The Love You Grow

The Love You Grow

It's about love. It's about compassion.
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Buddha states in one of his sermons that the “heart is like a garden –it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love”.

What seeds will you plant there?

When I was in high school a good friend of mine had gone to the mall with me and she had picked up a lot of things that she thought she had wanted but by the end of the shopping trip decided to just put them on random shelves.

I asked her why not put them back where she found them rather than make it hard on the retail workers of the store since we weren’t in a rush anyway. She told me simply told me she didn’t want to. I wish I could say that I said the perfect words, that after that she never did that again. I wish I could tell you that I had never acted in the same way in previous times.

I wish I could say that I made this dramatic speech about how we should treat others the way that we would want to be treated. To show love. To show compassion. It’s easy to make mistakes like these, to act without thought. I don’t mean that you are a terrible person, that you don’t care for others.

But now that I look back at the moment and have grown so much since that time, I wish I had said something. The Bible even states for us to look on our neighbors meaning our peers with love and kindness, but do we do this? No.

A memory that I hold dear to my heart dates to my first-grade teacher. She made it her life’s work to always show love and compassion.

I remember one day I had climbed to the top of the jungle gym, even though I had an immense fear of heights. It was the end of recess and I was scared to climb down. My teacher, at the age of about 70 years old, decided to look on me with love and compassion and climb to the top of the jungle gym to carry me down.

And when my grandmother had passed away and I was home sick with the flu at the same time she called my parents and stopped by to give her condolences to my family and dropped off the work I had missed and pass on a hug and kiss.

New York Times Bestselling Author, Sharon Salzburg, goes on to say that “Any ordinary favor we do for someone…may seem to be going nowhere at first, but maybe planting a seed we can’t see right now."

A simple act of kindness. A job. No not a job a purpose to show love to show compassion.

It's something that is so easy, yet we make so difficult we are so caught in the materialism of this world that we forget the most important things that can’t be brought: love and compassion.

I’m not perfect and neither are you. I don’t always treat others with love, kindness or compassion. I’m making a call for us to do what our kindergarten and first-grade teachers told us early on to treat others how we would want to be treated.

And to remember that a simple act of kindness like maybe putting back clothes in the right spot at a simple retail store can show more of your genuine heart than you’ll ever know.

Like the Dalai Lama said, “love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries without them humanity cannot survive”.

Cover Image Credit: Noni Humphrey

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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First Time Wedding Guest

What to wear when it's not your big day
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Everyone keeps saying it's normal now and we should get used to the changes that come with growing up. People have babies, they move in with their partners and they get cute puppies.

I don't know anyone my age who's married. That changes now. I'm in my early twenties, so here it is: my first wedding invitation has come.

I've never been to a wedding where I wasn't the flower girl.

Like most women when invited to an event, I started panicking over what to wear. My formal wardrobe consists of little black dresses, taboo wedding attire, and college clubbing clothes.

To increase the drama: my boyfriend is the best man, the wedding is at an old fashion church and his entire family and congregation are coming.

In a nutshell, I need to look like a stylish Virgin Mary.

As I frantically searched my small town clothing racks, a tiny JCPenny, and my go-to online shops, I realized I was ruined.

I could not wear what shows up on the "wedding guest" section of those websites. Terrible patterns, ugly sleeves, low cuts, above the knee, all out of the question.

I'm an over-thinker, so I stressed about this daily. The wedding was months away but I had to look perfect.

Younger girls have it hard in this category. The weight of the elders judging you and the need to post fashionable photos online later. #Wedding.

I order and return things OFTEN! #SmallTownProblems. So after a few failures, I planned a trip to St. Louis and asked my mom to go with me to the mall.

I was in full panic mode by this point, the wedding was a month away! I whisked through the store grabbing anything that looked formal and my size.

My goal was to wear yellow, a color I was told I looked good in when I was in a church fashion show at age 12.

After months of looking glory, glory I found it! A simple yellow dress that passes all the test with time to spare.

My advice for any twenty-something soon-to-be wedding guest: start the search early, there's a wild selection out there.

Cover Image Credit: wikimedia commons

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