Hate = Murder

How dislike, jealousy, covetousness, bitterness grows into actual hate. What do we do about it?

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I’ve been reading a lot lately about loving one another. I mean, I even have several posts already written (and in the process of being written) that are all about this idea of brotherly love.

I’m currently reading a book by Karen Ehman titled Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World.

While I read part of me thinks, “Oh yeah, I know this,” or “Oh yeah, I can do that.”

But truth be told, I’m actually struggling.

1 John 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

I’m blinded by dislike/jealousy/bitterness/envy/competitive spirit/fill-in-the-blank-here that I feel like I am walking in darkness.

And even worse, these fiery feelings have been fanned for so long that for the first time I feel like it’s breeding into actual hate.

And that’s some really dangerous ground.

1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

A murderer!? Who has no eternal life? YIKES.

So what do I do about it? How do I handle these feelings?

I know I’m being tested. I know I have to trust God and talk to Him about this every day…

But instead of these feelings going away, I feel they’re becoming more grounded in my heart.

WHY? What’s going on?

Am I doing something wrong? Is there more I could do?

This has to change. No matter how we may feel about a person, those who claim the Christian name should not express hate, AT ALL.

And yet, it’s burning in my heart.

I’ve been given this advice: You don’t have to like a person, but you do need to love them.

I know I need help.

Until next,

em

One, You’re Like a Dream

I was a total spaz today.

Not sure why…

I woke up pretty early to make sure I had time to blog, because I’ve been putting it off since Monday!

But of course, there are always things for me to do, it doesn’t end! I’m not at all complaining, because I love being a housewife (and reader, and blogger, and baby sitter, and bible bookworm, and church teacher, potluck planner, etc., just to name a few 😉 )

The two hour time I allotted myself to run errands turned into closer to three, and I was making wrong turns, doing dumb things, asking dumb questions (Ummm, Siri, how many cups make a pound?) and acting completely awkward at the market (which I always tend to do anyway lol). ‘:)

I don’t know what it is about shopping and money and grocery store aisles that kinda spaz me out…I need to work on that.

I think I think about things too much, and that ends up wasting time…AND I HATE WASTING TIME. I’m a conundrum…hmm.

I also think spend to many minutes on my phone. I wonder how I would do without it for a week…

ANYWAY. Speaking of being a wife, this week happens to be our one year anniversary. Crazy! It’s been such a blast. I’ll spare all the details of our first year, but I won’t spare any details of how we celebrated!

Okay okay, so I’ll try to keep it short 😉

Sunday we had an amazingly fun photo op by Michael Alegre Media. We took photos at our old school (where we met) and recreated an old photo.

Photo by my best friend in 7th grade
Photo taken by my best friend in 7th grade…
And the recent one!
And the recent one!

While we were out, I asked my in-laws to come to our place to decorate the living room with balloons with photos of our first year attached to each string. Surprise!

Then on Monday morning I snuck out to hide clues at some of our favorite places for a scavenger hunt, which was totally fun to plan. Surprise, surprise!

I have yet to master the flat lay, but here’s the idea:

Clues!
Clues!

We then took a trip to the place we got married and reminisced :’)

Hearts Home Farm- 1 year later!
Hearts Home Farm- 1 year later!

We even picked up a one year anniversary cake from our wedding cake baker too! (Yeah, that whole saving the top part in the freezer for a year thing didn’t work out so well.) Still super special and super yum.

Came back home to some Netflix and chill (hold your snickering, we actually watched Netflix and chilled.)

And topped all this celebrating off with a dinner date at Crossroads Kitchen.

Super fun, super yum, super not-enough-time-in-the-day to enjoy my amazing husband.

Hope this was sort of as fun for you to read as it was for me to write 😉

Until next,

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I’m a Foolish, Fragile Spine

Titus 3: 1-7

 

Has it ever crossed your mind, somewhere back there in the deepest, darkest recesses, that you don’t want a friend or family member who has had a good turn of events to be happy?

The other day a thought came to me. I’ve thought and talked down on someone who showed a lot of happiness for something that happened to them. I didn’t agree with how it all happened and I completely let my feelings discredit any kind of joy the person showed.

I also think I let my self-titled sense of superiority take over how I responded to it all.

That person doesn’t know what they’re doing, they’re naive, they’re this, that and the other. I’m the one who knows better because I’m, in some ways, better.

 

Yeahhhh… right. I’m 25 and I’m just so well-versed in the ways of life. Shoot, does anyone know everything there is to know about life? Mmmm, I don’t think so. No matter how many degrees or education or “knowledge” one has, there is just way too much mystery in the world for someone to know everything.

Okay, back to the point. Should I let how I feel about a given situation overpower my happiness for the person in said situation?

Yesterday my mom shared a story. A family member was excited about a new event in their life and a “friend” said they wish it “wouldn’t work out” for my family member so they could stay exactly where they are now.

My thoughts were, of course, angry. WHO SAYS STUFF LIKE THAT?! And a FRIEND? That’s no friend at all.

But then…

Dun, dun, dun… I realized that I’ve said and thought stuff like that. Maybe not in those exact words, but close to it.

Even though I may not agree with how things happen or the decisions someone makes, I should never wish them to be unhappy. Their happiness should make me happy, or at least happy for them. Why is it that I innately want them to be unhappy because I don’t think they know what they’re doing and disagree with a lot of their life choices?

I don’t know what’s best for them. I don’t know their life. I don’t know their heart or how they’re thinking. I don’t know anything about them or about anything they’re dealing with or going through.

What I do know is this: It is foolish to wish any kind of bad vibes towards any person. Which brings me to why I had Titus 3 hanging out up there at the top of this post. I was in the process of drafting when my husband happened to read this chapter to me.

No coincidence there. Here’s what it says:

“Remind them to…speak evil of know one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another…”

Yep, that was me. I was all of those things. And I still struggle with many of them. But, as the verses continue, the kindness and love of God toward man appeared in my life and in my heart and according to His mercy He saved me. And because of that, I should never speak or think bad things about a person… ever. It was because of God’s love and mercy that I was able to identify the problem of thinking these bad thoughts about someone, and be quick to repent and change them.

Love one another, folks. What does that mean? The importance of this message is that we are to love everyone and never think or wish bad things on anyone. Have you ever really thought about whom that applies to and how we apply it in our own lives?

Much love,

em

A Life that was Changed

As I’ve been at home sick the last couple of days, it is  appropriate for me to write about what I think it means to live my life for others and to live for a greater cause, while appreciating sacrifices others have made for me. If there is one thing I’ve learned while being newly married, it’s that I no longer do nor want to do things just for myself anymore. Pre-marriage I was doing things like working for myself, laundry for myself, meal prepping for myself, planning the day for myself, etc. But now I’m learning to put myself aside and put anything that has to do with his well-being as a priority.

And while I’ve been sick,  my husband has made his own sacrifices (like getting out of bed to drive me to Target at 10:30 at night to get pill-form medicine since I’m too picky to swallow the liquid stuff).

And lately I’ve been starting to see the shift in my own self-centeredness to being more, well, self-less.

I think a common misconception about selflessness is that selfless people are passive and weak, while other people feel they need to be self-centered and selfish, making ‘ME’ a priority in order to look strong and independent

I can recall few advertisements where helping others before helping yourself was the main theme, while I can clearly recall commercials, billboards, television shows, and magazines where self-centeredness is dominant.

Okay,okay the point of this blog is not for social commentary, so I’ll end that here. The real point I want to get at is the change I noticed in myself.

Another thing I want to note is that to me, putting his needs as my priority doesn’t make me “lose” myself or my own needs. His happiness is my happiness.  Others’ happiness is my happiness.

A few months ago, I was asked to take over a class at my church on the mornings before church service and, naturally, I was eager to say ‘no’.

Oh no, I thought. I’m afraid to commit, and I don’t know how to teach!

Fear already started to plant itself in my mind, but I’m learning not to make quick decisions if I don’t have to, and am learning to really think, pray, and meditate on any decisions that I need to make.

So I prayed about making the right decision every day after I was asked, and kept reciting in my prayers:

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

That’s pretty scary-committing to something you don’t want to do for the sake of helping others… That idea is kind of foreign to me. I’ve grown accustomed to just doing what’s comfortable for me, myself, and I.

I’m trying not to think that way anymore. Any skill or talent I have, I want to use it to bring other people to truth, not to glorify myself

 

Whoa, that’s crazy! I never thought those words would come out of my hand. In the past, all I ever wanted to do with YouTube, music, or writing was to make ME the center, to make myself the highlight of any project.

What a difference, now. Now I want to be a blessing to others, to help other people, even in the smallest of ways.

During the week I was praying about the decision to teach the class, I got an urge to listen to old worship songs my mom would play for me and my sister as kids. As the songs started playing, memories flooded my mind. But when one particular song came on, the beauty of the lyrics touched me so deep, I started crying. Right then I knew what my decision needed to be.

The song was about all the people who were touched by the sacrifices one person made, touched so much that their entire lives were changed.

My sister and I performed that same song at our old church a long,long time ago, but I never truly appreciated the words until now. It’s amazing how God works.

And then later in my studies I read:

The plant does not germinate, grow, or bring forth fruit for itself, but to ‘give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.’  So no man is to live unto himself. The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls.

There can be no growth or fruitfulness in a life that is centered in self.

What a change I need to make. Thinking of only myself can no longer be a thing anymore. I meant to publish this post weeks ago, but timing is everything. Being sick at home allowed me to see selflessness in others, and allowed me to listen to programs during the day that just happened to be talking about how important it is for representatives of Christ to use their talents and share their knowledge of truth with others.

I have been teaching the class alone for the last two weeks and it has reassured me that I’ve made the right choice.

We have been blessed to be a blessing, and I pray that God can use me to reach these young people, especially since high school is or soon will be a reality for them and they are going to make choices that will shape who they will become.

 

Em

Through Being Cool (Pt.2)

Lately I’ve been getting caught up in moments where I’m taken back to my high school days and early college years, taken back to things I said, things I did, people I hung around with, the way I dressed.

It totally blows my mind how all of those memories were actually my memories, my stories.

And to be honest, I was a different girl. And what blows my mind even more is when I look a myself now…

I’m like, totally whoa.

Who is this girl?

Or rather, who was that other girl, that other me?

Was that who I really am, or is this who I really am?

I recently overheard a conversation between a couple of people I know about their ongoing activities together. I think I just happened to look over and make eye contact, so one of them asked, “Why don’t you ever come out with us?”

And I said:

“Why don’t you ever invite me?”

To which one responded: “We’ll invite you next time.”
To which I responded, rather playfully: “Is it because I don’t drink?”

“Nooo, we don’t drink when we *name activity here*.”

Mhmmm, I though to myself. Sure you don’t. And suuuure that wasn’t your reason for not inviting me.

I know how it is sometimes.

Oh that girl? She doesn’t drink anymore. Don’t invite her, she’s no fun.

They may not say it, but I know some people think it.

I’m not that “cool,” rebellious chick that everyone admires.

And really, I probably wouldn’t have gone out with these people. Not because I don’t want to hang out with them, but because I think I would have felt kind of awkward.

Why, you may wonder?

Well over the last two years or so, probably around the time I really stopped drinking, I noticed I started to shy away from making acquaintances at school, at work, anywhere I normally would, really, and I think it’s because I felt and still feel like I can never really bond with people, like I can’t really relate to them all that much anymore because a lot of my tastes have changed in many ways.

So I just stay away. This may or may not be the best thing to do, but it’s just what I’ve started doing after awhile.

I’ll be real, here: My social life resulted in a few relationships being messed up, and many relationships were formed that should have never been formed. It’s because of those situations that I think I’m way better off not being as social as I was, at least not in those kind of environments Boy, I feel like just this paragraph can be a blog post on it’s own…

And naturally after two years of “social abstinence,” I’m pretty awkward.

*Refer to previous TBC post to read my definition of “social abstinence”.

“Come out with us this weekend!”

“Sweet, I’m in. What’re we doing??”

“Bar hopping!”

Well shoot…I’m out.

Womp womp womp.

But that is how it has to be, my friends. What am I going to do bar hopping? Spend money on expensive soda while trying to yell over loud bar music? No thanks. I need to be different from the world, I need to be set apart, trying my best to avoid the things that can bring me down.

That is what He calls us to do, not to blend in with the crowd.

 Look, I know what you may be thinking…

“You’re being way too judgmental and legalistic, Em. We’re all sinners. Nobody’s perfect. We are in the world, after all.”

  Yes, some of that may be true, but I strongly believe and have reason to believe there are things in this world people as followers of Christ really should not be doing…at all…not even a little bit.

Think about who it is we are supposed to be representing…

I read the other day that

“We(I) have spent enough time involved with worldly people, when we (I) took part in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties…”

And it’s so true. I spent a lot of my time doing those things Peter says they (we) wasted time doing and need to stop doing.

So I woke up from the daze and confusion of the life I was living. I’m fighting against my fleshly desires to do what is right in His eyes, to be set apart, to be a special people…

To suffer for what is good.

( “Wait, fightingsuffering? Why would a God of love want us to fight and suffer?” I’ll try to address this in another post… Part 3 maybe?)

And really, why would I go around saying I’m “Christian” when I act like everyone else? How can I be God’s special possession when I’m still flirting around in darkness?

Until Part 3,

Em

Is It Really So Strange?

So as a recently engaged and recently turned 25 year old, I find it only natural to get all giddy when I see young engaged/married couples walking around, at Disneyland, at the dress shop, etc.

But then my mind starts to wander… and wonder…

How many of these engaged couples are waiting until marriage to…you know? Do they live together? If they are already intimate or already live together, is getting married as exciting for them as it is for me?

I’m sure it is.

But of course the cynical and jaded me already thinks she knows the answer to the intimacy question:

DUH. OF COURSE THEY ARE INTIMATE.

Why wouldn’t they be?! And who isn’t these days?!

And WHY do I care?

What makes me so cynical? It’s funny…years ago I totally would not have had these thoughts or concerns about other people. I didn’t care. Why do I care now?

Maybe it’s because I see relationships differently now. Maybe it’s because for so long I accepted and thrived off of polyamory and now I feel the complete opposite.

I feel the opposite because, well…

1. I found the person whom I love and will love to the ends of the earth…who I would never in my wildest dreams want to hurt or live without.

I never felt this way about anyone.

2. I actually learned a thing or two about the principles of marriage, from a source that isn’t Hollywood or whatever is on t.v. or bookshelves these days…

Okay, well it IS a book, but it’s been around for centuries 😉

It’s funny… my senior year of high school my English teacher had us pull pieces of paper out of a bucket that read different questions we had to answer.

Mine was: “What’s your biggest fear?”

I didn’t have to think twice about it: Infidelity.

WHOA,WHOA. HOLD THE PHONE. How can you care about infidelity at 17?

Well, because I wasn’t faithful. I never was. Yeah, even at that age and every year after, I strayed time and time again. Not proud of it.

I guess the chorus to “Back In Your Head” would most def not apply to me >.<

And I wish I could take back all the mistakes I made with people in the past.

But I can’t. All I can do now is move forward and make darn sure I do everything I can to be the best wife I can be to my husband. I want to give him all of me. No, I can’t take back or change anything I did, but I can be sure to do my best to be the best.

I once heard a speaker say: ” If you want to find the best person, you have to be the best person.”

That’s a goal worth striving for. And yeah, to me that means waiting until marriage to be intimate *GASP*, amongst other things of course.

And yes, even with my soon-to-be husband. I could only see good things coming out of this decision.

 

After all, is it really so, really so strange?