God Calls Us To Be Salty

Last Sunday at church, my preacher was giving an interesting message out of Matthew Chapter 5. Over and over again, my preacher kept telling us to be salty. This really made me laugh a little because for anyone who doesn’t know, the definition for “salty” that the millennial generation has come up with is to mean, “bitter, angry, or upset about something (Ex: He was salty because he lost the game).” So for my preacher to be telling me to be salty was rather amusing to me. But of course, we have the meaning all wrong (as we usually do).

Verse 13 says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Salt is created to preserve things and to add flavor. Spiritual salt is kind of the same thing. Eating potato chips or french fries without salt would not be a very enjoyable experience. If a seasoning has no flavor, it is pretty much pointless. The same goes for us! We are called by God to be the flavor and the preservation of the earth. This means that we must share the good news of Christ and add flavor to the lives around us. This is our job! If we as Christians make no effort to share the Gospel, what good are we? We are about as useful as that one guy at work who does absolutely nothing.

We must make an effort to effect the world around us. Everyone complains about how bad the world has gotten and how we must make a change, but how many people actually do something about it? Here’s our chance! Christians should not blend in with the world, for we are not of this world. Instead, affect others in a positive way. So go ahead; be salty. Bring out the best in others just as seasoning brings out the best flavor in our food.

Stop Trying To Do It All

I have a lot of days where I try to do WAY too much. I’m pretty sure everyone out there can relate to trying to take on more than we can handle. It is incredibly difficult to try to balance too many activities and obligations, but I think it’s even more challenging to say no and turn things down and make time for yourself. We feel bad and like we aren’t good enough or strong enough to get through each day. Here’s my advice: Let’s stop trying to do it all.

When we come home after work or classes, we are exhausted. The last thing we want to do is start hours of homework or run our kids to soccer practice or do the mountain of dishes sitting at the sink, but if we don’t start our homework right away, we always tend to feel guilty. We must stop feeling this way. Guilt is a good thing to feel when we are lying or doing something wrong, but needing a break is the opposite of wrong. Often times we will be much more productive if we take that twenty minute nap instead of starting our work right away than we would falling asleep while doing it. Taking breaks is absolutely okay and much needed. Taking the time to do one thing you love during the day should not be something to feel ashamed of or put off. Do it for the sake of you sanity.

In this day and age, social media makes it incredibly easy for us to compare ourselves to others. We scroll through Instagram and see that mom who made a perfect dinner for her family before they head off to practices. We look at Facebook and see people getting perfect scores on tests and looking like they get a full eight hours of sleep each night. Here’s the truth, no one posts on social media when they are feeling broken or not enough. Everyone feels this way and it is okay. You don’t have to be able to look great everyday, get all of your work done, eat healthy, make a great living, and have time to relax at the end of the night. Cut yourself some slack and celebrate your little victories.

Most importantly, know that you are enough. Bad day are inevitable, but so is the love God has for you. There may be days where you feel like God has abandoned you or if He cared about you He wouldn’t let these terrible things happen. I believe that this is His way of saying, “hey, slow down and rest in me!” We get so incredibly busy trying to do it all that we don’t take time to be spiritually filled. We forget that God wants us to turn to Him with our problems and He wants to hold us when we are broken. Every single day is precious and every single day we get a brand new start. Please remember that you are enough in my eyes and most importantly in God’s eyes. Encourage each other on the hard days because we have all been there. Remember that it is okay if you can’t do it all. We are only human.

My Struggle With Going to A Christian College

I absolutely love going to a Christian college. There were many factors that made me decide to attend a Christian college. The parties would be very slim and difficult to find (I haven’t found or heard of one yet), the people are all around just nicer and more welcoming, and I am able to, and even encouraged to share my faith and speak openly about my faith on a daily basis. I thought a Christian college would be a great way to dive deeper into my faith, which it has been, but I didn’t realize the struggle that I would face with this being so prevalent.

In my high school, there was decent sized number of students who were proclaimed Christians, which is awesome! But there’s also an even greater sized number who aren’t Christians, or who don’t proclaim their faith. With this being said, I always felt school was a good place to be able to not only share my faith, but simply act like a Christian through love, forgiveness, and even temperament. People looked at me and respected me for being a Christian and I actually could feel myself making a difference in my community and I felt like I had in purpose in faith.

Being at Messiah sort of changed that. Since pretty much everyone there is a self proclaimed Christian and is already living a life full of faith (or seems to be), I felt my job had changed. Since we are required to attend a certain number of chapel services per semester and there are so many Bible study options available, I felt myself becoming a lazy Christian. I no longer felt the need to spend one on one time with God because my classes start out with prayer, etc. Essentially, I felt God was just something else I could check off of my to-do list.

I also experienced the challenge of feeling the need to compete with other Christians. I wanted to be looked upon as the person everyone wanted to be like. But this past week I realized the huge mistakes I was making in my walk with Christ. I was living my faith out for all of the wrong reasons! I was trying to act like a good and glorious Christian for my benefit when all of the glory should be on God! I was acting like a Pharisee! I should want to tell people about God because of how amazing God is, not because of the glory it gives me as a person.

I also realized that just because everyone around me seemed to have it all together didn’t mean they really did. Christians need help too! God placed me in a Christian college so I would be surrounded by like-minded people and we could support each other and encourage each other through faith, not compare ourselves to each other.

This realization has taught me so many incredible things about faith and through spending one on one time with God again, He was able to reveal to me what I needed to change in my life to keep from feeling empty and far away from Him. I will never be a perfect Christian. There is no such thing as a perfect Christian. But through each experience, God is able to help me become one step closer to this heavenly goal if only I open my heart to Him.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” -Romans 11:36

Why My Family is the Source of My Success

Over the past few months of being in college, I have realized what a pivotal roll my family has played in my life. I have come to understand how blessed I am to live in the family that I live in and to have such a close support group at any given time. Then I began to think about how different my life would be if I didn’t grow up in such a loving and supporting family. My family has played such a big part in the successful person that I am today and I am so grateful.

1. They Taught Me To Put God Above Everything

This is the most important thing I have ever been taught. From a young age, I was taught the importance of faith and how without God, nothing is possible. My parents have both helped me to understand that God has a plan for me and it is a truly wonderful one. They have also taught me to live out my faith in my everyday life and to love passionately. My entire family is made up of strong Christians and have influenced my love of service and missions work. The best part is, no one ever forced me into a relationship with God, it truly did come naturally. They gave me the freedom to explore different denominations and churches, even though that was difficult for them. My family is constantly encouraging me to trust in the Lord. I can’t tell you how many times my dad or my aunt have told me they are praying for me. It is so comforting and such a life changing lesson.

2. They Are Always Supportive And Encouraging

This past week I have felt SO much love from my family. They are constantly sending me letters and packages while I’m at college just because, and when I receive these surprises it makes my day. My parents will text me and ask how my day is going. My grandparents and extended family even make sure to check how I’m doing on tests and tell me they are praying for me to do well. There is such an abundance of love and for that I am forever grateful. No matter what choices or mistakes I make, they are always there for me and encourage me every step of the way.

3. They Taught Me How To Work

As a kid, doing chores was seriously the worst. I hated doing laundry, dishes, or pulling weeds in the yard (I think I will always hate pulling weeds). Now that I am living on my own, I am so grateful that my parents didn’t do everything for me! Every time I go to the laundry room in my building, someone asks me how to do their laundry. If my mom wouldn’t have made me learn, I would be shrinking sweaters and dying my clothes pink and I would have to ask strangers for help! So although doing work around the house was not fun when I was younger, it actually has helped me in the long run!

4. They Gave Me Just The Right Amount Of Independence

My parents weren’t strict, but they also didn’t let me run amuck. My parents really trusted me throughout my teenage years and I really think this is what made me make good decisions. I knew that if I broke their trust, I would get all of my privileges taken away, but most importantly, I would disappoint them. Being given independence allowed me to make my own choices and mistakes and to grow from them. I was able to learn from each experience. It is also incredibly rewarding and confidence boosting to know that your parents trust you to make good decisions.

5. They Have Done So Much For Me

No one in my family is rich by any means, but everyone has done their very best to provide for me and to give me as many opportunities as possible. At a very young age my parents realized I had a gift for singing. They payed for me to recieve private voice lessons which truly transformed my skills and love for music. My entire family chipped in for me to be able to attend an expensive camp for writing the summer before my eighth grade year. They have always participated in every fundraiser I’ve had whether it be for mission trips or school functions. My family is somehow able to go on a vacation every year and last year we were able to go to Nashville,TN which has been my dream since I was very young. I am so blessed to have a family that loves me so much and want the very best for me.

I will never be able to express my gratitude for my family. I would not be the person I am today without them and their positive life examples. Thank you for showing me how to be the best person I can be and giving me the love and support I need to achieve my goals.

Kindness Movement

In my first year seminar, we are reading a novel called “One Million Lovely Letters.” From the moment I started this book, I was addicted. We only had two chapters assigned, but I could have finished the entire novel in one sitting. This novel tells the story of Jodi Ann Brickley, who decided to change lives by performing random acts of kindness. Jodi grows up with a mother who constantly radiates kindness to whomever crosses her path and has a great impact on the lives of Jodi others through her good heart. While reading this book I realized what an impact kindness and doing things for other can make in this cold world and how underestimated being kind truly is.

A lot of times we think that showing kindness to other people is solely for the benefit of the other person, but that is not completely true. Making a difference in the lives of others actually ends up leaving more of a mark on ourselves than anyone else. Doing something for someone else makes us feel good and gives us purpose. Nothing is better than making someone else’s day.

Making a difference does not have to be some type of elaborate ordeal. It can be as simple as helping an elderly lady get something off of the shelf at the grocery store, holding the door for someone, or even just saying “good morning” to someone as you pass them. You never know what people are going through. If I’ve learned anything in college it’s that someone can look completely happy and normal on the outside, but can have a really difficult past or really be hurting on the inside. We had a meeting on the floor of my dorm where we could get together and share testimonies and I was in disbelief when I realized what some of the people who lived right down the hall from me have been through. It was so eye opening and inspired me to think twice before I come to a conclusion about someone.

I challenge whoever is reading my article this week to go out and make a difference in someone’s life. I am being challenged to do the same thing in my first year seminar so we can all do it together. Let’s start a kindness movement. The world could use a little warmth.

Worship and Why We Struggle

Worship; it’s talked about at church, mentioned in the Bible, and the subject of so many Sunday school lessons, but why is it so hard sometimes? How can we make it easier?

Everyone Worship’s Differently

Most of the time when people hear the word worship, they think of singing. But worship is not just singing. In fact, worship is different for every single person. Worship can be singing, praying, dancing, reading the Bible, doing devotions, journaling, literally anything that is done to honor God. Webster’s dictionary has a pretty awesome definition of worship, “Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission.” Some people like to throw their arms up in praise and some people like to stay more reserved. I’m here to tell you that either way is fine. There should never be shame in worship. Often times people feel self conscious worshipping in groups because their style of worship may be “weird” or “different” than other people’s styles. Stop thinking about what those around you are thinking and submit to the Lord! This is your time to honor and praise Him with all of your heart. Do not be ashamed.

Limit Distractions

It is so easy to get distracted in worship. You are sitting in the pew on Sunday and the preacher is preaching, but your mind is focused on all of the work you have to get done at home or what you are having for lunch after church. Trust me, I am guilty! But it is in that moment that we have to get outside of our thoughts and fully focus on God and the reason that we come to church everyday. Why are we waking up early every Sunday just to sit and think about things we could be thinking about at home? Well, we didn’t. We came to church to honor and give recognition to our Lord. So get what you came for! The dishes will still be there when you get home, but use these few hours to totally give God the glory He deserves.

Make Time

We should not be going to church or worshipping simply because it is our “obligation” as a Christian. Yes, we should totally be spending time with God every single day, but please please do it because you want to. Nobody likes being forced or feeling forced to do anything. Do not put God in this situation. This brings us to a serious question; who is God to you? I know, this one is loaded. But really, who is He to you? Having our priorities in order is so important. It is so incredibly easy to put God at the bottom of the list. I mean, when do we have time? Well, we have to make time. I mean, Jesus, without sin, died on the cross to save us from hell. I think we can take at least five minutes out of our lives to shoot him a prayer or read and meditate over a Bible verse. Trust me, it makes your day go SO much better. 

I am as guilty as anyone of all of the above. I get it, sometimes we just get stuck in faith. Don’t get discouraged. Try to get a new perspective and remember the joy and gladness the Lord puts in our hearts. Sometimes we have to get away from our busy schedules, let go, and let God.