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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Why You Should Stop Chasing Him

You deserve better.
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They say “the thrill of the chase" makes someone more enticing. There's just something about wanting something you can't have that drives you crazy (in a good way). There is never a dull moment. Pursuing him is a challenge. Nothing comes easily. What's the fun in that anyway?

I'm going to tell you this: stop chasing him. Stop forgiving him when he forgets to answer your text messages and phone calls. Stop being the one to always make plans. Stop letting him bail on you. Stop waiting around for him. Stop being lied to. Stop making excuses when he doesn't make time for you. There is a difference between someone who is “hard to get" and a flat out jerk who doesn't give you the time of day. Stop letting him use you.

You deserve to be with someone who makes you fall asleep every night in the middle of texting him because neither of you want the conversation to end. You deserve someone who plans dates for the two of you. You deserve someone who asks you to hang out before midnight. You deserve someone who wants to spend time with you just as much as you do with them. You deserve someone who insists on paying for your ice cream. You deserve someone who won't deceive you. You deserve someone who is straightforward. You deserve attention. You deserve affection. You deserve a partnership that is mutual, not one-sided. You deserve to be chased.

You are better than 3 a.m. “Hey" texts. You are better than a night spent watching a movie just to fool around. You are better than trying to decode his vague messages. You are better than his shadiness. You are better than mind games. You are better than being ignored.

If you have to chase him, he's not worth it. Don't settle for someone who makes you beg for his attention. If he is genuinely interested in getting to know you, he will put in the effort. A relationship where your feelings are reciprocated is far more rewarding than one where you constantly feel like you have to drag him along.

Change your mentality. Become more independent. Be confident, be bold. Find happiness in being alone. Don't waste your time pathetically chasing after someone who doesn't feel the same, but doesn't have the heart or the courage to tell you so. Your self-confidence and positivity will make you radiant, and eventually, you will attract the kind of guy who is mature enough to not mess with your head.

Cover Image Credit: weheartit.com

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I Stopped Wearing Makeup For A Week And I've Never Felt More Confident

You don't need makeup to look and feel beautiful if you don't want to.

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I began wearing makeup in middle school for special occasions. Whenever there was a school dance, I'd don on some mascara and I would feel beautiful. This continued until the end of my sophomore year of high school when I decided that putting on makeup would become part of my everyday morning routine. Eventually, wearing makeup was something people expected to see rather than something that I wore on occasion.

Things stayed the same until my freshman year of college. There were some days during my first year in college that I couldn't be bothered to wear makeup, because I was in a rush. However, whenever these days occurred, I usually had friends ask me why I was so tired and if everything was okay. I have prominent bags under my eyes that I usually cover up with a concealer, and though I slept enough and tried many remedies, they just wouldn't disappear. Without my makeup though, my friends were concerned and thought that something might be wrong. While they had good intentions, I thought that I must not look good without my makeup.

From then on, I started wearing makeup every day, no matter what. If I went to grab some food quick, I had to wear makeup. Review session for math on Saturday in the morning? Makeup. Volunteering for a club? Makeup. Class? Makeup, always makeup. If there was any chance that I would run into someone that I knew I had to put on makeup because I felt that I would be judged and wanted to look my best at all times.

When I started taking an 8 a.m. class this semester, something changed.

One day, I was running late and was rushing to get to my class on time. I didn't have time to put on any makeup before class. At first, I was self-conscious without any makeup covering up my circles and I felt naked. I thought that people would notice, but I don't think that anyone even noticed. The following week, I had exams and felt that getting a few more minutes of sleep was much more satisfying than putting on makeup, so I went without any makeup that week. At first, I was still self-conscious of not having anything on my face to cover up the imperfections, but as the week wore on, I felt free. Without any makeup, I never had to take any off at night. Normally my mascara takes forever to get off, which is a hassle. Also, I felt that without the makeup, I felt like I looked better over time. I was more confident about how I looked with and without the makeup.

Since that fateful week of not wearing makeup, I've found that not wearing any makeup to be extremely freeing. While I do still sometimes put it on, it is no longer a necessity. If you wear makeup constantly, I suggest trying to go without wearing makeup for a few days. There's nothing wrong with wearing makeup, and there also isn't anything wrong with not wearing makeup either.

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