Author Archives: kayla

getting uncomfortable

I spend a lot of my life around coaches.
The daughter of a coach.
A washed up athlete that had a lot of coaches in a lot of sports.
An employee of an organization that has a mission statement with the word “coach” in it.

I spend a lot of my life around coaches.

I’ve come to realize recently that coaches speak in ways that non-coaches/athletically minded people don’t. No person in their sane minds says things that coaches/athletes say.

They say things like:
“Get used to it not feeling good!”
“If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not working!”
“You’ve gotta get to where you think you can go no further, and then keep going!”
“Why are you here?! You didn’t show up just to take it easy!”
“When you feel your weakest, that’s when you’re actually getting strong!”

And my least favorite: “You’ve gotta get uncomfortable! The other side of uncomfortable is where growth happens!”

Also, I said “speak” earlier, but what I really meant is “yell.”
Coaches yell.
My mom does this fun thing where, when she’s in a gym or a large room of any sort, she can’t speak at a reasonable volume. She has what we have dubbed a gym-voice. And we have to remind her sometimes that our ears are literally 1 foot away from her mouth.

Anyways.
That line about getting uncomfortable has really been messing with me lately.
Uncomfortable is a thing that I have been a lot recently. I’m feeling some sort of way, but the only way I can describe it is as, well, uncomfortable. And I don’t like it. I want comfort. I want ease. But I don’t have it.

And as a follower of Jesus, if I’m honest, all I really want is eternal security. I don’t want to pick up my cross daily. I don’t want moment-by-moment sanctification. I don’t want accountability and course-correction. I want comfort.

Yet, I think the Lord is asking me to lean in to the uncomfort. I think He’s telling me that on the other side of uncomfortability is where growth happens. That when I feel my weakest, I’m actually getting stronger.

I don’t like to think of God as a coach that is telling me to do rounds of mountain climbers, tuck jumps, butt kickers, and burpees; yet, He might be. He just might be pushing me to the edge of my spiritual muscles so that stronger ones start to form and I’ll be even more prepared for pushing His Kingdom forward in my world.

I think a lot of us want to enter into life with Jesus and meet it with ease. But that’s just not how it goes. A good coach doesn’t let you off easy. They push you until you think you can’t go any further, and then you go further. And that’s what the Lord is doing right now. Pushing me, then taking me further.

If being uncomfortable will lead me to deeper, richer, fuller life with Jesus and those around me, then I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.

Also, if anyone has any tips for muscle soreness, subscribe to my YouTube channel, slide into my DMs, or comment below.

Tagged

here's to hoping.

Hoping, like expectation.
Not hopping, like a bunny.

Just want to make sure we’re clear on that.

As shocking as it may seem, 2020 has begun. I don’t know about you, but I definitely didn’t see it coming. This sucker snuck up on me.

And like I’ve done for the past few years, I thought I’d write a recap of my 2019 word of the year. I know you all have been waiting for the last 24 hours for this one.

A year ago, I declared 2019 the year of hope. Romans 5:5 says, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

A year ago, I already held a lot of hope for what was to come. I was expecting great things in and around me. I could feel deep in my bones that it was going to be a turning point kind of year, and that I would fully experience the first part of that verse: that my hope would not put me to shame.

In a lot of ways, it didn’t. Babies were born, I went to NYC (by myself, might I brag…), turned 30 and was surprised by the bestest humans on the planet, relationships grew deeper than I could have imagined, and a lot of darkness was brought to light. The love of God was truly poured into my heart, through Holy Spirit and His people.

But in a lot of other ways, 2019 can kick rocks. Brokenness never seemed to take a break, for myself and those I hold dear. In ways that feel both trivial and gigantic at the same time. It was just…well…not hopeful. The tunnel got darker and the light at the end grew dim.

It was the opposite kind of turning point than I had originally thought.

The thing I know to be true in my head: God is kind. God is faithful. God is for His people.
The thing my heart still loses its grip on: hope.

Hope that God is those things.
Hope that I will see His goodness on display in me and for me.
Hope that all that is sad is coming untrue.

And yet…
He is.
I will.
They are.

And that’s exactly why 2020 will, again, be the year of hope. The year that I ask the Lord for restored and renewed hope. The kind of hope I didn’t know I needed a year ago.

At the end of it all, my hope will not put me to shame because it is in the One who defeated shame. The One who chased after the naked man and woman after rebellion and covered them – covered their shame – so that they would feel some sort of safety with themselves and one another. The One who ultimately brought hope to those of us that feel lost and hopeless through Jesus.

See ya never, 2019. But 2020, I’m expecting more from you.

Tagged , , ,

proudly humble

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to title the blog post. Is this one click-bait worthy? Or just a horrible attempt at wordplay?

Either way, here we are.

I’ve been slowly making my way through the Gospel of John over the last couple of months. A couple weeks ago, I re-read John’s account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in chapter 13.

If you grew up in the church, or have been around for a hot minute, then you have undoubtedly heard this story. Jesus shows us what true humility looks like by washing the feet of his disciples.

Yadayadayada. Heard it a thousand times. Cool, thanks John. Moving on.

Except this time **cue the Word of God being living and active…** I didn’t read the same story I have read/heard hundreds of times. This time, I saw Peter.

Peter asks, in what I assume is a confused and rhetorical tone, “Lord, do you wash my feet?!” Then I continue his sentence in my mind, “Ah, heck no!” And after Jesus gives an answer that I can only imagine Peter doesn’t hear/listen to, he replies, “You shall never…

When I read that, it hit me – this seems to be Peter’s attempt at humility. He cannot imagine the man he has been living with and watching work miracles for so long bending down to wash his feet. How could this man – the man that Peter declared as Messiah, the One that had the words of eternal life (John 6:68) – how could he ever wash Peter’s feet?

It’s as if Peter, in the most backwards way possible, was trying to protect Jesus from the humiliation of wiping the bottom of his gross feet. Again – Peter’s false humility.

Peter had no idea what he was denying himself by not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. Peter was fighting against the opportunity to allow the Savior of the entire world – past, present, and future – to literally wash over him with water AND the Word. Because, honestly, he was probably too proud.

Sometimes the stance of humility is not not receiving something, or putting yourself down, but rather allowing others to serve you and lift you up because you are incapable of knowing/doing/being everything.

We try to put off this air that we are here to help everyone but that we never need help. We’re the servants, never to be served. But the truth is, we do need to be served.

We need people to tell us the truth.
We need people to remind us of who we are.
We need people to pick us up when we are down.
We need people to wash our feet.

May we never be too proud to say, “You will never wash my feet.”
May we, instead, be people that say, “Thank you for seeing that my feet are dirty and for offering to help.”

Tagged , , ,

proving myself

Well, this one has been sitting in my drafts folder, just titled and all alone, for a week. I’ve tried to stay away from it but alas, here we are.

A week ago I got the keyboard out to start writing this one based on a cycle I was stuck in with a friend. You see, I have this really fun tendency to over-explain myself in every sense of the word. It’s almost like I feel like I’m going to get caught even though I know I’ve done nothing wrong. So, when I’m not in a healthy place emotionally, I jump on my wordy hamster wheel and just talk and talk and talk myself around whatever I’m doing.

Luckily, I have really great people in my life and the one I was spiraling with stopped me and said, “Stop trying to prove yourself to me. You’re fine. I trust you.”

And man, what a relief that was. To have people who know the path you’re headed down and can keep you from it is such a gift.

The bummer is that this isn’t the first time my friend(s) have had to say something like that. But again, the gift is that they do. And so it seemed the cycle had halted.

Enter: Saturday.

I visited my family to celebrate my Grandma’s 92nd birthday and while I was there my sister, nephew, boyfriend, and I went for a lil’ afternoon hangout sesh at the local watering hole. One of the beautifully awful things about growing up in a small town is that everyone knows everyone and you can’t go anywhere without running into someone you grew up with. I say it’s beautifully awful because 1) what a gift to be in such a tight knit community, but 2) what a terror to know that everyone knows everything about who you were from ages 0-18/19/20.

So naturally, in walks someone I went to high school and played sports with. I introduced her to my boyfriend and immediately said, “We played basketball together and she was better than me.”

Cue my insides exploding.

Here I was again, trying to – in a backwards way – prove myself. I had to get it out there that I knew my place and I knew that she was better than me but it didn’t bother me (except oh yes it did). I could feel the 17 year old in me writhing with insecurity as this person got the recognition I longed for. All those years of trying to prove myself on the court, in the classroom, with the friend groups came flying back into the present and they were not.fun.

I laughed it off with my sister, rolled my eyes at myself, and went back to staring at my nephew because little boys are the cure for everything.

When I returned home and back to my normal life, recounting the weekend with a friend, she mentioned a similar instance from her weekend. She said, “It was like I was on the outside and I couldn’t figure out how to get in.”

And with that I exclaimed a loud, “YES! SAME!”

But here’s the kicker with it all: I am absolutely in love with where I am “in” in my life. God has been so kind to place me on the inside of so many beautiful relationships, and honestly, He has also been so kind in keeping me on the outside of others. Yet, the insecurity of knowing I’m on the outside of some places can be so deafening at times. Having physical voices loud enough to drown out the lies of the enemy has truly proven to be God’s grace poured out on my life.

I have no idea how to end this blog. No real bow to tie around it. It’s just a lot of strewn together thoughts about how destructive the urge to prove myself can be.

And for now, that’s totally fine.

Tagged ,

the windy city

Yes. This is about Chicago. But also, it’s not.

Five years ago I took my first summer trip to Chicago as an adult. I have to caveat that because I went as a teen for a softball tournament and fell in love with the city, but my parents were with me, so I was limited on the shenanigans I could get into.

I went with two dear friends and we had a fantastic time – 2 nights, 3 days right on Lake Shore Drive, eating pizza, seeing comedy shows, and delighting in the company of one another. It’s truly one of the dearest memories I have in traveling with friends.

This week, I went back for my first summer trip since then. I love Chi-town and have been many times, but for whatever reason I’ve chosen the cold months to visit throughout these five years. As I got off the train and started walking around, my mind began to wade through the last five years (which also happens to be the name of the saddest/best musical movie starring Anna Kendrick that my friend watched and told me I was horrible for recommending. Seriously. It’s sad.)

I digress.

The last five years.

I began to think about the friends I was with in 2014 and how we have since had a pretty major friend breakup.

I only have my side of the story, and I’m not going to share that with everyone. But the truth of the matter is, there was a tremendous ripping apart between us. We all played a role in the ripping. I will own my part in that hurt. But it was a breakup that I never saw coming because it was with friends. The ripping apart was hard. But that doesn’t take away what those friends meant to me in that season.

This past February, author and podcaster Annie F. Downs spoke at IF:Gathering on this exact topic. Her talk, What Happens When People Let You Down? (can be found on RightNow Media), spoke about the heartbreak of breakups – how when a breakup happens, you lose the future you thought you were going to have. But we don’t talk about losing the future with friends. So, in the way that only Annie can, she did.

And she gutted me with this line: “Losing a friendship feels like a ripping when that friend becomes and idol.”

And ultimately, that’s what I had let happen in my past friendships. They become my idol. The relationship itself became an idol. They were the thing that kept me safe and secure.

This time around, I went by myself.

I sent this picture to my mom so she knew I was safe, but as I looked at it – at me – I saw someone who is just way more settled into the fact that nothing outside of Jesus can satisfy, save, or secure her. 2014 Kayla was grasping for straws when it came to security, love, being known.

2019 Kayla knows she is secure, loved, and known in Christ.
I don’t have it all worked out, but I’m comfortable with knowing that God is working it out.

And now, as Annie also said, my friendships work because I don’t ask them to be my God. I just ask them to be my friend. With God as my closest friend, all other friends are a delightful gift.

And that they are. As I took inventory of my friends on Ohio Street Beach, I (surprise) got emotional. Overwhelmingly thankful that God has seen fit to give me Himself with flesh on in the form of my friends. And has given me the gift of Himself, so that I don’t have to grasp for and impress people that will let me down.

Tagged , ,