Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Gets Married- Overcoming Anxiety

I think I have always struggled with anxiety, but I did not realize that it was anxiety I was  struggling with. I’m somewhat of a worrier by nature and I do not have a carefree personality (type A all the way) so I always chalked it up to “this is just the way I am, it’s not a big deal”.

But the problem with anxiety, is that it is a big deal. I’m sure everyone’s experience with it is a little different. However, anytime I start to feel anxious it’s almost like that feeling you get when you know you’ve forgotten something. You start to panic wondering what it is you’ve forgotten and you begin to feel warm and your stomach drops.

I remember one time I was standing in my kitchen unloading the dishwasher. Out of nowhere, I had a full blown anxiety episode. I still remember it clear as day, and that was also the day that I realized I needed to do whatever it took to overcome those feelings.

I have found that I struggle with anxiety the most when things are going well- I am always looking over my should thinking “When is the other shoe going to drop? What’s the bad going on that I’m not seeing?”

We all have anxiety and worry for different reasons and I think it can come from different places depending on our background or upbringing. I experience this a lot in my relationships- after my engagement ended, I was so hurt and broken that I knew I never wanted to experience that type of pain again. So since then, anytime I start to get to know someone new, I immediately start waiting for it to all crash and burn. This really isn’t a great way to live, you know?

I’ve definitely gotten better about not worrying 24/7, but it’s still a struggle and I’ve been looking for some scripture to cling to when I feel anxiety creeping in. I’ve been reading through Proverbs and this verse popped out at me:

“You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
    or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
 for the Lord is your security.
    He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” 

Proverbs 3:25-26 (NLT)

I was so amazed at how well this sums up my anxious feelings- it truly does feel like I’m always afraid of a sudden disaster. But, this reminds us that Jesus is our shield. Not to say a shield will keep us from experiencing bad times- but it will keep us safe while we walk through our battles. If we are chasing righteousness and His will, regardless of the circumstances, He is going to keep us from falling prey to the evil and bad that is in this world.

Something that has really been on my heart is praying and speaking scripture in my prayers. I feel like it adds another element of strength when I’m praying to weave in scripture and speak back to God what He’s written for us to read.

When you feel anxious, start to pray and keep this verse or any other verse you find comforting in mind. I would also say that therapy/counseling and reading books on how to deal with anxiety can be extremely helpful. But, always start with Jesus and He will show you what additional steps to take to work through the problems you’re facing.

If there is something you are specifically anxious about, I would love for you to DM me and I’d really like to pray for you during my own quiet time. Or, I’d be even happier to pray with you. Sometimes just having someone else to pray over you and intercede on your behalf can truly make a huge difference in your spirit. I know I have always been so thankful anytime someone has done that for me!

Learn To Be “Really Good” At Suffering

One of the books I’m reading right now is Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Once I finish it, I’m going to share more about the book itself. However, in the very first chapter he interviews a woman named Amelia Boone. This wonder of a woman is an obstacle racer and endurance athlete. She has won the World’s Toughest Mudder 3 times, was the Spartan Race World Champion in 2013, and is one of the most decorated obstacle runners in history. Oh, and she’s a full-time corporate attorney. (If you would like to read more on her accomplishments and then feel the need to run 10 miles, here it is.)

She is clearly a very impressive person, but what really stuck with me was one of her quotes Ferriss included-

“I’m not the strongest. I’m not the fastest. But I’m really good at suffering.”

I’ve really got nothing in common with this woman- I’ve never even been camping because I like the comfort of a traditional restroom. So, I can’t even begin to comprehend the mental, physical, and emotional strength it takes to accomplish what she has. I do not have any bit of desire to even run a 5k much less pay to participate in some of these ridiculously difficult competitions. However, regardless of the lack of similarities- I think she’s on to something about the whole being “really good at suffering.”

Truth is, suffering is universal. No matter gender, age, occupation, religion, political affiliation- everyone suffers at some point in their lives. We don’t plan for it, but it happens. We endure relational hardships, we lose jobs or clients, we experience failure, and we all have to learn to deal with it to be able to move forward.

As most of you know, I’m a pageant girl. I competed at the state level 5 times- three in the Miss America System and twice in the Miss USA System. I gave blood, sweat, and tears because I wanted that crown. It was a dream and it was a goal and I was gonna do it no matter what it took. I WAS GOING TO BE MISS ALABAMA. (Spoiler alert, God had other plans.)

But here’s the thing about pageants (and a lot of things in life)- we don’t have control over it. We can show up, do our best, but it is still out of our hands at the end of the day. My first year at Miss Alabama I didn’t make top 12 and I left devastated. My confidence took a beating, but eventually I got over myself, my hurt pride, and got back on the horse. The next year I didn’t win, but I did make top 12. I continued to compete 3 more times and I made top 15, top 12, and top 10 at the other competitions. I didn’t win, but each year it got easier to accept not winning. I learned to “suffer” well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working on accepting failure gracefully. However, I realized it was out of my control, I learned to lean on God and His plan, and not what Bailey thought was best.

Here’s why I’m including this blog on suffering in my “Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Gets Married” series. For a long time when I would experience failure or suffering, I would lean on my relationships. I would bury my hurt feelings and distract myself with my boyfriend because it was easier than actually learning to accept failure and become better through it. I wasn’t learning to suffer well; I was trying to skip over the disappointment and the opportunity to grow.

Here’s the thing and it’s hard to accept, but I think we need to feel the suffering. I think we need to learn to suffer well. Distracting ourselves from our disappointment and failures only stunts our growth. We may be able to distract ourselves from our current upsetting situation, but we cannot out run it forever.

So, how do we learn to be “really good at suffering”? How do we reach the point where we can truly experience disappointment or failure, take it by the horns, and emerge stronger?

  1. Stop running.

Don’t use people or things to escape the “not fun” parts of life. Learn to be open to feeling the pain because the sooner you start feeling it, the sooner you can become better at dealing with it.

2. Give it to Jesus.

I’ve learned that God’s always got a plan and 10 out of 10 times it’s better than mine (even though I seem to forget that). Whatever failure or disappointment you’re experiencing, learn to come to Him in prayer and He may not take the pain away immediately, but through surrendering, you are going to begin to feel peace again.

3. Move forward.

I think it’s important to take time to analyze situations, ponder what you could have done better, and plan what you will do better. However, don’t dwell in that place of hurt forever. Once you’ve identified the lessons that were learned- move on with life.

In summary, suffering is not a fun topic, but I feel it’s necessary. Once we learn to suffer well, life will be a much easier ride because you’re braced for it. I hope you start giving everything over to Jesus- the good and the bad. Regardless of your circumstances, He does have a plan and purpose even through the valleys and lows of life.

“I am sure that our suffering now cannot be compared to the shining-greatness that He is going to give us.” Romans 8:18 (NLV)

 

 

Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Gets Married- UPDATE! (Daniel Fast & Books I’m Reading)

Hi Friends!

So, I’ve already gotten a jump start on my goals- One of the things I wanted to do was a Daniel fast the month of January. My family used to do it every year, but have not the past few years. I have found that when I’m where I need to be spiritually, most other areas of my life seem to fall more in line.

I think it’s very easy to get distracted with life, college, jobs, and everything else in the world. Sometimes we just lose sight of ourselves and I know I have in a lot of way. But, I want to change that! What are some things you feel like you need to change or areas you need to grow?

In addition to the spiritual aspect, fasting is a great way to find discipline when it comes to our food intake. I am not fasting to lose weight, but I know a weakness of mine is anything having to do with bread/pizza/pasta/fries/potatoes in some form. Just like Oprah, “I LOVE BREAD”. But, too much of anything is a bad thing. I want to see how my body reacts and changes during this fast and then after January see how I want to proceed.

If you are planning on trying a Daniel fast, I would suggest thinking and praying about what exactly you want to fast and to what extent. Some people are not able to do as strict of a fast due to health conditions, etc. I have decided to eat fruits, veggies, some dairy, and minimal meat (for example, egg whites for breakfast or chicken in a salad). I know that I need some meat in my diet due to the amount of weight lifting I do. So, I have modified, but the biggest struggle of all for me will be the lack of bread-y carbs and I won’t be having another cheat meal until February so believe me, your girl is sacrificing. (February 1st you can find me at Whataburger)

Here’s sort of a list of what I eat in a day if you are trying to visualize what this fasting would look like-

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Another big thing I have started is my reading 2 books a month- I’m still working on finishing my two for January, but I wanted to share a few that I have already read because I think every person can gain something from these.

It’s Not Supposed To Be This Waybook1.jpg

I read this book a few months after my engagement ended. Reading this book was probably the greatest thing I could have done for myself at the time. Lysa Terkeurst is one of my favorite authors, but I think this book is her greatest work simply because of just how real and vulnerable she is with her own life. It really helped me heal and if you’re going through a difficult time and you don’t understand why, you need to read this.

The Magnolia Story

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Confession- I’ve read this more than once. I love Chip and Jo! I love their show and I watch a lot of HGTV because of my career (always looking for new ideas), but I have fallen in love with who they are as people. It is so cool to read their story and watch how they’ve build the empire they have. They are both incredibly hardworking, driven people. But, they are also an amazing team and I think that is probably the coolest thing about them.

The Sparkle Effect

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My pageant girls! If you have not read this, you need to. Kristen Wolfe was a Miss North Carolina USA and then went on to become Miss USA. I read this book right before I competed at Miss Alabama USA for the first time and it really put me in a good head space for competition. However, even if you aren’t a pageant contestant or are no longer competing, there is so much in this book that any young woman needs to hear and be reminded of.

In summary- fasting and praying can be life changing. Reading books to give you a different perspective can be life changing. Take this month of January to set your mind and yourself straight for the rest of the new year. 2020 is going to be a great one!

Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Gets Married

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I’m really not one for New Year’s Resolutions- I’m a very goal oriented person, but I’ve never really gotten into the whole idea of making resolutions. I feel resolutions are general- goals are specific. It is easy to fall off our resolution wagon when our resolutions are as simple as “eat healthier” or “save more money”. Instead, I feel it should be more like “lose 10lbs” or “pay off my car”. We have to have a way to measure our goals so we can claim success and hold ourselves accountable.

I’ve been thinking a lot about 2020 and what I want to accomplish this year. I feel like this year is going to be a year to focus on myself and becoming the best version of Bailey that I can. I’m not married nor do I have children so I have the ability to focus on myself and becoming more and more the woman I need to be.

I’ve not shared this much publicly, because who enjoys sharing losses or difficult seasons of life? In addition, up until this point I did not really feel I had enough time to reflect and be able to adequately express how I have grown and how I have learned. A couple years ago, I got engaged to my boyfriend at the time. Unfortunately, about a month after he proposed we called off the engagement. It was very sad and difficult, but ultimately what was best for us both. But, sometimes what is best is the most painful and it was very, very painful.

However, I have had a lot of time to think, reflect, and grow from that experience. I learned much about myself, relationships, but most importantly what I did not have. I allowed myself to become so caught up in being a couple and wanting to be someone’s wife- I stopped being an individual. If I had gotten married when I had planned, I certainly would not be the person I am today, but more importantly, I wouldn’t be a whole person. I would have just been a half of a whole.

After the relationship ended, I did a lot of praying and thinking. Who is Bailey? Who does Bailey want to be? Not what does my husband/parents/friends want, but what do I want? And most importantly- what does God want for me?

I say all this to say I have learned- you have to be a whole person before you can become part of a couple. You cannot lean on others to fulfill your desires and needs because that is not their job. You will never be able to be content with someone else, unless you are first content with yourself.

In pursuit of being content with myself, I have realized that before I get married I need 3 things: 1) spiritual goals, 2) financial goals, 3) fun/adventure goals. Below, I have written out some of mine (more to come)- daily quiet time qualifies as spiritual, pay off schooling is a financial goal, and then the rest fall into “fun” goals. I think it’s very important to have fun goals as much as anything else. You need to find ways to push yourself and keep learning about who you are as an individual. Read books, learn to knit, go camping, climb a mountain, try a new gym class- whatever floats your boat!

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I want to kind of chronicle these goals of mine because it’s a journey I’m on and I’m hoping that through sharing my story I can encourage other women to do the same. Create goals, pursue an education/a career, find what gives you peace, learn why God put you on this earth.

You are not a half waiting to be a whole. You are complete just the way you are. However, every one of us has room to grow and learn, take this time to do that.

More to come!

 

It’s time to let go, Love

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Anyone who knows me knows that I come ALIVE in the fall. October through December is the most magical and perfect time to me. I love the change in the air, the myriad of holidays, and everything just seems prettier when it’s decorated.

I don’t know why, but the whole world just seems more beautiful and it feels like a fresh start. Maybe it’s because school begins again and everyone falls back into routine, but for whatever reason- I love the blank slate that is autumn. To me, fall is more than pumpkin spice and fuzzy socks/boots season. It’s the ending of summer, but the beginning of something new.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about things that I need to improve upon in life- less procrastination, drinking more water, etc. But, this morning it really hit me how I’ve been hanging on to some hard feelings that are doing nothing but weighing me down.

2018 was a very difficult year for me. I lost some friendships, experienced a broken engagement, and saw some longterm goals/dreams not come to fruition. To say the least, it was very draining emotionally and I suppose I felt the only way to combat the frustration of these disappointments was to blame and harbor resentment towards other people.

Obviously, harboring resentment really does not do anyone any good. It did not change any part of my life except for make me feel more miserable and even more drained by holding onto that hurt.

The beautiful thing about fall is that even nature lets things go. I know it’s super cliche and an overdone analogy, but I guess I just never really thought about it and looked at it through the lens of my life. I can’t move on to new seasons without letting go of past disappointments. Trees can’t bloom in the spring if they don’t let go of what they already have hanging on. I can’t move to new seasons if I continually live in the past thinking somehow that will change what has already happened.

So, I did an inventory of my heart and the many feelings I have and realized burning bridges does not get you anywhere. Obviously, you should never shy away from removing toxic people from your life, but that’s not what I’m speaking to. I’m talking about people who have talked behind your back or hurt your feelings with certain actions. You don’t necessarily have to be friends with them, but being angry over something that happened a year ago does not really do any good. It’s only hurts you.

After realizing this, I sent a few texts and tried to make things right. I may never see these people again or have a friendship with them, but I know that I’ve let the resentment go because I want to enjoy this new season that I am in. I know I won’t be able to fully do that until I’ve let go of what happened in an old season.

So, I say all this to say- whatever you are holding on to, it’s time to let go. Make the phone call, send the text, mend what’s broken and move on. God has something new for you and it’s time to let go of the old and make room for the new. Happy Fall ❤

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing!” -Isaiah 43:18-19

 

Reckless Abandon

Stay Beautiful and Blooming

I’ve only seen Gone With The Wind one time and to be honest once was enough. I know my grandmother would probably freak out if she were still here with us because as any southern woman- SHE LOVED THAT MOVIE. However, my attention span is only about as long as it takes to watch Finding Nemo or the amount of episodes of Friends it takes me to fall asleep. So, a four hour movie really isn’t quite realistic for me. AND THE MOVIE IS SAD. I don’t like being sad!

I don’t remember much from the movie except Scarlett’s curtain dress and how mean she was to Rhett Butler. But for whatever reason, I have always (as most people) remembered his famous line: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

Unless I stub my toe, I try my best not to curse. But, I’ve always loved that line and there have been MANY a times in my life I’ve wanted to say, “the heck with it, I’m gonna do what I want”. However, for whatever reason, I have such a hard time doing that. I’m a people pleaser and I care A LOT about what people think of me.

I think there has to be a healthy balance between not obsessing over people’s perception of us and caring about our reputation. There is nothing wrong with caring about your reputation because at the end of the day, that’s all you’ve got. I want people to know I am trustworthy, thoughtful, and hard-working because I work very hard to be those things.

However, I also easily obsess over people’s view of me. I care what people think and that concern turns to insecurities and constant comparison between myself and others. Life is exhausting when you are continually trying to measure up to people who are not you or have different skills/personalities/gifts/desires than you do.

I work as a Realtor for RE/MAX of Orange Beach. I’m extremely blessed to have a mentor, Miss Donna. Miss Donna is the greatest and she has been huge in helping me grow as an agent and person. A few weeks ago I came to her with a question, and she told me that I just have to go after things with “reckless abandon”. I LOVE that.

It’s been on my mind now for several weeks and I think it totally flows with Rhett’s “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” In the past, I’ve always been afraid to go after certain things because of fearing failure or fearing what people will think. But when we go after our goals with reckless abandon- we’ve put aside people’s opinions and instead, put ourselves first.

I’m challenging myself to go after things with reckless abandon and I want to challenge you to do the same. Stop caring about what people are going to think or what they will say, and just do what you have to do to make things happen. Worried about cold-calling someone and asking them for business? Call them anyway. Scared to ask that girl out on a date you’ve been seeing at the gym? Ask her anyway- even if she says no or is already dating someone- she’ll be flattered anyway. Afraid to jump out on your own and start a new business or career? If not now, WHEN?

Obviously, seek wise council and use normal precautions. As my father would say, “Don’t do anything stupid.” But, you can start living life without fear and embrace opportunities with open arms.

Live life with reckless abandon.

Making Me New

Making me

Happy Easter Sunday friends!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend with friends and family. I have been reflecting a lot lately on the word “new” and I felt this weekend would be the perfect time to write about it.

Easter is about redemption and resurrection. Things you thought were dead or gone have come back to life in a big way. Jesus was buried and then He rose to make us all new in Him. #praise

Looking back, 2018 was probably one of the most challenging years for me. The latter half of the year proved to be one of the hardest seasons I’ve walked through in my life. There was about a 6 month period where I just felt stuck. Like I couldn’t move forward or couldn’t progress, I was just spinning my wheels. I wanted so badly to feel like I was moving into a new season of life, but sometimes it just takes time. However, in that in-between time, it is easy to feel hopeless.

I would imagine this is how the disciples felt when Jesus was hung on the cross. They felt hopeless and like there was no way they would be able to come back from something so awful (thank the Lord that wasn’t the case). Those 3 days Jesus was in the tomb probably felt like an eternity and the disciples probably felt a lot like they were stuck and lost- what do we do now that Jesus is gone?

Not to say that what I’ve gone through in any way can compare to what the disciples and those around Jesus felt when He was crucified. However, I do think Jesus cares about my problems regardless of how big or small.

Back at the beginning of the new year, I felt the Lord put on my heart the word “new”. It was constantly on my mind and one day I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across this verse:

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After seeing this, I decided this was going to be my verse for the year. I felt the most peace I have had in a long time. Even though things seemed bleak and I wasn’t totally sure how God was going to make something good or new out of my situation, I trusted that He would. It may not have been in the way I saw things, but I’m thankful for that. He always knows better than I.

I can only imagine the disciples felt the same way- how in the world could something good come of Jesus being crucified? Why did God allow that to happen? Why did He let Jesus suffer?

As awful as it is, sometimes, suffering is necessary. Difficult seasons are necessary. Hard times are necessary. But, no matter how hopeless something may seem, redemption is always possible. Even through death, Jesus showed us there can be life.

The second half of 2018, I didn’t see how Jesus could make things new for me. Even coming into 2019, I didn’t see how Jesus could make everything better and revive things in my life, but He did. Four months into this year and I’ve seen Him grow, challenge, change, and transform who I am. He has made my life- spiritual, personal, and professional- new. He’s been faithful and stuck to His promise that He won’t leave me and even if I wander, He’s there when I come back.

As awful as those 3 days were, Sunday morning came and Jesus came back. In our lives, “Sunday” will always come. It may take more than 3 days, but it will come. I want to encourage you on this Easter Sunday to have a heart filled with hope. Regardless of where you are at in life or what you’re going through, Christ died so He could make you new— trust His plan and open your heart to what He has for you.

Happy Easter y’all!

 

An Open Letter To The Girl Starting Back To School

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Hello Lovely Lady,

As summer comes to an end and you begin a new school year,  I want to send you off with lots of encouragement. In addition, I want you to know how loved and valued you are because as the next few years unfold you will go through many different seasons of life. Some good, some bad, some exciting, and some terrifying. And that’s ok, it’s all apart of life. However, I’m going to share with you some things people shared with me when I was younger as well as things I wish people had shared with me. Here we go…

  1. Middle school and high school don’t last forever!

In the moment, some things seem so important. Who you go to prom with, what you wear the first day of school, whether or not your crush texts you back- but in retrospect, none of that really matters. Don’t get caught up on the little things, keep your eyes focused on your future and your goals!

2. The friends you have in 7th grade may not still be your friends when you graduate. 

Its sounds sad, but honestly, it’s just life. During your middle/high school years, you are going to grow and change and the people around you will as well. Some friends will stick around, and others will move on to other things. It can be sad in the moment to lose a friend, but know that you will meet new people wherever you are and in whatever season of life. God is going to put the right people in your path in the right time.

3. Being in a relationship is not a requirement.

You are not weird or a freak if you are single. There is nothing wrong with taking time to focus on yourself and give the guys around you time to mature and grow into the men they need to be to be husband material. You don’t need a boyfriend to have value or worth. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!

4. A Kylie Jenner Lip Kit will not make you like yourself more or help the things you are self-conscious about.

Something I have never liked about myself is my lips. I know that sounds dumb, but every time I would look in the mirror, I would look at them and think they are too small. What I would give for lips like Angelina Jolie- I mean geez! This sounds ridiculous, but I always told myself when I got older I would get some type of filler to make my lips bigger. I told myself that because it made me feel better thinking there was a fix to the thing that I didn’t like about myself. However, there came a point when I had to realize that I’m not Angeline Jolie or Kylie Jenner- I’m Bailey Kennon. “Fixing” or “covering up” something was not going to deal with the real issue at hand- which was my heart. Not saying there is anything wrong with lip kits (I like lip liners as much as the next person)- simply that before you attempt to “fix” yourself on the outside, you have to examine your heart on the inside. Then, real progress and transformation can take place.

5. You don’t have to make mistakes, but it’s okay if you do. 

The beautiful thing about having parents, older siblings, and mentors is that you can learn from their mistakes. You don’t have to make the same mistakes they do- you can take their advice and hopefully avoid many obstacles. However, it’s okay if you do make mistakes. That’s how you learn and that’s how you grow. Understand that one wrong turn does not mean you have derailed your entire life- every day is a new day and a new opportunity to make it better than the day before.

6. You are not who you have been, you are who you choose to be. Choose to be someone good.

Change and transformation is normal. You’re going to go through many seasons of life. Sometimes you may not understand your purpose, you many not understand why God has put you on a certain path. But regardless of where you are, be something good. Learn to shine wherever you are. One of my favorite quotes is- “Grow where you are planted”- learn to live by that.

7.  You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

In regards to this, I’m not talking about your parents or other authority figures- I’m talking peers and boyfriends. Just because someone asks you to do something does not mean you have to. Whether that be going to a party, going further physically in a relationship than you want to, underage drinking, smoking, etc. You have to know what you want and what your boundaries are and then not let anyone pressure you beyond where you have drawn a line. Just for the record, it is possible to get through middle school and high school without drinking, partying, or smoking. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Do what you know is right and let the chips fall where they may. Be strong and stand up for yourself.

8. Pray for your future spouse.

This is so important. Regardless of whether or not you meet the man you’ll marry in high school- he is going through the same things you are. He will have seasons of loneliness, happiness, frustration, and worry. Pray for his heart and for his relationship with the Lord. Ask God to give him the strength to stay strong in his faith and to put the people in his life that he will need to mentor him.

9. Word carry weight.

My primary love language is words of affirmation. My whole week can be made by a tiny compliment- as well as an insult can tear me to pieces. I’ve had to learn to toughen up, but I’ve learned that words carry a lot of weight. Use your words to build people up- not discourage or tear them down. In this age of social media, once you put something out there, you cannot take it back. Know the power of your words and your keyboard. Before posting something, remember that it will always be there and try to think of who it will affect.

10. Give grace.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is that we’re all going to mess up. Today it might be me, tomorrow it might be you. Regardless, give grace. I’m not saying to not defend or take up for yourself if someone is treating you poorly. I am telling you when a friend hurts you- remember a time that you hurt someone and how you would have loved to have been given grace in a time when you said the wrong thing or made the wrong decision. Learn to live a life of love- not a life of drama.

Above all, center yourself in the Lord. Remember that decisions and doing the right thing become easier when you are following the path God has set before you. It won’t always be easy, but it will be fulfilling.

Happy school year ladies- make it a good one!

“Her clothes are strength and honor. She is full of joy about the future. She opens her mouth with wisdom. The teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” -Proverbs 31:25-26 (NLV)

Competing for an Audience of One

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As Miss Alabama week draws near, I’ve been really reflecting on my year as Miss Leeds. It has been such an incredible year and I’m so thankful to my Leeds family for welcoming me into their community and helping me prepare for my journey to Miss Alabama.

This will be my third year competing and each year I’ve tried to set a goal for myself. I would love to be Miss Alabama more than anything, but in addition to the goal of the Miss Alabama title, I’ve tried to set personal growth goals to make sure I’m continually being challenged and changed for the good.

This year has been different for me than the past 2 years of competing. Every year I’ve given my best- but this year I have given it everything I have. I’ve worked very, very hard to be able to present the best Bailey possible on that stage and I’m so excited for competition week because I’m proud of the work I’ve done to become the person I am today.

However, even though I’ve put in the time and given all the effort I have- there is still the chance that I may never take home the crown. I can continue to compete for another two years until I age out and I still may never be Miss Alabama. Although that’s extremely sad to think about- it’s given me some perspective.

My goal for this year was to learn to compete for an audience of One. In life, I’ve found that people love to speculate. If you continually live and thrive off of people’s speculations or expectations, it will eventually get to you. Complements are wonderful in the moment, but criticisms can crush you when other people’s opinions are all you consider and take to heart.

I’ve questioned myself a lot during my time in pageantry. I’ve questioned whether or not I am good enough to be Miss Alabama. But over the course of this year, I’ve learned to let it go. I’m no longer questioning or wondering what my capabilities or worth are. Because I’m not competing to prove myself or my value, I’m not competing to impress others, I’m not competing to prove anything- I’m competing because I know this is where the Lord wants me. When I walk on that stage, every bit of me is competing for one person and one person only- that person is Jesus.

I’ve fallen in love with Jesus this year in a way I haven’t before. He’s become my best friend and my shelter. I’ve learned to not do things to please other people- but to do things to honor Him. As long as I am making Jesus proud, it does not really matter whether I take home a crown or come in dead last- because I will have fulfilled my purpose.

So, I want to ask you this- are you living your life to please or impress others? Or are you living your life to honor Christ? The latter is far easier and much more fulfilling than the former. I want to encourage you to learn to lean totally on Him instead of the opinions of others because people are fickle and they change constantly. However, our Heavenly Father is always constant and His desire for our good never changes.

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Healer For The Broken

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Today I was driving home from Birmingham- I live there about half the time now so I spend a good amount of time in the car going back and forth between there and Orange Beach. But today’s drive was a bit different than most.

I put on some worship music and decided to spend some time in prayer since I haven’t done as good of job lately as I should about spending time with the Lord. I was kinda catching up with Him, like you would with an old friend. I was praying about all the transitions and changes in my life lately and I just started crying. I’m not much of a crier, much less a weeper, but that’s what I was doing. Like, uncontrollably weeping.

This might sound strange, but in that moment I had a vision or something similar. That doesn’t happen very often for me, but I’m guessing that’s what it was- God was trying to show me something. In whatever this was, I saw classrooms of students. Through my pageant platform, I spend a lot of time in schools, clubs, and churches speaking to kids so it was a familiar sight. But none of these kids were smiling, they weren’t crying or visibly upset, but I could feel sadness in them. I felt the word “broken” on my heart as I was seeing these kids. Then, I began to cry even more.

I felt so heartbroken for these students. I feel that I’m a pretty empathetic person and identifying with others is a strength I have, but this was unlike anything I had felt before. I started telling God, “Please use me. Please let me help these kids, I don’t want them to hurt, I don’t want them to feel broken. Please Lord, please.” Speaking these words turned to yelling them because it just hurt my heart so bad. I didn’t understand why God showed me that or why He put it on my heart. But as I continued praying, I understood.

He was breaking my heart for what breaks His.

I’m so guilty of being wrapped up in myself. Being more concerned about school and my social life to not see what’s right before me. I think we are all guilty of that sometimes, we get caught up in ourselves and in deadlines to not see the bigger picture. We as Christians bicker with each other and get frazzled over meaningless things instead of just being vessels for God’s purpose.

We’re supposed to bring broken people to the ultimate Healer. We’re supposed to help people when the world fails them, because we aren’t of the world and neither is our Savior. Instead of bickering between denominations or churches, we should be coming together as communities to give hurting people hope. We’ve been given the greatest gift in the world- How could we get so busy with ourselves that we forget to share it?

My boyfriend Charlie introduced me to a show called Last Chance U a few weeks ago. I didn’t really want to watch it because it was a documentary on a football team and it didn’t sound interesting. But, when you’re in a relationship you learn to take turns with what you watch on Netflix (millennial relationship probz). I definitely don’t recommend this show for kids because there is far too much bad language; however, after getting through the first episode I was hooked and I think there is a lot to be learned for adult viewers. The players in this documentary impacted me so much and I binge-watched every episode in like 3 days. After finishing it, I was telling everyone I knew that they needed to watch it- because it made a difference in my life and impacted me for the good.

I use this example because that’s how Christians have to be with Jesus. Whenever you hear a new song or see a new movie you like, you share it with everyone you know. You want them to have the same experience with it that you did. I wanna be that way with Jesus- I want to share Him with every person I know. I want my heart to break for what breaks His.

So I want to challenge you- Are you living in your own little world? Are you too busy with yourself or your Christian bubble to not see hurting people? Remember the first time you heard your favorite song- take that feeling and apply it to your relationship with Jesus. Then take that application and share Him with every person you meet.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”- Psalm 147:3

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.