The first sentence of something new frequently sends me into a tailspin. How should I word this? What do I want to say? Where do I want this to go or end up? And, the whirlwind of my overthinking mind hurls me onward, towards complicating the simple questions and moments of today…and, eventually, tomorrow.

When I was a younger girl, I received joy from reaching and accomplishing life’s celebratory events. For example, turning 13, driving a car, and having my first job or boyfriend. Each occasion—these and more–is well-documented in the files of my mind, and slowly shaped me into the woman I am today…or at least the person I became until I turned 19. Until then, I saw myself as a successful, happy, and motivated woman who was confident in her voice and in her skin.

Shortly after I turned 19, I graduated from my favorite college to date—Chemeketa—and also left behind one of my most treasured seasons of life. All the pieces of my life were strung together harmoniously…until they weren’t. Within one months time, I walked into a brand-new relationship, visited six different countries, and moved out of a home of security and into four walls decorated with a multitude of unknowns. Long-story-short, I fell apart.

I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted to say, or where I wanted to end up. As a result, the people who met me and chose to do life with me saw the above face frequently. For those of you who are not fluent in “McKinzie,” this face means “I am uncomfortable or in pain and I want you to ignore me so I don’t have to talk about it.” I no longer saw myself as successful, even though I graduated from college in two and half years. Happiness evaded me. Instead, I was accompanied by an empty stomach. And, the motivated woman I was found out that her striving for perfection was in vain. I was a shell, a hollow person with a thick mask.

The current season I am in—one of introspection and remembrance—has led me back to my 19-year-old self. Before my life’s balance was disrupted, I had imagined myself to be confident, driven, and who I thought I would be: an extroverted helper with a unique perspective. Yet, I have found myself drifting away from these descriptions and trying to piece together what God is speaking life into instead.

“Passionate.” “Visionary.” “Speaker.” “Creative.” “Unique.” “Wise.”

Many of these words describe a person who I never thought I could be. However, I have learned an important lesson, as seen in the picture below.

I am learning how to claim and hold onto who God has called me to be, while still laughing at myself in the process.

People may ask, “Why laugh at yourself?” My answer is this: when I look back at the past, I see myself desperate for control and God patiently waiting for me to recognize His faithfulness. The collision of my lack of control and His faithfulness is where my laughter comes from. He had me in my brokenness, has me in my seeking, and He will have me when my faithlessness and His faithfulness collide again.

“if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” –2 Timothy 2:13