Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Accepting Yourself

One of my favorite scenes of X-Men: First Class (And probably one of my favorite scenes of anything.) is when Mystique is using the bench press and Erik walks in. (I spent forever trying to find a youtube video for this scene but I couldn't find it. I am very sorry. Maybe I'll find it later.) I can't remember what he said word for word and he may have said more but he lifted her weight using his magnetic powers and he looked at her and said "If you're using half your attention trying to look normal, than you're only half paying attention to whatever else you're doing." He proceeded to prove his point my dropping the weight on her unexpectedly, causing her to lose focus and she went from being normal Raven, to the blue skinned Mystique. (If you are familiar with the Marvel universe than you know that she can change what she looks like, but her default body has blue skin.)

   "Just pointing out something that could save your life someday." Erik told her. "You want society to accept you, but you can't even accept yourself."

   I know a lot of people would nod to themselves after reading that. A nod that signifies that they can relate. See, we try so hard to be accepted by others yet...we can't even accept ourselves. Shouldn't our first priority be to be comfortable ourselves? Why are you working so hard to please all these other people? You need to love yourself first! If you have accepted Jesus into your life than you are His child and that means that your identity isn't found in anything of this world, your identity is found in Him. My bible study leader said something last week that has been sticking with me ever since. "If you want to deepen your relationship with Jesus than you need to be serious about your dignity and your identity in Him."

   So many people struggle with depression and eating disorders and anxiety. How many of those cases spring from having insecurities? What would this world be like if we could learn to accept ourselves? Think about that. Make it personal: how would you be different if you could accept yourself? Maybe you would buy that shirt you tried on at the store but couldn't bring yourself to buy because it didn't look good on you. Maybe you would smile more and walk taller. Maybe you would live more freely and dance crazier and try new things. Doesn't that sound nice?

   How much mental energy do you spend thinking about what you look like or contemplating how people might see you? How much time do you spend putting on makeup, doing your hair, or trying on different outfits? I know this is a crazy thought, but what if you woke up one morning and didn't put on any makeup, put on clothes because you felt comfortable in them and didn't give a second thought about how others would see you? Because when we spend so much time thinking about how we look, then we're only half paying attention to whatever else we're doing. Imagine being able to stand up and give a presentation at school and not worry about what other people are thinking of you. Or simply being able to walk with your friends and not thinking about it at all. How much more would you engage in conversation if you weren't worried about saying something stupid?

   Towards the end of the X-Men movie, Mystique comes to be at peace with herself. She is a mutant. Yes she has blue skin and she doesn't look like everyone else and she might get weird looks but that was who she was. So she was able to say "Mutant and proud." So she dropped the act and was able to simply be herself. And she fought so much better that way. When she was 100% herself.

   Your life would be so much better if you could stop focusing so much on what other people think of you and simply be who you want to be. We are so focused on making sure other people like us that we lose ourselves along the way. We stop being who we want to be. How much time do we spend asking God if we're who He wants us to be? Our desire should be to want to be who God wants us to be, not who other people want us to be.

   You need to accept yourself.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Well Currently...

I saw a few of the blogs I follow (To Thine Own Self Be True and In The Shade Of My Wide Brimmed Hat. 2 of my favorites!) do this and I thought it would be fun to do. Its pretty much an update on me! I like reading these sort of things and I hope you do too! So lets begin shall we?

   Currently listening:
   Still Into You by Paramore! I seriously love Hayley Williams! She's not afraid to be herself and in this video she's just all out crazy and I love that about her! And the song is soooooooo awesome! Plus the rhythm is so catchy! I sing it all the time. Check it out!

   Currently reading:
   Balance Point by Kathy Tyers (from the New Jedi Order series.) and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Balance Point is beautiful!!! So far its my favorite in the series! I thought I would be able to finish it in a weekend but the end is sorta boring me. But I just haven't had the attention this week. Same with The Great Gatsby. His writing style is different and for whatever reason I'm really struggling with it.

   Currently drinking:
   Powerade!!! I'm actually drinking some as I type this. Red Powerade is my favorite and I'll settle for Gatorade. I'm so glad I haven't been drinking a lot of soda because my family decided they didn't like Coke anymore (which is my favorite...) and now they buy cherry Pepsi...gross....but today we got a 12 pack of Mountain Dew and its in the fridge calling me especially since I'm exhausted from only getting 4 hours of sleep last night. And I'm addicted to Mountain Dew!

   Currently missing:
   The kids from my missions trip last year! Last night I just looked at all the pictures I have of them and my ached. They were so amazing. I was remembering all the funny things they said and when this little girl said my name for the first time. (I didn't think she remembered it.) And the pictures we drew with chalk on the blacktop. One day I taught them the story of the man born blind from the Bible where Jesus rubbed the mud on his eyes and then we opened them and his vision was great again. I asked the kids what they learned and this little boy said "That if you're blind and you rub mud on your eyes, you'll be able to see!" Hahaha oh it made my day. Needless to say I had to specify that it was Jesus' power that healed him. But it was great.

   Currently watching:
   Doctor Who. AND CYBERCHASE!!! That show was my childhood...oh, and Star Wars episode 3!

   Currently feeling:
   Exhausted. Fearful. Everything seems to tip me off and make me upset so I'm learning to let things go. Though today has been a good day. I've really been enjoying my pastors recent sermon series called "Life Sucks." I can't stress how much I love that title. Hahaha:) Its taken from the book of Ecclesiastes and its about how life is just a cycle and the most you can do is just enjoy life. People will let you down, the government is always corrupt, and you won't always get what you deserve. That's life. Don't let the sucky things in life keep you from enjoying the one life you have. So that has really helped me.

   Currently writing:
   Good gosh...technically I'm trying to finish a book but yeah its been weeks since I last wrote...maybe even months...I'm a horrible writer. I've been re-writing that book for like...a year...I'm so sorry.

   Currently loving:
   My little brother Ryne!!! He makes my life! His smile just makes my heart melt and he is so random and odd and hilarious. He can make anybodies day brighter!

   Currently wishing:
   That I could go to Star Wars Weekends and then I could see all my fellow fangirls and all these SW celebrities and tons more awesome stuff! But I guess I'll just have to settle for looking at every single SWW picture and reading every blog. (If you're going, I want to hear how it was! Add pictures too!)

   Currently excited:
   My missions trip to Tennessee! I'm kinda worried about how I'm going to get the money but I know that God will provide. He always does. But I'm excited because we'll be working with kids and the families of kids who are hospitalized from sicknesses. This is going to be a very emotionally heavy trip for us. But I love doing these sort of things. I can't wait! Oh! And my missions Facebook page only needing one more Like to reach 30!!! So put your mouse over this here text and click the link and be awesome and Like this page.

   Currently stressing:
   School. I'm really struggling with...well, everything in school. Save for psychology. But my mom gave my biology book back to its owner because they needed it so I feel like I failed bio but oh well. Math never makes sense and I really couldn't care less about American History. Though I have been taking a break from that to do Chinese history which is way more my thing. But nonetheless, I feel like I should be working harder or doing more. Hmmm...

   Currently completed:

   Now here are some things I've been up to recently!
   I had to help my upstairs neighbor break into her house this morning. (which is on the second floor.) I got halfway up the latter before I totally freaked out and came back down. I also bought a bible for my unsaved friend! I am SOOOO excited about it! I can't wait until it comes! I also won a bible (the day after I bought one...*facepalm*) from Sisterhood Magazine! I'm also going to my youth leaders house tonight like I normally do weekly but I we haven't been there in like, a month. So yeah. How are you guys?

   May the Force be with you always!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Eleventh Hour

Yesterday I watched my very first "regenerate" episode of Doctor Who. It was also my first time seeing an episode with Matt Smith. Yes. The Eleventh Hour, I loved it. I just recently got into Doctor Who so sorry I'm way behind on everything in this fandom. But it was a good episode and of course, I learned something from it! Yay! (I feel like the only person on earth who had never seen this episode but if there are more of you like me, forewarning, there will be spoilers after this point.)

   In this episode, the TARDIS crashes and it happens to be in someones backyard. Inside the house a little girl prays for a police man or someone to help her with the scary crack in her wall. Upon hearing the crash, she runs outside to see what could have made the ruckus. That's when she sees it; the big, blue police box crashed into her shed...and then a man comes out of it. The Doctor. Blah blah blah happens but I'm just going to skip to the important part. The Doctor ends up having to do a five minute jump into the future because of whatever thing was going on with the TARDIS. The little girl, known as Amelia Pond, begs him not to go. But he says it will just be for five minutes. Just five minutes.

"Trust me. I'm the Doctor." He said.

So after the Doctor leaves, little Amelia goes to back up her things to go with him when he returns. So she sits on her little suit case outside and she waits...

   and waits...
   and waits...

   and waits...

   He never showed up.

   For 12 years she waited for him. She saw four different therapists and she drew pictures of him and sculptures and she dreamed of him. She thought he was gone, never to come back.

   But he did. 12 years later. He came back. Now for the Doctor he was only gone for five minutes, but for little Amelia Pond it was a long 12 years.

   The night I watched this my brother spoke at out youth group and one point he made was to wait on God. Sometimes we ask for things form Him. We ask Him to take away our struggles, to heal us, or to bring us out of a trial, or much like Amy Pond, to help us with the things that scare us. But sometimes He doesn't. God answers with "Yes." "No." or "Not yet." But its hard to wait on God's answer. Its hard to wait so long for God to take away fear or fix our hurt. But we need to remember that God's timing is perfect. (Clearly the Doctor's wasn't, but God's is.) Patience is a hard thing to learn. But God makes so many promises to us in His word. Psalm 34:7 says "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them." And Psalm 37:7 says "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him."

   When you're going through a hard time and you just want God to take you out of it, know that help is on the way. He is coming. He is always with you and He says He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you pray so hard and keep asking Him to come deliver you and take away your pain, you know what He says?

   "Trust me."

   He will come. It may be five minutes or it may be twelve years. But He will get back all that was stolen from you and He will restore you. He will bring you out of this. Wait on Him. And trust Him, He's God. (I was paraphrasing...)

   "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

   "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hello, This Post Is Random

Hello! Well, lately I have been feeling very discouraged about a lot of things, one of them is this blog. Another is my ministry, Rise Above It Missions. And just kinda discouraged about everything. I (once again.) feel like I'm going nowhere. I'm trying to get in the mindset I had when I wrote my post, Standing Still. But I don't know what to do. I don't know how to get more people on my site, I don't know how to reach people that need help. Its all very confusing. But thats a whole other post entirely. I don't want to get all deep right now. Because a lot of it is selfish, I want more followers and I want a nice camera and I want a Star Wars dress and I want a guitar. But I need to be thankful.

   I'm going on this missions trip at the end of June and I have 2 weeks (well, one now.) to come up with $75. I was a little worried I wouldn't get it because I don't have a job and I don't have any money. But God, being the awesome dude He is, provided me $80 this week alone. Plus and extra $15 for my own personal use. I don't know how you guys are with money but I am excited for the whole $15 I have. $15!!! I never have money so I'm a happy kid. So therefor I don't want to complain about not having things. And I don't want to complain about my life situations because I had a fantastic day yesterday! I got to play a ton of volleyball with a bunch of awesome people and then we played ultimate frisbee in which I was able to make a diving play...and still got the frisbee. I was pretty darn satisfied with myself. But of course as soon as I got home I had a bunch of lies in my head telling me to be angry and crabby. I need to learn to tell my head to shut up sometimes.

   Now, I had told you guys about my talent show awhile back and today I felt like posting some videos from that up here so y'all can watch them. We have a lot of talented kids at my church! There was a lot of variety this time around. I might post the skit I did with my brother but we didn't get the beginning and you can hardly hear it even if the volume is all the way up. But yeah. Tell me what you think! This first one is my band, Pineapple On The Go. To hear more from us you can Like us on Facebook riiiiiiight HERE!

   Well actually as it turns out the videos won't load so I'm going to post them on my blogs Facebook page and you can check them out riiiiiiiiiiight HERE! And make sure to Like the page and......yep. That's all. I love every single one of you guys! Thanks for following me! I probably would have given up on this blog if I didn't have you guys. Seriously. But I'm going to make up for the lack of video-ness, instead I'll put up some pictures I've taken recently. Sound good? Ok!

   My family went to the zoo a few weeks ago and I had a blast with all the scenery and flowers and such. I loved it! The animals were a bit harder to take pictures of since my camera isn't the best with zoom, but it was fun nonetheless. I think after my missions trip money is in, I'm going to start saving up for my camera. But right now everything is going to that trip.

Oh, and now you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, May 9, 2013

4 Ways To Get Excited About The Bible

So today I was reading my bible and a lot of really cool things jumped out at me and I just enjoyed reading God's word and being in His presence. I recently got a new bible from my youth leader because the one I had was more for younger kids and I have found that reading it is like...a whole new perspective! I LOVE it! And that got me thinking how it can sometimes be hard to enjoy reading your bible. Don't lie, sometimes it feels more like a burden or an obligation. Though thats not what its supposed to be, it still often times feels like that. So today I wanted to give you some tips on how to get back to actually loving getting in the Word. These are just some things that I found helpful when I don't feel like reading my bible.

1.) Get a new Bible.
   For me, when I read my new bible it felt like a totally different experience! Try a new translation, it might help you to understand a few things better. And then compare the two translations. You can also try to look for translations and the Greek meanings. (I love doing that!)

2.) Get a Devotional book.
   I love getting tools to use alongside my bible. And I especially devo books. Because sometimes you open the bible and its just like BAM! 66 books of God's word. That's a lot. It can be hard to know where to start. But devotionals help you to keep on track with a specific topic/book and they can offer a new perspective and things you may never have thought of on your own. Get one thats targeted towards your age group or that you can relate to.

3.) Find a study partner.
   Find a close friend and study a book/passage/topic together! I have a few of my friends that I love just discussing God with. We can bounce ideas off each other and talk about the things God has been teaching us. Getting excited about the bible is cool when you have other people that are equally as excited as you. You could also join a bible study or small group.

4.) Find a way to stay focused during sermons.
   I hated sermons for the longest time. I'm more a fan of asking questions and being able to talk about it while I learn it. But I have found ways to be able to focus! Yay! I enjoy taking notes, my church has sheets they pass out for note takers, but I also have a notebook where I keep all my bible stuff written down. I also love Tweeting things I find interesting and reading what my fellow Sermon Tweeting friends are saying. That allows me to discuss the sermon and ask questions when I'm confused without disturbing the people around me. I also know some people who like drawing while they listen, they said it helps them to focus. I like that. And if you don't regularly attend church, I recommend finding one. Churches are awesome. Fellowship rocks. But you can also listen to sermons online. I have a few sermons on cassettes and CDs too. So if you can't get to church, look into listening online. I think there are a few radio stations that play old sermons on Sundays, though I don't know which ones.

   So there it is! I hope these help you because I know they really have helped me! I also really like taking notes in my bible and using my trusty highlighters! That way when I don't know what to read, I just read through some stuff I've highlighted, because they must be good verses if I highlighted it. What do you do to keep connected with God or stay focused and excited?

   Have a great week and may the Force be with you!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Pygmalion Effect

I was doing my psychology the other day when I came across a picture that made me think. (On a side note: I love the pictures in my psych book! They are always really deep and thought provoking! I wish I could share all of them with you!) I don't know if you'll be able to read it but here it is.

   In case you can't read it, it says "Do people hate us because we dress this way, or do we dress this way because people hate us?" In this chapter I was learning about the Pygmalion Effect. If you are unfamiliar with this term, here is an idea of what it is. The effect can be explained 3 steps. 1.) The perceiver gets a certain impression on a person, 2.) the perceiver then behaves in a way that affirms the persons impression, and 3. the target person then unknowingly adjusts their behavior to fit the perceivers actions. Here is another picture to describe this.

   See, its hard to find the problem in this cycle. Is it the perceivers behavior or the targets behavior towards the perceiver? What about the perceivers expectations? Because its just a cycle. A rough cycle at that. Now, lets go back to the first picture, the one that initially caught my attention. That's the kind of thing I used to ask myself all the time, though not about me and not about witches either. But you should see what I'm getting at. The people that no one talks to because they dress weird, because they look all dark and creepy.

   Kinda like these people. (These are actually two of characters from my sisters favorite movie, Hangman's Curse. But it gets the point across.) So you see someone like that walking down the street or you run into them at school, what do you think? The sad truth is that most people think "Freak." "Weirdo." "Attention seeker." I explained in my last post that I see things differently, this is one thing I see totally different. Because I don't see that. I see hurt, sad, needing to be loved, and I see potential. Because what we see isn't always all there is.

   But the question that always plagued me was "Why?" Why do they dress the way they do? Of course I always got people who told me "Because they're Satan worshippers" or "They just want to be 'different'" or blah blah blah. No. Your argument is invalid. They were created by God too. They are sinners just like you. They need to be loved just like you. Really, we're all the same in a lot of ways. Each of us wants to be loved and cared for. No one wants to feel unwanted. So why do we hate on people who stand out? As Hayley Williams so wonderfully put it "Its the people who are 'different' that are going to make a difference in the world." I agree.

   I have always had it on my heart to bring someone to Christ, ever since I got saved. That has been my desire. I want to live my life to reach the broken. This is something that God has placed so heavily on my heart. When I see people, no matter what they look like, my heart breaks for them. I pray for random people all the time. God always sets people on my heart to pray for and sometimes I hardly know those people, but I want them to come to know Christ.

   I encourage you to be audacious. Do sometime courageous or brave. Don't judge a book by its cover. Try and see people for who they really are.  Because maybe they just act or dress the way they do because people hate them. And maybe one person stepping up in faith can change their life. But even if it doesn't, we should love them anyone. Because thats what Christ would do. When He was on earth He talked to tax collectors and prostitutes. He looked deeper and saw who they could be. I know thats what He did with me. I still can't comprehend that; how He looked at me in all my sin and filth and saw the person I could be. If we were given that chance, we should give that same thing to others.

   So we may never know where it begins, but we can do our part. We have a mission: shine God's light. So stop judging people because they sin differently than you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Beautiful Perspective

"Give me Your eyes for just one second, give me Your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing, give me Your love for humanity. Give me Your heart for the broken hearted, the ones that are far beyond my reach; give me Your heart for the ones forgotten, give me Your eyes so I can see."

   This is the chorus of a fairly popular song, especially on Christian radio. Its called Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath. Since that song was released in July of 2008 I've sung that out to God countless times. I wanted to know how He saw things and people. Well it turns out that when you pray earnestly and sincerely with all faith, you get what you asked for. Sure, it might not be in the way you expected it to be answered,  but God answers prayers. I am a firm believer in that.

   I asked God for a different perspective. I wanted to see things from a better view. I don't know when this started but I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. Just today I realized something.

   "Holy Snapple...I don't see things like everyone else..."

   I've always kinda known that I've had a bit of a different view from other people Ok, so usually God works in themes in my life. There are some themes that last a few months, sometimes He teaches me multiple lessons at once, and there's also this ongoing theme thats more of a life theme, I don't know how He works with the rest of y'all but this is what happens with me. The theme I'm at right now is beauty and perspective. I see beauty in everything. Seriously. I never really thought about it until now, that maybe not everyone sees the beauty in everything. Maybe not everyone can see the good in people. Maybe not everyone knows how to stop and smell the roses. (Sometimes even literally.)

   Today I realized that some people don't get it. Like, wow...How can they miss this? If there's one thing you need to know about me is that I don't hate a single person on this earth. Like, really hate. People annoy me (allllllll the time.....) and I get very upset with people, but in the end...I love them. (Just to be clear, I'm not bragging. We all have strengths and weaknesses. This happens to be a strength of mine. Though, it often feels like a burden.) When I see someone, I see who they really are and who they want to be and who they are on the inside when all their masks and faces are put down. I see them. But today I realized that not everyone sees like that. This boggles my mind. can you look at a person and talk bad about them? Intentionally talk bad about them. That's something that God has allowed me to see differently. I'm not saying that this is how God sees things, because bro....I do not see things like He does. Like, no. But He has changed the way I see some things and its different to see how different my perspective is from others.

   This is probably going to end up being a rant but hey, this is my blog. I do what I want. I've had a long day of thinking and such so I need to get my thoughts flowing in a line. But I really encourage you to ask God to change the way you see. Though I will warn you, be prepared to receive. That's the problem a lot of people have, they ask God for something and then they're not prepared when He gives it to them. Ask and be prepared. Also be prepared because when you ask God for something...its life changing. Especially with something like perspective. And be prepared for it to hurt sometimes.

   I know I have a big heart. I think I get it from my mom a lot because every day I'm seeing how I turned out the way I did as she shows her tender heart. I love people. I really do. I care so much for people, which is probably why God is leading me to ministry. Yet sometimes I feel burdened with it. Because I get such bad aching from it. When other people hurt, I hurt. When people cry, I cry. Its hard. Don't expect things to be all fun and games. Its serious stuff.

   I don't know where I was getting at with this post and a part of me wants to just go all over the place with topics but this post was pretty much just for me to sort through my thoughts. I'm trying to find a song to listen to that will help but so far I haven't had any luck. But my challenge for you is to see people and things from a different perspective. Ask God to give you His eyes. See the beauty in everything. Because I guarantee you that something crazy will happen.