I don’t know how to make friends

I remember being excited to start college because I could be a different person. As a highschooler, I fell into the common traps that can snare anyone in their attempt to belong. My faith and convictions were strong, but that didn’t stop me from gossiping or being mean to someone. 

Stepping onto campus that first weekend, I thought I was ready. After attending a cookout between dorms, I realized just how wrong I was. 

I was wrong because I assumed I would start college, make friends, and be the shinier version of me. Now it wasn’t that I couldn’t be this person, only I didn’t know how to make friends. 

Growing up it’s easy to lose sight of how easy everything is. For example, I graduated with 62 other kids. Even better, I’d been in classes with the vast majority of these people since KINDERGARTEN. Yes, for 13 years, I was essentially sequestered with the same group. 

My core friends growing up were mostly girls who were in “Gifted” with me. Not only did we have our usual classes together, but we had bonus time half a day each week (the best week had two gifted days because of the schedule). Other friends I met playing summer softball or high school sports (yes, I was an athlete. I lettered in Marching Band). 

Years of intense proximity forced us all to be friends. I didn’t have to think about being friends with people, it just happened. It was magical. Also, at this point I want to be clear that even though I didn’t really choose my friends, they were lovely, and I love seeing their life updates. 

At 18, I was thrown into a world where nearly every class featured an entirely new group of people, where many may be older and already have established friend groups. To be fair, my college was relatively small, but to me that “small number” meant one class (freshman, sophomore, etc.) size equaled my entire high school. 

It didn’t take long to feel overwhelmed. After my first week of classes, I went home. And I kept going home for most weekends my freshman year. 

Randomly I’d hang out with girls on my floor, but it was all just quick interactions. It was probably this time when I got more into social media because I could engage with the community I knew instead of building something new. 

Finally, in the spring, by God’s own divine providence and nothing else, I made a real friend. She became my third roommate and we lived together until the end (and then some more after that). Since we had the same major, we did our class schedules together. It was wonderful. 

Except now that I had one friend, I didn’t really make other friends. 

I felt community, so my desire to get in with other people started to wane. Yes, I would occasionally hang out with other people and there are people I would call friends, but outside of my roommate, there is only one person I’ve intentionally seen after I graduated. 

Writing this is hard. I can’t even tell if I’m being cohesive because it’s a flood of emotions as I face it myself. I’m online friends with people I went to school with and I like their photos, but I’m not traveling to see them or posting reunion photos. I’m engaging as an outsider with a shared experience. 

Even now, nearly 10 years since I graduated, my one friend and I aren’t close anymore. 

The hardest part is knowing it’s all your fault. Relationships are hard and take sacrifice. As a kid, being with the people I’d known all my life, it didn’t feel like that. I loved playing Wii with them on a school night or having another sleepover for the third weekend in a row. I loved my family, but I couldn’t be with my friends enough. 

As an adult, I wake up, go to work, and come home. On Wednesdays I have dinner with my sister and her family. Every other Thursday(ish) I have my life group. Like once a month I go out and have dinner with one of my friends. 

That’s it. 

Living alone, it’s easy to ignore the loneliness. I mean, all my life I wanted to live alone at some point. I’m a nester by nature, so I love building the spaces I inhabit to make me feel safe and warm. My own place allowed me to make an island designed only to please me. You get used to the quiet and solitude, and as a mostly-introvert, I prefer it. 

But lately the weight of everything is catching up. After I got back from vacation with my mom and sister, I stepped into my apartment alone, and started crying. I realized this is my reaction after any extended period of time with other people. Once it’s just me, I cry. The difference was this time, I heard the voice I’d been ignoring telling me how lonely I am. 

Now I can’t stop hearing it, but I don’t know how to fix it. I literally googled how to meet people in your 30s because that’s my life. My church is wonderful, and I have a great community there, but there’s still a hole. I have a great family and I’m so close with them, but there’s still a hole. 

I have friends, people I randomly text and send birthday cards to. I attend weddings and showers and potlucks. They’re great, too, but it’s not the same.

I was so ready to leave my hometown and start a new life that I took for granted the gifts I had there. A world where I was known and loved and a part of something. I imagined my life would be the same as everything you see on TV, a world where you keep your high school friends forever and pepper in new friends as you meet them. 

I am here, and it’s my fault. I want to get better. I want to have meaningful relationships. Heck, I’m mostly sure I’d like to get married someday. But right now I just feel like I’ll never have any of it. 

This is a post written out of emotion, and I can’t wrap it nicely with hope. My brain knows it could all happen for me, but I don’t feel the optimism. Not in this moment.

When you aren’t good enough


Just reading it conjures up past feelings, doesn’t it? We think of when we didn’t get into our first choice school. Or maybe it’s that job you wanted but it went to someone else. Could be the time you loved someone and they decided you weren’t it for them. 

Whatever it is, rejection SUCKS. I know there are better words, but let’s be honest, it totally sucks. Because even if the person is explaining why you’re good too, the message is always clear: but you aren’t good enough. 

That’s what it comes down to, I think. It’s one thing to know something is out of your league, like my dreams to marry Zac Efron and work a high-profile marketing job. Sounds nice, but I know I couldn’t hang in either scenario. Because of this, I don’t think you can really feel rejection because you don’t have hope in the first place. 

But when you want something, and feel like it’s attainable, you experience hope that maybe this could be your life. Maybe this is your path. Maybe everything is suddenly clear. 

There’s a brief moment where we feel good enough. Small encouragements slowly build us up and we feel better. We feel confident. We feel ready. The voice of self-doubt quiets down because we’re so filled up with what we can do, we forgot to listen to the lies of what we can’t. 

And then it happens. We learn we actually aren’t good enough. 

Employers will say you were a strong candidate, but they found someone else who better aligned with their organization. Schools will let you know your application was impressive, but they are passing on you. People will say all sorts of things, but the summary is always I don’t choose you. 

It’s easy at this point for a cloud to form, kind of like in a cartoon where someone is sad and it’s raining on them. Except in this metaphorical example, the cloud is watering your seeds of self-doubt until they grow and overtake all the positive energy you’d been enjoying. 

“See, they didn’t choose you because you actually aren’t good enough. Told you.” 

This is on my mind because recently, it happened to me. I did all the right things, received the right responses, and thought I saw the end of the story. Only, the call came, I was applauded, but not picked. Immediately the flood began, seeping into other areas of my life. 

I didn’t feel good about anything. I cancelled another opportunity because I wasn’t qualified so why try? I started doubting personal relationships because why could that person actually be interested in me? Maybe, the voice tells me, I need to just settle for my life. 

Who would choose me, anyway? 

This is the point where my faith and humanity collide, because at my core I know I’m chosen. In Ephesians 1:4 it says “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ.” What a powerful statement. It was always God’s plan to love and choose me. He knew, before creation, who I would be and what I would do, and He loved me anyway. 

I know that these earthly disappointments are nothing compared to the goodness of God; however, knowledge doesn’t always extend into feelings. 

It’s kind of like anxiety. I can tell my brain logically there isn’t a volcano in Buffalo, but my anxiety is like “lol we don’t care LET’S PANIC.” I can remember that I am deeply loved, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I can just eliminate the bad feelings. 

I think that’s important to remember though. I can live in the truth and still experience the human emotions. Just like I can accept that God’s plan is different than mine and still mourn for the life I wanted. 

Some people will probably disagree and quote scripture I don’t know telling me I should never experience a negative emotion when I have the joy of salvation, and maybe they’re right. Personally, though, I believe in a Savior who came and experienced all of humanity and definitely knows a thing or two about rejection. 

Especially when you think about Jesus in Gethsemane. He was in agony praying and asking God to not make Him go through with the crucifixion. He knew the rejection He was about to face and He didn’t want it. He wasn’t smiling and cheery despite His circumstances, yet He followed and trusted His father. 

If that’s the example Jesus set, why can’t I do the same? 

They key is, of course, that I can’t stay in the garden crying. At some point, I need to get up and walk toward what’s next. Lean on God to fully reaffirm my value and not let one company ruin my entire life. 

This week, I am disappointed, which is okay. A line from one of my favorite worship songs is “Friday’s disappointment is Sunday’s empty tomb,” meaning right now I don’t know what’s happening, but God’s plan is bigger than I can imagine. So I will walk in that instead of my own sorrow. 

Rejection will come for us all, probably our whole lives. Be sad when you need to be sad, but find your worth in something permanent. The successes of the world are fleeting, but being chosen and loved by God is eternal. Remember (and I preach to myself), I am not worthy of His selection and yet He would choose me every. Single. Time. 


Listen, I’m a digital marketer, and even though I’m sure Meta is from the devil, I can’t do something without a hashtag. Which means my plan for self-discipline is called #chelseaontrack with no other variations. 

In a different post, I wrote about how I got here, in this place. It’s aptly titled “Six years of bad decisions” because my routines have been chaos since moving to Buffalo. At some point, all of this made me start feeling less like myself. But, like the line in Bridesmaids, I’m my problem, but I’m also my solution. 

I know if I want to be disciplined, I have to pursue discipline. I won’t just wake up one morning with everything all set and ready to go. I need to build on habits and routines that get me back on track to being the Chelsea I want and can be, even though it’s hard. 

So, without further ado, here’s #chelseaontrack:

1 Week: Wake up to my alarm without snoozing every day

Dates: April 18-25

While this is a habit I want to be my norm beyond a week, I read an article that said starting with shorter time spans makes it feel easier, so why not? To get out of the snooze cycle, I have to set a real alarm clock because even if I can’t reach my phone, I’ll snooze the Apple Watch. 

I’m going to set it across the room so I have to physically get up. Oh! I also bought a smart lightbulb (which is a thing, apparently) so I can have it turn on when my alarm goes off to help get me out of sleepy town. 

The other trick is making myself excited to wake up. Instead of focusing on the comfort of bed, be genuinely excited for the day ahead. I want that kind of positive energy starting my day. 

One thing I won’t do is get a less comfortable bed. That’s a real tip I saw, but wow, no.

1 Month: Exercise at least 16 times (4 times a week preferred)

Dates: April 18 to May 18

Because my three month goal involves running, I’ll start the Couch to 5K app (again) as well as take my little loaf on walks and do yoga and strength training through Peloton. These are things I enjoy and only take 20-30 minutes a day, so I really need to break out of my laziness. 

3 Months: Reach goal of being able to run a 5K again

Dates: April 18 to July 18

Couch to 5K is an 8-week program, so I hope the buffer of a month helps me even if I start to struggle. My goal would be after I get to 3.1 comfortably, I keep running these small distances regularly. 

6 Months: Down to one credit card with ample savings account

Dates: April 18 to October 18

I can’t have a list of self-discipline without talking money. Now that I’m in a position that pays me enough to live and I don’t need to have a million side hustles, I want to be smart and put myself in a better financial position. Especially since my goal is full-time ministry and God literally knows it won’t be the answer to my financial woes. 

9 Months: Weight down 10 pounds

Dates: April 18 to January 18

This isn’t a huge goal, but I wanted it to be more about the progress than the destination. Would it be great to lose more? Duh! But it’s about leveling myself out over time and getting back to a place where I’m comfortable (and a lot of my favorite clothing items fit me again).

1 Year: Bangs grown out and hair reasonable length

Dates: April 18 to March 31

Okay, this one might feel weird, because it is. The most intense relationship in my life is with my hair, and earlier this year, I broke its trust and got a terrible haircut. Granted, I wasn’t going for the cut I was given, but that doesn’t change what happened. I threw away two years of growth for a poorly executed cut and I am still mad about it. 

While on vacation, my sister, sick of me talking about my hair, bet me $50 I couldn’t get it to a certain length in a year and grow out my bangs. GAME ON. 

This is silly, for sure, but it also is a reflection of self-discipline. My hair is really nice when it’s long, but it’s also cute short, and since I cut it all off eight years ago, I haven’t had it long. 

I reach a point where it’s stuck in the middle and I decide to chop it back to where it’s cute. Only the last two times, it’s been terrible. When will I learn? Hopefully this time. 

At the end of this and through the different stages, I want to build up the routines that make my life feel like mine. I know once they start to become a natural part of my life, other things will too. They can help me to slow down and stop feeling like I’m spinning through each day. 

That’s all I want. 

Six years of bad decisions

If I were to categorize myself as one of the seven deadly sins, I’d definitely be a sloth. I mean, you could make an argument for gluttony, but typically that is an extension of my slothfulness. 

For most of my life, I think I’ve just excused my laziness as being tired, or needing a break, because sometimes it feels like I’m always moving. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely get busy, but the balance isn’t there. 

The issue is I lack self-control and discipline. They are virtually non-existent in my life. I’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to build them up, but so far, no such luck. Well, not luck, no actual, long-term effort on my part.

To be fair, there are a few exceptions. But the problem is they are the exceptions and not the rule. I’ve also had periods in my life where I had it, and felt amazing, but for the last six years, my life felt like chaos. 

How about we do a timeline breakdown?

  • When I was living in Pittsburgh, I would wake up every weekday at 4:30 a.m. I did some basic yoga, then caught the trolly to go downtown to my gym. Here I worked out, several days with a trainer, and then got ready before going to my job.
  • Then I got a needy puppy and had to adjust my routine. After being inspired by friends running the half marathon, I decided to become a runner myself. While I never achieved 13.1 miles, I did build it into a regular routine. 
  • In 2016, I took a new job that required travel and moving to Buffalo, so all routines I’d built up fell apart because I let the chaos overtake my discipline. 
  • Six months after that, I stepped away from a career and started a journey that basically consisted of doing several different jobs to make ends meet and feeling like I never had time to breathe. 

Six years of bad decisions. That’s where I’m at now. Financially, physically, and relationally, I’ve struggled. And I’ve hit these moments, vowed to change, created plans, but nothing meaningful happened. Because I wouldn’t do the work. 


Recently at church, we sang “Glorious Day” with the kids. If you aren’t familiar, the chorus starts with “You called my name, and I ran out of that grave!” Together, we shout these words victoriously and dance through the song. It’s about God calling us from our old life into the glorious day of our new life. 

It’s one I’ve loved for years, but as Easter approached and my mind focused on resurrection, I started reflecting on my own life. God called me out of my own personal grave and resurrected me. I have this amazing gift and even better, God doesn’t stop calling. When I slink back into my tomb, He still calls my name to bring me back out. 

The more you walk with God, the more the Holy Spirit produces fruit in you, including “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT). 

But it doesn’t say “these things come automatically, yay!” They, like all good things, require our own work. 

The next verse says it best.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.” (Ephesians 5:24)

It’s easy to overlook laziness as sinful nature. You can joke about being lazy and how it doesn’t harm anyone. For some people, I’m sure it isn’t part of a deeper issue, but for me, it’s selfishness and slothfulness and keeping me from the full life I could be living. 

In 2 Timothy, Paul says that God gave us a spirit of “power, love, and self-discipline” (1:7). It’s there for me, but I have to walk in it. I have to run out of my grave and stay the path of dying to my own slothful nature so I can walk in the life God designed for me. 

I mean, He hasn’t given me the full plan, but I’m pretty sure spending most nights by myself, ordering DoorDash, and watching hours of the same shows I’ve seen before isn’t quite what He has in mind long term. 

I’m not where I should be, and it all comes down to my selfish decisions.

When I choose to hit snooze instead of get up

When I choose to order from DoorDash instead of eating what I have

When I choose to sit on the couch instead of being productive

When I choose to not engage my friends or take them up on offers for coffee

When I choose to buy more things on my credit card

When I choose to do literally anything that goes against my long term goals

The result is I live in cycle of 1) pledge to make the right choice, 2) make the wrong choice, 3) spiral about wrong choice, 4) pledge to make the right choice, and so on. I am exhausted.

Despite my lack of change, I am the best at having these personal epiphanies and creating new ways to fix myself. I guess it’s because planning life change is easier than making it happen. Woof. 

Will this time be different? I hope so, because I am trying to do it the right way. I’m not looking for the quick solution and I’m not trying to do it alone. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit, so if I want to improve, I need to lean on God. 

So here’s the plan. I’m calling it #chelseaontrack and it’s a one year plan to self-discipline

1 Week: Wake up to my alarm without snoozing every day

1 Month: Exercise at least 16 times (4 times a week preferred)

3 Months: Reach goal of being able to run a 5K again

6 Months: Down to one credit card with ample savings account

9 Months: Weight down 10 pounds

1 Year: Bangs grown out and hair reasonable length

I’m going to try my best starting April 18. Like we say to the kids, do your best, and God will do the rest. 

I’m excited to see what my best can be when I stop trying to do this on my own. If I fail, at least sloths are cute?