beautifully in over my head.

everything else is sinking sand.

Praise God for late-night phone conversations.

Last night, I had the pleasure of catching up with one of my dear friends, Marquis. I haven’t seen him in months, and I know the time spent talking with him, even if only briefly, was something I truly needed. We shot the breeze about life and how we were managing our busy schedules. He asked how I was adjusting to life in Austin, and I told him I was taking it one day at a time. Things certainly haven’t been easy, but I wasn’t expecting ease. I told him that I had found really strong community at my new church and through my connections at UT. He told me that he was preparing for some early check-ins in his residence hall, while also getting things ready for his RAs’ return. We can always bond over the woos and woes of working in Residence Life. Man, oh man, it can be exhausting, but the opportunities to pour into students overshadows everything!

Later, he asked me about the tattoo I was hoping to get. I told him that I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted, but that I wanted a simple, yet powerful, statement that reflected my faith. I began to quote a Bethel song that has always resonated with my heart. This song is called “In Over My Head,” and to me, it represents a longing for Jesus in the midst of a turbulent world. When we’ve let all other things pour into our soul, but have forgotten that Jesus is the only One who can truly satisfy, we are left thirsty and unfulfilled. The lyrics below paint a beautifully sharp image:

I have come to this place in my life
I’m full but I’ve not satisfied
This longing to have more of You
And I can feel it my heart is convinced
I’m thirsty my soul can’t be quenched
You already know this but still
Come and do whatever You want to

I’ve seen this verse personified in my life for a while now. I know Jesus is here with me, but many times, I am too afraid to let go and let Him. Let go and let Him. Let go and let Him. Let that sink in, friends. Can you imagine what that is like? I know I’m still trying to get to that place. Sometimes, it feels easier to bask in my guilt, shame, and hopelessness, rather than letting Him cleanse me. I often think about the parts of me I wish I could change and ask, “what would my life be like if my reality were different?” I believe my testimony has power, but it is not absent of sharp thorns. I press into Christian community because it gives me brothers and sisters who will walk with me through everything. However, even with this community, it is important to remember the source from which it flows. ✞

it gets even better.

After the first couple of verses, the song escalates into a refrain that I’ve already tattooed on my heart. It reads:

Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
Then you crash over me, and that’s where You want me to be
I’m going under, I’m in over my head
Whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head

I told Marquis that I wanted to get the last part of the last line tattooed on my body. Beautifully in over my head. Those five words really do encapsulate the crazy, yet awe-inspiring, journey on which the Lord has taken me. Even in the moments of sheer confusion and loss of faith, Jesus shows up. If it were up to me and my faith, I would be utterly destroyed by the weight of this world. The good news is that Jesus NEVER STOPS PURSUING US. No matter the number of times we wrong Him or question His goodness, He ceases to let us run, unless it is into His arms. And all God’s people said AMEN.

changing the narrative of worship.

In the modern American church, celebratory worship has become increasingly the norm. We raise our hands to the Lord for all of the good things He has done, but sometimes fail to acknowledge our own human depravity and how He is redeeming it. The Christian life is absolutely not always sunshine and roses. If it was, sin wouldn’t be an issue and we really wouldn’t need Jesus to intercede. Our brokenness requires that we fully lean on Christ as our sturdy rock, even in the bleakest of moments. The struggle against sin is a form of worship in itself, and one that should be highlighted frequently. There is plenty to celebrate (because the Lord is always faithful), but sometimes we must walk through the valley before we get to the mountaintop.

I’ll leave you with one last thought.

Joy.

Something we can feel no matter how much life sucks. Something we can radiate even when we bear the deepest of wounds.

Joy is not transient, it is eternal. It is something that comes from Christ Himself. When we let Him crash over us and wreck the lies spoken to us by the enemy, we experience joy. When we witness a brother or sister give their life to Christ, we experience joy. When we fully believe that our value comes not from superficial treasures or others’ approval, but instead from Jesus, we experience joy in its purest form. Maybe you’re like me, and you need this reminder every single day. We don’t have to fake smiles or pretend that everything is okay. He sees us, and He’s redeeming us, one day at a time. Here’s to being beautifully in over our heads, for there is no other way to live.

Simply Yours,
Simply Lando ❤

reflections from senior year.

goodbye isn’t losing what you love; it is taking it with you wherever you go.

This past year was one fraught with many firsts. From learning what it means to love someone, to applying to grad school and jumping into the bleak unknown, I have experienced virtually every emotion. I wanted to offer a brief reflection, not because I think it’s something you all need to hear, but truthfully because I need to process. Tomorrow, I will be making the journey to Texas to begin my summer internship at UT Dallas. I am feeling many things right now: excitement, sadness, anxiety, hope, and nostalgia, just to name a few. Honestly, the hardest part of this transition is moving away from the people I love the most. Some days I wake up and think, “I can’t do it, I really can’t!” Why does the thing that had me excited for so many months suddenly feel like my breaking point? Will I only get as far as the Texas state line before I dissolve into a puddle of tears? I really don’t know.

let’s go back to the summer of ’18.

This past summer was one of enormous growth. On June 15, 2018, I told the world my greatest secret, that I experienced same-sex attraction. This was a huge moment for me because it allowed me to stop pretending. I just couldn’t do it any longer. With this honest moment came a whirlwind of confusion, though. What do I do with my sexuality? How do I approach this in light of my faith? What does the Lord have in store for me now? These were questions I asked (and still ask) on a daily basis. I really do believe in a sovereign and just God, even when His answers haven’t yet been revealed to me.

The year following the summer of ’18 was probably one of the most dynamic years of my life. I began to experience what many begin experiencing in Jr. High … l.o.v.e. I started to become more comfortable expressing these feelings to my friends. I had never done that before because I didn’t know it was an option. Growing up, I suppressed any admiration I had for boys because, to be honest, I thought people would think I was a freak. Knowing that my friends were there to love and support me made all the difference, and I’m so thankful to them for allowing me the space to be completely honest about what I was going through. (Special shoutout to Sylvia, Jordan, Olivia, Jackson, and Lane for always receiving my late-night “sad boy” texts with grace, love, and unconditional support. You all have no idea how much you mean to me.) While many of the people I liked were not romantically available, I also know that I was (and still am) working through what I believe about human sexuality, in light of my faith. Maybe I’m meant to be celibate, maybe I’m not. I’ve learned to be okay with this dissonance. I’m taking this journey one day at a time, confident the Lord will provide for me, no matter what. His love is not contingent on what I do, but rather, what he has already done.

In addition to my introspection, I also came clean with some of the guys I liked. This was probably the scariest part of my entire year. I knew it wasn’t something I had to do, but these people mean a lot to me, and I felt like it would help me move on and grow from the experience. Luckily for me, the guys I told handled the news with more grace than I could ever ask for, and we’re still close today. Being vulnerable in these moments terrified me, but it helped me develop friendships that could withstand nearly anything. And that is something for which I thank God every day!

thank you, Belmont, for believing in me.

Attending Belmont University was, by far, the best decision I could have made, four short years ago. Although I didn’t stick with music business, and could have studied public relations anywhere else, the community at Belmont was a non-negotiable. The love and care that my friends, co-workers, supervisors, and professors showed me allowed me to discover my passion of pouring into university students. I would not be pursuing higher education administration if it weren’t for Belmont. Freshman year, I could have never imagined the opportunities I would be afforded or the love I would be shown. Freshman Landon didn’t know his peers would vote him Homecoming King (something I would’ve only dreamed of), or that his beloved professors and faculty would award him a Bruin Award for distinguished leadership. I don’t say these things to toot my own horn; I’m just truly in awe of everything this community has done for me. It is through nearly tear-stained eyes that I write this. You know it was good when the goodbyes sting a little bit.

Soaking in the moment with Belmont’s lovely Queen, Ms. Jenna Drury.

finding joy in a new season.

To be completely real with you, I am extremely anxious to begin this next chapter of life. This past week, my heart has felt extremely heavy because of the sadness I have of leaving behind Belmont and the beautiful memories associated with it. When I get to Texas, I will be working as an Assistant Coordinator for Camps and Conferences at UT Dallas. Then, in July, I will move to Austin to begin in my role as an Assistant Complex Coordinator at UT Austin, as part of their Master’s Program in Higher Education Leadership. This position will certainly present many challenges and push me to grow in ways I never have before; however, I am confident that my team, my supervisors, my cohort, my professors, and above all, the AMAZING God I serve will carry me through every difficult moment. I have so much hope, y’all. I really do. ❤

Finally, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you, Mum and Dad, for funding my education and literally loving me through all the crap that this world has ever thrown at me. Thank you, to the rest of my family, for always being a warm home to come back to. Missouri is always going to occupy a special place in my heart. Thank you, steadfast friends, for being a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to do life with, and for being my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself. I love you all so much. Thank you, Belmont faculty and staff, for teaching me how to become a life-long learner and holding me to the standard that you did. Even when I didn’t deliver, you remained faithful in my abilities and saw me more than a mere “work-in-progress.” You inspire me daily, and I hope to love students even half as well as you do. Finally, thank you, Lord, for being the reason for EVERY SEASON. Thank you for loving me, in spite of my flaws, and helping me lead a life of humility and service to You and Your people. I know I have a long way to go, and I pray that you will increase my faith in the days, months, and years to come. You are my beginning and my end, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I graduated Cum Laude from the Belmont Honors Program with a B.S. in Public Relations.

Well, that’s all for now, friends. I hope you realize how great of an impact you have had on my life, through the good times and the bad. I promise I will never forget any of you. In fact, I’m expecting some FaceTime calls from many of you, and I will be sure to do the same. 😉 Please remember that you are loved, and there is always a friendly face in Austin if you ever find yourself in the area. Until next time …

Simply Yours (especially you, Belmont),
Simply Lando



i need.

I need rest.

Because I am tired.

I need healing.

Because things aren’t always okay.

I need space.

Because sometimes I get angry.

I need patience.

Because there are some things I’m not meant to understand.

I need grace.

Because good intentions are never enough.

I need peace.

Because I am at war with myself.

I need prayer.

Because words fall flat.

I need love.

Because my heart is thirsting.

I need JESUS.

Because there’s no other way.

a joyful heart. ♥︎

a poem for joy.

a joyful heart will sing to thee
praises in the highest key
a song for you, a song for me
a song for our almighty king

a joyful heart will rest upon
the promise made to right all wrongs
to cast out fear, to see it gone
for sin has ruled for much too long

a joyful heart will sacrifice
the pain and emptiness and strife
for God has breathed it into life
a soul of which, will never die

a joyful heart will sing to thee
praises in the highest key
a song for you, a song for me
a song for our almighty king

 

you, the beloved.

put these on your mirror.

  1. you are special
  2. you are kind
  3. you have meaning
  4. you are the best you
  5. you are God’s
  6. you are strong
  7. you are smart
  8. you were chosen first
  9. God delights in you
  10. you are like no other
  11. you are capable
  12. you are forgiven
  13. you are redeemed
  14. you have purpose
  15. you are beautiful
  16. you are perfect to the Lord
  17. your presence is powerful
  18. you are not alone
  19. you were someone’s first friend
  20. you are someone’s last breath

you are loved.

all my life.

a poem for Christ-like strength

if all my life can ever be
is what I see upon a screen
then maybe it’s not what it seems
the beauty we call freedom

if all my life i question you
and never let my heart renew
a single drop of misty dew
could wash away my meaning

if all my life is hide and seek
a game that I play for my keep
then how can I possibly see
the beauty of redemption?

if all my life can ever be
is what I see upon a screen
then maybe it’s not what it seems
the beauty we call freedom

 

is sleep really for the weak?

i’m no insomniac, but i really don’t like to sleep.

Hey, it’s me again.  This time, I’m writing to you through groggy eyes and a tired soul.  I literally just finished taking a nap.  Yes, it is 9 o’clock on a Friday evening, and I was napping.  That’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom.

Four hours of sleep.

That was my average this semester.  Most nights, I wouldn’t get to bed until around 1 or 2 am in the morning, and I’d usually wake up around 6 or 7, only a few hours later.  Most of the time, I was either working on homework or hanging out with friends — both wonderful things, but maybe not at that hour of the night.

A Keurig as a crutch

and a smorgasbord of K-cups.  Let me tell you, K-cups have become my best friend and my greatest enemy all at the same time.  These little devils find me at my weakest moments, and somehow convince me that I need them.  Oh shoot, here I go reaching for one now …

I’ve hit a wall.

There’s an old saying that goes, “sleep is for the weak.”  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, probably from someone who looks like they just walked off the set of A Walking Dead.  I don’t know who first pinned that phrase, but whoever they are, they’re irrelevant at this point.  The sad thing is, for many of us, sleep has become an option.  If we’re too busy, we can’t sleep.  If we’re too excited, we can’t sleep.  If we’re too stressed, we can’t sleep.  Obviously, there are health conditions that actually prevent people from a healthy night’s rest, but for so many of us, we have become a product of our own sleep deprivation.

We have to change the stigma.

Being tired or sleep-deprived isn’t cool, it isn’t sexy, and it 100% isn’t healthy.  I’m not preaching to the choir as much as I’m preaching to myself.  Sleep has almost become a nuisance to me, especially since I have had so much to get done these past couple of weeks.  That’s a strong indicator that something has to change.

So, please go get some rest.  You can bet that when I’m finished working on homework for the night, I will probably be hibernating for the rest of the weekend.  I wish you a night full of rest, and the sweetest dreams to go with it.

Don’t be weak, get some sleep.

Simply Yours,
Simply Lando