Friday, November 21, 2014

Praise Idol

So. Last week I read a book titled, "What Do You Think of Me? Why do I care?" By Edward Welch. The title itself speaks volumes. However, I think some people might avoid this book because the title sounds like it could be all about how you should just do what you want and not care about what people think. In short, the point of the book is to take your eyes off of yourself and others and put them on God. It is to fear the opinion of God more than the opinion of people. The book answers three questions that you should be asking yourself. "Who am I? Who is God? Who are other people?" For example, in a majority of situations, if I were to answer those questions in complete honesty, I would say, "I am important. My needs, my reputation, my image are most important. Other people are here to make me happy, to fill my needs, to build up my image, to think highly of me. God is distant and does not care. God does not look at me with admiration." Most of the book is spent just looking at God--His holiness, His awe factor, His worthiness of praise. Then the rest of the book is about how I should be living a life of love, because of Christ's love for me. I should be loving more than I want to be loved. Read.this.book. It's not a fix-all. That's a choice you have to make. But enough about the book. Here's my struggle. In that short book, so many issues that I have were addressed. But the problem is, reading and doing are two different things. I know I should be patient because good things come with time. This past week I have been made aware of just how often I do things simply so that I will be praised. I'm addicted to their love. To that I am a slave. Jesus, save! Take me, take my desires away! 'Till only you remain. 'Till all I want is Your praise, Your fame. Do you know how hard it is to break a habit that really has no meaning to it? Like popping your knuckles. There's no right or wrong involved. And even that is difficult. Trying to break an idol? It seems impossible. And in reality, it is. Maybe that's why my struggle is so hard--I'm trying to do this myself. But how does one do it with God? Like seriously, how does that look? Is it just moment by moment, asking Him to take control? That's the conclusion I've come to. But even that is hard. Like half the time, that doesn't even cross my mind. Then on the other hand, I think I'm slowly becoming more sensitive to Him and His voice. I'm a work in progress, I guess. I mean, I know everyone is, but sometimes I think/wish that I'm the exception. And then it comes full circle back to that idol again because really, I just want to be perfect so people will think highly of me or at least like me. I need Jesus. That's my fix, my solution. That is the only answer I have to my problems. This journey, it's tough. But I can see myself growing, so I guess that's a good thing, right?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pre-Game Jitters

So today, I'm doing my first family photo shoot. It's also my first photo shoot of a child under 8. I'm not SUPER nervous. But inside, there's a teeny little insecurity that I won't be good enough. Good enough for who?! I'm sure the family will love any photos I give them. But what about everybody else? All of my other potential clients? Who am I doing this for? Who is my audience? On the surface, I'm obviously taking the photos for this family. But deep down in my heart, what is my drive? Why do I even pick up my camera? Why do I post them on social media? So I will be liked? So my idol of approval will be satisfied? For an audience of One. The One who gave me this ability, who gave me this creativity. For Him, I will do my best. Even now, I am tempted to think in the back of my mind, if I do this for Him, He will reward me my making me the best. That's not the piont. He is the purpose behind it, win or lose. Famous or not. Success or not. Because if I do my best for Chirst, I will always be a success in His eyes, even if I'm a failure in eyes of the world. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Who am I?

I'm pretty sure that's one of the most commonly asked questions, especially of people my age--Who am I? This year, I have discovered more abut myself than ever before. I've learned that I don't stick with stuff. As is clearly evident in this blog. And my YouTube channel. Yep, that was just a complete and utterly embarrassing fail. Really, like who do I think I am? But, I'm going to try once more at this. For my sake. Not because I think the world needs to hear me. Not because I want to be popular (well, not completely anyways). Because I want to write. Because I can. No matter how many views or followers I have. Want to take bets on how long this will last? 
     So, back to that one question. Who am I? I'm a foodie. I love to make food, and like to eat it. Baking is my speciality. I'm a photographer. I'm new to it and not very good. But then, who is when they start out? 
    Well folks, now I feel like the biggest cliche in history. A foodie photographer writer. That's something you see every day. Pinterest is my best app (I would say friend, but then that would just add 'no social life' to this perfect cliche called my life). So yeah, sometimes I feel a little lost in the world. I'm not unique. Not in my eyes anyways. Due to living in the country in addition to being an introvert, my social circle is smaller than a loop around the main isles of Walmart. It doesn't help that I resist the party mentality like a mule resists a bath. Soo yeah, that's me!
    So just where is Jesus in all of this creative mess of mine? I am really struggling with this one. How do I do all of this stuff for His Glory rather than my own glory? How to I seek His approval rather than the approval of people? I'm working on learning the answer to those questions. But, like most other things, it's a process. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rebel: redefined.

     What is a rebel? A rebel is someone who goes against the flow. Someone who purposefully does what everyone else in NOT doing.  Someone who does not follow the culture and it’s trends. If you dress unlike your culture on purpose, you are a rebel. If you do not engage in the usual social activities of your culture, you are a rebel. If you do not follow the same moral code as your culture, you are a rebel.
     In the past, it was rebellious to disobey parents. It was rebellious to have premarital sex. It was rebellious to dress immodestly.  It was rebellious to not attend church.  The culture was against all these things and those who did them were rebels. They were the minority.
     Today, what is the cultural trend? What is common and accepted? Disobedience, promiscuity, drunkenness, immorality, immodesty, dishonesty and general unruliness are all prevalent. That is now the culture. We cannot stay stuck in the past and say that the people who do these things are rebels. Rebels are people who go against the flow. How are these people going against the flow? They’re not! They are the flow! They are now the majority.
     So who am I? I, who do not drink, smoke, dress immodestly, engage in premarital sex, and attend church, Bible study and prayer meeting regularly. I, who obey my parents and the laws of the land. Am I not a rebel? By doing these am I not rebelling against the status quo? Now, I’m the one who is going against the flow!
     Jesus was a rebel. In a society that cried out for someone to violently remove the Roman rule, He taught peace and love.  In a culture where social classes were highly important, what did he do? He touched the untouchables.  

     I am a rebel. What are you?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Encourage One Another{And Build your Children Up}

      I believe that starting a piece like this is always the hardest part. I mean, I know what I'm thinking, but it's difficult to put that into a paragraph and not come across like I think I know everything. This is just going to be a reminder of the huge impact your words have on the life of your child(whether they are 3 or 30). Are you using your words to build your kid(s) up?
     The first thing I'd like to talk about it is the tendency that parents(and people in general actually) have to notice and comment when their child has done wrong, but, when their child does something right, they may notice, but aren't as quick to comment. Are the only "talks" that you have with your child about things they've done wrong? Some way that they've tripped up? Or, do you have a lot of "talks" about the things they're doing right, with only a few disciplinary talks here and there?
     The best way to get your child(and again this really applies to people in general) to improve in an area is to notice, and voice your appreciation when they do. If you see a strength your child has, encourage that in him. For example, if you have a child who likes to give, notice when he does, and voice it to him. How hard would it be, and how much time would it take to sit him down and say something like, "Bobby, I noticed that today that you gave almost all of your candy that Grandma gave you away to your sisters just to be nice, and I just wanted to let you know how proud of you I am for that. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver, and so when I see you willingly give things that you love away, it makes my heart very happy!" That may not be a very good example, but hopefully you get the idea. That will make him want to keep giving!
     If you balance the talks with Bobby about his weaknesses(say, a bad temper) out with talks about his strengths, he'll be a lot more receptive when he's done something wrong. Because the problem is this: when Bobby is young, if the only time you sit Bobby down for a talk is when he has done something wrong, by the time he's a teen, he's going to have an association made in his subconscious brain: talk with mom/dad=negative feelings/failure to do what's right. Do you want your child to have that association?
     The second thing I'd like to make you think about(don't laugh.) is playing the mature card and/or the "how old are you?!" card. First and foremost let me say this: I know it works. I know these cards work. Even I myself have used them. I mean, these work on anyone and everyone....not just your kids! But this is the thing: it is always used as an insult, to get the person to stop what they're doing. And insults are wrong. End of discussion. There is no excuse to use an insult. Ever.
     So perhaps I should explain what exactly I mean by "the mature card" first. The mature card, is one that is most often used on someone whom you know is trying to be mature, or who thinks they're mature. And it's often used in a situation where, the person it's used on is most likely not acting mature. Saying things like, "Bobby, your temper is just uncontrollable! If you want to be mature then you had better rein that in!" or "Well that was mature!" or "If you want to be mature, you should do [whatever it is you're trying to get them to do]!" will not accomplish anything at all. You may as well say to them, "You're failing at the one thing that you're striving so hard to be!" Out of the moment of the instance in which said person is being immature(did you get all that?), it may be appropriate to approach them and say,  "Bobby, I know you're trying hard to be mature. And there are so many things that you do, that show that maturity is growing in you. For example: (insert list of ways Bobby is being mature.) But something I think that you could work on is your temper and the way you just let it blow up at times." And then talk about that and find a resolution.
     The "how old are you?!" card is another insulting card(even when it's used in jest). Yes, it works(sometimes...other times it has the opposite effect but is pretty much guaranteed to hurt whoever it is used on) because it gets their attention. This one is pretty common. Bobby lets his temper fly, and so you say, "Bobby, how old are you?! Five?!" You might as well say, "Bobby, you're losing your temper again, and that makes you a failure in my eyes." True, Bobby may not be acting correctly, and most likely has insulted or angered you, but that still does not give you an excuse to insult(whether Bobby is your son, friend, or husband). Also, this is often used in front of other people. So then not only are you insulting them, you're humiliating them as well.
     I think it comes down to this: whatever it is that they're doing, wait until the moment has passed. Then talk with them. Do not talk down to them. Talk to them like they are as mature as they want to be. If you must say something in the moment, try and find a creative way of saying something, instead of using an insult to get them to comply. It's not easy. But try. Just try and see what happens.
     I really have no idea if what I've said has made any sense at all. Please, don't be afraid to correct me if I'm wrong. But if I'm right, don't let it just go in one ear and the other. That's all folks.
 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

time for a rant{after a summer of silence}

And how do they know? How do they know we're Christians?
Do they know it by how we look?
By the clothes that we wear?
Or do they know it by our love?
And the way that we care?
Love?
What love?
The love for our sisters and brothers?
But what about everyone else?
What about all the "others"?
What about the wife beater?
And the husband cheater?
What about the unmarried girl, pregnant and alone?
Who are we to judge?
Can we pick up the first stone?
They're all broken people!
But are we to good for them to come under our steeple?
Love is not telling them that what they're doing is okay.
Don't get me wrong, that's not what I'm trying to say.
Hate the sin, but love the sinner!
Show them Jesus and teach them to live better!
But you know what? Too often we get so focused on loving the "others"
That somehow, we forget about loving our brothers.
These people who are broken, are watching us to see
How I treat you and how you treat me.
How can we say that we love those people out there,
When we don't take time to show the struggling one among us that we love, that we care?
Why do we get worked up about such petty little things?
When we do that, are we truly fixed on Jesus and the hope that He brings?
And why do we let differences in our relationships get in the way?
Does it really matter, since Jesus could come any day?
Someone please tell me why we say such hurtful things!
Why are we so insensitive to the pain that our words can bring?
Love, love, love. We fail at it so often.
Yet maybe there's still time for Christ to cause our hearts to soften.
Our heart's cry should be that His love will flow in us and through us,
So that when people see our love, they'll know we've been with Jesus.
John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This I Will Miss

 
 
hanging out and singing late at night

Womens worship on Thursday mornings


Jasmyne and Brackston

 
Meals with lots of people in a small space


Small, but alive basement churches

 
Riding the subway


Halal food stands


Starbucks within walking distance
 
extremely overpriced everything(this I won't miss)

And most of all.....these two precious little angels who stole my heart.