Learning To Be Your Own Advocate

Learning To Be Your Own Advocate

And when it becomes difficult, know that God has your back.
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I used to be someone who was willing to just sit in the background and allow others to disregard my potential. I was the girl who was content in being quiet and not speaking up. I would allow others to define who I was and would not correct them otherwise. I would let the opinions and beliefs of others dictate who I would become. But, over this past year I have learned the importance of being your own advocate.

I have learned that sometimes the words of others, though said with good intentions, are not always helpful. But rather, they cut deep. And although they may have not meant for them to, they cause you to question everything. You question your abilities, your passions, and the path which you have decided to take. Over time, I have begun to realize that sometimes it’s better to disregard the words of others and their support, if the support they wish to give is done with the wrong intentions. Sometimes it’s better to step away from the person and learn to be your own advocate.

Being your own advocate is not easy and at times you’ll feel completely lost. You will run into roadblocks and dead-ends, but in the end, you will have gained a greater understanding of yourself. When you finally speak up and standup for yourself, you will finally begin to see the enormous amount of potential you have. Learning to be your own advocate causes you to gain a sense of confidence in your potential. So, although it may be difficult, in the end, stepping up and being your own advocate will reignite that flame that had slowly begun to dwindle as you quietly sat back and let the words of others define you.

I know it’s difficult to break away from the background. It’s hard to step up and walk away from the person who was supposed to be a support for you. But, you must be reminded of this, your potential is beyond measure. And when it becomes too much, when you feel lost, God’s got your back. When the weight of being your own advocate becomes too great and there is no one left to turn to, turn to Jesus. Turn to the one who will use your potential, your dreams, your abilities, and your passions to further His Kingdom.

Now after all of this, I am not saying shut everyone out. Do not burn the bridges between you and others who wish to support you with honest intentions. But rather, I am saying that it is better to politely walk-away from those whose support of you is done with the wrong intentions. And most importantly, whether you have an enormous amount of support or crave support you’ve never been given, Learn To Be Your Own Advocate. Please never become content in being quiet and not speaking up for yourself. Take it from someone who has been that girl for far too long.

Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Sociology Was Not For Me — But It Did Lead Me To Anthropology

As I like to call it: people watching.

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We have all been in an ice breaker situation, especially in college. You will introduce yourself and talk about where you are from and why you chose that specific school in that specific town. And, in the midst of all this, you were probably asked what your major is. In my case, people are usually confused about what my major is a lot. Anthropology is not exactly a household term. This is my story about why and how I became an Anthropology major.

I'm from Chicago, a bustling city full of people. I spent my time at home or at school. It was how I was raised, not that I liked it at all. No wonder there was this strong curiosity to learn more about other people. My senior year, my homeroom teacher told me about Sociology, the study of human society. She said it seemed to fit me. I was someone who would sit back and ask questions. I still participated: raising my hand, talking to people, hanging with friends. And yet, I would still question everything. I decided to make sociology my major with the hopes of learning more about human society. I know I sound like an alien, but that's how I felt a lot of the time.

Over the summer, I started going out more than I did in high school. That summer I realized I like to just watch society be sometimes. For example, when I commute on the train, I would listen to my music and stay on my phone and people watch. I notice the person who's late for work because they're in a suit, bouncing their leg, and constantly looking back up at the train map. Or maybe it's an interview? It might sound like profiling from a crime show, but it's all related to studying human society.

Originally, I applied to Illinois State University as a Theater major. The thing is, I misread my acceptance email and thought I wasn't accepted yet. This gave me some time to rethink my plans. Instead, after my summer of people watching, I reapplied with my major in Sociology and was accepted. When I began school, I had my first Sociology class and knew I was pursuing the right major. Wrong! Not that it wasn't still a great major, I realized there was something even better for me.

As I'm getting ready to go into my major after my sophomore year, I decided to look at my major requirements. I noticed that the department was titled Sociology and Anthropology. "What's Anthropology," my brain asked, full of curious energy. I go to look and see it's not too much different than Sociology, but it did seem to delve more into different cultures and ethnic studies. It is at this time that I have to tell you about my love for culture.

It started with Greek plays, mythology, different religions, and historical fiction books. After watching Japanese anime (yes, anime), I wanted to study Japanese as a language and culture. Russian, German, Spanish, and French were added later. One thing would always lead to another interest. Different kinds of dancing, musicals, plays, and books. Representation in media and television of these various cultures and people. Subverting stereotypes and myths through historical and realistic fiction. These are just some of my interests. Anthropology just seemed to suit me better.

Anthropology is an amazing major and I love it. I have yet to meet other people in my major on my campus, but I hope to meet them and have so much to talk about.

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