mistakes prove your strength

​Have you ever made a mistake before? Have you botched something up, and just let it really bug you? The embarrassment, the guilt, the complete nervous wreck that pretty much sums up the whole situation can’t stop eating away at your brain. You toss and turn at night, constantly going over the scenario, and how much better it’d all be if only you hadn’t messed up that one, itty bitty detail.

And let’s not even talk about who saw you do it. They’re probably thinking it about right now, just like you, letting that simple error taint their entire view of how you are as a person. You’re a clumsy individual and nobody’s going to see you the same way again!

Okay, hold up.

Let’s right there and drop a nice, fat truth bomb: we all make mistakes.

Wait, what?

Really?

Are you sure?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure. Each one of us is human, each one of us is imperfect, and each one of us messes up at some point every day. Mistakes are impossible to avoid. Of course, there are ways you can increase the chances to prevent them, but there will always be that slim margin for error that will always be there. As a fallen human of this world, you will stumble, you will blunder, and you will fall. You just have to accept that.

And so it doesn’t matter nearly as much by how many errors occur, or how skilled you are at preventing them. No, what truly matters is how you react those errors.

How you will your attitude appear to those who know you’ve done something wrong? Will people see you scuffing your feet, head in the gutter, mind wallowing in self pity and blaming some outside force? Or will they see you fess up, apologize, and learn from your failure?

Because here’s the thing. When you watch someone else mess up, do you hold that against them for as long as you both live? Of course not, and that’s the case for almost everyone you will come across. Mistakes are usually always forgotten minutes after their made, unless you react poorly. In fact, the better your attitude towards your own failures, the stronger and more mature people will see you as an individual.

Errors are completely healthy, to a certain extent, because errors are how you learn. You’ve done something wrong, but now you’ll know to never do it again. If you choose to look on the bright side and see your failures as a learning experience, there is limitless potential for you, friend.

Mistakes don’t show your weakness, they prove your strength.

– suzy –

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the shepherd’s peace

​”The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalms 23

Today, in my weekly homeschool group, my class read Psalm 23 aloud for devotions. I, personally, feel like the circumstance couldn’t have been better, considering the fact that today we started our final exams. I had no idea the encouragement was needed so badly until it was given.

I know most people don’t have their finals this early, but I think we can all agree on how much of a struggle they can be. They require so much more perseverance, patience, and diligence than most can handle, which just leaves everybody feeling extremely stressed and nervous. After all, this is our future we’re talking about, and some teachers aren’t as generous as others when grading. Peer pressure alone can be enough to set someone on edge, much less the intense projects and tests themselves.

It was amazing this morning, though, because as we were reading and discussing David’s psalm, I felt a huge part of that load lift off my shoulders. Here’s a little of what I mean:

“The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Just that first part itself already fills me with a sense of peace. The Lord is our shepherd, and just like any other sort of shepherd in the days this psalm was written, He cares for His sheep. God protects us from any sort of dangers and struggles we might encounter. Not only that, but the extremely serene picture David talks about shows us how our Shepherd can calm us.

“He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths if the righteous

For His name’s sake.”

Just as God wants us to feel calm and peaceful from His protection, He also wants us to feel influenced positively by those who surround us. He specifically leads each of us to those who will impact us the most by how they act, causing us to strive to do the same for His glory. Amazing, right? And that isn’t even all of it.

“Even though I walk throught the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Back in those days, shepherds and their sheep sometimes had to travel to get to the good pastures. And there were instances where they had to travel through rough and rocky valleys that contained all sorts of hidden predators, but that’s a big reason of why the shepherd kept a staff with them. To fight off the predators and protect the sheep.  So we have simply nothing to fear then, as our Protector knows exactly how hard to push you before you reach your limit. Whether that’s with a literal test you’re currently stressing about or a life-changing trial that you can’t escape from is up to Him.

This specific Psalm is pretty popular, and sometimes is too easily dismissed, because lots of Christian kids learn it at a young age in an Awana program. However, that is exactly why it’s so important. There is nothing out of our Lord’s control, nothing He can’t protect you from, and nothing that can stop Him from filling you with irreplaceable peacefulness.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

What can’t you do with your Shepherd watching over you?

so you say you can’t.

so you say you can’t.

and why is that?

is it because you don’t feel well? your head hurts, your stomach churns, and you simply don’t want to face life?

or is it because you feel defeated? like a weak, young soldier on the battlefield who’s been slain, you are broken. never able to get back up. it’s as if the enemy is standing over you, beating you mercilessly and eternally.

maybe it’s because you can never do anything right in anyone’s eyes. nobody seems to see anything good in you. you’re constantly the ugly duckling, thrust away and shunned as if nobody cared. you’re weird, you’re wrong, and you’re messed up. nothing can fix that.

or maybe it’s because it was actually alright from the start, but then something happened. you were okay, they were okay, everything was okay. nothing could stop your joy, nothing could stop your love. and yet something did.

it might be because all it took was that one person. that one mind. that one thought. that one sentence.

and maybe it’s because in that one moment everything went downhill and never stopped.

they never stopped.

maybe it’s because after that, you fell apart and now you can’t do anything worthwhile. at least not to them. it’s all a big, hairy, dirty mess, and nothing’s worth standing up for anymore.

and now you just c a n ‘ t.


so you say you can’t.

but wait a moment, back up a few steps.

since when?

since when did you let others control who you were, what you thought, what you wore, or how you acted? since when did the way the world did things was the only way you could do things? the beating, the words, the awfulness of it all, since when did what that do to you turn you into who you are now? when did others see into your mind and soul and instantly know what you needed most in life?

oh, wait. they can’t.

need to hear it again?

they can’t.

they can’t control your actions. they can’t control your thoughts. they can’t control your appearance. they can’t control you.

you, my dear friend, are your own person. you have a mind that decides for itself, a soul that has its own morals, and a body that moves how it likes. not one person, not a single person in this entire universe can do that for you.

nobody else can look at you and know your innermost thoughts. nobody can realize your deepest needs. nobody can figure out your most secret desires. it doesn’t matter they think, what they do, or what they say about you. because they aren’t you.


so you say you can’t.

there’s no reason to say that anymore, dear.

you aren’t a weak soldier. no, you’re a mighty warrior. you are the one who walks past all the ignorant of the enemy. they may tear you down, break you apart, and burn you to a sizzle. but you will rise from the ashes more beautiful, more knowledgeable, and more powerful than ever before.

because you are the one who doesn’t care what other people think of you.

you are the one who shapes your own life.

you are you.

so say you can.

“you is kind. you is smart. you is important.” – aibileen clark, the help

​content to be an underachiever

okay, let’s be a little straightforward for a moment.

sometimes we see others and feel like we’re missing out in life. sometimes we see others and think, “why can’t i do all that?”. sometimes we see others and wish we could switch lives, even if for a moment, so we can experience all the fun they have each day.

it could be just me with my insecure mind, but i’m willing to bet there’s more who feel the same (and if not, this could get embarrassing for me real fast). we watch these people we know live such successful lives while we just sit amidst our fuzzy blankets, ice cream, and netflix wondering where on earth we went wrong. there’s always that one person (or persons) who’s active in three different sports each year, leads sunday school plus has a voice in the choir at their church, volunteers at the animal shelter two days a week, acts in a musical play group, takes three different music lessons, is a part of multiple extracurricular clubs, and still manages to ace their schoolwork and/or job with flying colors. most in society would call this person an “overachiever.” (i personally don’t, as they’re more of just people who take advantages of the opportunites given to them)

but i mean, wouldn’t that make you question yourself a little bit? i know i do would. just one glance at this person’s life causes me to realize my own is lacking. that i wasn’t living it to its fullest and should ram headfirst into all of these activities full speed, and envelop myself into the chaotic life because i feel like i need to prove that i actually do get out of the house (despite popular belief).

now, this is me talking as an extrovert. i’m outgoing and energetic when it comes to being around other people and i’m a huge sucker for the outdoors and physical activity. however, considering how i go to homeschool co-op and softball practice only once a week and manage to attend church about once or twice a month, you can guess i don’t get out of the house much. and with everybody else in the family working 30+ hours a week, i’m home alone most of the time as well. if i was more introverted, i would drink all this time up like a dog (which is very aggressively, if you didn’t know). it’s basically minimal human interaction, and even though i enjoy blasting music without anyone to judge me by my tastes, it can get, well, boring after a while. i love human interaction. that’s just my nature.

but here’s the thing: there’s only so much one person can do. you need to take all the factors into consideration. most of the time, the people who have all those opportunities live right in the center of or close to town, their parents are pretty well off when it comes to financing or having the time to spare, and/or they just have better and more options to choose from. when it comes to my own situation, i just happened to have most of the short straws. i live out in the middle of nowhere, both parents work long hours, and i have not had the chance to get my driver’s license yet.

and you know what? that’s okay. i’m very thankful to have my parents be this committed to me as it is (i didn’t exactly pick the cheapest sport to play, guys), considering i have four other siblings who also need attention. sure, they’re more independant, given the fact that they’ve all graduated highschool and gone on to their careers, but there’s always student loans, travel expenses, cars, insurances, etc. to think about. 

“but suzy!!” you may ask, “what about all the cool other stuff you could be doing?? you’ve got to be envious of at least a little, right???”

well, yeah i am. everybody is. of course i wouldn’t mind hanging around and taking care of stray puppies or rock climbing with friends or taking flying lessons, but that just isn’t possible at the moment. i know my time will come where i can do all that. i know your time will come.

we’re not going to be in the same situation forever, right? times and people change. i have three sisters who all went through college, and they are having the time of their lives now. in college or the workplace afterwards was where they found most of their friends today. they may have been home doing jack squat for most of their younger days, but they were able to use that time to work towards the bigger goal in the end, and it really payed off. 

so i’m content to be an underachiever.  i may not have a headstart like so many other teens i know, but i can at least use the time to work hard towards to what i know i will have.

– q

what is your strength?

Let’s talk stereotypes.

I, myself, am an athlete. I’ve played soccer, volleyball, softball, and am hoping to start up track this spring. Softball, to me, is by far the most fun sport to play, but it comes with its struggles. People expect so much of you in the sport, even though the margin for error is massive. You have to run fast, throw the ball hard and accurately, swing the bat with power, take leaps of faith to catch something, and if you get hurt, to suck it up and keep playing. It takes a lot of strength, both physically and mentally. And that’s the same for every sport.

But let’s face it. Not everyone is an athlete.

Not every person out there has to make decisions needed to change the entire aspect of the game within milliseconds. Not everybody has the strong muscles and endurance to withstand physical exertion for over an hour at a time nonstop. Even if they do, maybe they’ve decided to not spend that kind of energy on sports…

So does that mean all jocks out there should look down on people different than them as if they’re inferiors?

Absolutely not.

It’s becoming a widespread thing in today’s schools were kids are basically grouped into specific categories where their personality fits, and each category is ranked for popularity and “coolness”. And apparently the only category with kids considered strong is the jocks..

Since when did this kind of thinking become acceptable?

You can’t tell how strong someone is by how fit their physical state is or how popular they are amongst the masses! It’s about how much work and effort they’ve put into their own talent in any part of their life.

Take the musicians, for an example. The people who can organize certain chords and tempos to compose the most pleasing sounds that flow into your ears. The artists? All they need is a pencil and paper, and a priceless masterpiece follows, whether it be prose, poetry, or picture. And we can’t forget about the dancers who display feelings and stories through fluid movement. These are the types of people who poor emotion into their talents, affecting your own mind in multiple ways all at once. Their strength lies in their creativity and hard work, traits that a lot of athletes could only dream of having.

There’s also the “nerds”, or more appropriately, the ones who have the largest mental capacity of us all and enjoy the principle of learning. They are the ones who take God’s gift of the human mind to their advantage, expanding it to it’s limit. Their strength? Their determination and more importantly, their brain, which is the strongest muscle in the body.

Now, these are obviously just some of the more distinct types of people. There are hundreds of talented individuals out there with different skills, traits, and hobbies that require great strength of mind, heart, and body.

And who says you have to stay in one of these groups and only one? God created you with a powerful mind and body, capable of unlimited things. He didn’t make any kind of category for you to be placed in based on your personality. He didn’t mean for you to feel like you can’t branch out and explore new interests, just because other people will judge you for it. He created you to be you. You are unique and strong in every which way, no matter how different you think and do things from other people.

I want you to go out today and do whatever makes you happy, whatever you dream about, and whatever you enjoy doing. Life is short, so why should you spend most of it not doing something you love for fear of being judged? Or even worse, for fear of being too weak? Trust me in this, if you set your mind to do something, you will always find the strength to do it.

So go live your dream.

“For I can do all things in Him who gives my strength.” – Philippians 4:13

he knows your limit

Temptations can be anything and anywhere. They can sneak up on you, deceiving your mind into thinking they’re quite innocent, until you realize they really aren’t, but by then it’s too late. Sometimes they can be as simple as an unencouraged habit, but they can just as easily turn around and be as severe as a life-changing situation. Lies, deceit, bitterness, slacking off, breaking promises, mentally or physically harming yourself in any way, the list goes on and on, and it all seems just so easy.

“Just one time wouldn’t hurt, right?”

“Oh, I’ve only done it once before, I can let myself do it again.”

“Eh, it hasn’t happened that many times, and it’s not like I’m going to make it a habit or anything.”

The thing with temptations, is they’re constantly nagging you, eating away at your conscience. And if you give into them enough times? They’ll devour your conscience completely until there’s nothing holding you back. It may not seem that big of a deal at first, but you never know when it might snap back at you, whether it’s two days or two decades from now.

But you know what Christ says about that?

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Wow. So wait, the Lord is testing you? Yeah, He really is. Man is naturally born as faulty, so we are instantly drawn towards deceit and sin. Don’t worry though! God isn’t just some classic bully from school testing to see how much it takes to blow your fuse, because He created you and knows exactly when to stop so you won’t break. Pretty neat, huh? He knows what tests can push you to your exact limit, so that when you do pull through them–and He makes sure that you do–you’re relationship with Him will be stronger than ever.

However, don’t be getting any big ideas where you can just give in to any temptation that comes your way because “If God makes sure I overcome this in the end, I can totally still do it!”

No. Just no.

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” – 1 Peter 1:14-15

The Lord doesn’t want us to just up and forsake Him and do whatever we want in the hopes of Him saving our butt whenever we get in a pickle. In response to Him handing us the free gift of salvation, He wants a little something in return. Our faith. He wants us to glorify Him in everything we do, so when we are stuck in the middle of a struggle, we have the mindset to keep going and look at the Light at the end of the tunnel. His Light.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

So keep pushing, no matter the size of test, temptation, or struggle, because God has your life in His hands and knows exactly what to do with it. Even if nothing is fixed in this earthly life, we still have something a thousand times better to look forward to. One day everything will be set right, and we will be able to experience the full splendor of Christ in all His glory. We just need to keep our eyes on the finish line and trust that He will see us through to the end.

quantity over quality

​Confession time: I do not attend a church regularly.

Yes, you did read that right. I, Suzy, am not a member of a one specific church, and only visit one about two to three times a month.

Crazy, right? But it’s true, and very discouraging.

I feel a lack of my faith by not being part of a worshiping community regularly. I go to a homeschool co-op, and all my friends there attend pretty much every event or fellowship their church has.

But not me.

I’m home alone pretty often, as my family’s in a small financial crunch at the moment, and everyone except me works almost every day. Including Sunday.

The church I visit is an hour away from my house, but it’s the closest one that matches my family’s theology. We go to the morning service on Sundays when we can, but no more than that. Never Sunday school, never youth group, never retreats or potlucks.

It’s a little hard to bear sometimes, as a couple years ago we left a church I’ve been a part of for most of my life. I’d grown up there, knowing practically everybody there by name. It was a small church-only around 200 people at most-so if there was an event, almost everybody took part. It was a great community and had nice people.

Somewhere along the way, either my family or the pastor changed sight of how the Word should be taught, and we had to leave. This was the very year I’d first become part of their youth group. It was an awesome group, with yearly mission trips and fundraisers, game nights, amazing leaders and youth pastors, very encouraging teaching, and just overall some of the best people to be around. My four older siblings all gotten to experience that through their entire junior high and highschool lives.

But I didn’t.

I’m just little ol’ me, sitting at home and wondering what to do with my life. 😛 I try my best to watch recordings of sermons online and read a couple Christian books and study them (I personally really enjoy Saved Without a Doubt by John Macarthur and Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris), but it’s not easy when you aren’t regularly meeting with fellow Christians to talk about His Word.

It’s not exactly something I can control, as I’m sure my parents don’t like it just as much as I do, but I still feel like I’m not strong enough in my faith because of this. I don’t feel adequate for God, and at times, I wonder if I’m a Christian at all.

This problem has been troubling me for some time now, but a couple weeks ago the pastor we’ve been visiting said something that really spoke to me.

It’s not the quality of your faith that matters. It’s whether you have any faith at all.

This encourages me so much. I still try my best to study the Lord’s Word, even if it’s infrequent. I still praise my Savior and think of Him when I’m troubled. I still believe He died for my sins.

And to be honest, that’s all you really need. Yes, it’s important to go to church, worship with other believers, and hear the Bible being preached, but it’s not necessary. It’s not about how much you believe in God that makes you a Christian or sends you to Heaven. It’s about if you really believe in Him in the first place.

I just thought this was so uplifting, and really wanted to share it with you. Because if there’s anyone out there in a tough spot like me, just try to remember this and it’ll all turn out for His good in the end. 🙂

He has a plan, and it’s our job to believe in it.

– suzy –

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. -Matthew 21:21

welcome

hey there, readers! i’m suzy, and i’ve been given the pleasure of welcoming you to this brand new blog. thanks so much for stopping by! we’re all glad you stumbled across this small corner, and we hope to grow it into a flourishing community soon. you may be wondering what exactly this blog is and what it’s about, so i guess i’ll just jump right into it.

about the blog

the Young & Dreaming-or Y&D-is a collaboration blog of teen Christian girls. we all share a love for Christ, and want to spread our love to as many as we can. and that’s why we are here, with this blog as our window. it’s a place where we can share our thoughts on the troubles and triumphs of life. to give encouragement when needed and brighten someone’s day. we want to give quality posts about our one and only Lord and Savior, for He is the brightest light.

who we are

the contributors here are girls varying from ages 13-17. as of right now, there are four of us authors including me, Ashlynn, Bella, and Josie. there is also the creator of this blog, but she wishes to be unmentioned at the moment. you know who you are, and you rock, girl. 🙂

what we believe

each of us has different beliefs about details of our faith, but when it all comes down to the rock hard truth, all of us believe that Christ is the son of God, who died on the cross to pay the penalty of all our terrible sins. we believe He was crucified, and raised three days later, returning to His rightful place at the right hand of our Father.

what you’ll find

using that as a basis of this blog, our posts will be about anything and everything that’s encouraging and inspiring. you’ll find thoughts, poetry, prose, articles, reflections on Scriptures, musings, etc. about once a week. some material may be lighthearted and cheerful, while some may get into the deep discussions. but with this in mind, everything will be quality-filled emphasis on optimism, faith, and encouragement.

and of course, that doesn’t mean all our readers have to be Christian either! we welcome anyone who needs a little inspiration, no matter what your beliefs.

why to follow

there are plenty of other Christian collab blogs out there that post about everyday with plenty of followers. and we know that they are all fantastic blogs with an awesome purpose, but what sets us different is we strive towards quality over quantity. the Young & Dreaming will spend time on each post, so that we can provide quality content that helps with any struggles you might have in life. if you’re having a gray day and just need a little push to keep going, you’ve found the right place.

let’s do this

so come along! join us dreamers on our ever-changing journey. we don’t know where our paths will take us, but we definitely know Who guides them.

– the Young & Dreaming team –