I wanna be different. I wanna be changed
To me, believing in God means more than just saying you have faith. It's more than just Sundays at church. To me, believing in God, means living for God, representing Jesus with everything you do, letting Him pour Himself into every aspect of your life. That's how I try to live my life and at my school, I've been dubbed a "goodie-two-shoes" because of it.
I hear all my peer's stories about the parties they went to the weekend before and how drunk they got. I hear stories of sexual conquests, and smoking weed. I hear about them lying to their parents and getting into fights. I hear all of these reckless and crazy stories, and I'm so glad I don't do any of it. Most of the time, they're stories end badly. The drunk party left them with a hangover that would kill a bear. The sexual conquest ends in heart break for one of the two involved. They're parents caught them in the lie. I don't want to have stories like that. I don't believe that's not how God wants me to live.
But there's a small part of me that sometimes gets tired of being "miss perfect", "miss try hard". I don't always like being the "goodie-two-shoes". Everyone else is out living life to the 'fullest' doing whatever they want whenever they want. They get drunk and party. They smoke weed and cuss constantly. They have sex and flaunt they're bodies. They drive recklessly on the highway. I know it's silly, but sometimes I'm jealous. They can do all of that and not feel guilty about it.
Then, there's me. I've always wondered what I would be like drunk. I know it's silly and stupid. But, would I be annoying? Would I spout off random facts? How long would it take me to get drunk? How many beers would it take? Would the taste of beer eventually become appealing?
What would it be like to sneak out in the middle of the night? Would I be able to pull it off? Would my parents find out? Would I be able to lie well enough to not get caught? What would I even sneak out to do? Party? Maybe. Probably not.
Would people find me more interesting, more relatable if I did these things? Would they ignore me less? Would they stop making me an outcast? The answer is yes. I would be more relatable. No I wouldn't be as ignored. But doing those crazy things, living that way, it would make me fade into the sea of faces. I wouldn't be different anymore. I wouldn't be living my life for God. My life wouldn't resemble the life of Jesus. I wouldn't be different. I wouldn't be set apart.
My biggest goal in life is to love, trust, and have faith in God. I believe that the only way to truely do that is to live like Jesus did. And no. I'm not saying I'm perfect. What I'm saying is that I try to the best of my ability to do everything as if I were doing it for God and not for man. Because that's what it says in the Bible (Col. 3:23). I want to live in a way that people look at me and see Jesus. I want people to see me and only see God. I want people to glance at my life and say "Man, there's just something different about her."
Today we are going to be doing things a little differently. Click Here to read Jeremiah 7.
In Jeremiah 7:1-11, we learn that the people of Judah were kind of slacking. They were idolizing other gods. They were exploiting innocent people. They were being lustful and corrupt. They were doing all of this only to turn around and come crawling back to fulfil their "duties" to God. So in other words, they were just going through the motions. They wanted all the things God promised them, but they didn't want to have to live by His standards. So they lived by their own and did only what they had to do in order to seem as though they were still following God. They were under the impression that as long as they did what "needed" to be done, then they would be ok. They would still be right with God. The people of Judah were putting up a front. They were being...well, like the people of today.
Christians today are not really know to be very "Christ-like". The number one thing Christians are known for in our society is to be hypocrites. There are many people who say they are Christians, but their actions say otherwise. They are following the Bible on Sundays at church. But as soon as those church doors are open and the other church goers aren't looking its back to doing whatever they want to: cussing and drinking and smoking and well that's kind of extreme but you get my point.
This is how the people in Jeremiah's time were living. The problem with living like this is that it causes people to forget about one very important aspect: Our Hearts. The problem with living like this is that God doesn't want robots that follow His every command because they think they have to in order to be saved. God's love, His forgiveness can't be earned in that way. God desires something entirely different.
In Jeremiah 7:22 God says, "When I lead your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them." God doesn't want us to stumble through the motions. That was never what He intended. He wants us to follow Him whole-heartedly. He wants us to wake up everyday and say, "I choose Jesus. I choose God." God gave us free will so that we could make the choice to follow Him. He didn't want to force us into anything. God wants a real relationship with us. He want's both, our hearts and our actions, to be dedicated to Him. It doesn't work if we only give God one of the two.
Our hearts are very important. If we don't put our heart into what we do in life, then we are left empty, stumbling our way through many of life's challenges. God wants us to put our hearts into following Him. Being as He gave His son so that we could be forgiven, I'd say that's not too much to ask.
"As she opens her eyes, it all comes back in one giant wave. The good the bad. More bad than good. She sits up. It's easier to face reality when you're looking out over the world. At least then you can see the punches coming. But not only that, you can also see the sun rising at dawn. The light overcoming the dark. Good winning over evil. That's how its supposed to be. A single candle scares away even the darkest of shadows, and that is why even when her world is falling apart, she still smiles."
-excerpt from a book I'll probably never write.
I spontaneously wrote this last night and sent it to a good friend of mine. I really like it because many of us find ourselves facing numerous trials and tests. Our world is filled with so much despair, and sometimes this makes it hard for us to see the stars shining in the darkness, but we have to keep hope. No matter how dark the world gets we can't give up on the good. Light V.S. dark. That's always been the battle. If you light a single candle, leaving it in the distant edges of your vision it is only a little glint in the night, but if you bring it closer and focus on it, eventually everything you see with be cast in a glow. Life is the same way. If you keep at the good and bright things that happen at the edges of your mind and focus only on the things that bring forth feelings of despair, you will find yourself surrounded in a think black veil, but, if you focus on the bright and good things, eventually everything will be cast in light.
P.S. Sorry. I like metaphors of light and dark...
When I was a little kid, I loved puzzles. Something about putting little pieces of color together to form a greater picture intrigued me. I'd sit at a card table in our living room for hours and put puzzles together. But what I hated most was when I was missing pieces or when other puzzles where mixed in. I hated it when the picture couldn't be completed. I now realize why puzzles held my interest back then. I liked the idea of knowing the bigger picture even when all I was given were tiny pieces of it.
Sometimes, I find myself contemplating life. Actually, it's a regular activity for me, and today it is all about puzzles and life. Life is like a puzzle, except there is a big difference. Puzzles come in a box. On the box is the picture of what the puzzle is supposed to look like. Except, life doesn't come in a box. There isn't a picture to tell us what our life is supposed to look like, what decisions we're supposed to make. Have you ever tried to do a puzzle without the picture on the box? It's really hard. So I guess I should really say: Life is like a puzzle without a box. Sometimes the pieces don't always match up. Many times the pieces get jumbled together and all we end up with is a mess. Yet, other times, the pieces fit together and a picture starts to form. We don't have anything that tells us where to put each piece, but with persistence and determination, the puzzle can still get put together.
I don't know about you, but my life isn't perfect. It's messy and complicated and I don't usually see the greater picture. And as I said earlier, I like the concept of seeing the bigger picture. That's why I like puzzles. But you can't always see the big picture in life. You don't always know what is going on. It makes it hard. I mean my puzzle doesn't always fit together. I don't always know what is going on or where the pieces are supposed to go and it's really frustrating. I often find myself wishing that God would place the pieces where he wants them to go Himself, but that's not how it works. We have to figure it our on our own with a little guidance from Him. We have to push ourselves to figure it out. It's a challenge, yeah, I know. It's not always easy and a lot of times it doesn't make since, but I promise you (no matter how cheesy this sounds...) that in the end your life, no matter who you are, will make a beautiful picture once all the pieces are put together. All you have to do is be persistent, determined, patient with yourself, and willing to listen to that still small voice inside your head telling you what pieces to use.
+ No school.
Though I hate to admit it because education is super important, teens do not appreciate school. We groan at the sound of our alarm clocks going off. Just five more minutes! Right? Just the sound of the bell gives us the intense need to jump from our seats and leave the classroom. That is something school has branded us with. The impulse to jump out of our seats and leave at the sound of a bell. The lectures bore us to sleep, and the homework boggles our brains. Besides, who wants to do homework when there are so many other equally productive or unproductive things to do? Summer allows us to get a break from all of that. There are no bells, no teachers, no homework. Nothing, and it is great.
+ Late nights and sleeping in.
During the summer, we teens are able to toss aside our alarm clocks. We stay up until late hours of the night texting and instant messaging our friends, surfing the web, and playing games. We have no obligations that require us to go to bed at decent times. We also have no need to wake up early. We can sleep in. We can lounge around in bed for hours, only getting up when the steady rumble of our stomachs is too much to bear. We can settle into our teenage instincts that tell us to stay in bed until the sun in high in the sky.
+ No major responsibilities.
We don't have to do anything. Our biggest worries consist of social events because our biggest responsibilities revolve around school. We can be lazy and carefree. Lazy day everyday? There is no one to tell us no (except maybe our parents). Laying on the couch and watching Netflix can be our entire day. We don't have to go anywhere. There isn't even a need to get our of our PJ's (unless you go in public. Then you might want to think about changing...).
I woke up with the sun shining, felt the refreshing air coming through my open window, and smelled pancakes and bacon through my closed bedroom door. It was going to be a great day. We had big plans, though I don't remember what those plans were. I only remember what happened after our amazing breakfast.
After breakfast, we were all putting on shoes. While we were waiting on Mom to get some last minute supplies from the kitchen, Dad's phone rang. The moment his phone started ringing, my gut sank. I didn't know why. He hadn't even answered it yet, but something felt wrong. "Hello," he said to the person on the other line. I watched his face closely. The other person talked for a few minutes. Dad glanced at me, and I could tell he was trying to control his expression. Something was wrong. My first and only thought was that my grandpa had passed away. Tears started welling in my eyes. Somehow I knew that must be what this was about. I don't know why I was thinking this because he was healthy when we saw him last week, but this thought was the only one on my mind.
When Dad finally hung up, he glanced at me. "He's gone, isn't he?" I asked. Dad responded by opening his arms. I clung to him and wept.
I had been really close to my grandpa. I called him nearly everyday, every time I was bored. We could talk forever. I used to go over to his house for a week at a time and sit on his lap and watch old westerns with him, eating a whole batch of no bake cookies. Those are some of my favorite memories. Losing him was and still is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. I had always known that people would die, but I had never been faced with the harsh reality of that loss. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was ten-years-old and suddenly my view on life was changed. I no longer saw it as a perfect little world.
I learned that life isn't always peachy like my little kid mind had always thought. It has its ups and downs. The good and the bad. Sometimes it's just somewhere in the middle, neither a high nor a low. In fact it can be pretty crappy, but we can't let that stop us from accomplishing things. We have to take the cards we are dealt and learn what we can from them. Some of the lesson make you cry and some of them make you jump with joy, but there is always something to learn. My grandpa passed away and that crushed me, but it also showed me how strong I am as a person. It began the preparation for what was to come. It showed me that life has a funny way of preparing you for your future. That event is was started my path towards God, towards the person I am now. And as much as I miss my grandpa, I wouldn't change a thing because the person I am today would not exist without that part of my story. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and because of that single moment, I have been able to accomplish so much more than I ever thought I would.
It's 9:30 when I look at the clock after my shower and homework. Work was annoyingly rough tonight. I crawl out of my cozy bed, leaving my finished math homework and book thrown about. I'll get it later. As I walk through the living room, I tell my parents that I'm going to go sit outside for a bit. They give me a funny look, but nod their heads anyways. A habit of mine. They don't fully understand. Once in my yard, I sit on the ground, tucking my knees up under my chin and wrapping my arms securely around my legs. I stare off into the distance for a long time. My ever so constant thoughts overrun my brain.
I wonder if he will text me tonight. He won't. Softball was hard today. I can't believe she said that to the teacher. Is she just praying for a detention? Today was awful. I just want a good day tomorrow, Lord. Please?
I get tired of thinking and try to block it all out. It doesn't work. I lay on my back and gaze and the beautiful diamonds up in the black void of a sky. This is my favorite time of day. An overwhelming peace consumes my entire existence. I feel God's gentle hands on my soul. The stars are my favorite. They are so amazing. They...words can't even explain them. They are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen before. I sigh and soak in the wonderful sight until Mom calls me in. It's 11:00. I have school tomorrow. She says I need sleep. With one last glance, I walk into the house.
This is something I do at least once a week. It rejuvenates my soul. I don't know. Just something about star gazing fills my heart with a calming since of peace. The stars are the perfect picture of beauty in my eyes. They are little diamonds hanging in the black, expansive sky. The stars remind me how big the world is and how I am only a small part of it. I am only a miniscule piece of the puzzle. This may not seem like a feeling that would help in a situation where you feel overwhelmed by life, but it helps me so much. Looking at the huge sky, with its pure beauty, shows me that my problems are not that big. The stars also remind me of God. He holds the whole world in His hands. He will hold me too. It's not just the about the stars though. It is more about finding a little peace in this crazy world. As teenagers, we live in a whirlpool of chaos, and every once in a while, we need to find something that will give us a little tranquility. So, find something you love and do that often.
So funny story: I wasn't able to post last week because I got grounded from all my electronics. I was, well, a brat. I'd had a bad day. Most of my teachers at school were in bad moods, and one of my friends was really getting on my nerves by being super immature and inconsiderate of other peoples feelings, including my own. She seemed to be trying everything she could to push my buttons. Then after my long day at school I went to softball practice. I played horrible, and of course I was really hard on myself because even my coaches mentioned how awful I was at practice that day. Track was even worse. I nearly had an asthma attack after timing a mile. Then I had to time a half mile and a 600 meter run. It was utterly awful. My lungs physically hurt after I finally got done. After that I had a softball team dinner which was actually fun. Then I went to the nursing home and saw the decline of my favorite old lady. She was not doing well, and it tore me apart.
During this whole time, my parents had apparently been trying to text me and get ahold of me. But of course, my phone was on silent because I was at school or practice. They wanted to remind me to go to the nursing home at 6. They had text me during school and called me during practice, but I didn't see their messages and know to call back until after the softball dinner. They were mad about my lack of communication during the day. I normally do check my phone and reply to them. It was just unusual behavior for me from their point of view. They didn't know that I'd had a bad day, and that I was already preoccupied by thoughts of grief for my dying friend. So they got mad. We got into it and I was really rude. I talked to them harshly and I took my bad day out on them. It wasn't good. I was so consumed by emotion that I got pretty angry and I never get angry. Because of my actions, I was grounded.
But I learned something from being grounded. One, I am not very addicted to my electronics. Though, I did miss my phone a little because there were a few times when I was home and had nothing to do and it would have been nice to text a friend, I didn't miss it often. My computer was really not on my mind besides last Wednesday when I realized I hadn't posted on my blog. Two, spending so much time without my phone, computer and other electrical devices was really nice, peaceful. I think that we teens sometimes get so caught up in the technology that our generation sometimes forgets what a night spent playing games with the family or just talking to someone in person does for us. I think that technology is a great thing. I love it, but I also think that sometimes it gets in the way of us taking a step back from the world and truly, truly enjoying the present for what it is. Not worrying about Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., allows us to relax in a way that we don't get to experience with all that on our minds. And lastly, I realized how much more I value actual human contact. I am an introvert. So though, I am not addicted to my phone, I will use it to get out of having to talk to people sometimes. I don't like having to talk to people all the time because it is exhausting for me. You all wear me out (haha that was a funny...please laugh). So I did miss not talking to people a little, but because I couldn't use my phone, I had to have conversations with people. Yes, it was tiring, but it was really nice. People are amazing. I am astonished everyday by the kids at my school. We truly are all unique in different ways, and we all hide so much behind our masks whether it is pain, grief, joy, or anything really. People are so complex and dynamic and that is something you really miss out on when you hide behind a screen all the time. I have always thought this, but the last week has really brought it to my attention.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that technology is great and I think that we should use it. We should totally connect over the internet, and social media is huge in our generation. There is nothing wrong with that. That's something amazing about us: Technology is apart of our everyday lives and no matter what other generations tell us, that is spectacular. BUT> that doesn't mean that we shouldn't take a step back from the electronics every once in a while. Forget about our phones for just a couple of hours, leave our computers in our bedrooms and go explore this amazing world that we live in. I think that is just as important for us, if not a little more. We all need a little break every once in a while. Besides we live in a pretty spectacular place.
So in my last post, I wrote about taking the road less traveled, standing alone or apart. I talked about how sometimes we have to make a choice: to follow the crowd or to not, to do what is cool or to do what makes you you, to do what it takes to become popular or to do what is kind and good. This can be challenging and even freakishly scary sometimes. It's not easy and we sometimes get made fun of. But I think that there are things we can do help ourselves. And so that is what today is about. To take the road less traveled, we might need some things to help us along the way.
So this is just my short list of things that might help some of you who maybe wanted help. If you have any other helpful ideas comment below. You never know maybe your idea will greatly help another human.
"Anyone can show up when you're happy. But the ones who stay by your side when your heart falls apart, they are your true friends."
I am Samantha, and my goal for this blog is to basically share my experiences as a teenager. Basically, I am a teen. I have many hopes and dreams, many fears and insecurities that I let hold me back. There is so much that goes on in my life. Sometimes it is a struggle, and that is what this blog is about.