Saturday, February 28, 2015


Sorry fellow millennium kids. Turns out our parents were right. Remember when you used to hear your mother tell you, "Garbage in garbage out"? You wanted to kick her and explain thoroughly how you are the exception and how just because you were listening to a rap song about a man stealing an Escalade doesn't mean you are going to grow up to steal an Escalade. Yeah, I'm with you. 

I'll never forget jamming out in my pink polka-dot room listening to "This is Why I'm Hot" on my boom-box. It feels like it was yesterday when my dad marched up to my room and said, "Brianna! Turn off that song, 'I'm hot, I'm hot I'm hot I'm hot!'" Wrong lyrics dad, but who am I to judge that. {Side note: I used to think the song "Can't Touch This" said "Kingchesters".....Please don't ask me what a kingchester is because I do not know...} 

So, at Auburn I live in a wonderful old house that is about a 15 minute walk to campus. Just long enough for your mom to tell you that you don't need a bike. Not bitter. Anyways, I always listen to music on the way to class. Ninety percent of the time it's a playlist I made on Spotify that is sheer gold. Last week though I was told about a podcast I needed to listen to. It's funny because I didn't even know, but on an i-phone we have a permanent app titled, "Podcasts." Low and behold, they are all free too. 

So instead of my usual playlist, I popped in my earbuds and listened to Louie Giglio. Sure I could only hear 15 minutes of it, but it turns out it's a 15 minute walk home after class too. Crazy how that works. So after two different walks to class, that was a sermon. 

I was suddenly struck with the fact that so much knowledge was flowing right into my head from my earbuds. I was so encouraged just walking to class because Louie Giglio was chilling in my ears. It got me thinking about earbuds. They are such a small thing but how cool is it that they can be used to glorify God and how scary that so often we use them for harm.

We so often talk about glorifying God with our bodies and our actions and yes that is all well and good, but have we ever thought about the small gifts in life God gives us? Earbuds. Auxiliary cords for our cars. What if we used these small blessings to pour the word of God back into our lives. 

I'm not saying every single time I walk to class or drive somewhere I am going to listen to a sermon. To be honest when I'm on the way to formal I'm not gonna say, "LET'S GET PUMPED! CRANK UP THAT TIMOTHY KELLER SERMON!" No no. That's when my good friend Kid Cudi comes in. But, I am saying that if we purposed to use the materialistic gifts God has blessed us with for a more beneficial purpose, we will begin to see growth in our spiritual lives. 

Whether we want to give our parents the credit or not, they were right. When we laugh at movies that insult the Lord and no red flag goes off in our head, that's an issue. I may not steal an Escalade, but if all I fill my head with is crude words and objectifying phrases, that stuff slowly seeps into my soul. Sounds dramatic, but I'm serious. The more we listen to that, the more we become okay with the idea of those things and that my friends is a dangerous place to end up.

I was reminded by a friend the other day of this quote: "Beware of what you dwell on, for that you shall surely become."

I don't care if you're 14 or 45 years old, what you dwell on, what you spend your time watching or listening to, that is what you will become. I challenge you to ask yourself what you dwell on. What do you laugh at when you watch T.V.? What songs do you know every word to? 

Let's challenge one another to live in the world without becoming like the world. Let's use things like earbuds to encourage our souls. Let's use them to challenge our spiritual walk with God. It may not be comfortable at first and it may take some reorganization, but oh friends it is so worth it. 

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”-David Platt

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Satisfying a Craving

Ask me where I will be in five years and come up with an answer. Got it? Great. Now send me a personal message with that answer because I could use all of the help I can get. I graduate from Auburn in December 2015...a lump in my throat just developed as I was typing that. I have two more semesters until I am a graduate from more school....ever. Okay ew. It looks worse every time I write it.

I don't want to graduate early. Mainly because I'll miss running into random fraternity houses dressed in banana suits while wearing roller-skates...also because I have no clue what my future holds. Annnnd now the lump in my throat is back.

I think now that it is 2015 it is finally hitting me. This is the year I graduate. Next year I will be done being a student and quite frankly, that scares the crap out of me. It makes me anxious. And the more I stress about it the more I have begun to realize how much of my joy and fulfillment I put in my future.

Will my job make me happy? Will it be that job that I have always wanted? Will I live at home in Birmingham or will I move to L.A.? Will I finally be discovered, become a famous actress making millions of dollars, buy a boat and move to Europe? All plausible options.

I seek to find my joy and fulfillment in what my future looks like. I seek to find my joy and fulfillment in the things of the world. It's no wonder I am left anxious and with stress zits.

I have this visual of God standing in front of me, waving his arms around. The entire time he is yelling, "HEY! Brianna! I am your joy! I am the only one who can calm your anxious heart! Stop stressing and come to me!" Meanwhile I am leaning to the left and the right of him, trying to see what the world has to offer.

Every day Christ is there, waving us down and wanting us to come to HIM.  What a waste of time for us to think the things of the world will give us that peace we all so desperately desire. The moments I focus on HIM instead of where I will be in five years, are the moments my heart is calm.

I'm not saying I'm never going to stress about my future. I will. I'm human and I'm a girl so that combination sets me up for failure. However, my prayer is that when I am anxious about my future, I will be slapped in the face with the hard realization that I am in sin. Not trusting Christ is sin. Not laying my anxiety at the foot of the cross is sin. Plain and simple.

The world is kind of a screwed up place and when we start turning to it for our joy we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. The peace that the Lord gives is what we all so desperately crave.

2015 is going to be a year of trust. Let me rephrase that. 2015 is going to be a year of me constantly praying that I learn to trust. I am choosing this year to take advantage of the perfect peace Christ offers me daily. I am choosing to satisfy my craving with the only one who can, Christ.

"God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself because there is no such thing." - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Half the Battle.

Usually waking up at 9:45 a.m. would be a treat, but when you're on Christmas vacation waking up at 9:45 a.m. feels like 6 a.m. But let me just say that when Jackie Basik tells you to be awake and ready to go to the gym at 9 a.m., you wake up at 9 a.m. dagumit. She's scary when she's mad...

Needless to say today we woke up and headed to Lifetime Fitness to attend a lovely cardio fitness class. Personally, I don't love classes. I feel pressure to keep up and to hold the lunge position for just a little bit longer then the lady next to me so that I feel like America's Next Top Model.

So that's exactly what I will do. I'll hold that lunge positon until I realize as I'm in the lunge position that I can't feel my legs anymore and proceed to make that "AUUUAHHHHHH GAH" sound while trying to stand up. Then quickly soft smile to the instructor so she knows I'm not going to pass out.

I always secretly hope the instructor isn't going to show up, but let me tell you something....she is ALWAYS there. It's the worst.

I also figured out today as I was in the middle of struggling through my tricep dips that I never regret doing these classes. I get a way better work out doing these classes because I have an instructor to listen to. I realized that I want the results without actually going to the classes.

I want to be more fit without going to the gym. I want to look like Taylor Swift simply by sitting on the couch watching One Tree Hill. After years of trying that method, I have come to the sad realization that that method ain't gonna fly.

Similar to my quiet times, I have realized that showing up is half the battle.

Once I'm at the gym I walk straight to the room and begin the death class, I mean cardio class and within an hour I'm done. I'm in better shape at the end of each workout and I feel closer to my goal. I listen to what the instructor tells me to do, do it, and that is when I begin to feel my body change.

So often I pray that I will grow closer to the Lord and get to know him on a personal level. Then, I proceed with my week and choose to ignore my alarm clock that wakes me up for my quiet time so that I can sleep 30 minutes longer. It's the same thing as working out, I want the results without putting the time in.

I am never going to know Jesus better if I am not pursuing a relationship with him daily. Similar to a workout instructor, Jesus is never not there. Often times we don't show up, but don't think for a second Jesus isn't wishing that you would.

In the same way I won't get fit if I don't go to the gym, we will never strengthen our relationship with Jesus if we don't purpose to make time for him.

After I spend time in the word and actively pursue the Lord I NEVER regret it. I feel closer to my goal of knowing Him on a deeper level every time. Once I open my Bible and begin my conversation with Jesus as if he is sitting right next to me, the results come. The relationship deepens. Doors open and prayers are answered. I think the real issue is putting aside our own wants and desires in order to pursue Christ.

It may take effort to get there, but once you're there you never regret it. Showing up is simply half the battle.

"To have found God & still pursue Him is the souls paradox of love." -A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The knot in my back.

I am just slightly confused right now. This entire week I have not had much to do. No big tests or group projects. No meetings. I had so much free time that yesterday I cooked! Okay well... I made a salad for dinner. BUT do you know how much effort it takes in college to make a salad? Okay not that much, but still. I had time to make food. Mind blown.

Usually each hour of my day is strategically planned out down to a solid 2 minute bathroom break. Okay I'm being dramatic (are you surprised?), but for real my days have become a mass collection of places I need to be or things I should be doing. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE the things I'm involved in at Auburn. It's what keeps me proactive and it also allows me to appreciate the days I get an hour to watch Grey's Anatomy on Netflix.

But it's weird not having anything to be doing and I found myself feeling guilty for not being busy. How messed up is that? It's like the constant stress of having somewhere to be is keeping me sustained and that my friends is what is wrong with our society...or maybe just me.

We have got to stop the glorification of busy. 

Yes, life is busy. I get that. And oddly enough I really do love how busy my days are. They are full of some freaking cool people I get to surround myself with and organizations I feel blessed to simply be a part of. These things are good. These things are the Lord's small yet incredible blessings he puts in my life.

It's when the idea of being busy becomes our idol and constant focus that we are in sin.

These things become a problem when we begin to glorify them and not the Lord. When we become so obsessed with the next hour of today, instead of becoming obsessed with the one who gave us today. I have found myself glorifying the idea of being busy all the time. Blahhh. 

But wow I am so glad for days like today. Days where I can breathe. Days that I don't have a knot in my back from being stressed out. I forgot how wonderful it is to not be busy. Glorifying the idea of being busy is such an easy trap to get caught in. Trust me...I'm in college too. I get it. But how sad would it be if we looked back at our lives and only remembered the stress of life and brushed over the quiet, simple moments that God places in front of us?

The moment we stop putting the Lord first over our busy little lives is the moment it all stops mattering. None of the awesome things you may be doing is relevant if God isn't the one being glorified throughout it all.

Wouldn't it be nice if we would all just slow down and breathe? Maybe if we glorify HIM instead of the constant focus on being busy our lives would look different.

So stop going and doing and stressing constantly. Stop dwelling on what your GPA is going to be or the four different meetings you have on Friday. Stop making the phrase "I'm just so busy" a part of your everyday vocabulary. Stop idolizing the blessings God gives us and focus on HIM.

Acknowledge the fact that it's OKAY to be happy with a calm day and thank the Lord for the days where the knot in your back is gone.

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they are busy doing things they THINK are important. This is because they are chasing the wrong things." -Morrie Schwartz

"Half an hour's meditation with Jesus is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed." - Saint Francis de Sales

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

21 & Invisalign.

Last week on Monday I turned the big 2-1. Let me just say, it was fun. Don't worry mom, not too much fun. It was the perfect way to spend a 21st birthday. My friends planned me a "surprise fiesta" and after a good bit of fun chaos, some of us ended up sitting on the front porch playing cards until 1 a.m. I realized after that night I have never felt more mature...which is ironic because the entire night I ran around with a tiny sombrero on my head and a fake mustache on my face.

Anyway, I felt old. Not your, "let's play bingo and watch The Golden Girls until 10 p.m." old. But the old like when I walk past the alcohol aisle in Kroger I want to yell " I CAN BUY YOU AND YOU AND YOU! (followed by an evil laugh of course). I think subconsciously I began to think I was cool. Little did I know what God had planned.

About 2 months ago I got fitted for Invisalign. Essentially braces, just clear and removable so you can eat. Can't get much better right?! Yeah, that's what I thought too. So last Friday, my trays came in. I turned 21 on Monday and got a lisp on Friday. I kid you not I feel like Darla from Finding Nemo. That is quite dramatic, I'll admit. It is clear and from five feet away you can't even see them. But, my words have become harder to say and my mouth feels full...all the time. I feel like a football player who always has to wear his mouth guard. Zero fun sir. (Remember the Titans reference...#neverforget)

The same year I'm legal is the same year I feel like I just got braces put on. Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful that in a year I will have straight teeth, but I've decided this year is going to be a humbling year.

If I have learned one thing lately it's this: don't pray for something if you don't want it to be answered. Within the past month I prayed a prayer. I prayed that God would become my security and humble me. I thought it got lost in the crowd up there in heaven or that maybe God just forgot about it. But God doesn't play around with prayers y'all and I've decided I'm glad.

The moment I got cocky is the same moment God said, "Hey Brianna, you're not all that and a bag of chips." The moment I got cocky, is the moment God showed me He is my only source of security. The moment I got cocky, God gave me a lisp. The moment I got cocky is the same moment God answered my prayers.

He is my security. He is the only thing I can take pride in. 21 and Invisalign. Look at that combination, and just when I thought God didn't hear my prayer.

"True beauty comes from a person who boldly and unabashedly knows who they are in Christ."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Belly Laughing.

Did you know that it is statistically proven that if you smile or laugh (even when you're not watching Elf) that something in your brain happens and you actually become happier? Can you tell I'm not a Neurologist...?

Within the past week of sorority rush I have cried laughing and woken up with some seriously sore abs. I'm not gonna lie to you though, there were many moments I did not feel like laughing or even smiling. Waking up at 5 am is not my cup of tea. To many people rush is dumb and just all fake conversations and smiles. And yes, there are moments that seem to be that way. But I will say, it's a process that works. Don't ask me why or to explain it because I can't. Honestly, I don't even know how I got into a sorority considering my severe lack of a filter during conversations. And yet as cliche as it may sound, rush is such a perfect example of God's sovereignty.

It is a week where there is no other choice but to acknowledge God's presence and his perfect placement. Boo hoo Brianna, you didn't get your "rush crush" (if you're a guy you just said HUH GAYYY). But that's why I have a love/hate relationship with rush. I get so worked up, but then quickly realize that my "rush crush" ended up in a sorority where she will thrive. Why? Because that is where GOD wants her to be and suddenly I shut myself up and rush is SO cool again.

Another thing God taught me was to smile, and smile often. Even when you don't feel like it. Let's be honest for moment. Many days during rush I wanted to scream and yell "HEY GUESS WHAT? I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR MAJOR IS BECAUSE I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT MY BED FEELS LIKE!" But they highly discouraged that... So instead I smiled and gradually it not only became natural and comfortable, but genuine. I'm not saying I was fake half the week and real the other half.  I'm saying that God taught me that when we smile, no matter what the circumstances, HE sees us and HE smiles too.

So in a bizarre way rush started my junior year out in a positive way. Because of rush I am going to make my goal for the year to smile, and smile often. I want to make God belly laugh this year. I want to make sure when he looks down at my life he is overjoyed with how I am living. Even when life throws unappetizing situations in our lap, let's make it our goal to smile, and smile often.

"I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift."

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stories to Tell.

Studying abroad in Italy or maybe working at a Young Life camp. That would have been the answer for my ideal summer. But I can 1000% guarantee you that eating a subpar Zoe's salad with an 83-year-old lady from church would be nowhere NEAR my summer plans. Not even in the same proximity. I would have been trying really hard to tan somewhere on a beach in Italy in my ideal summer plans. It's funny the way God doesn't abide by what we have planned and boy am I glad.

One afternoon lunch with this precious lady from church has altered the way I go about life.

Marcie. Last week Mrs. Marcie May invited my mother, my aunt and I to lunch at her home. This woman is 83 and made me laugh harder than any Chris Farley SNL skit. (...when SNL was good) Also she was just plain cute. Picture the little old wife from UP and then add like 5 golden retriever puppies sitting around her and that is how cute Mrs. Marcie is. It just doesn't get much cuter.

She became a Christian when she was in her 40s and since then has woken up every morning saying, "Abba, what are we doing today?" Every. Single. Morning. She looks forward to waking up every morning and listening to Jesus' instructions for her day. She told me how she has had the most FUN days of her life by just waking up and walking daily with Jesus. And she has stories. She has SO many stories about her encounters with the same people me and you encounter daily, but in her stories... she shares Jesus with them.

I think we make Jesus boring in our minds. Okay fine, I make Jesus boring in my mind. Maybe not good to admit, but it's true. I put Him in a box. But after talking to Mrs. Marcie I could feel the walls beginning to fall. I walked away so incredibly PUMPED about Jesus! I want to be a funny, spunky, Jesus-loving 83 year-old lady sharing Christ with the bakers at Publix.

I was sitting next to her eating lunch and I felt like a sponge. I felt like Jesus' love was literally pouring out of her and strait onto me. At one point I got so excited/inspired by Mrs. Marcie that I wanted to pick her fragile little body up and squeeze her as tight as possible...but she is on blood thinners so I opted not to.

My mom asked Mrs. Marcie what was the biggest regret she has. Her answer? She wishes she wouldn't have been so stubborn towards God.

So no, I didn't go to Italy or get the chance to go to a Young Life camp, but I consider myself honored to have gotten to enjoy one afternoon with Mrs. Marcie May. What a humbling reminder that it doesn't matter how old I am, I should be waking up daily saying, "Abba, what are we going to do today?" Oh how glad I am that Mrs. Marcie has helped break down the boring box I put Jesus in and shown my the FUN I get to have by waking up with Him each morning. I can only pray when I'm 83 I will have had endless encounters with Jesus and dozens of stories to tell.

"They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, "The Lord is UPRIGHT; he is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him."

Psalm 92:14