A few nights ago, dear Danielle and I set out to find some sunken treasure in the ocean. Okay, not really, but we did play an awesome escape room in a box game where we found treasure while solving a bunch of riddles. We found a pretty cheap game, made some pasta at home (you always need a good meal before clue solving), and put on a ten-hour ocean life video on the TV. We had an absolute blast, something we have tried to do on a consistent basis in our marriage. Fun is important to life, we all need to have fun. Sometimes though, we tend to let other things get in the way. When we do that we miss out on having fun, and having fun produces true joy; it’s time for you to create space for joy.
I was thinking back to about a year ago when I was listening to Reggie Joiner speak at Orange Conference. He made a statement that stuck with me, and popped into my head the other day. He said this, “On his way to save everyone, Jesus stopped to save someone.” I love that. In the context of what he was talking about was the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a man that no one liked, and he wasn’t really likable. Despite what he had done, he wanted to listen to the teachings of Jesus, and Jesus called him to be greater. God sent his son to save everyone and he started by saving someone.
“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Loneliness is a terrible feeling. We are now in the thick of this quarantine era of life, it’s a forced time of being alone. Dear Danielle and I have noticed how the days slip away and you have to create structure or time just melts. Hopefully you’ve found a rhythm, a way to make sure your mind stays active rather than become a zombie. This is a hard time for everyone. Whether you’re introverted or extraverted, we need connection, and when you can’t actively step outside of your home, the isolation turns to loneliness. Loneliness can be a dangerous place, it often leads to depression and a deep yet unknown sadness. I want to talk about this time, you may be grieving the way you used to live your life, but in this moment, know that you’re not alone.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This scripture keeps coming into my mind.
In every season it feels like there always comes a crossroads. A time where decisions need to be made and the next chapter will begin with whatever choice is made in this moment. I’ll be honest, in my life, these decisions aren’t comfortable and often are the result of hurt. I think about how in college, I was interning and it felt like the next steps were so clear, that I would just continue into that path. That wasn’t the case, life often has a way of shifting and moving, and most of the time it’s not the way I would like. So often I used to write and preach about how God’s plan is so much better, yet during these same times I had my plan all mapped out. Things just made sense, but the truth is, God’s plan is so much better, it just means that we have to get uncomfortable to take a leap.
I love taking pictures. People used to mess with me for how much I use Instagram; it’s one of my favorite things. I don’t like it or use it to try and become an influencer, I see it as a photo journal. I get to post highlights of my life and share that with others! I don’t share my entire life on there, but it’s a fun tool I get to use with my pictures. I take lots and lots of pictures every day. I think this love of photos started when I used to get on trips or to camp and I was given a disposable camera from my parents. I could take up to twenty-seven pictures!
The main reason I take so many pictures is that I want to remember moments so I can look back at all of the meaningful memories I have.
Well, for pretty much everyone at this point, we are in lockdown. Only able to head out into the world for our essential needs; which means our everyday routines look slightly different. I’m sure many of you have learned that without some sort of schedule in your day, you can get sucked into the endless cycle of entertainment. For some, the boredom has begun to set in, working from home has become difficult to figure out with families, layoffs may have you in a state of fear about tomorrow and the coming weeks, and maybe the battle against this virus is beginning to have you lose hope.
Don’t lose faith.
I really love a foggy day. There’s just something about the way light dissipates and creates a haze around everything. It makes me think of chilly autumn days, somethings I didn’t really get to experience down here in Florida. You can see in a general sense of where you are headed, but the details get murky. It’s a fun thing to experience, but only in nature. When it comes to our minds, mental fog can really dishearten and muddle your sense of purpose.
The first month of the year has now finished. It feels pretty wild already; I’m not sure about you, but it feels like so much has happened. Yes, the world has had some crazy things, but in my own life, it feels as if a million things have happened all at once. I started a new position at my job, which is requiring me to have some very late nights, so my head feels off. I do well with consistency, things I can plan on happening in a certain order, but when your work schedule is new every week and you don’t have advance notice of those times, it starts to drain on you. My dear Danielle was in a state of flux since her program ended, getting random shifts and then finally, getting confirmation of a part time position. We’ve dealt with drastic Florida weather changes that has been creating lovely sickness, weird neighbors getting mad at how loud we are (cause those early morning toilet flushes are just us being so mean), and a sense of unknowingness about the future.
I think everyone has significant moments in their life. Moments that have shaped us and made us who we are, and often, these are not too happy of memories. It’s such a tragedy that our lives encounter terrible heartache, yet it’s how we grow and mature. It’s almost Thanksgiving, and while most of the time we are focused on family and delicious foods, I think it’s important during this time to look back at the moments that have shaped us. What you’ll find, and it’s something that I myself have found, is that these key moments, good and bad, have shaped us into a stronger person than we once were. I titled this post the way I did because I think living a life full of thanks, allows us to have deep joy and love well.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
There’s a special feeling that comes when someone treats you in an incredibly kind way. This past week I was able to attend a talent show where my friend was going to be singing. Normally, I wouldn’t be able to get in since it was for the Disney College Program people, but my friend put me as a VIP. That’s not a normal thing I get very often, so when I was able to get in, get a lanyard and sit in the front row, my whole attitude felt very positive. I got to gush over my friend, Shanden, and his incredible voice and encourage him. After, I started thinking, I began to think about what Jesus said when he talked about how to treat others. The “golden rule” is well known, but not always followed. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see a man who chose to treat others like VIPs, treating others with love and encouragement. We are called to follow the example that Jesus set, so that means, we need to start treating others like the very important people they are.