One Of The Guys

Ever since high school, I’ve always been one of the guys.

It was never a conscious decision, or something that I “planned” in any way, it just sort of happened, and to be honest, it’s not something I’ve thought too much about. It’s just sort of a fact, similar to the fact that I love hot tea and binge watching sessions of Friends.

Something commonplace and totally normal in my life.

Nonetheless, one day, not too long ago, I actually did happen to think about it—due to the fact that I was going to a graduation with a group of friends to watch three bros graduate. I was naturally nostalgic, as these were people I grew up with, so I decided to google one of those articles on Buzzfeed like “What it’s like when you have a lot of guy friends” or “Humorous things that happen when a lot of your friends are guys“. And, while doing this, I ended up stumbling across an advice column on this very topic.

Long story short, this person was borderline negative at the prospect of having a friend of the opposite gender – accusing it of simply being a way to “get attention from guys”. After, researching further commentary on this topic, I found other articles from similar viewpoints, one calling it an avenue for “confusion and frustration” – even going so far as to call opposite gender friendship a sin!

Sadly, as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I don’t believe these viewpoints are all too uncommon in some circles. Oftentimes, both the church and society can become so obsessed with sex and marriage that any kind of platonic interaction between guys and girls is viewed with suspicion.

Even movies, such as When Harry Met Sally, that address the age old “can guys and girls be friends” question typically end up with the two friends becoming a couple. And while I don’t disagree that this can sometimes happen, I personally find it rather ludicrous to say that every guy-girl friendship has some kind of Fruedian undertone just waiting to emerge at the worst time.

Thus, to contrast with an article in support of guy-girl friendships, I’ve decided to list a few reasons why having friends of the opposite gender can be a good and godly thing for us as Christian teens and young adults.

  1. Jesus did – As Christians, Jesus is our ultimate role model. In the 80s, the old slogan WWJD was popularized, and ever since, faithful Christians have asked the famous question, “What would Jesus do”? If we’re going to look closely to His example, we’ll be quick to find that Jesus spent time with both men and women.

In Luke 10, it is clear that Jesus was close friends with two sisters named Mary and Martha, even going over to their house for dinner. Furthermore, in Luke 8, Jesus travels with friends of both gender, and the women traveling with him helped support Him in His ministry. According to www.gci.org, this was simply unheard of during this time era. Nonetheless, it is evidenced that Paul follows a similar pattern later on in the New Testament, and even calls Persis a “dear friend” in Romans 16:12.

2. We learn from each other – I have always believed we grow through having friends who are different than us. Whether it be culturally, racially, gender-wise, or anything else, we understand those who are different than us through relationships. We learn to appreciate each others’ differences while learning that we’re not as far apart as we usually think.

While guys and girls have their differences, we are ultimately all human beings, with individual stories, testimonies, and personalities. Having friends of the opposite gender can help us realize that maybe guys aren’t so much from Mars and girls aren’t so much from Venus—maybe we’re all actually from the same planet earth.

3. It reduces stereotypes – When I was in middle school, I used to have a legit fear of the opposite gender. It sounds crazy in retrospect, but because of some of the stereotypes I was hearing about guys at the time (They’re all crude, they’re only interested in one thing, they have no manners etc.) I used to feel borderline panicky around anyone of the opposite sex.

Nonetheless, once I started making friends with actual guys, the stereotypes began to fall away one by one. No longer did I characterize the whole male species as being somehow dangerous. I began to realize they’re just people, like myself. And, I soon found that a lot of them can actually be pretty cool.

4. It lets you feel comfortable having a feminine/masculine side – According to psychology, no one is all “masculine” or all “feminine“. This doesn’t mean anything strange or that gender differences aren’t important. It simply means that we each have different sides of our personality—and not all of them fit neatly into boxes.

Around my guy friends, I often feel a freedom to let out my sarcasm and joke around in a way that might come across odd with a close girl friend. Meanwhile, I was once talking with a guy friend who confided that most boys don’t like to sit around and have discussions, so it would be difficult trying to sit around and just talk with another guy. With our opposite gender friends, we can feel free to let sides of ourselves show that might not come out otherwise.

How about you? Do you have any close opposite-gender friends? How do you believe they’ve helped you grow? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Just The Way You Are

“You just have to be yourself and go full with confidence and be courageous.” – Gabby Douglas

If you’ve been around the world of the internet and inspirational quotes for a while, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard the story of the goldfish. Goldfish, as we all know, were meant to swim. They have the God-given ability to live within water and breath through their gills. Nonetheless, there’s one thing a goldfish cannot do no matter how hard it tries. Fly.

To fly would go against a goldfish’s very design. They have no wings. They’re not wired to fly. A goldfish has wonderful tasks it was created for, but if it’s told it’s whole life that it should fly, the poor fish will eventually get beyond discouraged.

For many of us, that goldfish is relatable—a symbol, if you will. Many of us have spent huge portions of our lives trying to be something we’re not, only to deny the person God created us to be. 

For me, this was a battle that I faced during my early years of high school. During this time, I was on a journey to find myself. Nonetheless, as hard as I searched and as much as I tried to forge my own identity, I always felt like there was this girl I was “supposed to be”. This girl who sat on a bench inside my brain and constantly told me one thing.

Something’s wrong with you.

In retrospect, I couldn’t exactly tell you what caused these bouts of insecurity, or the exact moment it started. Likely, it was a mix of a bunch of things—perhaps partly stemmed from culture and my own perfectionism. I felt like the girl I was supposed to be was different than the girl I was becoming. And this scared me. 

During this time, I did what most young Christian girls in my situation would do. I prayed. I listened to music. I bounced back and forth between trying to be perfect and rebelling in small, retrospectively insignificant ways. I wanted to be myself, and I wanted to be confident in that person. 

Little by little through small baby steps, I slowly began to become that person as I got to my older teenage years. I found a different church to attend with my family. I began to own my faith a little more, and be honest about my thoughts, questions, and doubts. I read a book by Emily P. Freeman called Grace For The Good Girl that impacted me in a big way. I began to find friends and role models who weren’t afraid to be themselves. I started a blog. I sang two songs in front of a crowd senior year—one that I wrote myself and one by one of my favorite singers.

Somehow, through it all a realization hit that helped me find myself and confidence in the way God made me—”Maybe God was OK with me just the way I was”. 

In Psalm 139:13-16, it says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

God created each and every one of us exactly the way we were intended to be. He created us uniquely, with individual passions, hopes, dreams, and personalities. When we find life in Him, He doesn’t intend for us all to look the same. He wants to use each gift that he’s given us to bring glory to His name, and hope to a broken world. 

We weren’t all created for the same purpose, and we aren’t meant to all look the same, but we do have this one thing in common—we were each created for something wonderful.

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And God loves each of us in the midst of our personalities, our beauty, and our flaws just the way we are.

Fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. 

Some Lessons And Highlights from a High School Graduate

As the year comes to an end, I can’t help but think of all that has changed since I graduated from high school last year. All throughout my teenage years, I was required to write an essay—reflecting on on the ways I’ve learned and grown throughout that year.

Now, even though I’m no longer in high school, I’ve decided to bullet point some of my biggest lessons and highlights from my first year as a college student. Hopefully, with any luck, this will provide inspiration to graduates who are reading this, and nostalgia to those looking back.

Thus, without further ado, here is a reflection of my year!

  • Friendship 

Throughout this year, I have been reminded more than ever of the importance of true friends in our lives. I have written in the past about the closeness of my friend-group and this year, I believe I’ve grown to appreciate my friends on a whole other level.

As I went through some of the more difficult parts of this year, they have been my anchor, as they listened to me vent about everything from crazy professors to my endless job hunt. I have also learned what it means to stay in contact with friends in the midst of ever changing schedules and paths. One of my biggest fears this year was that I’d loose contact with the people who have been like a second family to me all through high school. Nonetheless, I’ve found that with a little effort, a little scheduling, and a lot of texting and phone conversations, it’s not as hard as it seems to remain in touch with high school friends.

Especially if everyone makes an effort. 

  • Faith

I believe that my faith has grown immeasurably this year, as it has faced tremendous pressure like never before from outside forces. It was one of the few things I could hold onto as I made my way through a local college and struggled with more personal issues than I’d care to admit. Before this year, I was used to being in the majority as a Christian. After this year, I realized for the first time the stress of being one of the only Christians in my school open about my faith. Nonetheless, I believe that through it all, I’ve grown closer to God and learned to trust Him more in the process. Life doesn’t always make sense in the moment, but through it all, we can always trust that God has plans for us bigger than any of our wildest dreams. 

  • School

Though I’ve maintained high grades throughout my year, school has been one of my most difficult challenges this year. On top of the frightening realization that I’m officially out of high school and an “adult”, I changed my major, changed my career field, and changed to a school better fit for my career aspirations. I have also faced the struggle of shifting through various ideologies and world views at the local college I attended during the fall semester—deciding for myself what I agreed and disagreed with. Nonetheless, as I’ve begun my first semester with Liberty University online, I have regained a love for learning and feel content with my decision for college.

  • Work 

In addition to the excitement of starting at a new school, I have recently started my first real part time job in retail. So far, this has been an excellent experience and I have found it very empowering to have an official job in the workforce. It took a while to find a job, but now that I have one, I believe that the search has been worth it. In the end, I believe that all of my time spent sending in resumes and applying at various stores in the area has been worth it, as I enjoy both my job and working with fellow employees/managers.

  • Responsibility 

Lastly, I have begun to take on more responsibility. Between working, going to school, and driving more, I finally feel that I’m on my way towards successful “adulting”. I have also begun to make more decisions for myself and take on more responsibility—which I believe has been incredibly rewarding.

All and all, as awkward as this year has been at times, I wouldn’t change a thing, as each step helped me grow to trust God more and become a stronger person. We all face trials in our lives, but the important thing is not our struggles—it’s how we handle them. We each go through different seasons, but the important thing is that God is still God in the midst of every season of life, and He has our lives in the very palm of His hand.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 

How about you? How do you believe you’ve grown this year? And if you’ve graduated from high school or college, how did that season of life shape you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

A Poem For Easter

Love Saves

Darkness, darkness aluminates the night

Scattered, battered, running in fright

Do you know him, do you see Him, hang from the tree

No I do not, said Peter, not once but three

Blood flowed, love showed, the sky glowed

Emptiness, emptiness, hovers over the land

As Jesus cries from the cross why has Thou forsaken this man

Who hangs in agony worse than we can know

All the while His love still continued to show

Arisen, Arisen, said the angel to they

Not on day one, day two, but day three

From the lips of angel He directed they

To see the empty tomb where Jesus no longer lay

Because it is finished, don’t you see here now

Love, love has saved us here, taken a bow

Because nothing could keep Him down, not a grave

Finally, with a risen Savior we’re saved

Not by mere man, or a hero in cape

But a God who loved us all, who has changed the day

This is why we celebrate, you see

Because of God’s love, poured out for you and me

Happy Easter everyone! I hope y’all have a great day! 

 

 

 

Nineteen Lessons For Nineteen Years

Hey everyone – big news! Today is my nineteenth birthday! 

Thus, inspired by my friend Mfon from Dainty M., I’m going to write down nineteen lessons that I’ve learned so far in my nineteen years!

  1. Trust God with your life – This one can seem so easy yet be so hard at times! So often, we want the full picture when God will only show us a small piece of the puzzle. But if we trust Him, the whole thing will all come together beautifully in time.
  2. Believe in yourself – I know this one is SO cliche, but it’s important! God made us just the way we are, with all of our quirks, details, and gifts – with an intent to use us for something amazing! So have some confidence in the beautiful you that He created!
  3. Work hard – nothing in life comes without hard work. From our goals, to our dreams, to making a basic paycheck, a good work ethic is essential to a fulfilling life. So keep on fighting and do your best in everything you do!
  4. Go easy on yourself – This one may seem counterintuitive to the one above, but it’s really not. Sometimes, as hard as we work, we should allow ourselves a chance to rest, and give ourselves a mini “sabbatical”. Even God, Creator of all things took a rest after an intense process of creating the world, so why should we expect to go with no breaks?
  5. Stay young – One of my good friends has always made a point to stay young at heart. She always notes that she still loves “kiddish” stuff and doesn’t want to become stiff and stuffy as an adult. I believe there’s a lot of wisdom here, and a little bit of a kid in all of us. Embrace that kid sometimes, we can’t adult all the time, right?😉
  6. Don’t be afraid to dream – Dreams are something that sustain all of us to some degree. Without dreams, we lack motivation, which can result in pretty depressing existence. Set goals for yourself and trust God to help you fulfill those dreams in his timing. Your dreams might just be a part of His plan.
  7. Appreciate your family and friends – Family and friends are some of God’s greatest gifts to us. They’re the people who help us grow and see us through the good times and the bad times. Never forget to take care of those relationships, and continue to nurture them even through the business of life.
  8. Keep learning – To often we limit learning to just school, but the truth is, learning is (or should be) a part of our daily lives. It’s continuing to grow and being open to new experiences. It’s allowing God to speak to us through our life experiences. Learning is part of what helps us grow as people.
  9. Be your best self – It can be easy to drag through life on some days. We’ve all had moments like that, haven’t we? Days where we just want to stay inside and watch Netflix on repeat. While it’s OK to have these somedays, try to embrace life with vigor and excitement, giving your all in each day. We only get one life—and it’s our job to decide what we do with it.
  10. Think of others – Jesus says to “do unto others as we want them to do to us”, and I believe this is a great motto to live by. Imagine what would happen if everyone looked out for others interests as much or more than their own. The world would be drastically different for the better.
  11. Never believe you can’t make a difference – It can be easy to feel like because we’re only one person, there isn’t much of an impact that we can make, but this is a lie from the enemy. God gave us this life and has equipped us with everything we need to accomplish the purposes He has for us. Plus, even the smallest acts of kindness can make somebody’s day.
  12. Find your passion – Passion is the thing that adds color to life. For me, my passion is writing. I love the sound of the written word and the shape of sentences. I love creating something and I love jotting down words that can help and inspire others. For you, your passion could be music, art, or teaching. Whatever it is, follow it! God has given you your gifts for a reason – steward them to the best of your abilities!
  13. Don’t be afraid – Fear can be crippling, and while there are some situations where it’s called for (AKA, dangerous situations), most of the time it is simply a hinderance. One of the biggest areas of fear can be the future, but God has gone before you. He’ll be with you every step of the way – all you have to do is trust Him.
  14. Enjoy the little things – God has blessed us in so many ways on this earth, but sometimes, when we get too busy, it can be easy not to notice the small gifts we experience everyday. As a wise man once said, “don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses”.
  15. Try new things – I’m admittedly bad about this one, as I tend to be very into routines and what I’m accustomed to, but oftentimes trying new things—whether it be a hobby or a new food, can often lead to something awesome.
  16. Read (at least a little) – Though I’m probably more of a book worm than some people, I believe that everyone can benefit by writing. Pinpoint something your interested in, or an author you absolutely love and find books accordingly. If nothing else, read the Bible, because I can promise that book will change your life!
  17. Take time to unplug – It can be easy to stay attached to technology in the world we live in, but sometimes it can be good to take a break. Read. Hang out with family. Walk your dog. Enjoy life outside of a screen.
  18. Look up to wise mentors – God has put people in your life for a reason. Look to those who know Him and who seem to have a lot of wisdom for guidance. It’s always helpful to have seasoned Christians around to help guide you through life!
  19. Be a role model – Be the kind of person you’d want your sibling or little cousins to emulate. Try your best, follow God, and be the kind of person others could consider a role model in their lives. Someone’s always watching, even when we aren’t aware of it.

How about you? What lessons Has God taught you over the years? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! 

New Book On Wattpad!

Hey everyone, I have some big news for y’all—I recently published a new teen devotional on Wattpad.com!

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If you have an account on there, be sure to check it out. It’s called Confidence In Christ: A Devotional For Teen Girls, and it’s basically a compilation of blog posts in the form of a book, with a song for each post.

I hope to see you guys on there, and I promise to post more to my blog soon!

Here’s the description and link below!

Growing up as a Christian teenager can be a difficult journey. In each of our lives, we’re faced with questions. Who are we? What do we believe? What do we stand for? In this devotional, we’re going to explore some of those themes together, and learn how God wants to move in each of our lives, helping us to become confident in Him, and live out the dreams He has for each one of us. We were each made for something great, and it all starts with the greatest decision any of us can make.
Will we follow Jesus?

https://www.wattpad.com/story/104871825-confidence-in-christ-a-devotional-for-teen-girls