Ever since we're young, we're told that we need to shoot for the moon, strive for greatness, and settle for nothing short of the best. The standard is so far above mediocrity, it's almost like we're being conditioned to accept success and nothing but success. But what happens when we start to chase more and more of our dreams, and fall short? How do we deal with the embarrassment of being a human being who has flaws and inevitably messes up? Up until recently, I had always viewed failure as something that was necessary to growth, but not ideal. One day, I was listening to a podcast where the host of the podcast (David) was talking to a business owner (Tristen) about the process of starting and continuing to run a successful business. The topic of failure- more specifically, embracing failure- came up, and the conversation basically centered around ways to handle failure well. One of the habits they discussed that struck me was writing down a failure from that day or that week, and then acknowledging the lesson that was learned from that failure. My first reaction to hearing that was basically "what the crap? If I'm giving failure so much positive attention, won't that just make me look forward to that more than the successes? Shouldn't I just be counting the wins?" After I thought about it though, being able to look forward to and appreciate failures is (for lack of a better term) such a power move. Nobody has ever attempted anything and done it perfectly the whole time, so it will serve you better to know what to expect, and even to invite the disappointment in because it can be used to foster growth and positive change. Towards the end of this month and as we go into 2021, I'm looking to shift my mindset- instead of looking at my goals in terms of what I can succeed at, I'm going to strive to find the attempt- even the failed ones. Even if I don't lift the amount I want at the gym by next December or take as many pictures or save as much money as I want, at least I can say I went for it. It's a lot more disheartening to look back on all of your efforts and see no achievements-- so by transforming the effort itself into the achievement and the obstacles into opportunities, it's possible to keep a positive mentality and a strong work ethic despite the circumstances that may hinder what you normally consider growth.
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To the generation that cares way too much about affirmation.
- This semester I am taking the ever so famous class, Writing 101. Walking into it, I had heard the horror stories about each major assignment. I have to admit, it’s not a class that I am fond of. But, major assignment #2 got me thinking, we had to create a research question based off of a topic that we are interested in.
Two weeks prior, I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix. Miss Representation was recommended to me by one of my friends and I have to say the topic is absolutely mind blowing. Social Media and Female Body Image. How Social Media makes girls see this unnatural perfection of ‘beauty’ that really doesn’t exist. But female body image isn’t the only thing affected by social media.
This got me thinking, why do I use social media? I used to say “because I have friends in other states who I want to be able to keep in contact with.” But, couldn’t I just text them if I want to get in contact with me? Yes, yes I could. Likes and Followers, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, do they have any real purpose in life. No, they do not. I was able to live without social media for 13 years, so why is it now that I find it impossible to go a day without checking my Facebook? It’s depressing. What am I trying to achieve by posting a picture of Instagram? All I am seeing is the affirmation from my peers. But, all social media tends to make me do is feel bad. Few people will admit that, but social media does that. If you post a certain picture and don’t get 100 likes, you may delete the picture. It’s absolutely ridiculous
Why do we need affirmation from people to love ourselves? At the end of the day, the only person you are stuck with is yourself. Not your Instagram followers or your Facebook friends. Thinking about all this, I made the ‘bold’ decision, yes ‘bold’. I deleted Instagram and Facebook from my phone for a few days. Not my accounts, let’s face it I’m not ready for that yet. Just the apps, I found out that I didn’t miss much. I didn’t like a few posts, but those people won’t miss my like.
I did discover that if someone truly cares about you, social media won’t matter in a relationship. They will contact you, they will keep in touch. They will call you when they miss you because social media has no real purpose in life. Yes, it’s fun to post a cute picture on Instagram, but does that do anything to you? No, it doesn’t. Your worth as a person shouldn’t be based on social media.
At the end of the day, you won’t be remembered by your Instagram or Facebook. You will be remembered by the content of your character, how you treated people, how you presented yourself in person, not in an Instagram post. It is very easy to false represent who you are as a person over social media. That’s why I hate social media. I love it for keeping in touch with my friends who I don’t have the joy of seeing every day. But, I absolutely hate the people who put their soul purpose into followers and likes. There is so much more to life than getting over 300 likes or over 1,000 followers on Instagram. Yes, it may feel nice in the moment. But, in the long run, it doesn’t matter.
I want to go back to when people actually put effort into things, writing letters to people who you love, sending pictures for the purpose of showing them their purpose in your life, having to go and find someone in order to talk to them. I want to go back to the times when personal interaction meant more. When social media wasn’t such a priority. When people genuinely had a good time for the purpose of enjoying life and not just to post it on social media.
Social Media is addictive and I try to remember that there is more to life than how many likes or followers I have. There is this very interesting thing called actually connecting with people. Meeting people face to face, not being on your phone, knowing people from actual interaction and not from text messages or social media.
I crave interaction, meaningful interactions with people who I care about and who care about me. Real people value real friendship, real relationships, real emotions, real experiences, and real life more than social media. In the words of Selena Gomez from The American Music Awards, “I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in here,” she said patting her heart. “I’m not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore…And if that’s anything, whether you respect me or not, that’s one thing you should know about me is, I care about people.
Don’t be the kind of person who shows how much they care by liking an Instagram post, text the person or meet up with them to see how they are doing. Smile at them the next time you see them. Be loving, caring, don’t be petty and superficial. You won’t gain anything by being immature. Tell people how you feel, don’t be passive-aggressive towards them on social media. Be an adult and treat people with respect. It’s okay to be human and feel emotions. Just don’t be the kind of person who has more confidence and value in their Instagram than in themselves.
A letter to fellow believers.
- I know many of you just read that title and thought it was scandalous to see something so “risque” in the same setting as something holy. Well guess what – sex is part of that. Everyone seems to think they are separate, which makes since because most people treat them as though they are complete polar opposites. Shall we think this through?
Who created the Church body? God. Who created the body? Also God. If we know God to be the creator of all things, we cannot leave sex out of that equation. God created sex, people! Praise Him! Like all great things, the world has twisted and perverted it. The world has stained it so badly that even many church congregations see it only as stained and keep quiet about that part of God’s word. Many people know that God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), but a lot of people overlook the entirety of Song of Solomon. The entire book is dedicated to telling of the love and sex between man and wife. God blessed us with the gift of intimacy, one to be shared between husband and wife. Church if we teach of sex as the blessing that it is, more people will start treating it as such. If we stop viewing sex as this unspeakable act, the temptation would be lessened. With the fall of man, humans naturally desire things they should not have. So if more people speak of it with gladness and praise, and do not hide it in the darkness as if it were vile, fewer people would be drawn to it for the wrong reasons. More people would appreciate it for what it is: a gift from God.
Sex, in the truest and purest state in which it was intended, is not dirty or foul. It was not meant to be used as a tool, a weapon, a defense, or a toy. The euphoria of sex is supposed to give us an insight into heaven. For instance, when a husband and wife consummate their marriage, they become one body. They are no longer two separate entities, but one. Marriage was made to reflect the union between Christ our Lord and the Church, his bride, and the Holy Trinity. When we go to heaven we get to be one with God — praising and worshiping Him for all eternity. Marriage is this beautiful insight into the Holy Trinity, as well as the loving and sacrificial relationship between Jesus and the body, the church. God being great and merciful gives yet another insight — the complete joy of Heaven. Sex allows people a glimpse of Heaven, and feelings on earth are never as great as to the extent they are in Heaven, so imagine Heaven!
It is your one true love.
Chick-fil-A, I love you.
Truett Cathy, I owe you my life.
If you love Chick-fil-A, you truly have withdrawals when you're away from it. You may suffer from these symptoms, just like I do.
1. No other breakfast will compare to CFA's.
2. No other fast food joint has hash brown's like CFA's.
3. When you go on vacation, you type in "Chick-fil-A" to see if there is one nearby.
4. If there isn't, you eat it as soon, I am talking, like, the second, you get back from vacation.
5. You truly don't understand how people "get tired of Chick-fil-A."
6. Besides the occasional changeup on Sundays, CFA is always your number choice of fast food.
7. You legitimately crave it more on Sundays.
8. Nothing on the menu seems gross to you.
9. Yet, you seem to get the same thing every time you go.
10. Their ice cream is literally the b o m b.
11. You defend CFA to any and every hater.
12. CFA is probably your actual one true love.
Considering im 18 now & you're one of the best men i've ever met since you have a child; me. I want you to know that I love you, more than anyone, I love you. I don't forgive you for the way you hurt my mother. I'm hurt because you broke our family. Thing went down hill the day you found Laquita. You we're distant & shortly after my mother turned into the coldest, saddest women to walk past me. She's my best friend & so are you. Not one day goes by where I don't wonder what she did wrong. How on earth could you trade your family & the women who loved you unconditionally for a home wrecker? Sounds dumb to me.
But I don't want you to think that i hate you for it. For awhile you were all i knew or had. I didn't have a mother. Hell, we barely have furniture in our home because bills couldn't be paid, but that didn't phase me because I was with my all time bff. The times where I would let you drink on the "school bus" because you were basically an alcoholic by then. You were drinking because no one cared. Mom left & my grandparents turned their back on you because of what you did to my mother; I don't blame them. But you are & always will be the best man to enter my life. Thank you for being the best father you could be even though your marriage with my mom didn't work.
I think God hand picked you for me without a doubt. You have always been the best dad & the best best-friend. I love you with my whole & i wouldn't trade you for anything so thank you for being so good to me.
Exploring the controversy behind the popular worship song "Reckless Love"
First things first I do not agree with people getting so caught up in the specific theology of a song that they forget who they are singing the song to. I normally don't pay attention to negative things that people say about worship music, but the things that people were saying caught my attention. For example, that the song was not biblical and should not be sung in churches. Worship was created to glorify God, and not to argue over what kind of theology the artist used to write the song. I was not made aware of the controversy surrounding the popular song "Reckless Love" by Cory Asbury until about a week ago, but now that I am aware this is what I have concluded.The controversy surrounding the song is how the term reckless is used to describe God's love. This is the statement that Cory Asbury released after many people questioned his theology regarding his lyrics. I think that by trying to clarify what the song was saying he added to the confusion behind the controversy.This is what he had to say,
"Many have asked me for clarity on the phrase, "reckless love". Many have wondered why I'd use a "negative" word to describe God. I've taken some time to write out my thoughts here. I hope it brings answers to your questions. But more than that, I hope it brings you into an encounter with the wildness of His love.When I use the phrase, "the reckless love of God", I'm not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn't crafty or slick. It's not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it's quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn't consider Himself first. His love isn't selfish or self-serving. He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.His love leaves the ninety-nine to find the one every time."Some people are arguing that song is biblical because it makes reference to the scripture from Matthew 28:12-14 and Luke 15. Both of these scriptures talk about the parable of the lost sheep and the shepherd. The shepherd symbolizes God and the lost sheep are people that do not have a relationship with God. On the other hand some people are arguing that using the term reckless, referring to God's character is heretical and not biblical. I found two articles that discuss the controversy about the song.The first article is called, "Reckless Love" By Cory Asbury - "Song Meaning, Review, and Worship Leading Tips." The writer of the article, Jake Gosselin argues that people are "Making a mountain out of a molehill" and that the argument is foolish. The second article, "God's Love is not Reckless, Contrary to What You Might Sing" by author Andrew Gabriel argues that using the term reckless is irresponsible and that you cannot separate Gods character traits from God himself. For example, saying that God's love is reckless could also be argued that God himself is reckless. Reckless is typically not a word that someone would use to describe God and his love for us. The term reckless is defined as (of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action. However, Cory Asbury is not talking about a person, he is talking about God's passionate and relentless pursuit of the lost. While I would not have chosen the word reckless, I understand what he was trying to communicate through the song. Down below I have linked two articles that might be helpful if you are interested in reading more about the controversy.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign