...And To All Others Frantically Hoping To Make Something Of Their Lives

...And To All Others Frantically Hoping To Make Something Of Their Lives

This is a very raw, genuine letter that I wrote to myself in the middle of the night. To give you context, I'm an undergraduate student just a little over half-way done with college. I'm writing this to myself - and to all others who need it - so that in the midst of looking for the 'next big thing,' we can stay grounded in what is true.
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Dear Jasmine,

You’re having a hard time falling asleep tonight – which is very rare. Most nights you’re out before you even have a chance to say Amen after your goodnight prayers!

But you know you can’t sleep tonight because you know you’ve got to write.

You’ve been avoiding writing for a while now. Yes, you are busy now, but you’ve made time for it before (and when were you ever not busy?!), which means you really can do it, but you’ve been making excuses. Why? Because you’ve abandoned your first love (writing will always be your first love, green tea lattes a close second) in pursuit of more glamorous job pursuits that don’t entail much risk or unpredictability.

Do you remember the story of Jonah? The guy who ran away from what he knew his true calling was? The guy who needed a huge whale to swallow him to wake him up from the fact that he simply could not outrun God?

Well that story is in the Bible for a reason: to remind you that God is always one step ahead of you and He wants you to stay true to your God-given passions and not SETTLE for anything else because:

  • He wants you to bring life and hope to other people!
  • He wants you to be happy (and as you already know, living a life where you aren’t true to your passions as well as God’s calling is a life that gets tiring, stressful, and disappointing.).

You’ve believed the lie that your writing doesn’t really do too much good anyway and that for all the work that’s put into it, you could really be finding ways to better yourself or build a more impressive resume. And unfortunately, you bought into one of the worst half-truths ever: That small things aren’t all too important – it’s the BIG things that we must constantly aim at and strive for.

Yes, Jasmine, it is very good to have lofty dreams and big goals; BUT, at the same time, do not forget Jesus’ very words: “If you are faithful in small things, you will be faithful in very large ones;” or the Apostle Paul’s writings: “God chose the weak [small] things of the world to shame the strong [and big].”

Clearly, God was trying to make a point: That being faithful and committed to the ‘little’ assignments He has given us will amount to something FAR GREATER than our own self-centered ambition.

I know you had a very hard time turning down the internship opportunity that came your way today – I know it seemed like the perfect job for you. But this has been a reoccurring pattern; in fact, you’ve been having trouble saying ‘no’ to a lot of things lately. Just a couple of days ago, you wanted to say yes to an extra class, an extra hike, and another volunteer opportunity. Why?

It’s because you’re trying to CAPITALIZE on every moment of your life. Especially now that you’re in a new country, you feel a heightened sense of responsibility to ‘make every moment count.’ In your case, why is that becoming a bad thing?

Because it’s you using your own efforts to ‘try to make it big’ (relatively speaking, of course) – to try to create this ‘perfect life,’ to try to ‘please God;’ when really, when did God ever tell you to ‘try’ to make something of yourself?

The only thing He has ever told you to do is: Seek Me first, and all other things will be added unto you.

In seeking God today, you knew deep down inside that He was right: That ultimately, your efforts would amount to nothing if you chose to build a future that’s centered around “being the best________.” Life isn’t a competition the world tries to make you think it is. If you treat it like a competition, you’ll never win.

You were never called to be ‘the best.’ You were called to love. To love God, people, and yourself with everything you’ve got. When you love out of a heart that’s in loving communion with the Lord, you LITERALLY have it made! You don’t need to run around looking for the next big vacation, the next best job, the next best home, the next best anything.

Best is right here, right now. Not because of your circumstances, but because you know God is with you and you’re doing the right, ‘write’ thing; Writing a piece that you know you’ll read again as a great reminder in the future when more things will try to crowd out your clarity - and writing a piece that hopefully some of your readers will relate to and be encouraged by.

And that’s why you’re submitting this article at 3 a.m., never being so determined to submit an article after a month-long hiatus (praying that the jittery “tic-tac” of your typing won’t wake up your light-sleeping roommate).

Don’t you feel so much better now?

God’s way is the best way. Don’t ever forget that, Jasmine.

And don’t forget what your best friend told you today! “Pray to follow and hear God’s voice and calling even in the little things. And, don't commit to everything unless you really know you can DO everything!”

Finally, don’t ever forget, Jasmine – God is the Greatest Author of all time. He’s already written the story of your life, and if you just stop trying to write your own story, you’ll actually enjoy getting to read your own story and having the time and space to revel in awe of How good He is. The best part is - your story doesn’t ever have to end!

Cover Image Credit: Jasmine Kolano

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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