Hope for the Heart

“Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy – even precarious. This is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting my promises to care for you.”

– Jesus Calling, Sarah Young

I dedicated my prayer month of February to worry. I have struggled with this issue in my faith for a long time. I am both a worrywart and a control freak so handing over something – like my future – is extremely difficult to me. While I believe God wants us to do things for ourselves and take personal responsibility, ultimately, He will always be in control.

During the first three weeks of the month, I felt I made no movement in giving up control and my daily act of worrying; in fact, after a few hits to my budget and difficulties at my side job, I felt even more overwhelmed by worry than usual. But in the past week, scripture has come to my rescue, helping me to forgo some of my worries. Both big issues – with my budget and the second job – resolved themselves in the best possible way, and the sermon at church this week was all about letting go of anxieties (Matthew 6). If that isn’t God’s reassurance to let Him sit in the driver’s seat, I don’t know what is.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last two months of this elevated prayer journey, it’s that – no matter how strong your faith is – you will experience high and low periods. God is continually testing us to see if we really do trust Him with our lives. When faced with troubles and triggers that set off a list of worrisome questions in my head, I have learned to calm my fears by praying. When I don’t have the words, I simply say The Lord’s Prayer, and I’m overcome with peace.

As difficult as it seems sometimes to give up the weight we carry around each day, I know it would be much more difficult to face my troubles and anxieties alone. With God in my court, I know I truly don’t have anything to worry about.

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.

Giving Thanks

Around this time of year, people often express their thankfulness and gratitude. But we should pray for humble awakenings throughout the entire year.

“When the high spring of gratitude to God fails at the top of the mountain, soon all the pools of thankfulness begin to dry up further down the mountain. And when gratitude goes, the sovereignty of the self condones more and more corruption for is pleasure.” – Pastor John, from Desiring God, “Violence, Ugliness, and Thanksgiving”

I am thankful today and everyday for the past two months, for a job I truly love. It’s amazing the transformation that can occur in someone when they feel appreciated and necessary – not only in their workplace, but also in the world. Working for the news can be rough sometimes. Not only do we field hate from people that disagree with stories we broadcast, but we do it all while living apart from our families, working odd hours, and for little money. Yet, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Leaving work each day knowing I educated at least one person on something going on in the community or world, puts a smile on my face.

“If you’re looking for God’s Will for your life, get involved in what He’s instructed us to do.” – Michelle Myers

I think back three months when I began hearing God’s voice call me back into the industry I left only one year before. Faced with the negativity and strain to my personal life, I got out of news without any fear that I would miss it. Now, I walk into the newsroom each day with confidence. I am in the exact right place, at the exact right time.

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Roald Dahl

God places things on our hearts for a reason. When you follow your heart, you’re likely going in the direction God is leading. I am thankful today and every day for following in the path God placed on my heart – right back to the newsroom.

fox-7

KTBC / Fox 7

 

Letting every situation be what it is

As I get ready to move across the state, without a job secured, I’m encouraged and remembered by those around me that this truly is the right move. As fearful as I am, I have never for a moment regretted my decision. But when others encourage me to follow my dream to move to Austin, the one thing I do disagree with is the notion of “doing what you love.”

The Atlantic recently posted an article criticizing the “Do What you Love” advice, in regards to work. In my quest for full-time employment, I’ve read through hundreds of postings promising fully-stocked kitchen cafes, weekly office happy hours, and brand new Apple laptops. I’ve seen dozens of Twitter and Instagram accounts with employees enjoying impromptu food truck lunches and the unveiling of ping pong tables. There’s an image in millennials’ minds that work has to be fun in order to get fulfillment from it.

I really feel like it comes out of post-World War II prosperity. The Protestant work ethic is work, work, work—work is a calling, work is virtuous. I felt like that was with us for a long time, but pleasure never factored into that much.
But then come the Baby Boomer generation—you have the wars seemingly over and there’s a lot of prosperity, though it’s been spread pretty broadly throughout society. And that gave people the opportunity to indulge themselves a little bit. And within the U.S. particularly, there arose a culture of self: thinking about what makes me happy and how to improve myself. [I argue that the] virtue strain of work and the self strain of work combined in the late 1970s and 1980s, and in a way pleasure-seeking became the virtue.

An interesting point from the article is the question of what it is you aren’t seeing in the Twitter and Instagram pictures. It’s only the glamorous work that gets glorified, so what does an average work day look like at a particular company? What is it they aren’t showing, and what is it that makes the company’s employees come to work each day?

I do want to find work that I love each day, but that doesn’t mean I’ll actually love what I’m doing. If I did what I loved, I’d be sipping spiked-lemonade on the beach or travelling around Europe. Work is called work for a reason, but we don’t have to hate clocking in each morning. Most job postings list ideal traits as “open-minded,” “curious,” or as the article points out, “passionate.” How do these translate into personalities conveyed in interviews, though? How can I prove I’m “open-minded” or “passionate?”
One reason for this requirement, the writer points to, is because employees don’t want employees to complain. Another chimed in saying we are greedy, always demanding happiness, and not accepting someone having a bad day.

I feel like this whole culture of feeling good too is just really kind of hedonistic. And I also feel like it’s a little bit dark. There’s almost something in it to me that speaks of like addiction or something. We can never be at just baseline contentment. We always have to be relentlessly seeking these “good feelings.”

I don’t believe in the notion of “doing what you love.” Soon enough, the pursuit and need to work will overshadow the passion you feel toward the hobby or activity, and you are left with one less thing you enjoy.
Instead, I want to find work that makes me grow as a person. I want a job that challenges me, teaches me new things, and forces me to struggle at times. I’m not going to love all those moments, but I’m going to appreciate them; I’m going to feel a sense of accomplishment from my work.image15 (3)

Why do you think people need an excuse to work? Why can’t we just go to work to make money?

I have wondered that. And one of the things I want to do is celebrate the job that just pays the rent. I feel like that is so maligned in our present culture.
I think work is where we spend a lot of our lives. And we wed our identities so tightly to our job titles in the U.S. You don’t want your identity to be someone who just puts in eight hours and checks out.

Why do you work? What do you want from your career?IMG_0719 (2)

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.