Five Minute Friday: Fill

I want to be filled up with God.

That sentence sounds funny at first glance, but let me explain myself.

God is love. God is the purest and truest form of love ever to be recorded in the history of the universe and even outside of time itself. His love is so powerful that it can bring the dead to life. I want that love, I want to be that love so I can share it with the people around me; not just my friends and family but also with Chris, who I met once at the FedEx store, and the checkout clerk at Whole Foods, and the mom with two kids in the seat next to me on the plane ride home. I want to be so full of God that when people look at me they don’t see me, but instead they see God’s love for them.

And I know that if I am full of God’s love, then I will be better than okay because I will be living every moment of every day in God’s love. And even though I have no clue what my future looks like, being filled up with God is the best life I could ever dream of.

 

Five Minute Friday is when a group of us write for 5 minutes without editing to make us look perfect on the internet.

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True Love Takes Work

Love is a very big word. We casually use it every day when talking about the little things, like how much we love our stuff, the food we’re eating or a movie we just watched. But we also use it to show appreciation and devotion, what makes us happy and what can break our hearts. Love is a very big word.

The other day in church, our pastor focused on the section in 1 Corinthians 13 about love. He didn’t focus on the romantic definition, but on the word as a whole–what love looks like in friendships and families. The definition he gave was one I had never thought of before: “love is to desire and to do what is best for the other.” In other words, love is an action, it’s something you do to show you care rather than letting a feeling inside your chest dictate your behavior. He said, “If we wait for the feeling of love before we love, we will never love.” Wow.

In our culture, we celebrate the ideal of “love at first sight,” dreaming about the day when our “happy ever after” ending will come true.  But Love isn’t supposed to be an ending, it’s a beginning, it’s a journey that lasts a lifetime and beyond (yes, I am aware that I just paraphrased “The Swan Princess,” but stay with me).

Disney and fairy tales tell us that when our prince charming, or the princess of our dreams, enters into our lives, we will know without a shadow of a doubt that he or she is our true love. We’ll end up together, despite the small roadblocks needed to test our commitment, and achieve our “happily ever after.” However, as much as I love Disney I have yet to find that this well mapped out plan is the norm. I look around at the marriages my friends and parents and I can tell they have put in time and effort to their relationships. They care about their significant other enough to stick by them not matter what. That is love.

But while I was sitting there in church, I realized that type of love doesn’t exist solely for my future husband, but it extends to every single person I know. Yes, love requires work and can be inconvenient when all I want to do is watch Netflix or spend some quality time by myself. Sometimes I may not feeling like loving anyone for several days, but living life based on my feelings is, quite frankly, a fickle and lazy way of living. Love begins by taking time to look at the people around me, even the people I don’t particularly like, and ask myself, “How can I show them my love for them today?” Do they need help setting the table, or on a project, or simply need someone to listen to them? Do they need someone to fetch them coffee before they realize they want it, or to give them a smile and ask how their day was? True Love is in the little things, the mundane, the boring, and the definitely inconvenient things that take time away from ourselves; but loving in the small ways prepares us to love in the big, life-changing ways we dream about.

Sometimes movies and fairy tales get it right (such as “The Swan Princess” song I paraphrased earlier), but most of the time the story concludes with Love as the climatic and victorious ending. So, it makes sense why I’ve dreamed about someday living out my” happily ever after,” because that’s what the characters in books and movies almost always get. Now I know True Love is not defined by a feeling inside me, but a decision to stop looking at myself and to actively look at the needs of my family and friends instead. As challenging as it will be, I am going to start making the effort to show my love to others in the little things, the things that are inconvenient for me but mean the world to them. Who’s with me?

Five Minute Friday: Bloom

When a flower blooms in the spring, it’s a beautiful sight. After an entire season of winter, of cold air and harsh wind, delicate and beautiful petals unfurl in the sweet spring air. It’s out of the unforgiving cold that new life comes once again. The new flowers bring hope and joy to the world that almost forgot they existed. I think it’s the same for people. We experience the harsh and unforgiving seasons of life and begin to believe that it will always be that way. Then, suddenly, we experience a blooming flower in the form of a child’s sweet laughter or the refreshing beauty of a new sunrise and we begin to hope again.

 

Five Minute Fridays are when Lisa-Jo gives us a prompt and we write open and without hesitation for five minutes (and no editing when we’re done). Check it out, and join us next week. 🙂

Five Minute Friday: Lost

Getting lost doesn’t normally scare me. I’m the type of person who likes to get lost in the woods or city in order to better explore it; I like to loose track of time as I wander. However, when it comes to planing out my future, I don’t like the “lost” feeling that coming with it. I don’t like feeling helpless as I stare into the unknown. I am vulnerable and exposed when I don’t have a set plan for my future, and I don’t like it. I hate not knowing things, it makes me feel useless and ignorant.
Lately, I’ve been dealing with all of those emotions as I try and plan out my life. But the more I do that the more I realize I can’t because I don’t know what’s coming, I don’t know what exactly the future holds. It’s easy to let the feeling of being lost overwhelm me to the point where all I can do is sit in my house and stare listlessly at the walls, unsure of where to go, unsure of what I’m supposed to do, unsure if I am waiting on someone or if I need to make the first move.
It’s easy to get stuck there, it’s another thing to stand up and take back control of my emotions and feelings and thoughts and fears about the future. I don’t have to let the feeling of being lost control me anymore.

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Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the FMF writers again! We “free write” for five minutes about one topic without editing the post when we’re done. It’s a chance to let it out and learn from each other. 🙂 You can check out her blog, and other FMF posts, here. Enjoy!

I Am Clueless

I do not know what I want to do for the rest of my life.

There I said it. I may be the only on who is like this, but I don’t think I can be. Am I really the only person my age who doesn’t have any plans for the immediate or distant future? According to Facebook I am. It appears that I am the only person with out a steady job or internship, therefore I must be the only person who does not know what I want to do for the rest of my life.

That dosen’t make sense because I went to a four year university and earned a Bachlor of Arts in Media Communications where I specifically studied films. So I should want to go into the film industry, but I don’t know where! Or maybe I am already burnt out on my career of choice and want to do something else for a change. But what?!

I don’t know; I don’t know; I don’t know. I have no clue what my next step is or when I am supposed to take it. I don’t know what job I am going to have or where I am going to live for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I am going to have the same career as my major or if it will be something completely different. Sometimes I want to give up because I just don’t know.

But what I do know is that God creates good for those who love Him and lives according to His will for their entire lives. Sometimes that means not knowing what is coming up next, and I don’t like that, but if God is in control of my life then I guess it’s ok for me not to know everything. He has a plan, He loves me, and I trust Him. Somedays are going to be good ones, and others are going to knock me down; lately it’s been the latter. But I’m not giving up, even if I am the only one among my peers without a clue.

Asbury Musing part 2: Studying vs. Learning

I found this post waiting in the draft section; I forgot all about it, oops. Even though I wrote it way back in January, my thoughts on this subject haven’t changed and I wanted to share it with you now, with an added post-script at the end. 🙂

Yesterday [January 13th] was my last first day of school. In a little over 4 months I will be done with my college career and school in general. An unsettling feeling comes when I think about how I’ll be done with two decades of schooling. Going to classes and studying is the only life I’ve known, and it’s all about to change. Yes, I could go to grad school and continue my education, but honestly I don’t want to go. I’m thankful I have been blessed with an education, especially a college one, but I’m ready to be done. Maybe that’s the senioritis talking, but I’m ready to put what I’ve been learning into practice. I’m ready to put the books down and make my rookie mistakes so I can gain experience in my field. Books and homework can only teach me so much before studying becomes stale and the joy of learning has faded.

Once I saw a quote on Pinterest attributed to Natalie Portman that said, “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. Learning is beautiful.” That quote sums up where I am right now: I am ready to be done with studying but not learning. I want to continue learning about anything and everything throughout my lifetime. My soon-to-come diploma does not mean I will know everything I need to in order to survive and succeed in life. I understand I still have a lot to learn, and that doesn’t scare or bother me. I’m actually excited by it! Even though my time at Asbury will be complete, I don’t want to stop learning. I want to learn from the wisdom of others, what life has taught them and how they refused to be defeated by the roadblocks in life! Because I will no longer have classes that will keep me accountable in my studies, I will have to create time to learn things on my own.

Does this mean I’m not going to try to study this semester? Of course not! I do still want to be a good student, and will take advantage of this time to sharpen my skills and talents. I’m going to continue to give my best in my schoolwork because I only have a little time left here at Asbury, and I’m not going to miss it for the world.

Like I predicted above, now that I am done with college it’s harder to for me to find the time to continue learning. So when I went to the Natural History Museum with a friend and I decided to look for things there that could help make me a better filmmaker and storyteller. That simple new mindset completely changed my experience at the museum. I picked through all the information presented and learned things I personally found interesting, such as bioluminescent creatures and the simplified definition of a mammal (hair + milk + special ear bones = mammal) and a number of different types of butterflies (one even landed on my friend’s head in the butterfly pavilion!). It was so much fun! Never again will a museum trip be just another museum trip; it will always be a new learning adventure.

Asbury Musings part 1: Finding Strength in His Spirit

Two weeks ago I walked across a temporary stage in the gymnasium, received my diploma, and got my picture taken with Dr. Gray as a college graduate. I said goodbye to my friends, packed up my car, and left Kentucky. College has been a crazy ride, full of good times and not so great ones, but through it all I learned a lot about myself. Over the past two weeks I have been processing what exactly I learned over the years and how I have changed. So, I thought I’d share my “Asbury Musings” with you.

I first thought about the drastic difference between my underclassmen and upperclassmen years. My freshman and sophomore years were a lot of fun and not that challenging. I hung out with my friends and we made a lot of crazy memories together (Sophomore Musical anyone?). But everything changed when junior year came around. My classes got harder, I was easily overwhelmed, and had to stop hanging out with most of my friends just to get my work done. I knew over half the people on campus but I couldn’t focus on all those friendships and pass my classes (example: I had DFP and Screenwriting that semester). But the worst part was that I started having back problems that forced me to sit on the sidelines more often than I wanted to and watch my friends have fun.

It continued the same way in the following three semesters; less interaction with my friends outside of the classroom while my life gradually spun out of control. Then in the middle of my final semester at Asbury, I realized that I was so run down, physically and emotionally, out that I couldn’t continue, even if I had one month until graduation. I was in the midst of a horrible back spasm and was angrily questioning God why I was in so much pain. I thought He healed me but I hadn’t had any improvement in a long time. I never knew what could trigger a back spasm and so I was scared to do anything that might set it off. Everything I tried to do to heal myself wouldn’t last, a back spasm would always come again and the pain would leave me almost paralyzed for several days. Nothing worked and I began to think there wasn’t any cure for me.

While I was desperately begging God to make the pain stop, He gave me a choice: I could continue living the way I was (stubbornly on my own) and quickly end up with a bad case of depression and anxiety, or I could choose to live in the strength of God’s spirit and trust that He would renew my worn out body, and then give me strength to finish out the semester strong.

Then it hit me: I had been trying to get better by using my strength, not God’s. I did my best to find my own cure, and then push through my semester so it looked like I was fine. I wasn’t “fine,” but I thought I had to be. I realized that if I wanted to live I couldn’t continue in my own strength because I had nothing left and no way of healing my back. But if I chose to live in the strength of His spirit I had a chance to live life to the fullest again.

I chose to trust that He would provide the healing I needed to finish the semester strong; and He did exactly what He promised. He gave me the strength and rest I needed to finish all my projects and finals, and to walk across that stage and jump off the stairs in celebration as an Asbury University graduate with minimal to nonexistent pain. Praise the Lord!

Now that college is over, my back is not 100% (it has yet to happen) and I’m still recovering from college itself. However, I will continue to live in the strength of His spirit everyday because, even though college is over, a new chapter in my life has already begun and I’m not going to miss one bit of it!