The Art of Gardening

The most vivid memory I have of 2018 is sitting in my favorite chair on the morning of my 28th birthday and pouring out my prayers and dreams for the year. I don’t even need to go back to my journal to remember them – I know what they were. They were from the deepest corners of my heart, and they had nothing to do with babies. Nothing to do with doctors appointments, or infertility anything, or “clarity” for decision making. Not a dang bit. They had everything to do with community.

I prayed for encouragement; for friends with loving, challenging, encouraging hearts to come out of the woodwork and for existing relationships to become stronger. And the past nine months have been filled with some of the best friendships I’ve ever had. They’ve included celebrations, fr-amily dinner nights, 2am truth talks, movies, exhausted crying on hard days, the most ridiculous amounts of laughter, fancy dinners, concerts, obsessive discussions about the Enneagram, way too early in the morning gym commitments…the list could go on and on. It involved so much extroverting with my favorite introverts, which is surprisingly life giving every time.

I prayed for my marriage; for it’s continued growth and strength, and holy moly did that come through. We’re in the midst of our 9th year of marriage and I can’t think of a better year we’ve had, or imagine how it could continue to improve. We had so much fun together. We were goofy and adventurous. We challenged each other to yes to friendships and experiences instead of saying no out of habit or fear. We took control of our finances (what up Dave Ramsey, you scary man) and learned the awkward art of budgeting together. We each thought about the other person more than ourselves, and just continued to learn to love.

It’s easy to look at the things I prayed for and dreamed of last January or last June and say “God has been faithful”. He was, because he is good and perfect and for me. But that isn’t what I see when I look back. Sure, God was faithful to me, but I was also faithful to him. When I didn’t want to be. It wasn’t perfect by any means – I said more than things than I should have and stayed quiet when I should have spoken up and I’m learning the difference. I hurt people and am learning the art of asking for forgiveness more than defending myself. People hurt me and I learned to not let it push me away from the community I believe in, even at it’s ugliest. But I’m learning what faithfulness really means, when you get down to the dirty details. Scripture shows us that God is faithful, but it also tells us that faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit and should be evident in our own lives. In a world currently bent on self care and boundaries (both of which are things I fully embrace, practice and believe in), how do I maintain the balance of faithfulness to people/communities that might hurt me and a God who doesn’t always feel present instead of cutting and running?

The ah-ha moment I’ve had over the past few weeks regarding fruits of the Spirit, like this faithfulness, is the reminder that fruit develops over time. I think we’ve fallen into this false idea that the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – are qualities that define our Christlikeness, and therefore should be present at all times. We should be joyful. We should be patient. We should be able to control ourselves. This is all so true, and I probably pray more for these three things than I do anything else, but the Bible clearly calls these attributes fruit of the Spirit, not gifts of the Spirit. They are not fully given upon our decision to choose Christ over all, wrapped up in a tidy bow, supernatural in their own right to bring glory to God, and they cannot be created and sustained through our own works and efforts. They are the slow growing, fully blooming, fruit that develops from the tending, nurturing, and pruning of the compassionate Spirit of God.

I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life. Ask my green thumb sister, who so patiently encourages me in my failed attempts to grow pretty green things every single year and brings me new plants that should live forever, despite me. But when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, it’s not my job to grow them. When I wake up each morning, or make resolutions each year, to be more patient, or choose joy, or be kind, I’m already dooming myself to failure. I’ve already placed the impetus on my own ability and my own efforts. It’s not meant to be this hard. I simply have to wake up each morning and choose the Spirit. What a relief it is to let go of the perpetual nagging that I didn’t choose joy enough today. Or that if I haven’t practiced patience enough to master it yet. What a relief it is to remember these attributes are not the goal by which I measure myself. Scripture promises the fruit will blossom, but only when we lean in to the Spirit, time after time.


Confessions of an Introvert

I’ve spent quality time with at least one of my friends every day for the past five days, and you know what?

I’ve slept better than ever. Not the “exhausted and drained from being around people” kind of sleep, either. Good, restful sleep that has me waking up feeling refreshed instead of grouchy. Well, maybe a little grouchy.

I’ve been more in control of my thoughts and emotions instead of being ruled by them. Yeah, anxiety has still been present, but I’m more aware of what’s causing it and able to reframe it instead of letting it dictate my day. I can see it with a clear heart.

I’ve been more grateful. For the big stuff and the little stuff. Not in a cheesy “I’m grateful for this bread and the sustenance it gives my body” kind of way (but kudos to you if you’ve mastered that discipline), but naturally grateful and looking for the good in all my circumstances.

I’ve laughed so much more. Real laughter. With my friends, by myself, at the tv. As someone who struggles to freely express genuine emotions out loud, it’s a big deal for me.

I’ve cried more. Happy tears, sad tears, alone tears and public tears. The kind of tears that are more refreshing than they are a pit of sorrow, you know what I mean? Cathartic tears.

I’ve felt heard and understood instead of dismissed and irrelevant. The kind of heard that says my opinions and thoughts are valid and appreciated rather than a burden or white noise.

I’ve felt seen rather than forgotten. Like I’m not only welcomed to the table, but I’m filling a unique space where only I can fit  because of who I am, not what I can offer.


It hasn’t always been like this. I know some of you were quick to read through that and remark on how nice it must be to have good friends who make you feel that way, but not everyone is that lucky. And you probably did it with a little snark in your voice. I get it. If I had read that a year ago, or five years ago, or ten years ago, I would have done the same thing. But the difference between the past five days versus a year ago, five years ago, or ten years ago isn’t my friend group. It’s me. I used to see my community as draining and hard, because I can be shy and it’s easier to let fear overpower courage. It is easier to hide in my house or behind a manufactured version of myself than to get real. It is easier to assume no one is trustworthy after being hurt than it is to rebuild relationships. And when all those easiers took over, it became natural live life by myself. To cling to independence as a defense mechanism, while at the same time looking around feeling a little left out because everyone else seemed to be having more fun than me. They didn’t seem as burdened as I felt. And I realized that if I didn’t want to be lonely, if I wanted to be part of a community like the people I saw around me, I had to change myself and the way I viewed people. I continuously have to fight the habit that says to sit back and wait for an invitation from someone else, or a text from someone else, or for someone else to plan the party. I’m not saying you have to everything (I have to fight against that too), but it’s also not embarrassing or weird to be the one initiating friendship. And if we’re all waiting around for someone else to initiate, aren’t we all just going to be sitting in loneliness?

The kicker about being an introvert is we really do need recovery time. That’s not wrong, but the way we’ve been taught to recover is. It’s easy and tempting to believe the lie that says the only recovery when I’ve people-d too hard is alone time. Alone time with Netflix, alone time with Hulu, alone time with anything that doesn’t require my brain and just numbs my senses. If that alone time isn’t intentionally geared toward refilling my soul, I never feel refreshed. I just perpetuate the cycle of exhaustion. But I’m also learning there is sweet recovery that comes from sitting in a circle of my people with no phones and no distractions and just being. Being present, being honest, being available. Free to be fully myself with all my flaws, never excused but always loved.

Continuing to believe the lie that recovery will only come from alone time is just robbing myself of a real, full life. Because real, full lives aren’t lived in isolation.



“Well. This calls for a lot of Jesus this week.”

When I looked at my phone, my gut instinct was anger. I was telling a friend what a hard day it was, one of those days that highlights my childlessness in glaring detail. I felt like I was standing in a barren spotlight, between the baby showers and baby birthdays and baby Christmas presents and sweet family pictures. I was perfectly queued up to crumble into my feelings and she texted back that gem. She wasn’t wrong, and I knew it, but ever since I unleashed a tirade of anger and bitterness at God in my journal a couple of months ago we haven’t really been on speaking terms – mostly because I don’t want to hear it. I know that I will hear truth from him so clearly. The truth that he loves me more than I can understand. That he hates my barrenness more than I do. That our broken world and broken bodies break his heart more than I can imagine. That he can take my anger and then some and it doesn’t change his opinion of me. I’m not a disappointment. That he knows the death of my dream is painful, even when his plans are abundantly more. I know I will hear this and more, and it will break me all over again for the better. But.

But what do you do when you’re itching for a fight and the one you’re itching to fight doesn’t fight back? We’ve been conditioned to think that if we can win the fight or argument we will get our way, and right now I’m itching to fight my way out of childlessness in direct defiance to him. I’m begging for a mountain to climb instead of a valley to sit in. For a goal that takes physical steps and strength instead of a task that requires abiding and waiting. I know that waiting is creating strength in itself and abiding is a key to growth, I know. I don’t care. I’ve been focused on growth all year and I want to use muscles I’ve been building. I want to feel productive. I want to see the fruits of this year long labor of my soul instead of feeling drained and confused and questioning everything day after day. I want to fight my way into changing God’s plan.

We’re quick to tout the line that there’s nothing wrong with being mad at God. I completely agree, but I think we have to dig a little deeper. We have to learn the difference between processing our anger in healthy and unhealthy ways.  Over the past couple months, I have had to call out the specific unhealthy habits I lean toward when in conflict.

Unhealthy: Choosing my “yes men”. A few years that would have been my go to. In this case, while I was still certainly throwing myself a pity party, I didn’t turn to a friend who I knew would join the party. I chose someone who I knew would speak the truth to me, even if I didn’t want to hear it. For the past couple months I have been honest with these friends about what was going on, and they have offered me encouragement and challenging words and understanding hearts. We all have yes men in our lives, but it takes extra effort to go to the person who isn’t afraid to make you mad.

Unhealthy: Abandoning spiritual discipline. Even through intense anger at God, I didn’t “take a break” from my faith. I did the things. I did the things that came out of habit, and even with my limited effort I still heard from God. I believe there is a difference between continuously coasting in your spiritual life and continuing acts of spiritual discipline even when you don’t feel like it. Continuing acts of spiritual discipline out of habit, even when I’m angry with God and don’t want to hear from him, is an act of faith. It’s not coasting or pretending. It’s acting from the knowledge and experience that God has been faithful and will continue to be faithful even if I don’t feel it now. God is not disappointed in me when I don’t “feel like it” but do it anyways, or even when I do it anyways and feel like it was a waste of time.

Just because this adversary isn’t physically present when we’re fighting, like say our spouses, doesn’t mean we get to check out. If we value the relationship, we learn to work through them in healthy ways, even when we don’t feel like it.


December hits this weekend, and for the first year ever I purchased an Advent calendar. It came with a guided reading plan and activities, and needless to say I purchased it before the anger explosion of 2018. As I was setting it all up this week it was tempting to feel frustrated that my heart is clearly not in a baby Jesus adoration focused state, but I don’t think that has to be the goal. I know God isn’t shocked by my anger and withdrawal, and perhaps a plan to facilitate expectation and hope for a Messiah is exactly what I need. I need this time to continue crying out to God to save me from this brokenness that engulfs me. To feel the desperation that creates hope that he will do just what he promised he would.

I don’t know where you are as we approach the Christmas season, if you’re excitedly awaiting the arrival of a holy, miracle baby or if you’re like me, aching for the arrival of a warrior to fight for your frail heart. Wherever your heart stands, you’re not alone. And this advent season will meet you where you are.

The Fastest Way to Lose All Your Friends

Honest talk. This year I’ve found myself growing frustrated with some of the conversations that continue to pop up in my life.

As the middle child of five, I’ve always been the information hub. It’s the running joke in the family that if someone hasn’t heard from a sibling or a parent in a few days, I’m the first call. I’m an information oriented person. I crave the knowing and I find worth in being trusted with information. It’s pride, but it’s also a defense mechanism. If I have the information, I’m never taken off guard by anything and I can control how the information is used. It’s security for my worrisome heart. But not too long ago I was having a conversation with a trusted friend and I told her how tired I was of people coming to me for information on other people, or to discuss information they had. I was tired of being expected to know and to manage things. These conversations were draining me emotionally and spiritually. They were beginning to feel shallow, negative, bitter, cynical….just overall leaving me coming away sick to my stomach. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew that the closer I was drawing to Jesus, the more turmoil I was feeling in the friendships where I once found solace and refuge.

I’m sure you have immediately registered these conversations for what they are, but I never saw it. I was used to having and disseminating information, and I never saw it as abnormal or sinful. It wasn’t until this conversation that my friend gently (not so gently) called it out for what it was: gossip. The topics, the sharing, the attitudes – it was all gossip, and it wasn’t just hurting my heart, it was dissolving my relationships.

The funny thing is, I was angry with the people who were coming to me for the gossip. I was angry that they were dragging me into their nonsense and gave them the blame that I as stuck in this negative heart space. If people would just stop asking me for or giving me information, if I could hide from my phone and hole up in house, I would be much more at peace. What a lie. The truth of the matter is, people will continue to come to you for the things you continue to give away. There is no greater indicator of the state of your own heart than the conversations you’re having with those closest to you. If you are known for giving out encouragement, love, compassion, gratitude, kindness, joy, truth….people will continue to come to you for that. But if you are known for giving out gossip and bitterness or indulging sarcasm, anger, cynicism, slander, fear, nitpicking….people will continue to come to you that as well.

I once saw a counselor who loved to discuss boundaries. I’m an over-sharer, over-feeler, over-everything by nature. I would take everyone’s problems as my own and make it my own personal mission to help everyone fix their problems to the detriment of my emotional well-being. This counselor used to always tell me that if I wanted things to change, I had to create boundaries. But she warned me that creating boundaries wouldn’t be the hard part. Enforcing them is the hard part. If I set up boundaries but then let everyone tear them down because I wasn’t willing to enforce them, the people around me would never learn. But it started with me training myself to hold firm boundaries.

This is exactly the same. How silly of me to be angry at the people coming to me for gossip, or to wallow and encourage their bitterness when I am the one making the choice to engage in it. The more I participated, the more I was establishing what others could expect of me, and the more I was sabotaging myself. The only thing I have the power to change is myself.

My church has a retreat coming up soon and the theme is “Belonging”. How appropriate for this time in my life. I know of so many women, myself included, who have openly discussed how hard it is to make deep friendships with other women in the Church. It’s easy to feel like everyone else already has their friends, or no one “gets us”, or like we have friends but we would really like to be part of that group over there. I have a wonderful group of friends who lift me up and encourage me, but none of us are immune to feelings of loneliness. I do believe that we, as humans, need to do a better job of promoting inclusiveness, but I also think it’s time to take personal inventory of what is holding us back from healthy relationships. I can guarantee that when you make intentional changes to quit giving away the negative pieces of your life you will lose friends. 1 Peter 4 tells us that not only will these people turn away from us, but they’ll slander us. Negative people will search out negative people, and when you cease to be that outlet for them they will find another. But the life you gain by living in a positive mindset – the PEOPLE you will gain – are without measure.

Does this mean I never get to complain to my friends when I have a crummy day, or I go about life pretending that everything is perfect? Absolutely not. I don’t believe in “fake it till you make it”. But when the core of my friendships are built on the joy of the Spirit, when our focus is on spiritual growth instead of shallow gripes, I can go to them for truth and encouragement instead of being indulged in my whining. It certainly isn’t easy. Training myself to keep my mouth shut when I have information that relates to the conversation is hard. Learning to not speak the first negative thing that comes to mind and instead turn it to a positive is a challenge. Seeking out joy in a really crummy Monday is not my default. Looking for the best in someone instead of judging them by their worst is difficult. But it’s necessary, and it’s what we’re called to do. We have the choice to be the one bringing in the negativity and growing unhealthy relationships, or the one setting the boundaries and flourishing. I want to flourish.

Our Words Matter

I’m always quick to tell people that I’m not angry at God about my infertility. And it’s not a lie. I truly don’t feel anger. “I recognize that God did not do this TO me, it’s just a part of life” I tell folks. I know that in my head.

But then I find myself saying things like, “What are you trying to teach me through this, God?”. Trying. Through this. The implication is subtle, but it’s there. The implication that my hope has shifted from healing or a miracle and into the land of manipulation and accusation. That if I can figure out what the intended lesson is, I can fast track this along and my body will be fixed. That I actually do believe he is doing this TO me, in order to teach me something. It’s a different kind of victim-hood that I wasn’t aware I was slipping into, but when I saw it — holy moly, does it hurt.

The normal approach to victim-hood is a “woe is me” mindset, right? We’ve all been that person at least once, and for me it’s been multiple times. But this type of victim-hood I’m talking about is the opposite of wallowing, I think. It’s a determined, bulldozer approach to finding the root issue and fixing the problem. It’s the assumption that God would never let anything bad happen to me without there being a reason, so if I find the reason and correct the behavior or thinking pattern, I can right the ship. I am a victim, but I have the power to learn the lesson and regain control of the situation. It’s bossy victim-hood, and it’s bad theology.

There’s a huge difference between knowing that God will use all things for the good of those who love him, and believing that every hardship in life is intended and a lesson from God. The prior is a healthy understanding that while we live in a broken world, God will use our pain and our hurt for his glory. The latter is an unhealthy belief that any hardships I face are an intentional challenge to clear as I pursue him. If I can clear this hurdle, I’ll get what I want and move on to the next. And suddenly, my life has become about performance over obedience. Performance over belief. Performance over trust. Performance over faith. Performance over everything.

When I type it out like that the difference is clear and obvious, but life is so much more subtle than that. The lies that tempt me to make everything lesson-based are so easy for me to believe because lessons come with an answer. Lessons come to an end. Lessons, like a mathematical formula, serve a purpose and can be neatly written out with a step by step process to find a solution, and I find that to be soothing and assuring. I find comfort in thinking God works that way, but it’s a lie.

Our pastor loves to talk about how easy it is to get off course in life, and how it starts with just a minor adjustment. Just three degrees here can put you hundreds of degrees off course down the road, but it happened so subtly that when you look back you won’t know where it went wrong. I think that’s the case here. Our words hold great power in enforcing what we believe about God, and just the slightest adjustment can quickly lead us into believing lies such as this. God can (and is and will continue to) teach me lessons through infertility, but that isn’t the reason we’re walking this road. Broken bodies are part of a broken world, not a hurdle to clear as I desire to touch see the face of God.

Instead, learning to pray “what WILL you teach me through this” can change the position of my heart from manipulative and accusatory to trusting and obedient. A subtle shift back on the course of understanding that my God is a good, good father who will use every opportunity to teach me of his love and goodness. That he weeps with me and walks with me, but never creates an obstacle course requiring me to prove my devotion.

How Facebook Ruined My Relationships

10 bonus points for the click-bait title, right? Don’t worry, this isn’t a blog post to tell you about the evils of corporate America, how Facebook and Zuckerberg are out to control the media and take over the world. I actually think Facebook is awesome and pretty genius. But at the beginning of May, I started to realize that I was sinking a little deeper into a funk that pops up every now and then, and one of the tell-tale signs is that I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.

I’m not talking about picking up my phone to check Facebook and see what’s going on. I found myself – day after day – coming home from work, sitting in front of Netflix, and picking up my phone nearly every five minutes to just scroll. No intention. No reason. Just habit. Just another way to numb my head and heart. Except I wasn’t numbing my heart or my head – I was sending them both into an unhealthy overdrive. So once my Spring small group wrapped up, I decided to take a little break. Since I wouldn’t be leading a group in the Summer, it felt like a good time to set some goals that included stepping away from my phone and reading more books. This year is supposed to be about growth, after all.

It’s been three weeks since I deleted Facebook from my phone. I still have an account, and I can still get to it through a computer (or even my Instagram account), but the app itself is gone. You probably wouldn’t have known unless I told you – like I just did. I initially just did it because I was trying to clear the clutter from my brain, but I’ve learned some hard, hard truths about myself in the process. Truths that make myself pretty ashamed, if we’re being honest. In these three weeks I’ve been forced to face some ugly pieces of my heart. The judgmental and proud pieces. The cowardly pieces. The pieces that write people off and tell me that I’m better than them, wielding the unfollow button like a weapon against those who I refuse to confront in person because that would let people know what was really going on in my heart.

But perhaps the strongest truth I’ve been confronted with is the truth that I use Facebook as tool to fake relationships. The three weeks since I’ve removed Facebook from my phone have been three of the loneliest I’ve experienced in a long time. And I mean lonely. The kind of lonely that makes me wonder who in my life I’m really being honest with, or who I really know. Facebook had been slowly building up a performance anxiety that whispered a need to keep up the image I had created. The “Julia” brand that I had built out of “hearts” and “thumbs up” that spoke encouragement. That perfectly curated blend of just enough vulnerability, just enough humor, and very little political or social opinion that would keep everyone even-keeled. The peace-keeper Julia. My unhealthy Enneagram Julia, acting out of fear and insecurity rather than love and confidence.

Because someone will probably forget what I said at the beginning, let me be a little clearer: This is not a call to arms to delete Facebook. If that’s what you got out of this, or your first instinct is to comment on how Facebook is brainwashing us, you missed the point. Most of you are AWESOME at using Facebook as a tool to maintain relationships. I think Facebook is an incredible invention that does so many wonderful things. But I was not using Facebook to maintain relationships. I was using Facebook as a way to trick myself into thinking that I was connected with people, that I had a huge tribe, when really I was taking the cheap route that required no attention or effort. I was using Facebook to encourage my cynical side, slowly building up bitterness and resentment toward those who slightly irritated me until it bloomed into a full on loathing for literally no reason. I was using Facebook as a way to judge other people for their thoughts and opinions rather than understanding their perspective. It was a cop out the allowed me to feel involved with “people” rather than actually putting in the work, and it was killing me from the inside.

I’m keeping my social media, but I’m keeping it with my eyes open to what it’s doing in my heart. If I’m using NextDoor to judge my neighbors from behind a keyboard rather than walking across the street to take them cookies, I’m doing it wrong. If I’m using Instagram to trick myself into thinking I have a big ol’ tribe instead of calling up my friends to actually hang out, I’m doing it wrong. If I’m using Facebook to fan the flame of cynicism in my heart towards people I don’t agree with, I’M DOING IT WRONG. And I’m tired of doing it wrong.

So here’s to growth. Growing in real relationships that are maintained with social media. Growing in the understanding of people who think differently than me, rather than muting them. Growing in community and accountability, rather than secrecy and performance.


The Roles We Play

Life has felt heavy lately. For the past couple months there has been a heaviness on my soul that I haven’t been able to put my finger on, but it’s been affecting me on a deep level. I’ve been struggling to write, which is my ultimate way of processing. I’ve been unable to put words to the heaviness or adequately explain what’s going on in my heart. I’ve struggled to read scripture and spend quality time with my God. My heart isn’t absorbing and my brain is numb. It’s just been hard. I’ve taken such solace in the line “if the rocks cry out in silence, so will I”, because I feel like all I have to offer right now is my silence. My still, silent, heavy heart. So this weekend I took time to go to a conference and feed my soul with a topic that [usually] lights me up, but I came away with an eye opening understanding of what has really been wrong.

I’ve been playing a role that isn’t mine.

If you know me, you know I’m a typical middle child. In charge, detail oriented, on the edge of bossy, highly dramatic, and worried about everyone and everything all the time. Some say worried. I say concerned. I’m constantly scanning rooms, checking body language, following up on people’s projects (that don’t involve me at all), just to make sure everyone’s doing okay. I’ve jokingly been called the information hub of the family. I just need to know what’s going on at all times in case we need to be prepared for something, you know?

There’s another word for everything I just described: responsible. And I don’t mean “oh look at her, she’s so responsible! She always pays her bills on time and is 10 minutes early to everything!”. I mean responsible as in burdened.

I’m the kind of responsible who secretly is afraid the glass ball is going to be dropped and I need to be ready to catch it before it shatters. I’m the kind of responsible who secretly doesn’t trust people to protect me or my loved ones so I’m always sitting on the edge of defense, ready to spring into action. I’m the kind of responsible who secretly doesn’t think you’re going to be able to do it right, so I’ll do double the work just in case. I’m the ugly, sinfully, proud kind of responsible.

I’m not being hard on myself when I describe it with those words. That’s just how it is. The kind of responsible I am is a slap in the face to the God I claim to serve. It says that I don’t need Him because I’m handling it all down here. It says that I don’t trust Him to protect me or my loved ones, so I’ll live with a constant chip on my shoulder and hold onto grudges forever. It says I don’t believe He has gone before me so I need to do double the work “just in case”.

As I write this I’ve also been listening to Keystone Church’s latest sermon, and Brandon literally just said “living someone else’s life is stealing”. YIKES, y’all. How many lives am I stealing by taking on a role that isn’t my own? By pretending someone else’s responsibilities and cares are my own?

In Psalm 51 David cries out to the Lord “restore to me the joy of your salvation…”. I used to understand this verse as meaning wanting the joy back from my early days of loving Jesus. When it felt easy and simple. But I’m beginning to understand it in such a different way. I want the joyful life I had when I was believing in my salvation. I can remember the different person I was. When joy flowed freely and man-made anxiety wasn’t a thing. When I was silly and carefree and the healthy kind of responsible. When I was relying on my Savior instead of grasping for control by taking on the burdens of everyone else.

I’ve traded the joy of my salvation – the joy of the salvation afforded to me through the love of God – for the burden of life. The burden of responsibility, the burden of defense, the burden of perfection, the burden of the minutiae of life. And I’m so ready to let it go.