When you don’t need an invite list

Even though an Evite email reminder or an invitation update sometimes seems like just another email to add an additional number inside the little red dot on your inbox icon, it’s actually so much more than that.

It’s a reminder that you’re loved.

When I was in the sixth grade (THE WORST), I was invited to a party that was mainly with those I considered to be the “cool” kids in my grade, and quite honestly, I was kind of surprised that I made the list. Being the shallow middle schooler that I was, I felt pretty great that I received an invite. (I seriously don’t like to think often about the person I was in those awful years, but I can’t change the past, so let’s just accept that I was immature and insecure and didn’t understand a thing about what it truly meant to love people.)

It’s nice to be invited places, isn’t it? I’ve gotten to the point in my life at which I have become comfortable inviting myself to join in on other people’s fun, which I’ve had to do a lot more of since moving to California almost a year and a half ago. I jokingly say that I quickly invade myself into people’s lives, but it’s kind of true, so maybe I’m not really joking. I mean, the first week I was here, I invited myself to church with a coworker and her husband. (But she’s one of my best friends now, so I’m glad I did.) And there have been so many other instances—both back in Dallas and out here—when I’ve asked if I could tag along to places or go over to people’s houses or join in on various events. I may or may not be my people’s own special version of Dennis the Menace (minus the troublemaker part) or that neighbor kid in Home Alone who mistakenly gets counted as Kevin in the van.

I think sometimes I forget, though, that not everyone is as intrusive as I am, and maybe I need to be better about making sure that I invite others when I set out to do things on my own. I recently hurt one of my favorite people in the world because I didn’t reach out and invite this person to experience parts of my life with me. When I’m not inviting myself places, I do pretty much everything on my own, and so I think I’ve maybe gotten too used to that for my own good that I forget that there are people who love me who want to do life with me. I need to remember that don’t have to be independent all of the time—it’s OK to invite people to walk alongside me in my journey every once in a while.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that feeling uninvited is a lot like feeling rejected. It makes you feel unwanted and like you weren’t even a thought in someone’s head. (Side note: If you haven’t read Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, please put down whatever you’re reading right now, or pick up a book for the first time in ages, and READ THIS BOOK. SO good.) Being invited, on the other hand, creates the exact opposite feelings in your heart—you feel valued and loved and like you matter enough for someone to think about you specifically and then reach out to you to make sure that you’re there to experience the same things that person is about the experience.

Earlier this year, Beth, the first person I ever met at my church in the OC, mentioned having me over for dinner with her family when she heard that I didn’t have any plans on Easter. The following weekend on Easter Sunday, I didn’t see her at church and didn’t have her number, so I figured I’d just go home or go for a walk at the beach. But what did sweet Beth do? She got my phone number from someone else and texted me to remind me about the invite. I remember in that moment feeling like I wasn’t just another face at church on Sundays—I’m loved and known. It’s a wonderful feeling to be known and to know that there are genuine people in your life who want to know you and want to spend time with you. Maybe we all need some Beths in our lives.

Since moving to California, God has shown me and taught me so much about His sufficiency and who I am in Him. He’s reminded me in big ways just how loved I am and that I’m made complete and made worthy in Him. He’s reminded me that the invitation for His love and His grace is always there—there are zero exceptions. He’ll chase me down if He has to, but I never have to chase Him.

Because He’s always there with open arms and love to mend every hurt and every shattered piece of a broken heart. Always.

Don’t be afraid to invite yourself places. It doesn’t make you pathetic or desperate or fearful of being left out. It makes you brave to pursue people and love them well and also to make sure that you’re not doing life by yourself all of the time.

And don’t forget to invite others to come on adventures with you, too—even if an adventure is as simple as getting froyo or grabbing dinner or going for a walk.

Because we all need to be reminded of how loved we are every once in a while.

When you realize that you’re not inadequate

I think we can all agree that being an adult is sometimes (or a lot of the time) tough.

Especially when you have to acknowledge self-improvements that you need to make.

I used to race a lot—like a lot. I think there was one year when I ran at least one road race a month, and three or four of those races were half marathons. I developed a love for running long ago, and there was something about racing that caused me anxiety in a good way but also helped grow my confidence in a number of ways, as well.

Then 2017 happened.

This will always be one of my all-time favorite racing memories—and all of my people were there for it (even sweet Olivia was there in Katie’s tummy).

At the end of 2016, I started to have weird (and pretty much constant) internal pain and frequently had blood in my urine (sorry if that’s TMI for you). I had been training for the half marathon that I ran every December in Dallas, and I was excited for it because I felt more confident than ever going into it. But around Thanksgiving that year, that pain I’d been having escalated. I ran the eight-mile Turkey Trot and didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, and a large reason for that was because I was in so much pain.

When I woke up the morning of the half marathon, I could barely walk and knew the race was out of the question. I later went to multiple doctors, and months went on before it was finally determined that I needed to have kidney surgery. I had a total of three kidney surgeries in 2017, which meant that racing was, to quote John Crist, a “for sure no.” There were quite a few periods of time that year when I was thankful if I was even able to run—it’s certainly not easy or pleasant when you have a stent in you.

It’s been a tough journey since then, and it’s not like those surgeries ended all of my issues with kidney stones. Though I’ve been able to train much more than I did last year, I haven’t been racing at all, and I’m honestly nervous about getting back out there.

Amanda has become one of my best friends, and I love that she always speaks truth and asks me how my heart is.

My dear friend Amanda and I were talking about this the other day and why I feel such a need to do well when I race. Aside from just being a competitive person, why is it so important for me to feel accomplished when I cross the finish line? We talked about it for a bit, and it definitely runs deeper than simply wanting to win or achieve my goals. (By the way, Amanda is freaking amazing, and if you ever need a life coach or counselor/sage, she’s your girl.)

I started thinking about this more later that day, and it became pretty clear: In the past, I let winning races or running fast times make me feel like I was enough. There are more than a few areas of my life in which I don’t always feel like I’m adequate—I had a really rough time in college and trying to figure out where I belonged; I’ve had multiple careers and don’t always feel like I’m excelling in them; I’m 33 and am just now in the process of getting a passport (meaning, I’ve never even left the country); I’ve never been in a relationship, which certainly makes me feel like a failure in more ways than one; and so many other things. But when I crossed those finish lines and had accomplished what I set out to accomplish, I was good enough. When I didn’t, I wasn’t.

My friends, those were lies.

It’s great to have goals and passions and to pursue those goals and passions, but it’s also good to realize that you aren’t going to hit the bullseye every single time you aim for it. One day last week, I cut a tag out the side of the inside of my dress because it was really bothering my leg. But when I cut it, it was even pokier and worse. So I cut it where it was threaded in, and the next thing I knew, there was a hole in the side of my dress. I don’t have an emergency sewing kit (and, even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it), so I stapled my dress. I also spilled a large amount of water—not once but twice—all down the front of that same dress on that very same day. And those were the good things that happened that day. Obviously, I was killin’ it in life. But I survived the day, and I wasn’t less of a person because of it, just like I won’t be less of a person if I run a race and am slower than I want to be.

You just have to take one look at my hair to see how much of a mess I am. But that’s just part of my story.

Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter how many races I’ve won. It doesn’t matter how successful I’ve been in my career. It doesn’t matter how many dresses I’ve ripped holes in trying to cut out tags. It doesn’t matter how many staples I’ve used trying to patch them back up. It doesn’t matter how many dates I’ve had (or, in my case, haven’t had). It doesn’t matter how many guys have looked my way. None of those things holds value in my worth. I can’t let deferred hopes or unattained goals make me feel like I’m not good enough.

Because I am enough—just as I am. I was made in the image of Christ, and I don’t have to be someone else or put a bunch of W’s in the win column. I don’t have to pursue this type of perfection that I’m never going to obtain. I’m going to lose. I’m going to rip clothes. I’m going to have my heart broken. It’s just part of life.

But it doesn’t change my worth.

At the Brett Eldredge concert at the OC Fair, there was a sign that said “TEXAS-SIZED,” so I obviously had to take a picture in front of it.

I might be in love with Brett Eldredge. I’ve always loved his music, but I recently saw him in concert, and I fell hard for him. He has a song called “Somethin’ I’m Good At,” and he mentions a ton of things that aren’t really parts of his skillset, but he is able to love well and put a smile on the face of the girl in the song who has captured his heart. I’d like to be like that—if I fail at all other things in this world, I would like to be able to love people well. I won’t always be capable of doing everything I want in life, but I can always show love to others. We all can. People need love, and they need to know that they are enough.

And so do you.

Because #singlegirlprobz are real

I sometimes forget that adulting involves a lot of responsibility and that I don’t have another person with me enough to look out for me when I mess up.

But then I’m reminded in big (and sometimes dangerous) ways.

One day last week, I somehow slept through all three of my alarms—4:09, 4:13 and 4:19 a.m. just never happened for me. When I opened my eyes at 5:17 a.m., I’m pretty sure I said my version of a cuss word and jumped out of bed. I hadn’t washed my hair in about a week, and I really needed to that morning. I already knew that I didn’t have time to run, but I briefly thought about trying to squeeze in a run without touching my hair after.

For some reason that I may never know, I let hygiene win the battle that day.

I was in a bit of a hustle to get out the door on time and was scurrying all over the place. I had my hands full—I decided I was going to get a pass to a gym for the day to do my tempo workout on the treadmill and some strength circuit training after, so I had my shoes and change of clothes in my hands—and I bolted out of my apartment.

I actually had a really good tempo run that afternoon and was in a much better mood than I had been (one reason why I usually prefer to run first thing in the morning). I stopped by Sprouts to get some premade meals that I could zap in the microwave and headed home. When I lived in Dallas, I learned how to use my stove, and it was easy to toss some chicken and veggies in a pan and have a nice little meal. Out here, though, people—including whoever made my apartment complex—seem to prefer gas stoves. Don’t ask me my opinions on gas stoves and ovens. We would be here for days.

I’ve mastered using the self-timer as a single gal, but I still can’t figure out gas appliances.

When I walked into my apartment, the entire place reeked of gas. That’s neither good nor normal. I hadn’t used the stove or oven recently, so I was a little confused. I looked over at the stove knobs and saw that one was slightly turned. Uh oh. I guess somehow in all of my madness of the morning I had bumped into the knob and turned it slightly—which means that gas was filling up my apartment for a little more than 11 hours.

ADD THIS TO THE GROWING LIST OF REASONS WHY I HATE GAS-POWERED APPLIANCES.

I immediately opened my window and patio door, searched Google for what protocol was, and called the gas company to see if I was about to die. The following conversation ensued (I’m skipping the intro in which he told me to call him mister something rather than a first name and me summing up what I found when I got home and asking him more than once if I would die if I stayed there).

Mr. Gas Company Guy: Open your windows and doors, and don’t turn on any appliances, including lights.
Me: OK, I did that. Wait, no appliances? But I already turned on the lights. Oh no! What will happen?!
MGCG: You turned on your lights? Was there an explosion?
Me: I’m still talking to you, aren’t I?
MGCG: That’s good. OK, don’t turn on anything else.
Me: What about the microwave? I need to heat up my dinner.
MGCG: No, don’t do that. That’s an appliance. Can’t you leave and go grab dinner somewhere else?
Me (replacing the meaning of “can’t” with “don’t want to”): No, I can’t.
MGCG: Well, I would wait at least an hour, and make sure to leave your doors open for a few hours so that the gas can dissipate.
Me: Oh dear. A few hours? It’s cold outside, and that will make my apartment cold. I’m guessing I can’t turn on my heater, huh?
MGCG (clearly beyond the point of minorly annoyed with me): No, you cannot turn on your heater. Don’t turn on any more appliances.
Me: But I need to shower.
MGCG (probably wanting to reach through the phone and punch me in the face): The shower isn’t an appliance and doesn’t use electricity. It’s water.
Me: I have to turn on another light in my bathroom to take a shower, though.
MGCG: Well, nothing exploded when you made the decision to turn on the first light, so you should be fine.
Me: I always turn on the light first thing. If there’s a murderer inside, I want to see him.
MGCG: Is there anything else you need help with?
Me: My life.
MGCG: Anything pertaining to the gas appliances in your home?

Homeboy had obviously reached his limit with me.

Her reply of “#onit” is only one reason why she’s such a great friend.

I thanked him for his help, and we said our goodbyes. Don’t tell him this, but I didn’t wait the full hour to use the microwave. It’s OK—nothing exploded, and I didn’t die from exposure to the tainted air (I think it left my apartment pretty quickly).

Life can get messy at times, and it can be tough trying to navigate it without others to help you. I mean, what would I have done without the wise words of the guy on the phone (and the people at Google)? Being single isn’t always challenging simply because it seems that everyone else around you has someone to hold—it can also be downright scary when you have to face situations without anyone else there with you. And I know that I’m never actually really alone, because God is always here, but there’s a reason He put other people on the planet.

As a side note, please see the screenshot to the left of the text I sent some of my people last week. This is my life.

I can’t even fix my hair without it being a mess. How am I supposed to keep an apartment safe?

I hope you surround yourself with people who remind you of the theme song from The Wonder Years and that you love them well. The good thing about being single—aside from being able to make new friends at the gas company because you have no clue what to do in that particular situation—is that you’re still perfectly capable of loving others and being loved by others. No relationship status changes that.

None of us really has it all together (although, if you do, can we chat so that I can have some of your insight?), and I certainly still have a lot to learn—and not just about science. For instance, I obviously need to take an extra few seconds each morning to make sure that I don’t hit the stove knob. We’re all busy, but I’m continually learning that I sometimes need to slow way the heck down.

Especially when it comes to making sure other people know that they’re loved.