Things I Learned in July

Today I’m linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky to share what I learned (and loved) in July!

thingsilearnedinjuly

1. Rainy 4th of July’s can still be an absolute delight with the right company and blueberry cobbler. AND, who knew you could watch fireworks in other less-dreary places on TV? Not the same effect, but also no fear of catching your arm on fire. Always a plus.

2. Youth theater productions are such a fun night out! Tallahassee Young Actors Theater puts on the best shows, and we all loved (yes, even the boys) Legally Blonde: The Musical. Not to mention it’s a HOOT about sorority life. Check out your local community theaters for summer productions-much more entertaining than sitting around the TV and it usually won’t destroy your wallet.

3. Chocolate chip banana “bread” in a mug. My host mom shared this recipe and it’s the best. And just wait-it’s healthy and can be made in the microwave. Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips are allergy friendly and are the only ingredient with sugar! Mix them with egg, banana, flax seed and a sprinkle of walnuts for a single serve treat that won’t set you back.

 

And how cute are these mugs from Anthropologie?
And how cute are these mugs from Anthropologie?

4. Headbands are in, y’all. They are perfect for covering up humidity-fried hair and sending out the “I’m stylish, but I’m not trying too hard,” vibe. I found these gems at Francesca’s, but I’m hoping to make my own with some cute fabric, too!

5. Comparison is the red-handed bandit and destroyer of joy. You are uniquely equipped for your crazy life! It may seem that someone else has everything you’ve ever wanted, but look deeper. What’s the condition of their heart? They are likely to have just as much insecurity and want as you do. Brush it off and keep on keepin’ on!

Want Something Beautiful

www.KaitlinWernet.com "Want Something Beautiful" Christian lifestyle blog for 20-somethings
Hey now, this is my desire. Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful.

These lyrics are from my favorite song by Needtobreathe, a band I could fan-girl babble about for hours, but we’ll save that for next time. To me, great bands are made of two things: 1. well-writen lyrics and 2. out-of-this-world live performances. My Dad, the 70’s rockstar of the family, has been taking me to see his favorite rock legends for as long as I can remember, giving me a genuine appreciation for performers, whoever they may be.

But there’s a certain moment in a concert that absolutely thrills me, and it has nothing to do with the performers, lights or sound. It’s when the band finally breaks into your favorite song, the one you’ve been waiting for all night, and your heart leaps at the recognition. You close your eyes and your lungs explode with each word that you know by heart. Each note seems fuller and more electric than ever before, and you open your eyes to find yourself surrounded by people experiencing the exact same thing. People you’ve never met, and probably never will, but suddenly feel immensely connected to. That song that helped you through your last heartbreak, they heard it too. That song you belt out in your car, they do too. The audience moves and feels together, a true catharsis.

The song strings together so many human experiences, combining to make one beautiful, fluent sound. It’s as close to experiencing the emotions of another as we will ever get here on Earth. In a world where it’s so easy to get caught up in misunderstandings and conflict, music is the reminder that we are all constantly searching. ‘Cause we all just want something beautiful. 

I do the same thing in church. Sometimes, when the time comes for everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads, I leave mine open and look around. The sight of others humbly approaching the same God I know and love soothes my heart. I love seeing the passion or the urgency on the faces of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And many times, the desperation in the faces of some cause me to join right in with them. Prayer brings us to our rawest, purist state and, let me just say, it’s quite a sight. On occasion, I see someone who is fervently leaking their heart out to their creator, and it causes me to step back to get a clearer view of faith.

I imagine that when God hears our prayers, they come streaming in like the same fluent, aching sound found at a concert. Or, at least I hope so.

The same God that knows my heart and my desires knows yours just as well. I could tell myself this each and every day, but not grasp it one bit more tomorrow than I did today. The God that I beg and plead with, you do too. The God I rejoice and praise, you do too. The God I talk to and wonder about, you do too. The God that my heart wrestles with, yours does too.

Modern “Christianity” screams, “Post Bible verses as your Facebook statuses. Be a conservative Republican. Vote against gay marriage. Hate those who do not believe in God. Do not drink. Do not have sex before marriage. Do not have non-Christian friends. Hide your imperfections. Fend for yourselves. Do good things to look good to others. Make Christianity seem appealing.”

It’s so exhausting. Our hearts are so restless and so easily caught up in earthly things. We, myself included, have relentlessly tried to dissect God and His Word into bite-sized pieces our brains are comfortable with. We reduce Him to eliminate fear, and associate Christianity with politics and rights and wrongs, simply because that’s what our tiny little heads can wrap around and relate to. We have become comfortable.

I don’t want a complacent faith. I don’t want to continue to brush off the fact that God loved me so much that He punished his innocent Son for my shortcomings and failures. All I know is that political issues, judgment and do’s and don’ts don’t put my heart at rest. However, my heart finds abundant satisfaction in the constant pursuit of my Creator and His higher purpose.

I’m praying to become unsettled. That my indifferent attitude would be replaced with a radical hunger for the Truth. That I would not get hung up on things that will continue to distract, disappoint and dissolve. That I would hit the ground running into the arms of the only One who loves me wholly and perfectly. To quote Donald Miller,

“Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder.”

And, after all, isn’t that wonder what we’re all after? Something…beautiful, perhaps?

The U-Turn Upside

I am awful at directions. I mean awful.

Unless you can tell me how to get somewhere in relation to a Target or Panera, all hope is lost.

Thank goodness I was born in this techy decade of GPS abundance. Otherwise, I’d tire out quite a few horse and buggies on my “adventures.”

I’m living in Charlotte this summer and it is quite a change from my hometown where there’s THE Target and THE grocery store. No no no. Harris Teeters are on every corner in this city. Like, every.single.one. Gone are the lifelines of, “Yeah, turn by the Harris Teeter and it’s right there,” leaving this girl a little dizzy. But it’s exciting. If taking a different exit home every day because they all look the same is your kind of party.

So my IPhone GPS and I have become quite close this summer. I will not tell you how many weeks I had to use it to get from my house to work. Mainly because those days haven’t passed yet. 🙂

I’ve gained some trust with my GPS through all of these experiences, but some days I think it’s just plain crazy.

“In 2.7 miles, make a U-Turn.” Uh-oh. Panic button. Stop the car.  In my mountain girl mind, this means you are wrong, turn around because you have once again been defeated navigationally by an electronic device smaller than your head.

But in Charlotte, that’s not so much the case.

They have these big fancy cement  dividers (feel free to insert official term here…) to direct and separate traffic lanes. So, sometimes, when my GPS announces, “In 2.7 miles, make a U-turn,” it doesn’t mean I’ve done something wrong. It simply means I have to go a little further around the road block to get to where I need to be.  Panicking and turning around before I have gone the full 2.7 miles won’t help even though I may think it will. My GPS knows what’s ahead, and even though I am trusting it to guide me, I doubt and question its accuracy. Is it taking me to where I actually want to go? Or did it misread my instructions?

It wasn’t until I was helpless in the middle of a parking lot who knows where that I realized my attitude toward my GPS is a lot like my attitude toward God. I think that if I type in the directions of where I want to go, much like going to church, praying and doing good things, followed by Pressing Go, will get me there. I follow the directions, step by step, until I am told to make a U-Turn. A U-Turn?  Say that, Lord? Do that, God? Oh, anything but that. I don’t have the time. That’s not where I’m supposed to go. I had a plan and I was depending on you getting me there, and now I’m not so sure anymore.

Kaitlin Wernet

But what if…there’s an unseen roadblock. What seems like the long or wrong way around things, could end up being your saving grace. Or the sweetest, most wild adventure you never would have dreamed up yourself. Jesus doesn’t have to “recalculate” based on your circumstances or your reactions. And you don’t have to double check his work along the way.

At the end, you will reach your destination. It may not have been the place you originally planned, but you can trust that it is where you are meant to be. You won’t have to turn around. This is a one way street, and all He’s asking you to do is hold on tight and enjoy the wind blowing in your hair.

Fancy Seeing You Here

 

You made it! 

Welcome to my new place! It’s still a work in progress, but if you will step over the boxes and excuse the wet paint for a few days, I think it has the potential to be a cozy place we both call home.

Now, to catch you up! At the time I concluded my study abroad blog, I was busting at the seams with inspiration, words, (even some in different languages), and every best intention of propelling forward with one of those “grown up” blogs. You know, the kind that would attach my name to my writing, no cutesy names, no “anonymous” postings, just me. The real deal. So here I am!

I have a confession, my dear readers. (And have I mentioned how DEAR you are to me?! You’re so patient. So encouraging. So eager. I love that about you. Insert more butter for your supportive little hearts here.)

 

I don’t have much to say. 

Okay, okay. Any of my writing teachers or closest friends know that’s somewhat of a bold-faced lie. Let me rephrase.

I have too much to say.

 

Alright, flip flop fanny, you’re thinking.

 

But you’re still here. And I appreciate that. Even though you call me Fanny.

 

I’m tempted to fill your screens with lists of what I’ve been doing, learning, and experiencing recently. I want to tell you stories about my internship and awkward post-abroad encounters and all about my host family. But I’m not. You know why?

 

Because God can do more than that.

 

Blogging and prayer have been consistent themes in my days recently like a trick-birthday-candle God nudge. Can’t ignore it. Can’t blow it out. Can’t stomp it out. I’m out of breath and the flame’s still there. And if I ignore it, it will burn my house down. But if I don’t ignore it and pray it out enough, there’s cake!!

I’m learning that sometimes God presents you with trick birthday candles, not because He wants to fool you but because He wants you to stop for a flickering reminder of the sweetness ahead.

Trick Birthday Candles

So I’m writing this first post, creating a domain name, using a host site (words on my “scary technology do-not-use-in-fear-of-using-incorrectly” list until now) and reluctantly, hesitantly, expectantly peeping over the bloggy fence. Because Jesus has something up his sleeve, y’all. And when he uses Southern slang, you know He’s serious.

 

I don’t know what will come of this. But I do have a little faith, a Big God, and a whole lot of words. I’m praying through this little adventure and God’s reaching out his hand and pulling me along step by step. I love stories. I love people. I love connecting. I have come to love this little thing called the internet that can intermingle all three. So pray with me, won’t you? Maybe He has something He wants you to hear. Or maybe definitely He’s appealing to my love language by having me pound out the keys of my Mac to realize where my heart really lies, and teach me how to position it closer to His. Or it’s a divine appointment for us to ache, encourage, and praise together.

 

Regardless, I’m so excited you’re here, and I hope you’ll stick with me through this little adventure. Take a look around and come back soon!