Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day One

blog-challenge

IT’S BAACK!!!

I am officially starting a new thirty day blog challenge for the month of January. Since I got such a good response on my challenge this past summer, I decided to do another one—with a whole new set of questions to answer. I hope you guys enjoy reading these and I hope  you stay with me throughout the series. I always love reading comments from you guys, so feel free to jump in and give feedback.

Now, for the first question: “what, why and where I write.

What: Honestly, I have a pretty huge variety of things that I write. I love sharing my thoughts with the world and there are a variety of mediums in penmanship that you can use to do that.

One of my favorite forms of writing has always been fiction. I love creating characters to meet and different worlds to explore. It allows you to live a thousand different lives without even leaving your house. Like reading, writing gives you adventure, wonder, and suspense—as you lead characters through a host of different situations. Currently, I am working on a fiction series for teenagers that I hope is released sometime before I’m thirty. I don’t have all of the publishing logistics figured out, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated if anything changes with that!

Another form of writing that I love is songwriting. It’s very possible that this one could have emerged from watching too many movies (Remember Camp Rock and Lemonade Mouth?) but it’s a form of writing that I’ve found to be extremely therapeutic. It allows you to write about feelings, situations, and people in a much freer manner than most forms of writing allow. Songwriting is basically a musical diary of your life, your experiences, and your beliefs. This is also another form of writing that I would like to dabble in professionally in the field of lyricism.

Last but not least—I enjoy blogging. This one is probably a bit obvious, as I am writing a blog right now. I am a semi-new blogger, as I started in the summer of 2015, but I have grown to love the art of blogging. As an extravert, it is super exciting to see people actually respond to your writing and make friends through the blogosphere. It is perhaps the type of writing that gets the most immediate feedback, which makes it a unique and exciting venture.

Why: I suppose the obvious reason is that I absolutely love it. I love seeing words emerge on a screen and I love telling a stories and teaching through the power of the pen. Nonetheless, the biggest reason that I write is to make an impact. I’ve always dreamed of impacting the world and writing gives me the oppertunity to do that. It gives me the chance to share my faith, help others grow in theirs, and help people think about important issues. If you look throughout history, you can see the impact of writers like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and Ray Bradberry. I want to leave that kind of legacy.

Where: This one honestly differs from day to day. I have found that certain writing spots “work”, while others simply do not. One of my favorite places to write is in my bed with good music playing and the lights dimmed, leaving the Christmas lights above my bed to shine solo. I also sometimes write on the downstairs couch just outside the living room or in waiting rooms. The life of the author can be quite sporadic at times.

How about you? What, why, and where do you write? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! 

New Years Resolutions

This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change—Taylor Swift. 

images

As 2016 comes to a close and we walk into 2017, I wanted to take some time to create some resolutions and share them with y’all. I believe that the new year gives us a great opportunity to better ourselves and press more into our goals, hopes, and dreams.

Since I try to be transparent on this blog, I decided to share my resolutions. I would also love to hear yours, if your comfortable sharing them. I can’t wait to see how we all grow and where God leads us in 2017!

Thus, without further ado, the resolutions! 

  1. Read a little bit every day – As much as I love reading, I don’t do it nearly enough. Nonetheless, I received a bunch of great new books for Christmas written by authors such as Karen Kingsbury, Tim Lahaye, and Ron J. Sider that I cannot wait to break  into (I’ve already broken into a couple)! They should last for at least a couple of months, but regardless, this resolution remains. I plan to make a conscious effort to be an avid reader in 2017.
  2. Continue learning – My school situation went a little crazy this year, as I recently made the decision to transfer from my current college to Liberty Online. Nonetheless, it’s a little more pricey than my family had originally planned, so I’m taking the spring semester off, leaving me with what I’m calling a “gap semester”. During this semester, I want to continue learning, even if it’s informal. I want to research topics that I’m interested in and keep up with current events relevant to society right now. Just because I’m taking a break from formal schooling doesn’t mean I have to stop learning!
  3. Journal regularly – Recently, my pastor’s wife has begun mentoring me and as we’ve talked, she’s encouraged me to keep a journal to write about what God is showing me. I started this year and I’ve found that it’s been really helpful to have a private place to reflect and talk to God. As a recent high school grad, there are a lot of changes and decisions ahead, and I believe that journaling (and God) is going to be the thing that will keep me sane through it all. It is definitely something that I’d like to continue into the new year.
  4. Complete a book I’m writing – As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently in the process of writing a series that I’ve been working on since freshman year of high school. Needless to say, it’s changed a lot over the last five years. I would like to continue working on it in 2017—hopefully completely book two in the series before the end of next year!
  5. Read my Bible faithfully – I fell into a bad habit with forgetting to do this for a while, but this past December, I’ve begun to make it a priority and have been faithfully reading it every morning. I believe that staying in the Word is vital as a Christian and I’d like to continue reading it faithfully in the new year.
  6. Stay in touch with friends – I think one of the hardest things about being a high school grad is trying to stay in contact with friends. When I was in high school, I literally saw almost everyone every week, having regular discussion and the privilege of being in close quarters. When everyone is spread out at different colleges, you have to really be intentional about keeping those friendships intact, through email, texting, and get togethers. In 2017 I would like to be more conscientious about staying in touch with everyone.
  7. Be healthier – This is pretty much the token resolution, right? Eating healthy, exercising…all that jazz. Nonetheless, it is something that I would like to be more intentional about, as I steward the life that God has given me.
  8. Find a job – This winter/spring I’m going to have a lot more time to find a job. I have already started a resume and I’ve been looking at different places in the area to work, and have currently narrowed it down to three options. Hopefully, as I enter into the second year of adulthood, I’ll be able to secure a position at one of them.
  9. Step out of my comfort zone – In 2017, I would like to take more (practical) risks. I have a tendency to stay within my comfort zone, but as I go into the new year, I would like to consciously look for ways that God may be calling me out of my comfort zone. By risks, I don’t mean anything crazy (I am not sky-diving y’all!), but simply obeying God’s call to do things that I may not dare otherwise.
  10. Blog more consistently – Admittedly, I’m horrible about having set days to write, but I would like to change that in the new year. Rather than blogging sporadically, whenever I have some free time, I would like to set a schedule of days that you can expect to see new posts on 1 Timothy 4:12 Girl, so stay tuned!

How about you? Any resolutions for 2017

Three Day Quote Challenge #2: Day One

Hey everyone, I hope you guys had a Merry Christmas! I can’t believe it’s’ already over, but I trust that we have more great things to look forward to in the upcoming year. 

Anyways, I was just nominated a couple of days ago by Mandie from afcrocks99 to do a three day quote challenge! I’m a little late, as I’ve been crazy busy with Christmas stuff, but better late than never, right? 

The first quote in this challenge is going to be a quote by none other than America’s sixteenth president.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years – Abraham Lincoln

hqdefault.jpg

With the new year on the horizon, I figured this would be a fitting quote to start with. We all have a number of days, weeks, months, and years given to us by God, but it is our job to decide what we do with them. How will we steward the time that’s ours to borrow? 

For many of us (myself included) it can be easy to fall into routine and drudgery. School, work, and a variety of other responsibilities often take claim to our time, making it difficult to find the time to do the things we love—the things God is calling us to.

Nonetheless, I believe that if we’re honest, we can all find some spare time in the day that is ours and ours alone. What will we do with that time? Will we spend it scrolling through social media (I’m guilty of this) or putting our God given gifts to work, and following the dreams that God had put inside of us? Will we spend our time in front of the television, or will we reach out to our friends and family, making the moments count with those who matter most to us? 

We all have a question that we must ask ourself – How will we spend our days? Someday, that time, those moments, will add up to the sum total of our life—how will we spend it?

I believe that we’re each put here for a purpose. God wants us to make our life count, touching other lives in the process. None of our lives happen in isolation—we were made for community and interacting with others. We were made to make a mark, in both big and small ways every day. 

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” – Psalm 90:12

How will you make the years in your life count? How will you bring your years to life? 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

What Are You Chasing?

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – Mark 8:36 

Unknown.jpeg

What are you chasing? The answer to this question is different for everyone. For some, it may be a better job, or any job at all. For others, it may a relationship—either romantic or platonic. Still for others, it may be a dream or goal you have yet to achieve.

What are you chasing? 

The truth is, we’re all chasing something. The thing that we’re chasing is often the thing that we tend to obsess the most over—the thing that takes up our thought space in our free moments. It is often accompanied by thoughts such as “I’ll be happy when…” or “This will be my moment…No one is immune to this chase, because deep down inside, something tells us that we were born for it—we were born to pursue. We weren’t meant to stay stagnant. 

This pursuit is not a bad thing, but it can become a bad thing when focus more on the things of this world than the things of God. It can be such an easy trap to fall into that most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. Truth be told, I struggle with this on a nearly daily basis. I’ve written in previous posts that I struggle in a big way with OCD and perfectionism and often those tend to be the driving forces in my chase.

I’ll analyze something that I’ve completed over and over again to the point of insanity. I’ll make a long and detailed bucket list that I absolutely must complete before I die. I’ll set up grand, exciting goals for myself and worry whether they’ll ever actually happen at all.

Again, I’ll clarify, having dreams is not a bad thing. Desiring to be in a relationship or have a family is not bad. Hoping to get a good position at a job is not bad. They only become bad when they take the place that only Jesus should have and become an idol. God wants to give you the desires of your heart, but first He wants to become the desire of your heart. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We are called to seek God before we seek anything else we desire.

Here are some points to remember as we go throughout our week and strive to put God first.

  1. It’s not about you – Recently, God has convicted me that I have unintentionally made my aspirations about me. The ironic part about all of this is, many of my goals pertain to ministry—things that are supposed to further His kingdom and reach people for Christ.  Nonetheless, I’ve somehow managed to turn these callings into what ‘I’m’ going to do.’ I’m’ going to change the world. ‘I’m’ was going to leave my mark. I’ve made God’s callings about me rather than God, and I repent of that. Sometimes, we can make ministry and outreach the focus, rather than an outpouring of the One who should be our focus.
  2. Everything but Christ will someday fade – Moments don’t last forever. Someday, that goal that you’re working so hard for will only be a past memory. Someday, that wedding day celebration that you’re planning on Pinterest will only be a photo in an album. Someday, that glamorous job will loose some of that excitement it once had. The only thing we can chase that will never fade away is Christ, Who is outside of space and time. 
  3. Let Go And Let God – I know, this saying is beyond cliche—but it’s true. In the words of a recent Jason Gray song “You can’t add a single day by worrying…You can’t change a single thing by freaking out, It’s just gonna close you in, Oh don’t let the trouble win.God is going to do things in His timing, which is often different than our timing. There have been many times in my own life where I’ve wanted something to happen right. this. instant. Usually, in those situations, God tells me to wait. I’ve found that when I listen, and wait on His timing, it’s always for the best.

How about you? What are some things you’ve been chasing? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments section! 

 

 

Thankful List: 2016

Hey everyone, a year ago I posted a list of things that I was thankful for in 2015. Since I’m the type of person who enjoys frequent introspection, and since I believe practicing the virtue of thankfulness is very important, I’ve decide to turn it into an annual thing. Many of the things I wrote about last year still apply, but there are some new things that I would like to add or update as I reminisce the last eleven months of this year.

imgres.jpg

  1. Jesus’s continuous provision and presence – Every year, it seems that God teaches me something new, and this year, there have been tons of lessons that I have learned about God, friendship, and life. I plan to talk about this further in an upcoming blog post, but for now, I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for helping me through this year in the midst of college and the pressures of adulting.
  2. My family My family has been a constant in my life throughout this first semester of college. They have seen me at my best and at my worst and have helped shape me into the person that I am today. They have helped me in my faith journey and I have seen God work in our lives in powerful ways. I am thankful for a stable home life – especially at the times when life feels anything but stable.
  3. My friends – As I’ve said so many times, I couldn’t have ended up with a more awesome group of friends. In my household, there’s only my mom, dad, cat, and I, but my friends are truly like brothers and sisters to me. I’ve grown up with many of them and I look forward to seeing where God leads us in our lives. They are truly like a real-life version of the old 90s show Friends and I couldn’t ask for a better squad.
  4. Lessons learned in college – Though this semester has been a bit of a rocky one for me, I have learned a lot in the midst of it. It has given me a greater appreciation for my roots, helped me grow in compassion, and has pushed me even more so to see everyone I meet through the eyes of Jesus. Oftentimes, it is common to hear stories of people falling away from their faith in college, but I feel that I have only grown stronger through it.
  5. The opportunity to go to Liberty – Though my current college has taught me a lot of life lessons, I am beyond excited to transfer to Liberty online this summer. The alumni is phenomenal and has produced amazing world changers such as TobyMac, Michael Tait, Meredith Andrews, Gabe Lyons, and the members of Anthem Lights. Furthermore, Karen Kingsbury is a professor there and I am beyond excited about the opportunity to take a class with her as my teacher.
  6. That I’m finally starting to feel comfortable driving – Over the past few years, driving has been a major kryptonite for me. When I first started, I was unbelievably scared and admittedly, not the most competent driver in the world. Now, a few years later, I’m driving myself to places with practically no problems and I’m planning to get my license sometime this spring.
  7. The opportunity to vote in my first election – Crazy as this election was, I was super psyched about the opportunity to vote for the very first time. There is something empowering about your voice being heard on a national level and I am thankful for this opportunity as an American citizen.
  8. The chance to blog – I have officially been blogging for over a year now and the experience has only become more rewarding with time. I have met some amazing fellow Christians on WordPress (You know who you are!) and I pray that God is using my humble little blog to impact believers in the body of Christ. Writing has always been my passion and I pray that God continues to open doors in this area so that I can make a greater impact for Him.
  9. The chance to work more on a longtime series – Tying into the whole writing thing, I have had the opportunity to work more on a series that I’ve been writing since I was fourteen and I’m super excited about how it’s turning out. My writing has changed leaps and bounds between my freshman year of high school and my freshman year in college, and I pray that my series someday has the chance to impact others.
  10. My church – I am truly blessed to have my church, which I have been attending for around two years now. The people there are super genuine and I am continuously inspired by the messages. I’m happy to be there and pray that God keeps me there for years to come, where I can continue to grow with my church family.

If you want to see last year’s post, click Here

If you want to share the ways that God has blessed you in 2016, feel free to write about it in the comments section! I always love hearing from you guys! 😘

 

Consolidation In A Time Of Chaos

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

images

Two days ago, we had our official 2016 election. One day later, the internet exploded with a mix of extreme joy and extreme sorrow. Those who supported our new president celebrated. Those who did not support him mourned—some even going so far as to protest in the streets.

Typically, I try to avoid the topic of politics on my blog. Typically, my articles focus on how we can be more united as the body of Christ in the midst of a changing world. Politics on the other hand, tends to divide. I believe that a person can be a good and faithful Christian from either side of the political spectrum, and that in the big scheme of things, there are way more important things to worry about than who’s in the White House.

Nonetheless, due to the unusual nature of this particular election, I feel led to address it in a way that will hopefully bring more unity than division.

I’m not writing this to endorse Donald Trump. I’m also not writing this to endorse Hilary Clinton. In fact, my first-ever vote went to a third party candidate. But, this post isn’t about that. It’s about unity, and how we can better understand and empathize with each other as a nation. If you are reading this from another country, I encourage you to keep reading. The things that I’m about to write apply to humans in nearly every context of the world.

First off, I don’t believe that the fear some people are dealing with is about this election alone. Many pre-existing wounds of our country have been brought to light in this election, which I believe has created a general atmosphere of fear and distrust. Racially, it seems we’ve hit an all time low that we haven’t seen in decades. Every day that I go to my college classes, I see racial segregation in a way that is both shocking and disheartening. I hear racist comments on a regular basis—people who are literally putting another person down based on the color of their skin. There seems to be a growing insensitively to the feelings and humanity of others, in race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, etc. etc. etc.

Second, I believe that we need to do a better job at listening as a countryStemming off of our general problem of division, we also are not listening to the concerns of others as a population. The Right is catering to concerns about religious freedom and the sanctity of life. The Left is catering to concerns about racial and gender equality. I believe we need all of these things in order to flourish as a society and human race. But, rather than listening to the concerns and fears of people with different concerns than our own, we often villainize them. As a whole, people generally resort to stereotypes rather than risk hearing a real person and their stories and scars. If we’re going to move forward as a country and/or human race, we need to do a better job at listening and caring about the concerns of others—even if they do not directly affect us. 

Thirdly, it is up to us as Christians to continue to be a light. Let’s face it, Christians seem to be put in a worse light every day. I believe this is partly the result of living in a corrupt world, but in some cases, we have been to blame, and we must try to do better. As God’s representatives here on earth, it’s our job to show people what God’s love looks like. How can we live out God’s command to “Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Lord“? I believe it starts with looking to God and the Bible for guidance. Elections happen once a year, and soon this chaos will be over, but we have a year-long job to show people Jesus’ love. We need to be intentional about encouraging justice.

In order to be Biblical and consistent, we must stand for the lives of the unborn and for the lives of those affected by police brutality.

We must stand for God in the public square and stand up for the rights of those who have been affected by sexual harassment.

We must stand for Biblical ethics and stand for the poor and the homeless.

Just as we have representation in America, we are the representation for something much bigger. We are the representations of God almighty, called to be a light and shine for truth, justice, and mercy. 

How we will we live out that representation? 

How will we, as Christians in the 21st century, be remembered?