Per-sir-veer-ance

Per-sir-veer-ance

Do the work you were called to do.
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What changes faster than a college freshman’s major? My fitness goals. Last summer I ran every morning before the sun could bombard Tallahassee with unbearable heat. I did a mixture of sprints on the local track to shrink my timed mile and a half. It started out at 11:50, but by the end of the summer, I had it under 10:30. In between now and then, my goals shifted more than once. Right now my goal is to lift heavier. At the gym, I could even recognize a few guys in the weight room and feel brave enough to give a “bro” nod.

What changes faster than my fitness goals? The things people complain about. I swear the constant gripes I hear from people around me stream from a never-ending river. The barista complains about her early morning shift. The professor complains that no one comes to class. The students complain that they have class. The news anchors complain, the writers for the Wall Street Journal complain, and even the cats complain when they meow in the wee hours of the morning. It seems inevitable, there's always something to grumble about. Plus, being surrounded by disgruntled people will only spread this incessant whining. Are we pigs? No, we should stop acting like pigs.

If you complain about trivial things, then how will you face real trouble? Will you just collapse like a damsel in distress? The Bible tells me to “Share in the suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter” (2 Timothy 1: 4-5). God places you in situations for a reason. We face mountains if it’s His will. But we don't just complain about the big mountains. We complain about everything if it's unsatisfying. What now? Change your mindset.

Not everyone has the mind of a soldier. But, you don’t need to be a soldier to think like one. I’m sure walking in the desert with over a hundred pounds of gear on their backs gives soldiers a reason to complain. Yet, that’s part of their job. For you students out there, your job is to go to class, study for the test, write the papers. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). Let God’s word change your mindset. Do the work you were called to do without complaining. Have the mindset of a soldier who is called to complete a mission. Then you will be ready to persevere and embrace the circumstances you find yourself in.

Today the news will complain about the cold weather, and tomorrow it will be too hot for them. You may think that girl sitting behind you in the lecture hall will stop complaining about her roommate once class begins, she won't. Don't let the complaining disease spread. Let God's message invade your thoughts and change your mindset. Persevere through the challenges you face, big or small. Don't complain. Do the work you were called to do.

Cover Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr

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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.
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Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry - what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children-- just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 A.M because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.


Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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13 Comments And Questions Every Atheist Can't Believe They Still Hear In 2018

Because y'all need to stop.

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While atheism is a growing religion (or lack thereof) with more and more people associating with it, there has also been a growing backlash. The media often makes it out to be that atheists are out screaming in the streets about their beliefs and trying to force it down everyone's throats. Honestly, I feel it's kind of the opposite.

I've had religion pressed on me by my family, peers, school, and society for as long as I can remember. Not only has this idea been pressed on me, but I've also been threatened with condemnation to hell for my lack of beliefs. Regardless of your religious views, here are a few things that your fellow atheist acquaintances will be very grateful to stop hearing:

1. "You know that you're like...going to hell...right?"

I don't have the best long-term memory, but I still have this encounter in the back of my mind from the choir class I took my freshman year of high school. It probably wouldn't have been so traumatic if it wasn't said in front of a group of people, and I was left not knowing what to say. The thing is, though, and hear me out here, that I don't believe in hell. So, I'm sorry that you think I'm going to rot for eternity, but I'd have to kindly disagree.

2. "So...do you have morals?"

There is this idea that if someone doesn't have some religious background, then they have no morals. My question to people who say this is, is the only reason you do good things because of your belief in an overseeing God? Is life to you like a scoring game to get into Heaven? Because when I do good things, I either want to make a specific person feel good or help a group of people, not just for the sake of getting brownie points with the man above.

3. "Why do you hate God/religious people?"

I can't speak for every atheist because we're a pretty wide and diverse group of people. But I can speak for myself and say that I, in no way, hate God. I simply don't believe in God. And no, I don't hate religious people. While I may not agree with them, they are free to believe in what they want just like I am.

4. "Come to my church."

While I'm sure that your religious community is amazing, I'll have to pass. I've been asked this by a few different people who wanted to convert me to their religion. And I get it, if your religion is really important then I understand why you want to help others see the way you do. But please, if I say no once, just leave it at that.

5. "Have you read the Bible?"

This is usually said as a form of lowering someone's choice of why they're not religious. If they say they haven't read the holy text, then it just means that they aren't educated on religion. Therefore, their religious choice is irrelevant. You don't have to be able to recite the Bible to choose not to follow it.

6. "It's just a phase/you'll see the light soon."

Umm...nope. Sorry, I think I'll be here forever.

7. "I'll pray for you."

I see that you mean well, and I do appreciate it. But if you're saying this just because I'm an atheist…please, just don't.

8. "There's no proof that God doesn't exist."

And there's no real proof that he does...moving on.

9. "I've experienced God personally."

It's not that I'm trying to call you a liar here, but...maybe it was just a coincidence?

10. "So who do you think created the universe?"

Again, I can't speak for all atheists, but the Big Bang Theory tends to be pretty popular.

11. "So you're a Satanist?"

No, I don't believe in Satan, either. Sorry.

12. "Are you going to force atheism on your kids?"

Well, no. If I choose to have kids, I want them to be free to choose whatever religion they fancy. But just like you probably will bring your kids to church every Sunday, I will not. It doesn't mean I want to force atheism onto them; I just don't want them growing up in a particular church.

13. "Join us in prayer."

So...you want me to stand there awkwardly while everyone else joins hands and speaks to someone I don't believe in? Nah.

Overall, atheists are not evil people doomed to spend eternity in hellfire. We're just out here trying to live our lives like you are trying to live yours.

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