Lifestyle

DURING

Hey friends! I hope you’re having a great week! Spring is kind-of (?) coming out around here, so that’s exciting. I’m a first-time gardener, and my budding tulips are making me super happy!

I’m excited about this third post in my Vulnerability series, because it’s the part of the story that gives me teary-eyes on the regular. If you’re new, I’d love for you to start from the beginning of the series so you get the full account of God’s goodness in my past.

Part 1- The “V” Word

Part 2- BEFORE

Part 2 ended with myself in a pretty dark, desperate time of my life. The time of my life where I hit rock bottom. Praise God that wasn’t the end!


So my first semester of college was ending, and I was deeply confused by the person I had turned into. I was having fun, but I wasn’t fulfilled. I felt shame for my new lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to change anything.

ENTER: Jesus

Before Christmas break I learned that my roommate and best college friend would be transferring to a different school. This left me with a lot of unknowns as I drove home for break, but I don’t remember being completely torn up about the situation. Looking back, I can see God using this break at home as a time of refreshment. I didn’t tell my family about my new lifestyle, but being away from my new college environment was a healthy break that I needed. God knew I needed some time to be around my previous friends and my family who loved me best. I was still apprehensive to talk to God and was constantly struggling with guilt and shame, but God was so good to take me home to my roots for a good month.

When I headed back up to K-State in January I still didn’t have a roommate and had no clue what this semester was going to look like socially. One day I was in my room, unpacking with the door open to the hallway. A couple of girls that lived a few doors down stopped by to say hi and let me know that I could always come hangout with them if I ever wanted to. Little did I know these girls would become some of my best friends, and I was going to practically live in their room for the rest of the semester.

Hannah and Alyssa were so sweet to invite me into their lives, and because of that brave act, I got to see up close what it looked like to follow Jesus on a day-to-day basis. These girls loved the Lord, and they loved Him every single moment of their lives. Not just on Sundays or at church camp, but in every moment. They made studying God’s Word a priority and they loved me so incredibly well. They ended up introducing me to an amazing group of girls. These girls were my sisters throughout college and I can’t imagine those next few years without them!

So back to Hannah and Alyssa. I loved spending time with them and I learned so much from them, but shame and guilt were still deep in my heart. I couldn’t let go of the things I had done. I couldn’t let go of the feeling that God was mad at me or disappointed in who I was. Why would He want to talk to me? Why would He want me to live for Him? I had really messed up.

During this time of life I also became best friends with two girls in my sorority, Lauren and Sarah. These ladies also loved Jesus and showed me what it looked like to follow Him. One late night, we were driving to a sorority event that was out of town, and Lauren and Sarah were in the front of the car talking about the goodness of God. I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember sitting in the back, listening to every word but keeping my own mouth shut.

At some point on that car ride, I heard Jesus say to me “Nicole, I still love you. I have always loved you.”

Jesus, the man who knew every detail of my life, made it a point to let me know He still loved me.

He still loved me, the girl who had completely rejected him for months on end.

The girl who had lived for herself and for pleasing those around her.

The girl who had been wearing guilt around like a second skin.

This is the girl whom He loved.

This was the moment where I finally understood what grace was. Yes, I knew that Jesus had died on a cross for my sins, but I finally understood how crappy and disgusting my sins were. I finally understood how much Jesus carried to the cross for ME. He knew the sins I would commit, and He died for me anyway.

I finally understood how valuable I was to my Creator. 

I am so thankful for the way Jesus heavily pursued me that second semester of college. His fingerprints are in all the little details from the friends who left to the sorority I pledged to the hallway I lived on. He knew exactly what I needed and drew me closer and closer to His heart.

PRAISE GOD for grace and new life. I will never fully understand the true depth of grace, but I’m so thankful for the slice of it I’ve been able to experience.

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Alyssa, myself, and Hannah in their dorm room. 🙂
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Me, Sarah, and Lauren on one of our many adventures. 🙂

As you read this part of my story, did it bring back memories of God’s goodness in your own life? All of our stories are beautiful, no matter how simple or complicated they may seem. I’d love to hear how you came to understand grace! Comment below or shoot me an email at nicoleann.nw@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading Part 3 of my story, and I can’t wait to come back and share what life looks like now as a follower of Jesus. 🙂

Lifestyle

BEFORE

I did not foresee these posts being so far apart, but I’m excited to continue in this small series on the “v” word: vulnerability. If you’d like to catch up, start here!

So we’ve discussed how hard and uncomfortable vulnerability is, but we’ve also talked about why it’s so beautiful and important in the church. My hope and prayer is that you’ve been challenged in the area of vulnerability just like I have! I’m excited to share more of my story with you, and my deepest hope is that you’ll see how GOOD and MIGHTY and LOVING Jesus Christ is because of the work He has done in my life. The remainder of this series will be broken into 3 parts:

BEFORE- what my life was like before I followed Jesus

DURING- how God changed me

AFTER- what life now looks like as a follower of Jesus

This is a super easy way to share our stories with one another. If you’d like to follow this template for your own life, please do!

Alright friends, let’s do this!


I was born and raised in a small suburb of Wichita, Kansas. My sister and I were raised in a Christian home and we loved going to church multiple times a week. All of my best friends were there, so I never minded being whisked away every Sunday and Wednesday for services and events.

When I was 7, one of my friends decided to get baptized. I thought taking communion looked pretty cool, so I asked my parents if I could get baptized too. My children’s pastor came to our house, walked me through the gospel, and then my dad baptized me a few weeks later in front of friends and family. I believe I loved Jesus, but there’s only so much a 7 year old can understand about what it means to FOLLOW Jesus.

My middle and high school years were full of attempts at making friends, fitting in, and for lack of better words, being cool. I would do or say just about anything to gain the approval of others. I was finding my worth in the way other people saw me. I found my value in how popular I thought I was, how many friends I had, and how cool my clothes were. As you can imagine, it was a constant, uphill battle to feel like I was enough.

I still spent a lot of time at church and with church friends, and I loved going to camp over the summer or any other special event that was on the youth group calendar. I’ve looked back on journals and know that I had “spiritual highs” after these trips and events. I would feel closer to God, promising Him that I was going to do a better job of being a good Christian, only to go back to my old ways a week or two later.

When I look back at high school, my stomach usually turns a little because of the way I lived my life. I wasn’t a great friend, I was an awful big sister to Auna, and my parents and I very rarely got along. I also loved getting attention from boys, which really took a toll on how I valued myself throughout high school.

I had my first unhealthy “relationship” my freshman year, and it set the stage for me as to what I thought was normal. I felt valued because a boy thought I was pretty and wanted to spend time with me. I felt valued when he chose me over other girls who wanted his attention. I thought I needed to go beyond any physical boundaries I previously had for myself in order to maintain his affection. After that relationship ended I was hurt and confused. I had given a lot of myself away–physically and emotionally– and all of a sudden it wasn’t worth anything.  I wish I could give my 14 year old self a hug and let her know she wasn’t going to find fulfillment through boys… but instead I kept seeking for purpose through the way guys viewed me.

My sophomore year also started with a boyfriend. This one was from church though, so in my eyes, it was wonderful and fun and I loved having a boy care about me. I’ve blocked a lot of the details of this relationship from my memory, but I do know that after about a year, this relationship also became very unhealthy. To make a long story short, another girl got involved, and for the next 2 and a half years, until I was a freshman in college, my life was consumed with “winning” my boyfriend. I was so competitive that I used sex, manipulation, sneaking around, and so many other playing pieces in order to win the guy. I was truly consumed with winning, no matter what it took, and I was blinded from what I knew was right.

The devil LOVES to turn our hearts to anything in this world besides God. For me it was a boy (amidst other things) that kept me completely distracted from living my life for Jesus. Even though Jesus was always still there, my life was going down the road of pain, comparison, regret, and shame.  I wish I could say that we broke up and I came to my senses, but this isn’t the end to my “before” story.

In 2008 I graduated from high school and headed up to Manhattan to attend Kansas State University. I was finally free, finally away from my parent’s strict rules, and in a place where I could really create myself and be who I wanted to be. FREEDOM. I took full advantage and went all in.

I made new friends who loved to party. This meant that I now loved to party. I didn’t have friends who went to church. This meant that I also no longer went to church. Having late night fun was way more important to me than doing well in my classes. I mean, who needed to know about earth formations anyway? (Ross Geller would disagree.) I took my first semester of college to try new things, party hard, have fun with my roommates and sorority sisters, flirt with boys, get the worst grades of my life, gain quite a bit of weight, and to abandon any relationship that I had with God.

This, my friends, was my rock bottom. I was trying to figure out who I was and I totally lost myself in the process. I had so much guilt. SO MUCH. I remember feeling so ashamed of the way I was living that I would refuse to acknowledge God in my thoughts or through prayer. It was clear to me that the way I was living was wrong, but I wasn’t sure how to change anything or get away from this lifestyle. I felt so incredibly stuck.


Thank you so much for taking time to read the first part of my story! This obviously isn’t a fun place to stop, but God is about to cover this story in crazy LOVE and GRACE. I can’t wait to share the rest with you!

 

Lifestyle

The “V” Word

It’s something that makes you feel awkward and uneasy. The mention of it might make you fidget in your seat with anxiety. It brings up fear and doubt and instantly makes you second guess yourself. It’s one of those things we like to hide from. To avoid. Some of us even like to run from it because it is just. that. uncomfortable.

Vulnerability.

This word has been one that I’ve enjoyed ignoring for most of my years. I’ve been in so many different small groups in various stages of life, but even in that context of being surrounded by other like-minded women, I struggle to open up and truly share who I am, what I struggle with, and how I see God working through it all. Anyone else with me?

For me, vulnerability has typically been a far-off idea that sounds great and everything, but it doesn’t seem right in my life for reasons x, y, or z. I get that community is important and all, but will these people still like me when they know the truth? Will I be looked down on when I share my struggles? Will anyone be able to relate to me, or will I feel alone? 

From what I’ve heard from others, I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with these thoughts and temptations to just keep my mouth shut. I mean keeping things about our lives private doesn’t seem like the worst thing ever, right?

But friends, when we listen to these excuses, we are missing out on one of the greatest gifts God has given us.

God sees every detail of our lives, and even though He knows the nitty gritty, He chooses to love us, fight for us, and lavish us with grace. He knows this world is dark and ugly, and He knows that we are in an earthly battle with satan. Jesus has stepped foot on this earth. He has seen the brokenness and disorder. He has been tempted by the evil one. He has experienced pain and grief and trouble. Jesus looked our struggle and sin in the face, carried it with Him to the grave, and made a way for us to spend eternity in His holy presence by overcoming death.

And so yes, God knew we would struggle as we strive to live for Him. He knew we’d struggle, but He doesn’t want us to struggle alone.

Because of His crazy love, He gave us one another, the church, so that we can share life together and be a family. If you are familiar with the book of Acts in the Bible, you have probably read the words that explain what the first church, the first community of believers in Jesus, looked like.

“They all were continually united in prayer…” 1:14

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” 2:42

“Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.” 2:44

“Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” 2:46-47

Are these verses about the first church beautiful or what?! This church was built on faith, prayer, and the Holy Spirit. This church was together constantly, sharing in life, praising God for all He was doing, and their numbers were growing day by day.

So, back to the “V” word. Where does vulnerability fit in with all of this?

God’s design for His people is to be in community with one another, sharing life and food time together. He doesn’t want us doing life alone. That is not His design! As we see in Acts 2:47, beautiful things happen when we love Jesus and share our lives with others. People experience grace and love when they experience community. We get glimpses of heaven when we choose to do life with one another.

If we truly want to share real, true life with one another, we must be vulnerable. We must let others know where we are struggling, the hurt we may be going through, or the sin we need help praying against. We must let others in. We must let others see what God is doing in our lives so that He can get the glory He deserves. 

Satan hates vulnerability. He will fill our minds with doubt and excuses all day long because he knows vulnerability is powerful in God’s church. He doesn’t want it. He wants to keep us quiet, feeling like we’re alone. He doesn’t want people to know what God is up to. He’s not going to make this easy for us.

So, with all of this, I have been challenged lately to be a voice for vulnerability. I’ve been inspired by one of my favorite podcasters, Jamie Ivey, and her new book, If You Only Knew. (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) I want to be vulnerable with the hope that my vulnerability will spur on the same action for someone else. I’m going to go first, hoping that it makes this step less scary for whoever is next.

Over my next few posts I will be sharing more about my life, the struggles I have dealt with, and the ways God has OVERCOME the darkness in my life. As I take these steps, I would be honored if you took this challenge with me and shared deeply about your life with someone who loves you.

If you’d like prayer in this journey please comment below or send me an email at nicoleann.nw@gmail.com. I would love love love to walk this with you!

Let’s do this.

Lifestyle

Welcome Home

Who doesn’t love scrolling through Pinterest, looking at picture-perfect bathrooms or kitchens or bedrooms, and dreaming up your dream home?!

I definitely fall in this category! I love taking a look into different decorating styles and then pretending I’m Joanna Gaines as I try and incorporate them into my own home. I have a house tour coming at you, but it may not be what you typically see as you scroll Instagram and Pinterest!

Brady and I bought our first house and moved in on August 28th, 2016. We were so incredibly blessed to move into a flip house that was painted exactly as we would’ve wanted it. Because of this, we got to move in right away and start making this little house into the first Roberts home!

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We prayed and prayed about where God wanted us to be, and as we made offers and went through the process of closing on this baby it became so clear to us that this is where we were meant to be. We are minutes away from where our church meets, and smack dab in the middle of our ministry zone. We love where we are, who we get to host, who we are neighbors to, and the plans God has for this home and our family.

As I share a tour with you, I want you to see this structure as a home and not as a Pinterest-worthy house. I was so tempted to go through, deep clean, and clean up every nook and cranny before taking these pictures. But then I thought… ummm our house never looks like that.

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The reason why I love these spaces so much is because of the life we get to live in them. So come, take a tour, and enjoy the space God is allowing Brady and I to live in!

The Living Room

Why I love this space: Brady and I spend the majority of our time in here and it’s the first thing you see when you step inside the front door. I love this space so much because it’s the place people gather for our weekly huddles. It’s where we sit and chat with our friends who come over for dinner. It’s where we have dance parties with our little nieces. It’s where I spend time with Jesus in the mornings. Basically, it’s where we do the most life and we love it.

The Kitchen

Why I love this space: The kitchen has been our trickiest area. It’s a small, awkward space, but our recent breakfast nook purchase has made all the difference! I love to cook a good meal in here! I also love this space because it’s where Brady spends time with Jesus in the mornings, it’s where the coffee is made, and the sun never stops streaming through those windows.

The Office

Why I love this space: This room is sunny and has a great closet. It’s always refreshing to step in this room! It has our “culture wall”, representing our love for travel and the nations. It also serves partly as a church office, which right now represents where we are at in church planting. The cluttered corner is temporary, so I’m trying to enjoy it and the stage of our journey it represents.

The Bathrooms

Why I love this space: It seems weird to feature bathrooms, haha, but they are obviously super important! I love that we found a house with more than one (very rare for this area) and they have been beautifully redone. I love a nice, relaxing bath, and having a pretty tub makes it even better!

The Mudroom

Why I love this space: When we started looking for a house, I never imagined we would find one with a bonus mud room! It holds an extra bathroom (another bonus!), a sink area, and a perfect laundry space. These things seem simple, but Brady and I lived without a washer and dryer for the first 9 months of marriage, so having one in our home feels like an extra huge blessing.

The Bedroom

Why I love this space: Our bedroom is cozy and simple, right off the mudroom. I love that it’s homey, that Brady is cool with decorative pillows, and that it holds special pieces from our wedding day. We love snuggling into a cozy bed after a long day, and this space has been perfect for that.

The Junk Room

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Why I love this space: Guys, I can’t believe I’m putting up a picture of this, lol. So basically, once we bought a home, my parents had me take ALL of my stuff that was still stored at their house. I was picturing a few boxes when we went to pick it up, but somehow it was this huge amount of mess. All of my books, crafting supplies, college notebooks and projects… all waiting for me to sift through and sort into donation and trash piles. The door to this room is almost always closed. Out of sight, out of mind, right?! Basically, I’ve deemed this as my spring break project and will tackle it soon! I’m excited to have it all out of here though, because we would love this to be a guest room for our friends and family! Although it isn’t much yet, I love this space because it will allow us to host more and it’s such a bonus to have a 3rd bedroom.

Outside

Why I love this space: The front porch. I love this trend from the 1920s and it’s such a dream to sit out here when the weather is beautiful! That porch swing was a surprise birthday gift from my parents and is literally one of my favorite things ever. Our backyard is more than we could have asked for as well! We have a great little patio area, a garage and shed, and plenty of room to host friends around our gifted fire pit. I can’t wait to use this space more as the weather warms up! I have plans to make it pretty with patio lights and maybe some furniture someday!

Thanks for taking a tour of our home! Our homes are beautiful because of the life we get to do in them. The memories that are made. The stories that are shared. The relaxing that is done. They are beautiful because they show God’s provision and help tell about the journey He has each of us on. Now you just need to come over for a cup of coffee! Any takers?!

I’d love to hear… what is your favorite space in your home?!

Lifestyle

Making 2018 Count

My inner-nerd REALLY loves the feeling of having a new year ahead. It’s funny how suddenly needing to write an 8 instead of a 7 for the date brings on feelings of excitement and hope for the days ahead.

I have mixed feelings about New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve personally been lousy about remembering what mine even are by the time it gets to February. BUT the fact that we are making goals to become better versions of ourselves? I’m all for that.

This year I tried to make mine more meaningful than ever before, deciding to look at them as Growth Goals. I thought of 5 areas of my life that I’d really love to see growth in, and I will try as hard as I can to focus on them all the way to December. And when I say growth, I mean growing more like Christ, which should probably be our goal every single day of every single year.


2018 Growth Goals

1.    Redefine my relationship with food and my body.

This one almost feels like a broken record for me, but if I allow God to conquer this area of my life, I will be so incredibly pleased and thankful. I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember, and I believe God is wanting to rewrite my views when it comes to how I see food and my body. I try to take control of this CONSTANTLY and I’m exhausted from it! I will be focusing on self-control, making healthy decisions, and glorifying the Lord through these avenues. I’m not focusing on weight here… I’ve focused on that far too long and the results have been minimal and unsatisfying. This goal has a deeper purpose for me, and I can’t wait to watch God work through it.

  • So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

2.    Blog once a month.

This one is pretty simple. Blogging is something God has put on my heart for a long time now and I truly love getting to share the work He is doing in my life with the rest of the world. Once a month is not a very lofty goal, but I figured I’d set it small so that anything extra feels like a huge accomplishment. 😉

  • Just as each of you has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10

3.    Declutter my life. 

Can I get real honest and just say that I love living in excess? I love going shopping and buying new clothes and decorations and shoes and whatever else was “such a great deal!” (as I like to tell my husband) and I have recently been convicted on the amount of stuff I have. I’m not positive on the specifics of this one yet, other than decluttering my closet and only keeping a certain number of pieces and then going through our boxes and getting rid of everything we don’t need right now. My goal is to live with the mentality that less is more, and to let Jesus prove to me that He is all I need.

  • Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

4.    Spend less time on my phone.

I’m kind of embarrassed that this is one of the top things I feel I need to work on in my life. I am a person who love being on social media, and I also love playing mindless games as much as a junior high boy. I haven’t found a scripture that directly applies to this yet, but I feel like I will be a better wife, sister, daughter, and friend if I learn to put my phone down and enjoy the people who are physically sitting around me. I am going to commit to social-media-free weekends and we will see where to go on from there!

5.    Pay off all student loans.

It’s pretty exciting to type that sentence, because paying off these loans is a REAL possibility this year! This would mean Brady and I would be debt free besides our mortgage. It’s possible, but we will have to work hard at it all year long. We can’t wait to celebrate after that last loan payment!

  • Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor. Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:7-8

 

Well, if you made it to the end of this wordy post, thank you! I pray this is a year where God grows you and I in ways that go beyond our desires.

I’d love to hear and cheer you on… what are some growth goals you have?

 

Lifestyle

Life as of Late

Guys… Brady and I are coming up on our 11 month anniversary and when I look back, I can’t believe all that has happened in our short marriage. This past almost-year has been one of the most challenging, blessed, busy, and growth-filled times of my life. There have been days where I’ve thought “I never want to do (fill in the blank) ever again,” but looking back now, I have so much thankfulness for the path God has my wonderful husband and I on.

Pretty much everything in our lives has changed in one way or another since we got married. Brady moved to a different state the week before our wedding, worked part-time on a sod farm for a few months, and has fully embraced his new role as a church-planting Community Pastor at The District Church. Oh, and there’s the whole having-a-wife-and-trying-to-figure-out-how-she-feels-when-she-can’t-even-answer-that-question-herself thing. Haha. But seriously… Brady has entered a whole new life since moving from Carthage and has handled it with so much grace. He has adapted to Wichita in a better way than we could ever have hoped. Praise God for that!

As for myself, changes include being married, ending my health coaching business, entering the teaching world again while also working as our church’s administrator, leaving the church I grew up in, buying our first home and moving to a new part of Wichita, and learning what it looks like to have a husband in full-time ministry.

Honestly, this past year has been hard. I am a planner to the core and love to know what’s coming next, and we have had very little of that through this church-planting journey. Time and time again we’ve been creating brand new things to reach our community, getting ourselves and our team completely out of our comfort zones. As you know, exiting your comfort zone is hard. Brady and I are learning how to serve together as a couple, while also learning how to serve one another along the way. Making adjustments is hard. Making the decision to buy a house and move in the midst of craziness is hard. Trusting God through many unknowns is HARD. Yea?

BUT praise God, because He is so incredibly faithful and His blessings are always right around every corner. With change comes growth. Brady and I have already grown so much in our marriage (with lots more growth to go!). This little baby church is growing and its impact within our community is growing. Making big decisions and then seeing God use and bless them is so beautiful. And when we learn that we can trust God with the little things in our lives, the more willing we are to put the big things in His hands.

I have missed blogging so much over these past months, and I sense God asking me to pick it back up as our journey continues. I love processing here and pondering on how God is moving, and I pray the lessons He puts in my life can be an encouragement to you.

Questions For You: How is God working in your life right now? How is He bringing beauty through the hardships?

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Are You Coping Well?

Hello friends! It has been awhile (more on that in a sec), but it feels so good to be writing again! I don’t know how July is already halfway over, but I hope you all have been able to soak in the season with family time and some relaxation, preferably next to some sort of body of water!

So why have I not written for a couple of months? If you remember my post called You’re Not on the Struggle Bus Alone, you know I was going through a time of overwhelm and transition. With that transition, I felt pretty depleted and out of words, and since then I’ve had a hard time jumping back into the blog and knowing where to start.

I have prayed a lot about this and God has shown me that I’m probably not alone when it comes to this overwhelming season of life. The season of life where things are changing, whether they are bad or good, and you need help walking through it all. I decided to go and see a counselor a few times after a couple of friends suggested it, and it helped SO much! I was nervous because I’m an awkward person (especially when I just have to talk about my life, ha), but it ended up being a great experience.

The words my counselor kept saying to me were I wasn’t dumb, the things I was experiencing were normal, and I wasn’t the only one who had felt overwhelmed through transition. So if anything from this post resonates with you, let’s chat a little bit about how I learned to cope. And not just cope, but cope well.

How to Cope Well with Overwhelm and Transition

One of the first assignments my counselor gave me was to make a list of the different ways I cope with stress, being overwhelmed, etc. I thought I already knew the ways I like to cope, but making a list was so helpful. I was doing certain things that I never would have categorized as “coping,” yet they were ways I was trying to minimize stress. Ready for my list?

  1. Binge eating
  2. Mindless activities (watching TV, being on my phone/social media, Netflix)
  3. Aimlessly walking around Target
  4. Blasting music while driving
  5. Journaling/Praying
  6. Going on walks
  7. Crafts (painting, crochet, hand-lettering)
  8. Taking baths with a lit candle and music
  9. Working Out

Do you relate to any of those? I mean, I can’t be the only Target wanderer out there. 😉

So once I had made my list, the next week at counseling we talked through it, she told me that I wasn’t weird (praise hands), and then we discussed which methods were healthy and which methods needed to be removed.

  • Healthy: going on walks, journaling, music, crafts, baths, working out
  • Needed to be Removed: binge eating, aimless shopping, mindless activities (the frequency and amount of time spent)

This little drill seems simple and obvious, but I’m so thankful I was challenged to do it and that I can now be proactive in times to come. Brady and I are entering another phase of transition with new jobs for the both of us, our church launching, and buying a house, and it’s comforting to know that I can use my healthy coping activities to help manage the stress and overwhelm.

So, my friend, if you are in a season of transition and overwhelm or are entering one soon (even if it’s because of GOOD things!), I challenge you to make the same list I did. Keep notes in your phone of the things you do when you feel stressed, and then decide to remove the strategies that aren’t beneficial and perform the coping strategies that are healthy. You aren’t alone, and I pray this is helpful!

Question: What coping strategies are you going to focus on in the future?