A Quick Note on Fear

This morning while I was in the middle of my daily quiet time with the Lord, I started thinking about how often I worry about things. I stress about a lot, and oftentimes they are things that don’t really need to be stressed about that much. And then I started to think about how much control I give fear in my life sometimes.

Then I thought about that sentence a little more.

…how much control I give fear in my life…

That word “give” hit me really hard.

I let fear dictate my thoughts.

I let fear distract me from the promises of Jesus Christ found in Scripture. I dwell on whatever thing it is I’m stressing about and I let it fester in my mind until I’ve created a fictitious situation too difficult for me to handle. Fear has no power on it’s own. The only power fear has is the power I give it when I let it have the reins of my thoughts.

Ephesians 4:26 talks about not giving “the devil a foothold” by dwelling on anger. I wonder if the same principle applies to fear. If all we do is focus on the source of our anxiety, then we aren’t focusing on God’s promises. We aren’t mediating on Scripture. We aren’t praying. We’re forgetting about our greatest weapons against Satan’s tactics.

We forget that we are God’s children (Galatians 4:7).

We forget that He is greater than anything in this world (1 John 4:4).

We forget that His love for us is unchanging (Romans 8:38-39).

We forget that He is the source of peace (John 14:27).

Fear is nothing more than a distraction. A very powerful distraction, but just a distraction nonetheless. The object of our fear (physical harm, financial trouble, etc) may be real, but fear itself is a battle tactic to make us turn our eyes away from Jesus. It makes us think that said object of our fear is somehow greater than our Creator, our Redeemer–the one who created the entire world and who has already defeated death.

But our God is greater than anything this world throws our way.

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Life Doesn’t Always Go as Planned, and That’s OK

I like to have a plan.

I’m a huge fan of calendars, to-do lists, and figuring details out way in advance. I’m that one person who’s always early to events and needs to know exactly where and when things will be taking place. Needless to say, I don’t like surprises.

Interestingly, 2017 has been full of lots of surprises

And BIG changes of plans.

At this same time last year, I would have told you exactly what I had planned for my life. I knew exactly where I was going to college, how long I would be there, what I would major in, and what my post-college job would be. I knew what my publishing journey would look like. I knew exactly who I would be and what I would accomplish.

All of that changed over the course of a couple months.

I don’t know how everyone else reacts, but when my life does a complete 180, I find adjusting to the shift to be 1000000000% overwhelming. How dare something interfere with the meticulously-detailed life plan I had. It drives me crazy to have to re-figure things out. I start to feel lost without my trusty outline.

I think one of the biggest things God is teaching me this year is to let go of my expectations for myself and give everything to Him.

It’s so hard to do, when I’m holding on so tight to what’s easy and familiar. Or what seems like the best path with the limited knowledge I have. Oftentimes, I think God is saying, “Not that way. I have something better for you over here. Just trust me.”

But giving my dreams and goals to God is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I want instant gratification. I want things to go exactly how I want them to, without any hiccups. I want to feel successful by accomplishing what I planned to. At least, my idea of what successful is.

Instead God called me to other things. I’m going to attend a different college this fall and pursue a different major. My ideas for my post-college jobs has significantly shifted, too. I’m self-publishing instead of landing a contract with a major publishing house. My summer plans haven’t turned out quite as I anticipated. I’m still trying to figure everything out. The details aren’t set in stone. With some of it I have no idea what I’m doing. At all. I’m being introduced to some ridiculously-new concepts that go way over my head.

But the funny thing is, I can already see God’s hand in all of it.

I can see how He’s growing me and how He’s going to use me. My mindset is changing. I’m no longer holding on to my own plans with a clenched fist, not sure what to do when they’re yanked from my grasp by the circumstances of life. I’m slowly letting go, telling Him that He can use what I have to offer however He wants.

Loosening my grip on the thing most important to me–having a crystal-clear vision for what my future will look like–has been a growing process in and of itself.

I’m already seeing the benefits of the things to come. I’m excited for how they might turn out. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, that moment when I look back and say “Wow. God really saved me from something”. I’m already experiencing a bit of that moment. It’s not what I planned, but something tells me it’s going to be really awesome in the end.

I don’t need to cling to my own me-centered plans.

My wonderful Savior has my hand and is leading me on.

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Who Am I?

Our identity is a big thing.

We put a lot of emphasis into who we are. We wear our identity proudly. We want everyone to know our opinions, our beliefs, our aspirations. There are a lot of things that we think define us. Things that we think make up the essence of who we are. Sometimes I wonder about this. What do people think when they talk to me?

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Why We Need Community

Final exams are coming up this week.

It’s pretty crazy to think about—I’m one week away from finishing my first year of Bible college. It seems like just yesterday my parents dropped me off at my dorm, and I was terrified about starting such a new, scary, and exciting chapter of my life. Now I’m making plans for the summer.

I’ve grown a lot—I had my very first job, my very first job, and a whole lot of other “firsts” these past two semesters. I’ve learned a lot, too, about doctrine and theology and apologetics and literature and all kinds of other things. But outside of my studies, I’ve learned a lot of things about life and relationships and my goals. If there’s one thing I’ve learned more than anything else, it’s the importance of relationships.

We were created to have community with each other.

I’m writing this while sitting in a coffee shop with two of my friends (I should technically be memorizing verses for a final *cough cough*). It dawned on me how close I’ve become with several of the girls who go to college with me. Summer is coming up, and I’m going to miss a lot of things.

The movie nights.

The coffee dates.

The sudden decisions to go get lunch off-campus and chat for hours.

The distraction-filled “study times” in the library.

The Bible studies.

This year has taught me just how important community is. Getting through the last year, which was filled with a lot of good things but also some homesickness and heartbreak and frustration and exhaustion, would have been really tough without the friends who were there to encourage me and pray for me.

We were created to have relationships. After God created Adam, He then created Eve because He realized that Adam shouldn’t be alone. God wants us to have deep friendships with people we can laugh with and cry to and share our hopes and dreams with. We shouldn’t go through life alone, trying to figure everything out without help from the people around us. We need people who are going to stand by us no matter what, and I definitely found that at Bible college.

It’s truly a special thing.

Here’s to the friends who have made my life pretty awesome and to the adventures we will have in the future. 🙂

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Entertainment and the Value of Human Life

I remember taking an American Literature class my senior year of high school. I really enjoyed it, and not just because I love reading and I love history (especially American history). I found it fascinating, because it showed me how entertainment not only reflects culture, but also influences it. When I looked at the various time periods, I saw how the books, poems, and short stories written expressed how people felt at that time. I witnessed how society viewed God, morality, science, technology, government, etc.

We oftentimes dismiss entertainment as just that. Entertainment. Movies, books, and songs make us laugh, stir our emotions, and provide a brief respite from the reality of life.

But there is something deeper to entertainment that we often fail to realize.

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Purposeful Pages: September 2016

Hello, everyone!

I know it’s been a long time since I lost posted anything here…and I apologize! My schedule has been pretty crazy since I started college, but I’m going to try to be more consistent in the future!

Last month I participated in Purposeful Pages, “a monthly link-up designed to unite bloggers on answering questions about life, blogging, the Bible, writing, and books”. The link up was created by two Christian teens who run the blogs Scattered Journal Pages and Furious Ever Afters.

Well, this month I decided to do the September round of questions! 🙂

purposeful-pages-meme

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Should Christian Fiction Be More “Realistic”?

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of debate about whether or not Christian books should contain profanity and immoral content to make them more “realistic”. The argument is that we’re in the world, therefore, Christian authors need to include foul language and immorality to accurately portray human nature.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I want to add my opinion as to why I disagree with adding inappropriate content to Christian entertainment.

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What Writing Has Taught Me About God’s Will

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

The world’s a rough place.

Death, poverty, illness, war, cruelty…our world is filled with horrible things that we see on the news and deal with in our personal lives. And yet the Bible tells us God has a perfect plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Like in the verse above, God’s Word frequently reminds us of His goodness and His sovereignty.

Sometimes it’s hard to see amidst the chaos and hardship of life.

And yet, oddly, I’ve learned something about this verse….through writing fiction.

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Why I Love (and Write) Speculative Fiction

I love speculative fiction.

Most of what I read falls under the speculative category, and it’s also the genre I write in.

What is speculative fiction? Basically, it’s a general term to describe all genres that fall under science fiction and fantasy categories. Dystopian, time travel, fantasy, space operas….the list could go on and on.

In the secular market, characters in fantasy often use witchcraft and believe in multiple deities. Dystopian tends to be dark, depressing, and godless. Sci-fi tends to be evolution-based. Most secular speculative fiction often seems to promote a worldview contrary to what the Bible teaches.

Which is why I think there needs to be more speculative fiction in the Christian industry.

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