Growing is Supposed to Hurt


We do a lot of telling you to focus on the good. Of telling you that you are beautiful and worth so much. We tell you there is beauty in the mundane and to look for moments of joy. And these things are so very true. But we also encourage you to grow, to change what needs changing and to shape your life into what you need it to be. Growth hurts. I was thinking about this while I was at the gym this morning. I knew I needed to finish just a few more reps but my brain was yelling at me that this wasn’t worth it. That the burning in my arms wasn’t actually helping.. just hurting. I think we do that with life. We can run from the discomfort and miss out on some of the lessons that are there. This afternoon my arms will still hurt and I still will not see the improvement. That will take weeks.. months even, of hard work. Moments of telling myself that I will be stronger for this. Your growth, be it about character or emotional strength, or any other number of things that need shaping, will not be a comfortable thing. Some days it won’t hurt but other days it will burn, ache and maybe make you shake. Most of the time you won’t see instant results. You will be discouraged when your progress slows, when you go back a few steps, or when you need to start over. But let me remind you that you ARE changing, there IS growth, and you CAN do this. Don’t run away from the discomfort of shaping yourself; of letting God shape you. There is beauty in the mundane, there are moments of joy thrown into normal daily things, you are beautiful, you are worth far more than is imaginable, focus on the good.. and sweet girl, don’t be discouraged by discomfort. Growing is supposed to hurt.

Posted in Personal Growth, written by Jessica VanDyk | Leave a comment


Make Those Down Days Great Again!

Do you ever have days where you’re just feeling down and you don’t think you can recover your day, so you strongly consider just going to sleep and starting over again the next day? Yeah, me too. Whether or not you deal with depression like I do, I think you can probably relate to those “feeling low” sorta days. You wake up in a not-so-great mood and all those little things are going wrong. Or maybe one not-so-little thing goes wrong.. I think it’s safe to say that those days just plain suck. We tend to write them off and say, “Forget it. I’ll try again tomorrow.”

I used to just give up on having a good day at the first sign of trouble. In all honesty, I wasted a lot of days going to sleep in the middle of the afternoon. I didn’t want to have to deal with people or worry about this and that, or over think this or spend any more time than I had to being grumpy. Although I still have days like that, they don’t happen very often anymore.

I’m pretty sure that we would all rather have a day full of smiles and laughter and feel-good moments, than one full of negativity and sadness.. am I right? So stop throwing those bad days away! Try turning them into some of those better days! But it’s not that easy, Amanda.. Yeah, I know that. My suggestion is not to look for something amazing to happen that’s going to turn your whole day around. Cherish the little things. Do those small things that make you happy. Think about those silly things that make you laugh to yourself.

For me, having a good day always involves comfy clothes, like sweatpants and a favourite hoodie. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, turn on your favourite tunes (maybe that’s Beethoven or “Gangsta Rap” haha or something in between). Whatever your jam is, blast it! Dance to it. Sing along to it. Smile. Smiling always makes you feel at least a little better instantly! Read a book, go for a walk, clean your room.. Oh, I guess not all people would go for cleaning if they’re aiming for happiness; maybe it’s just me ;P Text or call a friend. Leave a friendly comment on someone’s Instagram photo. Complimenting someone might change another person’s day from bad to great, meanwhile making you feel pretty great about yourself too. Bonus! Spread those good vibes!

Sometimes changing your mood is as simple as thinking about the cute guy that’s in your math class, or that inside joke with your best friend that always makes you laugh hysterically. Even just thinking of the things that makes you happy, laugh or feel good about yourself can really change your day for the better.

Make the decision to have a good day! Don’t go down without a fight! Don’t expect everything to be perfect, but focus on the little things that brighten your day! My “little things” may be totally different from yours. That’s totally fine! But I encourage you to find what those feel-good things are for you. And the next time you’re having a not-so-great day, have the audacity to turn it around!

Posted in Because You Are Beautiful, depression, finding joy, written by a guest author | Leave a comment


TALENTS | Thanking God For Them

Well hello Beautiful! I’m sitting in my office, a lovely cup of coffee in my hands, thinking about what to write about the topic talents. Beside me is a half finished painting of a hare. I was working on him until midnight last night as I listened to philosophical debates on Youtube. Yes, my Thursday nights are hoppin’ ( hah, see what I did there).

My art is something that I used to hold far away from God. You see, the very idea that my abilities were God-given seemed like an insult to me. Someone would ooh and aww over my work and place their hand on my shoulder with a “Oh Jess! You have such a gift from God!” I would smile politely, grimace really and think to myself, “Seriously? No, actually! This is from getting up everyday and thinking about what I want to create. This is from drawing pages of lines, eclipses, and circles. This is from learning about anatomy and shadows. God?!” As I have aged, (gracefully I hope) I am learning that God orchestrates every little part of our lives. He made you with a purpose! On purpose. Sweet girl, you were made with divine purpose. You have strengths. Those talents that you have known about your whole life and the ones that you are just discovering, were given to you by a Creator who loved you before you were born. These hands were made to hold a paintbrush. What were your hands carefully designed for? What was your personality, your thought process, your feet, quick wit,  organizational skills, empathy and any number of other things, designed for? Do you know? If you don’t, that’s okay! Not knowing what your talents or strengths are does not mean that they aren’t there. After all, Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that He has made everything beautiful in HIS time.

I want to talk about the ones that we do know we have. Do you believe that the talents that you have been given are important enough to God, that they are worth pouring your heart into? I do, I believe that your strengths are unique to you! That no one else will ever share the ability that you, and you, alone have. Because everyone does things a little bit different and those differences are important. Those differences were created. When you choose to believe that your talent or strength isn’t something that could make an impact on the world, you are letting the people around miss out on a once in a lifetime experience. When you use your gifts, and share those gifts with the people around you, you are glorifying God. When I finally started to acknowledge that my artistic abilities were a gift from God, I started to see it all in a new light. I saw that every brush stroke on my canvas was glorifying God because I am honing the potential that He created.

Can we stand together and start using our gifts as a light in this world? They are doing us no good under a dust cover in the corner. You were made with purpose. Live fully.

Posted in Glorifying God, Talents, written by Jessica VanDyk | Leave a comment