Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 29

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Day 29…A confession. 

I am a nerd. 

If you’ve known me for a while, you’ve probably figured this out. Even if you haven’t, you may have pieced this together somewhere along the way.

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Though I’m not a fan of labels, many of my interests fall into the “nerd category”. I enjoy subjects like history, literature, psychology/sociology, and theology, and could honestly ramble on about any one of these subjects and the intersections between them (e.g. the sociology and history of Christian thought process…nerd alert!). I even enjoy the occasional discussion about politics, so long as it doesn’t turn heated and crazy.

Paired with the vice of being an overachiever, you can pretty much get the picture of what I was like in middle and high school. 

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Yes, I was “that kid“.

I even went through a phase where I wanted glasses (before I knew that I needed them) because I thought that glasses made you look smarter. My mom didn’t quite believe me at first when I told her I thought I needed glasses, as I always talked about how cool I thought they looked. Initially, she thought I just wanted them for appearance-sake. Nonetheless, she took me to see an eye doctor and soon found that I actually did need them to see. I still wear the same frames today, as I can’t seem to get contacts in to save my life and have no interest in getting a new pair.

I think we all have our quirks; and nerdy-ness is just one of many for me. If you also have nerdy tendencies, I urge you not to be ashamed of it. Some of our greatest world changers would be considered “nerdy” by the world’s standards. Imagine where we’d be today if Einstein or Edison had suppressed their interests to fit in with the world!

God made each one of us different and unique; the world would be boring if we all looked, talked, acted, and thought alike. The people who I enjoy hanging out with the most are the ones who are fearlessly and unabashedly themselves. Never change just to try to fit in with the crowd. When you’re authentic, it inspires authenticity in others and helps us all to be a little more honest and transparent.

As an old song by Jonny Diaz says “You were made to fill a purpose that only you can do, so there could never be a more beautiful you.” 

 

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Three Day Quote Challenge: Day One

Hey everyone, as I promised, I’m posting day one of the quote challenge today! 

I’d like to thank Emily for nominating me; I was super excited and honored when I saw that I got picked! As a writer, it’s always good to know that someone out there is reading your random thoughts, opinions, and ramblings. 😄

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“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”― Catherine of Siena

I’ve loved this quote since the moment I first heard it. It’s so inspirational and makes me feel like I can take on the world! It’s the kind of quote you want hanging on your refrigerator, as daily inspiration to start your morning with!

I love the message at the core of the quote: Be yourself and God will use you according to His plan and purpose. We can only serve God at our fullest when we’re completely honest, transparent, and real about who we are. This doesn’t mean that we can achieve perfection through some sort of new age-y”self actualization”. What it does mean is that God can use us as a vessel to make a difference in this world, flaws and all.

We’re all separate, yet all connected. This is something that I’ve always loved about the body of Christ. Though we’re one body, we have different parts, and each of us bring something beautiful and unique to the table. I may not be good at math and science, but that’s OK, because someone else is. God can use me exactly where my talents lie to help spread His message of love and grace to a broken world. Because I’m a writer, I can express God’s truth the most naturally through written word. If you’re a singer, make a joyful noise unto the Lord and glorify God through song. If you love science, teach about the truths of God’s creation, sharing your knowledge with the world.

We each have something special that we can bring. Whatever it is for you, do it with your whole heart, and bring a little more beauty to this world through your life. 

Never be afraid to set the world on fire for Jesus! 

 

Self Image

“You are the only you God made… God made you and broke the mold.”
― Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot

Is this the right answer? I don’t want to sound stupid…

How will people perceive me based on my clothes, weight, height, hair color, etc. etc. etc. 

Does this tweet make me sound too quirky/serious/nerdy/ditzy? 

Oh great! I missed that shot! Now I look horribly un-athletic/un-cordinated!

At some point, all of us have dealt with these attacks. Attacks on our self image, and how we perceive ourselves. It can come in the a variety of forms, as shown above, ranging from appearance, to academics, to athletics.

Personally, I’ve always struggled with the tendency to define myself by my academic ability and competency. As a child, I literally used to feel a sense of defeat over B’s on tests, because in my mind, it should have been an A. And, If I don’t know how do something, I often get discouraged and refuse to ask for help. One of my most frequent phrases during my childhood years was “I’ll do it myself.”

I’ve improved in these areas, but at times, I still find myself reverting back to these patterns of thinking. Maybe you have a different aspect of self image that you struggle with. Perhaps yours is with the mirror, a hobby, or how others perceive you. It’s different for everyone, but it all has the same root.

Every time we see ourselves as less than God’s wonderful creation and child, we’ve believed a lie. Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. Emily from fearfullywonderfullyme.com once said in her post The Most Beautiful Girl, that if we don’t love ourselves, we cannot love God or others to our fullest potential. We are made in God’s image and we are His masterpiece. Matthew 22:39 even says that we are called to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

To paraphrase Pastor Dave from God’s Not Dead, if God is incapable of making mistakes, than can each one of us be a mistake? Of course not! We are all here for a purpose and when God made us, He broke the mold! As hard as it can be when society tells us that we’re supposed to live up to a certain standard, we need to remember we were never meant to be like everyone else. We were meant to be us. 

All of our quirks and appearance “flaws” are part of the the beauty of God’s creation. Just as a flower glorifies God by being a flower, and not a tree, we glorify God by being ourselves, and not someone else. Imagine how boring it would be if everyone looked the same and had the same talents. We were made to be different. God gives us different gifts so that we can glorify God through our own unique talents.

Next time you feel discouraged or struggle with self image, remember this.

Different is beautiful. 

And, in the words of Jonny Diaz, there could never be a more beautiful you. 🙂

 

Why I’m Not Normal (And Why That’s OK)

My name is Courtney. That’s all I’m saying about that because, well, this is the internet.

I start singing Christmas carols months way too early and will start dancing in the middle of a store if I hear a song that like (Yes, this happened once)

I consider myself myself somewhat nerdy but cannot really do sci-fi other than Star Wars

I like both small towns and city lights

I can go from serious and philosophical to crazy in 2.0 seconds

I consider myself a tomboy, yet love chick-flicks like Sweet Home Alabama and Raise Your Voice.

Basically everything I watch on TV is a decade old or even older than that

I have never seen the Hunger Games or Twilight (Gasp!).

Technically I’m a teenager, but I often feel more like a mix between a preteen, a young adult, and an elderly person.

 But you know what? We weren’t created to be normal. We were created to be us. Differences and quirks are part of what makes this world interesting. God created each one of us, and as an old saying goes, when He made us, He broke the mold. So, if you’re “not normal” you’re in good company, because none of us are.

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, never change.”- Taylor Swift.

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New Beginnings

There’s no denying it, the new school year is right around the corner. I start back in less than a week and I’ve already gone back to school shopping for clothes and school supplies. As the new school year begins, it often brings about changes. As crazy as it still sounds, I have two friends who are going to be in college this year. For some people, this new school year might mean a transition from middle to high school, or like some of my friends, high school to college. For others, it might mean new goals or anticipations. I know that I personally have a couple of things planned this year, such as a talent show in October, a concert with one of my friends, and a new project that I’m planning to jumpstart next spring/summer. Plus, I’m going to be on the yearbook team and in a theater class again, which I’m excited about. Since this blog is about the new school year, it feels appropriate to give my advice about what I’ve learned so far

1. Stay true to yourself. Throughout my teenage years, I’ve seen so many awesome people try to be what they thought others wanted them to be. A cookie cutter version of you will never be better than the real deal. Making friends is important, but you want them to like you for who you are, not who you’re pretending to be. Acting is for the stage, not real life.

2. Do unto others…Bullying is a huge problem in America. I’ve dealt with bullies myself and I’ve seen my friends and classmates deal with it too. For whatever reason, some people always try to make themselves appear bigger by making others feel small. If you see someone being bullied, stand up for them. And, always think before you speak. Sometimes words carelessly thrown around can having lasting consequences.

3. Keep up with schoolwork. I remember how in my freshman year, I was shocked with how much more homework I got; It was a good deal more than I was used to in middle school. Nonetheless, I urge you not to panic. It’s difficult keeping on top of everything, but it does teach you the valuable lesson of time management. Honestly, I’m bad about procrastination. I know that this school year I’d like to try to get better about it. Even though I always get everything finished, it’s ten times more stressful when I procrastinate than it would have been if I had started earlier.

4. Spend time with those who build you up. One of the most difficult things about high school is finding true friends. There are some people in high school (and life) who are more self-interested than others-interested. At times, you may deal with unwelcome drama that will make you question whether you have any true friends, but hang in there. Just because you’ve had friendship problems with some people, doesn’t mean that all of your friends are like that. True friends are sometimes rare, but they do exist. I’ve found some great friends in high school and I trust that you will (or already have) too.

5. Don’t let fear hold you back. Now, obviously, there are some things we should fear. If you fear doing something dangerous, illegal, or harmful, hold on to that fear. It’s there for your own protection. Nonetheless, sometimes fear can also hold us back from good things. Don’t let fear stop you from trying a new hobby, pursuing a dream, talking to new people, or speaking out about something you believe in. In my theater class, before every performance, I always get a little jittery. However, the feeling afterwards is incredible, and acting is really fun. If I had let fear stop me, I would have missed out on a whole lot. I’ve decided that my theme for this upcoming year, is going to be fearless. There are things happening this year that I’ve worked towards for a long time, and I’m not going going to let fear rob me of those things. I urge you to not let fear hold you back either.

On a final note, always remember to trust God, be kind to others, stay true to yourself, and work hard. If you do those things, you can get through every change you’ll have to go through.