There was a day a couple months ago that I felt like my eyes were a little crossed when talking with people. I think it was all in my head, but it still woke me up a little, haha. All throughout my days, I was spending a ton of time looking down at my little phone screen scrolling, browsing, double-tapping, commenting, editing, and posting. I realized how much of my life I was wasting on my phone. So after some back-and-forth with myself, I decided to give up social media for 40 days. 40 days might not seem like a long time, but I’m amazed by the ways my mind transformed during this break! Here are 7 interesting things I learned:

1. Decluttering – The first day, I had a little down time at work. Without even thinking, my thumb naturally unlocked my phone and went to where my Instagram app usually is. “Oh wait, there’s nothing to check. What do I do with my mind right now??” I realized my brain had become so addicted to constantly being stimulated. I started daydreaming, praying & talking to God, and realized I now had more free space in my mind for the things that really matter to me.

2. FOMO went away – I noticed especially around weekends or holidays, I usually feel a little pressure to make plans because the last thing I want to do is sit at home by myself and scroll through the rest of the world hanging out & having fun without me. But not constantly seeing what everyone else was doing, honestly made me not really care anymore. Like on SuperBowl Sunday, for example, I didn’t go to a party. I ended up staying home, took a Sunday snooze, woke up to watch the halftime show, ate some wings, and got some schoolwork done. And I was totally content.

3. It illuminated my closest relationships – I wasn’t seeing updates of what that kid I had high school English with did this weekend. I couldn’t browse through snapshots of my friend’s cousin’s blogger friend’s life. I did, though, regularly text, call, and hang out with my best friends and family. I LOVE social media because it connects us with lots of people. But it was also nice to invest more authentic focus on those closest to me.

4. Isolation – There were days that I did feel kind of isolated. Not posting, liking, commenting, and updating the world on what you’re doing can make you feel like you’re in hiding or something. Like, did I really exist??

5. I lived for myself & my own Camera Roll – Day trips, hangouts, dinner dates, girls’ nights, fun events, latté art, breathtaking sunsets, sunny walks downtown…I didn’t feel the need to edit a ton of pictures or take rehearsed boomerangs to show everyone what I was doing. I just captured good memories because I wanted to. It freed up so much time!

6. It gave me a new love for my city – Someone who lived in LA once told me that it’s one of the most populated cities, but also one of the loneliest to live in. Isn’t that crazy? I think about those countries where people live in hut villages, and the people around them are literally their everything. I was walking downtown one Saturday with some friends, and without having my phone to look down at to avoid eye contact, I actually wanted to engage with the other Sacramentans around me. I smiled at strangers and wished people a good afternoon. Just those little gestures instantly gave me a new love for the people in my city and a new desire to make this one of the friendliest communities there are. There are some real gems right in front of us. You never know what could come of just a simple hello.

7. Social media is great in moderation – I’m not saying all this to be anti-social media. There are so many amazing things we can do these days thanks to our ability to connect online. These 40 days (actually 47, because on the last day I wanted to go another week!) were an AMAZING time of resetting and remembering what’s truly important in life.

These apps will come and go, and who we are online isn’t who we are in our entirety. Have you ever done something just to post pics of you doing it? I have, and I don’t want to do that anymore. Instead of living to capture & share, I may capture & share snippets of my life as I live it.

Let’s REALLY LIVE and FULLY take in the beauty, the people, and the moments that will be engrained in our hearts far longer than some of these apps will ever be a thing.

Maybe give “unplugging” a try too!

Love,
Angela

Hi beautiful!

We’ve all had those days where we just feel “ugh.” Where we think, I wish I was taller, shorter, had her face, looked like that celeb, or whatever…am I right?

I had a  psychology professor once say that while men are naturally wired to “do,” women are naturally wired to “be”–to be nurturing, to want to be desirable, to be beautiful. 

While I totally believe that inner beauty is what matters the MOST, I know it’s natural for us women to want to be pretty on the outside too. So let’s talk about it!

I’ve always been a pretty observant person, so I learned in my early teens to see the irrationality behind self-doubt. Last week, though, I found myself in a bit of a funk. I had to remind myself of some truths to snap myself out of it. It re-opened my eyes to how easy it is to fall into physical insecurity, so I want to share with you what’s always helped me. In case you ever find voices of self-doubt whispering into your heart, I hope these truths shout even louder.

Here are my thoughts and some stories on overcoming insecurity:

  • First off, you’re insanely beautiful.
  • Insecurity is a choice. Growing up, I realized that insecurities actually have little to do with your looks and everything to do with your choice. We might think “if only I looked like that…I’d be more confident.” But if we don’t learn to control our thoughts, we’ll rip ourselves apart no matter what we look like. So it all starts with choosing not to dwell on negative thoughts. Make a commitment to focus on what you love about yourself!
  • Get rid of weird complexes. – I learned not to be insecure by observing others’ insecurities. I remember in middle school I had this complex that if my bangs didn’t fall a certain way (oh the days of side bangs, haha), I thought it offset the whole shape of my face and made me look like an asymmetrical freak lol. Dramatic, yes. I even remember calling my mom one day asking her to pick me up from school, because running in PE had made my hair crazy and I didn’t want to face society looking like that LOL. Anyway, these thoughts seemed totally legit in my mind. But throughout my life, I’ve had some seriously gorgeous friends. Like, stunning! And I completely had my mind blown when we’d be getting ready together and I’d hear comments like, “ugh my jaw is too square.” Or, “I hate that my right eye is slightly bigger than the other.” Or “I’m so skinny, I hate it. I need to workout more.

    WHATTTT?!?!

    Some of the features that I SO admired about these beautiful girls were the very things they saw as “ugly” or “awkward” or imperfect. Or little things that literally NO ONE would notice created a cloud of low-self esteem that hovered over them. That’s when I learned how irrational insecurities are. I learned that you could be drop dead gorgeous to the rest of the world, but mentally think you actually look hideous. So that’s when I decided to stop obsessing over weird things about my looks. Because why waste energy hating on things that no one else will ever even notice? 

  • Story time: Do you remember doing art projects in elementary school? I remember one time in class we got to each paint a ceramic plate however we wanted. I decided to paint a big heart in the middle of the plate, and colorful rings around it. When I finished my plate, I thought it looked just okayyy. One side of the heart was slightly bigger than the other. And the colors of some stripes overlapped a little in some spots. But to my surprise, I got so many compliments on it. “Awww I wish mine looked like yours!” a girl said to me. Because I had been looking at it for so long, I saw it differently than everyone else did. I saw all the imperfections, while everyone else saw a beautiful design. I think that’s how we can get with ourselves. We’ve been spending a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror. We’re used to seeing ourselves, we know all of our imperfections, we saw ourselves during our awkward phase, we know what areas of our body we’d like to lose weight in, etc. But realistically, the rest of the world sees something entirely different. The rest of us see your beauty.
  • Comparison kills confidence. When you see an attractive guy, do you think, “oh wait, he’s actually not attractive because he doesn’t look like this other attractive guy I saw the other day.” ? Uh no, that’s irrational. So just because other women are pretty, doesn’t mean you aren’t pretty also! You are! Look at Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johansson…two totally different looks, but both GORGEOUS. We’re each our own kind of beautiful, so own it! And help other girls’ see theirs! 
  • “You don’t need it to work with every guy, just one guy.” some wise words I once heard. Ladies, we shouldn’t have to walk into a room and gain the attention of several guys in order to feel confident. We shouldn’t feel the need to always be “talking to someone” to feel beautiful. Using another person’s interest and emotional investment to boost your confidence most likely stems from pride. It’s ugly, and it needs to go. At the end of the day, I believe God has a special someone for each of us, and someday (if you haven’t already) you’re going to marry THAT guy. Not every guy. That ONE, SPECIAL guy. So if you feel the need to have multiple guys interested in you, or if you’re feeling bummed because no one’s reaching out to you right now…don’t. External events don’t dictate your beauty. You’re gorgeous. The right guy may just still be on his way 🙂
  • Be less critical of others. I noticed that when I pay more attention to the “imperfections” of others, I’m more critical of myself too. But when I’m quick to notice the beautiful features of other people, I see myself that way too.
  • Your feelings don’t dictate your beauty. Our feelings change all the time. One day we can feel fab and the next day feel like we have a weird nose or something. The way you feel doesn’t change your looks. You’re pretty, trust me.

YOU ARE STUNNING. Take it from me–You. Are. So. Beautiful.

I’m sending you the biggest hug right now, and I’m excited to see you walk with the confidence you deserve.
If you ever need a little reminder of how beautiful you truly are, I’m here for you!

Love,

Angela 

So it’s definitely been a while since I’ve consistently posted stuff.

This has been one of the craziest, most unpredictable years of my life thus far, filled with lots of hard, lots of good, and lotsss of meaningful lessons learned.

I’ve learned so much about love, relationships, heartache, trusting God, transition, entering a new community, slowing down, time management, pursuing dreams, leading people, leading worship, self-worth, and a ton of other stuff. (And believe me, I cannot WAIT to share everything with you! 🙂 ) I’ve had a constant burning in my heart to put words to everything I’ve experienced this year. But every time I’ve sat down to try and write about any of it, I’ve gotten the worst writer’s block.

Which brings me to what I want to talk with you about.
Every time I started to type, I’d have like a million different ideas running through my mind.

“What kind of tone should I set for my blog? Do I want it to be fun, serious, thoughtful, formal, casual? Omg, look at her blog…I love it! I like this about that blog. Maybe I should incorporate something like that in mine. What color scheme is going to appeal to the widest audience? Wait, is anyone even going to read this?”
Blah, blah, blah. I even have like four different unfinished drafts of one topic that I never seemed to be able to make “just right.”

I let the influence of a million other voices silence mine.

But today I had a tugging in my heart that I couldn’t ignore–
Just. Start.

Friend, you have a voice that is unlike any other in this whole world.
Think of the people that inspire you. What if they let busy-ness or perfectionism or whatever keep them trapped and silent? Your life would be void of all that you’ve learned from them.
We are all role models to somebody.

We each have a voice that comes effortlessly. We all have stories to share. We all see this life a little differently.

We don’t have to “plan” or “force” who we are. It’s just what comes out.
And it’s imperfectly perfect. Authenticity is stunning and it’s powerful.
Own who you are.

So if you have something to say, say it.
If you have a passion for something, go after it.

This life is short. And of all the other moments in history you could have been born, you’re here right now, for a specific purpose, with your specific voice.

Use it.

So here’s to less planning, forcing, filtering, comparing,
and more effortessly, naturally, powerfully being.

The world is more rich because you’re here!

Love,
Angela

 

You know those times when you look at your life and you’re just like, “I don’t get it.”

Maybe you didn’t get the job you’ve been hoping for.
Or you lost someone special to you.
Or you’re broke.
Or you’ve got some health issues.
Or whatever.

Sometimes life is going amazingly well and then, wham, you’re thrown a major curveball.

Sometimes it’s a little bump in the road, and sometimes devastating tragedy hits really good people.

I’m not sure of your specific situation, but I do know that we’ve all had or will have situations in our lives that cause us to question,

“Why? This just doesn’t make any sense.
I thought I was doing everything right.
God, I trusted You.
I just don’t get it.”

With this weekend being Easter, I spent some time on Good Friday afternoon just reflecting on what this celebration is really all about. I was facing some things in my life that I didn’t totally understand at the time.

I couldn’t help but think of Mary, Jesus’ mother. Imagine feeling what she felt when the angel appeared to her that one night saying, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High…his kingdom will never end.”

The excitement, the honor, the “Omg I’m going to give birth to the Son of God!!!”

Can you imagine?? Only to pour her whole heart into mothering this precious life and then years later see him tortured, ridiculed, and nailed to a cross, left to die.

“Why? What was the point?” she must have thought in that moment, weeping from the pit of her soul, with all hope lost.

But in the midst of that tragedy, in the midst of the pain, of the confusion, loss, and anguish…

GOD WAS AT WORK.

He has a purpose for everything. It may not make any sense at all, but rest knowing that He is ALWAYS at work. We see little snippets of His plan, moment by moment, but He sees all—yesterday, today, and all your tomorrows. He’s holding your pain and painting your future.

Three days later, Jesus conquered death, sin, and all our imperfections by coming back to life. With the most incomprehensible love, God saved us from everything we deserve. Hope may have seemed lost for a few days, but eternal salvation for all of humanity was just on the other side of “what didn’t make sense.”

 

all in our favor

 

So friend, know that God is with you. Know that His plan is SO perfect. Know that when Jesus was on that cross, He did it for you.

God calls you precious. He calls you beautiful. He created you. You’re His son or His daughter. You’re significant. You’re loved. He looks at your mistakes, your messes, your good, and your bad, and says, “All of you was worth it. You’re still worth it. You’ll always be worth it to Me.”

He loves you more than you can even comprehend. So rest assured knowing that He’s holding you. Questioning your life is like demeaning the love He proved to you on the cross. He’s got you.

He always has. He always will.

Friend, God is so GOOD.

In every challenge, there is hope to cling on to. Know that purpose and crazy blessings follow the things that don’t seem to make sense.

“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Peter 1:3

“There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

You’ve got such a bright future ahead of you! I’m praying for you!

Love,
Angela

I love breakdowns because they always lead to breakthrough.

I’m all for spontaneity and change, but so much of it has been hitting my life all at once lately. On a Friday night, a few weeks ago, I found myself crying out to God in my room in total frustration. I’ve had about 2 other “rock bottom” moments in my life thus far, and weirdly enough, these moments have become some of my favorite. It’s always when I feel helpless that I’m reminded of how human I am, and how powerful and IN CONTROL God is. He exchanged my heartache for peace, real joy, a re-focused purpose, loving correction, and some of the best weeks of my life since that one night in my room.

I’m going to share with you 7 revelations I had that night. Maybe they’re for you too!

1. You are not defined by what you “do.”

After 4 years of pouring a ton of my life into leading/mentoring high-schoolers, I felt God tell me it was time to close that chapter to enter into a new thing He’s put in front of me. (If you’re a college-aged girl, ask me about Sacramento Sisterhood University, btw!) I felt unneeded and unsure of where I “fit” in the world. My confidence was honestly shaken a bit. Why? Because I needed to be reminded that our identity is not found in what we do. Or in what others think of us. Or in what we wear, or in our relationship status, social status, financial situation, our ministry, our busy-ness, or any other earthly, temporary thing. You are a child of GOD. Jesus died because YOUR soul is SO worth it. You are the apple of His eye, and nothing will EVER change your value and the amount of CRAZY LOVE He has for YOU!

2. “Loneliness is God’s cry for intimacy.”

For so long I used relationships and friendships as a guard against my deepest fears of ever feeling lonely. Although I’ve learned to find real love in Christ, I was having a moment of weakness in my room that night, just feeling alone during this transitional time of my life. But He reminded me that it’s impossible for loneliness to exist in His presence. Those nights you don’t have plans? He’s probably longing for your full attention. A relationship with Him is the reason we exist, so make quality time with Him a priority. It’s the most beautiful love you’ll ever experience. Promise!

3. Half-hearted surrender is not real surrender.

This is going to sound SO dumb, but I was wondering why God wasn’t using me more in the areas He’s given me passions for. I’m definitely a big dreamer, so when He placed dreams in my heart for speaking & encouraging, leading worship, and writing a few years ago, I was honestly wondering why I wasn’t traveling around the world to do so yet, haha. (Looking back now, I’m cringing at the fact I even thought that, omg!)

But I felt Him say to me, “You’re a part of MY plan. My priority is to save souls. I’m not totally concerned with how much stage time you get. Servanthood is servanthood. It’s joyfully assisting in my plan in any way you’re needed–big or small.” Gosh, that hit me hard! In that moment, I fully handed over my gifts, abilities, and heart to Him. And right then I found JOY because I refocused on my purpose. God is a good Father. He LOVES seeing us use the gifts He gave us, but from a humble, fully surrendered heart. The funniest part is since that change of heart, I’ve been given more opportunities to help lead worship in these past few weeks than I have in the past year all together. What a guy!

4. Fear has no right to keep you from what could be one of the best decisions of your life.

I’ve been attending a new church, and let me tell ya, going some place where you have to start fresh can be scary! But by stepping out of my comfort zone I’ve already gained some wonderful new friends and had specific conversations that confirmed I am where I’m supposed to be. Whatever your situation is, dare to take a risk. If it scares you, you should probably go for it. Comfort is easy, but courage is worth it.

5. You literally have NOTHING to worry about.

“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:30-34

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

6. Joy is YOURS. You just have to CLAIM it!

Feelings of depression sneak in when we focus on our own pity party, rather than the grand plan God is orchestrating. Ultimately, God’s goal is to use you to share Truth and hope with those that don’t know Him yet. There is revival going on all around us that you could miss out on if you’re too focused on your own little cloud of gloom. Take a step back and remind yourself that life is bigger than you. You play an important role in a beautiful plan.

Life will never be perfect. But Jesus died on a cross so He could save us from all fear, worry, anxiety, depression, and whatever else. He defeated death so that YOU could live life fully and spend forever in Heaven! You literally have nothing to worry about. Simply claim your gift of joy, and enjoy life because it is GOOD.

7. Being a PRAY-ER makes ALL the difference!

That night, I re-committed to being a pray-er. Not just someone who prays, but you know, someone who gets on their knees daily and PRAYYYYS. That has made all the difference. I have refocused on my First Love. He supplies all my needs. The JOY of the Lord is truly my STRENGTH.

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I’ve just been so overwhelmed by how good God is! The weeks since that one night have honestly been some of the best of my life. I got the honor of being in my cousin’s wedding, I’ve had a lot of fun times with a bunch of great friends from all over, also met some new ones, and been presented with some cool opportunities to serve. I realized that life has been good all along, sometimes you just need a perspective shift. As an imperfect human, I don’t deserve a thing, but Christ has given me a purpose, permanent JOY, blessings on blessings, and a guaranteed spot partying it up in Heaven for the rest of ever!

Friend, God is good and He loves you so so much. He’s with you. He’s on your side. He wants your full attention, so He can guide you on the path of real, beautiful life. Praying that you’ve felt Him comfort your heart as you’ve read this!

‘Til next time!
Love,
Angela