Ok I really didn't intend for this post to be yet another glorified list. And especially a list containing five items. However, this morning I finally made time to sit down and read a few chapters of a book I've been reading for months now.
(I used to read all the time and would make fun of my mom for how long it took her to read one book, usually about a year...now I get it). This book, Meeting God in Holy Places, was given to me by my Dad after he and Mom traveled to Israel. It is enlightening, inspiring, and always leaves me with something to think about.
I also keep a prayer journal, which I'm sad to admit I only write in about once every couple months. This morning, instead of writing down a traditional prayer, I just kind of wanted to write down all of the things that are currently troubling my heart. To get them on paper so I could really examine them. Ironically enough, it came out to five, which is my favorite number.

So because I've shared a few other "5 Things" posts (here and here) with you all before, I wanted to share these not-so-fun 5 things with you as well. I want to share them as a reminder that life isn't always rainbows and roses despite what you see on social media. And, I also want to share them in hopes that if you're going through something similar, you can know that you're not alone and that it's perfectly normal (did I just suggest that I'm perfectly normal lololol??) to have seasons of confusion and stress. Can a whole decade be considered a season?? #askingforafriend 😂

1. Frustration, judgement, and lack of support for people who I consider to be making poor choices

A flaw that I've noticed about myself particularly in adulthood is my judgment of others. On a spiritual level, I know that we are all sinners. And just because my sins have never disgraced me publicly,  landed me in jail, or really negatively affected my life, they are still sins. We are all created in God's image, and I am no better than anyone else.

However, on an earthy level, I struggle with being judgmental towards those who sin differently than me. Towards people who are lazy, mooch off of others, apathetic, constantly negative and who fall into the same temptations or make the same mistakes over and over, I find myself thinking, "how hard is it to get it together??" I don't understand how anyone could settle for living a sub par (in my eyes) life and not want to strive and work for something better. I find myself feeling that people like that aren't even worth my time, and I avoid being around them.

But while we are all created in God's image, we aren't created to be the same. Sure the world would be a better place if everyone was just like me 😉, but that's not what God intended. We are each unique and have unique struggles. And no matter what those struggles are, God gives us his amazing and unending grace. I am not saved by good works, righteous living, or all the hustle I can muster but rather by my faith and God's good grace which I do not deserve.
So why can't I extend the same unending grace to others as Christ extends to me?

2. Focusing too much on my earthly life and consciously choosing things of this world over time with God.

I am way too focused on my life here on earth as opposed to my eternal life. I can step back and examine my everyday life and actions and can clearly see myself choosing other things (laundry, watching TV, Instagramming) over studying God's word or praying. I'm constantly putting my spiritual life on the back burner to focus on my earthly life, and I'm not really sure why, lack of discipline I guess. I know which one is more important, yet that's not the one I focus on. 

3.  Confining my life and ministry to inside my comfort zone

This one sort of ties into numbers one and two. Because of my tendency to judge others unfairly and to allow their actions that I don't agree with to bother me, and because I'm more focused on what I'm doing here on this earth rather than looking towards my eternal life and striving to further God's kingdom, I find myself only shining God's light to people who are already like me. To people who live like me, worship like me, and have similar struggles as me. I surround myself with people who already know God instead of seeking out those who don't. And when I do come in contact with those who don't know Christ, I don't feel like I really do anything that displays Christ to them, but rather I just blend in until I can get back to my comfort zone.

4. Feeling left out or left behind by all of my friends and family entering motherhood

Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post listing (imagine that) several reasons why I wasn't ready to have kids. One year later, I'm still not interested in procreating. However, also one year later, it seems like all of my friends and family members (not to mention every single person I follow on social media) is pregnant. They're entering this exciting time of literal expectation and they are being showered with joy and affection by everyone around them. They're in a season of change, hopefulness, and anticipation, and I envy them. I'm jealous of these "next chapters" my friends are walking into, but I'm not interested in having kids. I feel like I'm being left out or left behind, but I don't actually want what they have. I don't want a baby, but I'd love to experience a "next chapter." But, I've already gone to college, landed a stable job, married, moved, bought a house, adopted a dog, started a blogging hobby...now what?
What's next for me? 

I also get a little sad knowing that my friendships with these women entering motherhood will be...not lost, but forever changed. Friendships shift with any life change, (going to college, moving away, getting married, etc.) and while the changing of life's seasons can be exhilarating, they've always left me feeling a bit nostalgic.

5. Uncertainty about becoming a mother myself 

As of right now, there is nothing compelling me to have children other than the fear of who will take care of me and Greg when we're old. And that's not a reason to bring a child into the world. If I literally make a pros a cons list (which I have), my single pro for childbearing would be having someone there in 60 years to put me in the nicest retirement home. And the cons list is so long I've lost count. Just from a logical perspective, that doesn't balance out so well.

I pray about it, but I'm not really sure what to pray for. Clarity, I guess. Discernment. Accidentally getting knocked up so the decision is made for me. I don't really know who to talk to about it either. My closest confidants either have kids or want to have them, so I feel like I just don't relate and honestly like I might offend them if tell them all the reasons why I don't want to be a parent. I end up confiding in the few child free friends I have at work and mostly lamenting to Greg at least once a minute day about it. He says he is happy with whatever decision I make. He's not chomping at the bit to be a dad either, so he doesn't understand why I fret over it so much. BUT LIKE THERE'S LITERALLY A TIME LIMIT. And while everyone around me seems to be popping out kids left and right, I think the battery in my biological clock might be dead.

But there's still that lingering "what if" and the fear of regret. If I was 1000% certain that I wanted to remain childfree, I'd schedule a hysterectomy tomorrow. But for some reason,  I'm not closing the door completely. Maybe because I'm only 27. I definitely have some more time to decide. I think I'm just feeling pressure because it seems like everyone I know is doing it. Like for real, I'm going to start keeping a tally of how many days in a row I see a pregnancy announcement on Facebook.

I realize that this post is a bit of downer. A rundown of all of my flaws and struggles isn't the most inspirational of content. Especially since I don't have any solutions yet. They're just kind of there, annoying me.

But one thing I know for certain is that while life isn't perfect and I'm not perfect,  I serve a God who is. He is faithful, and "he knows the plans he has for me. Plans for good and not for disaster, to give me a future and a hope." So, if He's got me in his hands, there's no need for me to worry or stress about my future or the places where I feel like I don't measure up.

Instead, The best thing for me to do during my time on this earth is to start each day fresh seeking God, displaying his love to others, and continually striving to reflect the gospel.  I believe that if I focus on those things, the rest will all fall into place.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." - Phillippians 4:6-7

Do you share any of my struggles? Are there other things burdening your heart? Feel free to share them in the comments section below. But if you choose not to, know that I'm praying for you and for all the tough things you might be enduring, and I ask that you do the same for me.
Love you all!