I’m Amanda and I share stories about my faith, blogging & tons of life advice, in an effort to help & inspire Millennials, like myself! This lifestyle blog was created to be a place where I can share my life as a wanderlusting, adventurous & Catholic twenty-something with the rest of the world. I want to connect other Millennials out there and let them know that we aren’t alone. There’s..
Let’s take it back to high school for a minute, during the days when I could eat 3 delicious, warm, gooey cookies from the caf every day—and it wouldn’t make any difference. Plus, being on the swim team kept me in shape without me having to go out of my way and and find that pesky, annoying gym motivation. Fitness and health in high school were easy; I never had to think about them. Now, it’s the complete opposite. Life’s busy no matter who you are or what career goals you’re currently accomplishing. It’s beyond difficult to find a type of fitness you love, but sticking to it is another story in its own. And that’s what I want to talk about today. More specifically, in a society where everything is based on how we feel about things, how can we possibly translate that to fitness? The answer? We can’t, and we shouldn’t. FEELINGS VS. FACT Before I really translate any of this to motivation, I think we need to have a tiny chat about our feelings. You know, those things that everyone tries to avoid at any cost? It’s time we drag them out of the bottom dresser drawer and truly question them for a second. I always used to think faith was this warm, fuzzy, somehow-glowy feeling. I thought that when I had it, God would make me feel all those things, all the time. And that if I wasn’t, something was missing that I need to search for; I thought I wasn’t good enough for God. In reality, I think about that now and realize how ridiculous that is. Faith is built on trust, not on feelings. Feelings change daily, and drastically. We might feel confusion and sadness toward God over a situation, but that doesn’t mean we trust Him any less. At the same time, we might feel happiness toward God, but that doesn’t mean we trust Him. Feelings do not constitute fact. In fact, feelings are so flimsy that not even love is truly built on them. Real love, as Bishop Robert Barron commonly mentions, is willing the good of the other. It’s putting others before ourselves. It’s pledging to always take care of someone, without asking anything in return. Nothing in that definition says anything about feeling. Think about marriage, for example. We get married not based on feelings of infatuation, but because we want to pledge ourselves to another person for the rest of our lives, no matter what happens. And we want this so much that we give ourselves to that person completely, through the sacrament. Thirty years later, we might not have those same feelings of infatuation, but we also know that’s okay because we know that isn’t what defines love at all. All that marriage and sappy-true-love-stuff being said, let’s bring it back to fitness. GYM MOTIVATION IS A MYTH So, if you came here to find some gym motivation, let me start with this: gym motivation is a myth. I think we can all agree that motivation can be classified as a feeling. And that in order to make it to the gym tomorrow morning, we’ve “got to have that feeling”. As soon as I took a step back and realized, actually, I didn’t have to have that feeling to make it to the gym, that’s when I completely changed my outlook. Recently, I’ve been working so much on restructuring everything I’ve built solely based on feelings. I always believed that if motivation didn’t strike, I must not like going to the gym and it must not be my thing. If I kept believing that, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have a burning passion for weightlifting like I do now. And I definitely wouldn’t be finding myself at the gym five or six days a week, after full days of work. My point is that motivation is a myth and it is not what should push you to work out. Instead, create discipline in yourself. The same discipline that gets you up every morning for work. The same discipline that is the reason you brush your teeth every day. The same discipline that keeps you from spending all your money at Target right after pay day. Although the alternative might be nicer, it isn’t going to allow you to grow. First, find something you enjoy doing fitness-wise, whatever that is, and then push yourself to do it until it becomes a habit. Go work out not because you always want to, but because you know you should. And because you know how many great benefits you’re getting from it. Build it into your routine so often that it just becomes another thing you know you have to check off your list. Of course, don’t ever get to the point where you’re forcing yourself to do something you hate, but build that discipline into your fitness routine. A great example of someone who perfectly balances this is Whitney Simmons, my all-time fave fitness YouTuber. I CONCLUDE… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sworn up & down that the gym was going to become a constant in my life, and then I just stopped when I didn’t feel like it. As soon as I changed my thinking, I made fitness truly a constant. And judging by the fact that it’s stayed that way since September 2017, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. Have you had a similar experience fitness-wise? Comment below and let’s chat! Love,
A while back, I decided I needed to take a break from life online. Specifically, that meant Instagram and my blog. I was truly reaching the point of exhaustion trying to always be relevant, available and excited to post every single day. All of those things are doable and fun, but when you push yourself to be surrounded by them non-stop, it’s going to ruin you quickly. And I think it almost did for me. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why I honestly felt like I was going to have a panic attack every time I logged onto WordPress and pass out if I had to take another photo for Instagram. It was driving me nuts, and I couldn’t push through it. So, as people do when they get overwhelmed, I swore off of the whole blogging world for good. Yeah, seriously. And now here I am; running back to the one thing that somehow also keeps me sane. Weird. If you couldn’t already tell, I’ve clearly rethought my decision after experiencing life away from this online world (hello again, blog!). Now I’m going to tell you what God told me, why it’s important, and what you can do to make sure this doesn’t also happen to you. Why I Decided to Take a Break As you already saw, the stress was annoyingly prominent; all the time. I would log onto social media or my blog, and worry about numbers (*groans internally & rolls eyes*). It went a little like: Who’s reading this? How many people liked my picture? How can I get more followers on here? Who voted for my poll on Instagram? And beyond those thoughts, I also had things like this going through my mind: What kind of content can I make that this specific person will like? How can I fix my writing to sound like hers? How can I make my pictures look like that person’s? What else can I be doing to reach people? What other services should I offer? How can I be perfect on here? When you’re trying to address all of those thoughts at once, on a wheel that never stops, it’s no wonder why burn-out is a thing. I felt like I was not only a blogger but also trying to fix all of the world’s problems in a day. Jesus didn’t even rebuild his temple in a day. So, what the heck?! Hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake it at all. I didn’t know how to, because I didn’t know where the thoughts were coming from or how to control them. (Spoiler alert: They come from the devil, and prayer is the answer to getting anything bad the heck out of your head.) When you’re living to be another person’s version of perfection instead of God’s, you’re going to end up hating what you become. More than that, I felt like I’d outgrown this little corner of the internet and needed to flee, quickly. The Words God Spoke to Me If you’ve ever been in a stressful situation, you know how hard it is to think about things correctly until you’ve successfully removed yourself from it. Distance is so key. There were tons of mornings driving to work, thinking to myself: Did I just lose a huge part of myself? Why is God removing me from something I felt so called to do? It’s so easy to blame God when you don’t know why you’re going through something. Actually, it’s so easy to blame anyone but yourself. Never mind that He might be trying to teach you a lesson, because all you care about is the fact this once-great-thing became such a nightmare in front of your eyes. However, during one of those mornings, I finally let God speak some sense into me (and dang am I glad whenever He does). What I figured out surprised me, but in the best way possible. I realized I’d been too hung-up on the numbers, on impressing people, on making other people happy, on being perfect, on always being available and engaging, on wanting to live the life that other bloggers do daily…and I wasn’t focusing on what I’d set out to. The goal when I made this blog was to interact with people like me, show them how beautiful God is, and inspire them in some way, just by talking about little life lessons I’ve learned. It was never to have a life of luxury and make a ton of money off of blogging. However, when this online world becomes nothing but that, there’s no wonder why you lose your spark and creativity (in, like, 2.5 seconds flat). I became so obsessed with the lives of people who really looked like they’d made it. I wanted to be them, and I found myself constantly wrapped up in their tiny online worlds. In all seriousness, those little worlds became a huge part of mine. I almost forgot there was a world beyond my phone, one that is so much more meaningful and real. And as soon as I started to value the internet more than what I lived offline, I started losing myself. So, it was no wonder I couldn’t type up something worth reading anymore. Because for a second, I forgot who I was even living for. (PS: Here’s a great articles talking about signs you might need a break from social media!) Why You Need to Take a Break Too All those things God spoke to me after I took a break? I never would’ve heard them if I hadn’t removed myself from the entire situation. Social media, and the internet in general, can become dangerous places when you begin to seek validation from them. And the scary part is that it happens so easily if you aren’t careful. It might seem harmless enough to scroll through Instagram before bed every night, but what are those pictures and videos telling your mind if you aren’t paying attention to it? We all need those stretches of time where we keep ourselves in check, and make sure we’re doing and thinking things that God would be proud of. Everything is good in moderation, and the internet is no different–even if it’s your full-time job. Furthermore, let this be your reminder to stop comparing yourself to others you see online. I know you might watch vlogs, read posts, see pictures, etc. of someone who you think posts their whole life online, but remember: that’s a lie the devil tells you. (I love what Jeanine Amapola says about that in her latest post.) There are always things people won’t broadcast to the world (and with good reason), but you need to be able to remember that in the culture we live in today. Take yourself away from all of it for a while and never feel like you need to apologize for doing it. Finally, I warn you never to think your fulfillment comes from the internet. You don’t need 2,000 likes to be loved by God, and you don’t need 200 kind comments to be a good person. Love,
About a year ago, I went on a retreat that sought to answer the questions; What is a vocation? and Why is it important? Going into it, I definitely expected the weekend to be an infomercial as to why I should dump my boyfriend, throw away college and become a nun. However, the holy spirit brought me there for a completely different reason. He wanted to de-bunk that myth for me, which is exactly what I’ll be doing for you today. First, though, let me give a bit of an intro. Today’s blog marks the first of what I hope will be an awesome new series. I find that so many people around me call themselves Catholic, want to be Catholic or have just heard about Catholicism, yet they’ve got some (or a lot of) questions about the basics. When I first decided I wanted to really put everything I had into Catholicism and into God’s hands, I knew basically…nothing. I seriously couldn’t have even recited the Hail Mary to you. Awkward as it was to admit, I think it’s important that I do. Being a Catholic is so much more than a title; it’s completely a way of life. There’s a lot to it, and I truly believe it’s all interesting to learn about. My journey has been never-ending since I made that decision, and I feel like I could write novels on how much there is to know about Catholicism (even though there’s still so much I don’t know). It’s such a thorough religion and when you look at the reasonings behind why everything is the way it is–it’s just so cool and rock-solid. So, I created this series to help you on your journey, and possibly just to open your eyes to what Catholics believe. It’s something I wish I’d had in college, so I know it will be of use to my lovely readers. Also, because I want this series to be Q & A style, I need your input! What do you want to know more about? You can leave a comment below, click on any of my social medias or go to my contact page to let me know. What is a vocation? If you do a quick Google search for the definition, you’ll find this: “A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.” It comes from the Latin word “vocare” which means “to call”. (Via Dictionary.com.) Basically, your vocation is your calling in life. Knowing that, we can debunk the misconception right now that vocation means joining the religious life. Yes, it can mean that, but it can also mean a whole list of others things. In Catholic terms, your vocation is how you devote your life to Christ. Whether that be through becoming a priest, marriage or something else–every person is called to do it somehow. As Pope John Paul II says, “Every life is a vocation.” However, what sets Catholic vocations apart from a worldly vocation is discernment (or perceiving/judging what God is calling us toward). Every person, whether they actually do it or not, is called to discern what God wants them to do in their life. This is very different from just planning for the future, for one very specific reason. As Russell Shaw states in this article, “Typically, people who plan but don’t discern organize their lives in light of goals that promise personal satisfaction.” In other words, they try to figure out what they want to do with their life, rather than what God is asking them to do. One is done to satisfy the self, while the other is done to satisfy a plan larger than self. One is selfish, one is selfless. Whether or not we discern and follow through with whatever we discern, we still all have a vocation. And once we figure out what God is calling us to do, we can be sure that He’ll show us the path. Why are vocations important? Although I touched on this a bit in the last section, I need to reiterate something: God is love. By that I mean; no matter what path God wants you to go down, it’s going to be the path of the most outward love. It’s the exact reason why vocations are important and, more so, why it’s important to discern what yours is. When you go down the path that God has chosen for you, you’ll be choosing love. It will be the vocation that allows you to give that love to others in the best way possible. Although I won’t go into too much detail in this post, look at what you think you’re currently being called to. A way to know it’s your calling is by the fruits that it bears. Does it give you real joy? Does it teach you patience, virtue and responsibility? And, most importantly, does it cause you to constantly be giving love to those around you (no matter who they are)? God wants love to be central in our lives, which is why we need to make sure we’re constantly aligning our plan to meet that goal. It may not be the thing we currently want to do in life, but it’s going to pay off in so many unseen ways. Extra resources about vocations. Click here for an amazing book (that I highly recommend) on discerning God’s will in YOUR life. Click here to hear more about why vocations are important and how to figure out yours, click here! Click here if you’d like to read about how I found one of my smaller callings. Click here to hear Father Mike Schmitz talk about vocation basics! Let’s have a conversation about vocations below! (Or let me know what questions you have and I’ll try and help you figure them out.) Love,
I get it. It’s hard to know how to find a Godly man. Honestly, it’s tough to just find a guy worth pursuing, let alone one that has a strong faith. However, it isn’t impossible. You need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to find him, even if sometimes you feel like you’re backtracking instead. When it comes to dating, I’m no expert. I’ve had more romantic mess-ups than I could count. Along the way, though, I learned. I picked myself back up and pushed forward yet again. I adjusted my course and set sail somewhere new. And although I don’t have all the answers, this is what I find true about how to find a Godly man in today’s society. 1. Everything starts & ends with prayer. If your end goal is to find a Godly man, you can’t do that if you’re not also “of God”. Right now, you’re single for a reason. Either God is trying to prepare you for marriage, or He’s trying to prepare you for a completely different path in life. In both instances, it’s prayer He’s asking you to come back to. Read your Bible, because it says so much about how to live your life (honestly, that’s exactly what the Bible is). If you’re pining for a Godly man, first see what the Bible has to say about it. Then, see what the Bible has to say about you. How can you better yourself and grow right now, before you add on another component to the equation? Check out this mini Bible study on my favorite book in the Bible (so far)! And if you’re truly feeling called to find a Godly man, make sure it’s a staple in your prayers each night. As Father Solanus Casey used to instruct us to do, thank God before He answers your prayer. 2. Don’t completely throw out dating apps. I’m sure this point sounds crazy, and that everyone else may have told you the opposite. However, I think there’s something to be said for opening yourself up to new ways of finding people. It’s not impossible to go onto an app like Tinder or Bumble, and wind up finding the love of your life (who also happens to be religious). Don’t ever rely solely on these apps, and don’t let them control your life, but I do think there is a time and place for them. Keep in mind, though, ladies: while you may find a needle in a haystack on one of those apps, be prepared for all the hay you’re about to find, too. 3. Get involved in your local church. I think this one goes without saying, but still deserves an honorable mention. If you really want to know how to find a godly man, in a practical way, involve yourself in your church. There are youth groups, prayer groups, bible studies, retreats, outreaches and way more–and they’re all a great place to focus your search. If you’re looking for someone who’s actively serving the Lord, look to the place where you worship and don’t be afraid to say hi. 4. Readjust your focus from marriage to Jesus. If all you’ve been typing into Google recently is, “how to find a Godly man,” we need to chat for a sec. That’s awesome. I’m glad your focus is on a Godly man, and not a worldly one, but–is that your only focus? Is finding a guy the thing you’ve been thinking about non-stop the last few years? Do you see your friends getting married, and want nothing more than to be there too? I get it. It’s hard to admit and you just want the kind of happiness you see virtually everyone else experiencing. But, can you not experience it in other ways? Have you thought of throwing marriage out the window for a second, and just sitting down to spend some time with the Lord? Whether you worry about it or not, marriage (and finding a Godly man) is going to come when it comes. You can’t force it, and you can’t make it happen any faster (or at all). When you look at it that way, do you really want to have spent all your time worrying for no apparent reason? Instead, you could be growing your relationship with Someone who is more important than anything else in this entire world. Check out this awesome article that inspired point #4. 5. Spend your time not figuring out how to find a Godly man. This point builds on the last, but needed to be separated. If you find yourself to wound up in thoughts of finding a man, stop. Just for a little while, do you. Enjoy where you’re at in life, without the pressure of having to share it with someone else. You’re in a unique time in your life when you can still do that. One day, it’ll be a husband and kids you may have to share it all with. And as fun as that will be, it’ll also be tiring and stressful sometimes. So just for a little bit, enjoy the freedom. Plus, the best moments come unexpectedly–at the time when you’re not even thinking about it at all. (PS-That’s how I met my current man!) What’s your number-one tip on how to find a Godly man in today’s society? Comment below! Love,
Letting go of something good: it’s hard. So…how are you supposed to know if it’s the right decision or not? Sometimes, God puts something on your heart, and it doesn’t show in the form of excitement or happiness. In fact, it may come in a package that looks a lot like exhaustion, sweat, tears and blood. Enticing, right? I was that person who let go of something good. There was a time last year when I wasn’t sure where my life was going to take me. I was torn between two very different things: completing my student teaching year or going to teach English in Spain. Both completely big decisions, and I just couldn’t figure out what to pick. Each had the opportunity to impact my life in a way I’d never see coming, but that only made it harder. You know those moments in life where you glance up toward Heaven and ask God where in the heck the dang manual is for this thing? (This thing, of course, being life.) I mean, come on, how are you supposed to just know what to choose every time without the clouds parting and a booming voice directing you? Your parents don’t know. Neither does your boyfriend. Or your friends. They all have opinions, sure, but at the end of the day, they aren’t you and they don’t know what’s going to make you happiest all of the time. Their opinions, while valid and helpful, are also biased because they live a completely different life than you do. That’s where I was at. But, let me also tell you a tiny secret: My emotions were pulling me toward Spain. Everything in me wanted to go; badly. How cool would it have been to put that on my resume and just be able to talk about in the future? How many people can say they got the chance to life in a another country for a year? What crazy, beautiful, unexpected adventures would be awaiting me in that foreign land? How many lives would I impact every day in this position? It was Spain for crying out loud. Who doesn’t want the opportunity to live in Spain? Meanwhile, student teaching was looking all the more desolate in the background. It was an afterthought. Never mind the amount of work it had taken me to get there in the first place. I was ready to hit the “postpone until further notice” button on that portion of my life. It seemed to be all set out in front of me; my feelings were completely pulling me toward a land of mystery and beauty. I wasn’t about to deal with another year of snow and darkness hitting at 4:30pm every day. However, an invisible hand kept reaching out to stop me every time I tried to move forward (or at least what I thought was forward). Something was stopping me from what I thought I was set on. In reality, God was trying to show me that choice was a dead-end street, and that was why I couldn’t walk any further in that direction. I knew I could still ultimately decide on Spain if I wanted to, God was silently begging me not to. I didn’t know it last year, but God was trying to show me that feelings aren’t always trustworthy. Feelings can change in a millisecond and shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on. God told me to take a second look at things and it ended up being the beginning of a million other open doors and more happiness than I know what to do with. I don’t always love the work I’m doing this year (it’s hard!!), but I can understand that it’s worth it. Faith can’t be based off of how you’re feeling that day, or you’d never have anything to fall back on. What does God say about our feelings? God’s design for our lives stands strong and taller than any other flimsy thing in this world. Yes, one of those flimsy things is feelings. We might not always love what we’re being called to do in the beginning, but we need to follow anyway. Although it doesn’t always seem appetizing, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to be good for us. If life was as easy as following what made us seemingly happiest all the time, why would we need God? Where and when would we learn to fall back on Him? Just because we aren’t excited or happy about something in the moment, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still pursue it. And, likewise, just because we are excited or happy about something, doesn’t mean we should always pursue it. While we’re looking at one tree, God is busy looking at the entire forest. And although we can’t see it from His perspective just yet, we can trust that He knows what He’s doing. We can also trust that sometimes, our feelings don’t know what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to let something go that you think you’re in love with, because sometimes it’s necessary. Love,
Sometimes, God puts something on your heart, and it doesn’t show in the form of excitement or happiness. In fact, it may come in a package that looks a lot like exhaustion, sweat, tears and blood. Enticing, right? There was a time last year when […]
I know you clicked on this blog because you want me to tell you why it’s cool being a Christian. But, before we get to that, there’s something worth remembering; we need to think about who we’re satisfying when we classify ourselves as “cool” or […]
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