This season has been absolutely wild. From a pandemic, injustices, natural disaster, as well as the personal struggles we all face can be taxing on our mental health. It can be easy in the midst of our struggles to feel alone. There was a very distinct feeling of isolation a few months back, and even still limited interaction causes some fear. One of the hardest battles, is dealing with mental health alone. I’ve written in the past about my own struggle with anxiety, and the worst part was feeling alone. You can know that others struggle, yet at the same time, feel like no one can possibly understand your pain. What I found was, that I needed to be vulnerable with others, and the truth I found, was that I am fully known and loved.Continue reading
I’ve been talking about love a lot recently. Most of my posts have centered around the idea of how to love others and how to love ourselves the way Jesus loves. The idea for me was sparked during a conference I went to over the spring of last year, the Orange Conference, its’ main theme being “it’s personal.” One of the speakers was Bob Goff, and of course, if you know anything about him, he’s all about loving people. This spark made me look at the way I live. How do I love others like Jesus? What does that look like? What steps can I take towards loving in his radical ways? The answer seems to be right in front of me, in front of all of us. We want to be better people. We want to make positive changes and influence in the lives of the people we come across. So, what do we do?
We do what Jesus did, we call out the greatness in others.
This past week, dear Danielle and I drove down to Atlanta, Georgia. For Christmas, we had been gifted tickets by my parents. The Orange Conference is an incredible event. Over eight thousand people were in attendance, all with the heartbeat for reaching the next generation. There is something so refreshing being around people that think the same way as you, knowing that the future belongs to the youth and that we have a call to raise them up to be leaders. The speakers were incredible, hearing from those in ministry, secular world, and from a vast array of professions; all pouring out powerful information. There was a ton of information, all great, but a lot of it. Everything we learned and heard boiled down to one central idea.
One of my favorite classes I took in college was an art appreciation course. When completing your degree, you have to take a certain number of fine arts courses at UNCG, so I took this class and ended up loving it. There was a bit of history, but the main focus of the class was seeing what makes art, art. That’s a super overarching topic, and one that I won’t focus on today. What I want to talk about is a piece that I discovered while researching a project. Modern artist, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen took mirror shards and covered a series of mannequins with the pieces. Then, she shone light on the mannequins, creating a light affect similar to a disco ball. I just remember thinking how cool that was, and recently, remembered this again and feeling the Holy Spirit nudge me. My life has been wild the past few months, with incredible moments but with it the fear of the unknown creeping in. In conversations with friends of mine, this feeling is not something I share alone. I think even you may be walking through some very real unknowns, feeling like you aren’t sure what’s next. These fears are tools from the enemy that then cause us to doubt ourselves. We begin to feel like failures, worry about past mistakes, and compare ourselves to those who seem perfect around us. We end up feeling broken. Shattered people who feel like they can’t be anything in a sea of people. The Holy Spirit nudges me sometimes in my moments where I feel week, reminding me of promises and truth in scripture. The thing he reminded me of right now, was of those sculptures, a broken masterpiece.
It’s here! Christmas time is among us (Though for many of you it began as soon as your Jack-o-lantern went out). I really love this season, not simply for all the cold air and the smell of cinnamon that seemingly is everywhere (how does that even happen?). I love it because it’s a season of caring, at least for me it always has been. Christmas has never been a specific day for me. My family was in Wisconsin so we would celebrate several Christmas days, but what I learned is that Christmas is so much more than the day (or about a creepy man who reverse robs you), it was about giving back. Reaching out and being intentional with others. I really love giving gifts, not big expensive and crazy things, simply things that are meaningful. Last year though, my mom executed this perfectly. She gave my dad, sister, my brother-in-law, Danielle, and myself gifts that really spoke to me. They weren’t insane or wild, simply intentional gifts that poured into us. That got me thinking about this Christmas season, and what I want to do this month. I want to talk about intentionality. I want to talk about being purposeful with the people around us, because we are called to love our neighbors.
This was one of my favorite things to hear as a kid. Wake up on a Saturday and watch (which at that point was re-runs) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I loved this show (still love it too), and it taught me so much. Now for those of you who have never seen this show, I’ll give you the brief run down. An evil lady is awoken from sleep, so a giant floating head in a tube chooses five teenagers with attitude to save the world. Lost yet? Great! The show is silly and essentially has the same plot each episode (fight bad guy, bad guy grows, Power Rangers win by using their robot zords), but I think that this show is a great example of what we are called to do as believers. Now before you click away, hear me out. These were unique teenagers of every race that were called with a purpose, and they answered the call. This spoke to me as a kid, walking into the video rental store and watching VHS tapes of the show, and it speaks to me now as I walk through life knowing I have a calling, and wanting to fulfill it. The thing about this show, and of our walk with Christ, is we must allow God to change us. In other words, God says it’s morphin’ time.