it’s my 22nd birthday and it’s payday.
so basically it’s the best day ever.
i’m planning to celebrate with a family dinner and maybe a movie later tonight.
i hope you all are having a fabulous friday!
Hey there! My name is Rebecca and I blog over at History Chick Diaries! I’m a daughter, sister, friend, blogger (I try), photographer and recent graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in History (I graduated the 14th of this month). When Annie sent me an e-mail about doing this guest post, I got real nervous and wasn’t sure what topic I would write on. Then I came home last night to a package from the American Widow Project and inside held my Ambassador shirt. (Insert organization plug here) My job has an AWP Ambassador is to fund raise and help spread the word of this amazing organization that does so much for this generation’s military widows. I opened the shirt and looked on the back …
This quote really got me thinking, in my 22 years on this Earth, how much have I done just for myself? How many opportunities had I wasted? When should I have opened the door for someone? When should I have eaten with that person sitting all by themselves? When should I have said a simple prayer for someone who was really ugly towards me instead of talking behind their backs later? Have you ever had these thoughts? This quote also got a verse from Colossians stuck in my head to. Chapter 4, verse 5 “conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities”.
So when you go out into this world that aches, that needs love, that needs encouragement … do not do it for yourself because that will just stay with you, and nothing will change. Do it for others, for the world, for the orphans, for the widows, and for the least of these because then, we will be doing it for Christ. And in Christ, it will remain and be immortal.
i choose continual recovery.
the words slam into my consciousness, the decisive ending to a post i couldn’t understand circumstantially but which i could emotionally.
i’ve known dislike of body image but never the hard fight. but i do know searing, slashing defeat. i know its vicious strike and its lasting, sucking poison.
i choose continual recovery.
i forget that the good fight is one that requires the constant renewing of our minds. joy comes every morning, because every morning, He is renewing our strength and our spirit for that day’s fight.
i choose continual recovery.
every day, we wake up with a decision: will we fight the good fight or let defeat take us over? we are still sinners; we still live in a world ruled by darkness. but we don’t have to be ruled by that darkness, too, and the state of being in continual recovery means we are consistently calling for His aid to keep our hearts and our minds on what is holy, what is greater, and what His will is for our lives and more importantly for His kingdom.
one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, i press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. | philippians 3:13-14
i choose continual recovery.
i’ve read some fantastic responses to the shooting in connecticut recently, and i wanted to call those out for you to read as well, if you’re so inclined:
“feeling the hurt” by casey
The truth is though, we need to face the reality of the world we live in. We need to connect with their pain. We need to remember that our days are few. We need to remember what is important.
“grieving together” by rachel
When someone very close to me died a few years ago, I remember my dad telling me that it’s important to allow people to grieve in ways that don’t necessarily make sense to me. It’s important not to correct people whose grief takes a different form than my own, he said.
“sadness & stars” by bethany
During this time, I feel we each must choose to be silent, to cry, to speak out as we see fit. But most of all, we must each actively choose to build up, not tear down…to band together, not push apart.
probably everyone is writing this weekend about yesterday’s shooting in connecticut, and for once, instead of shying away from a popular topic or waiting until everyone else blogs about it to say something, i actually have something to say now.
i wanted to tweet it, but wasn’t sure the inherent brevity of twitter would lend itself well to what i was trying to say, and i was more concerned with saying what i have to say properly than saying it immediately.
i thought a lot about the july 2011 mass shooting in grand rapids, mi as i sat on twitter reading and talking about the shooting in connecticut. a man killed seven people that day, injured others as he drove through downtown and the major highways shooting at people, crashed, and took refuge – and if i remember correctly, hostages – in a nearby home.
i was living in GR at the time (i count this a blessing because i think i would otherwise have been terrified to go back to school. ironically i grew up & still live in metro detroit, which is more dangerous.), so obviously this hit close to home. but GR is a pretty large city. i could have been clear across the other side of town without anything to worry about.
instead i was only up the street from the first home shooting when it occurred. i was teaching. we put the center on lockdown and did not let a single child, even the older ones, outside the center without their parents.
when i drove home, i drove the exact same stretch of highway the shooter would drive less than fifteen minutes later. i saw twenty to thirty cop cars on my way there and they actually shut down one of the highway ramps to check every car going through there to see if the shooter was in one of them.
late that evening, the shooter committed suicide after releasing the hostages he’d taken.
i saw a facebook status that night that said, “thank God, the shooter killed himself.” i about exploded right there.
thank God that not seven, but now eight lives have been taken? eight filthy, sinful lives that were nevertheless precious to Him? seven is already a high death toll. now it’s eight, and we should be grateful?
i say this with measured determination: i think it is incredibly easy for us to point the finger at criminals who gain national notoriety and say they are evil. they are terrible. they are, maybe not hitler, but close.
how quickly we forget ourselves.
i don’t believe in calling a spade anything other than a spade. killing people is wrong. end of story.
but i also don’t believe in calling a spade anything other than a spade. i am a killer too. end of story. i may not have taken life, but Christ makes it clear anyone who has hated their brother has committed murder in His sight. and i have surely hated my brother, & so i have killed.
so really, i’m no different than either of the shooters in either GR or CT; i have killed, they have killed. the only difference is the evidence of their murders are bodies laid to rest and families ripped apart and the only evidence of mine is my broken, gasping heart which i am well capable of keeping carefully tucked away.
i told a friend once i felt the sins i struggled – and still struggle – with are the ones that are easy to keep hidden. she said that was a good thing, and i told her, in fact, it wasn’t. the sins we can keep hidden are the sins that strangle us soonest. i have held on to anger and to bitterness and my heart keeps stabbing, shooting, taking life. i have found myself trapped by that, broken, desperate, unfathomably angry.
i thought yesterday, we can’t imagine what kind of a place, what kind of a hell, must someone be in who chooses to take life in the physical way. what goes through someone’s mind that the instinct upon which he acts is the most primal? the one that feeds us the lie that our survival, for which we are most basically wired, is only assured at the demise of another? where do you have to be, mentally, to decide that taking life is the only answer?
i have never been there. i hope to God i never am. but until we know that place, until we have known it and have been granted Christ’s victory over it, i don’t think we have any room to be calling spades hoes, if you get my drift.
so, yes, someone who takes the lives of others is a killer, a murderer, a criminal. but i don’t think there’s any room for calling him evil or a terrible person or should go to hell. because really all of those hateful names we’re carelessly flinging are words that apply to us as well.
so to be angry at the gunmen (both GR & CT) for committing suicide, to condemn them as cowards, to say they’ve escaped justice? i don’t think that’s necessary. there is no greater justice than the Almighty’s and if a gunman takes his own life rather than to wait for it to be taken from him, he has only met justice that much sooner.
and to be grateful? twenty-six lives in CT were taken; already an incomprehensible number. did it really have to be twenty-seven? was that life not precious to God as well?
i’ve studied sociological approaches to analyzing tragedies and i know i’m encroaching on the sacred time and sacred space that exist after a tragedy, natural or otherwise, in which our focus is solely on the victims. and i am not suggesting we turn away from them. this time is important for their healing and for ours.
but i am suggesting that the dialogue that happen from here not be one about issues. this is not about “the gun control issue.” this is not even about “the mental health issue.” none of any dialogue should be about “issues.” (i digress, but what even are issues, exactly? it’s like the word things. such a vague term.)
instead, this is about people. this is about people whose lives were senselessly, violently taken. this is about people whose children weren’t tucked into bed last night and who will be planning funerals instead of christmas festivities. this is about school staff whose foremost objective, providing a safe learning environment for young children, went so far as to demand their lives.
and this is about people who perform acts of terrorism we can’t possibly understand, for reasons we can’t possibly fathom. i think meredith said it best: “[t]here needs to be less of a dialogue about gun control and more dialogue about how to love people.”
because, as those of us who have close friends or those of you who are married know, loving someone is giving them all the emotional ammunition they need to destroy you and trusting them not to.
and after yesterday i would say, loving someone is giving them access to every model of gun in the world, too, and trusting them not to turn even one of them on you.
so how to love, i think, is probably the only “issue” we need to be discussing from here on out.
*when i was trying to decide on a post title, “how to love” were the first words that popped into my head. the melody that accompanies those words in lil wayne’s song of the same title ran through my mind immediately afterwards.
one | apple pie. YUM.
two | we finally got our christmas decorations up!
three | words of exhortation; a breath of fresh air for my soul.
four | finally started this book after wanting to read it for months. it was fabulous! if you haven’t read it, you should.
five | i’m guest posting at jen‘s today!
i had some thoughts rattling around in my brain earlier about motivation. i’m largely intrinsically motivated, and the managers at the store i work at recently set up a contest to motivate higher performance among the sales associates. i’m really not sure how i feel about this whole contest thing. i’m not one to do my work at a certain standard based on what i’ll get out of it. i do my work well because i was raised that when you have work to do, you do it well whether you like it or not. it’s how we were expected to do chores around the house, our schoolwork, and how we now perform at our jobs.
i considered too: sometimes – actually, often – we take this into our lives as christians. we look at extrinsically motivating factors. we say prayers of salvation because we want to go to heaven, or perhaps more simply, because we don’t want to go to hell. we talk other people’s ears off about Jesus because we want the same for them. we do everything with the consideration of how it will benefit us, how it will make us look, how we might be esteemed, etc.
i’m tired of that.
i’m wondering how things might change if we let the Spirit move us instead of trying to move the Spirit, because i think that’s what we’re doing. i think we try to urge the Spirit into doing what we think is God’s will or what looks more holy, because we feel if we’re not doing anything, we’re not actively living as christians.
please, join me in tossing that false gospel straight out into the trash bin where it belongs.
i’m tired of this feeling of being defeated, and i think it’s because i’m trying to force the Spirit into movement. when i feel like i’m not living up to my potential as a college graduate; when i feel left behind by my friends, almost all of who have moved out of state; when i feel spiritually and physically exhausted: all of these make me feel like the Spirit isn’t moving, like i’m stagnant, like i’ve lost something. and i’m extrinsically motivated, by all of these things, to force something holy – or that only looks holy – to start happening.
& i fail to be intrinsically motivated – moved by the Spirit which dwells in me and which is faithful to speak His words and will alone.
i’ve started reading believing God by beth moore and diving back into scripture, because i want only one motivation: the intrinsically situated voice of His Holy Spirit.
y’all, it has been a MONTH.
i feel like all my energy has been conserved in ever increasing amounts all autumn until it all got expelled on black friday, on which day i was as chipper as a skylark even though i had to close the store i work at and it was in a complete upheaval. i whipped through my section like a tornado that cleans messes instead of leaving them and then i put clothes away like i owned them, which is to say i stuck them in any which place because when half the store is on rolling racks in the fitting room and the clothes that are left have been essentially demerchandised there’s little point in trying to preserve the remnants for posterity. so the store was neat but it was disorganized.
sounds like my closet.
that whole mess of words spilled out to explain to what i’ve been doing with my life since i didn’t to pretend i didn’t have a number of things, including but not limited to a blog and an email inbox. i’m working my way to catching up on all of those things and reentering the blog world. it feels almost like reentering the US; all my friends have proceeded with their lives all while time has been frozen overseas, and i’m returning to find time did indeed march on and to discover what my friends did with it.
here’s what i did while internet-time was frozen at my house: i worked. and i watched a season and a half of pretty little liars in two weeks. and i read a few books. and i worked some more.
what did you do?
i’ve also been in a weird place when it comes to blogging. i definitely see and treat this blog like a ministry and i spent all of october blogging about practical faith, but i don’t want to be limited to faith when i blog, and i’m not sure if i’m feeling pigeonholed into it because that’s something readers actually expect or because i’m crazy.
(it’s probably both.)
i also had a conversation with nicole the other day and we talked about how blogging has changed since we started blogging around three, four years ago. i remember when people blogged as a scrapbook of their lives instead of sponsors and giveaways and everything else. and i realize that blogging has changed, and that’s okay, and it will keep changing, and that’s also okay. but i harbor a tiny bit of deeply jealous love for the blogging days of a few years ago, and i’m still trying to figure out how to navigate the blogging days of now in a way that combines the best resources of the present with the authenticity i’ve tried to cultivate in the past.
so we’ll see where that takes us.
& all of that is essentially to say, how is it almost december, and where have i been all month?!
i’m astounded that we’re at week ten of reading one thousand gifts already!
i’ll be back late tonight or tomorrow to share my thoughts on chapters nine and ten with you, but in the meantime, margaret and i would love to know your thoughts on chapter ten!
before we all vote tomorrow, i thought i’d share an article entitled “God and Our Political Platforms” and written by rachel held evans.
a snippet before you click over:
As Christians, we need not be threatened by alterations to the wording of a political platform because we don’t measure Kingdom growth by where we find God’s name, but by where we find God’s presence. And no political party has a monopoly on that.
linking up with lauren to share the story of my week:
one | autumn confetti in my front yard
two | 730am hurricane sky in MI. i was struck speechless looking into the face of a storm that reached almost halfway into the united states. i’m even more speechless when i consider that sandy in God’s eyes is about as dangerous as a spinning top.
that statement is not meant to trivialize the damage sandy caused in any way! i have friends who were on the east coast and i am praying for them and others who were profoundly affected by this hurricane.
three | my office on wednesday. i’ve been slowly getting my to-do list knocked out and getting into a routine of productivity.
four | reading this & making my voting decisions before tuesday.
five | i love sham. that is all.
what’s been going on in your life this week?happy friday, y’all!