I don’t always have the right words. I sometimes stumble and the first time I say something it comes out too cut and dry, especially on texts. I suck when there’s no pauses or inflections. I usually take more time when I write, because I know that words can leave a lasting effect…and stay much longer than expected. 

Like a song that can define an entire period of your life. Like a poem that makes your heart dip, and you think…that is my life. 

So every time I write, I pray that whatever I write is not filled with the awkward flaws of my words. It doesn’t mean I won’t speak the truth, or spell the real…but it does mean that I am reaching for God with each word I type. That I am praying for the Holy Spirit to write for me. 

“Don’t Settle.”

Yesterday as I climbed a long flight of stairs with my daughter, we stepped over broken stairs and rickety worn wood. When we reached the top- our feet were still caked with fine sand and we stopped as she picked little yellow beach flowers. 

And in that tremendous quick fashion in which the brain and the spirit work I thought of two words…that someday I will share with her. 

“Don’t Settle.” 

Don’t settle for less than true love. Don’t settle because it’s comfortable. Don’t settle because it’s what you think you should do. Don’t settle for right now. 

Don’t settle for the superficial. Don’t settle for the ones who only like how you look. Don’t settle for the ones who only hang out with you because of who you know. Don’t settle for the temporary fix. 

Don’t settle for the inbetweens. Wait it out. Even if you’re lonely. Especially if you’re lonely. Because then you will reach for something so much greater than anything you’ve dreamed. In the most lonely moments we realize we are much stronger than we ever imagined and how much bigger Gods love is than the inbetweens. 

Don’t settle because you may get hurt. Don’t settle because you may not know what you want…and you may eventually want this. When you know, You Know, YOU KNOW. Don’t settle when it’s a maybe or a probably. 

If you love God- don’t settle for someone who doesn’t want to know Him. Ever.

If you want Kids- don’t settle for someone who doesn’t love them. Ever.

Don’t ever settle for a mean boy. Or a cheater. Or a pumpkin eater. Because you are worth more. And also your Dad and brothers will always be watching…they won’t let you settle. 

Don’t settle for the attraction, go beyond that…reach for someone who will dab your cesarean section incision dry- someone who will hold your hand at church and pray over you when you’ve had a nightmare. 

Don’t settle in friendship just because you have a history or you know each other well. Don’t settle into toxic familiarity. Be a good friend- and walk away when someone is not. 

Don’t settle for gossip, or reality TV drama. Read a book that will make you weep until you sleep, and dance to every kind of music. Don’t settle to have the only thing you look forward to be a sports season, or some team…because teams change every year and if you only like one team you forget how fun the game is. 

Speaking of sports…Don’t settle for one sport. Play many. Be really bad at some. And don’t be afraid of losing. As long as you’re trying you are winning. Find something that makes you happy no matter what the outcome is. Don’t bank your future on how much you win, but on who you are. 

Don’t settle into anything that takes you from who God is calling you to be…there will be a lot. But embrace the real way your body changes and settles. Love the face you were born with, and let it age. Smile a lot so you have laugh lines. Don’t worry how you look in pictures when you’re laughing…just laugh. 

Don’t settle to be someone else, be yourself. You were born and created by an amazing God– and you are amazing. Don’t settle to be the same, stand out and be different. Dance when you’re in line, sing when it’s quiet, and be yourself. 

Don’t settle for wishes on a star, learn to pray. Kneel and talk to God. Give your worries and life to God, and dream big. Dream of a life that’s more about who you are, than what you have.

Because one day you may be walking up the stairs with your little girl. The little girl you waited your whole life to meet, and she stops and makes you pick flowers. And your entire life beats across your eyes…

 And you realize that the boy you first loved- who broke your heart did you a favor…because  you would have settled, and he never believed in your smile, never let you sing louder than Paul Simon…and you would have never met the boy with the laughing eyes. The boy who would become your only true love- who would challenge and love every single part of you. Who would kneel next to you on the good and the dark days, and asks you when he washes your feet and asks to marry you, if he can “serve” you the rest of his life…this boy will become your hero and be your best friend. And you will have beautiful babies, who grow and become better than any children you ever could have hoped to know.  And if you’d settled you wouldn’t know this beautiful and messy blessed life. 

You wouldn’t…have all of this. 

You wouldn’t have her. 

Don’t settle. Ever.

Because this…all of it, is so worth it.