Unselfish Interest.

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For one of my classes, I have been assigned to read Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington. As this is my second time reading the book I am noticing even more interesting and profound things than I did the first time.

I admire so much Booker T. Washington and his story, especially from an educational perspective. His philosophy is that of teaching his students to study “people and things instead of just books.” In other words, instead of just learning about math or Latin the students will learn proper hygiene, industry, the value of hard work, and about the Bible. What more could a teacher want for his/her students?

One thing in particular that stood out to me while reading the book again was this line:

Let them once understand that you are unselfishly interested in them and you can lead them to any extent.”

Booker T. Washington put this idea into play as he was in the process of literally lifting up an entire race of people in the South through the growth of his school, the Tuskegee Institute.

I think this is such a profound thing, not only for teachers but for humans in general. Yes, we are selfish creatures. We don’t always achieve humility and sometimes our one-track minds are going full speed ahead into the Pride station. We think we know everything and we think everyone ought to hear about what we  know. How many times do you call up a friend not to talk to him but to talk at him? How often do you catch yourself just waiting your turn to talk again instead of genuinely listening? I know I am definitely guilty.

I think we could all benefit from a little more honest attempt at unselfish interest. If you believe in someone and show them that you care about them, not for what they can do for you but just because you see their value, you’re going to have infinitely better relationships.

As teachers, this is especially important to implement with our students. Showing our compassion and our respect for them is huge in establishing a trust factor. Without this, how can we expect to be leaders of our students at all?

I’m still in the process of the teacher-in-training thing but I owe it to the people I care about to be unselfishly interested more than just once in a while.

Though it isn’t always easy, it’s definitely a worthy practice to pursue.

And by the way, check out this autobiography. It’s not very long but it is packed with some pretty inspiring stuff. Plus, it’s a gem because it gives an insight into post-civil war America.

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What makes you lonely?

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Our guest speaker Dannah Gresh asked us this question yesterday. It’s one I ask myself all the time.

I feel lonely. Why? I am surrounded by people.

I long for companionship and the close intimacy with someone that I had before I once again became a single almost-20-something. I find myself missing what used to be and longing for it to return. But then I am reminded of the fact that that is impossible. History often repeats itself because we are foolish enough not to study it and learn from it.

Sometimes we like to bury our histories in the graveyards of our hearts. There lie the bones of lost friendships, embarrassing encounters, regrettable actions, scraps of insults. Sometimes we need to let bygones be bygones and continue on, not as if it didn’t happen but as best as we can considering the fact that it did. Other times, we need to properly put them to rest so that they can’t haunt us later.

In the moments of loneliness I am challenged to face my demons. My history is rising from the ground like a zombie- if you will. It tempts me to want to run to it, only to discover too late that I’m being buried with it all over again.

Because I’m a Christian, when I became aware of my wrongdoing, I repented of it to my Savior, who saved me from myself and my sin- once again. So why is it still making me feel isolated? Why does it still insist on making me feel lonely? I have been forgiven by my God. But maybe not by myself. God has said “it’s okay.” But I’m not sure that I can affirm that to myself and actually believe it.

I know that the only way to put this to rest properly is to work through it and really heal, instead of burying it away. In the process, there are setbacks, there are moments of hopelessness, rejoicing, despair, encouragement…loneliness.

So what makes me lonely? I do.

If you’re struggling with a skeleton in your closet, or you haven’t fully released yourself from the sin that Jesus already freely pardoned, I would encourage you to meditate on the promises of His word. Dig down deep into the hurt, and surrender it to Him as fully as you can. That’s what is really comforting me right now. Eventually, reading His promises and affirming them to yourself (even out loud if you have to) I believe that you will be able to fully accept and believe them. You will be freed from your loneliness at last.

P.S. It wouldn’t hurt to ask forgiveness from the person you hurt along the way (especially if that person is yourself).

Healing.

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Whoa. If God works and speaks throughout the rest of the semester the way He has been the last two weeks, we’re all in for the ride of our lives.

My heart is so overwhelmed today because of the sheer goodness of my God. His voice is not so still and small as it is roaring from within me lately. Let me try to explain…

In chapel this morning, we had a special guest speaker, Dannah Gresh. Her platform is pretty much all about sex. Sexual sin, temptation, healing, freedom. This woman is so full of passion about her ministry that one can’t help but be convicted. But for some reason, I had a nagging in my mind. Why was this bothering me so much? I thought I was over this whole brokenness thing. I was under the foolish impression that I had somehow surpassed my weakness. Since coming back to campus, I’ve been doing a ton of rejoicing. I thought over break, some miracle had been worked on me. I was cured of my hurt. I was beyond it.

But sin has a way of leaving scars and coming back to haunt us. I decided that I needed to hear more of what she had to say, so I went to her alternative chapel service. Holy heck, did I learn.

God spoke right into my soul through her. He showed me that I am not healed. I am forgiven. I am healing. I know that I am healing because:

1. I can see my own brokenness and I can admit it.

2. I can hear His voice.

3. I am becoming more fruitful.

All of these things are true of my current journey. I am so thankful to God for it! Everything is becoming so clear, so meaningful. His purposes and His ways astound me.

God has also made it very clear that the ministry that He has called me to at this point in my life is going to require growth in the areas where I am currently the most weak. And I am intimidated by that challenge. Honestly, it scares me to death. But I know that God has not forsaken me so far, and I have a promise that He never will (Joshua 1:9)

I have so much farther to go and there is so much more that I could say. But, what I want to leave you with today is the affirmation that God is working through your situation. Whether it is one of rejoicing and fruitfulness or one that feels a lot like despairity. God knows our weaknesses and that is where His grace comes in. It is sufficient and it is overwhelming.

I would recommend that you be bold, be honest (first and foremost, with yourself), and seek God’s will.

Please comment and give me your feedback! 🙂

The joy of the dawn.

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Wow, what a whirlwind. I am forever awestruck by how fast time goes.

I’m back to school now so my time for blogging has been dramatically lessened. I do however, have something that is weighing on my mind today that I would like to share…

I can’t say that last semester was all smiles and laughter for me. If it appeared that way on the outside, it was certainly not the case on the inside. I was going through the motions and trying to feel better because that’s what I had to do.

But over break, God really did a number on my heart. He has done so much to help me heal, it’s incredible. Coming back to campus has only solidified and strengthened me in this process. My friends, and even strangers, have been nothing but loving3d48336b38bca7a4b9d0dada777df195. So many new opportunities have arisen and I am genuinely excited about so many things. Genuine excitement is something that I hadn’t felt in a little while.

All of a sudden, it’s like the weight is suddenly shifted and my heart doesn’t feel so heavy anymore. I still have moments where I feel down but I am better equipped to pull  myself out of those times.

I’m a strong believer in letting people know when God does something cool. And my life is a living testament to that right now. He tipped my plans on their head, helped me through the heartbreak, and opened my mind to the possibilities that I would have otherwise been blind to. I am still continuing to grow and learn. I’m sure that I’m not anywhere near where I need to be, but I am so thankful to have come from where I was.

Life is good because God is great. But even when life doesn’t feel so good, God is still great. Isn’t that a convicting revelation? I think so.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn and I believe that to be true. When your days begin to be brighter, recognize the one who made the sun and praise Him! The joy of the Lord is our strength!

What is God doing in your life? What can you praise Him for today?

Escape.

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“‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, and to know ‘Thus saith the Lord'”

Tonight while doing my devotional time, I read two separate passages. The first was about proclaiming the mighty works of the Lord. The other was about despair.

Seemingly unrelated but the passages of the Bible that they referenced blew me away. So I thought I would share my thoughts.

Despair is very real in our lives. It creeps in when we’re at our lowest or when we’ve just had a crappy day. But thanks to God’s unconditional love, glory, majesty, and power, our despair can be overcome. A surefire way to overcome despair is to meditate on all that He has promised us and to consider all of the good works He has already done– Psalms 77:12 “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”

Even when you are in a time of despair (or not), another surefire way to feel blessed and lend that feeling to others is to tell people about the difference Christ is making in your life! Maybe you’re having the worst day of your life. But God is still in His heaven, He still loves you, you’re still living and breathing, and He is still with you wherever you go. The difference that Christ has in our lives is worth mentioning!– Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” He is greater than anything I face and He holds my broken pieces together.

I’m just so glad that even in the midst of chaos, we still have an escape in God’s Word. A rock to hold onto that makes sense when nothing else does.

What is God doing in your life? What promises do you mediated on when you feel despair?

‘Tis the Season

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For the past few Sundays at my church, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has been printed in the bulletin. In case you aren’t familiar, this is the verse that says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…” And then goes on to list all of the things. Check it out, it’s awesome (because it’s the word of God, duh). I’ve been really convicted by this passage of scripture lately because it speaks a lot into what I believe God is trying to teach me right now about seasons of life.

I saw a quote once on a friend’s dorm room wall that said, “The bad news- nothing lasts forever. The good news- nothing lasts forever.” And I thought “Pssshhh, that’s depressing.” And moved on. But as I was reading Ecclesiastes again, I thought of that quote. And I realized how much it has to say about seasons of life.It’s both encouraging and intimidating.

We experience seasons in our lives where we feel like we’re finally breaking through. We’ve gotten into the school of our dreams, we’re pursuing the career or our calling, we’ve got the best of friends and family by our sides… We realize the school has a lot more challenges than we anticipated (or wanted), we question our calling, we lose friends, significant others, disappoint our family members…

People would say that these are just the ups and downs of life. I can’t say that they are wrong. But Jefferson Bethke mentioned in a podcast that I listened to recently that we like to look at life as a linear thing when really it is more cyclic (he’s still very much in the Christian worldview here people, calm down). He said that the history of the stories in the Bible lead us in a spiral instead of a line. I think that’s true- though I may be doing a poor job of articulating it.

God puts us in certain seasons, when we aren’t anticipating them and when we don’t want to be in them because He is helping us grow. Sometimes growing hurts, sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes we go through seasons where we serve others in their growth as well. I think it’s important to remember that though this season may seem endless- there is an end, “there is a time for everything under heaven.” These seasons are things that we are going to experience throughout our lives. They’re going to pop up again- hence the spiral instead of a line. Once you move on from a season of ‘wait’ don’t expect to never have to wait on God again. Once you move on from a season of overflowing grace and happiness, don’t expect to never feel that way again. Once you move on from a season of feeling like you can’t feel God, don’t expect that He will always feel close.

Right now I’m going through a season that isn’t easy. I have to remind myself of my need for growth and dependence on God every day. I have to spend time in His word every day, meditating on His promises and reminding myself of the changing seasons of life. But I am so encouraged by the seasons of life that I am able to look forward to what great things God has planned for me. I know that I am being prepared every day for them and that in and of itself is a source of joy.

If you have any advice/encouragement about the different seasons of life, please comment and share it with me. I’d love to know what you think! 🙂

Bro talk.

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I have a fantastic little brother. We were having a conversation tonight and he offered to write a blog post for me. Just to try his hand at it and offer his thoughts and a little wisdom of his own. I know you’ve never met this kid but let me tell ya, you don’t turn down an offer like that. So here it is, and I must say, I’m impressed.

TASK: Write a blog for my sister.

Well, I didn’t know what I was taking on when I asked “Can I write a blog post for you?” So here I am staring at a computer screen trying to think about what to write. Suddenly it comes to me as I think. What you say doesn’t matter, It’s how you handle yourself. Recently I’ve been the victim of useless ranting. At school and when I get home. It seems as if I can’t escape it. Also, It’s only about trouble with men, or should I say boys. This is a problem for a lot of girls I know, and I suffer from a similar problem (only with women of course). At a time in everyone’s life, a feeling arises that makes us feel like we need someone to be with just to show off and feel wanted. Been there, done that, and I’m only 16! My freshman year of highschool I felt like I needed a girlfriend to be worth something. I quickly came to the realization that it wasn’t so. Another person in your life can be a burden just asking to drag you down into the pits of no where. I find another person nagging me is just a distraction, and if you really feel like that’s what you want, find a good friend who talks a lot and engage in a conversation in something other than having a relationship.

A Youtuber that I’m currently big on (wranglerstar) gives great lessons and advice based on prior experiences. I looked to his videos to get a take on relationships. He says that It is not necessary to have a relationship until you can support it financially, spiritually, and mentally. I agree with the way this was phrased. Another person can be a setback to a step in your future, whether it be buying a vehicle to get to your job or buying a home to live in. Get yourself financially set for your future and then think about another person to take care of.

Now to the spiritual take on that. You need to get yourself right with God before you jump into the undertaking of a husband or wife. If you are quick to choose, how do you know you are making the choice God wants you to have? A wise man once said “Good things come to those who wait.” so by saying that, I recommend taking some time and thinking your choices through. You’ll know they’re the right one if you listen for the small still voice of God telling you your choice has been wise.

And lastly, let’s not forget, the most important; being mentally prepared for this. Having someone telilng you their problems and feelings openly is a big thing to take on. The more you’re prepared, the easier it will be for you to give open advice. Another quote from Wranglerstar I like is “chance of survival favors the prepared”. By no means am I saying relationships are by chance, but you have to be prepared for anything. And by saying anything, I mean anything at all. Honesty and openness is a huge part of testing how mentally prepared you are.

I feel like I’m going no where, so i’m going to end this here. I like feedback so tell me where I can improve and if you got anything out of this message. At least now I can say I tried!