Sunday, November 20, 2016


Have you ever judged someone?

Most of us know it's not a good idea to go running around, thinking that we're better than everyone else. But it seems quite possible that the reverse can be true about us.

Have you ever examined your life and wondered why everyone else is better than you?

It's a rather puzzling line of thought to take. Why do people like me? At first glance, the answer might be tricky to uncover. If you ask other people, sometimes they won't be able to tell you why. After all, how often do you look at someone and make a conscious decision that from now on, you are friends?  

Most friendships, it seems, develop from circumstances. Perhaps you have the same group of friends or similar interests and hobbies. Maybe, you attend the same church group or chess club. However, in my experience, friendships don't just appear. They take time to mature and solidify. It's not always a good idea to pour out your heart and soul the very day you meet. 

But there's often many reasons why we ask ourselves that question. Why does anyone even bother to take an interest in us? 
We think we're not clever or smart enough. We think we aren't good-looking, talented, funny, or even likable. We scour our mind asking why anyone would spend the time listening to our stupid puns or pitiful remarks.

But when we do that, we're dismissing the friendship and our friends. Friendships are not something we earn. Can I repeat that?

Friendships are not something we earn.

A friendship should never come with a price tag. If you have to somehow "measure up" to their criteria, then that's not a friendship worth having. 

Friendship is a gift. The fact that someone has given it to you is answer enough. As far as I know, most sincere individuals don't become friends with someone they despise. The reason people like you is because you're you.

It's not because you're talented or tell good jokes. That you can draw or write pretty well. That you're good at dancing or anything.

You matter to them because you make a difference in their life. And it's a good one.

Just stop with the questions, the doubts, worries, concerns. Just stop. Turn your focus outwards, stop worrying about yourself. In my opinion, all of this self-degrading introspection is an inverted form of self-interest. There are so many better things to think about, so many better things to actually do.

If we truly want to become a better friend, there are plenty of things we can strive for. None of them includes excessive worry about our self-image. It seems the more we reach for affirmation from others, the less likely we're going to get it.

In the end, we're no better or worse than anyone else. No one deserves to have a friend, any more than we deserve God's forgiveness. However, by grace of His love, we're all given an inherent dignity ingrained into our very being.

Just by virtue of being yourself, you are immeasurably valuable. We all have the potential to become a truly stunning image of God, both in fact and by example.

It's only in Him that we discover the true source of our worth. It doesn't come from how many friends you have, what talents you have, or where you live.

In Him, you find beauty and become beautiful. In Him, you find love and you become loveable. In Him, you find peace.

If you ever find yourself wondering why people would like a person like yourself, don't look in the mirror. 

Look at the cross and let your worries cease and your heart find peace.

You are priceless.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Heh, so there's an election in two days.

Who knew?

How the time flies.

It's easy to let such things steal our peace of mind. I know I have given it the opportunity. It's honestly a lot like football. We each have our own personal team that we've grown up watching, we cheer them on, and cringe at the opposing team's score. I usually try to avoid getting too invested into the games, otherwise, I get drawn into the heat of the moment and start yelling at the screen along with everyone else. (which only happens when I watch it with my diehard, football advocating, extended family)

And if, horror of horrors, we lose, it would seem to be the end of the world. My evening is ruined; such a crushing blow to my sensitive heart it is to witness such loss. But, football aside, it seems anything within the political realm is stressful for me. 

To be perfectly candid, I observe and study politics like some of you might research the periodic table or the Spanish language. I don't know why I do, it's like playing trivia, checking data, latest updates, candidates, ethical implications. I'm always trying to get the right answers to discover a reason for hope. 

As if my hope should rest on political figures.

It's easy to be indignant and outraged when we see a circumstance develop that's beyond our control to change (especially since I can't even vote this election cycle).  But then again, perhaps we're missing the point. I don't think that politics is the greatest problem in this country (though it is definitely a pressing one), rather what I find most disturbing is the decadence it stirs up throughout society. 

It's like a firestorm, consuming the very fabric of civility and clouding solid judgement. Last I checked, Americans stopped fighting among themselves May 9th, 1865. Your neighbor next door is not your enemy, even if he does have a yard sign that you disagree with. What this country so desperately needs right now is not great leaders, but good people. 
The quality of our government is determined by the moral character of the people it governs. I find this quote to be especially pertinent.
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
-John Adams
 I'm starting to learn that you have to let some things go. If there is something completely out of your control, you just gotta leave it be. We have to remember to focus on our part of His plan. We're not just a lone voice speaking out against the darkness. If we let Him, He can take our best efforts and turn them into something far greater.

Throughout history, God has always used humans to fulfill His plan. Each step required the free choice of a human will to say yes. Mary's fiat could've been no. We all have an opportunity to make a difference in the world, however small it may be.

 Instead of simply crossing our fingers and voting, let's not forget to pray. One vote makes a small difference unless it is united with a greater movement. Our little prayers throughout the day might not seem like much, but they are timeless moments when we invite God into our lives and into our world.

And even if things don't seem to turn out for the best, remember that God includes human failures into his calculations. We have to realize that his primary goal is not our earthly prosperity, but our heavenly inheritance. Jesus didn't come to overthrow the Roman rule over the Jews, rather he came to start a spiritual revolt against sin. He came to lead us out of spiritual bondage into freedom.

That freedom is one that relies not on human frailty or political achievements, but the will to say yes to his grace. It's one that gives purpose in the midst of confusion, joy in every moment, peace during the hard times, perseverance in the face of persecution, and, in the end, it gives us a life worth living, no matter the circumstances.

That's a freedom worth fighting for. 

That's a freedom worth dying for.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Pilgrim's Prayer

Some days just seem to blindside us, leave us reeling in the dark, wondering why. I'm so exhausted physically and emotionally. Yet, somehow, this day still gives me peace and hope.

I found a prayer this afternoon, it helps so much to express what I feel stirring inside me. I needed to hear and pray it.

I had to realize that it's okay not to know everything, not to have it all planned out. To admit that, sometimes, I don't have the answers.

A Pilgrim's Prayer by Thomas Merton

My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end....

Nor do I really know myself,

And the fact that I think I am following Your will

Does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

 I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this,

You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust You always though I may seem lost 

And in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for You are ever with me, 

And You will never leave me to face my perils alone.


I helped write a song in Africa. It was right after an extremely heartbreaking moment, greatly distressing, to say the least. I'm going to end this post with its chorus. It's very simple but we don't always need to say much to truly be heard.

Even though I'm broken,

Lord, you take my hand. 

I will trust in You,

 Though I do not understand.

Have a good night ya'll, I'll see you next week.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Life We're Living

What are you afraid of?

At first thought, I might say pain or catastrophe. But when I think about it,

I'm afraid of being trapped.

We live busy lives, don't we? At this moment, instead of writing this, I could be (a) practicing my piano (b) doing school (c) working on my album (d) brainstorming my novel (e) editing a film project (f) practicing my dance moves (g) getting some family time. 

But no, I have to work first on this blog post. Not that I'm complaining about having to write, I'm just disappointed that I always leave it till the last minute. And I mean, Every. Single. Time.

The problem with all of this is that I can't focus. I can't slow down. I can't rest.

Yes, yes, I do get my sleep and I do take breaks. But I'm never at peace, do you know the feeling? 

And I've read the blog posts and I've told myself, I need to cut back. But how? Most of these are serious commitments that I can't just walk away from easily. Most of these have deadlines, most have other people involved. Eventually, the only things I can say no to are the things I want to do, but don't need to do. Or if I work on them, I can't focus, I can't always concentrate when I've got more important things to do. 

I don't think it's healthy. It chokes life out of creativity and poisons free time. But what greatly troubles me, is how it's inescapable. 

This wild, frantic pace frightens me because it helps me to forget. It's only when you're taken out of this cycle, that you realize how much you long to change.

To illustrate my words, I wrote this on my plane ride back to America from Africa.

"I'm supposed to be concerned primarily with eternal things and not worry about temporal needs, but how can I prevent myself from slipping back? From losing the lessons learned?"

When I stepped off that plane, I desperately hoped that I wouldn't. Yet, here I am, four months later, caught right in the thick of it again.

How time flies.

The curse of this society is that we're not allowed to think, to look deeper and farther than ourselves. All this amazing wealth and opportunities but we never have time for any of it! The things that truly matter in our lives never seem to have real consequences in the immediate future like so many other trivial things do.

We're always worrying about our test scores, unfinished novels, or the latest drama in our circle of friends, but there's not always the same concern for drawing closer to God or developing healthy friendships. What about our splintering families or widespread addictions to social media or gaming? Why do we always have to wait before figuring these things out? 

People always tell me how mature I am for my age. Sure, maybe I am, but by what standards? Yes, I might have some things figured out, but already I'm regretting that it's taken me this long already. Just looking back a couple years makes me marvel at the mess I was and the person I am now. I'm still a mess, it's just harder for me to see it now.

And we all are. It takes strength to look at yourself honestly and admit the flaws you see. That's why the cycle is so hard to break. When we're too focused on the world around us and the demands it places on us, we can forget to look inside and realize the need to change. 

We simply don't have the time to confront the problems within ourselves. We put it off for later when we have more time. Apparently, once we graduate college, find a job, perhaps get married, that's when we'll have the time. 

It's. A. Lie. 

Life doesn't wait for you to get your affairs in order so that you can start polishing it into shape. No one is going to give you that push to move forward, to get in gear. If you want to see results in your life, then you need to move! There's no time to sit around waiting for the right moment. The moment is now, not tomorrow because one day there will be no more tomorrows.

We've got to start waking up and start taking charge of our own lives because ultimately, we're the only ones who are responsible for them. This cloud of busyness is a drug that has the power to destroy our lives. But if we're honest, this way of life is the one we're most comfortable with.

It's comfortable because it distracts, it numbs. We're living lives of quiet desperation and we don't even know it. The way out looks hard, uncomfortable, or exhausting, but we weren't made to be comfortable. 

We were made to live.

And live well.