Tag Archives: Hard Times

surrender

Surrender

I hate the word surrender. Maybe it’s the American rebel in me that never was, but that word just rubs me the wrong way. As a Christian I am called to surrender myself to the lord, but unfortunately, with my limited understanding as a human, all I see are white flags and weakness in surrender. I am just now finding that yes, there is weakness in surrender, but not the bad kind that stems from fear. It’s the kind of weakness that allows divine provenance to move you where you need to be, and draws you nearer to Jesus.

 
I have limited control, and I struggle with that. The more I try to control every little thing in my life, the harder it gets. But when I try to surrender that control, this overwhelming fear takes over. Doubt starts eating away because I don’t see the next step ( and the Good Lord knows how much I love to outline steps). It’s my comfort zone to research something to death. To plan every step to its daily endeavors ( no, I have not resorted to creating a minuet by minuet list yet.)

 
Right now I am going through a Refining fire ( at least I hope that’s what it is). Just like a forest or field needs to burn away the old grass, or destroy an invasive species that will destroy its foundation, my old thoughts and actions are being replaced with new ones. I do not have a clear direction ( that’s probably the way God intends it, and for good reason. You know, the insatiable list thing ), and I still tend to cringe at the word surrender, but I look back on all the dark moments of my life and see His grace in all of them.

 
That grace is what reminds me I have no need to fear or dislike surrendering to God. He is not of this world, and has no sin in him. He only wants the best for me, and I am not walking through the trials I face now alone. He will never lead me astray ( I’m great at doing that all by myself though), or let me face something I cannot handle.

 
I am learning to surrender my plans for my future ( those dreams are a tempting mistress), and I would never claim that it is easy or without bouts of tears. However, I am finding there IS freedom in surrender. Not shackles or shattered dreams, but true freedom and liberty.
At this point in my life I just want to be where He wants me, and hopefully in that place I can find my tribe.

 
Do you feel that you are walking through the fire right now?
I know millions of people are, and I think sometimes we hold so tight to what we dreamed about, that we do not listen to that still small voice saying “Follow me, I have better things to come for you”.

 
Create quite space and listen. I know what you’re thinking “pot, meet kettle”, but I am trying too. Who knows, maybe we will hear the call of clarity at the same time. Isn’t that a nice thought.

 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. … “
John 15:1-7 ESV

 
Gosh I love metaphors, but till the day the vine bears fruit, here’s a song from my high school days that I am just now coming to understand.

I Still Believe

I believe in fairy tales. No, I’m not crazy. No, I’m not five. No! I’m not a daydreamer with unrealistic expectations. Ok, I might daydream a little ( so sue me), but I bet I do it a lot less than most artists. And when it comes to expectations, I call myself an optimistic pessimist. That should tell you something. But I believe, oooh do I believe. I believe in loyal knights, honorable princes, gentle ladies, good conquering evil, and happy endings. I believe that a spoon full of sugar does help the medicine go down. That strength, courage, love, sacrifice, and hope are more powerful than hate, deceit, fear, and evil. I believe that a way to a girls heart is through giant libraries and a single rose. I believe in wishing on stars, and the unending bond between friends and family.

Ok, I know I’m losing you here, but stick with me for a few more seconds. I know bad things happen, and sometimes the darkness seems to win ( Quick Note: Cancer sucks, as do evil bosses that try and tear you down every day). So why, might you ask, do I still believe when I fully acknowledge life is not always great? Well, because fairy tales teach us how to fight the dragons, and the evil queens. In everyday life we encounter evil, heartbreak, and injustice. Sometimes our dragons are called cancer, poverty, depression …. Fairy tales don’t seem perfect to me. Bad things happen to the characters.

Come on, think of your favorite Disney movie, how many times do they kill off the parents, but we still don’t think of them as dark depressing parables on the fragility of life. No, we sing Let It Go like it’s our national anthem. Fairy tales tell us that we have to push forward and fight back against the evil or adversities we encounter. They are simply parables that teach us not to give up. Ok, now you’re saying it’s all well and good to never give up, but what the heck am I supposed to do when my magical fairy godmother takes a wrong turn and never shows up?

I see the magic in fairy tales as allegories. Simple examples of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. When someone accomplishes or overcomes something difficult are we not in awe? When you find love on a planet that has billions of people, is that not a bit magical? We encounter magical things everyday through simple acts of kindness and extraordinary gestures. It may not be the bibbiti-bobbiti-bo type, but hay it’s a magical moment when someone brings you coffee out of the blue, or better yet chocolate.

I am probably not going to convince many people to believe as I do, but perhaps they won’t condemn those of us who do believe. Fairy tales can teach us many things. For instance, they taught me that nothing ever turns out how we think it will, but it will turn out. That the loyal knights we meet might be wearing tattered armor, but it simply means their mettle was tested and they came out of the fight in the end. Sometimes a beast is not just a beast. We have to look beyond what is on the outside to see the truth. Lastly, keep this in mind ” Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage”, You have to love C.S. Lewis.

To the believers and the dreams out there, never lose that touch of whimsy. To the skeptics, let a little magic in. I promise you won’t regret it

So, let me ask you this, do you believe?

The Consummate Amateur

I am a consummate amateur. Good at many things and master of few. I can paint and sculpted, but I’m no Michelangelo. I draw and cook, but I am no Mary Blair or Michael Simon. I’m a lyricist, but I’m not Bob Dylan ( a little side note here, Dylan is a GREAT song writer, but he is no singer. Go ahead and crucify me now folks, but he can’t sing.[ Another side not: my dad disagrees with me.] ). I can sing, but I not a performer ( I am a bit better than Dylan though. Even my dad agrees with that). What’s a girl ( or boy for that matter) to do when they are good at many things, but never the best?

 
I don’t know. I was hoping you had the answer. You don’t! Emoji sad face 🙁

 
I recently sat down with my mom and read some of my future blog posts to her. She thought I was being too hard on myself. I know what you’re thinking, I’m her precious little snowflake, but if you knew my mom you would know that is not the case. The conversation did make me evaluate my articles though, and here’s the conclusion I came to:
Most of us are consummate amateurs.

 
Admittedly, I am an odd mix of right and left brain which makes defining myself ( in work and life ) a bit hard. I am excellent at reading a room, and have the ability to smell BS from a mile away. A great communicator and conceptualizer who can interpret almost anything in a visual way. Also, I have the ability to taste something and figure out the recipe ( it probably helps that I am the daughter of a chocolatier). I hem and haw a bit ( at least in my mind), but I attempt to overcome my fears (except for spiders, there is no way I will make peace with spiders – they all must die). These are just a few of the things that make me who I am; a pessimistic optimist with a vivid imagination. The problem with this dichotomy of abilities is finding my place in this world.

 
I was thinking about talents lately, and if I write all mine down they look like an equation without an answer. Maybe all this mediocre greatness adds up to something that hasn’t been invented yet, or maybe I’ll build a-better-mouse-trap. Who knows? I sure don’t. But I want to encourage all the consummate amateurs to keep this in mind; even if you are not the best, smartest, or most educated person in the room, no one will have the same perspective as you do, and a different perspective can lead to greatness. Just don’t let the hang-ups you have stop you from trying something new. Learn as much as you can, then act. Don’t let one (or 10) rejections get you down. Walt Disney was rejected by roughly 302 banker before he received the funding for Disneyland. It takes time and effort to build something of value.

Well, are you a consummate amateur too?

 
If so, welcome to this tribe of misfit toys! We have cookies.

 
P.S. Here’s a quick shout out to the consummate armatures and the people who love them. I will never be the best at everything ( which is completely annoying), but I have the best support system in the world – my parents. They challenge me to be better, and love me even when I’m not.

Hello My Name IS…

Hi my name is Hannah. I’m a 28 year old, single girl part of the late 20-somthings that have no idea where life is taking them. Every time I’m asked ” what do you do?” I feel like a deer in the headlights. I babble out something about being a freelance content writer and artist ( which I am), but still the question make me think “I HAVE NO IDEA what I do, a little bit of this, a little bit of that”. I have the questionable luck of being good at many things, but master of few. And even better, I’m great at managing money, but I still have not figured out how to make much.

Let me further introduce myself:

I live at home, work freelance, I am paying off a student loan ( for a degree in something I will never use. Yep, I was one of those stupid people), I love dogs ( but currently don’t have one which makes me sad), single ( I really do need to get a dog), slightly goofy ( or weird, we might as well not beat around the bush), a foodie ( I love cooking, and I’m good at it), slightly confused and confusing, a libertarian ( you live your life, I’ll live mine, and we be good), and lastly, but most importantly, the only thing that gets me through the rest of the crap…… I’m a Christian.

Let me make myself clear, all ages, beliefs, ethnicity, blaw, blaw, blaw, and blaw are welcome here. In fact, it’s ok if no one sees this blog because now that I thinking about it, it might be better if people don’t know what I’m really thinking. But alas, I need to vent somewhere, and a blog seems to be the best place to do it.

I will be writing on many topics here. Really, whatever catches my fancy. I will give my opinions, and please feel free to give yours. I’ll post videos from my YouTube account, and hopefully entertain you while simultaneously figuring out my own life. So, here’s to living life with full measure folks.

In conclusion, hi my name is Hannah Marie Smith, and I live in California. I am currently under construction. You are welcome to watch the building process ( or train wreck, whatever the case may be).

Cheers Folks!