It's the last week of June. The last week of my New June challenge. It's time to get real with you.
I've failed. Badly.
How many weeks this month did I go to the gym three times a week? Honestly? One. Did I do yoga once a day, every day? Nope. Maybe half the days. Did I spend time in the Word every morning? Nope. Not by a long shot. Did I cut out TV and Netflix completely? Well, yes, with one exception for the USA vs. Portugal World Cup game...but come on. I had to. As much as I don't love to flaunt it, I am a proud American deep down. Did I stop eating processed foods? With one (okay, two) fro-yo splurges, yep, that one I did okay with. Did I write something every day? I actually did. And it was good, and freeing, and so necessary.
Now for the last two. Did I pray big and bold, and did I get coffee with a friend once every week? These two go hand in hand. Yes. A big, loud resounding yes. I met with friends who know my heart well. Friends that asked the good, hard questions and listened well to the things I shared with them, friends that challenged me and brought up the word "story" a lot. In the past few weeks, the "story" theme has been undeniable. So, I prayed big. I prayed boldly. I asked God to open my eyes to what this could look like, to tell and hear stories.
That's where my Story Seeker project came from, and it isn't a coincidence to me that it was born out of a month where I challenged myself to make changes. It isn't surprising that when I cut out distractions and worked to focus on things that would grow me mentally, spiritually and physically, I saw God at work more.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Maybe my New June challenge didn't go perfectly. (Maybe this is also a reminder of why I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions...do they ever really work?) But God still is perfect despite my long list of failures and imperfections and flaws, and He's not done with me yet. I think New June challenged me to seek God more fully, challenged me to seek people more intentionally, challenged me to live more boldly.
Friends, this introvert who loves her alone time has had plans every single evening for the past few weeks, and for the next few as well. This is so out of my comfort zone, so unlike my usual patterns, and it's nothing I could do on my own strength. I really mean that. I should have been burned out and overwhelmed a long time ago, but something cool happens when you surrender your life and your calendar and your heart to the Lord-- He shows up. He is strength when you have none. He is joy when you feel tired. He is life when you're exhausted. He is in all things and reviving all things, even my own spirit.
I know I'm not a competitive person, I know I make excuses for things far too often and talk myself out of things I really should do (like go to the gym and stop snoozing my alarm clock so I can do my quiet time). I know a list of challenges doesn't change that, and I know I'm not the best at exercising my willpower and self-control and motivating myself to do hard things. But I also know that trying is better than not trying, that you can only move forward if you take steps forward, even if they're small.
I failed horribly on several challenges, but several others have totally changed my life this month. They're steps forward. They're steps closer to the heart of God, steps closer to full and rich community, steps closer to the kind of person I want to be-- arms and heart and schedule wide open to listen to stories and share of God's faithfulness and work and love.
If you're curious about this whole Story Seeker thing, read this and learn more! I would love to hear from you and swap stories with you, I genuinely mean that. You have a story worth telling and I would be honored to hear it.