College, Faith, Lifestyle, World Issues & Current Events

Living Sober

“Why do you wear that bracelet?” “What does it mean to you?” “Are you Sober?”

I know what you’re probably thinking after reading the title of this post, but it’s not what you think. This post is talking about sobriety, but I’m not referring to alcohol sobriety, per se.

I will say, my inspiration for this post, however, did stem from experiences I’ve had watching loved ones face & overcome addictions. This has become a large part of my testimony, and I always wear a purple “live sober” bracelet as a constant reminder of the hardships, strength & trust in God it took to get through that situation. I never take this bracelet off, and it is constantly there reminding me to remember what is important in life. It’s a great conversation started that often leads to me being able to share my testimony (boom, God works is many ways my friends!) with new people & cultivate fellowship. It reminds me to walk through life soberly.

I’ll also tell you that posting this was incredibly difficult. I’ve been working on this post for 3 months and constantly editing it, trying to get it right because this is an important topic to me. It’s still imperfect and redundant, but I found getting too wrapped up in the intricacies of this post pretty much contradicted the point I was trying to get across, so I decided it was time to stop stalling.

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After listening to many sermons, attending revival at my university and diving into the word, I got to thinking. God put it on my heart to dig deeper into this topic and write a post to share about it & here goes:

Sobriety is typically associated with not being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but to me it’s so much more than that. Sobriety is living clearly, without worldly distractions clouding the sky. Living without getting tangled up in distractions and addictions of any kind.

As a college student in this society, I know first hand that life is full of things that distract us from truly living & from our focus on God. From social events to social media, from GPA to finances, from embracing the freedoms of singleness to chasing the possibility of relationships- we all get caught up in things that are so minute in the grand scheme of things. If all we do is focus all of our attention to any of these things, among many others, we aren’t really living. Our judgement becomes clouded and we often miss out on the little things that truly matter.

You see, we tend to get so caught up in how many followers we have on social media, how aesthetically appealing our instagram feeds look, how good our GPA is, how pretty we look, how much money we have, etc. that we obsess over them. We let these things consume our minds, even if we do not mean to. These are not necessarily bad things, but we shouldn’t put any of them in front of our relationship with God. I know I am guilty of this, and if you’re reading this, you probably are to, in some way or another. Maybe you struggle with obsessing over social status, maybe school comes before everything, maybe you are caught up in the clutches of drug and alcohol misuse.

I know, I know, what does “sobriety” have to do with this? Daily distractions are waaaaay different than drunkenness and drug use, aren’t they?

The quick answer is no- they’re not. Anything that we obsess over so much that it hurts or threatens our ability to socially interact, connect or direct our focus is an intoxicant. It distorts reality- just like social media, for example. People usually portray themselves differently on apps like Instagram, Facebook & twitter than in real life- or only show the best parts of their lives. Those sites are great, but they don’t paint the whole picture. We don’t know the full story unless we make real interactions and act intentionally and genuinely. Be vulnerable, be real. Don’t hide behind a screen, a GPA, a relationship, etc. Just like alcoholics don’t want to be identified or known solely as alcoholics, we should not allow ourselves to be defined by things of this world. Be in it and not of it, but don’t simply be in it. Live fully in it.

Wherever you stand, I have a challenge for you. Get your priorities in order. School, finances and relationships are important, but they mean nothing if you idolize them. They mean nothing if you’re not using them to glorify the creator. Don’t let them blind you. Don’t worship worldly things, and don’t let the world tell you that they are more important than God, or your well-being, or living. If you’re doing something or addicted to something, no matter what it is, that is harmful or stops you from living a meaningful and purposeful life, stop it. Sober up. Stop doing the things that hurt yourself and others.

To be fully aware and in tune with life, to truly live, we must remember what we were created for. We must remember WHO created us. Don’t let the distractions affect your focus on the Lord. Be sober in mind, body and spirit.

I’m not suggesting that you should throw all of these things out the window; I am just suggesting taking a step back.

Put things in perspective, and reprioritize God. If we put God first, everything else will fall into place. We just have to be genuine & yes- intentional. Don’t allow yourself to drown your focus in unimportant, material or media based things. They block your focus from God & also from your daily relationships. If we get distracted from God but daily, worldly things, how often do these things distract us from discipleship? From the great commission?

We need focus and clarity in order to truly live- and God is the source who clears the fog.

I know this is beginning to sound redundant, but bear with me, please. Let us all try not to be so intoxicated by the things of this world that we forget who created it, and why we are here. It’s difficult to go make disciples if we are too wrapped up in the superficial, temporary things of this world. Life here is important, but it’s short. Eternity is at stake, so don’t forget about your purpose & don’t count other people out either. As a church, we are in this together, and we need to reach out to as many as possible.

Thanks for reading this, but now is the time. Lock your phone, close your computer. Go out and disciple. Make fellowship, interact with people and build relationships. Spend some time with God, be purposeful.

Live Sober, my friends. And live fully.

Xoxo,

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Lifestyle, World Issues & Current Events

Shining a Light on Slavery

2.23.2017

“..he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised..” – Luke 4:18

Today is national “Shine A Light On Slavery” Day, a movement where we all come together, despite political backgrounds and stand up against something we all agree is wrong- slavery. This is an issue that has brought tears to my eyes for a while now, but since today is a national day for the support of the movement, I thought I’d make a post to share a few statistics, facts and ways to get involved with ending slavery.

Modern day slavery is most commonly seen as human trafficking/sex trafficking, but there is also an abundance of forced labor slavery. There are more slaves in the world today than there were at any time at the past, with approximately 27 millions slaves worldwide (and counting). Approximate 1 out of every 5 slaves is a child. 55% of slaves are females. Slavery is occurring in 167 countries & it is illegal in every one of them. These statistics are appalling, disturbing and heartbreaking. We must do everything we can to put a stop to this wickedness and free those who are held captive by slavery. The End It Movement is constantly spreading awareness and helping victims, and so are foundations such as Ashton Kutcher’s “Thorn,” that specifically work to rescue children from trafficking. This is NOT just a local issue, or an American issue, this is a GLOBAL issue!

Please do whatever you can to support this movement and end slavery. Today (and everyday), join us in drawing a red X on your hand to spread awareness about this tragic occurrence that is happening all over the world. Trafficking is going on very sneakily,possibly even where you live. This is a HUGE issue, even in Texas. We need to help these people and end this awful “trade.” Pray for all who are victims, and for those brave people who go in and rescue the victims across the world and provide them with safety. It’s a sad reality, but we don’t have to let the numbers keep growing. Those of us that have a voice must use it.

Together, we can end it! Check out any of End It’s partners, or learn about becoming a Thorn Digital Defender!

Listed below are some of the aforementioned sites where you can find out how to help shine a light on slavery:

The End It Movement:
https://enditmovement.com

Thorn:
https://www.wearethorn.org

Source:”END IT Movement.” END IT 2017. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. .

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Thanks for reading,
Cassie

Lifestyle, World Issues & Current Events

One Nation Under God (part two)

I wasn’t going to make a “part two” initially, but the day came and I had a few more thoughts that tied in with my previous blog on the topic. I’m keeping this one pretty short & sweet, but I just felt the need to write down my thoughts. If you want to read my previous thoughts from this summer, you can find it here

   The day has finally arrived that we elect our new President for the next 4 years. There has been much controversy surrounding the election season and I am not going to delve deeply into any of the details of it because I’m sure you all are just about sick of thinking about the chaos of it all. 

  After today, we will know whether the Republican candidate Donald Trump, or the Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton, will be our next leader. The results of the election obviously are making some people nervous due to the fact that people all have different opinions on who the best choice is, but I for one am not too concerned, because in the end, they are just the president and only hold office for the next 4 years (unless re-elected, of course). Regardless of which candidate received the most electoral votes, they do not hold infinite or sole power. Because of checks and balances and separation of powers between the president, Congress and the Supreme Court, we need not worry about totalitarian leadership- the President has limited power and can only do so much. The one who does have all the power reigns in Heaven and over all of the earth and he reigns forever. Ultimately, God is in control and in the end, he is the most important. As Ronald Reagan once said, “if we ever forget that we are one nation under God, we will be a nation gone under.”

Our wonderful land of America is so divided right now because of politics, but we do need unity. Unity that only happens through the power of God. We must trust him and ask for his help because we really need it. Pray for America & for your fellow Americans so that we can put our differences aside enough to love and respect EVERYONE and to bring back the emphasis of God in our country.  If you’ve read my older blog posts, you may have read this and it may sound redundant, but I’m going to say it again anyways: we need to keep God in our country if we want to remain ONE & if we want to remain INDIVISIBLE. I bring this up because I’ve witnessed people losing friends over political opinions and it’s sad to see that happen. I’ve had disagreements with the opinions of others, but I respect anyone who has one and backs it up and uses their vote to make their voice heard. It’s okay for us to disagree because we are humans and we all have different minds and experiences, but God has called us to love our neighbors and share his love with those surrounding us- and we can’t do that if we divide our selves away from each other. We are all Americans, we’re all one people. 

   I also think it’s important to address that we should be showing each other the love of God through our actions and not just our words. While our new president will be the one in office, we the people will be the ones living here under their leadership, and we must find a way to treat each other as fellows  and neighbors, not strangers and outcasts. 

  Remember friends, this election is not the end all be all, and life will go on. But please pray for our country as well as countries around the world because we all need it and could all use some spiritual healing from the craziness of the world in general. Have a blessed day, y’all!

 “LORD, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” 

-2 Chronicles 20:6

Lifestyle, World Issues & Current Events

One Nation Under God

   In lieu of recent events, I just wanted to share a few thoughts I’ve had regarding the United States of America.

    America is a great nation, but it is in trouble. Along with much of the world, we are being controlled by evil and hatred, we have stopped loving one another. All of the shootings this past week really bring a tear to my eye. Not only are we having to worry about the possibility of attacks by foreign terrorists, but many also fear going outside in their own neighborhoods and towns. Danger is everywhere, and I know that, but we should not fuel the fire. Yes, racism exists, but only because people allow it to. It often is used as an excuse or justification for why something bad happens, but our issue is much bigger than racism. Racism is fueled by hate, as are any unnecessary acts of brutality, hatred and terrorism. We should not be dividing ourselves as a country by color (as in passing blame or judgement to each other and bringing up the differences in the color of our skin), but we should be using these tragedies as a reminder of why we must stand together. If we allow ourselves to be a House Divided again, we will crumble. If the great nation of America crumbles, the entire world will be affected economically, socially and politically.

   We must stop hating each other and start standing together. Many Americans talk about how they want progress and change, but we have been going backwards wth our attitudes. Yes, we have new laws that allow equality for more people, but the way we treat people when debating our opinions is often done so incorrectly. We should be able to disagree and still love and respect eachother. If our arguments are not respectful and fact driven, but derogatory & insulting, we are the problem. It is perfectly fine to have differing opinions, but I believe we should do so appropriately.

   For example, with the “Black Lives Matter” movement, many people respond that “All Lives Matter.” This is true, we all matter, so why do we have to be so rude when stating this? I’ve seen so many arguments both online and on social media where people argue their differing opinions on what “Lives Matter” movement they believe in by resulting to racial slurs and stereotypes, which is exactly the opposite of what either of these movements are meant to represent. The color of our skin doesn’t define what kind of person we are, so stop treating it as such. And within this, I’ve seen people post about how happy they are that police officers were killed. We shouldn’t seek revenge on the innocent because of the actions of a few. It’s normal to be upset about death, but taking another person’s life doesn’t solve anything, it just rips us further apart. We should grieve together and love together and move on in unity. If we are so upset about the occurrences in our country, we should stand together to stand up and change it, rather than letting our anger fuel unnecessary violence. Who are we to decide whose lives “matter” more than other? If we seek violence on them, we are essentially saying that they do not “matter,” and that is not our job. Our job is to love and support one another.

   I, being a Christian, believe that God is love, and there can not be love without God. That being said, may things happening in our government and society today are leaving God out, and continue to shut him out. If we want to preserve the greatness of our country, we need to allow God back in. We need to allow love back in.  1 John 4:7 tells us “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God.” This verse is important because everyone should love everyone. This rings true to Christians as we need to make sure we are sharing God’s love and teachings by living through them. We must practice what we preach and not purposely disregard it, or else we appear hypocritical and can elicit hatefulness from eachother or for eachother. No matter who you are, you must show love. If we can unite ourselves in love and unite ouselves in God, our beloved country can survive. I urge you to pray for America, no matter your faith, that we can rid this evil that has been so evident. God will help us, but we must ask him, we must work on ourselves and we must have hope. It’s time that we step up and become “One nation under God” again, if we want to remain “indivisible, with justice for all.”

– xoxo, Cassie

“If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from Heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14