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?

Racism isn’t political.

This shirt is not a political statement. I am not wearing it because I’m a liberal snowflake who hates the police. I wear it because I am a human being and more importantly, a Jesus follower. 

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God and then love others as ourselves. Remaining silent right now because it makes us uncomfortable or we don’t think racism exists is not an option. 

The millions of people protesting around the globe aren’t doing so on a whim. Maybe you’ve heard a few voices from POC who tell you it isn’t an issue, and those voices reaffirm your belief that the rest of us are wrong. Let me be clear, you are on the wrong side of history. 

I remember learning about the Civil Rights movement when I was younger and asking myself an important question – would I have marched? You want to believe you would, because equal rights shouldn’t be up for debate. It was, or at least should have been, an obvious argument. 

People in this country didn’t receive the same treatment because of the color of their skin. They decided to protest and fight for their rights. Slavery had been abolished for a century and yet some Americans still didn’t enjoy the basic rights that we are all supposedly entitled to. 

This is the time when I can confirm teenage Chelsea’s suspicion that yes, I would protest. Yes, I would speak out. There are people hurting in this country. We may technically have Civil Rights laws, but we all know a law doesn’t change a heart. 

Making something legal doesn’t make people accept it. It doesn’t mean a person has value to someone else, only that they should in court. This gives people the freedom to continue the trend of racism even if they don’t believe they are actively contributing. 

Trust me, I grew up in a small town with few POC. Since moving away, I’ve had to dismantle a lot of racist beliefs I didn’t know I had. I still have to search myself and recognize these thoughts that ever put me higher than someone else in my own mind. I have to check my privilege willingly because I want a better and more loving world for everyone. 

Jesus himself fought the system and sought those rejected. He didn’t ask to talk to the Pharisees to get both sides of the story. He wasn’t trying to validate that the religious people weren’t that bad. He sought the lost, the hurt, the broken, and He loved them.

I believe wholeheartedly that police officers are heroes. I do not believe they are all racists. But like a lot of systems in our world, something is broken. Crying ‘defund the police’ doesn’t mean get rid of them but exploring different funding options to help communities instead of militarizing.

You can cry ‘Black Lives Matter’ and still believe in your police officers. One doesn’t eliminate the other. This fight is to create a better future for everyone. Don’t get caught up in the polarizing nature of BLM and ‘defund the police.’ Focus on the real evil in this world.


Now is our time to make a real change. I don’t just mean legally, because again, laws don’t change hearts. They are important, but we need to look at ourselves first. We need to recognize what’s inside of us and how we contribute to the problem. We need to be brave enough to stand up to racist comments and jokes. We can be difference-makers.

This fight starts with the individual. If you and I don’t change, racism will persist. 

You made a way

Less than a month ago I wrote about a challenging season for the purpose of being able to bring God praise when the way was made. Well friends, let us rejoice together because our Heavenly Father who knows our needs took care of me again and did the impossible.


On April 12, three days before Tax Day, I made the final deposit into my savings. Most people would be sad to see $617 leave their account, but I nearly cried with joy for God’s provision.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe this was only a two month journey. From the tear-filled evening of February 13 to the rejoicing of the final deposit April 12, God used that time to do amazing work in my life.

It’s true my miracle wasn’t a mysterious and large check in the mail or a surprise raise at work. I didn’t get more freelancing clients or suddenly find a large benefactor. Up until the first week of April, I still didn’t see a way. yet I trusted in the words of my God and the knowledge His promises never fail.

When going through my budget April 1, it was the first time I saw the miracle. Like I said, nothing big or life changing happened, but enough small things moved and worked out that suddenly I realized I would have just enough.

I didn’t need a miracle bail-out check. Well, I guess technically I did, but God knew it wouldn’t do me any good aside from putting a bandage over my financial problem. My issues with money didn’t begin with tax season and are far from over. If His plan had been to provide abundantly, I’m sure I would’ve fallen into the same routines as before.

This became clear when I was trying to sell some clothes for extra money. A friend brought it up and I just happened to have a bag full of clothes in my trunk removed from my wardrobe during spring cleaning. It felt like a perfect sign and the day I went to sell, I kept praying that even if I only made $20, I’d be excited.

But then my mind started to wander.

I thought about what would happen if I received even more money. Maybe I could treat myself to dinner out! I haven’t done that in months. I became consumed by how I would spend the money, and I missed the purpose of selling at all.

I walked away with $14.50 and a bag full of mostly unsold clothing.

This wasn’t a one-time thought process of how I’ll live with more money. I find myself all the time thinking “when my loan is paid off” and “when I make more money” I can buy this, this, and this. Even if I’m “content” with where I am, I’m always imagining what I’ll do with more money. Tithing is an important part of my life, but I rarely think of how much more I could give back.

I’m in my second year of living only on my means and it’s been a radical life change for me. With credit cards, you never have to deny yourself because there’s always room in one of your accounts. When all else fails, you get a new card. I taught myself that I didn’t need to want for anything, so even as I get back on track financially, my goal is to one day get back to that place without self-denial.

Don’t get me wrong – treating yourself is good. I firmly believe that once you’ve given back to God what is His and you know you can pay your bills, we should enjoy our money. But my goal shouldn’t be to make more just so I can buy more stuff.

Right now it’s clear God can’t trust me with a lot because I’m a bad steward of what little I have. In practice I’m doing a fine job because I can’t spend it elsewhere, but mentally I haven’t learned a thing.

I still want to dress a certain way and project a certain image. I care so much about my appearance and how it influences other people’s perception of me. There’s nothing wrong with my wardrobe, except it’s not the most stylish or new and maybe I wear outfits a little more often than I’d like because I don’t have as much as I used to.

Marie Kondo taught me about holding onto things that “spark joy” and letting go of the rest. I quickly realized how shallow and empty my purchasing habits are from this exercise. Most of my clothes I don’t really care about because they were purchased in a blind spending spree, not because I carefully considered and wanted it, but because it was cute and likely on sale.

The items in my apartment that bring me the most joy are almost all donated. I only have a few pieces of furniture I’ve actually purchased. Almost everything else is based on the generosity of others. That kindness and helpful attitude mean more to me than some fancy Ikea desk that I never even sit at anymore.

Even now, as I write in my living room, I’m reminded that I’ve purchased only one piece of furniture in this entire space. It’s a little pink ottoman I bought for my freshman dorm room 10 years ago. Everything else is a hodge podge of items from my parents, sister, grandparents, and friends. I love being in this room because it’s a constant reminder of the goodness of others.

As I learn about God’s provision, I realize I need to let my ambitions go in more ways than one. He knows my needs, He’s taking care of me, all I need to do is rest in Him and man, what a relief that is. Even if it means I’m going to spend every week for the rest of my life trusting Him with what little I have and knowing He will take care of me.

It means letting go of the aesthetic I used to want so desperately and instead focus on what I do have, which is a wardrobe of clothes that are clean and nice. I’m not wearing rags or clothes that look like they’re from the 1970s. My couch pillows may not match the room but they support my head and back and really, what else do you need from pillows? Maybe there won’t be a theme to every room of my apartment but it doesn’t mean it’s not cozy and a place where I feel safe.

What I know is I’m blessed beyond all measure with everything I do have, especially compared to most of the world’s population. I’m sad because I can’t buy a new dress for Easter when there are people starving without homes. My financial status is relative and the bigger issue I face is cultural pressures.

When I’m by myself in my apartment, not on social media or watching television, I can forget about the world’s expectations. I don’t see the latest styles or newly released makeup. I don’t have constant reminders about who I should be and what everything in my life should look like, and I’m content. As soon as I re-enter that world, I’m bombarded because I don’t have enough stuff.

I know I can’t change the world, but I can let God change me.

That’s exactly what He’s doing. My financial situation wasn’t radically changed moving forward so I’m still in the same place as before, just with less money owed to the government. Instead, God knew He had to change me first. I’m learning to be content and thankful for what I am blessed with instead of thinking about how much better it will be when I have more.

Then I also remember I’ve had more, and it just left me feeling like it was never enough.

I’m so thankful to everyone who prayed for me after my last post. I’m so excited that we’re here now, celebrating in the goodness and unfailing nature of God. I can’t say it enough – it shouldn’t have worked, but it did, because that’s who our God is and always will be, forever.

[Also, because of all this, I had to let my domain name and WordPress premium plan go. It was hard, but I have to trust God in giving up the ownership of my online identity. For now, you can find my blog here:]

Before I stop, I’d be foolish if I didn’t talk about the title of this blog, You made a way, and the significance of today. Initially, I was thinking of the Elevation Worship song “Do it Again” when I wrote the title, but quickly another came to mind:

See the light tearing through the darkness
Hear the roar of the rugged cross
Jesus Christ You alone have saved us
We worship You now
No wonder we call You Savior
No wonder we sing Your praise
Jesus our hope forever
You made a way, You made a way

God made a way for me in this season, but what He did through Jesus Christ paved the way for my faith and salvation. Long before any of this, God sent and sacrificed His son so we could be together and how fitting this post comes on Good Friday.

I reminded that there’s nothing my God won’t do for me because of His deep love for all of us. That includes small miracles that overcome financial hurdles. I hope you have this hope as well.

I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You

Before I get into this post, I want to tell you why I’m sharing this part of my story with you. I’m in a challenging season, to use popular Christian parlance, but I believe God is going to do something amazing. I’m telling you about it so when it happens, we can praise Him together for His faithfulness. Also because I need your prayer.

[Side note: It’s late and I needed to get this post out of my brain so I’m not proofreading it. I’m a very disreputable writer whatever.]

It’s rare that you can pinpoint the exact day and time a season starts in your life. Usually you just wake up and realize something has changed and it isn’t necessarily good. For me, it happened on a Wednesday, the day before Valentine’s Day, in the year of Lord 2019. I was in my favorite spot on the couch wearing my penguin onesie.

In another sense, this story really goes back 10 years, to a foolish girl who got a credit card. Like most bad choices, they continue to spiral until you’re in your late 20s with more than $20,000 in credit card debt.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was my financial destruction. After years of ‘I swear I can stop’ and ‘I swear this is my last big purchase before I get a handle,’ my spending habits had caught up with me. You see, I ended my teen years with a job that gave me ample money to spend and save, so I wasn’t used to not getting what I want.

The problem became I entered my 20s in a much worse state. Instead of adjusting my habits then, I continued to indulge myself because I could get everything I wanted and only pay $25 a month! Seriously, if I could time travel, the first thing I would do is go back and slap that child in the face. After I might doing something more important, but the first act is definitely correct my idiot 20-year-old self.

I can’t actually tell you how bad it was because I have no real sense of living within my means from that time period. Which I suppose tells you how bad it was. I continued to make rent and juggle all my credit card payments all while buying everything I could ever want. I completely furnished an apartment only to leave most of it behind less than a year later when I moved. Crazily enough I still didn’t realize I had a problem.

Fast forward through worsening behavior and I’m making less money than I have in a while due to a new direction and I’m at my wits end. I see a banker because my financial situation is beyond my control. He says the magic words to me: consolidation loan.

Now, before you roll your eyes, this was a legitimately good call for me. My monthly credit card bills were nearing $800 minimum payment. I wish that was an exaggeration. At that rate, I’d be paying for years and years. The loan meant a decent amount in interest, but ultimately it saved me years of paying more interest and lowered my monthly payment. Still, you know you’re in a dark place when you’re only hope is a consolidation loan.

It was then, at the end of 2017, that I knew I had to change. 2017 had already been a doozy of a year for me growth-wise, so it seemed fitting that it would be time to change my spending habits. And I did, amazingly enough. I closed a few cards once they were paid off and took the one I kept out of my wallet. I spent 2018 only buying what I needed, and with the exception of some planned ‘treat yo self’ spending, I did it. If you ever want proof of the strength of God, my 2018 is proof.

The saddest part is you can’t even look at my spending year over year to see how much better I did because so much went on credit cards. My spending through my bank account doesn’t seem bad because I hardly used my own money.

I swear I’m getting back to February 13, 2019. Stick with me.

In July of 2018, Girl Scouts brought me on full time which meant I no longer had to work at Sephora. Even though I made more at Girl Scouts, I was working less hours which worked out to less monthly income. Fortunately, and by the grace of God, I continued to make it work. I wasn’t living lavishly, but I was living.

Lulled into a sense of confidence also known as stupidity, I decided to use my credit card to buy Christmas gifts so I could get my shopping done. I didn’t go too crazy and had a plan to pay it off, but if you know me, you know how my plans go. For the first time in a year, I had a credit card balance but I still wasn’t concerned. I felt in control.


The only thing exciting to me about January is tax season, because it means free money from the government. Yes, I know it’s my money blah blah blah, but it’s always felt nice. Last year I received a lower return than usual due to freelancing and New York state taxes, but it was still something, so I wasn’t concerned. I began to pray that I would be thankful for whatever I received. I feel like God saw through me and knew I was just trying to show faithfulness to get more money. I’m sorry, God. I’M SORRY.

Most years, I’ve filed by the end of January because I cannot wait. This year, however, I hit a snag. Sephora had my old address and I couldn’t access my W2 online which meant I’d have to wait. I filled out a form with the company and resolved that I would to file until it came. For a while, I was pretty good.

Until February 13.

I began the day like any other with my time with God. I was nearing the end of my Daniel Fast and wrote the following entry in my fast journal:

“Prioritizing Return:

  • Savings
  • Mattress
  • Cancun
  • [Offering]

Dear God, only You know when I will receive the Sephora W2 and how much my return will be. Help to focus on Your provision and faithfulness and remember, no matter what, You’re taking care of me. Thank You. I love You. Amen.”

I wrote those words as a gesture of faith and God was like “oh really?”

I spent the day in a team meeting, so I got home a little earlier than usual. My first act was to put on my onesie because it was starting to snow and be very windy outside. Eventually church was cancelled which was a relief because I was in my onesie and definitely not going anyway. Then everything started to crumble.

Despite telling God every single day I would wait until my physical return made it to me, something in my snapped. I emailed my contact again and said it’s been more than two weeks since the mailing deadline can you send me a digital copy and within minutes I had it in my inbox. Okay God, we’re on, right? (for the record, I received the physical W2 in mid-March, still well-within tax time).

I gathered all my other documents and logged onto Turbo Tax. Remember when you could actually file your taxes for free? The good ol’ days. Everything was going fine and I had a bit of a return until suddenly I didn’t. After many tears, retries, and a panicked call with a nice woman who I paid $50 just for her to tell me I had until April 15 to pay what I owed, it became clear. I was severely in the hole to the government.

The next few hours were a blur of self pity. I cried and cried and cried. I cried all my makeup down my face until it formed a beard-like pattern on my chin. I couldn’t do anything except cry. It was like I was in shock. This is not what I was expecting. I had $100 in my savings. I still don’t live extravagantly, so there’s not really room to cut. I thought about everything I had bought and all the money I had spent recently and I hated everything. How could I be so foolish.

Everything seemed to line up for the day. I started by randomly (and for the first time) planning my return spending (my current mattress I’ve had since high school and has a lovely dip in the middle). I received my W2 so quickly I thought God surely had His hand in everything. Now I know it was my need to have control.

Do I think it would’ve been a different outcome had I waited? Maybe. I mean truly, everything is possible with God, and this is clearly an area where I needed to be tested and refined a bit more.

Either way, all that matters is how I did act, which was on my own timing. After several hours of a semi-catatonic state on the couch, I decided to go to God. Yes, it’s embarrassing it took me so long. It’s not like I wasn’t talking at Him and praying, but I wasn’t trying to listen. You see, we’re doing an Experiencing God study at church and the author said God answers prayers, we just don’t wait long enough for the answer. Mind blown.

So I move to the less comfortable end of my couch, turn on the lamp, and grab my Bible. I begin a prayer asking for guidance. Asking for scripture. Take me anywhere, God. I need to know what to do. Should I get another job? I don’t know if my anxiety could take it. What am I going to do. Tell me. Please. I need You.

Suddenly, two came to mind that weren’t unfamiliar to me, but two I’d never put together. The first was 2 Chronicles 20:12. It features King Jehoshaphat seeing his enemies and understanding he is powerless. He cries out “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes on You.”

This is a verse I’ve had a on a post-it note since I was 18. I don’t know why it struck me like it did then, but God clearly had a purpose. Interestingly, Jehoshaphat had another daunting battle and believed he could do it on his strength. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out.

The next was Matthew 6:33 “seek first the kingdom of God and live righteously and He will give you everything you need.” These words have been long-favorites. Actually, most of chapter 6. I love how it talks about how God clearly cares for all living things, and since He values us above all else, He obviously won’t forsake us.

It became clear what God was telling me. Look to Me, live righteously, seek Me. I know what you need, I know it seems impossible, but I’ve got you.

The tears didn’t stop, but their vibe changed. Suddenly I was elated. My God, my Provider, my Waymaker knew what I needed and I knew He wanted to be glorified through it. Sure, I could get a job, but how does that glorify God?

God’s always had my back with money, despite my countless times of ruining everything. Things have worked out that shouldn’t have and there’s always been money. I’m either a terrible bookkeeper or God is still a God of miracles (it’s the latter, obviously).

Now we’re here, more than a month later and just about three weeks away from the State Tax Robot coming into my savings to take what I owe (I charged what I owned to the federal government because I panicked so there goes my manageable credit card debt). I’ve spent every morning by seeking Him and asking to dwell in His house of peace, and it’s made a huge difference in my life and peace overall. But I’m still struggling with this financial miracle.

See, I’ve heard countless tales of unexpected checks and things clearing at just the right moment, and I believe them wholeheartedly, but being here has been such a huge test. In the first chapter of James, it says we won’t receive if we don’t fully believe and that terrifies me. I know God is faithful and keeps His word, but what if I heard it wrong? I don’t think I did. Why on earth would I, the worst kind of control freak, leave my financial fate to a plan I can’t know?

It doesn’t make sense to me or most humans, so it must be God.

Any time I start to maybe look for something else I stop and remember who this is about. God is going to bless me, not only because He loves me and always takes care of me, but because how it will show His glory and greatness. His miracle for me will bless others. And I want it to! I want people to see how He moved in my life and realize He’s with all of us, always.

I’m up and down in my fear every day, but I hold fast to His promise. Even if a magic check doesn’t show up and I’m in more trouble with the tax people, that won’t mean He failed me. It just means my story isn’t over yet. And I need to be willing to remain faithful through every day, week, month, and year that I struggle with none of it making sense.

To keep it interesting, I lost one of my freelancing clients this week which puts my finances into an even more precarious balance. In all honesty, I don’t know how I’m alive. I’m not ‘trying to save’ broke. I’m ‘how am I still alive’ broke. Spending $5 worries me because that makes a huge difference in my budget right now. I look at the numbers and have to fight the dismay that tries to steal my joy every day.

I’m holding fast to the promise that my circumstances don’t matter to God. He’s not behind me when I check my budget going, ‘yeah, you are out of luck. Even I can’t fix this.’ Dude fed 5,000+ people with five loaves of bread and two fish, so He can radically change my situation.

I also don’t try to imagine how it will happen, mainly because I’m not trying to anticipate or put God in a box. My mind wanders, but I shut it down because I can’t know the thoughts of God. All I know is the outcome is God’s responsibility. Obedience is mine. (originally heard this phrase from Pastor Steven Furtick)

Now, friends, I need your prayers. I need a miracle. Living is really hard right now. I don’t mind the struggle, especially because I know it’s a time where I need to show God I can be trusted with less, but the weight of what I owe is getting to me. I can’t do this on my own, not even the prayer aspect. I want the original elation I had upon realizing that nothing in this world compares to what my God can and will do.

This is long, I know, so thank you for taking the time to read it and pray for me. I look forward to sharing the update about what God does in my life because I know it will be major.

Maybe the Daniel Fast will fix my problems

Last year I spent my life unbecoming who I was. Several realizations in 2017 led me to face my problems and issues instead of pretending they didn’t exist. I wanted to stop balancing between God and the world and find sure footing with my Savior. I couldn’t pretend to be the same person anymore.

The process of unbecoming broke me.

No longer could I hold to my safeguards. My soul was laid bare in counseling sessions and I was forced to face my biggest demons and anxieties. Through small groups I let go of the shame I’ve lived with and finally found freedom. For someone who claims to be an open book, I’d never felt more exposed.

Now, more than a year into this process, I realized I broke down a lot of the pieces of who I used to be without building up anything new. I’ve left things go and now in my life is silence. Sometimes I just feel like a shell who remembers the human experience but can’t quite feel it herself.

Now, don’t be alarmed. That isn’t a statement of depression, just realization. My life was filled with facades and stripping them away left me here. At first, I blamed the medicine I had to help with anxiety. Surely it was why I felt so bland. Until I intelligently quit essentially cold turkey and after two weeks of dizziness realized it went deeper than a substance altering my brain chemistry. I had changed, I knew this, but I didn’t know where to go.

I’m reading a leadership book with a group at my church and the one question asked us to write out our goals and plans for five years. I realized I didn’t have any. It was hard enough to formulate resolutions for this year, let alone decide where my life is going.

You could argue this is a good thing. I’m learning to follow God one day at a time and trusting He is my way. It’s a nice argument, but it’s wrong.

It’s harder now more than ever to cede what little control I feel over my life, even though I know it’s destroying me. My anxiety has been so high this month I’ve spent most of the time trying to release the tension in my shoulders and breathe so the chest pain stops.

It’s like this. Imagine it’s the apocalypse and literally everything is falling apart in society. Fires are blazing, people are becoming cannibals, and gangs run rampant through the streets. One person realizes he can’t do anything, so he sits inside spraying a plastic plant with water, acting like he’s in control of at least one destiny.

It’s pointless, right? That’s me.

I’ve realized how little I can control so I’ve let the small things blow up inside of me. Growing my relationship with God has been wonderful, but it’s opened me up to so much spiritual warfare and strife that I know is part of the territory. I just hate it and want to keep watering my plastic plant.

This morning my emotions finally reached their breaking point when the scale told me once again, despite being more active and careful about what I eat, I’m still 20 pounds heavier than I’d like. This weighing followed the first day of the Experiencing God study and realizing I want to follow God, but I just can’t do it one day at a time.

Literally every part of me is standing still.

I don’t want to be here. I want spending time with God to be full of excitement and expectancy. I want to be filled with joy and look forward to things and not be so blasé about everything. I want to be a person who managers her anxiety and doesn’t let it rule her. Really I just want to enjoy my life again. And that’s when it hit me.

The Daniel Fast.

Here are three important things to know about me: 1. I’ve never successfully completed any food fast in my life. 2. I buy so many processed foods I’m practically made out of preservatives and 3. My meal prepping involves making a sandwich with white bread, meat, and American cheese, or cooking something frozen. I am not equipped to do this fast.

When I look at all my problems, I know there’s a common solution, and it’s my faith. I need to turn to God every single day, beyond just my daily reading in the Bible, and learn to depend completely on Him. Not ask Him for the big picture, but just have Him lead me today. With the Daniel Fast, I’ll need Him more than ever to give me a strength and perseverance I don’t possess. I won’t be able to do it on my own.

More than just relying on Him to sustain me, I’ll have to have faith in my financial situation. One of my biggest excuses for the way I eat is that I can’t afford to eat better, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true. I’m too afraid to change my life and try. With this, I have to rely that God will make a way even when my bank account is like whattttt.

Plus, part of being a disciplined Jesus Follower involves taking care of our bodies and I know I’m not treating mine as well as I could. Beyond the weight I want to lose, I know there are systematic issues I need to address, like the way I fuel myself.

Now, I don’t plan to do this and then never eat sugar or meat or French bread pizza again. God gave us food to enjoy, right? Physically, it will be like a reset and a way to show myself I can do better because right now it would be hard to do worse.

My goal is for this to be one big kickstart to my life before it’s too late. I don’t want to accept that this is how I’ll always feel and let complacency convince me solitude is best. I want to find joy in my relationships and have dreams again. I want to wake up every morning (or at least most mornings) excited to see what God is going to do with me that day. I want to stop trying to do everything by myself.

I want to rejoin the human experience and I hope the Daniel Fast will get me there.

[Apologies if none of this makes sense and there are typos galore. Sometimes you need to get a thought out of your head without worrying about if everything is correct.]

Forgiveness is more than saying sorry

Earlier this year I read a book with a leadership team about trusting people. In one section, it talked about the certainty that people will betray us in this life, because Jesus was betrayed. My mind was blown. If Jesus, God’s Son/the Word at the Beginning/our Lord and Savior/the Perfect Lamb experienced betrayal, so will we.

Yet when it happens, we act as if it’s this huge scandal and we can never trust someone again. Sometimes, yeah, it’s really awful. Forgiving someone isn’t easy because of what they’ve done and trusting someone new can be even harder.

I think this is where Jesus’ story of betrayal becomes even more applicable. In the Gospels, we learn about Jesus beginning his missions and selecting 12 disciples. These men weren’t randos He found on the street; as long as it had been planned that He would come for us, these guys were a part of it.

We don’t learn about the specifics of each of them, but we do know he called Peter first. More than helping spread Christianity in the beginning, Peter is probably most known for denying Jesus three times after he was told her would do it. Peter swore he would die for his Lord, only to deny knowing him thrice to save his own skin.

When Jesus walked up to Peter in his fishing boat, he wasn’t impressed by his fisherman’s prowess. He knew what Peter was capable of and needed him to be the rock upon which He’d build His church. In that moment, Jesus knew in His hour of need Peter would run, but He still saw his potential.

Judas was recruited as a disciple at some point, too. Can you imagine knowing you had to choose the person who would ultimately cost you your life and let him be an intimate friend? During His ministry, Jesus turned a blind eye to Judas’ stealing from their funds because He knew the greater plan in place. I asked can you imagine, but I cannot imagine in the slightest. It’s mind bottling.


Jesus knew the part each of them would play in His life and death, but that didn’t change his feelings for them. Even if their eventual betrayal hurt him, He still loved them.

In the same conversation that would lead to Him predicting Peter’s denial, He left them with a new commandment:

“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34

Woof. That ‘just as I have loved you’ is filled with so many emotions for me. It’s the unconditional kind of love where He’s telling them I have loved you despite everything, and it’s your job to love others that same way.

Judas and Peter went on two different paths following Jesus’ death. Almost immediately, Judas felt the guilt of his actions and hanged himself. Peter, similarly racked with guilt, had the opportunity to speak to Jesus and feel the forgiveness first hand.

You’re going to deal with Judas’ and Peter’s in your life, both literally and metaphorically (although naming your child Judas is like thinking Jezebel is a good name). Sometimes people will hurt you and the relationship cannot be repaired. But that doesn’t mean you assume every single person after him or her will do the same. You don’t close off your heart because of what one person did.

Imagine if Jesus were like us. He came to Earth, gathered His disciples, and realized how truly terrible humans are. It’s likely He would’ve ascended immediately to Heaven and left us to our own devices, avoiding the horrifying ordeal of the cross. Instead, He loved us at our worst and called us to do the same with others.

Sometimes we throw away something too quickly because we’re hurt. In this case, we could be missing out on something great because we were too scared to forgive our Peter. Or too angry and hurt. Again, if Jesus saw Peter after His resurrection and was like ‘nah, I don’t want a jerk like you to feed my sheep,’ the world would probably be different.

Amen, amen, amen to the fact that Jesus is not like us and sees past the things of this world. He sees us, you and me, and writes a brilliant story for us. He knows it will contain heartbreak and betrayal, but He knows from experience the beauty of what it can bring to our lives.

Please know I’m not saying immediately forgive and welcome back everyone who’s hurt you into your life. That’s unrealistic and can lead to more hurt. I’m simply asking that you and I forgive like Jesus, which means we love like Jesus. We might not have the same relationship with a person, but we don’t harbor feeling of ill-will.

It’s about accepting that it’s likely everyone you know will hurt you at one time. When I look at my own life, I know this to be true. And I know I’ve hurt all those people, too. But I want to love like Jesus and not hold grudges or even tiny feelings of resentment masked by pretenses of forgiveness.

I get that it’s really hard, but it’s also really rewarding.

Just a reminder that you’re incredible

I want you to know how loved you are. By me, Jesus, and everyone else in this life. You are valuable and important. This world would not be the same without you. Thank you for waking up every day and bringing your special magic into life. 

Most of us don’t like receiving an endless stream of compliments. I meant all of those words, but it’s so easy for your brains to tell you I’m just saying that because it’s the introduction to this post. Or, even worse, if only I really knew you I wouldn’t believe that.  I know that because it’s the same struggle I face.

No matter how worried we are about what someone thinks about us, it could never be worse than what goes on in our own heads. Every compliment is immediately met with either an internal or external rebuttal. We don’t want people getting the wrong idea. We’re really just a steaming garbage pile covered by skin.

For a long time, I believed I wasn’t a good or worthy person. I let the words of others define me and began to doubt every nice word. As a result, everything I did felt fake. If I wasn’t a good person, surely every act of kindness and service must be a facade to cover the stench of the garbage within. I lived in fear that someday a vent would somehow escape and someone would get a whiff, exposing the real me.

Then I wrote a letter from God.

My counselor wanted me to figure out how God truly felt about me, beyond just the words I read in the Bible. Yes, I obviously believe those words are true, but do they really apply to me? I’ve done this, this, and this. I still struggle with that. God loves me, but He probably doesn’t like me that much.

I put off the assignment for weeks because I knew it would wreck me. I was about to face my Creator, and I knew it was going to be painful. I was forbidden to include anything I knew God wouldn’t say, which meant I had to erase all the negative thoughts about myself. They weren’t from God and I couldn’t bring them into the mix.

The process began with some journaling. Using ‘Who You Say I Am’ as a guide, I read specific Bible verses about who I am with God before Finally I sat down at my computer, said a quick prayer, typed a few words, and began to wail. I was ugly crying to the extreme.

What I journaled that fateful evening, March 22, 2018

When I dreamed of you, I knew what your life would look like. I saw all the joy, but I knew about the pain. It breaks my heart to see how you feel. To feel how you feel. There are reasons, of course, as to why I kept those hard parts in. I wish I could explain, but that’s not what you need. You don’t need answers. You need me. Well, that you get. What you need is to believe you are who I say you are.”

This activity brought God’s reckless love to my level and it hit me so hard. Even now, as I reread the letter, the tears begin to fall. It’s written in a similar tone to my own style because I honestly feel like this is how my conversation with God would go.

The letter continues by going over specific struggles in my life and a shame that’s followed me since childhood, but it ends with the words I know He has for all of us:

“I love you so much. I know you know that it was enough to send my son and all that, but I need you to know that that was a hard sacrifice, but when I pictured your face and you doing some sort of weird dance in public, I knew it was worth it. You will always be worth it to me. I know your dad left, but I won’t. I won’t. I won’t. When I showed Abraham the stars and told him his descendants would be as numerous as them, I knew which one was yours.

More than just love you, I like you. A lot. I never text Gabriel about how today you were kind of annoying. Every day I like you a little bit more, and I never like you less. You are special. You are known. You are understood. You are forgiven. Walk with me, and live loved.”

I share these words with you because this love and passion isn’t just for me. God sees all of your weird quirks and habits and remembers how He designed you to be that way. He thinks about how odd you are and it reminds Him that this sacrifice of His son was worth it. Anytime you think you’re less than perfectly assembled, think again.

“This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.” Psalm 139:6 (TPT)

Once I fully let in the love of God, these words hit home too. I never have to explain myself to God. He has the greatest understanding of me, and He knows. Whenever I think about my perceived inadequacies, I remember how perfectly designed I am, and I let them give me strength.

Friends, it’s easy to believe the lies, especially in a world that tells you to standout while constantly reminding you that you aren’t actually special. It’s easy to get lost in this confusion and assume you aren’t really that great in the grand scheme of things. I’m here to remind you that you are.

Jesus would go to the cross every time, even if it was just for you. He knew all the ways you would fall short, and He did it anyway. He died for you, for me, for everyone.

You, right where you are, are amazing. You are spectacular. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Life without you would be more dull. You shine with more colors than my glitter collection, and let me tell you, it’s extensive.

Remind yourself every day that you are perfect just as you are. God doesn’t make mistakes, especially not with you.

We love you more than you know.

Wanting vs. Lacking

When I picture the Israelites who fled Egypt with Moses, they remind me of children in the back of a car during a long road trip. Just unbelievably obnoxious. It doesn’t matter how many times they’re told something, they still complain. Basically Israelites in a nutshell.

If you’re unfamiliar with their story, let’s recap. Moses, a Hebrew boy who floated down the Nile to royalty, returned to Egypt to set his people free after God told him to via a burning bush. Pretty rad so far. Pharaoh said no so God sent a series of escalating plagues like frogs, locusts, blood water, and then killing first-born sons.

Finally Pharaoh says ‘fine, go’ and they leave, but then he changes his mind and pursues them. God then parts the Red Sea and His people walked across on dry ground. As soon as they had safely crossed, he collapsed the water walls and all the Egyptians drowned.

Once they were free, they began approaching the Promised Land, but then got scared of the current inhabitants and were doomed to wander the wilderness for 40 years. They followed a cloud around what I believe is about an 11-mile distance during that time and were just constantly awful.

That’s like three books of the Bible and a lot of laws and lineages condensed into three paragraphs, so my apologies to the scholars out there.

The foundation of following Jesus is faith and believing in the miraculous. I’ve seen some incredible, life-changing things in my life, but I’ve never seen God part a body of water. He’s never sent me a cloud that helped me know where I needed to go. The Israelites witnessed these miracles. And within days they complained. About everything.

So here we have these Israelites traversing the wilderness with God and Moses in the front seat. Several times God was literally ready to destroy them all for their lack of faith and obedience, but Moses would intercede and convince Him to calm down. This analogy basically writes itself.

Within one chapter of their Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites are complaining. They want to know what they will drink, so God provides. They want to know what they will eat, so God provides. Every time something went wrong, they immediately starting remembering their slavery fondly. Yep, you read that right. Despite being provided everything they needed, they still wished they were slaves when they “had it made.”

Like Moses and God, I’m so annoyed by the Israelites. They have so little faith in a situation where they’ve been rescued time and time again. How could they be so foolish? They were never satisfied as a people, always searching for something better and believing the grass was greener before being freed. They constantly sought new idols despite worshiping the living God.

I’m so annoyed because I’m just like them.

Sure, God’s never let food rain down from Heaven for me, but I’ve never been hungry. I might not always eat exactly like I want, but there’s always food in my kitchen. I can’t afford a new wardrobe every year so maybe my fashion is lacking, but I have clothes and usually look like a presentable human. But my thoughts are always filled with how much I want and how much I lack when in reality, I lack nothing.

It’s easy for wanting and lacking to seemingly overlap. We can let what we want overpower our better sense and seem more like a necessity than it actually is. The desire for more in any area of our life is common, especially in a world full of Instagram aesthetics and unobtainable Pinterest boards.

We’re told how much we lack every day. I don’t just want a boyfriend, social media shows me how much I’m missing out on because I’m single. I don’t just wish I had a nicer bedroom design, social media tells me what I should have to make my room cool and modern. Ads tell me I should cook more and buy this latest style of shoe.

No matter where you look, it’s clear you don’t have enough to reach your peak in this world. You’ve never quite attained enough to achieve the perfect aesthetic we all want. That’s all our lives become is wanting.

Generations after the Israelites settled in what would become Israel and Judah, they were exiled because they still hadn’t learn to trust God. After 70 years, they returned and rebuilt the wall under the leadership of Nehemiah. Once the work was done, they praised God and said

“For forty years, you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing.” Nehemiah 9:21

What was once a source of annoyance for the Israelites became a point of praise in recognizing how God had never left them. Hindsight, am I right?

In reality, most of our wants don’t matter. When I die, I’m not going to care about whether I had the right throw pillows or the most current style of booties to wear in the fall. We get so caught up on these things of right now that in 20 years we probably won’t even remember we wanted. We’re only going to remember what we had and how we were sustained.

I’m not writing this as someone who has mastered understanding wanting vs. lacking. I usually view the two as equal which is why I’ll be paying a hefty monthly fee for the next four years to pay off a consolidation loan I received for my credit card debt. When I think about everything I purchased with my credit cards, like makeup, clothes, and cheap Ikea furniture I threw away after a year, I’m so frustrated. I remember certain things I had to have, but not $30,000 worth of things. Because yes, that is where my wants got me.

Fortunately, I am better than I used to be. But I have a long way to go. I want Nehemiah’s words to remind me that even when it seems like I don’t have enough, I don’t actually lack anything. My God will sustain me and I’m learning to be content with what I have, not wanting more.

The moral of this story? Don’t be like the whiny Israelite children in the backseat complaining about what you don’t have. Graduate to the middle row with mature, teenage Nehemiah and remember how God will get you through.

And thank God that He sent Jesus to intercede for us just like the Israelites had Moses.

28 Things about me I’ve accepted after 28 years of being me

Five years ago I wrote about the lessons I had learned after 22 years of life. I remember feeling like I had turned a curve of adulthood at 23 and everything seemed to make sense. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that two months later I quit my job, moved home, and realized 23 is actually the worst year of life.

Now at 28, I know my life is one big disaster in thinking I can do it on my own. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I’m confident in who my Creator designed me to be. It doesn’t mean I’m not still insecure at times. I’m still me, after all. It just means I can take an honest appraisal of myself and accept all the strange and unavoidable facts about me, like:

  • I have a weird hairline

In eighth grade a boy asked me if I had a receding hairline. After this, I took a vow to the gods of old to never show my forehead again. Despite having a luxurious head of hair, what lies beneath my bangs and at the base of my skull is a weird terrain of baby hair and awkward patterns. These days I’m slightly more confident about letting it all hang out, but understand that bangs simply frame my face better.

  • My palette is unrefined

To be clear, I’m not someone who orders chicken tenders at every restaurant. I’m not a barbarian. I can appreciate good and exotic food with the best of them. I’m just not good at discerning between flavors. My favorites are all basic dishes because my mouth can wrap its tasty brain around the classics. Don’t ask me to tell you what flavors are in something, either. Unless I’m eating a strawberry, I won’t be able to tell you it’s strawberry flavored.

  • I can’t really tell if something is good

Similar to my poor palette is my inability to really judge and compare things like food, books and movies. With age, I’ve gotten better at admitting what I liked best and offering my opinion, but I still worry immensely no one will agree with me.

  • I am not good at finding things

Have you ever seen the GIF of John Travolta in his character from Pulp Fiction opening his arms and looking around puzzled? That’s basically me. Whether it’s an Easter basket hidden the house, a file on a computer, or something on a table you’re pointing out to me, I probably won’t find it. I promise I try. I really do.

  • I’m a really poor communicator

As a writer and communications professional, this is a little embarrassing. For most of my life, I would explain or say something and be misunderstood. I’ve often found myself explaining things several times. Until a few years ago, I thought it was everyone else’s problem and I was the superior being. Nope. Turns out I have a lot of words but no clear understanding of how to use them to explain a point properly.

  • I don’t have any exciting hobbies

When people ask what you like to do for fun, I’ve always wanted to say something interesting like climb mountains or learn Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes I say travel because it is something I enjoy, but I don’t view it as a hobby. At the end of the day, I like reading and taking walks. And learning. I love gaining new knowledge and then sharing it when anyone will listen. I’m a huge nerd, but we can’t all be thrill seekers.

  • I will never have a large group of best friends

I remember going to college and assuming I would meet all these people with similar interests and we would all be best friends. Movies and television taught me that you need these large friend groups to get through every phase of life. Sure, I had a lot of friends in high school, but it was different.

Being only two years shy of 30, it seems unlikely that I’ll ever have a monster group, but I left college with something even better. My heterosexual life partner, Samantha. No offense to all my other friends because I like you guys too, but if I was faced with choosing between losing her and having other friends or only having her, she would win without a moment’s hesitation.

  • I am a great aunt

Not like a great aunt like a great grandma. That would be weird. Nothing makes me happier than my nieces wanting to cuddle with me.

  • I am weak when it comes to my mouth

I am the epitome of a big mouth, although mercifully it’s been shrinking as I’ve matured. It seems like my mouth and my heart are always after two different things and even when I know I shouldn’t say something, my mouth barges forward because it knows the reaction it will get.

  • I will always prefer sweatpants

I wish I was someone who changed into jeans after she takes off her work clothes, but that ain’t me. If I’m going somewhere after work, maybe. If I’m just home, heck no. I am in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, no bra. Sometimes I just skip right to pajamas. I have this great balance between looking good and enjoying the reward of looking like a bum at the end of the day.

  • I am responsible

There was a phase in my life where I somehow lost sight of the old woman I truly am and assumed I wasn’t a responsible adult. I let this idea grow until it became how everyone viewed me. But 28-year-old Chelsea is here to set the record straight. I’m responsible AF, y’all.

  • I am opinionated

If you don’t want to know how I feel about something, just don’t speak in my presence. I have feelings about basically everything and usually have zero issues with sharing.

  • I’m not political

There are things in this world I care about (people mostly). My politics come down to loving people no matter where they are or what situation of life they’re in. I don’t care about parties or policies. Nothing else in this world matters to me except for loving people.

  • I’m hairy

Remember when I talked about my weird hairline? Yeah, turns out I’m hairy all over. I used to be super self-conscious and think about shaving my arms but now I’m like nah. It’s cool that my hair grows down my neck. I have a cute little ‘stache that creeps in now and again.

  • I’m not super fashionable

I’m not saying this like I don’t care how I like or I look like a bum. I’m aware that 90% of the time in public I look nice. Usually my look is more classic instead of in style. Sam, for example, is always wearing things that are trendy. I used to pin looks on Pinterest and decide now was the time I would buy more fashionable clothing. Occasionally I stumble into something on the cutting edge, but usually I’m just low key me.

  • I have nice hair

This isn’t one I’m going to go on and on about. It’s just a blessing I’m aware of. So many people complain about their hair not styling or holding, and mine does both. I don’t need to use products and it will look good all day. It’s a nice balance between of thickness and softness and the color isn’t bad either. This has gone on too long.

  • I hate classification labels

Virgo, ENFJ, INFJ, 4, Introvert, Extrovert

These are all ways you can describe me and there are levels of truth in all of them; however, I HATE how people think they can understand you just by asking what your Enneagram is or if you’re an extrovert.

Now that I’m thinking about it, my frustration comes down to our quick intimacy culture. We’re obsessed with knowing how you’re classified because it helps us immediately understand someone. We think it gives us a deeper access into who they are. Just like how we present ourselves on social media. I want someone to learn about me not because they know my Myers Briggs rankings, but because they just know me.

Despite these labels, they can never fully capture the uniqueness of a human. I am Chelsea. A child of God. Lover not a fighter. Hufflepuff. These are the only classifications I like.

  • I’m bad at doors

I just don’t get locks and handles. I never turn, push or pull the right way. In defeat I usually walk away and have someone help me. It’s a major weakness I can’t overcome.

  • I’m a really lazy go-getter

People meet me and listen to me and assume I’m like the crazy proactive person. This is sometimes true. Because I am frequently a ball of energy that is literally bursting with enthusiasm (probably because I’m a Virgo, jk), I go through phases of intense activity and profound laziness. I have yet to find a way to balance the energy with the relaxation, but I’m always optimistic.

  • I’m an unshakeable optimist

If you ever hear me unsure if something will work out (outside of professional work opinions), it’s usually because being an eternal optimist can drive people crazy. I believe in seeing the best in people and believing in what will happen. Sometimes I hide this to commiserate with people so they like me more. I wish I didn’t do this.

  • I’m super obsessive

I literally have to limit myself on Netflix because I can binge like nobody’s business. I become emotionally invested in shows and feel out of sorts in my real life thinking about plot lines in a show. It happens with books sometimes, too. Usually I can walk away and give myself space. Usually.

  • I am not polished

Don’t watch me try to eat or get out of a car in a skirt. Isn’t there a saying about putting lipstick on a pig? I feel like that. I can look carefully assembled, but really I’m just a slob.

  • I am goofy

What can I say? I’m a silly billy. Prone to dance and sing in public, it’s likely I’ll embarrass you at some point when we’re together. I also make a lot of weird jokes that people miss and think I’m serious. As I mentioned, I’m a poor communicator.

  • I am smart

I was raised by a mother who never let me think I was smart so to this day I’m still surprised when sometimes tells me I’m smart. Let’s be clear – I’m not Harvard smart. I stopped at Organic Chemistry because it got too complicated. My main skills are information retention. If you know me and read this and think I’m an idiot, you’re not wrong. Brains can’t help with my lack of common sense or strangeness.

Upon re-reading I want to point out my mom was careful so I didn’t become a precocious know-it-all and drive everyone crazy. Thanks to her diligence, I wasn’t a complete know-it-all.

  • I’m an oversharer

Few things bring me more joy than when people ask about me, especially after clarifying they’re not trying to be too intrusive. I don’t think I have anything in my life I will not freely discuss in any situation. I thrive on sharing too much. Be careful what you ask for.

  • I’m a good arguer

So yes, I hate to fight and will likely end up in tears myself, but usually I’m too stubborn to give up. It used to drive my mom crazy how I could basically win an argument because I could wear the other person down. Twice I won debates in high school with minimal research on my end just because of my passion. Seriously.

  • I’m always trying to do my best

This site is called Seemingly Good Ideas because I make a lot of stupid choices, but at the end of the day it’s because I’m trying to do the best I can. I’m just a human, that’s all.

  • I’m a work in progress

I’m not going to accomplish everything I want overnight and this path has shown that the self improvement and progress is worth it. I hope until the day I die I consider myself a work in progress because there’s always room to grow.


This annoying habit of theming my birthdays began three birthdays ago at age 25, after a trip to Ireland woke me up. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know that was just the beginning of my transformation.

#QuarterLifeChelsea began with a full month of celebrations and a dedication to living as  God called me. Also just living my life in general instead of hiding from it out of fear. I initially believed 25 would be about stability. I lived in a duplex and had a car payment, steady job, and a dog. It seemed like I had my life in order.

Following God, I’ll remind you, usually means we don’t actually have it figured out. Soon it became apparent I needed to leave my job and the perfect opportunity opened up to take me to Buffalo with my family. Then a month after that my dog was killed and I was living with my parents. #Ridiculous26 began with pink hair, a nose piercing, and a new tattoo. I took the lessons I learned from Ireland and my growing trust in God and just really went for it.

I left my comfortable full-time job to work at Sephora. More than the economic hardships I obviously endured, the bigger struggle was dealing with my family constantly telling me I had made a mistake. I didn’t know where my path was going, but I knew it wasn’t wrong.

It was during this time I had my come to Jesus moment.

Well, maybe not come to Jesus because I’d been saved for almost 15 years at that point. No, it was the moment when I realized I couldn’t keep living with the world and growing my faith. The two parts couldn’t meet up – I was still chained to the person I thought I had to be while lightly grooming the one I had to be. Even though I’d been going to church my entire life, I’d never felt that desire to be different. I didn’t think it was possible.

Fortunately, this changed when I got really drunk at a boat party, someone shared pictures and then I went to church and served hungover.

It was here a dear friend spoke into my life because she saw my duplicity, but more importantly she saw my potential. Suddenly, I knew I could be different. I wanted to change. This began a whirlwind. My first decision was to stop drinking and it’s one I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

By the time 27 rolled around, I went with #27thHeaven because I didn’t really know what else I was going for. My life was still in such an upheaval and I remained directionless. I forced myself to do the usual parade of September activities assuming it would help me feel like me again.

This is where I’m going to fast forward because honestly there’s so much and I don’t want this post to lose focus. This is what happened in nutshell: it’s like suddenly I reached the end of this dark uphill tunnel and I saw a glimpse of what God had for me. All of the work I’d been doing in my life made sense and suddenly I was new.

Everything in between are stories for another day. The end result is #Dedicate28. All of those years were about me, but I want that to change. This September wasn’t filled with endless activities. I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus and everything I do to point to Him. I want His greatness to shine, and I know I can’t do this if I keep putting myself at the center.

It’s not going to be an easy year. I mean, living without social media is challenge enough, not to mention everything else going on. But I’m confident in what God is doing. He’s shown me His faithfulness time and time again and I don’t want to lose sight of that glory for my own.