The Perfect Girl is Gone

Okay, time for a Disney-linked blog post, are you ready? Here we go. ūüôā

I don’t know about you, but as a single twenty-something with a full time job and other social commitments, I seem to spend a lot of time in my car alone going from place to place. Home to work, work to home, home to church‚Ķthe list goes on. Recently I realized that the copious amounts of time I spend driving has become my “me time”. I’m constantly surrounded by other people while driving, sure, but let’s be honest, we don’t particularly care what the person in the car next to us is doing as long as they’re not doing it too loudly or staring at us like a creep. So when I’m driving, I let my brain decompress by blasting my music and singing along like nobody can hear me. Oddly enough, I find it relaxing. Occasionally though, these moments alone become a place of inspiration in addition to the relaxation.

Lately, the car speakers have been flooding my ears with the soundtrack to Disney’s¬†Frozen, which a friend was brilliant enough to gift me with this Christmas. And when I say flooding my ears‚ĶI mean I’ve probably listened to the entire thing about fifty times or more and know the words to nearly every song verbatim. But of course, my favorite is the movie’s main song, “Let It Go”. For those of you who’ve seen the movie, Ana is probably most of your guys’ favorite. And why not, she’s the gorgeous but dorky heroine who saves her sister and an entire kingdom from an eternal winter at great personal cost, plus she gets the guy. At the end of the day though, Elsa is the one I can really relate to, the one who grabbed my attention. And she did it with this song. [No plot spoilers in the clip folks, I promise.]

This afternoon on the way home from work, I was once again indulging myself with “Let It Go”, and one particular lyric stuck in my mind this time: the perfect girl is gone. Much of Elsa’s young life was spent trying to hide what she considered to be an imperfection, and it was freeing to her to finally lay her past aside and simply be herself, whether perfect or not. ¬†Some of you who read this will know that “perfect” was a word that was woven through much of my sense of self as a younger person. Let’s just say that there were many times I felt I needed to be “perfect” in order to feel satisfied with my life, and was ashamed when I didn’t live up to my own ridiculously high standards. It made others see me in a goody-two-shoes sort of way that I hated, and at the same time I felt compelled to try and live up the standard anyway, even though I constantly fell short. Like Elsa, striving to be “perfect” was a burden on me. In fact, it was exhausting. Then at some point in time now lost to memory, I had a lightbulb moment.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be.

Now let me back up a little bit. Jesus forced Himself into my life at a young age. When I was eleven years old, the majestic and infinite God of the universe whispered to my soul, “I AM.” In an instant my entire life changed as my little mind realized for the first time that all the Bible stories, the sermons, the Sunday school services, the songs‚Ķ.were REAL. It was all real, not just some nice story that people tell themselves so they can try to live better lives. At the time I called it my rededication to faith, but in hindsight I’ve come to see it as the moment where my faith in God truly became mine–not just something nice I did with my family on Sunday mornings. However, it wasn’t until much later that I came to fully realize the meaning of the gospel, what was actually going on that dark day on the hill of Golgotha. I didn’t understand how depraved, how sinful, how¬†imperfect¬†I was. Basically, compared to God’s standard, I’m a filthy, disgusting little nothing of a human being that doesn’t even deserve to know what grace is, let alone obtain it. And guess what? We’re all in that boat. No matter how “perfectly” you attempt to live your life, you will still fall short. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is simply a very persuasive liar.

The realization of my own depravity caused my inner perfectionist to despair‚Ķuntil I also realized that it’s because of Christ’s sacrifice that¬†I don’t have to be perfect. I simply don’t have to try and fail and try and fail to live up to my own or any other deluded standard of what “perfect” means, because Somebody else is already being perfect for me. Somebody already sacrificed His own perfect life in order to save my imperfect one. I don’t have to live up to Perfect because He already is, and He¬†loves¬†me.

That my friends, is true freedom. To live in a reality where you can know day in and day out that you’re considered good enough‚Ķeven though you’re really not. I can feel free to live my life with abandon, knowing that even if I mess up (which I inevitably will), there will always be One who still accepts me, still¬†loves¬†me.

Today, I’m still tempted to take up my old ways and be the perfect girl, to get by on my own strength and make myself look good doing it. Most of the time though, I catch myself in time to realize that the “perfect” girl is gone, and she doesn’t need to come back. It’s okay that I’m imperfect, and I never will be.

[Side note: I’m often blown away by how little people tend to think of the phrase “Jesus loves you” or “God loves you”. It’s become this trite little saying that people brush off without a second thought. But think about it like it’s actually real for a second. Think about the fact that there’s a being in existence who created an entire universe filled with wonderful and spectacular things beyond our wildest imagination, simply for his own pleasure, because he’s good and creative and awesome. Imagine him making not just your body, but your very soul, the very essence of who you are, out of nothing, and how intimately he knows you because of the fact that he made you. Imagine how desperately heartbroken he was when you did something bad for the very first time, and he knew that your soul could never be truly united with his because of the sin in your heart. Then, imagine him being so much in love with you that he considered his very life second to yours, and willfully sacrificed himself in one of the most torturous methods known to man‚Ķso that you could live.¬†That’s¬†what I mean when I say, “Jesus loves you.”]

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A Letter to Myself

To Kaity on Sept. 18, 2011, one year ago.

Hello beautiful one. It’s your future calling. I just wanted to take the time to tell you a few things that you might need telling right now. I know today feels like the worst day of your life, and you’re experiencing more pain and heartbreak than you ever wanted to endure. That’s okay. No, seriously, it’s okay. Your whole world is spinning right now and it’s not fun, I know. But don’t be afraid to let yourself grieve, okay? A significant period of your life has ended, and¬†it’s worth grieving over. So it’s okay to be sad, even after your friends have stopped thinking to ask how you’re doing. Believe it or not, a time will come when you’ll be okay with forgetting as well.

But I’m sure you’re also wondering where you start picking up the pieces of your life now. My best advice? Take it one day at a time, and don’t forget to pray. Whenever that cloud of sadness threatens you: pray. When something seemingly insignificant triggers a painful memory from the past: pray. When you’re crying yourself to sleep at night: pray. When you’re wondering if you’ll ever feel comfortable in your own skin again: pray. You’re not alone dearest. Let the Lord quiet you with His love, and know that He is enough. A day is coming soon when those depressing moments will become less and less, and they won’t rule your day-to-day. I promise.

I know you need comfort more than anything else right now, but I also have a warning for you. As time passes, you will be tempted to let anger and bitterness fester in your heart. It’s easy, even natural, but don’t do it. And don’t be quick to assume the worst of others. You will only hurt yourself in the end, and it’s not God’s plan for you. Just remember that forgiveness is a daily decision, not a one-time catch-all feeling. When those old hurts rear their ugly heads and consume your thoughts, remember how many times you’ve been forgiven, and be gracious.

I’m sure it’s hard to imagine a bright future for yourself right now. But don’t let that keep you from putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward in life, because I’ve gotta say, things are looking pretty sunny from where I’m standing in September 2012. ūüôā There’s so much you’re going to experience and learn in the next year, and I’m excited for you! You’ll remember what it’s like to really laugh again. You’re gonna take the time to slow down a bit and find out who you really are. You’ll realize that the world is so much bigger than you thought it was, and learn to dream big dreams for your future. You’ll be encouraged and built up by people you least expect. You’re FINALLY going to graduate from college and be SO glad you worked hard and stuck it out. You’re going to be more strong, more confident, and more comfortable with who you are. You’re going to land an amazing job that you don’t mind waking up at 6am for, and even find a few more fellow nerds to hang out with. And most importantly, you’ll be thirsting to know God more than you ever did before. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t worry. Things may look bad right now, but you will be happy again. Not just “okay”, but real honest-to-goodness happy, whole, and content. Just give it time.

There’s so much more that I couldn’t even begin to tell you. I may be your future, but from where I’m sitting in the present, life is still uncertain, just like it always has been. It’s not always perfect, and it’s certainly not always pretty.¬†Some things will change, and some things won’t.¬†A year from now you’ll still have that “special” old car, student loans to pay off, and occasional drama to deal with, for instance. But at the end of the day, life is meant to be experienced to its fullest, so go out and live it! And if you let Jesus take you by the hand and lead you along the way‚Ķoh man. You’ll get nothing short of a life more beautiful and adventurous than you ever thought possible.

So chin up gorgeous, it only gets better from here. You can trust me on that. ūüėČ

Kaity

Another Beginning

God has been doing some pretty fantastic stuff in my life as of late. You ever have one of those times in life where everything is just¬†good? Not that life is all gumdrops and roses, but that your disposition about it is unwaveringly ¬†positive in spite of the not-so-good stuff? That’s been me the last couple weeks. Prayers are getting answered, scriptures are being read, things are getting accomplished that I never thought would get done. And over everything else I’ve just been aware of God’s presence in my life.

The biggest piece of news from the last couple of weeks is that I have a new job! Or at least, I will starting Sept. 4th. Who will I be working for? Well, since you asked nicely…it’s these guys:

Exciting or what?!?? Seriously though, God’s really been just blowing my mind with this whole job thing. I graduated from college three months ago in May. And I’ve been looking for jobs with very little success…actually, make that no success…and I was getting discouraged, to say the least. I kept on having to remind myself that it had *only* been 3 months since I graduated and that I would find another job soon enough. But that’s hard to hang on to when you’re working a part-time job for part-time wages and you’re still living at home and eating your parents’ food with that enormous cloud of “student loans” hanging over your head. ¬†So at the insistence of my family I joined a temp agency (that you can find here), and started talking to a recruiter over the phone.

From there, it was like God stepped in and was all “Okey dokey, awesome job coming up!”.

Within two weeks I had a job. Did you hear me? TWO WEEKS! From the moment I picked up the phone to talk to a recruiter for the very first time, to going in to the agency for aptitude testing, to getting the interview,¬†doing the interview, and getting told I had the job…less than two weeks. I was talking to a friend about the amazingness of it all just last night, and in my excitement I practically yelled, “When does that happen?!?” His answer was simple enough. “When God orchestrates it.” Such a profound truth in a simple statement. I don’t care who you are or what you believe, God orchestrates your life in more ways than you know. It’s something I’m just beginning to really understand, and I’ve gotta tell ya, it’s totally exciting. ‚̧

So now I have four days left of work at my current job, good ‘ol Mail & More. It’s been such a good experience working there, and I’ll always be grateful for having that job. I’m sure they won’t get rid of me that easy, cuz the store is on my way home from where my new job will be (it’s just down the street, if you can believe it). So I’ll be stopping in now and again. Then starting September 4th, a whole new stage of my life begins: my first “big girl” job.

Wish me luck!