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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Yes, I'm An Atheist, But Please Say Bless You Still When I sneeze

Don't try to convert me, but I'd appreciate a "bless you" after I sneeze.
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During my first week of college, I casually mentioned that I was an atheist to one of my new friends. She, with all seriousness, asked me if I would be offended if she said bless you. I promised her I would not, and we shared some laughs.

Although it was a funny encounter, it made me realize all the misconceptions christians tend to have about atheism. A lot of students at Butler grew up in small towns where Chrstianity was the only thing taught, so I've had to explain myself a few times after this first encounter. I don't blame anyone, I don't really understand Christianity. I tend to mix up Jesus and Moses (one walked on water, one parted water, but don't ask me which guy did which).

So let's clear some things up.

First, please say bless you. I understand that technically you're inferring "God bless you" but nowadays it's just freaking common courtesy. I say bless you any time I hear someone sneeze. I'll be more offended if you don't say bless you. If someone does get mad at you for saying bless you because "you're pushing their religion on them", push them off their high horse. Please don't try to convert me, but you can say bless you or talk about your faith with me.

Second, I'm not an arrogant asshole. Well I might be, but it has nothing to do with my lack of religion. Some people say it's arrogant to be an atheist because that means I think a lot of people are wrong. But I only believe in one less religion than you. There are thousands of religions (especially if you break them down into different denominations) and you (I assume) only believe in one. I just believe in one less. If you are a catholic, then you believe protestants, Jews, Muslims, and etc. are all wrong. Is it so crazy to think that none of us are capable of figuring "everything" out?

Third, I don't hate religion. I actually love religion. I love studying it. I've been to a church, a synagogue, a Hindu temple, and a Buddhist zen center. I love studying religion and I think the range of faiths that people have are very interesting. I just don't personally believe in any of them.

But yes, I don't believe in God or any afterlife. I'm pretty positive that when we die, we just stop existing. I mean your body is probably still there, decomposing, but your personality and memories are gone, because your neurons aren't firing anymore.

I could write an entire article just about why I am an atheist, but that isn't my point today. What I am trying to say is that I'm just as valid as you are. Why is the norm in our society to believe in such a complex story? Why is it that Christianity is just accepted but atheism is wild? It takes effort and choice to believe in something, like God and Jesus. So why is it so crazy that I haven't done that?

I respect religion, I think it's a great thing. When people tell me they're a christian (which nobody really does because we all just assume everyone in America is unless they're wearing a hijab or holding a menorah), I don't try to change their mind or convince them God isn't real. So please, let me be a heathen in peace. If you're right and I'm wrong, you can say I told you so in the afterlife.

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