Lifestyle

Never Enough

If the title of this post got you singing a song from The Greatest Showman, you’re not alone! While this post is not about the film, it does take a bit of inspiration from the song’s lyrics.

We as humans struggle with contentment, with finding “enough-ness.” We want it all and once we get it, we want more. We believe if we only had x, y or z, we would feel complete. This notion is completely false but very distinctly human.

..without you, all the shine of a thousand spotlights; all the stars we steal from the night sky will never be enough. Never be enough. Towers of gold are still too little, these hands could hold the world and it’ll never be enough; never be enough for me…”

In this song, the character Jenny Lind was clearly singing to someone, referring to the idea that she could have everything and it would mean nothing if she didn’t have that someone. Now, as her character was a performer, it doesn’t deliberately address who that someone is, but it is clearly a love song.

As a Christian, this song resonates with me because without God, I’d have nothing & nothing would have purpose or meaning. I could have every “good” and “desirable” thing in the world, and it would never fulfill me or bring me happiness. Only God’s love and peace can calm my spirit and fill me with unending joy in all situations. I like to listen to this song and take it in as a love song to our creator.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really began to hear the song in this way until I attended a Women’s event hosted by the Christian radio station, KSBJ, when Francesca Battistelli sang it at the start of her set. She sang it beautifully and it really got me thinking throughout the rest of the night, thus inspiring me to write this.

This reminds me of Luke 9:25 where Jesus says:

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

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Without our faith, Christ’s sacrifice and an eternity to look forward to in Heaven, nothing means anything. Having everything we desire will not fulfill us or make us happy. Getting lost in obsessions for the material things of this world can cause us to lose sight of who we are and what’s truly important.

Now, to avoid rambling on because I could honestly talk about this for days, I’ll just leave you to ruminate on these words. It’s such a simple, seemingly redundant concept that I still think we all struggle grasping from time to time.

If this is relatable to you, feel free to use this prayer:

Heavenly Father,

I know I so often lose sight of you and of what’s truly important. I pray for guidance and ask you to refocus what is on my heart so that I can live a more meaningful life that pleases you. Help me remember that the luxuries of this world do not follow me to Heaven when my time on earth comes to an end; remind me that there are far better things waiting for me in your Kingdom. God, help me serve others and find contentment and gratefulness for the things I have instead of lusting for the unnecessary luxuries that will not ignite my soul with hope and goodness. Help me not lose sight of who I am in the pursuit of said luxuries. I don’t want to gain the world if it means losing my soul. Lord without you, all of the good things this world has to offer will never be enough for me.

In your heavenly name I pray,

Amen.”

Until next time,

Lifestyle

I’m not that girl.

I am not that girl.

I am not the girl who has a ton of friends to hang out with every weekend.

I am not the girl who guys take much/any interest in.

I am not the girl with 1000’s of followers or likes on Instagram.

I am not the girl with extreme smarts, talents or perfect skin.

I am not the girl who can eat all she wants and not gain weight.

I am not the girl who memorizes every scripture flawlessly.

I am not the girl who keeps a perfect diet and workout routine

I am not that girl.

And that’s okay.

We are not called to fit societies expectations, or to be like everyone else. We are not called to have it all together. None of us actually have it all together, but sometimes we’re pretty good at faking it.

Let us not covet what we don’t have, but appreciate what we do. I know it’s not easy, but let’s be honest, comparing ourselves to others is not productive.

Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

I think it’s remember for us all to remember that we are made in God’s image. This may sound cliché, but it’s honestly a beautiful thing. How boring would life be if we all looked and a acted the same? Here’s my challenge to you: stop focusing on who you are not, and embrace who you are.

Now, I don’t mean to never improve or better yourself- as we should all strive to be better- just don’t consider “bettering yourself” to be turning yourself into someone you’re not. Realize who you are & whose you are.

No, I’m not all those girls I often long to be, but here’s who I am:

I am the girl who laughs loudly and often, probably pretty obnoxiously- but that because I have great joy and a sense of humor.

I am the girl who is considered sick “all the time,” and that’s fine because it’s a part of my testimony and God can (and does) use it!

I am the girl who enjoys hanging out with her parents, because I’ve dealt with loss from a young age & have come to understand and cherish the little time we have on this earth with the ones we love.

I am the girl who’s voice gets high-pitched & who’s eyes tear up when they see a dog, because though I’m a allergic to them, they’re the cutest things and bring me so much joy.

I am the girl who owns more comic books than she does makeup, shoes or hair tools- but that’s because I received that interest from family members I’ve always looked up to.

I am the girl who can’t sing worth a hoot, but does it anyway because it makes her worst days better & actually helps some of her chronic pain subside.

I am the girl who loves puns more than anyone should, and that’s okay because I realize that such small, silly things are capable of bringing me so much joy and amusement- it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I am the girl who is often considered a “fan girl,” just because I really love many characters, shows, music artists and books- and people find it weird- but I can accept that because it’s helped me realize my spiritual gift of exhortations (encouragement) and lifting others up.

I am the girl who realizes she’s loved by the creator of the universe & who, no matter what’s going in her life, understands she is desired, loved & has an eternity of peace, joy and bliss waiting for her.

There’s a bright side to everything if you want there to be. Realize who you are. Take those traits you don’t like about yourself & find the positives about them. Define them for yourself & don’t let them define you. If your accentuate the positives, the negative mindset can drift away a little bit. Maybe not all at once. Believe me, I still struggle with insecurity, depression, anxiety & self-doubt all the time. While positivity may not cure these things, it sure does make them easier to fight. I didn’t find this optimism on my own- it came from Christ who has pulled me out of the deepest waters and most turbulent storms in my life. The hope of his promise for our eternity anchors the soul and makes everything worth it to me, and it can for you too.

Jesus loves you SO much, my friends. Never forget that.

Until next time,

Faith, Lifestyle

Choosing Barabbas

You may or not be familiar with the story biblical account of the holiday known as Easter, but that is the inspiration behind this post. At the time I began writing this, it was Holy Week, and I’ve delayed posting it due to getting way too caught up in my studies to make time to edit my blog, but I still think it is of value (to someone) to share.

While Jesus of Nazareth was on trial by Pontius Pilate, the Jews & Pharisees did not believe Jesus was the Christ and wanted him to be executed for claiming to be. Pilate was willing to let Jesus go because he didn’t believe he was guilty of any crime, but the crowd protested. Following custom, Pilate gave in and allowed the crowd to select one criminal to be set free: Jesus of Nazareth, or thief & murderer, Barabbas. The crowd was so convinced Jesus was falsely claiming to be the Christ, that they pressed on with the idea of his crucifixion. Who should be set free? “Barabbas! Give us Barabbas!” They yelled. Pilate let the criminal Barabbas go & allowed Jesus to be sentenced to crucifixion.

You know what I find interesting about this? The crowd was okay justifying a man’s evil, hateful & illegal actions and letting him go free of consequences so that they could punish a peaceful man who says things they didn’t like. If you really think about this, we do this kind of thing all the time. When taking a look at mainstream media & celebrity culture, we often excuse or continue supporting people who have been convicted of horrendous felonies and even come up with hashtags like “#freeSoAndSo,” but as soon as someone in the limelight says one thing we disagree with, be it politically, religiously or whatnot, we ostracize them and say that “celebrities should stay out of this,” “they’re only here to entertain us,” and decide we are no longer going to see any film they’re in or listen to any song they release.

Now, I’m not saying that if you do this you’re horrible- you’re not. We all do it. And it’s fine to not want to associate with something that contradicts your values, but that choice should have continuity across issues & not hold double standards. If we excuse theft, violence & disregard of the law, but ostracize free speech or opinions (and I don’t mean in the hateful or threatening sense) that differ from ours, we are making ourselves out to be hypocritical. We are, in a sense, choosing Barabbas.

You may remember by my recent post chronicling my Holy Week/Easter weekend. In that post, I briefly mentioned that I participated in my University’s Easter Pageant. I was a crowd member, meaning I had to angrily yell at “Jesus” on the cross, and had to beg Pilate to release Barabbas instead of Jesus. This experience was very emotional & really brought things into perspective. I felt bad that I was saying the things I was, even though it was just acting, because in real life I know Jesus is the Christ. During these moments in rehearsal, as well as our devotional time, the idea that we “choose” Barabbas daily was brought up and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I can’t help but think that some of those people in the crowd, denying Jesus, were once followers of Jesus who succumbed to the pressures of those around them to condemn him. I’ve realized that that’s exactly what I do all the time, whenever I decide not to share my faith, or do something I know is against God’s will for me. If it’s available and the world accepts it, but it’s wrong, it’s much easier to accept it yourself. If it’s not widely accepting but others and it is right, it’s much more difficult to believe and accept it while standing alone.

Friends: it’s not easy to admit, but we choose Barabbas everyday. I don’t like that thought, but it’s so true. It’s important that we recognize this so we can find the strength to resist. Would you rather choose a murderous thief or an honorable & peaceful man? I, for one, would much rather choose Jesus. I still slip up & make bad decisions, but with God at my side, I know I can stand up and be strong.

Let’s think things through and evaluate our choices. Let’s pay attention to how we live our lives and seek out the goodness. Let’s stop choosing Barabbas and start choosing Jesus.

Until next time,