I’m back! Holy moly. You know that feeling when you haven’t seen someone in a really long time and you almost don’t even know what to say because there’s so much to say? That’s me right now. So I guess I’ll kinda just go for it and see where we end up 🙂
There will likely be many more blog posts where I’ll go deeper into things (I have nine months of life to fill you in on, and I can’t do it all justice in one post!) so stay tuned!
First and foremost, I hope to be back more regularly. I kind of fell into a rut over the past nine months, and frankly, I started believing the lie that I had nothing to say. I felt I had nothing to say because the way I would write now is not the way I sound in my initial blog posts.
I used to own a pair of sunglasses that I absolutely LOVED. They were rose gold aviators with pink-tinted lenses. Basically, when I’d wear them, it felt like everything I looked at had the cutest pink filter, like a photo edited with just the right exposure and contrast and tint and white balance…etc. Then I misplaced them. Right about the time of my last blog post, oddly enough. To be honest, I don’t know where they went, I just know I don’t have them anymore. I have other sunglasses I can wear, but I miss those pink ones. 😦
I owned and lost a literal pair of rose-colored glasses. And I think that’s kind of where I was at–figuratively–during my absence.
Now I really don’t want that to sound like a pity party. It’s just that I’m not the chipper, three-exclamation-points-after-all-the-rosy-stories-of-freshman-year Shannon that I was when I started this blog.
For nine months, I WAS AFRAID OF THAT.
I was afraid that I couldn’t be the person I used to be. That my writing would somehow be inauthentic.
In the past year, my life has changed a LOT. Lots of really awesome things (aka I’m taking a semester off of school to do the DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM and WORK AT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!), but also lots of not so super ideal things.
And for whatever reason, anxiety decided to join in on the party. I mentioned it in another post, but I’ve struggled with anxiety when it comes to social situations almost my whole life, I just never wanted to admit it to myself. The only time in my life when I felt almost completely free of it was my freshman year of college, when I started this blog. For the first 7 months or so (out of the 9 I’ve been gone), I’d sometimes go back and read my old posts and think, “oh Shan, hold on tight. How could I be in such a different place now??” And because insecurity’s a bully (or another b word, but I’ll keep it professional), it made me believe that something was wrong with me for not being in that place. Like I needed to figure out how to get back to that place. But the thing is, that’s the past.
I found myself living in this mentality when I moved back to do a second year of the student ministry internship that I did in Summer 2017. I felt so inadequate and so broken. I felt emotionally drained, like I had nothing left to give anyone else. I’m a type 9 on the enneagram, and I tend to want to avoid conflict at all costs to maintain an atmosphere of harmony. But 2018 kind of gave me no choice but to face some of life’s conflicts. I tried so hard to maintain that rosy filter on everything–my relationships, my life, my mental state–because I didn’t want to see the raw image. I cried a lot. I experienced a lot of anxiety around people because I almost felt too broken that I couldn’t remember how to be normal (or, what I envisioned as “normal”). I felt like I was failing at my job because I felt I wasn’t giving my all; in actuality, I was comparing myself to the younger version of me, the Summer 2017 version of myself that had just come out of an AMAZING season of growth freshman year. I hadn’t gone through the things that Summer 2018 Shannon had. I forgot about GRACE.
The sweetest words one of my bosses spoke to me were, “We didn’t hire freshman Shannon, though. We hired sophomore Shannon.” GRACE. I had massive expectations of myself, and couldn’t accept myself for where I was. But they could, and they reminded me that ultimately, God does. God used them to remind me that the current version of Shannon Kelly Hoey is JUST as lovable as the younger one.
That was about 7 months ago that I did that internship, and God has been working MASSIVELY on my heart since then, too. To be honest, I think it might have been a good thing that I didn’t post anything during the past nine months, because I feel like a lot of my posts would have come off as angry or bitter (something that I really wrestled through with God last semester–again, story for another blog post 🙂 ).
But now I’m HERE. And I am Shannon, the same one, but STRONGER. BOLDER. And truthfully, I don’t want to go back to the way things were–the rosy, filtered way I saw the world. Because now, I feel more real and in tune with who I am than I ever did before. I have wrestled through things with God that have only strengthened my trust in Him, not weakened it.
Around New Year’s, I like to write down lessons I learned in the previous year, and a vision for the next. I write down broad goals and truths that I want to really focus on for the following year. This year, I rang in 2019 in Arizona. One afternoon, I decided to go to a Starbucks and spend some time with Jesus and do just this.
Some goals I have for 2019:
- Write! Not only to write, but to write with PURE HONESTY. Something God really taught me in 2018 is that I have a heart for talking about things that need to be said, but are rarely talked about. I want this to be a space of some good old heart-to-hearts, ya feel?
- Maybe expand this puppy to YouTube?? Sometimes, there are things I just want to share my actual, legit voice on, not just my writing, ya know? So we’ll see…maybe now that I’ve put that thought out into existence I will actually do it haha!
- Fun fact: I used to be a dietetics major. I dreamed of being a dietitian since I was 15, and I wrote a research paper my freshman year of college–for a basic English class lol–on the relationship between diet and mental health, and actually found that SO FUN! Not gonna lie, I let fear hold me back. I switched to psychology (which I LOVE, by the way, and can totally see how what I’m learning can apply to a career in the field of nutrition!), and am now thinking of pursuing my master’s in nutrition; I still wanna chase that dream of becoming a dietitian! Chemistry, I’m coming back and better than ever. With that said, I really want to start sharing recipes, “what I eat in a day” type posts, and all things healthy lifestyle. Not necessarily because I’m an expert, but because I’m just an average gal who values health and am figuring out how to make health+fitness a part of my daily lifestyle 🙂
- I want to laugh and smile lots! I believe there is something smile-worthy in every day, even on the worst. I want to keep my eyes peeled for God’s goodness every day, because I know it’s there. I want God to give me eyes to see His kindness throughout each day.
- I want to be expectant on the Lord to do some really mind-blowing things. Ephesians 2:10 says,
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God has prepared every step I take. He has walked me through some dark times, but also some really triumphant ones to teach me more and more of His character and His purpose for my life. I love that about Him. He doesn’t let me wander aimlessly. Everything I go through in this life is leading to the bigger picture. Ephesians 3:20-21 says,
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I fully expect that God will blow my mind in 2019. Throughout most of 2018, I questioned, “what the heck are you doing with this, God? I don’t want this anymore.” But it’s now, as I am looking forward to 2019, that I my mind is being blown.
Which brings me to…
6. That I would remember that Jesus is VICTORIOUS, and that spirit that rose from death is ALIVE IN ME. I may have been wounded this year, but I am not down-and-out. The wounds only made me stronger and more reliant on HIS STRENGTH. I felt defeated in 2018, but now I’m starting to see. I get to claim Jesus’ victory as my own, because He won it for me. I will never be left to fend for myself in the battle of this life. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). You and I are not swallowed up by death+pain; no, death has been swallowed up in Jesus’ victory. HECK YES. Heck to the freaking yes. That’s what I am so pumped for in 2019. I want to tell of my Jesus’ victory in my life, because that’s what brought me back here after nine months.
You know, as cheesy as it may sound, as I was sitting there thinking about victory, I realized where I was, where I welcomed 2019. Phoenix, Arizona (actually a suburb of it, but very close). Phoenix–the bird that rises from the ashes. Maybe just a coincidence, but I couldn’t help but smile a little because I believe it.
I believe that 2019 just might be my phoenix year.