Monthly Roundup: April Favorites

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Apparently April was a month of entertainment.

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been in a massive spring cleaning mood. While I’m not going to put “Spring Cleaning” on my favorites list, it definitely was a theme for April.

April is also a busy month work-wise so when I head home, I try not to spend time aimlessly scrolling on my phone and staring at yet another screen. I think that’s why I’m currently ahead of schedule for my yearly reading goal (18/35). I found myself choosing to sit down to read or listen to a podcast or audiobook in the evenings.

{ONE} The Nightingale 

The month started with a quick trip to Florida so I packed The Nightingale because I heard good things about it. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. A definite must-read for those interested in World War 2. I couldn’t put it down and although it has over 600 pages, I read it quickly. Highly recommend.

{TWO} I Am Malala

I’m a little late to the party with this one. I Am Malala definitely had its moment a few years back but I finally decided to read it this month. I was captivated by her story and inspired by her courage and determination.

{THREE} Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion

I am not a die-hard football fan but I do love a good underdog story. When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, it was definitely a moment to remember. The team’s first Super Bowl win, an unstoppable season, and a coach with a unique sense of leadership. I enjoyed reading Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion, written by Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. I loved understanding his point of view and thought process about the Big Game and beyond.

{FOUR} Michael Jackson Experience

I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan. I listened to his music growing up and couldn’t go into a college exam or give a presentation without first listening to Smooth Criminal. True story, ask anyone. For my birthday, my mom bought us tickets to see a Michael Jackson Experience concert, where a group of performers danced MJ’s infamous moves and recreated iconic concerts from over the years. It was truly an incredible experience and I’m glad my mom and I went together!

{FIVE} Shazam

I didn’t know what to expect when entering the theatre to watch Shazam. I avoided reviews but heard through the grapevine (aka my brothers) that it was a great superhero movie. They were right! I loved it!

{SIX} Captain Marvel

We’re huge Avenger fans over at the Papili household. Before seeing End Game (hopefully soon!) we needed to watch Captain Marvel first. Now we’re ready (although I don’t know if I’m emotionally prepared for whatever’s about to go down).

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When weakness becomes strength.

“Never be so busy making a life that you forget to live one.”

This quote echoes through my mind several times a day. “You work too hard,” people comment. “You’re too hard on yourself. You deserve a break.”

The thing is, I can’t. I literally have tried to relax and I just couldn’t do it.

I feel like I’m wasting time when I shut the world out and try to focus on only breathing, on refocusing, on taking this “break” that everyone talks about.

Waste of time.

Is it, though?

I discovered the quote above earlier this year and wrote it down on a Post-It note. It now stays tacked on my wall right next to my desk, which is the place I go to escape from the world and focus on the homework, the blog posts, the writing, and all the work that “needs” to be done right this second.

Your biggest strength can become your biggest weakness, we all know this. But what about the reverse? What happens to your weakness?

Through time, I’ve realized that I struggle with letting go. Yes, it’s come as no surprise, but I still struggle with completely letting go, 100%.

Through work, through structure, through organization, through lists on lists on lists, through checking things off, through keeping a schedule… I may say I can completely let go, but when it comes down to it, I’m just a girl trying to keep it all together just like you.

I never could juggle, but I feel like I’m juggling a bunch of different tasks, things to do, and deadlines, struggling to keep them in the air when any second, they could come crashing down.

What if they did?

They would come crashing down and I’d be left standing there, my biggest weakness revealed… I can’t juggle to save my life.

With all the pressure I put on myself, I sometimes feel like I’m driving myself crazy. Has this happened to you?

I haven’t found a solution to this problem that seems to be one of the many themes of my life.

I just know that I can’t do it all and I’ve realized this time and time again. I try to be Superman, but juggling is my Kryptonite.

The expectations I put on myself are far greater than what they should be. That could be a great strength, but it’s also a great weakness.

The good thing, though, is that although I don’t come close to measuring up to my own expectations, and even though I could never in 10000 years measure up to the perfect standard that Jesus sets for believers, I am free.

I am free from the struggles.

I am free from the worries, the stress, the pressure, the expectations. The hurt, the anxiety, the need to control, the need for structure.

I am free because although I fail every day and I will never ever EVER have it all together, even though some days may be better than others, even though I will never measure up…

Jesus did. And He does. And He’ll always continue to, because on the same day that I found the quote I began this blog post with, I also read Hebrews 13:8.

Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Although on most days I’m so busy making a life that I forget to live one, Jesus is so busy giving grace to me, even though I don’t deserve it. He’s giving me life every day, grace every day, forgiveness every day. He’s the same forever and for that, my greatest weakness is my greatest strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”