Step Out for God

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My boss at my summer job is a really great Christian man. On my last day of work, he gave me a challenge. He said, “This year at college I want you to step out for God.” And of course he added, “And I’m gonna ask you about it when you come home!”

The pressure was on!

He gave me an example of how he had stepped out {of his comfort zone} for God: he asked a stranger at the post office if he could pray for her. He also asked to pray for a man that he sees walking his neighborhood every morning.

Since that day, I’ve been searching for the opportunity to do the same and looking for when God will reveal to me who I should be praying for or reaching out to. What I realized today though is that each one of our “stepping-out-for-God” looks different. I think mine is going on a mission trip next summer. For you it might be starting a Bible study or joining a worship band or talking to someone you normally wouldn’t talk to.

And I could be wrong about my own calling to step out for God by going on a mission trip to a foreign country, but so far He’s revealing that this is it. I hope He will continue revealing it to me.

So, I challenge you: Step out for God!

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Top 5: Historical Fiction Novels

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These were some of my favorite historical fiction books I read in both middle school and high school! I still think back on them fondly and want to reread them all again sometime soon!

In no particular order…

1. The Revolution of Sabine by Beth Levine Ain

2. Incantation by Alice Hoffman

3. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

5. The Royal Diaries series and Dear America series (by many different authors)

I am not going to go into detail about each book since I haven’t read some of them in a while, but let me know if you’ve read any of these or what your favorite teen historical fiction books were! I think it’s awesome that there are authors out there who’ve been able to make history so accessible to younger generations!

Please check out these books and let me know what you think!!

Greener Grass?

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Have you ever heard the saying, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence?” Or maybe you’ve heard, “You don’t know something is good until it’s gone.” Both of these phrases describe our tendency to take for granted our current situations, and they are describing my current state to a T.

Some background: Last year I lived in a dorm where my roommate and I shared a jack and jill-style bathroom with two suite mates. Our dorm was old and run down and the furniture was completely outdated. While the private bathroom was nice, the shower was so small I was barely able to ever shave my legs. The location of the dorm is also far away from most things on campus especially my best friends who lived in another dorm. While my roommate and I got along really well, I got tired of her coming in at 3am on a Thursday night (or morning?) and spent much of second semester holding a grudge against her for planning to room with someone else this year.

Fast forward to this year: I moved to the dorm where my best friends live that has updated furniture and my buds right down the hall. It also has a handicapped shower that (when no one needs it) I use to shave my legs easily. But that’s where the positives really end. Communal bathrooms are not fun, and it’s taking me a while to get used to the setup in my room compared to what I settled on last year. I also miss my roommate soooo much! My new roommate is fine and respectful, but it’s just not the same. My old roommate and I just understood each other and I miss her like crazy!

Suffice it to say, the grass is NOT always greener, and I definitely didn’t know how great my situation last year was until I changed it. Granted, there are a lot of positives to where I live this year, but it’s hard not to miss what I had.

I’ve had to lean on God a lot in times that I’ve felt lonely or uncomfortable this past week or so. Here are some Bible verses that have been helping me get through these changes (as well as ample prayer!!!):

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Psalm 18:2 – “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Radio Observation: Top 40 Vs Christian

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Just an observation.

This might sound a little hypocritical, but I listen to both the Christian music radio station and the Top 40 music station depending on the day and the music playing. What can I say? I have a weakness for Post Malone and MercyMe!

But either way, I noticed something interesting about the two stations today. I hate commercials on the radio, so I usually change the station when they come on, but I saw a huge difference between the way that each station handled the free time between songs.

Top 40 station: Commercials about acne treatment, Lasik, fat-removing clinics

Christian music station: Verse of the day, encouraging word from station pastor, ad for a women’s conference or Christian music event

See the difference?

I never noticed how so many commercials on the Top 40 station (and I’m sure other secular stations as well) focus on personal appearance and how to make you “improve” how you look. On the other hand, the Christian station stays true to its intentions and tries to keep a positive, gospel-centered culture throughout the entirety of their broadcast.

Now, I’m not trying to say that the Christian station is better or anything or to prove that listening to it is so much better than the other station.

  1. As I said earlier: JUST an observation.
  2. I think it partially exemplifies the difference in what the world is trying to feed you versus what God and the Bible feed you. And just to be constantly aware of what you are being told even through things like commercials that most of us hate and ignore, so that if you do listen to the Top 40 stations (like me), you don’t fall into their trap and believe what the world is telling you to look like or feel like or want.

Hope y’all have a great rest of your week! Love yourself just as you are – because that’s how God loves you.

It Takes a Village

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You’ve probably heard this phrase before. But just because a phrase is cliche doesn’t mean it’s untrue, and this one definitely rang true for me today.

I’m currently in the process of reviving a club at school with a few other people, so today we met to work on some posters and organizational items for the club fair in a few weeks. As we were working through creating different posters and discussing ideas for the club, I realized how many people’s ideas outside of my own had made their way into our projects.

My dad gave a recommendation about finding a clear mission statement and vision that could be applied to our poster and discussed with prospective members.

My aunt suggested a certain saying and layout of words on our tri-fold that would be intriguing to students.

A faculty member suggested the use of a certain type of board for our table at the fair to make it look professional.

The girl I was working with used her creative abilities to design our poster to be fun and inviting.

It took a village, and that village will continue to grow as we hopefully add more members this upcoming year.

~

I am a very independent person, and I like to rely on myself to get things accomplished. I hate group work and I love individual sports like tennis. Coming together with others to make this club possible and to be patient enough to listen to others’ ideas and compromise with them over scheduling and thought processes is extremely unappealing to me. But I’m an adult, and I have to realize that life isn’t supposed to be lived alone. I was not blessed with every talent and skill on Earth, so I have to work with others and combine all of our talents to get things done. And it’s amazing to see what can blossom from working with others when you play to each others’ strengths.

 

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12  Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

 

I’m not Worried

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“I’m not worried.” It’s my new favorite phrase. But while I’m saying those three words on the outside, my brain is yelling, “Will it be okay? When will it happen? Can we do it?”

Here are a few scenarios:

Person: Do you have a boyfriend?

Me: Not right now, but I’m not worried.

Me, brain: I know God will give me the right guy in His time, but when will that be? What kind of guy will he be? I hope I get a great guy…

Person: So do you know what you want to major in?

Me: Kind of, but I’m not worried. It’ll all fall into place.

Me, brain: Which major should I do? Can I get a good job with that? But that plan needs grad school…can I afford that? Does it make sense?

Person: Is that really the mission trip you want to go on?

Me: Yeah, I’m not worried about it!

Me, brain: Are they right about how dangerous it is? Is God really calling me there? Should I wait for a different trip? Am I ready to go out of the country?

So often we try to convince ourselves that we’re okay by telling others that we’re fine and that we’re “not worried” when in actuality, we are scared from head to toe. I try to pray every day that God will give me the answers and take away my worry, but it’s one of the greatest things I struggle with. Do you struggle with worrying too?

I think it’s important to find someone you can confide in about your honest concerns as well as telling God your real worries. Don’t just ask God for answers but be up front with him about why you want the answers. How can he calm your nerves?

Kids: Annoying or Adorable?

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Let’s admit it – sometimes kids can be the most difficult, obnoxious human beings. They are needy and immature. They sometimes talk too much or don’t have very good manners.

But other times they warm my heart.

My job this summer, and for the past couple years before college, has been teaching tennis to kids. I do private lessons with some, but I also run several tennis camps. Today was my last day of tennis camp for the summer (and possibly forever), and it got me in my feels. At first, I was just relieved that I was done for the summer because coaching in the heat and working around rainy days can be exhausting and stressful, but something happened today that I keep being reminded of, and it’s making me feel very sentimental about this summer.

There was a large, injured beetle lying on the tennis court this morning, and one of the little girls in my class wanted it to be saved and taken away from the court (because it would probably get crushed by a tennis ball or a kid’s shoe if it remained there). So I ran over to my tennis equipment and found something suitable with which to pick up a bug. Then I scooted the bug onto the item and carried him over to a tree where he could die in peace (he was really bad off..).

Encouraging me to rescue an insignificant bug is just one adorable thing that has happened throughout the course of this summer while teaching tennis camps. And moments like that make up for every moment that a kid disobeys me or a rainy day complicates my lessons.

I feel so blessed to have been given this unique opportunity to coach kids in a sport I am so passionate about. Seeing them grow is one of the greatest benefits, but the next greatest is seeing kids enjoying their time at camp and just being kids which in turn gives me joy. I will carry with me these memories from tennis classes and camps forever!

Movie Review: Everything, Everything

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Okay – I have to admit that I haven’t read the book version of Everything, Everything.

(Don’t hate me!)

And I’m usually very against book-to-movie adaptations, but because I haven’t read this book, I feel that I can give an honest review of the movie itself and the story line. Yes, there will be spoilers, so beware!

This movie is about a girl named Maddy who has SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) and has never been allowed to leave her house for fear she would pick up a bacteria or virus that would kill her because her immune system is so weak. A boy named Olly moves in next door, and they begin to talk and eventually hang out. This prompts Maddy to want to explore the world and be with Olly.

So my favorite part about the movie was the twist!! Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I had not heard ANYTHING about there being a twist that big in the book/movie!! (Is the twist in the book too??) I can’t believe Maddy’s mom would be so selfish!! There was one point where I thought to myself, “Well if she never goes outside then she’ll just be that much more susceptible to simple bacteria and viruses.” Which ended up being basically true. Although I’m still a little confused at how her mom got away with it in the first place and how Maddy’s nurse didn’t figure anything out.

That was probably the only part of the movie that I REALLY liked. The rest was just okay. The movie definitely moved really quickly which I’m sure isn’t the same in the book. Also, Maddy and Olly’s love story is so unrealistic. Maddy probably could have fallen in love with any guy that showed interest in her just because she had never been around a boy like she was with Olly before. I feel like it would be easy to be attracted to him.

I also found her spontaneous trip to Hawaii very unrealistic, but it did add a cool setting to the movie. And I don’t think things being unrealistic in movies and books is totally bad, but sometimes it does seem a little ridiculous. I think the Hawaii trip was an okay unrealistic detail, but on the verge of being absurd.

I would give the movie probably a 3.5 out of 5 stars because it definitely kept my attention, and the twist was great!! I just didn’t think the story line or love story was very developed.

Social Media Personas

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I don’t know about you, but I get SO annoyed when people post stuff on social media sounding all positive and enlightened after an experience yet they were just complaining to you about how upset they are about the exact same experience. It seems like social media has become an outlet for people to put out fake personas – especially ones that act much more positive than the person normally is in real life.

But maybe I shouldn’t judge these people so harshly.

When I read back my blog posts, sometimes it seems as if I’m a person with her whole life together and a fantastic faith and a positive outlook on everything – which is 100% not the case!

In actuality, I am a ball of stress and worry. I am a Negative Nelly. I struggle in my faith daily. I am a normal human being.

But I don’t take back a word of what I have said on this blog. To me, writing on here is my way of “talking” through my problems and dilemmas. As I write I can see where I’m being irrational or where I could possibly make a change. It helps adjust my attitude in life!

So maybe my WordPress persona isn’t exactly the person I am in real life, but it’s the person I want to be. And by the end of each post, I begin to really feel like that person who wrote the post – the positive, enlightened one.

And maybe the people I mentioned at the beginning of this post use their various social media platforms in the same way.

 

featured image pc: https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/05/popular-social-media-sites.html

 

Role Reversal

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I just realized that God has turned the tables on me, and I think I’m supposed to be learning from it.

All my life, I’ve been the one out of my friends who is hopping from crush to crush and boyfriend to boyfriend. My best friend of almost 12 years now has only ever had one boyfriend, but she was always helping me with my crushes and boyfriends and giving advice and listening to my woes.

All throughout high school, I almost always had a guy on my arm or one in my sights. My friends were the single ones dealing with my daily discussion of my new boy obsession.

Well the roles have been reversed.

My best friend in college, my best friend back home, and my roommate this upcoming year are all in serious relationships, and guess who’s single…

Me!

And I think it’s a great thing! I’m finally able to be the empathetic one to my friends. I’m finally able to be the ears instead of the mouth. I’m finally able to help my friends and love them without my own love life complicating it all and shielding me from my true purpose.

Being single in general has been a blessing to me this past year, and I have learned so much from it! But being single and having friends in serious relationships is a whole new level! It’s been hard at moments. I’ve had to put myself in my friends’ shoes and be patient, but the whole process is teaching me so much, and I’m so grateful for this role reversal!

I hope that this season of my life is God preparing me for my ultimate life partner and teaching me how to love my friends even when I’m not in their enviable positions.