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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Biggest Mistake 20-Somethings Make




Ready for it?

Moving Away 

Okay . . . so what's the big deal about moving away? 20-somethings normally move away for any of the following reasons:

1.) There's an issue/lots of stress going on where I live, and if I moved, everything would be better.
2.) I can't find the right person- If I moved, I would.
3.) I hate my job- I should find a different one.
4.) I'm bored and need adventure- If I moved, I'd get that.


Do you see the pattern? We're dissatisfied with our current lives, so we think (and very wrongly) that if we could just move, everything would be different. So instead of facing the problem head on, we take it with us wherever we go, thinking we've gotten rid of the problem, but we've only compounded the problem. If you don't face your problems now, nothing will change when you move. You may feel fine when you move- for awhile- but the same issues you never dealt with back in your hometown will come back and be ready for you to tackle.

Moving solves nothing. 

Maybe you're having problems at home with your family, you're tired of them, you want to be left alone, very far from them. Maybe there's too much negativity. Maybe you have broken relationships with your family. Maybe you don't have any friends. Maybe you live in a retirement community where you can't make any. Okay, so you have a problem. Moving away will not fix your broken relationships. It will not fix the fact that your family will still call, email, or text you when you're away and you'll still have the negativity thrown at you, just not as much as before, and those same issues you had before will still be there when they get in contact. You'll still have the stress of having to deal with that. What if you move somewhere, thinking that you'll make friends, and when you get there you realize there's barely any way to meet new people who are like-minded? What if you find out that it's harder? What then? You can't move again, or maybe you can, but you might be going back to square one again. 

Okay, so you can't find Mr./Mrs. Right. So you move. But what if when you move, the place you move to barely has anyone with the same beliefs? What if you find out the denomination you adhere to, doesn't exist in the part of the country where you live? What if you moved to a town 
that does have a multitude of churches with the same beliefs but you get there, look around at all the churches, and all of a sudden you wonder, Where are all the singles? Or How come there's only women? I moved here to find Mr. Right, and they don't exist here either! What do you do then? Pack up and move to a town where you will probably run across the same issue? It's another risk you're taking.

The workforce is always going to be difficult for you at some time or another, but maybe it's more than you can handle right now. So moving and finding a different job seems like the best option, right? What if you are moving because you can't handle that awful co-worker or maybe a cruel boss, but when you get to your new job, you find out that what you were dealing with at the old job was nothing compared to the new one! What if your boss is 10 times worse? Or instead of having an annoying or disgusting co-worker you get one who berates you and makes fun of you? What do you do then? You're taking another risk by quitting.

So you're bored with your current life (I know the feeling). So maybe you're bored because you've been stuck at the same job, doing the same thing everyday for the past couple of years. Maybe there's nothing fun going on- it's just the same old routine: wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep. Five days of boring in a row and on the weekends you don't have time for anything you want to do. It's become monotonous, so you decide to be spontaneous and adventurous and move. You find a job that sounds cool and take off. You get there, but what happens when the adventure wears off? What makes this new location so different from yours? You'll get into a work routine, again and forever until you retire, and eventually get bored. You've just set yourself up for the same problem to occur.

So what's the solution to all of these issues? First, you need to face the problem and be ready to deal with it. The root of all these issues is discontentment, and the solution to fixing them is becoming content with where God has placed you.

Now that doesn't mean that if you're having serious family issues, you just accept them. If there's something you've done wrong, make amends. If you're in a situation that is harmful to you, then it's important to get out. If you can't do anything else about your situation- like maybe you're just constantly irritated by a family member's presence, then maybe it's time to adjust your attitude about the situation. Pray about your situation. Ask God to change the negativity. Ask God to help you overlook the negativity of others and only care about what He thinks about you. Pray for God to mend relationships that are broken and to give you the endurance you need as you live among it.

Finding the right person is all in God's hands and timing. As long as you're in His will, doing what He wants, being where He wants you to be, you can't do any better. You just have to wait. I know, it's cliche, but it's very true. When there's nothing left to do, you just pray and continue in His will.

You are always going to have issues in the workforce, period. You can do two things to help out your situation: pray about it, that God would work in the hearts of those who are around you, if they're treating you poorly, and you can change the way you respond to the negativity. If you get angry and lash out because of the way they treat you or become annoyed and show it, then you really need to adjust your attitude concerning that. Pray for God to give you the strength to continue showing the love of Christ to others no matter what.

Being an adult isn't fun and games. You're going to have to give up certain activities in order to provide for yourself. Gone are the days of childhood when mom could find an activity to entertain you with every day of the summer. Life gets boring. Routines can be boring. But that doesn't mean you have to be bored to death! You can travel every now and then, you can do something for fun on the weekends, or you can make the effort to find a hobby. There are always new things to do that can be fun, even picking up a volunteer shift can change things up a bit!

So if you're planning on moving, please think about why. Are you doing it for the reasons listed above? Or are you doing it for good and solid reasons, as in this is God's will? Prayerfully consider whatever you decide to do!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lessons Learned: About Men

freeimages.com/konradbaranski
I'm going to start a series on the different roles of men and women, and I wanted to begin with how women should be treating men. I've done a lot of observation and come to realize a few facts about how they want to be treated after a long day at work. I've worked for five years, and although office work is nothing compared to what others do, I've had my 12 hour workdays before, and I can relate to how and why a man doesn't want any of the following:

1.) He doesn't want to come home to problems- When you get home from an 8, 10, 12, 14 hour day at work, you want to relax. You really don't want to actually do anything that requires thinking, rather something mindless like watching t.v. or getting on the internet. You're tired. I understand moms are tired too and want a break, but wait on the problems. If something minor is broken or Jimmy was bad the entire day, give dad/husband some room before you bother him with the issue at hand. Let him sit down to eat and have an hour to relax before getting to the issues at hand. If something minor broke, either wait until he's off to have him fix it or think about learning how to fix it yourself. Your spouse will really appreciate having a help meet who can do things for herself every now and then and alleviate his stress. And he'll appreciate you for understanding how hard it is to work 24/7, just like you do if you're a mom.

2.) He doesn't want to be bothered at work, unless it's an emergency- Please, do not text or call your husband at work about minor things that can wait. I remember one time receiving a text at work saying, "Your dog is bleeding." Okay, so I have a dog, not a child, and I'm not a man, but I was busy that day and when I looked at my text, my automatic thought was, "Can't this wait? I'm busy. I can't do anything about it for eight hours. Why can't you fix it yourself?" But of course, I couldn't say that, because that was rude. So instead I instructed them how to fix the issue and told them I'd deal with the rest when I got home. Needless to say, I was stressed out when I got home knowing I'd just come home to another problem. Would this be an expensive vet bill? What could I do to stop the bleeding naturally? And on and on the thoughts went racing through my head about all the expenses. When you're at work, you are focused on work, not home life. If home life interrupts the work day, it can be very distracting and reduce your effectiveness at getting tasks done at work. Send calls and texts to encourage and positively communicate with your spouse when they're at work, but please refrain from texts and calls about issues that can wait.

3.) He doesn't need a honey-do list- Your spouse works at least 40 hours a week, and gets at least a day off, in some cases none for an extended amount of time. Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to have your only day off, or half of your days off sucked up with chores? Not to mention how belittling a honey-do list is. Honey-do lists say, "You don't lift a finger around the house to help, so I'm going to force you to with this list." Your husband isn't a child, even though he may be acting like one. Just because he acts like one doesn't mean you should treat him like one. Try a different approach to sharing the weight of the household chores in a reasonable manner. And even if your husband doesn't care to do anything around the house, you're supposed to be the submissive wife, so you can't patronize him to get what you want.*  Just be grateful he provides for you and think of how hard it must be to have the motivation to do anything after working so much. Pray for him to change if it bothers you that much. Remember, only God can change people, you can't.

Have any others to add to the list? Post in the comments below and share your tips for the women!


*As a side note, my information about wives being submissive to their husbands is a Biblical principle as seen in Colossians 3:18. This means that the husband is ultimately in charge of decisions made within the marriage. This does not in anyway mean that the husband should act aggressively, discount the input of the wife, or walk all over her like a doormat, rather when the husband and wife come together to discuss matters in a reasonable way, if there is some sort of disagreement on the issue, the wife must be willing to submit to the husband's decision (unless it goes against the Bible) and allow God to work within his heart if she feels that it is not a good decision. She should be in prayer for him concerning this.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Photo by Roger Kirby
I pointed to the "visible" marks on my face that bothered me so much. The lady at the makeup counter gave me a funny look and said, "Honestly, I don't see anything, but if you really don't feel good about your current concealer, we can try something different."

It was then that I realized that the way I perceive myself is quite different from how others perceive me. When I look in the mirror, I see a very flawed face. I see acne bumps here and there, red blemishes from acne that's disappearing, and lots of freckles.

Not only does my face bother me, but my body image does too. Everyone says I'm thin, but I say I could lose a few pounds. I say being thin isn't good enough; I need to be toned.

And yet, nobody says all those mean things to me; the only person who is being critical and belittling me is myself. I'm my harshest critic. I stare at my face in the mirror to find something I don't like on my face, so I can go online to figure how to fix it.  The thing is, nobody notices any of those things we as women notice about our own selves.

And how do we as women really know that nobody notices what we see in the mirror? Because of the lady at the makeup counter, because of a client who said to me,"If I could just wake up looking like you, I'd be so happy." And this is the truth I realized, "Nobody sees the flaws and blemishes in the mirror that you see. We as women are our own harshest critics. Nobody else is there pointing the finger at us but ourselves. And it needs to stop. We're made in the image of God.

So what if you have acne? So do millions of men and women. It's okay. Freckles? God gave those to you, and you can't scrub them off, so just leave them as is. That nose you don't like? Well, God made that one just for you. That curly hair you hate, someone else thinks is beautiful.  We're born into a sinful world; we won't look perfect. And that's okay. The majority of people are not staring at you looking for flaws. It's important to appreciate what God has given to you instead of complaining and trying to be someone different. It's important to step away from the mirror, to quit comparing yourself to other women, and to stop fueling vanity and discontentment. When someone tells you that you are beautiful, don't comment about all the reasons why you aren't. Accept their compliment and believe it, because we're made in the image of God.

The most important beauty is the one on the inside that spills out onto the outside. Take some time to cultivate that beauty instead. I've found that the beauty on the inside far exceeds the stuff on the outside. I've seen physically beautiful women who had ugly and mean-spirited attitudes towards other women, and all of a sudden they didn't look so beautiful anymore. And I've seen women who didn't appear to be "beautiful" who were so sweet and kind that I grew to think they were some of the most beautiful women on earth. Outer beauty gets us nothing in Heaven. Inner beauty has an eternal impact with everlasting rewards. As women, let's strive for the inner beauty and be content with our outer beauty.