A Year of Learning

2015 was a crazy year. I experienced new highs and lows that I would never have guessed I would be concerned with. It’s always a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts when I reflect on a year, and each year is more vivid and fresh in my mind than the last one.

I learned what areas of my life and lifestyle that I need to work on. There are definitely habits of mine and actions/quirks that I am not the most proud of, and I know that I need to make a few changes. Nagging, doubting others, and striving for material perfection are a few of those bad habits that I want to turn around.

In order to address these works in progress, I’d like to try and apply 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to my daily lifestyle. Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I envy? Do I boast? The goal is to work from the top on down, so that at some point I can say that I was patient and I was kind and I did not envy or boast, and so on.

I also learned that I need to determine and evaluate the true importance of everything I seek and dream of. What should be prioritized? How can I healthily go about doing this? How can I ensure that this is a healthy ambition, or that I pursue my desires in a healthy manner.

I think 2015 also taught me that I should sleep more. Sleep is important and I am always forgetting that.

Another goal of mine is to start eating healthier and putting effort into exercising in the off-season! Trying to eat natural and fresh foods has always been appealing to me, however, working at a grocery store makes that hard!

Additionally, I have so, so much to be grateful for this past year.

I now have my driver’s license! Through various journeys, the miraculous patience of my parents, a few tears, and more life lessons, I acquired that coveted piece of plastic.

I have strengthened existing friendships and invested in genuine new ones. A new school year and more shared adventures are always exciting in that they bring me and other individuals together in various relationships. I am so, so blessed and I celebrate my friendships today! 

And, finally, all of my cousins from Guatemala were able to come and visit us here in the U.S. for a month! We had a such a fantastic time reuniting and investing real-life time and energy into our friendships. It was a magical Christmas in that regard. I am so lucky to have many cousins that come from both of my parent’s families. Cousins make forever friends. It was a great December season to feel loved, be loved, and give love.

In regards to prayer requests for myself and the coming year, what comes to mind is this: church. I currently am not affiliated with any official church or body of people for the purpose of meeting routinely to worship and grow in faith together. Although I do this with my friends, I am not sure if it is in God’s plan for me to find another church or group to further develop my faith with. To be frank, visiting churches scares me. I don’t want to do it. It’s often uncomfortable and I feel like Christians judge more than those who are not, which is the sad truth these days. However, I’m asking you to pray for me and that I would face this fear and that it would dissipate, and also that God would show me another church or group that I can grow to comfortably be a part of if He wills it. Thank you.

I have learned and grown in a multitude of ways this past year, and I am so excited to see what God has in store for me this coming year! Here’s to a year of learning and the coming year of applying the knowledge received. 

It’s time to sleep.

D. Fayth

Regret, Change, and Decisions

There will always be a time in your life when you are faced with a (or multiple) decision(s).

Making decisions is scary. Every little change in your life can ultimately impact you astronomically.

Recently, I’ve been hit in the face with a bunch of decisions. Something awakened inside of me and I’ve finally decided to accept and address the fact that I’m not truly happy with the way my life currently is. There is a mix of different priorities and time commitments that I’m questioning, and I have some very important choices to make.

My mum says that the teenage years are the prime time for change, and I can see that. Now that I’m young, it’s the opportune time to start exploring and stepping out of the comfort zone. Still, that is easier said than done, as most things seem to be in this day and age.

Now, for me, the ever overcomplicating person, it is definitely not without regret that I am facing these decisions and inevitable changes (or chances for change). In a way, I could carry on living life the way I am now. Dabbling in a little of this, spending a lot of time with that, and I would’ve been…okay. Not exactly happy, not exactly not, that is about what I would’ve been. I probably would be off drifting in this ocean of life somewhere on the edges of the eye of a turbulent storm.

But I’ve made a resolution: I want to be happy. Doesn’t everyone? You might ask. I know I asked myself that question, and yes, I wholeheartedly believe that everybody wants to be happy. However, happiness is not something that is easily achieved. I’m about to make some big decisions, and I know that a little spark of regret is going to follow me no matter what I choose. My ridiculously conflicted self just wants to be happy, and so I’m going to try and set my soul at ease. This is not something that can happen without God playing a part in my life, and so it is with serious consideration, lots of tears, long talks, and prayers that I am saying this.

Regret is this big, gaping, piercing cloud sometimes. It gnaws away at me, and I let it. Still, as I am praying about these decisions and changes that are bound to happen, I’m praying for peace. Regret is unnecessary, we can live without it. In fact, life is often better without regret. I’m not talking about a healthy regret after a sinful decision, no, I’m talking about an anxious regret, one of those regrets that make you question everything.With God’s help, I will overcome regret, among other things. With prayers of guidance and trust I pray to shame regret, to be given the wisdom to make the decisions and changes that will be accompanied by the least regret–

I need to focus on what is best for me and what is God’s will. At the moment, the impact of whatever decision I make is not to be based off of some third parties’ opinions and the thoughts of other mundanes around me. Everyone is deserved of happiness, including myself, and I pray to attain that with God and by His will. The taunts and jeers of other humans and my own sinful conscience will oft do nothing but sway me into a miserable state of unhappiness.

In this whirlwind of a post, I think I’m trying to say that change is inevitable. Decisions must be made, things change, regret happens, but life moves on. God wills what He wills, and He will let it be known to me with time. If you think of it, pray for me to discover what God wills for me.

We all have our moments of doubt and wish things turned out differently once in a while, but once something happens we do not have the opportunity to change the past. Only Jesus has that power, and He has a plan, no matter what happens. Everything happens to everybody because Jesus wills it. If He wants it to happen, it will happen. Remember that.

Forget regret, I want, and I will choose to be happy.

“We shall rise”

In lieu of writing a lengthy thought-provoking post on Easter, I’ve decided to leave you with a still thought-provoking, yet shorter, post. I pray this leaves you with something to glean or ponder!

Jesus’ crucifixion, his horrible death, and his unmerited sacrifice were all definitively tangible. He bore the torture and went through the agony of human cruelty and human sin; lashes, thorns, nails, asphyxiation, and crucifixion. Yet, on the third day, He rose. God has conquered death, and He has conquered all. His miserable suffering won us life, and death no longer holds a sting. Rejoice and live jubilantly today, as a reminder for all days, to sing praises and worship to the undeserved indescribable Savior who has gifted us salvation.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:8-11

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I will leave you with the words of Phillips Brooks:

“Let every man and woman count himself immortal.  Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection.  Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.”

His blood price bought our lives, that we might live. And today, He rose. And in the future, He shall rise again, and because of the sacrifice, we shall rise with Him.

Immeasurably blessed and humbled–

D. Fayth

A Feeling of Inferiority

As a teenage girl, I too struggle with my fair share of insecurities. I’m not particularly well-liked or outgoing, and I can’t help but long for the easy friendships some people seem to so quickly attain. When I see someone ‘better’ than me, it’s difficult to not be envious. In fact, sometimes I let doubts about these little petty things get the best of me.

But why?

It’s hard to overcome these feelings of inferiority. Heck, for me, they’re a regular struggle. However, knowing that God made me the way I am uniquely is a wonderful place to start. Yes, it will always seem like other people are better than me, more likable, and have more friends. Yes, those things are all true. Still, it all winds down to the sole question: does it really matter? Don’t fret over those feelings of inferiority, instead, push them aside.

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At this current moment, to my teenage self, yes, it really does matter. Nevertheless, looking ahead a couple years, will negatively looking at myself now be of any use? Will I even care? He knows what is in store for us, and perhaps it is better now that you aren’t as good friends with that girl or boy. Who even knows? God does, and it’s in our best interest to trust His judgement. It’s also important to realize that inferiority is merely a feeling. A feeling, also known as: not a fact, evident sign, or anything else.

Consider this, God made each and every person uniquely in his own image.

You and I both are wonderful people, and the feelings of inferiority that come from those more distant friendships, and all sorts of other things, should fade. Jesus is the true relationship that should be invested in, as a father, relative, King, and friend. Other people are created for us to have relationships with, but ultimately He is all we need.

“God loves me with a love that is increasing and overflowing.”  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

His Scripture and promises are ever comforts. We don’t need to rely on other humans all the time, because they will let us down. God will continually build us up and help us through the trials we must face.

So, to sum things up, keep on pushing. These feelings of inferiority are worthless. God loves you, and He lets your life play out according to His will. Yes, you won’t be friends with everybody. Yes, not everybody will like you, and yes, facing all these facts will not be easy. Fix your eyes on Jesus, and strive towards what lies ahead. Jesus is superior, and He has made us superior as well. Keep on living dear. Take each step and each day at a time.

God will bless you with particular friends and people in your lives for a reason. Don’t forget that. Treasure your existing friendships, and don’t be afraid to try to make new ones. Yeah, the people might not like you, but if they don’t think you’re worth their time, are they really worth yours? Don’t beat yourself up if someone is closer friends with someone else, etc. God must’ve willed it to be that way.

You are not inferior.

Stay strong in the Lord. He is more reliable than any friend you may meet, whether they love and understand you, or not. x

Time Management: A Skill to Finesse

To all you older and wiser readers, I must confess that I am not particularly skilled at managing my time. Ah, time management..what a tricksy skill to master. If it is a skill at all, because is it really? Does it get any easier to handle with age? Actually, don’t answer that. I think that was a pretty rhetorical question.

Perhaps time management is something that is inherent, but it needs to be awakened. As a young individual, I often (*cough* …almost always…) find myself juggling my time precariously. However, it probably is around the time that I accept the facts; my school load is only going to increase from here, finishing out high school, college, employment, receiving more rigorous workloads, and the list goes on. I have concluded that, probably, something must be done.

Time is precious. Spending your time in a way that is valuable to you, is essential. Meditating and praying in God’s word every day should be, and I’d like to think is near, at the top of my list. It is something that I deem as extremely important, and therefore I must manage my time to fit that in my schedule. With daily emails, I have become increasingly better at this, but then it all comes down to my matter of priorities, which might need a bit of reorganization. It is so crucial to put God first in your life, and I strive to do that, but let’s save that for a different day.

Would you like one example that aroused my realization of this problem? Well, besides the fact that my Dad outright told me I needed to manage my hours better (in a joking matter, but in all seriousness we both knew his words were true), I currently am typing this blog post when my homework is calling my name and two tests are anticipating my completion tomorrow.  Oops. Yeah, again, priorities..

Well, let’s think of it this way. There are only 24 hours in a day. 24 hours that people constantly complain aren’t enough. At the same time, these days are hours spent by people complaining there is too little time, rather than making the most of it.

Why do we even gage time? Is the concept of pursuing goals and aspirations in life, while letting time simply run its course, that far-fetched? Obviously, as Americans, we must have some sort of schedule or master planner to make sure everything is timely. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, we don’t care enough to actually try, and then arrive ‘fashionably’ or ‘not-so-fashionably’ late.

Anyways, moving on from my mini-rant sesh, I suppose I should go about devising a plan to keep myself accountable for managing my time in an orderly fashion. That is, strictly so that my faith and grades and health don’t suffer. Note: Folks, my use of ‘and’ in the previous sentence provides a lovely example of a polysyndeton. My English teacher would be proud! Also, why is such a grammatical term marked with a red dotted line? I did spell it correctly. Ah, the english language for you las damas y los cabelleros (ladies and gentlemen, respectively, in the Spanish language of course.)

Moving on, as ineffectual as improper time management is, I pray that I will begin to hold a constant awareness of how I am spending my time, and if my use is of value to God and myself. Time management is something that I may never achieve in finesse, but I don’t expect to. It’ll take a lot of learning experience and decisive wisdom on my part to not get too carried away. Life has an abundance of ups and downs and ins and outs, and I intend to live my life fully for Jesus.  All the same, this doesn’t necessarily mean that from now in every second of my time will be enjoyable, restful, productive, or ‘useful’ and ‘efficient’. I can assure you that I will still procrastinate, for I am a teenager and sometimes things just don’t feel like they need to be done.

Still, I am all over setting a realistic goal for myself, in order to hone my time management abilities. By the grace, mercy, and undeserved blood of God, I am ever grateful to be equipped with the strength to do all things, including juggling my time.

With a sleepy, thankful heart, and many blessings your way,

–D. Fayth

Believe, Aspire, and Live Inspired

Inspiration and revelation always seem to come to me at the latest hours. Anyways, I do believe this all started because tonight my volleyball practice was far from perfect. I was definitely not performing at my best, and it became very frustrating. I managed to allow the “I can’t” whisper creep into my head, and therefore, I couldn’t.

Volleyball is, like many other sports, a very mental game. You need to maintain a positive mindset so that when the ball comes to you, you will pass it well. It sounds simple, but…it’s not. Easier said than done: the general rule for most situations in life. As I replayed my mistakes in my head, shed silent tears, and blamed blameless people in my mind, I realized I was wrong.

I had approached it the wrong way. My father reminded me: “You’ve done it hundreds of times before correctly, you can do it. If you think you can’t, then you won’t be able to. You will go through so many bigger mistakes and regrets in life than this, and you just have to pick yourself up and brave through.” As the saying goes, believe you can and you’re halfway there.

A verse came to mind as I prayed to put my old mindset to rest. I need to believe in myself and in Jesus, who has blessed me with all my earthly abilities, and who gives me strength.

This verse is widely known for a reason. It is so applicable to each and every aspect of my life, of our lives. Tonight, particularly my volleyball abilities and performance. Yes, I made mistakes. But who cares? So what? Everyone makes mistakes. God knows that and He forgives us. It is not God’s goal for us to strive to be perfect, but rather it is the effort to do good in His name that counts. To live a life for Him, and spread His loves to others. He understands what its like to be a Christian teenager in this day and age.

It’s hard. I am friends with some amazing Christian youth like myself, and we all have wonderful intentions. I like to pray for others, and whenever I ask my friends for their prayers I almost always receive requests for courage to speak out and live their Christianity. Society and pressure in this century is overwhelming, and it’s no easy feat to share your faith just like that. Lots of Christian teens struggle with the fear of judgement, including me. I believe that there isn’t much value in comparing yourself to others, because every individual is unique. God made us all ourselves, and there is always someone out there who is better and worse than you at everything. Since this is the case, why are we even trying to begin to compare ourselves with anyone else? No one is lesser than I, but God still loves me all the same.

It is extremely important to always remember that He loves us unconditionally. That is something that I too often forget. He cares for us, and even if we go out and speak of our faith and get looked at like the weird kid, He is there for us. God is an understanding God, but He is also a God who pushes us to do things we could never imagine doing by ourselves. The good news is that we don’t have to do what He asks of us alone.

It is extremely valuable to believe in yourself, and to believe in Jesus. For through Christ Jesus you can do all things, for He gives you strength.

By the time my next practice rolls around, no I won’t be perfect, and no it won’t go perfectly, but I can approach it with confidence and trust in my abilities, because God will give me strength.

Believe in yourself, live and love for Jesus, and aspire to the best of your ability, because Jesus is with you every step of the way. We have no reason to fear.

We all fall short of the glory of God. Remember that.

Nevertheless, He sent His son to forgive us our sins, and we can thank Him for that by going through life and giving God the glory. Hallelujah, He works wonders through us.

Amen.

The True Source of Satisfaction

Today I bring to you something that is on my heart. This is not a post solely because I’ve been neglecting Scripture Sunday, but lately I’ve been feeling increasingly dissatisfied with, to put it simply, life and all the events that have been occurring.

Yes, there are moments that I am filled with God’s joy, especially when I am in the company of loved ones. However, my devotion tonight brought to light several convictions of mine.

I will say it straightforward and bluntly:

I have been seeking satisfaction in worldly things. A more temporal viewpoint has replaced what should be striving to grow and gain from Jesus.

Material possessions, and more recently, positions, have been clouding my mind and hogging my focus. That new MacBook that I want to buy so badly, and the question of if I have a job or not have plagued me with anxiety and such dissatisfaction these past days.

I’ve been finding myself not spending time doing devotions, but instead wasting my time on things that are meaningless in comparison.

I am 100% guilty of spending more time on mobile devices than in God’s word by far.

The one blessing I’ve especially felt in this past week is Christian music. I am still immersed in Tenth Avenue North’s new album, and listening and worshipping to Christian music has been a positive and uplifting experience.

Still, I find myself painfully regretful of how I’ve lost my focus. In retrospect, this has been a trial and learning experience. This is said completely and honestly from experience: pursuing anything other than Jesus is unsatisfied.

Becoming obsessed with myself and worldy materials and events concerning me for the longest time has resulted in thorough unsatisfaction.

Looking back in particular, this past week, my eyes have been opened to so much I have mistakenly done.

Seeking satisfaction anywhere other than Jesus leads me to unhappiness and a permanent state of misery/dreariness.

Although mistakes have been made, God will work in me to help me to correct them.

Through my weakness, He is strong.

Today in church we broke into small groups and discussed different topics. My group’s topic was living beyond our emotions.

I feel as if this topic was given specifically to me for this current realization:

His grace is sufficient for me, and through my weakness He will help me to do better things.

The verse I just read in my devotions tonight goes like this:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)

I am blessed to have had this eye-opening reflection of this past week, and helpful realizations and scripture today to realize it.

It is with a cleaner conscience, a sense of peace, and a little more swing on my step that I press forward into the new week with God in me.

The Lord is the true source of satisfaction.

It is in Him that we will find hope, love, grace, mercy, and peace. I am praying that I will go about living and learning with a more heavenly perspective constantly in heart. Confessing my convictions is the first step to correctly prioritizing my life, and I hope to be held accountable to fully rearranging how I live.

I will stumble, and it won’t be easy. However, His grace and strength will give me strength.

Hallelujah, He works wonders.

Savoring Life

Recently I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to “worry” about the future and pray for it at any given time. I am very aware of my anxiety in many aspects of my life already, but I have rightfully discovered that anxiety consumes and does not give.

As for the worrying about the future, or praying for the future..I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but I feel it weighing my mind down and dampening my ability to enjoy and ‘savor’ each day we live.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that  I want to live life as it’s given to us. I want to be thankful and joyful for every breath and every second here on earth that God has blessed me with.

Sure, what happens in the future or upcoming plans you have do matter. The future is big and intimidating and there are endless possibilities of incidents that could happen etc. However, should we let all these wants and fears cloud our minds so that we constantly pray and forget to enjoy life?

Every moment is something special, trials and errors, mishaps or blessings.

Forget about all the problems that may be, because I can assure you that problems will occur no matter how hard you pray.

Just remember that God is there with us, every step of the way.

Take a day or a moment, and just savor the life we live that the Creator blessed us with.

–Fayth

Psalm 55:1-2

Listen to my prayer, O God,
    do not ignore my plea;
    hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

How Do I Want to Live

If you’ve read some of my previous “deep” posts on this blog you may have taken a guess that I’m not exactly the most cheery optimistic person you’ll ever meet. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m a pessimist, but I’m not on the other end of that scale either. Certainly, I have been called out on acting pessimistic in some way or another on occasion.

Anyways, on to the subject. Recently I’ve been eagerly counting down the days until summer. There are only 23.5 days of school left, and I am looking forward to when the count is down to 0. Nonetheless, I’ve also reasoned with myself and I realize that I don’t necessarily want to have that outlook on life at the moment.

Maybe this is all those quotes that I see catching up to me. They read something similar to, “don’t live all your life for Fridays, weekends, and the summer, live for now”. I feel as though God is telling me to really contemplate this though, and so, I shall.

How is it possible to have fun in school when you’re just looking ahead to summer? With your focus on the future, it’s often quite hard to live life to the fullest in the present. However, my life motto is not exactly “carpe diem” or “live life to the fullest”. No, what I want to live by, and what I try to live by is in the footsteps of Christ. Each morning I tell myself to remember that He is with me throughout the day, and that I should live for Him.

That’s what I tell myself, but do I live up to that? To be honest, I really have no idea. I have my faults, I stumble, I stutter, I disappoint myself in staying quiet, I find joy in new friendship, and I sin like the rest of us. I ask myself, am I just saying that I’ll do this? Or am I actually doing this? More often than not I feel as though I’m living for myself, and not for Him.

The truth is, I don’t have the strength alone to go about my day with a positive attitude and living for Jesus. Simultaneously, I also don’t have the time to let Satan give me doubt and get preoccupied with it.

This weekend I got the chance to listen to the inspirational Joni Eareckson Tada speak, and wow is she inspiring. She went through so much and still has managed to serve and find happiness thorough her trials. So, again, I alone don’t have the strength, but God does.

God can, and will give me the strength.

I pray that God will give me the strength to go about these next five weeks and live my life for Him in school. I only have the opportunity to serve Him in high school for so long, and so now isn’t the time to cop out. I appreciate your prayers as well and am very appreciative that you’ve taken the time to actually read and listen to what I’ve just written.

Bless you,

–Fayth