As a college student (and I would assume most people feel this way), there’s a never-ending feeling that I don’t have my life together. I’ve come to learn that this feeling is ok, but there are some moments in my life when I need to think that I have my life together... even if I don’t. Here are 9 things to think when you want to believe you have it all together.
1. You paid your bills this month. Go you!
2. You've done enough laundry to have clean clothes to put on this morning.
3. You've made it this far, and that's impressive.
4. You didn't punch anyone in the face today.
5. You made it through yesterday.
6. Someone, somewhere is watching you and you're motivating them.
7. You're reading this, so you have access to WiFi, and that's awesome!
8. You have a subscription to Netflix.... and you pay for it like an adult. Way to go!
9. You’re loved by the creator of the universe... what’s it matter if you have your life together or not.
There's nothing like starting the New Year in God's word. Today I finished 1 Chronicles, and I've collected my favorite quotes here.
Lord our God, all this abundance... comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.
Acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searched every heart.
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
He answered their prayers, because they trusted in Him.
I know, I know. We always make these big resolutions at the beginning of each calendar year. And we always try to stick to them. This year, instead of making one huge resolution that I will eventually give up on, I'm going to make a list of goals for 2018.
1. Read for 30 minutes (not a textbook) each night.
2. Use my prayer journal every day.
3. Have more dance parties.
4. Take myself out on solo dates. I read something that encouraged single women to get used to going to dinner, movies, and on adventures alone.
5. Say yes to new experiences (here's to 10 weeks in Australia).
6. Set & maintain boundaries.
7. Try out a new hobby.
8. Drink more water. Hydrate or die.
9. Complete a 100 day challenge.
10. Stretch everyday.
11. Complete a photography challenge.
12. Complete a no-spending challenge.
13. Grow my savings account. Graduation will be here before I know.
14. Finally finish a knitting project.
15. Take 'staycation' (the entire month of May) seriously.
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the savior of the world. We gather with family, exchange gifts, eat good food, and enjoy time off from work and school. However, Christmas is also a time in which we deeply feel the loss of our family who are not with us for the holiday season.
As an orphan, I can admit that Christmas is not always fun or easy for my brother and I. Christmas is expensive, lonely, and traditions have now become bittersweet. This is the first Christmas I will not celebrate with my brother and that only makes this holiday harder.
When people ask me if I'm excited for Christmas, I put on a fake smile and tell them, "Of course." This post isn't for sympathy or to make you feel sorry. If I'm being honest, I've been dealing with sad Christmases for most of my life, and I know Christmas will always be hard for me. I've come to that realization, and I'm fine with it. This post is to remind you that Christmas is not rainbows and puppies for everyone. When you're thrilled for the holiday season, it can be easy to expect everyone around you to be just as happy.
Take time during the hustle and bustle of this season to think about those who may be mourning, rather than celebrating, this Christmas season. I'm incredibly blessed with amazing friends and family who lavish me with love during the holidays, but in a few days I will look around the table and there will be faces, faces I miss a lot, missing.
I'm not asking you to not be happy. Please, enjoy your holiday. I'm simply asking that you find room in your busy holiday schedule to pray for those who are not over-the-moon this Christmas. When someone tells you their not pumped for Christmas, be ok with that.
James 1:27 says, "Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world." (MSG)
David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. He then said to the whole assembly of Israel, "If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pastureland, to come and join us." 1 Chronicles 13: 1-2
How often before making a decision do we ask, "Is this the will of the Lord?" Almost never. If you're anything like me, after the fact you might ask, "God, did you like that decision?" But in the midst of making one, I rarely ask if my decision is the will of God.
David is a great example in this passage from 1 Chronicles. Before making an important decision, David makes sure two different things are in check: intuition and God's will. He says first, "If it seems good to you." David knows that if he or one of his trusted leaders have a bad feeling about this, that feeling may be a sign that this is not the right decision. Second, he says, "and if it is the will of the Lord our God." David will not go through with this if he doesn't believe that God is on-board.
Let David be our example. Too often, we only follow half of David's advice. We feel good about a decision, so we make it. Our gut says go for it. Sometimes, we might even ask those around us, and their gut says go for it. So we do. We go for it. We sign the bottom line, announce it on Facebook, or head straight to the store. Then, days or even weeks later, we ask, "God, is that really what you wanted me to do?"
A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to intern abroad. I filled out the paperwork, assuming I wouldn't get in. When I got a callback for an interview, I participated, still assuming this opportunity was out of my reach. Then, when I was told I chosen, I immediately asked my friends and family if they thought it was a good idea. Despite my previous bad experience abroad, my financial situation, and my own hesitation, everyone I trusted told me it was a chance I couldn't pass on. I received good intuition. The words of everyone around me gave me that gut feeling. Go for it. So I did. I submitted my deposit and signed on the dotted line.
Don't get me wrong. I had prayed about it. I had asked the Lord to give me wisdom in this process, and I had even asked that His will be done in the decision making process. But, when making the decision for myself, I didn't bother to ask Him what He wanted or what was best for me. When I realized this, weeks later, I had to make a really hard decision. One night in prayer, I told the Lord that if this wasn't in His will, I would give it up. I would risk my monetary deposit and the shame of telling everyone that I had made the wrong decision if this wasn't His will. Anyone who knows me, knows this was not easy for me. I had already applied for financial aid, scholarships, and had told my friends and family on Facebook. But I wouldn't do it if it wasn't what the Lord wanted for me.
For a weekend, I spent a lot of time in conversation with God. I tried to reason with Him. "This is why I can do it," I told him. He reminded me that He knows so much more than I do. How dare I try to explain why to the God of the Universe. On Sunday night, I knew God was on-board. I had made a decision that aligned with this will... but he taught me a lesson I'll never forget. Ask His permission before, not after.
Don't ask God after the fact. Follow David's example and not my own. When making a decision, go with that gut-feeling... but only after God's will is in accordance with your decision.
Whenever reading the Bible and coming across genealogies, I can't help but want to skip over them. "I'll never remember these names, and they mean nothing to me," I think. "Why are they listed, and why should I take the time to read them?"
I started 1 Chronicles in my journey through the Bible. If you've read 1 Chronicles, you know that the first part of the book is all genealogy. So, instead of skipping over them this time around, I read them. Each name. Each decedent. I took a better attitude than I have in the past and read the first four chapters with an open mind. Then, I took time to discover why God included these things in His divine word.
Genealogy demonstrates that God is not just interested in nations or groups of people; He is interested in individuals too. It's important, because it supports promises made throughout the Bible and gives evidence that God's promises came to fruition. In Genesis 12 and 2 Samuel 7, it was prophesied that Jesus would be a decedent of David and Abraham. The lineage in 1 Chronicles proves that to us.
Through these names, we are reminded that we are apart of the community of faith that has existed generation through generation, since the beginning of creation. As Christians, we should be encouraged by these lines-- we are not alone. As Christians, we have never been alone. God sustained his people then. He will sustain us now.
"He did evil in the eyes of the Lord." This phrase, a terrifying phrase that I hope is never used to describe me, is written in the book of 2 Kings over 20 times. As I read through this book of the Bible, I was struck with the number of kings and men in other roles of power who did evil according to God. After finishing the book, I went back to count the number of men who "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord." Five. Only five of the accounts in the book of 2 Kings mention that someone did what was right by the Lord.
I think this ratio represents our society well. For every 20 people doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, we're lucky to find five who are doing what is right. Although the book of 2 Kings may not be my favorite book of the Bible, I took away a very important lesson when I read it this last month: be one of the five.
Even when there are only five people doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord, be one of them. Choose not to be one of the 20, but rather, one of the five. I know that's much easier said than done, but look at what happened to the 20. They left legacies that are despicable, that are written in the most popular book in the history of the world. That's not what I want to leave in this world.
When I reach the beautiful gates of heaven, I want to hear, "Well done my good and faithful servant." I do NOT want to hear, "You've done evil in the eyes of the Lord." 2 Kings reminded me that it's so easy to follow the crowd and do what is evil in the eyes of God. But that's not what I want, and that's not what God wants from me.
If you haven't watched the award-winning series, The Handmaid's Tale, on Hulu then you're missing out. If you haven't read the book by Margaret Atwood, then you're missing out on that too. I finished the book, and here are my favorite quotes (because what else do you do when you finish a really good book).
There is more than one kind of freedom. Freedom to and freedom from.
If it's a story I'm telling, then I have control over the ending. Then there will be an ending, to the story and real life will come after it. I can pick up where I left off.
Possible, impossible. What could be done? We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy?
We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.
We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
I've learned to do without a lot of things. If you have a lot of things, you get too attached to this material world and you forget about spiritual values. You must cultivate poverty of spirit. Blessed are the meek. She didn't go on to say anything about inheriting the earth.
Blessed are the silent. I knew they made that up, I knew it was wrong, and they left things out, too, but there was no way of checking.
It seems odd that women once spent such time and energy reading about such things, thinking about them, worrying about them, writing about them. They are so obviously recreational.
Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.
The greater risk the greater the glory.
Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.
But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.
Live in the present, make the most of it, it's all you've got.
One and one and one and one doesn't equal four. Each one remains unique. There's no way of joining them together.
Don't let them suffer too much. If they have to die, let it be fast. You might even provide a Heaven for them. We need You for that. Hell we can make for ourselves.
Freedom, like everything else, is relative.
Ending a TV series is always an end of an era. The nostalgia when you click "back to browse" after you've finished that last episode is always exciting and yet saddening.
I finished Friends (the most beloved sitcom in history) last week, and all of the feelings are real. I'm sure it's the fourth step in the grieving process (or something like that), so here are my favorite quotes from Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe.
Joey: Don't you put word in people's mouths. You put turkey in people's mouths.
Phoebe: They don't know that we know they know we know.
Joey: How you doin'?
Rachel: I just shouldn't be allowed to make decisions anymore.
Joey: I don't like it when people take food off of my plate, okay?
Phoebe: This is my husband... crap bag.
Joey: How you doin'?
Joey: If the homo sapiens were, in fact, "homo" sapiens... is that why they're extinct?
Joey: You ordered pizza without me?
Rachel: Isn't that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?
Joey: You can't just give up! Is that what a dinosaur would do?
Joey: How you doin'?
The two and a half weeks after Thanksgiving break are hard for any college students. After five days home with little homework and good food, coming back to college in the midst of finals, group projects, and looming deadlines can put any college student into a blues as they wait for Christmas break in just a few short weeks.
The tease of Thanksgiving break makes powering through classes and work hard. Stay empowered and energized, because in just a few weeks we'll be home, watching Christmas movies by a lit tree. Let this be your motivation for the next 16 days (it's going to be mine)!
About the Author
Hi there! My name is Dezaray Barr. I'm a public relations professional who loves Jesus, cereal, and puppies. I'm a firm believer that God's greatest gift is our communication.