Born for Boldness

I’m pausing during a stressful night to ask you a question.

What would you do if you were more bold?

I stumbled upon this question while scrolling through my instagram feed, and I’ve been thinking about this question for the past month. I’ve been asking people this question for the last few weeks, and it’s been really interesting to hear their various answers.

Some answers were focused on others. Some said they would tell people when they’re wrong more often; someone said they would interject on behalf of those around them. Some said they would go to downtown Chicago and hand out food to the homeless in the area. Others mentioned making new friends and reaching out to others. A lot were relationship focused, like confessing love or leaving a detrimental relationship.

Some answers were concerned with taking risks and exploring curiosities. Things like skydiving or riding a rollercoaster. Others said they would ask more questions, whether they be addressed to professors or complete strangers.

A majority were focused on one’s inner self and their aspirations. Many told me they would speak up for themselves and share their opinions. They declared they wouldn’t let themselves be treated poorly anymore. Other desires, like changing majors, singing in front of people, and living in the city were explored. A few people said they would be less conscious of other people’s opinions and aim to live a freer life.

Lastly, a few people answered this question according to God’s purpose for them. Some aspired to pray for others more often and go overseas on a mission trip.

So now, I have another question for you:

What is holding you back?

Usually it’s fear. Why do we let fear have such a stronghold in our lives? When we allow fear to have power over our lives, we neglect God’s authority. When we fear, we are indirectly identifying areas where we don’t trust God’s plan and purpose.

I’ve been trying to rid of fear’s grasp on me. Sometimes, I’m a pretty fearful person. I’m afraid of losing people who are close to me; I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of disappointing people I love; I’m afraid I’m not doing a good enough job. I’m afraid people around me don’t know they’re loved; I’m afraid I could have done more. I’m afraid to trust people; I’m afraid to be honest. The list goes on and on, and I want to start replacing these fears with declarations. 

For instance, because I am trying to be more bold, I will notice and act upon the needs around me. Because I am trying to be more bold, I will ask to pray for people. Because I am trying to be more bold, I will stand up for people I care about, whether it be my roommates, my friends, or my peers with special needs. Because I am trying to be more bold, I will invite someone to bible study with me.

So this week, I want you to try to be bold. Make some declarations about how you want to be bold in the next few weeks. Do one bold thing this week. Bring up Jesus, invite someone to go to church with you, do something you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe it’s reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, maybe it’s serving someone in a specific way. Maybe it’s being honest in some way, shape or form.

Let’s be bold. You were not born to have a spirit of timidity; your fears stop you from following God’s plan for your life. There is freedom found in the Father, and He will give you strength to take those risks. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to be bold, but try to have some faith and take the first step.

xo.

 

Born for Boldness

“metamorphoō”

For the past two hours, I’ve looked at the verse below and started a post. I’ve erased everything and started again many, many times. I don’t know whether to write about God’s truth, my life, or just straight facts about this verse. I don’t know where I feel called to write. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, or what truth God is calling me to bring today.

However, I do know I want you to participate and help me write. I want you to leave comments below. I want to hear how God is working in your life; I want you to add on truth at the end. I want to create a community instead of a one sided conversation. I want to call you to participate. Be someone today. Tell me where you’re from, tell me something you need prayer for, tell me something you’ve been thinking about, tell me somewhere you’re struggling, tell me something you’re grateful for, tell me your thoughts on whatever God speaks through me today. Please, participate. Don’t just watch life go by.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

We are called to be in the world but not of the world. We are called to be lights in this dark and broken world. Bright lights don’t need spotlights when they are immersed in darkness.

Be the light. Be different. Be bold. Be strong. Obtain a kingdom mindset. Have urgency. Because we have the luxury of living in modern America, our sense of urgency as diminished, if not disappeared completely. Heaven is real, Hell is real, Jesus is real. Shouldn’t we be more concerned about the lost and searching souls around us? Where is our urgency and compassion? Where is our value for life and desire to point those around us to our Redeemer?

“Be transformed.” He wants to take our brokenness, our pain, our shortcomings, and make them new. The word transformed in this passage comes from the Greek root “metamorphoō,” which sounds extremely close to the word metamorphosis. As a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it obtains a new perspective and grows in its abilities. The caterpillar isn’t even aware of the life of a butterfly. It can’t understand what it’s like to fly or to taste sweet nectar.

God wants to take our simple and flawed life and lead us into a life with Him. A life With God is so much more fulfilling, so much more real, and so much more exciting. A life With God brings you joy and hope. A life With God is absolutely sweet and desirable. A life With God is His will for all of us.

And my friends, God’s will is perfect. He has a plan specifically for you, simply because He loves you. 

He loves you at your worst, your best, your seeking, your hiding. There is no shame when you approach the father. Bring your burdens, bring your honesty, bring your desire for a transformation.

Transformations take time. They can be lonely and confusing. During transformations, you may feel as though you are groping in the darkness. Friends, keep seeking. Seek harder and harder. Return to times where you felt close with God and begin to do the things which brought you to the high you remember. Invite other people into your thoughts and challenges. Be vulnerable.

Even a life With God is going to be challenging. He will constantly grow you and mold you according to His plans for you. He is the potter, and you are the clay. Surrender to your perfect maker and trust His perfect plans. His perfect plans will enable you to “test and approve what God’s will is.” These plans only deepen our relationship with Him.

Remember, God is using you. He is transforming you. He will not give up on you. Do not give up on Him. His plans are greater, and we will grow the most when we are uncomfortable. He intentionally brings you to your knees through trials. He wants you, He loves you, He wants you to want Him. 

Want Him. Seek Him. Trust Him today. 

 

Today’s appreciation post goes to my dear cat lady. OH Melinda, you always make me laugh, and you have such a heart for others. Thank you for finding time amid confusion and chaos to have deep and vulnerable talks about uncomfortable and hard topics. Thank you for your love and the joy you bring with you. Thank you for demonstrating your cats’ incredible talents, and thank you for never leaving me alone. Thank you for sometimes being vegan and encouraging the cafeteria to get soy and almond milk. I support your stance completely. In all seriousness, you are an absolutely lovely human. I love doing life with you, and I can’t wait to see you in person in twoish weeks. You are such a blessing to me. (go follow her blog here!)

“metamorphoō”

College Mems S1 E4: the cadaver

 

**warning. description of a cadaver set up. viewer discretion advised.**

To walk into a room and see human bodies on a table is absolutely humbling. It’s unforgettable; it’s a little appalling. It is human. My eyes wandered to the paper lying superior to his skull. “Thomas, 81, Vice President, Stroke Victim.” A recognizable mass of muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue was halfway covered by a thin, yellowed sheet. We looked at the nerves and identified the muscles. Then she took off the minimal washcloth, exposing his face. Only then did I feel nauseous. It set in. This was a man, laying out on the table. These bones represented a life. His skull was cut so the brain was easily accessible. We passed it around, noting its irregular consistency. Here originated all of his thoughts, dreams, aspirations. His personality, all his stored memories, the sights, smells, and tastes he experienced – all of it – lay sitting in our hands. Next was a woman. She was 74 and died of lung cancer. We passed around her lungs, which were far from firm and covered in black spots. A tumor of some sort lay in her liver, and globules of fat attached to many of her visceral organs. She had only one kidney and was a transplant recipient. Her hair was curly and brown. Another man had a knee replacement surgery, and we were able to see the metal parts inserted by lifting up his flesh. All three of these humans lay on separate tables, skin removed,  just bodies.

Physically, they were all incredibly unattractive. Tendons were stringy and muscles were brown. In some cases, fat particles covered many parts of the body. In each case, the bodies had no skin. From a first year student’s perspective, races were undistinguishable. There was no white, no black, no yellow, no red, no olive, no freckles, no pale, no tan, no burns, no scars. None was better than the other. None seemed superior. The woman who had lipids attached to her organs? She was no better than the other ones. The man who seemed physically fit? He was just as human as the other bodies in the room. They were bodies. Height, race, eye color, weight, abilities, etc., were not accounted for. Simply, they were human.

Today, I didn’t learn new muscles or nerves. I didn’t learn how to overcome the smell or how to prepare for a lab. I didn’t learn those things. Instead, I relearned the value of a human life. Each body represented a life. Their lives contained identities like brother, sister, mom, dad, aunt, friend, grandfather, etc. Maybe other titles too, like musician or athlete. These humans had dreams and lived lives. They had jobs, and they grew up somewhere. Maybe they had kids. Maybe they changed their major three times. Maybe they went on a mission trip. Maybe they spent many days feeling worthless or alone. Maybe they were the person to make everyone else laugh. Maybe they were really good at physics. Everyone has a story of some sort. The papers above their heads gave their name, age, occupation, and reason for passing. These were once humans.

Sometimes, I think we forget we are all human. We are all made of the same things deep down. We are all broken; we are all sinful. We’re not better than anyone because of the color of our skin or the number staring back up at us from the scale. You are not better than anyone else. You are not less than anyone else. You are you. You are a human. Everyone around you is a human. Love these humans. When it comes down to it, we are solely intricate creations of muscles and bones and tendons and neurons and nerves and organs in desperate need of a Savior. Love the humans around you and adapt a perspective of humility and awe as you watch life progress.

xo.

College Mems S1 E4: the cadaver

“People are kinda like burritos..”

I don’t think I’ve ever really passionately sought after love or a relationship. I’ve never felt the need to be holding hands. I’ve never longed to post a photo with the tag #nationalboyfriendday. Love has never been something my heart has idolized. I see people around me in relationships and I often think to myself why? why would you waste your time on something which probably won’t last? why give up parts of yourself? why make this big of a decision when you are still young? Even so, I find myself on the complete other side of the spectrum. I’m just the same as you; I want to do the cute things and go on dates and scream-sing songs at each other. I want to feel safe and laugh and love and live. I want to go on picnics and go on mission trips and long road trips and volunteer together. I hate it. I have such a perfect picture painted in my mind.

As I came home the other weekend, I realized it’s not exactly something I need – it’s only something I want, though maybe I’m not ready to enter into it. Since I’ve returned home, I’ve really realized how much being away has changed me. I came home and wondered why I made some of the decisions I’ve made. I read old journals and laughed. I’ve grown in so many ways. In how many more ways will I grow these next few weeks, months, years? How will I grow in my education, my personality, my faith? As I feel empty, I remind myself there is more to come. Currently, I am learning to seek God’s acceptance instead of man’s and rest in His unfailing love. Only His love can satisfy my searching soul.

So today, I want to remind you of what you are worthy of when it comes to relationships. I want to remind you to overlook the burrito shell and discover important inside qualities. However, I’m probably incredibly unqualified to be writing this list. Simply, these are opinions, and I don’t intend to set unrealistic expectations. This has just been on my heart lately, so here we go.

First and most importantly, you are worthy of someone who loves God, someone who lives their faith, and someone who encourages you to follow. Do not compromise this. You are worthy of someone who is able to politely call you out on areas you need to improve. You are worthy of someone who is committed to praying for you, reminding you to read your Bible, and building a relationship on God. You are worthy of someone who has as strong of a passion for Jesus as you do. However, humans are not perfect, but even so, find someone who strives to be like Jesus and encourages you to do the same. Men, you are worthy of a Proverbs 31 woman, who is submissive, hardworking, joyful, wise, and fearing of the Lord. Ladies, you are worthy of a man like Noah, who was righteous, humble, obedient, and faithful.

You are worthy of someone who respects you. You are worthy of someone who sees you as a human and nothing less. You are worthy of someone who is polite to waiters when they get the order wrong; you are worthy of someone who respects the boundaries you lay out. You are worthy of someone who sees people as humans regardless of their physical appearances and abilities. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who will open the door for you and see you more than a means of sex. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will intentionally dress modestly and allow you to feel.

You are worthy of someone who is committed to loving you. You are worthy of being pursued. You are worthy of someone who is patient and understanding; someone who is able to unpack your burdens with you and love you despite your shortcomings. You are worthy of coming home to flowers or your favorite meal. You are worthy of someone who takes time to learn your love language. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will take care of you when you’re sick and who will affirm you. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who will listen when you’re emotional and who will also affirm you.

You are worthy of someone who will make you feel safe. You are worthy of being yourself, your quirks and all, and not fearing judgement or ridicule. You are worthy of feeling safe around this person to state how you feel. You are worthy of feeling emotionally and physically safe. You are worthy of someone who you can sing incredibly off-key with. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who is willing to protect you and who enables you to speak your mind. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will enable you to thoroughly feel without being afraid of being perceived as weak or pathetic.

You are worthy of someone who is willing to actively serve you and the people around you. You are worthy of someone who realizes your needs and makes at least an effort to love you. You are worthy of someone who puts your needs in front of their own; someone who will serve alongside you overseas, at FMSC, in your community. You are worthy of someone who is willing to serve your family. In each instance, means of serving one another will differ, but your weakness should be covered by their strengths, their weaknesses by your strengths. You are worthy of someone who will wash your feet and sacrifice for you. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will see your needs and strive to meet them. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who will see your needs and strive to meet them.

You are worthy of someone who values purity. You are worthy of someone who values you as a human before they value you as means of pleasure. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who will chase you for your heart and personality rather than your body. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will support you in moments of temptation and encourage you to be accountable. (excuse the stereotypes here if you are offended in any way, because I know it goes both ways)

You are worthy of someone who refuses to see dating or marriage as answer. You are worthy of someone who doesn’t see dating or marriage as a means to happiness. You are worthy of someone who finds joy in the Lord and values you as a brother or sister in Christ. Men, you are worthy of a woman who doesn’t seek you to combat loneliness or unwholesome desires. Ladies, you are worth of a man who doesn’t seek you to fulfill motives of status or solely fulfill lustful thoughts.

You are worthy of someone who is willing to be the best parent they can be if it is what your hearts collectively desire. You are worthy of someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for their children. You are worthy of someone who will love your child, regardless of the gender, special needs, appearance, or abilities. You are worthy of someone who can work with you to create a practical parenting approach. You are worthy of someone who will value family. You are worthy of someone who will work hard for your family. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who will carefully throw your children in the air, carry them when they fall asleep in public, tickle and playfully wrestle them, evoke contagious giggles, and reprimand them kindly and appropriately. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will lovingly embrace your children, be patient with them, affirm their talents, nurture them, educate them, and encourage them to adopt admirable behaviors.

You are worthy of someone who is committed and diligent. You are worthy of someone who makes you a priority and makes an effort to uniquely love you. As humans, we tend to have five different love languages – words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Each lend themselves in different ways in any relationship. However, as we are created uniquely, we value some over others. If you value words of affirmation, you are worthy of someone who will encourage you often and well. If you value physical touch, you are worthy of someone who will play with your hair and give you good hugs. If you value quality time, you are worthy of someone who will go the extra mile(s) to see you and simply “be” with you. If you value gifts, you are worthy of someone who takes time to find the right one for you; you are worthy of coming home to flowers or whatever your equivalent might be. If you value acts of service, you are worthy of someone who actively commits to serving in you in personalized ways, putting your needs above their own. You are worthy of someone who is committed to you because you are you. You are worthy of communication and having someone who will love you intentionally and personally. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will love you faithfully and individually. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who will love you faithfully and individually.

You are worthy of someone who can make you laugh; someone who has the ability to bring out the best side of you. Ladies, you are worthy of a man who has an endless of array of dad jokes and can make you smile on the longest days. Men, you are worthy of a woman who will learn your sense of humor and kindly poke fun with you.

People are kinda like burritos. Sometimes, we only look on the outside, but really, the inside is what matters the most. Above all, you are worthy of someone who loves God. I’m positive there are other vital qualities in relationships. These are all qualities you are worthy of, and as we expect these to be present, we must present them ourselves. No human is perfect, and neither are you. Of all these points, the first is the most important – find someone who loves God. Please. It changes everything. Remember you are still growing and changing as a person. You still have a life to live, and you’re going to learn things along the way. I encourage you to keep your standards high for both yourself and your significant other. Find someone who will willingly love all of you, and someone who you can have mutual trust with. Don’t simply love someone back or settle for them because they claim to love you. Honor God in your decisions.

Today’s appreciation post goes to someone who has proven to act as the calm in my storms. This is someone who continually points me to God; this someone who seeks God themselves. This is someone who has impacted my life in this past year; this is someone who is intelligent and musically gifted. This is someone who is generous; this is someone who serves often. This is someone who isn’t perfect and is willing to accept it. This is someone who makes me feel safe. This is someone who encourages me to remain in God; this is someone who makes me laugh. This is someone who validates my feelings; this is someone I trust. This is someone who won’t throw away his shot; this is someone who ain’t afraid of no ghost. Thank you for your patience, generosity, trust, and the happiness you bring me. That’s crazy.

xo.

“People are kinda like burritos..”

a good day to have a good day.

As of yesterday night, I have completely finished reading the Psalms. This last day was almost hard to complete because I didn’t want it to “end.” I can honestly say I find myself to be a more joyful person since beginning to read them on a daily basis. I want to tell you how God has used this to redeem my purpose and joy. I have read genuine cries to God – ones of praise, help, pleads for deliverance, cries for justice. David also writes anthems of praise, long monologues full of despair, and songs of gratitude and hope. There are a few recurring themes I’ve really enjoyed, and one of them is the idea of God being our rock, our cornerstone. I want my life to be built around Him, including my relationships, education, career, and persona. The words “right hand” were also used a lot throughout this book. God is strong. He is a just God, and sometimes, we fall among the wicked David describes. However, God is also a strong God who loves us and can lift us up from our sorrows. Next, I really admired David’s stress on repentance throughout this book. His words are ones of genuine remorse and regret at what he has done, begging on his knees for forgiveness and redemption. God is the only one who can redeem his life. I mess up – a lot. However, I’m not one to be incredibly confrontational or put a lot of stress or attention on small mistakes. Even so, sin is sin, and I truly admire David’s attention and recognition of his faults. Additionally, I saw many references to clouds, and this made my heart happy. David also writes about his soul longing for His creator many times throughout, and one of those instances (psalm 63:1) happened to be the verse I associated with my baptism. My soul longs for my creator. The entire purpose of reading through the Psalms was to hopefully find joy, and I honestly can say I have. I’m usually happy. I’m happy when I’m around people. I’m happy when I am in God’s neature. However, when I am alone, stressed, carrying burdens, or just not feeling great, I know for a fact I have the tendency to feel depressed, isolated, and afraid. I’m not here to tell you reading the Bible is an instant cure for feelings of depression. Just earlier this week, I sat on my dorm floor and cried for a solid ten minutes. I can tell you God will use your efforts to redeem you. Overall, I feel joyful. I feel redeemed. I feel a longing in my heart to love people, and I am content. I am content in the work before me. I am content in the relationships I’ve made. I also feel just an overwhelming desire to love people. I don’t care if it means late nights, long talks, lengthy letters, I don’t care. I don’t care if it’s me praying for you, cleaning your mess, trying to make you laugh, giving you a hug. I don’t care if it means some of my work not getting done. I want to love you. I want to serve you. Please, feel free to let me know how I can love you these next few weeks and beyond. Send me prayer requests. Let me know if you need anything at all. I want to share some of this joy and love I have, and luckily, God has it in bulk.

I feel I am often one to focus on the negatives of life and see areas for improvement. I’m one to have extremely high expectations for both myself and other people. Sometimes, I forget the simplicity of living, just living and appreciating every moment. I had an absolutely wonderful day this week. In my past few posts, I’ve talked about struggles, areas of improvement, challenges, and melancholy things. Today, I want to tell you about what a day it was to be alive on Wednesday, which just happened to be a really great, joy-filled day, my dudes:

Under every circumstance, I should have had a long and tiring day. This morning, I finally went to bed around 3:00 AM after studying for a quiz for a class later today. I got a good four and a half hours of sleep and woke up feeling absolutely dead. This morning, the skies were gloomy, the wind was absolutely dreadful, and rain poured down from the sky – it was a perfect day to wear rain boots. Today, I had the opportunity to play for the chapel service. I began to write out the events of the day, but I realized they attribute absolutely nothing the joy I had, and in fact they almost disqualify my joy. Long classes, hard quizzes, etc.

However, one of my favorite parts of the day occurred later in the night. At the beginning of the year, I joined the nursing home club here at college, and I attended for the first time all year on this Wednesday afternoon. I have a weekly study session for my Anatomy class which prevents me from being an avid member. As we arrived, we walked by many residents eating and sitting around. After entering a small room, a few came over, and we were asked to go invite others. I want to shoutout my roommate, my queen, today, because watching her interact with these people was absolutely inspiring. There was a certain confidence, approachability, and care she brought with her, and I sat there and just watched in awe. We gave each of the residents who attended a small Halloween basket filled with some candy, and the surprise on their faces was absolutely adorable. Additionally, the comfort dog from school came with us, and their joy from simply petting her was also incredibly cute. After a brief petting session, hangman commenced. It was incredibly hard for some of the residents to see, comprehend, and communicate, and my heart was filled with empathy. Especially this week, my appreciation for life has increased. Life is short, time passes quickly, abilities change, and through it all,  we will live in different perspectives. At some points, we will be young humans seeing those older than us slowly deteriorate – those who we know, but maybe not well. Soon, it will be our parents, aunts, uncles. Someday, it will be our friends. While it’s hard to think about, we will soon follow this pattern; it will be us. Life is short, and to truly live is something I strive to do. Love your peoples while you have the chance.

We played a few spooky rounds of hangman, with lovely elderly ladies shouting out letters. At the end of the night, we had a short devotional, and then asked if there were any prayer requests. Some of the residents lifted up friends, others themselves. It gave me hope as we all gathered together and cried out to our Savior. Someday, I hope to see each of these residents – renewed, capable, and with Jesus. At the end of the night, I walked one of the residents back to her room. She made polite conversation on the way to her room, asking my about my major and college experience so far. I opened the door to her room for her, and she invited me in. Lynn was an artist in her earlier years. She showed me some of her sketchbooks, the crowns she made, and told me the meaning behind one of her pictures on the wall. Upon leaving, she told me the world needs more good people. And I completely agree with her. Someday, you will be only what you have done. You will be the change you brought to the world. Today, you have the decision to be the hope, the light, the change, the joy, the good in the world. Love everyone around you. Treasure every moment. Find purpose to your life. Do things which matter. Inspire kindness. You have the ability to choose what you leave behind.

Today, I choose joy.

After returning home, I had the absolute best night with my immediate roommates. I feel at home here. I feel loved. I feel joy. They are absolute lights in my life, and I treasure every second spent with them. Honestly, I haven’t laughed until I’ve cried for a while, and these girls most definitely have the ability to make me do so. Probably couldn’t tell you what was so funny, but I can’t smell, whales make noises, and getting high is cool. Golly, I love you guys. Thank you for the joy you bring me each and every night.

My appreciation post of the week goes to someone who is patient, to someone who values other people a lot. To someone who loves Jesus with everything and brings Him into their everyday life. To someone who has truly listened to God’s calling on their life. To someone who sacrifices anything for the people around them. To someone who will call you at 10:32 at night and ask if you want to meet your favorite author the next day. This is someone who has tangibly shown me grace, love, and patience. This is someone who makes gr9 puns, takes time to interact with children, and sees value in potatoes. This is someone who inspires many to love Jesus each day. Keep it up, pal. You’re a star. Thank you for living out Jesus, because it’s truly admirable.

xo.

a good day to have a good day.

Perspective.

I need to write. So I’m going to, and today, I’m going to post it. I’m going to be raw and honest, and I want to inspire urgency within you. I want to convey the value of life and develop purpose to dependence on God.

Yesterday and today have been two days where I’ve been incredibly pensive and apathetic. It’s only by God’s grace this hasn’t affected the quality of my schoolwork by a large margin. I’m doing incredibly well when it comes to classes, and I can honestly say I can’t take a lot of credit for it. I had a friend who once told me about how she prayed before, during, and after each exam/quiz, and I’ve been attempting to do the same thing. Sometimes, it shows. Others, it doesn’t, but even so, God is still so good. However, my apathy has directly effected my attitude. These last few days, I have felt extremely isolated and unable to just be. Every instant is consumed with something important. Every free minute is consumed with thinking, including late at night. I’ve thought about all kinds of things. Things like if relationships are even worth it. Things like Syria and politics. Things which are deep and things I’ve forgotten.

Relationships. These last few days, I have successfully ignored some of the people I love the most. I’ve felt alone and unwanted. I absolutely detest my views when it comes to relationships. However, I still tend to ask myself these questions often. Why is it worth it for me to have friends if they’re eventually going to leave my life, this earth, etc.? Why should I waste my time pouring into people who don’t return the favor or who are going to soon leave? When is it my turn to be loved? At one point yesterday, I was praying about a certain relationship in my life, and I legitimately asked God to give me a valid excuse to cut off communication if it would be His will. Something unforgivable, detestable, or just a reason of any sort to move on. And then I sat for a minute, thinking about the words which had just left my mouth. Why should I leave even if there was something “unforgivable” in my mind? Where does grace come in? Would it be a good representation of Christ? Absolutely not. And for right now, I am called to stay. And I have a lot of patience problems surrounding it. I’m really just lacking patience overall. I give up on people so easily. I don’t allow myself to reach a point where I feel completely comfortable talking to them. I’ll dip my toes beneath the surface and then back out just as quickly as I came in. It’s something I’m extremely good at, but overall, it just leads to be hurting people. Instead, I want to love people. I want to serve. I want to let them know they matter and be someone who conveys the love of Christ. I want to be what they need and spread joy and truth. I want intimacy and trust, and I want to grow deeper in Christ. I want to leave my comfort zone and be present. I want to be real and vulnerable. I want to forgive and love deeply.

Today after worship rehearsal, one of my bandmates announced she wanted to talk about the executions and crucifixions which were recently carried out by ISIS towards a group of men, women, and children who had denounced their original religion to follow Christ. If you were given the choice to deny Jesus and live or refuse to do so and die, what would you honestly do? I’d like to think I would sacrifice my life. In my eyes, my life is not my own and is of little value without my foundation in Christ. Alone, I am weak, afraid, helpless, and incapable of doing anything. My breath is not my own. I am not my own. I couldn’t justify denying Christ and living. Beauty, peace, purity, joy await. I will see those whom I loved and those who loved me. I will see my savior with His arms open. I will feel joy and redemption. I will finally be with my heavenly father. As this earth becomes more and more nasty, sickening, worldly, and brutal, my heart longs for my father more each day.

Why should I feel so alone and neglected when others are hung and executed alone, for their beliefs? Why should I look in the mirror and feel so inclined to skip meals when people across the world live in inevitable starvation? Why should I complain about how exhausting my classes are when many children don’t have the opportunity to attend school? Why should I ignore my family and friends when some children don’t have a family or friends? Why should I complain about getting so little sleep when some families lay awake at night in fear or in the cold? Why should I take heat, air conditioning, hot showers, food, sleep, freedom, and my abilities for granted? It sickens me how little our faith costs us in this country. We live for ourselves, for our pleasure, for our status. Every day passes, and overall, each day is easy. Other than clowns, we don’t face many threats here. Life is easy, life is for ourselves, life is for you to do what you want. How did we so easily forget to rely on God for everything? How did we so easily forget our purpose here? How have we forgotten how much our world needs Jesus? Have we forgotten what it means to truly live? I have. I’ve forgotten what a life on mission is. I’ve forgotten what it means to live in the now and serve relentlessly. I’ve forgotten what joy feels like. I’ve forgotten what the outside of my comfort zone looks like. I’ve forgotten what just being with people to be with people is. No schedule, no tasks, no shortness, no anxiety, no distractions.

I’ve been doing something new. I’ve been making a list (sometimes physical, sometimes mental) of people/things to pray for. I’ve probably prayed for you, and as late nights ensue, I’ve resorted to prayer on days I struggle to fall asleep. I would love to specifically pray for you, so please contact me in any way. Please. You matter.

Today’s appreciation post goes to a beautiful human. She is so compassionate, so diligent, and absolutely lovely in every way. She has never given up on me, even when I didn’t rock the whole life and friendship thing. She has supported me and has become a part of my family. She has been in my life for four years and has seen me in any and every state of mind. She is the one who continually inspires me to be intentional in my faith. She is the one who challenges me to never give up on people, even if they inflict pain. She makes me laugh and laughs at me when I mess up. Her passion for educating children is beautiful, and her love for life is contagious. Pu, I adore you. You are my sunshine on cloudy days and you somehow always bring me such joy. Thank you for being a person I can call crying late at night and someone who listens and directs me back to God. You are a lovely human, and I’m absolutely blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for spitting in weird places, eating big apples with me, going to meet santa each year, hiding in my closet, letting me make churros at your house, keeping up with my love life, and being someone who can just pick up where we left off. I miss you so so so much.

xo.

Perspective.