How to Love While You're Suffering

How to Love While You're Suffering

Look to The One who has suffered perfectly for inspiration

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His lungs were collapsing, his back was covered in blood from the lashings he received earlier, and the crowd was ridiculing him below. His limbs were straining to lift his body up enough to breathe, which was becoming more and more difficult to do.

He had been on that horrid cross for hours, now. Blood and sweat dripped into his eyes from the wounds inflicted by the crown of thorns, but he could not brush them away because his outstretched hands were nailed into the wood.

And yet, amidst all of this tortuous pain and humiliation, Jesus loved someone else during his suffering.

Not to be immature, but Jesus is #goals.

There were two prisoners on their own crosses on either side of Jesus. These prisoners were also nailed to their own crosses, struggling to keep their bodies upright long enough to catch as many gasps of breath as they could.

Then they heard the voices of the Jewish rulers below. These rulers said to each other, "He [Jesus] saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God."

One of the prisoners became bitter and reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." I predict everyone by then had heard of Jesus healing the lame, blind, and deaf. I'm sure these prisoners knew about Jesus raising three people from the dead (the most famous being Lazarus).

The other prisoner rebuked the first prisoner and said, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."

Woah, let's take a second here to acknowledge this prisoner's humility. Whether he gained it on the cross by realizing how his decisions had led him to that painful death or he realized it while he was in prison - this man was enlightened. He recognized how he deserved this pain due to the pain he had inflicted on others. He also recognized how the holy man on the cross next to him, Jesus, did not deserve the same fate... and yet, there Jesus was.

It's as if the prisoner pitied Jesus (out of love) for being treated unjustly... for being treated as something Jesus was not.

Then the prisoner said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Jesus had just been handed over by one of his own disciples to be murdered by suffocation on a cross AFTER being beaten, scourged, humiliated (they stripped him of his clothes), forced to carry his own death instrument up a hill, and sneered and jeered at for hours.

Jesus had no place on the cross, and yet there he was, fulfilling his mission in life to rid the world of the power of sin - death and ultimate separation from God.

If I had been in Jesus' shoes, I'm not sure if I would've even responded to this person. But Jesus did respond.

Do you know what Jesus did next in the midst of his biggest trial?

He replied to the prisoner, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Usually, when I meditate on this story, I focus on the prisoner's luck. He is the only person during Jesus' ministry who was guaranteed a spot in heaven while on earth.

This prisoner, this man who probably committed some pretty horrible crimes to end up with a death sentence in the Roman empire, was granted admission into the kingdom of God BY JESUS, the SON OF GOD.

Usually, I would chalk this story up to the simple fact that "It is NEVER too late for someone to believe in Christ." I would use it as a catch-all phrase that loses its significance because it doesn't hold the depth of the situation in it unless it is fully explained in detail (like I'm doing now).

But there is more to this moment than mercy.

Let me ask you some questions. When you are suffering (from a physical injury, a spiritual disconnection from God, or a biological issue of some sort), do you focus on others' well being during that suffering?

Do you assist others during their trials with your whole heart and forget yourself in the process?

Do you love even when you are hurting so much inside, you can hardly breathe, sleep, or focus on the daily tasks?

I know I'm not good at suffering well. But I look to Jesus as an example to live by and like, and if he loves like that, I want to love like that. I want to love others even when I am not the happiest person because of such and such reasons.

So while you are making your way through flu season, trying to keep the kids motivated with school, or trying to remind yourself that working is beneficial for you (even though you're miserable right now), remember to love others for the sake of loving others.

I'm asking you to do this even if you don't believe in Jesus Christ. Why do I say this? Because we can all agree, loving others is the most rewarding and satisfying experiences one can ever do.

So go on out there and shower some love on the people in your life! Be brave and love!

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Don't Forget About Self-Love

It's been a long winter, don't forget to put yourself first.

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For most people, spring break still isn't for another few weeks and let's be honest - it's very needed at this point. January felt like five months just by itself and it feels like winter has been going on for years. So amidst midterms, jobs, events, and everything else going on remember that sometimes you need to put yourself first.

It doesn't help anyone for you to be constantly busy and beating yourself up when one thing goes wrong. This especially doesn't help you. Everyone is feeling pressure from something, and no one is going to blame you for using some of your free time to get yourself back on track. You're much more useful when you're cup is full than when you're completely drained from trying to do everything at all times.

In college, we learn to be people-pleasers whether we want to or not. You want to impress your professor, your boss, and even your friends. You want everyone to think that you are having the most amazing time at all times. Sometimes a lot of negative feelings come up when you can't be doing something for everyone and then you feel liked you've failed.

This pressure is especially true for graduating seniors. We're all so focused on what's next and how we can maximize all our time left that we forget to take care of ourselves. We take on every project we can to prove we can do it. We try to hang out with everyone we know because we may never see them again after graduation. We constantly worry that we're just running out of time to do everything. Sometimes we forget that if we burn ourselves out now, we're not going to be able to do much later.

While the solution isn't to just give up and become a hermit, we need to realize that sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back. If you have thirty different projects going on ask for help on some of them. Collaborating is much easier than drowning in endless work. If you have free time and you've been busy all week take a night off instead of committing to seeing every friend you have. Self-breaks are sometimes the best breaks.

In the end, remember that you're not alone by any means when it comes to anything you're feeling and sometimes it just takes getting away to get better.

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