Dec 30, 2016

How to Create an Effective Morning Routine


Daily routines are crucial for creating structure in our lives. When we have structure, we can form the healthy habits needed to be more effective managers of our time. As I mentioned in last week's post on seven ways to make time in our busy lives, this stability empowers us to make purposeful, transformational change in our lifestyle and way of thinking. In particular, my morning routine helps me start the day right. It gives me peace and stability (again, that structure is important!), and it gets me in the mindset to accomplish the tasks that I have before me that day.

Dec 27, 2016

Seven Ways to Make Time in Your Busy Schedule and Be Intentional With It


When I talk about all the things I'm doing, students tell me I'm superhuman, and friends tell me that they wish they had the time that I do. The reality is that, as a new teacher entering the workplace, I've been that person who takes work home and doesn't have time for people.

So how then have I reached a place where I am able to be present in my work and also exercise 150 minutes a week, do daily devotions, engage with Bible Study Fellowship, volunteer at church, write weekly blog posts, read from a book every night, study Christian theology, and connect with friends?

Dec 13, 2016

How Do I Discern the Things of God?


Coming back to faith, I struggled with discerning the things of heaven from the things of earth. I still lived in a very worldly mindset. Though I desired God's love and peace, I wanted even more to fulfill the sinful desires of my heart.

The greater culture teaches us to be selfish, greedy, and prideful. We are told to worry about ourselves and our own first and foremost instead of pursuing something greater than ourselves. To do the latter would be foolish, for it requires sacrificing ourselves, a self-destructive act (in the eyes of the world) that may not even make a large impact. Even then, it is that individual's loss, for he or she gets nothing material out of that selfless act. Instead, we are taught to prioritize self-achievement and to covet more and more. After all, we can never have enough fame, wealth, or possessions to flaunt.

Given the culture we live in, can we never be satisfied as long as we live?

Dec 3, 2016

5 Reasons We Cannot Live on Faith Alone


I don't need to read the Bible or go to church!

This statement reflects the ideology of many young Christians today. With so many churches popping up, it is too easy to fall into the consumer mindset. We shop around for churches, and when we don't find one whose ideologies align with our own, we decide that we don't need a church family. From there, we may decide that we don't need to read the Bible either because—isn't enough that I already believe in Jesus?

Nov 23, 2016

Barriers to Faith: What is God's Role in Our Changing World?


"Why did you stop going to church?"

There, it was out, the question that I'd been mulling over for so long.

I could visibly see the change in my dad's demeanor. His body tensed up; the lines on his face tightened. It was apparent that the topic of faith made him extremely uncomfortable.

"It's my own business," he told me.

"It's a question of salvation," I said.

Nov 16, 2016

How Do I Love Myself in All My Brokenness?

One of the hardest things for me to admit is that I don't know how to love myself. To not love myself is to reject the love and care shown to me by those who love me. It is to reject Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for me. I know what it means to love myself in theory: I know I need to self care, connect with loved ones, eventually date someone who treats me well and who loves God more than he loves me . . . and I know the reality that God loves me and has redeemed me through the blood of Christ.

Oct 8, 2016

Turn Depression and Anxiety Into a Force for Change

Why?

This word starts some of the hardest questions that we have asked. This word seeks explanations. This word searches for understanding. It is a difficult word to speak because its questions penetrate our core and challenge us to question our faith; the answers that we find can draw us nearer to or farther from God.

One of the more difficult questions I've had to ask myself is "why do I feel depressed and anxious?" If I truly have faith in God, I should be at peace . . . right? After all, the Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34) and that God supplies our every need (Phil. 4:19). Paul and Peter even go so far as to tell us to rejoice in our sufferings, for they produce character and allow us to experience a fraction of what Christ endured for us (Rom. 5:3, 1 Pet. 4:12-13).

Jun 24, 2016

Physical Fitness Leads to Spiritual Fitness


"I'll do it tomorrow."

Do those words sound familiar? I myself have said them too many times to count. The problem with these words, however, is that tomorrow—by definition—will never come. If I don't do something today, there isn't any guarantee that tomorrow will not be a repeat of today.

Apr 3, 2016

Who's Afraid of a Little Quiet Time?


The other day, I silenced the social media apps on my phone and spent an hour walking across the campus of my alma mater. In recent days, the noise from the Internet had been buzzing rather loudly in my head. During the day, I would check social media whenever I had a minute and didn't know what to do with it, and I had trouble falling asleep because my brain wouldn't stop processing everything that had happened in my day. I was miserably anxious over everything and nothing in particular.

We live in the digital age, the age of consumerism and convenience. Technology makes many things easier on us, including keeping in touch with everything that is going on in the greater world. I love smart phones because it lets me talk to people on the go—but at what cost?

Apr 1, 2016

Do I Have the Right to Complain? {How to Express the Hurt}

Stop crying. Take deep breaths. Think about how to fix this. 

Don't tell anyone; they won't have anything to say that you don't already know.

I was in college, away from home, and in my first romantic relationship. I was taking a Conflict Resolution class as part of my Psychology degree, but theory does not play out in practice as it does in the classroom. Especially not when emotions are high. I was conflicted between wanting to get in my say and validating my boyfriend's feelings.

Mar 30, 2016

Love is a Choice, Not an Emotion


You're so sweet. You're so kind.

I can really tell that you care.

You're the nicest person I know.

Whenever people tell me that I'm kind or loving, I feel terrible, like I'm tricking them. I know all of my inner demons; I know the daily fight to curb the sharp tongue and let my temper rest. The "sweet, kind, loving" young woman known to my social circle is a carefully constructed figure, and for the longest time, I wondered who was real: the pessimistic girl who sought refuge in books and spurned the real world or the optimistic young woman who believed in a better humanity.

Mar 27, 2016

Coming Out: Talking About Faith in a "Tolerant" Society


Growing up, I felt ashamed to talk about God, much less my faith.

We live in a culture that preaches tolerance and not just any tolerance. We live in a culture that argues that tolerance means accepting the other's belief as true. In short, it is a culture of relativity. Whatever makes one happiest is truth for that person, and we should leave them be. It's a culture built perfectly to challenge the Christian faith, which has been denounced as irrelevant, judgmental, and bigoted.

Here's the big question: If we live in such a tolerant society, why are Christians shamed for their beliefs?

Mar 17, 2016

How Do We Define Beauty in a Culture That Tells Us We Will Never Be Enough?


Better than bare. (Bare Minerals)

More defined. More conditioned. More beautiful lashes. (Estée Lauder)

Because younger looking eyes never go out of fashion. (Olay)

You are in a beauty contest every day of your life. (Camay)

These are only some slogans used in advertising campaigns to encourage women to buy beauty products. What they all tell us is that beauty matters, and we need to buy certain beauty products to be beautiful.