Force Quit on your Losing Streak

Almost a month in, and I’ve stuck to the most important of my new year resolutions: to grow in faith. At the end of last year, I was at odds with relationships in my life and wanted to turn everything over to God. Not only would dedicating the New Year to God bring me closer to Jesus, I felt doing so would also give me the answers I needed to mend the troubles I was having.

2017

In order to hold myself accountable, I made a list of 12 people in my life I wanted to either improve my relationship with or needed to forgive; I make a similar list of 12 topics I wanted to focus on, in order to be a better Christian. I decided I would consciously pray each day for the person I dedicated that month to, and would read specific scripture each day addressing the topic of the month.
The list included subjects such as my parents, my sister, specific friends, my desire for a boyfriend, and working to overcome the negative perception of news. Topics included forgiveness, jealousy, worry, judgment, and being enough for myself.

What I’ve learned in my first month is that both mending and growing relationships, with people and God, takes time. I approached the resolution with optimism and was quickly rewarded with lines of open communication between me and the person I chose for January. But praying and reading the Bible does not automatically grant me positive mending every day. I’ve learned this is a process – there will be days I feel I’ve taken a step back. Yet, overall, I feel more complete. In just one month, a peace has overcome me. While I know there will be days and months full of ups and downs in 2017, I also know I have a God that I can always turn to. And as I grow in this journey, I hope to learn how to better listen and hear His voice, in all the times I turn to Him.

 

Disclaimer: I have not stuck to my resolutions to practice French twice a week or practice piano three days a week.

Indulge endlessly in all that inspires your soul. You’ll never get bored.

“When we submit to God’s plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God’s plan and our pleasures… Each of us has been made to serve God in a unique way… The longings of your heart, then, are not incidental; they are critical messages. The desires of your heart are not to be ignored; they are to be consulted. As the wind turns the weather vane, so God uses your passions to turn your life. God is too gracious to ask you to do something you hate.”

As Christians, we are taught to follow God’s Plan for our lives, and ask for His guidance when we feel lost. Mere months after getting the promotion I asked and worked hard for, I found myself, instead, being pulled down a different, but old and familiar path. So I prayed, asking God for a sign. Days later, I read the devotional above, and knew the path I felt compelled to walk again is exactly where God was leading me.

A year ago, I left my news job in Lubbock to live out my life in Austin. “You’ll miss it,” one coworker told me my final day. Though the possibility of that becoming truth couldn’t formulate in my mind at the time, his words never left me. Now, just 12 months later, I was feeling pulled back into the newsroom. I did miss it.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose is to give it away.” I’m not sure whether to attribute the quotation to Pablo Picasso, William Shakespeare, or some other person, but it seemed fitting, reading it the same week I was offered a job back in news – this time where I feel most at home, in Austin. The process of applying, interviewing, and accepting the offer went so quickly, I knew I was not only following the desires of my heart, but also the path God created for my life.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

God wants us to thrive, so everyone sees the beauty of Him, through us. I left the news industry because I felt discouraged and distraught, but that doesn’t mean being a part of the industry wasn’t part of God’s Plan; it just wasn’t His timing. I believe God puts passions on our hearts as signs, leading us down the path He has mapped out for our lives. If you wake up each morning and ask yourself what God’s Purpose is for your life, take a moment to think about the scenarios you daydream about, what inspires you, and what persuades you to be a better version of yourself. I truly believe living in Austin and working for the news are two passions God placed on my heart for very deliberate purposes, and at very deliberate times.
And I couldn’t be more grateful that He did.

Restoring Faith in Humanity

I’m sure many people of heard of or enjoy following “Humans of New York,” but if not, I encourage you to check it out. A photographer talks to strangers on the streets of New York – for just five minutes or so – and captures a photo of them as they answer a question. Many are powerful and it really “restores faith in humanity” as people like to say. If nothing else, the project unites the human race, in understanding and empathy.

One common question asked is “If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?

I don’t live in New York so I doubt I will ever be featured in the project, but I got to thinking about what sort of advice I would want to convey to a large group of people.

I would tell the group to respect and appreciate the work of others. It is so easy to assume you are the only one working in your office, or the hardest worker in your office. It is so easy to assume that your job is the most important one or the one contributing most to your career field or community. But the truth is: The majority of people are working their butts off, and outsiders don’t understand. We criticize the work of others, without appreciating the impact their careers have on their own life.
I work in media, one of the most openly hated and disrespected career fields. But people don’t realize that we work for hardly any pay, to inform communities of things they demand knowing, but don’t want to give credit to the ones who inform them of those things. Just like engineers, doctors, secretaries, teachers, businessmen and women, and all other workers and career fields, we want respect and appreciation for the work we do.
When was the last time you met someone educated about the world around them without the use of newscasts, newspapers, magazines, social media, websites, or an app on their phone? We are professionals and experts in our field, just as others are in their respective fields. If we all looked at other’s work with the same understanding, respect and empathy we have for our own work or those in our career field, I think that is when real faith would be restored in humanity.

The Hmong Culture of Laos

I am reading the book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman for my nonfiction English class and it really has opened my eyes to other cultures.

I love learning about all cultures: what language they speak, what food they eat, where they live, what they wear etc., but I always focus on the good, positive aspects of their lives. I don’t think about the misfortunes and heartbreaks they go through: the wars, the governments, all the bad things. It’s not that I try to ignore them; it’s just that I focus on other things, blindly.

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The country of Laos is inbetween Vietnam and Thailand. When the Vietnam War was being fought, America recruited Hmong soldiers to fight in place of many American soldiers, but left the Hmong to fend for themselves when the war was over. The Hmong crossed the Mekong River to Thailand and into refugee camps, until 2009 when Thailand sent the Hmong back to Laos on their own.

In Fadiman’s book, a Hmong family from Laos experiences American culture. The family moved to America and immediately was thrown into the medical system when their daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy-except they don’t know it because they didn’t speak the language. The book delves into the battle between listening to the American doctors who tolerate the Hmong family and the Hmong family struggling to know what to do for their daughter, who they believe is spiritually sick.
Each day the class debates what they think is the right thing for Lia, the young girl who is sick. It is sometimes hard to sit there because even though I love experiencing cultures and new things, I disagree with most of the class who sides with the Hmong family.

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The Hmong people.

I believe strongly in the American culture-maybe because it is such a mix of cultures, maybe because it’s just the easy, comfortable thing to do. I don’t know. I feel for the family, but I don’t think they are doing what they should. It is hard for me to respect them when I think they are wrong, but isn’t that the definition of tolerance; Respecting someone who is different than you.
It was an eye opener, acknowledging the fact that I have trouble understanding and empathizing with others, but now that I do acknowledge the shameful fact, I want to try to change it. Whether you agree with someone or not is not important. But you should at least respect a person for their beliefs.