thankfulness, creativity, & a life update
I realized the other day that there are a lot of my friends who don’t see me on a regular basis anymore…and therefore they don’t have me around to talk their ears off about what’s happening in my life. So, to spare you the rambling of my mouth and give you a quick life update simultaneously, here’s a life-blog for your enjoyment ;)
High school is still cranking right along, as well as some part-time college classes for me. We’ve almost 100% decided that I’m going to be staying put for another year or so to finish out my associate’s degree at the tech school I’m currently enrolled in. There is an opportunity for me to complete this section of my education for very little cost or FREE (say whaaat) so to be frank, it’s a no brainer. Nothing is set in stone, but this is the direction we’re leaning in for sure. I’m not okay with going into a ton of debt for school when there are opportunities all around me to save some money and use it for better things. I’d love your prayers as I enter these next couple years; God knows what He’s doing, but sometimes I can get a little antsy as He’s working His will.
Work is going great. Last fall, I got a part-time job at my college to be an English/remedial math/little bit of everything tutor. At first, the job was challenging and I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for it. But as time has gone on and I’ve gotten to know my coworkers better, it’s been such a great job for me! I have enjoyed learning how to adapt to different learning styles, and become a “teacher” in a way…although my boss makes it very clear, we don’t teach, we tutor. ;) I remember so clearly being a confused English student, somehow I ended up making it through the class, but I don’t miss that time period at all. I’ll do anything I can to help others work through it more smoothly! Also, my mad English skills are not present in this blog post, so grammar Nazis, just chill. :)
Photography, my other job, the whole reason for this website, is blossoming more than I ever could have predicted. I won’t bore you with details, suffice it to say God is good and I am thankful!
I’m done running cross-country and track, which feels very much like the bittersweet end of an era, yet I know that it is a much needed break for me right now, spiritually, emotionally, and of course physically. It took me a few months, but I’m back to the gym now, working out and running again, not for competitive purposes but for my own benefit. It feels really good to do something out of my own will, not the pressure of a sport (although that was very needed and good for me in that season).
My mom has made two comments that have gotten me thinking lately. She probably speaks 10% of the words I do in a day, yet the words she does say resonate far more than ten minutes of my rambling. First, she thought my blog posts lately were sounding a little sad. Winter fog will do that to me. And far too often, I become overwhelmed with little stresses…I like to call them “little foxes” like in Song of Solomon, the ones that are easy to miss but so destructive to the flourishing of the vineyard. That analogy touches me deeply; the little things that cloud my vision are the things that destroy my joy. I’m learning to find a balance between a good dose of melancholy in my days (there is something truly beautiful about that), and finding the joy in little things that matter rather than finding complaints & worries in little things that will never matter. Paul wasn’t messing around when he told believers not to complain. I think complaining is the #1 killer of joy and peace, and it’s the easiest to do. Bind my wandering heart to Thee, Lord…remind me of the fountain of blessing that never ends and doesn’t give any reasons for complaining.
The other thing my mom said today was “I think if you lived in a box, Aliyah, you’d still be doing exactly what you’re doing now, because everything in your life has been a product of your ideas [not of your circumstances].” Huh. Funny thing is, I was thinking earlier this morning that if I had time and resources to follow through with every idea I have just in an hour, I’d probably have three thriving businesses. I really love creating, it seems to be the only appropriate response I can have to my Creator. A quote I saw on Instagram recently struck my heart:
“Creativity is not about me. It is not about you. It is not us somehow acting like little gods, creating on our own the same way God creates…the most we can hope for is to respond appropriately and creatively to what God is and what He means. Creativity is a response.” -Michael Card (via @athenaandcamron’s Instagram)
This. Awakening has been digging into the idea of creativity these last few months, and I’ve been loving it, because the reason creativity sets my heart on fire is because we serve an infinitely creative God. And His heart? His heart is blazing with the joy that comes from creating something beautiful out of nothing.
Typing that quote got my head spinning in a different direction…social media. Friends, I am at a loss. On the one hand, my business would not be a business without the free advertising of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. But on the other hand, I know it is not necessary for me to waste as much time as I do on these apps every day. They distract me, they cause me to compare my walk to others, and they aggravate my preexisting people-pleasing tendencies till they’re operating at full speed. I was thinking about it today (let’s be real, I was talking to myself in the car about it…I needed expert advice, okay?), and I realized that sometimes when I post on Instagram, I become overwhelmed with worry. Worry about people thinking I’m too spiritual, or not spiritual enough. Worry about people thinking I’m self-obsessed or narcissistic. Worry about guys seeing me as beautiful or ugly or average (oh, the horror). Worry about being judged. I called myself out on it - when I post on social media, my mind starts worrying like my worth depends on how others see me in that post.
It is a vulnerable place to be in, putting yourself out there for the Internet. And while I want affirmation, the honest and real reason I post photos of myself is in an attempt to cultivate authenticity in my online presence. I’m a businesswoman at heart. But my schoolgirl heart worries far too much. I can only hope it’ll be one of those things I grow out of…but until that happens, I’m over here trying to soak in the Word and reprimand myself in the car till I finally get it in my head that it’s not about what I do. It’s not about how I’m seen. If it were, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come. But He did, and my trust in that frees me from these petty worries.
[Update since writing this…I decided after a lot of prayer and worry to delete Instagram from my phone for an indefinite amount of time. I will probably write a separate post about what drove me to this decision, but until then know that I’m enjoying the freedom that comes with cutting off something that was so addicting for me!]
So there’s that, a scatterbrained update on my little life. I pray this week finds you well and that this long post brought a smile to your face. Comment and let me know how you’re doing, friend! I wanna be there for you in all the things. <3