A couple of days ago, I posted a vlog on following God’s plan for your life, and I thought I’d share it here! Hope you enjoy!
A couple of days ago, I posted a vlog on following God’s plan for your life, and I thought I’d share it here! Hope you enjoy!
So, in case you didn’t already figure it out by the title, today is my 21st birthday!
It is hard to believe that another year has already come and gone, and if I’m perfectly honest, twenty has been so full of blessings, lessons, and new experiences that it feels like three years packed in one. I know twenty-one will be just as great, and as an annual birthday-tradition on 1 Timothy 4:12 Girl, I have created a list of lessons that I have learned in my twenty-one years on the planet. Hope you guys like it!
How about you? What are some life lessons that you’ve learned over the years? Feel free to share them in the comments section below! I’d love to hear them!
In our modern world, social media is something that we use at rapid pace.
Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and a host of other apps and websites, we have information at our fingertips literally twenty-four-seven. We can go on Twitter to see the latest thoughts and anecdotes of our favorite celebrities. We can go on Instagram to see what our friends and classmates are up to. We can go on Snapchat to chat with our friends and post to our “stories”. We can go on Facebook to see everyone’s opinion on literally everything.
And in many ways, this is good. It lets us keep up with those closest to us and allows us easy access to what’s-going-on-in-the-world. But, like with most good things, social media also has it’s drawbacks. And as young people setting out to impact the world for Christ, it is important to be aware of these drawbacks as we navigate the wonderful and complex world of social media and devices.
A couple of weeks ago at my church’s youth group, our youth pastor mentioned social media in his lesson. He was talking about culture, and he said that statistically in our modern world, the average teen gets anxiety when separated from their phone. That’s scary y’all. Have we as a culture become so attached to our phones that we get stressed out when we don’t have them? And, is it possible that we could be part of that statistic?
The truth is, I’m writing this to myself just as much as I’m writing to you. As a blogger, it can be a real challenge for me to keep my social media use in balance, and not spend more time online than I should. A couple of weeks ago I was at a leadership meeting and before it started, I was hanging out with a group of my friends, laughing and talking. And as we hit a pocket of silence, I got out my phone and got video footage of the room for my Instagram story. And thinking back to that moment, I couldn’t tell you why I felt such a compulsion to post over just enjoying the moment. But at this point in our society, that’s part of the culture that we live in. You do something fun and post about it—without stopping to just soak in the moment free of phones and devices.
Yet at the same time, social media can be used for so much good, right? It can be used to spread the Gospel and share God’s Word with the world! You often have a bigger audience on platforms like Twitter and Instagram than you do in your real-day-to-day life, giving you the perfect opportunity to use those tweets and posts for good—and for the glory of God! So, how do you balance it? How do you use your social media for good without letting it run your life?
I think the first thing remember is to keep it in moderation. Try to limit the amount of time that you’re online per day and try not to mindlessly scroll when you have a free second. There are so many things that we can do when we’re bored besides go online—read a book, listen to music, pray, or call a friend! Live in the moment, and try to enjoy the minutes of your day, without feeling that you have to post everything online.
Second, give yourself a mission! I talked last week about being leaders and social media gives us the opportunity to do just that—right where we are! Use your social media to share your favorite Bible verses, or highlights from a really good sermon at church*. Use it to encourage people and help them in their faith. I have one friend who recently started an online prayer ministry, which I think is an incredible idea! Be creative, and let God show you how He wants to use you in the online world!
Third, be realistic. This is something that we don’t always do with social media but that I feel needs to be said. You know that girl who always posts those perfect pictures of herself at the beach or in meadows of flowers? The girl with the perfectly braided hair who always looks happy and excited about everything? Her life likely isn’t as perfect as it appears online. We have a tendency to post our best selves on social media, which can make many of us think that everyone else’s life is going better than our own. But we don’t see the ugly cries behind the scenes. We don’t see long nights of insomnia. We don’t see the stress, insecurities, or piles of homework. We don’t see a person’s real life on social media—so never compare your behind the scenes to another person’s highlight reel.
Fourth, be careful about oversharing! This pertains both to safety and to spilling our personal lives online. Not everyone should have access to your personal information (which could be used against you by online predators) and not everyone should have access to your most personal moments. Rather than share your schedule, share your heart. And rather than posting about your messy breakup with your boyfriend, call a close friend who can talk to you and pray with you about it! Social media has a purpose, but it should never replace our real life interactions with those closest to us!
Fifth, never post anything that you wouldn’t want your children to see or read in the future. Some of you may read that sentence and think, “I’m twelve. That’s a looooong ways off Courtney!” But the truth is, things online have a tendency of sticking around for a while. And if you don’t want your future employer, your children, or your future spouse reading something or seeing a questionable picture, than you probably shouldn’t post it. I’ve tried to live by this rule for as long as I’ve had social media, and it has helped me keep the right perspective when posting stuff online. In the worlds of Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Post about the things that will uplift and inspire, not that will tear down or embarrass you later down the line!
How about you? What are your thoughts on social media and stewarding it well as Christians? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below – I always love a good conversation!😀
*But for the sake of your pastors, please do this after the service is over.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
For many of us, we see things that we don’t want to see. Acne. Weight. Hair that’s too curly/straight/some weird combo of the two. A nose that’s that’s too big or small. etc. etc. etc. Odds are, if you look closely enough, you can find something that you don’t like. And in the world that we live in, we’re told that’s the norm. We’re told everyone hates the way they look. In fact, we’re told that unless we look like an (airbrushed) model on the cover of a magazine, we should hate the way that we look—and do everything in our power to change it.
But God’s word says something different.
Psalms 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
In our world, we have a very narrow definition of beauty. To the world, beauty means being a size two with perfect hair and a flawless complex. To God, beauty means being you—because every single person that He created is beautiful in His eyes. Every perceived imperfection that you have is beautiful, because it is part of what makes you you—and when when the God of the universe looks down on you, He doesn’t see anything less than someone who is beautiful, worthy, and loved!
Furthermore, despite what our society tells us, beauty is so much more than skin deep.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” And 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
This does not mean that it’s wrong to care about your appearance – it is perfectly OK to enjoy dressing nice or wearing makeup and jewelry! But our self worth should never come from these things, and we should never use these things as measuring sticks for our beauty as human beings! Ultimately, the most important thing about us is our heart; and God values the state of our hearts far above our appearance or outward beauty! When a person is truly kindhearted, compassionate, and caring, it makes them a billion times more attractive than someone who just has their looks!
This week, as you go throughout your days, I want to challenge you to see yourself as God sees you. To wake up each morning that you are loved, beautiful, and cherished by your Creator! To see your self-worth and be able to praise God, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made! And to ultimately, focus on your inner beauty—choosing every day to be the kind of person that you would want to have for a friend!
In the words of the old song by Johnny Diaz,
“There could never be a more beautiful you. Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through. You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do. So there could never be a more beautiful you.”
How about you? Have you ever struggled with the way you looked? If so, what helped you to see your worth? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!
It’s been a bit of a crazy week for me. I’ve had a lot going on and admittedly, I haven’t had a lot of time to plan this week’s post.
So, rather than the usual, I decided to post some poems that I’ve been working on. I hope you like them – and depending on the response that I get from this, I might decide to post more in the future!
So without further ado, here are the poems!
Through It All
I still remember the moment
I was still so young and frail
When I first heard the Gospel message
When I surrendered to His will
A girl, only nine years old
Praying for a broken home
A girl, only nine years old
That was when I learned that I’m not alone
There I was alone in my room
Praying for change to come
There I was sitting in darkness
Praying for God’s will to be done
Two years later, my prayers came to pass
And there I was, standing in church with my family at last
For the first time ever, I knew the power of God, so clearly I could feel
That Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, really was truly real
Through my teenage years
And all of my fears
And growing and living life
Through the ups and downs
My life turned around
Because He showed me His love and light
Through finding my voice
And all of the noise
And times I wouldn’t want relive
Through every high and low
Through the midnight snow
He has always been my friend
So this is the tale that I live to tell
A story of triumph over pain
Of my God above who rescued me with love
All to bring glory to His name
Life is a funny thing
The way that we come and go
It’s an adventure waiting to happen
And a journey to behold
We start as small children, young and anxious to explore
We wind up eventually with a new beginning
Knocking at our door
But it’s the time in between that we remember
Filled with choices, love, and hope
It’s the time in between that we remember
As we change, and learn, and grow
Where our life touches another, and it creates a ripple effect
Where our lives touch each other
None of us are autonomous
Because we are all a tapestry
Created for something more
We are all woven together
Created for our Savior and Lord
This is life
This is our story
We cannot do it alone
This is living—and it means giving
Of our heart and of our soul
In this moment, we are alive
In this moment, we are breathing
May we never never waste it
Instead, let us always choose to embrace it
People say that life is many things
They say that it’s short and fleeting
That it’s a box of chocolates, or that it’s simply contemplating
They say it’s a dream, a journey, and hope
Others think it means just holding on to the end of your rope
But sometimes, it can be neither, sometimes it can be all
Sometimes, when you’re living, and walking this pilgrimage, life is a free-fall
You think you’re going one way, and than suddenly your life turns around
Sometimes, this is what it means when you’re following the Spirit’s sound
The crazy moments beyond belief
That are completely out of your control
The joys and heartaches that we face, both the young and the old
But to live is Christ
The Author of it all
That is why we call it the freefall
Because you’re falling, faster, harder
In the greatest, possible way
You’re falling harder upward
Into our Father’s embrace
Living life isn’t safe
It was never want to be
But sometimes, it can still be wonderful
In the midst of an unexpected sea
So here I finish my philosophical muse
About life, and death, and between
The joys, the laughter, the beauty of it all
When we dare to live in the freefall
Do you see the stars, rising high above, lighting up the night
That shine down on us, to give a warming light
Do you see the galaxies, up there, resting high above?
The painting, the masterpiece, of our Creator’s love?
They sit in the sky as reminders
To shine brightly in the dark
And they sparkle down as a reminder
That they’re always the same no matter where we are
They connect every heart
Under the same big sky
Telling us that there’s a way home
For the one and ninety-nine
Because they point back to what’s real
What exists in Heaven above
They point us towards something greater
To an everlasting love
But there is one that is greater
Than every star up above
The One who Created them all
And He’s someone we can speak to
In every valley and behind every wall
So next time you see them remember
To send up a prayer above
Not to the stars, but to their Creator
Who loves us with a perfect love.
If you have any suggestions for future poetry topics or a future post feel free to post them in the comments section below! I always love hearing your input!
Last week, I started my first day back to college for the fall semester—after a summer that flew by way too fast.It was also my first day of my third year of college, which feels funny to say, considering the fact that it seems like just yesterday that I started my first year as a nervous and excited college freshman.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot. About myself. About life. About my faith. And though I still have a long ways off until I graduate, I feel led to share about what I’ve learned so far, and my personal journey as a Christian college student. Hopefully, if any of you are going into college, or in the midst of the insanity of college life, you’ll find this post insightful and helpful!
So, without further ado…here is my list on how to survive as a Christian college student!
How about you? Do you have any advice that you would give someone in college? Or any experiences from your own college days that you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!
*This quote is by Riche Norton, whoever he is.