caring, community, credos, eternal matters, forgiveness, God, inspiration, life, life lessons, purpose, Uncategorized

If I Could Do It Over

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, and the triumphs and regrets. I think it’s very important for everyone to take time to examine their own lives, and make the appropriate and necessary changes so that they can live their lives to the fullest and make a positive impact in their world. Here are some of my regrets in life and what I’ve learned from them to make my life better now:

  1. If I could do it over, I would forgive and let go more— I wouldn’t waste precious time fighting with another or holding grudges against someone. So many times, people have hurt me and I’ve, unfortunately, over and over again, held a grudge against them for too long, often not even attempting to understand their motivation or reasoning behind it, however faulty that may be. This resentment and bitterness I held in my heart started to build up more and more, and started to poison my other relationships as well. I became less caring and less committed to these other relationships, and often the people in them had nothing to do with the offending party! In the future, I would let go and let God dispense the appropriate justice. I would be more merciful and more understanding to those people who had hurt me, and try to be kind to them even if I didn’t feel like it.
  2. If I could do it over, I would not sweat the small stuff-– I wouldn’t waste precious time worrying about things, especially that which I couldn’t control or change. I would just go with the flow more, and cope with things as they came instead of trying to “prepare” ahead of time by worrying about how I will cope. I would also let go of being upset or worried about the small inconveniences of life such as bad traffic or being assigned at work to straighten five aisles instead of my usual four (Most people who work with me have about three aisles to straighten.), which, in eternity, probably wouldn’t even be remembered by me!
  3. If I could do it over, I would have let God into my life earlier-– I would have gained interest in the Christian life and all it contains earlier. I would not have spent so much time living only for myself. I would have helped more people willingly, and not begrudgingly or because I “had to”. I am so glad that I became a Christian and discovered much joy living in God’s will. I am also so thankful for the Christian community that I am part of now, and for God giving me (I believe) salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
  4. If I could do it over, I would be more thankful for what God had given me already, instead of thinking about or obsessing over what I didn’t have.– Even two years ago, part of my focus was on hopefully finding a significant other and hopefully having children of my own. I became despondent and discouraged because God hadn’t (and still hasn’t) given me either of those so far. Thinking about all this made me lose sight of all God has already blessed me with so far, to my disadvantage.  Now, that isn’t even an issue anymore, and I would accept it if God’s will is that I never have a husband or children. I would not wallow in self-pity or despair. I would continue giving myself to God and others.
  5. If I could do it over, I would be more bold in sharing my beliefs and opinions with others.— I would not be so afraid of what others would think, say, or do to me for expressing those opinions and/or beliefs. Instead, I would trust that God has my back, and just make sure I communicated my beliefs and opinions in love, respecting the others’ beliefs, while still staying true to my own.
  6. If I could do it over, I would spend more time developing relationships with others. –I would put more effort into the people in my life right now, beginning with my family. I would talk to them more, about life and their interests, not only my interests and concerns. I would talk to more people about deep, spiritual things, and also more secular, laid-back things. I would spend more time with people that meant the most to me, and also developing relationships that, in my opinion, needed more work.

Sure I have had regrets in my life, but the good thing is that I am learning from them, and trying to change them into advantages for my life. I hope that everyone can find something of value from this writing today, and apply it to their lives as well.  We only get one shot at this life; make it count for positive!

community, eternal matters, illness, inspiration, life, life lessons, suffering

What I Learned During My Past Illness

In 2014, one day when I was working at my previous job, I suddenly had intense sharp pains in my back and side. My family and I thought they were just muscle pains from lifting heavy things. (This job involved some heavy lifting, and if any of you have met me in person, you know that I am quite small physically!) . One Friday, I got home from work and started to have diarrhea, chills, and fever, accompanied with the side and back pain. I knew I was in trouble the next day when I started to vomit blood. At this point, I had already tried many over-the-counter medications and other relief agents, but none of them worked. I had to call off work that day and go to the emergency room (ER). Immediately!

Going to the ER

When I went to the ER, after many hours and many tests, and even an ultrasound,  the doctors/nurses/surgeons/technicians discover two main things: 1) My gall bladder was inflamed and twice the size it should have been! 2.) I had several gall stones! Surgery to remove my gall bladder was scheduled the next day. I couldn’t sleep at all the previous night because of the stomach pains and diarrhea that occurred about every two hours. However, by the time I had the surgery, I was exhausted. The surgery couldn’t come soon enough!

Just before surgery, they gave me medications to induce sleep, and I was out in about two minutes. I woke up a couple of hours later, my body shaking a little, but quickly it calmed down with medication.

Recovery

I had trouble walking at a normal pace for the first few days after surgery, and I had trouble keeping food down. However, afterwards I was basically fine. At work, under doctors’ orders, I was not allowed to lift more than 5-10 pounds (about a gallon of milk) for a month after surgery.  However, I did get a point (point=punishment, closer to getting fired) for calling off to go the ER the day I went.

During this ordeal, I learned several things about life and how to deal with things:

  1. If you experience unusual or sudden pain, take it seriously. Go get it checked out immediately! –I was relating this story to a friend of mine at my current job, and she said to me, ” You could have died, especially if your gall bladder had burst!” Luckily for me, it hadn’t, and I was able to get it treated just in time. So, if you experience any unusual or sudden symptoms of pain or other signs of illness, it’s best to get it fixed ASAP. Your life may depend on it!
  2. Your pain won’t last forever— Whether you are faced with a minor illness or a life-threatening one, know the pain you are feeling now probably won’t last forever. It often feels that way, and your feelings should be acknowledged, both by yourself and others. However, try not to despair like I had after surgery. During my recovery, I was mostly confined to my house for a week, and couldn’t enjoy many things I wanted to do. So, I became very depressed and despondent. However, this did not last long. A week later, I was able to return to work and the pain eventually subsided.  Even if your pain or recovery lasts longer, don’t lose hope of things getting better. Keep on persevering even if you feel like giving up. This shows your strength and endurance not only to people around you, but also yourself. It does get better.
  3. Your health is WAY more important than your job— I was working in pain for the two weeks before I called off to go the ER, and I had to call off that day, because if I hadn’t, I could very well have not made it out alive, and never been able to enjoy any of the blessings that I have today! It is true that I had to suffer the consequences of having called off that one day (They fortunately gave me authorized sick leave for the other week I was off). However, it was much less than if I had to physically die, never to enjoy or see life’s fruits again!
  4. You’re stronger than you think— I always thought I was not only weak emotionally, but physically as well. However, when I was sick, I realized the opposite. I was surprised and humbled that I was able to work 2 weeks with an enlarged gallbladder and gall stones in my body! Also, I believe God gave me the strength to survive this ordeal and make it out alive, and this is a testament to His grace and love for me.  When you go through trials, I believe many of you will find out similarly as well. You are stronger than you may think you are!

If you have the unfortunate experience of being sick or having a long-term illness, take it seriously. However, realize that this pain probably won’t last forever. Either you will go into eternity or you will get better.  Focus on the relationships you deem the most important. For me, it’s God, family, and friends, in that order, and remember if you are able to persevere, you will come out of this stronger!

boundaries, caring, community, credos, forgiveness, genuineness, inspiration, life, life lessons, prayer, work

How To Get Along With Difficult People

We all have them in our lives-People that we either don’t get along with at all, or just people that are more challenging to cope with to us.  However, sooner or later, we will be confronted with someone whom we must get along with even if it is rather difficult to do so. Using what I learned from various experiences in my life, here’s what I found are effective ways to cope with them:

  1. Don’t argue or fight with them— In my own life, I had several people who just refused to see “my side of things,” and I just tried to argue them to my side–of course to no avail! I also found the more we argued about things, the angrier I felt, and the more hopeless I felt that they’d ever be reconciled to me, or I to them. However, I found that trying to find a compromise with them, or even just letting them have their way sometimes works to avoid tense arguments with people.  For instance, if we wanted to order food for a party, and they wanted to order ice cream  for everyone, and I wanted pizza instead.-instead of me trying to argue that we should order pizza, I would just either let them order ice cream since most people would probably like either anyway, or we order half pizza and half ice cream. That way, everyone gets what they wanted. I get my pizza, and he or she gets their ice cream.
  2. Find their “Light.”–This idea originated with Rachel Scott, one of my faith heroes, in her essay “My Codes, My Ethics,” which can be found here. It basically means to find something admirable about them, other than their outer appearance. For instance, a person that I had trouble getting along with before can be a really hard worker. Additionally, this person is often very flexible. However, I would never have found that out or considered this had I only focused on all their negative personality traits! After finding their positive trait or traits (i.e.. their Light), I would try to cultivate that positive trait by encouraging them in it. For instance, I would say to that aforementioned person, “I find it really encouraging that you worked really diligently on  project today. I think it will turn out wonderfully! ” Be specific in your praise or encouragement. Name specific instances in which the person cultivate that trait. Also, be genuine and heart felt about your praise. People know whether you are being “fake” in your praise or if you genuinely mean it.
  3. Try to understand them and their point of view–If the difficult person has hurt you, try to understand their motivation behind it. It’s usually not completely malicious. Were they having a bad day? Do you rub them the wrong way? Are they going through or have they gone through something stressful or traumatic recently or in their recent past? Are they just plain evil or malicious? In order to understand their motivation, you need to attempt to cultivate some type of communication with them. You may just need to be honest and ask them, “Why aren’t we getting along?” or even “Why do you feel the need to hurt me by doing “X”?” and name specific instances where they have hurt you. Then, you will be able to find out their motivation. If they are just evil, then stay far away from them until they come to their senses and repent, but this is often rarely the case. If they are going through something stressful or traumatic, try to encourage or comfort them through it. Be there to offer them any moral support they may want or need. Did you contribute in any way to their hurting you? For instance, did you display a snarky attitude and as a result they shot back nasty words towards you (not right on their part, but understandable), apologize and make amends. I must note, that yes all and any of these situations are not excuses for anyone to hurt us, and get away from an abuser if you are able to, but trying to understand their motivation may make it easier to be at peace with them and be able to forgive them.
  4. If they come to their senses or repent, forgive them–This is easier said than done. We don’t forgive for them, or because they “deserve” it. No one deserves our forgiveness, and we don’t deserve anyone else’s either. Forgiveness is an act of grace one offers to another.  We forgive to rid ourselves of the anger, bitterness, and resentment in our souls that eats us up and threatens to destroy our other relationships or at least make them less fulfilling to us.  Also, forgiveness does not mean that the person responsible for hurting us does not need to face consequences for their actions. You are absolutely allowed (and it would be wise) to set boundaries and, if applicable, reparations be made for you and the other people affected that they hurt.
  5. If you are religious, pray for them.–I am a Christian, and one of my friends at church told me to pray for a person with whom I had problems, and to my surprise, prayer helped! My friend told me that I had to pray good things for them, and nothing bad or snarky. So, I did. I would also encourage people to thank God for specific qualities of that difficult person that are admirable. This goes back to 2.)–finding qualities of that person that are admirable or positive. Also, pray to God for the difficult person’s heart to be softened.  Praying like this changed my attitude towards them. The attitude I have towards this person now compared to before I prayed for them is nothing short of miraculous! I believe God works in mysterious and amazing ways, so we can be at peace with everyone  (or at least almost everyone).

We all have difficult people that we must cope with in our lives, whether it be people in our families, people at work or school, or in other places. In order to be successful in society, we must learn to effectively work or cope with them.  I hope these tips will help us to cope better in these challenging situations.  May we be a Light shining in the darkness, and be able to cope effectively with these difficult people, and maybe even befriend them!

caring, community, eternal matters, genuineness, goals, God, inspiration, joy, purpose, truth, Uncategorized, work

Things I Want to Do Before I Die (and why)

It can be a sad fact of life—we have a limited amount of time here on earth. However, I believe that we should make the most of it. To me, this is by setting goals and by working as diligently as possible to accomplish them. Here are just some of my lifetime goals:

  1. Lead at least one person to Christ.—I want to be able to do this, not just for the sake of “converting” people, which I can’t do anyway.–Why?-That is for a discussion in another post at another time. However, I just want to be able to see someone experience the fullness of God’s love and forgiveness in their lives, like I have experienced.
  2. Glorify God with everything I have.–I want to do this so that God will be pleased with me when I die, and also to share God’s love with others. Instead of hearing, ” Depart from me, you evildoer.” from God after I die, I want to hear, ” Well done, good and faithful one.” I don’t want to just be average, but I want to excel. I expect a lot out of myself to accomplish for God.
  3. Move up in the job where I am right now— Right now I am just a sales associate, but would like to move up someday not only so that I get a bigger paycheck, but also so I can minister to more people and have more of an impact. I would also like to be able to find a job more easily should the company I’m in right now lay me off or go bankrupt, which I hope won’t happen any time soon!
  4. Be a better person– I would like to strive to be a more relatable, less angry person so that I could maximize my impact in this world for the positive. I also strive to be a better person through glorifying God and growing in my faith as a Christian believer.
  5. Become a published author– Whether it will be through this blog or through my poetry or other writings I may create, I hope to be able to publish something that people will actually read and enjoy someday. One of my favorite authors is Dave Burchett whose blog can be found here.
  6. Learn more about different topics-Whether it be social justice issues, feminism, my faith in Christ, or creation, I would like to learn as much as possible about the world around me, so that I can understand and serve it better. I also believe the phrase, “Knowledge is power,” and would like to be able to use that Knowledge power for good to those around me.
  7. Become a better writer– I want to constantly perfect my craft (i.e. writing) and write things that will not only interest other people, but will also get people to think about their  lives and why and how they are living it. I also want to tidy up my grammatical and spelling errors, so that I don’t make them the next time.  I would like to be able to say things in such a way that it is not only concise, but says exactly what I want to say and what I want readers to hear.
  8. Impact as much people as possible. This is what one of my faith heroes, Rachel Joy Scott, would call a “chain reaction.” I would like to not only impact one person ,but as many souls as possible, for the good. I would like people to feel loved and appreciated by me, and if they are not and I have a bad day, then I would like to be humble enough to sincerely apologize and repent.
  9. Tell people about my beliefs, and listen to others’ beliefs- This means not only my religious beliefs, but all beliefs. Yes, there are some people who probably would not want to hear them, and that’s OK. I will not share them with those people, and I respect them. However, for those who want to hear, I will share them, but at the same time try to understand their beliefs and how they are similar and different with mine and come to an understanding.
  10.  Cultivate more joy in my life– I would like to cultivate not just happiness, which is fleeting, but true, lasting joy! I would like to enjoy things as much as possible. I will strive to do this by being passionate about my interests and goals, and by trying to enjoy each moment God has given me to live on this earth. I will try to at least list three things (either in a personal journal or in my head) of things I’m grateful for each day .
community, credos, genuineness, integrity, life, life lessons, truth, Uncategorized

The Importance of Integrity

Note: This post is made in honor and at the suggestion of my good online friend, Katrin Rosinski, whose blog can be found here.

It is not an understatement to say lying and a lack of integrity is prevalent in our world today. According to a 2002 study by the University of Massachusetts,  60% of adults cannot hold a 10 minute conversation without lying at least once (bold emphasis mine- source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/30609/60-people-cant-go-10-minutes-without-lying). That is more than half of all adults and is a sad indictment of our society today.

I have mentioned in another post five character traits that  people I admire have, and one of them by far is integrity. Everyone needs at least some integrity, and I would vouch—almost complete integrity to make a long-standing positive difference in their world.  These are some reasons why having integrity is important, not only to me, but also the entire world:

  1. Integrity shows genuineness of who you are.—If you pretend to be someone else, no one will ever know or like who you really are. This may seem “safe” and “comfortable,” especially when one has something to hide or if they are afraid of their real selves being rejected and tossed like garbage. This is why I try to never reject anyone, except if my physical or emotional safety is in danger. However, in the long run, your real self will be exposed anyway, because we are not made to “hide ourselves.”  Why not just be forthright and honest in the first place? If people don’t like that you are honest with who you are, then they are not the people you want as friends and confidants in the first place!
  2. Integrity shows that you can be depended upon.—One of my pet peeves with people is when they say or promise they will do something, and then they don’t do it.  I understand that people get busy or forget, but if that’s the case, then apologize.  Tell the person you promised, “I’m very sorry I forgot about doing x. How about I do it at x time–or a time convenient for you instead?” This lets the person know that you weren’t trying to lie to them about doing x thing, just that you got sidetracked.  Otherwise, when you promise something, by all means, do it! Even if you don’t feel like doing x thing that you promised anymore, still do it!  This is called “keeping your word.” When you show people that you can be depended on, people will not only admire you, but will also respect you more.
  3. Integrity shows you can be trusted.—When you don’t lie to people, it shows people that they can trust you. One of the ways one can show integrity is to not share other people’s secrets with another without the secret-bearer’s permission. Of course, in certain cases, like if the person tells you to keep secret that they are planning to hurt themselves or others, then of course this does not apply.  For another example,  when you find a sizable amount of money or a credit card that does not belong to you, instead of helping yourself to them, you strive to give it back to its owner.  In these examples of someone expressing integrity, the person bearing the results of the one with integrity should be able to trust him or her because of his or her honesty and trustworthiness.
  4. Integrity shows you are willing to sacrifice yourself or your reputation to defend and honor truth.–This is certainly the case when one is truthful about a mistake he or she or someone else made, even when it costs something to him or her.  For instance, let’s say a vendor undercharged a person by $2.00. Most people will just think to themselves, “Yay! I am getting a $2.00 discount on this thing.” and just leave it at that. However, a person with integrity would go back and tell the vendor, “Hey, you undercharged me by $2.00. Here’s the $2.00,” and hand them the bill or bills.  Most people would probably think, “Why is the person so stupid? He or she could have saved $2.00 by not going back to the vendor.” Maybe so, but the costs of lying–such as not being able to be trusted and being looked on with suspicion if the vendor does find out about the $2.00, is not worth saving a couple dollars.  Also, when you make a mistake and you are able to admit it, it not only shows selfless sacrifice of your reputation in order to defend what’s true, but it also shows great humility. My life experiences (and probably yours too) have shown that there are more people who respect and admire humility than an arrogant person who claims to “do no wrong.”

I’m sure that there are many more reasons why having integrity is so important. Integrity is much needed today, and we all need to do our part to make sure that we live as people of integrity and truth, and not as fake liars.  I understand that some people hurt and are afraid to tell the truth, but as they say, “The truth will set you free.” As I share more of my life with people, I know this to be the case.  Having integrity and being willing to seek and defend truth, and being willing to love and sacrifice, is what will truly make this world a better place to live.

caring, community, God, life, life lessons, love, Uncategorized, work

Why I Work

Disclaimer: There will be religious/Christian content. Please no disparaging or snarky comments on this post, or it will be deleted. Thank you, and happy reading….

Types of workThere are three primary types of work that I may refer to, these are:

  1. Paid Work- This is typically what most people consider a “job,” whether it is part time, full time, or by contract.  It is usually, but not always, outside the home, and usually provides one’s income.
  2. Household Chores-This is what people do to maintain the home they live in. These can include, but are not limited to, such things as taking out the trash, dish washing, cleaning the house, laundry, and cooking.
  3. Emotional work-This is the work it takes to interact with another person. It may involve such things as taking care of an elderly person or child, interacting with a boss or a client, or even one’s family and friends.

Why I work:

I am blessed to have a paid job, but I will also refer to the other two types of work, where applicable, as well.  However, my primary focus will be on my paid job.

1.) To glorify God-–For all three types of work I do, I do them (hopefully) to glorify God. I believe that since God sacrificed and was and is willing to go the distance for me, I should be willing to do the same for Him.  This is why I aim to do everything I can do to work heartily and with all my heart. When I do my paid work, I want to be sure to do the very best I can. When I do household chores, I want to do the best I can not only because I want where I live to look neat and livable, but also because doing my best glorifies God. I am willing to put in the effort in my relationships not just so people will like and respect me, but because that is how Jesus lived as well, and I want to glorify God in my relationships with others too.

2.) To serve others– I don’t just want to work at my paid job to earn money, although that is important too, but also to make a positive difference in others’ lives as well.  When I help a customer, I don’t want to do it just to get some promotion, but also to make the customer feel cared for and happy.  When I do what a manager tells me to, it’s not just to impress them, but also to help serve them so that they can get everything done they need to without me being a distraction or hindrance to their goals.  When I do a favor for a fellow associate, it’s not just to get brownie points from them, but to help make their job easier and more satisfying. I don’t just want to live for myself, because that is unfulfilling to me. When I take the time to invest in my relationships with others, it’s not just so people will love me, although that may be a nice “side-effect,” but so others may know God’s love and also to help them feel loved and appreciated. Also, when I die, I want to leave a legacy for others to want to follow, not one that they will frown at in disgust.

3.) To be able to provide for my family and myself, and to give some to others– This is the reason most people want to have or have a paid job.  Yes, God does provide for me through my job and I am so grateful for that. However, if my family needs something, I also want to be able to help them out. I also want to be able to give to the church and others who may need some help, so that they won’t lack what they need. This is also to glorify God.

 

These are the three main reasons why I work. Though I do work my paid job for a paycheck, that is not the only or even primary reason why I work. Personally, I think God has put me in the places where I frequent: Work, church, home, other places, not by accident, but to give me ample opportunities to share His love there.