22 Things I Learned at 22

  1. When God has something for you, you won’t be able to run from it for long.
  2. Community is so SO important.
  3. It’s okay to be scared, but do the thing, even if you have to do it afraid.
  4. Guarding your heart is so important, and more difficult that it sounds.
  5. It’s okay to say ‘NO’ to people and things. You’re not letting them down or disappointing them, but you are preventing yourself from reaching a point of burn out.
  6. I need God just as much on my best day as on my worst.
  7. When I don’t feel equipped, prepared or good enough, God will always fill in the gaps.
  8. Getting your heart broken sucks, but breaking someone else’s heart sucks even more.
  9. Europe has terrible coffee, and is a sure way to kick your caffeine addiction in the butt.
  10. My testimony is powerful, and has nothing to do with me, but EVERYTHING to do with God.
  11. Surrendering things to God means laying them down, and not picking them back up again.
  12. Don’t compare your life to what you see on social media. It’s just one big highlight reel.
  13. When you give everything to God, you better believe He’s gonna use all of it.
  14. Trying new foods can be fun, but also involves lots of mental strength (ramen, sushi and poke).
  15. Being vulnerable is so uncomfy, but so important for growth and healing.
  16. my weight is not consistent, but I love my body in each and every season.
  17. No matter how far away from God I feel I’ve run, He knows exactly where I am, and will wait gladly with open arms for me.
  18. The worst is never the worst.
  19. Never settle on anything. ever. just. don’t. do. it.
  20. You are only responsible for your response, not another person’s reaction.
  21. I have more reasons to sing than to fear (facing stage fright gets easier).
  22. The way you speak to and about yourself matters. Your thoughts matter, so let them be lovely.

The Beauty of Change

I recently spent a month running around Europe, and this trip couldn’t have come at a better time. Right before leaving, I decided to quit everything. Yep, I had the chance to literally drop everything – I quit my job, was on summer break from school and evaluated areas of my life that weren’t necessarily healthy or good for my mental and emotional state, and let go.

I am a firm believer in change. It is so important that we step out of our ordinary, our comfort zones, and the things that we know. I’m going to be honest though, I don’t love change. For obvious reasons, like the fact that it is super uncomfortable and adjusting to change feels like it takes forever. That being said, I understand it’s value and place growth above comfort. So for me, getting out of my current environment for a month, and spending time with family was much needed. I would like to note that leaving your situation or environment is not always the answer, because change is something that must take place mentally, emotionally and or spiritually, but dang, sometimes leaving everything behind for a while is really effective…. until you come back.

So there I was, in England, Ireland and Paris. I had a lot of time to reflect on what the past 6 months had been for me: the good, the bad and the ugly. I had a chance to seek God with a grateful heart for prayers that He had answered. I had a chance to seek God for my future, uncertain for me, but fully known by Him, and to seek Him in my present and just sit in His presence, appreciating His goodness.

England is beautiful, and I could easily see myself living in London one day. Churches in that country are like Starbucks to the U.S… there’s one on every corner. They’re so old, hold so much history, and are beautifully kept, unlike those in Ireland. See the churches and abbeys in Ireland were beautiful, hundreds of years ago, but there was a time where England attempted to invade, destroying the churches and killing the monks. (Through learning about all of this, I also learned that my family in Ireland is royalty… no big deal).

The churches and abbeys were left in ruins, and were never restored. I couldn’t tell you how many we visited, and with every one, the same emotions ran through me. You see, these were the places that God spoke to me the loudest. I walked in through what used to be the front entrance, to a roofless, windowless, doorless abbey. Where there used to be a floor, was now lush green grass and wildflowers. I took a few steps and sat down. God spoke to me in that moment. He reminded me that the things that were meant to destroy you, He takes and makes beautiful again. I looked at the walls of this building, made of crumbling stone, and looked at them as the cracks in my heart, filled in with new growth, with seeds of hope, purpose, love and beauty.

The thing is, no matter how much destruction has taken place in your life, no matter how broken or ‘unfixable’ we feel, how forgotten or abandoned we feel, how irrelevant we feel, there is a God who is planting seeds in the cracks that were created in the destruction, and when watered by His word, His love and His overwhelming peace, the seeds in those cracks, those dry bones come to life.

I’ve seen God’s construction on the destruction on my life for years, and it almost feels wrong to say that He restores, because He doesn’t restore your heart or life to it’s original state, to the way it was before, because when God works in your life, believe me, you will never come out the same as you once were. When God works in your life, He changes you, He lays a foundation of love and grace, and builds you back up stronger than before. Knowing that helps me welcome change in my own life, because I know that when change happens in my life, i’m not going through change alone. God is always planting, always building, always doing a new thing, and that to me is so beautiful. Yes, change itself is uncomfortable, but what brings me comfort is knowing the author of my life. Knowing the one who is changing me for the better.

Picture Perfect?

It’s a little ironic that I’m writing a post on the perception of perfection, and this is maybe the fifth time I’ve tried writing this (guess who’s a perfectionist…). I hear it every now and then, some variation of “Oh I thought you were just this perfect person who had it all together”. I’ve had people ask me how I keep my prayer life so strong, how I stay so consistent in my time with God, how I have so much wisdom at my age, how I’ve thrived as a bible study leader, how I do all of the things. I don’t say this to sound conceited or to come across as perfect, hear my heart.

I’ve never felt ‘perfect’ or like I’ve ever ‘had it together’ because i’m nowhere near perfect and I never have, and honestly never will ‘have it together’ (does anyone actually?). I’m an imperfect person. I’m human. I feel like most of my life I’ve been the ‘dark horse’ or the ‘underdog’, the one who gets close, but just seems to just miss the mark- or at least that’s how I’ve often felt.

My response when people share their perceptions and assumptions of me with me, whether as a remark or as part of a question, is somehow shocking to them, but this is me: I have a short attention span, and often my mind wanders off while I pray, I talk with God constantly throughout my day, but don’t have a streak on my bible app. I have been through some crazy storms and seasons at my young age, more than some, less than others. Sure, in some areas, I have gained wisdom, but in others, I have a heck of a lot to learn.

I have never been a bible study leader before, and when I first started my group, no one showed up, and it was really discouraging. The second time around, I reached out to other people who were around my age who were already leading successful groups. The best advice I received was to be intentional with the people you do have, because the success of your group isn’t dependent on how big it is, but rather how impactful it is with the people you do have. (if you are thinking of starting a bible study- write that down!). The most important thing is to open your heart and a space for God to move, and trust me, He will take care of the rest. I do a lot, I stretch myself so thin (i’m a people pleaser, which is a post in itself), but it has led me to burnout, and I have learned the hard way that you cannot do all the things and do them well.

That being said, sure, I have a strong prayer life, but it’s something that I am working to improve constantly… it takes practice, just like the time I spend with God, reading my bible, meditating on His word and seeking Him throughout the day. I’ll be forever growing in those areas, and will still never perfect them. I have an amazing bible study and community of young ladies, but I can’t take credit for that. I have an incredible co-leader, and an anointed worship leader who help create an environment where others feel welcome. When you create the space for God to move, just watch Him move those mountains. I could never do it alone.

The wisdom I have was birthed from some painful seasons in my life, and is also something that I have gained by surrounding myself with wise people who have walked through things that I am yet to walk through. I have learned to say no to commitments when I have too much on my plate. It’s important to know your limits and help where you can without wearing yourself too thin. I’ve realized that I’d much rather give 100% to one or two things, than 10% to 20 (math isn’t my strength, so just roll with it).

See these perceptions and assumptions we have of those around us, placing people on pedestals because of the things they have, or the way they look, or how happy they are… It’s crap and it’s a trap (I’m not a rapper) and I fall for it so often. Instagram is great, it’s fun to post cool pictures with dorky captions, but if you think the amount of followers or likes or comments or DM’s hold your worth in them, then you need to go read your bible some more and find your true value there (you’ll be shook). There have been times where I’ve found myself comparing and have felt ‘less than’ because someone else has the perfect outfit, the perfect body, the perfect ‘life’. It’s one big highlight reel, full of editing. That’s not real. My own Instagram is an example of this to some extent.

I posted a few pictures a while back, and received comments and messages like “wow, you’re glowing”, “you look so so happy”. Here’s what people didn’t know: my friend and I, who are both pretty creative, love to collaborate and create cool content with fashion and photography, had planned this shoot about a month in advance. I was absolutely miserable the day we took those pictures and almost canceled. I was stressed with school, working a job I hated, burnt out, and going through a breakup (if you’re wondering, this ain’t a dating blog, but if that’s what you’re looking for, check out ‘Sleepless in Sacramento’… you won’t regret it). We took a few pictures, before I broke down in front of my friend, calling it a day. I almost didn’t post the pictures, because they didn’t align with how I felt, and i

At the end of the day, I love posting cute pics on Instagram, little snapshots of my adventures, outfits, and the highlights of my life, but it’s not my everything. I think there’s a healthy medium. The minute I feel too invested, or look to the comments or likes to feel “good enough”, I step back, and spend time in the word. It’s easy to become overstimulated by and strive to reach a false level of perfection, but we’ll never get there. We were not created for that.

We belong to a perfect God, who doesn’t want a dressed up, flawless version of you. He wants you, He wants your mess, He wants your flaws, He wants all of you and He loves all of you just the same. God doesn’t just use our highlight reel, He uses our pains and our hurts and He makes something beautiful of them, and if you ask me, even though it’s way easier said than done, I’ll take imperfect and loved fiercely by the Lord over ‘picture perfect’ any day.

Introducing Me

Hey there!

My name is Emily, a twenty-something year old Aussie livin’ it up in California (by livin’ it up, I really mean ‘trying to figure out what is going on’). I am a creative who loves Jesus and has a heart for building community. I wanted to create a space to share my thoughts, funny and generally awkward stories and experiences, offer hope through tough lessons learned and growing pains. I also want this to be a creative outlet, in exploring fashion, beauty and art. But most of all, I want this to be a place where all feel welcome, all feel at home, and all have a friend.

Why ‘The Indigo Project’? I spent three years trying to decide on a name for my blog… If that tells you anything about me, it’s that I’m incredibly indecisive. Indigo is one of my favorite colors, and when researching the meaning it holds, I realized that it aligned with the same qualities I hope for my words to hold. It is a project, something that I am constantly working on. I hope you’ll join me for this wild ride, and I hope you’re ready, because I’m not and well, one of us needs to be.

Buckle up, this is going to be really fun (and also really vulnerable and uncomfy for me…)

With Love,

Emily

INDIGO: Powerful and dignified, it conveys integrity and deep sincerity. Indigo reflects great devotion, wisdom and justice along with fairness and impartiality.

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