...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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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