of my life in the evenings. So I’ve been struggling with that.”

“What about going unplugged one night a week? Just one.”

“Oh. I could do that. That’s an awesome idea!”

Maybe this doesn’t seem like such a novel thought for most of you, but I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl. I think I either have to do something EVERY SINGLE DAY or don’t do it at all. This is why exercise was so hard for me for so long—if I couldn’t do it for two hours every day, why should I do it at all? Bad logic, obviously.

I was using the same (bad) logic with unplugging. If I couldn’t be unplugged from 6-8 every weeknight, then I shouldn’t do it at all.

The next week, Monday evening became my unplugged and sacred evening.

It was tough. As luck would have it, I got a tempting after-work invite that day. I briefly thought about postponing my original plans. “Is planning time with myself and no technology being selfish? Should I spend some time with a friend instead?”

The answer was a quick “no.” I needed to do this for my sanity.

I definitely made the right decision.

Taking time alone that evening was exactly what I needed.

I’ve been having Unplugged Mondays for over a month now. And let me tell you, it’s been amazing. It’s also become easier to say no to Monday evening invites because I know how much I’ll be missing if I skip that time.

I don’t do the same thing every week. The first time, I did long-term goal setting and planning. The next week, I felt like reading, but not any of the books I had on hand. I ended up pulling out my Bible and reading the entire book of Romans. Sure, I didn’t get every single theological detail of the book. But I read it like I was part of the Roman church receiving this letter from the Apostle Paul. It was awesome.

Yesterday, I leisurely made dinner and cleaned the kitchen without texting, squeezing in a game of Trivia Crack, looking up a new recipe, or even just listening to music. I was alone with my thoughts and could process them. It was lovely. Of course, as I was going through all the thoughts, I remembered some different things I needed to tell people. But instead of reaching for my phone, I’ve learned to jot them down on a piece of paper to get to later. And you know what? It was okay. The things I needed to share weren’t all that urgent. I took care of them today. No big deal.

Whether or not I know you personally, I can almost guarantee you could use an unplugged day, too.

Don’t wait forever to do it like I did.

I knew I should do something, but I never quite knew what. It wasn’t until just over a month ago that I was finally driven to make it a priority in my life.

My encouragement to you is DO IT. Just schedule in one evening a week to unplug from everything. If TV, computer, and phone is too much all at once, just turn off your phone and computer and watch a movie. At least remove some stimuli. (Better yet, read a book.)

I would challenge you that you can find one night a week to do this, even if it’s only for a few hours. Heck, even if it just means you eliminate the evening distractions and can get a good night’s sleep one evening a week. If that’s what you need more than an evening to think and get things done DO THAT. It doesn’t matter.

And if you can’t find one day a week, at least try one day a month. Just schedule it in like it’s a big important meeting or date that cannot be moved. Turn everything off and just be.

Your brain will thank you.

And if you need help with accountability, let me know. Seriously. I will be that person who asks if you’ve taken the time this week and how it’s going, etc. I would love to do that. That’s how much I know I needed this space in my life and how much I believe you do too. Just comment, email, text, Facebook message, smoke signal, whatever, and I’ll be there for you.

Have you ever taken the time to unplug? What was the result?

Are Your Moods “Sloppy”?

I wrote this post about a year ago and never published it, but I found it the other day, so decided to clean it up and post today. :)Moods can get sloppy. Here's how you contain them.

A few days ago, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I was fine in the morning, but as the day progressed and things happened, my mood just started getting a bit…darker.

Everyone has their way of reacting to bad moods. Mine is usually to either snap rudely or sarcastically at people or just “check out” and decide I don’t care.

Obviously, neither is the correct response.

Thankfully, I had the wisdom (for once) to get by myself for a few minutes to pray and reset. I gained perspective and the dark mood went away.

Learning a Lesson

Later that same day, I was in a managers meeting at work. We were discussing topics out of a book we’re all reading together.

One of the topics being addressed was “Sloppy Moods.”

Isn’t God timely?

“While it is human to have ups and downs, it is grown-up to manage those moods so that they do not hurt others. Some call moods that have run amok sloppy moods. They are simply uncontrolled. Whatever is felt comes spilling out and slops all over employees (or family). The result can be embarrassment, hurt, anger, humiliation, and loss of dignity.” – Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em”

Ouch. My mood earlier that day had definitely been sloppy. And while I hadn’t acted out on my sloppy mood (that I was aware of), I had certainly been tempted to.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Emotions and Moods

Emotions and moods are a part of life (and more so if you’re a woman, let’s just face it). It’s how we control them (and don’t allow them to control us) that allows us to be respected in life.

And while I don’t have this all figured out and still get into sloppy moods sometimes, these three steps work for me when I actually apply them.

1. Know when you’re in a sloppy mood. And admit it.

Recognition is the first step. Admission is the second. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a grumpy mood, I justify it.And then enjoy wallowing around in my own misery.

But that’s definitely not the way it should be handled. I need to recognize I’m in a bad mood and admit it.

Before you can fix your mood, you have to admit something needs to be fixed. And be willing to fix it.

2. Get some alone time.

It can be tough if you’re still trying to justify the bad mood (been there, done that), but I’ve learned that removing myself from the situation to get some alone time works wonders. Even if that simply means excusing myself to go to the restroom. If I can walk outside or take a short drive, even better.

That alone time takes me out of the current situation to pray about the problem and gain some perspective. And then (probably one of the most painful parts), I have to ask God if my pride or another sin in my life is the cause of this mood in the first place. And ask for help dealing with it if the answer is “yes.”

If my bad mood is because of someone else and their decisions, I have to remember I’m responsible for my actions and my actions alone. While it’s easy to play the blame game, we can’t. People make mistakes. Things happen. It’s how we react to them that proves what we’re made of.

3. Remember that relationships are ALWAYS more important than issues or tasks.

Whether at work or home or church or the grocery store, relationships and people are always more important than little issues or tasks. Sure, someone may have made a mistake that resulted in more work for you. Maybe you even told them it was wrong and they ignored you and did it anyway. Maybe you have every “right” to say, “I told you so.”

But people are always, always, always more important. Even if we’re right, what makes for a better living environment – “I told you so” or humility to help fix the problem without saying a word and without feeling bitter? Which brings more glory to God? Which is what God asks us to do in His Word? Which shows that we care about people more than ourselves and our pride? (If the answers didn’t make you uncomfortable, you’re answering them incorrectly.)

Besides, we’re not perfect either. Chances are the roles are going to be reversed at some point in the future and I know I’d prefer they react with kindness and grace instead of sarcasm in a similar situation.

We Can Rise Above

Moods. They happen. They’re a part of life. It’s how we control them and don’t allow them control us that will allow us to grow more into the image of Christ.

Do you have other tips for getting over “sloppy moods” that you’ve used? Comment below!

When God’s Plan Hurts

As most of you probably know, I am not currently living the plan I had for my life. As much as I (most of the time) love my life, this is not the one I originally planned.

While I briefly dreamed of becoming a writer when I was in elementary school, that faded at 13 years old. (And then God resurfaced that writing dream 10 years later.)

I briefly dreamed of being a lot of things over the years, but they all faded except for the dream I told my mom about on my 5th birthday.

Mom: Taryn, 5 is a good age. Why don’t you stop growing and stay 5 forever?

Taryn: But Mom! I want to grow up and be a Mommy!

That one stuck around. The dream to be married and have a family.

But that didn’t happen. Not after high school. Not after college. My 5 year anniversary of college graduation is next week and still nothing.

This is not how it was supposed to go.

I’ve tried to put on a good face. I’ve tried to be grateful. I’ve tried to not hurt. And when I do hurt, I try to hide it because I feel guilty.

I feel guilty and ungrateful for the life God has given me and the way He has blessed me.

God has given me a beautiful life. First off, he decided to save me and adopt me into His family. He has given me amazing family and friends. He has blessed me with a job I love (most of the time) and absolutely incredible co-workers. He has healed me from body image and health issues.

And on top of that He decided to give me an awesome calling to write and encourage people. It’s overwhelming in a good way.

Some days it’s amazing to think about the life I’m living and how much different, yet absolutely perfect it is for me right now. I am able to do things and learn things as a single that I probably couldn’t if I were married.

When God's Plan HurtsAnd yet.

Some days it hurts.

Some days I’m filled with confusion.

Some days I’m filled with doubt, wondering if I’ve done something wrong.

Some days I’m filled with doubt, wondering if there’s something wrong with me.

Some days I’m lonely.

Some days I think I want my plan more than I want God’s plan.

But at the end of my life, what is it I want? That I got everything my way, or that I allowed God to lead my life?

I believe I’m here on this earth to serve and honor God. To love Him. To bring glory to His name in whatever capacity He has asked of me.

I truly do want God’s plan for my life.

But I’m learning to not feel guilty about the pain that sometimes happens. I want to use it to draw me closer to my Savior, as I pray and cry and ask for Him to change my heart or my circumstances. And that’s okay. It’s not like there’s any sense hiding it—He knows it already anyway.

God’s not finished with me yet. He’s got beautiful plans for my life—plans that this little human pea brain may never understand. He’s allowing me to be part of His story that is so much bigger than me. And that’s an incredible thing.

Even when I don’t understand.

Even when I feel lonely.

Even when it hurts.

I know I’m not the only one. When has, in the moment, God’s plan been painful for you?

A Most Embarrassing Story (And Why Everyone Needs to Stop Telling Girls to Make a List of “Ideal Husband Traits”)

girlThis story is less than flattering. Honestly, it’s straight up embarrassing.

But it needs to be told.

Last year, life was going great. God was healing my heart and mind from the body image issues I had struggled with and my story was encouraging others.

Then one Thursday at the girls’ Bible study I was leading, we started talking about boys and relationships (shocker). I told the girls about how I used to be a “he’s got to be older and taller” girl, but was now just a “he has to be taller” girl.

“I’ve met some mature, awesome guys who are younger than me, so I don’t care about that anymore, but the taller thing is staying!” I vehemently declared as all the girls giggled and nodded their heads in agreement.

In the church, there are some things we get right when we talk about marriage and relationships.

And there’s a whooolllleee lot we get wrong. (Which is a soapbox for a different day.)

But related to this exchange at my Bible study is the practice of telling girls to make a list of “Ideal Husband Traits.”

I get it to a certain extent. By thinking about what’s important, they’re setting priorities and standards. In a world filled with compromise, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

But when you tell a girl to “make a list,” most of the time she ends up making a checklist like she’s going to go shopping for a spouse and wants to remember what to pick out.

He needs to be

  • Compassionate
  • Loving
  • A gentleman
  • A good provider
  • Spiritual leader
  • Wants kids (and will be a good father)
  • Open to missions
  • Wants to be a pastor
  • Active in the church
  • Hard-working
  • Self-controlled
  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Adventurous
  • Cuddly
  • Older than me, but not TOO much
  • CUTE
  • Great job
  • Good hair
  • Sparkling teeth
  • Spotless driving record
  • Well-read
  • In good health
  • Brown hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Taller
  • Loves his parents
  • Has only ever loved me
  • Never kissed

And then these good Christian girls are told to pray over those characteristics so God will send them such a man.

I wish I was kidding.

In a random stroke of wisdom, my 13-year-old self thought the list making was dumb.

Yet I did make a list. Shorter, but still a list.

  • Taller
  • Older
  • Loves Jesus

And since that was so much shorter, I thought I was better by comparison.

However, God doesn’t like “better by comparison…”

A few years ago, God convicted me about the older thing. Sure, I desire a level of maturity, but age is no longer a thing for me. I’ve met younger guys who are super mature and older guys who still have a lot of growing up to do.

But I still held on to the height thing. After all, that made only two things on my list. True, only one was technically biblical, but it was okay, right?

As I was praying the morning after I proclaimed I could only like a guy taller than me to the Bible study girls, God convicted me. I felt Him saying to me,

“Taryn, if you heard a guy say a girl had to weigh a specific amount or be petite or curvy or any specific body shape, you would go crazy, wouldn’t you?”

“Darn right, I would!! That’s awful!!!”

“Taryn, how is saying a guy has to be tall any different?”

“Uh. Uh. Uh…. Ummmmmm…..”

It’s not.

All the girls in my Bible study got texts of apology that day as I repented of my attitude.

Here’s the deal. Stop making the freaking lists. Only God knows who will make a good spouse for us. And I’m pretty sure height doesn’t make His Top 50 list of priorities.

If you want to make a list, make one for yourself. Make a list of the qualities you want to possess and exude. Make a list of the type of person you desire to be. The type of PERSON. Not the type of wife you want to be. Not the type of husband you want to be. The type of HUMAN you want to be. We don’t grow for other people – so they’ll like us or be attracted to us or whatever – we grow because God commands us to be transformed more into the likeness of Christ.

And then when you’re “looking for a spouse,” find one who loves Jesus and is striving to grow closer to Him each day.

End of list.

Then the two of you can grow closer to God and stronger in your faith together. Someday you’ll both be those compassionate, loving, patient, kind, open-to-God’s-will people you desire to be.

And hair color, eye color, and height won’t matter anymore.

Commitment Issues or Distraction Issues?

distractionI have a problem.

I often have trouble sticking to one thing.

There’s a big ol’ world out there I want to help in any way I can. And almost every day, I have a new plan for solving the world’s problems. In 2013 alone, I wanted to be a writer and speaker, an FBI agent who was fluent in Mandarin, and a foster parent.

I’m not exaggerrating.

So that year I wrote three blog posts to help with the writer/blogger plan. The furthest I got with the FBI plan was doubling my push-up ability (which still wasn’t very much), talking to some friends who are fluent in Mandarin, and listening to some Chinese music and the audio Bible to “get used to the sounds.” On the foster parent front, I got all the information I needed about the paperwork and the meeting I needed to attended.

Then I changed my mind yet again.

For a long time I kept thinking this cycle of excitement, planning, and burnout was a huge character flaw and proof of commitment issues. So I beat myself up even more.

But recently I’ve realized this cycle isn’t necessarily a character flaw. I’m not unable to commit. I burnt out on those things so quickly because they weren’t the problems I am supposed to fix or the things I am supposed to pursue.

And it wasn’t just in 2013. (Time for the embarrassing confession.) I recently found myself both wanting to find a cure for HIV and create sustainable, renewable energy. And by “recently,” I mean in the past week. After I’d already made awesome writing goals for myself.

But here’s the thing. HIV and energy issues aren’t my problems to solve. (And while I certainly could learn, I don’t currently know anything about either.)

I know what God has called me to do. I KNOW. But for the past two years, I’ve been more or less ignoring the “Taryn-shaped hole in the world” God is asking me to fill and trying to contort my body to fill the “biggest hole in the world according to Taryn.” Because I felt those things were more important.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people rank God-given callings in term of importance. “Being a pastor is the highest calling!” Or missionary. Or mother. Or martyr. Or whatever.


No. No. No. No.

The highest calling for you is the one God has given to you. And actually, to boil it down, the highest calling is to be transformed into the image of Christ. Which is exactly the same for everyone (although the path will obviously differ). Pastor or entrepreneur. Single or married. Childless or mother. Martyr or businessman.

And yet here I am doing the exact thing I constantly preach against. I was ignoring the calling I knew God had given me because I thought something else was more important.

We need to do what God is calling us to do now.

And for some of you, that may mean finding a cure for HIV. Or for becoming a Mandarin-speaking FBI agent. Or a foster parent. Or creating sustainable energy.

All those are legitimate and awesome callings. And if you’re feeling a tug in that direction, pray about it, then go for it. The world needs all those things and God can fill those holes.

But learn from me. Don’t get distracted by the biggest hole you can find, decide it’s “the most important one,” and ignore God’s calling on your life.

He’ll handle the problem you deem “more important.” He’s got someone else for that job. Pray for that person to have the strength and obedience to follow through on their calling.

But don’t allow it to distract you. Pray for them, then get back to work on the task God has given to you.

Life is much more fulfilling that way.

I guess this means I should get started on that book I want to write, huh…?

What about you? Is there something you should be doing that you keep putting off because something else keeps “coming up?”

Audacious Life Goals vs Daily Habits


“Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you – the shift in daily habits that would mean a reinvention of how you see yourself.” – Seth Godin

I can’t even remember how long ago it was that I read that quote from good ‘ole Seth. But gosh is it true.

I don’t know how it’s been throughout all history, but I feel like the generation we’re living in prizes audacious life goals and achievements more than most.

After all, we are the generation that has always been told we can “do whatever we set our mind to.”

So we make these huge life goals. We make these massive plans to save the world and make it a better place. It’s exciting!

And yet we still can’t get out of bed when our alarm goes off in the morning.

Case in point: this blog. (Didn’t see that one coming now, did you?)

Two years ago, I had the audacious life goal. I was going to start a blog, then write and publish a book, then hopefully start (or at least speak at already existing) girls’ conferences.

Then the reality of daily habits set in.

If I was really going to do that, I was going to have to get a lot more organized. If I was really going to do that, I was going to have to let go of some of my perfectionism and sometimes just hit publish even when I didn’t have it all figured out.

If I was really going to do that, I was going to have to sacrifice some of the time I was using to be being with people that are around me. If I was really going to do that, I might have to sacrifice some sleep. If I was really going to do that…. the list went on and on.

The list went so far on and on that I published 5 posts in 2 years.

Because I was frightened of the daily habits and the “reinvention of how I see myself.”

Fortunately for me, God was working on the reinvention of Taryn, whether I planned to or not.

From changing how I viewed myself physically to maturing the way I think about the world, productivity, perfectionism, and life in general, God has been working overtime.

I’m still fearful. (Although God’s been systematically going through those and you’ll probably be hearing me talk about that experience soon.) I still have a lot of daily habits that need to change so I can start crossing things off my “big plans list.” Heck, I need to finalize my “big plans list.”

But over the past two years, I’ve realized that what Seth says is true. While the big, audacious goals are good to have (and I need to have them and keep them posted where I can often see them), it’s the daily habits and the small things that add up to making the big difference.

It’s why they’re so hard. It’s hard to change a habit. But it’s those little things that add up.

I need to start with the little things.

Dreaming of writing a book is great. But I need to write every day first, then we can discuss the book thing.

Dreaming of speaking another language is great, but I need to go beyond downloading an app on my phone and buying a side-by-side Bible. I actually have to go after it and build that habit.

Dreaming of having more time to do things is great, but until I disable social media from my phone (which I have for the past month now and it’s been AWESOME), I’m still going to get stuck in the same rut.

And dreaming of speaking to girls about the things I’m passionate about is also great. But I have to refine my message and what I believe before I can even start working on that. Googling all the current Christian girls’ conferences is only going to get me so far.

So I haven’t figured it all out. I don’t exactly know where I’m headed. I don’t even know what I want this blog to lead to. And according to all the gurus, I should know before I start. And that’s what’s been scaring me.

But it’s time to just start, begin a habit, and see what happens. And since four weekly blog posts in a row is the longest streak I’ve ever had, I think I’m headed in the right direction.

So important my daily habit is writing for my blog. What’s yours?

What’s Holding You Back?

I didn’t want to do it.

I had emails I needed to go through, errands I needed to run and cleaning I needed to do.

Not to mention the fact that I have a pile of books as tall as me that I want to read.

And recipes I want to try.

And things I want to write.

And. And. And… The list went on.

The last thing I wanted to do was lace up the running shoes I just bought out of their box and take them out for a spin.

Sure, in a passionate moment I had run out to the store to buy those shoes. But that wasn’t helping me now.

It was Saturday morning and I was using every excuse in the book to convince myself not to go for that run.

We’ve all been there

We’ve all done it. In a fit of good intentions, we passionately decide we’re going to do something and go after it, only to bog ourselves down with excuses mere days later.

And that’s exactly when you have to lace up the shoes anyway.

So, I did.

I put on my shoes and walked out the door. I was just going to walk (just walk, not run) a mile away from home and then come back. I’d still have time for all the other things when I got back.

I started walking.

By the time I got to the main street near my apartment, I realized what a glorious day it was. The sun was shining, there were some beautifully fluffy clouds in the sky and the weather was absolutely perfect.

And impulsively, I started to run.

Now, you must realize, I don’t like to run. But there was something happening inside of me and I just had to run.

Before I knew it, two things had happened

  1. I was at the mile mark long before I expected it.
  2. I was certifiably the craziest person on the face of the planet.

I’m serious. I’m pretty sure my sanity was questioned by every person who saw me while I was running.

From what I’ve observed, most people run with a pretty serious expression on their face, arms pumping at their sides, looking like a runner.

But that’s not my style.Running with Freedom

I was wearing the largest and silliest grin from ear to ear, had a look of wild abandon in my eyes, and my arms were flung out to the sides, just taking it all in.

I was fit to burst.

I was ALIVE. And it felt incredible.

And it was all because I finally got up and got moving toward something that I wanted to do. I had conquered myself and what I lazily wanted to do, got up, got going, and did it.

And it was awesome.

What’s holding you back?

Chances are, you’re set up for success–you know what big (or small) thing you want to do. You probably have more of the tools than you think you do. You have the proverbial running shoes, they’ve just been sitting in your closet for too long.

It’s time to take those suckers for a spin.

What’s standing in your way? What’s holding you back from that all-out sprint into life with your head flung back and arms open wide? What’s holding you back from feeling alive?

Whatever it is, get rid of it. It’s not worth it. There is nothing more awesome than living full out in whatever God has called you to do. And even if you don’t know exactly what God has called you do, live full out doing something! If it’s not what God has for you, He’ll be sure to redirect you.

The funny/ironic/depressing part about this whole thing? I wrote this post two years ago. And it’s still as true as the day I wrote it. The same things that were holding me back then are still very real now. But I’ve been challenged to overcome them. And slowly, but surely, in some areas, I have.

And that momentum is a powerful thing.

What’s holding you back right now? What are you going to do about it?