Four Years of Blogging

On August 18, 2010, I started The Teen Theme. Four years and God’s many blessings have turned a random idea into what TTT is today.

For me, blogging has always been a journey–and it has been a wonderful one. There are days, of course, when I stare at a blank screen with no clue what to write, or when I check my stats only to be disappointed. What blogger hasn’t had the same experiences? These things are nothing, however, when I think of how much I’ve been blessed by my blog.

blogI’ve been blessed with a way to reach others. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I blog for a reason. I blog to encourage anyone who might stop by. I blog to challenge my readers to grow closer to God, to strengthen their walk with Him. I blog with a hope of making a difference in the lives of those who read what God has placed on my heart.

Thus far, God has blessed my blog with 20,580 views and 326 followers. It’s mind-blowing for me to think that so many people have read (and cared about!) what I have to say! God gave me a passion for writing and for Him (and for music, but that’s another story), He gave me a way to use these passions, and then He blessed the effort beyond what I ever imagined!

In my biography on the website Quirky, I describe myself as “a Christian, a musician, a blogger, and a cat-lover”. Of course, those four things aren’t an exhaustive list. There are many things just as important about me that I didn’t mention. But the point is, blogging has become an integral part of who I am. It isn’t that I would have no identity without blogging; rather, blogging has simply contributed a great deal to who I am today. It has given me a place to exercise a passion, writing. It has given me responsibility, putting the operating of TTT entirely in my hands (and WordPress’, of course). It has also helped me grow closer to Jesus, as I study and think over His Word in preparation for a post.

I have also been incredibly blessed by the community here on WordPress. I felt this most strongly when I had back surgery last year. Your prayers and kind and encouraging comments meant the world to me! And beyond that, every thought you have taken the time to share has been a gift from God–so thank you, and God bless you! <3

In summary, I thank God for giving me the inspiration to start blogging, and for blessing me in this undertaking. And I thank all of you who have been a part of this incredible journey!

God bless!

-christrocks

 

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.

-C. S. Lewis

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

-christrocks

Dreams, a poem

I awoke within a dream

And found myself inside what seemed

A world of chaos, out of control

But, simultaneously, peaceful

Carried along by strange events

That I thought made sense, nonetheless

I seemed to be in charge of all

Yet my actions would not heed my call

When, at long last, the morning came

Everything seemed just the same

Carried along on the waves of life

“I’m easy-going,” said I, “and take things in stride.”

But excuses hide not reality

I fall so short of what I might be

And allow myself to be swayed

By anything the world might say

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a stand

Make my own choices, be a man

Or else I might just go to bed

And dream of the life I might have led

Sofie the kitten takes a nap.

Cats… sleep… I couldn’t resist. :)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

-christrocks

Raindrops, a poem

water

Raindrops, inside my soul

Spilling over my eyes

But how could you know

That I see the world in shades of gray

Must keep this pain inside

But maybe it’s too late

Prisoner, to my own past

Can’t let go, can’t move on

I keep going back

To that place where pain is just too real

Don’t want to stay this way

But it’s all I can feel

Tell me, where is hope

For a soul such as me

With nowhere to go

I feel the pain of my past life

It’s all too dark

There’s no room for light

Truth is, there’s still a chance

To let go, to break free

At last I might advance

From this world of pain, so without light

There’s a hand stretched out

To give me hope tonight

Jesus, is all I need

To step out of the dark

To finally be free

Now the pain is left in yesterday

I’m finally moving on

So this is what I’ll say:

If you, feel the same as me

Trapped inside of your past

There’s a way to be free

Just call upon the Name that’s true

Lift up your empty hands

He won’t abandon you

There are days, that feel so dark

But no pain can defeat

What He did on the cross

So take a breath and say a prayer

No matter what may come

He will always be there

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

-christrocks

Defeating Worry

Worry and stress go hand in hand. If you’re worried about something, you’re probably going to start getting stressed out over it. And if you’re like me, you’ll start worrying about getting stressed out because stress is unhealthy, but that’s another story.

And who doesn’t get worried? Most of the time, we worry and stress about legitimately, well, worrisome things. Then, of course, there are those times when we get all stressed out over something that proves to be absolutely nothing.

That’s exactly what happened to me five minutes ago, and I can’t tell you how relieved I was to discover that the thing I had been worrying about was nothing at all. It suddenly struck me, however, how silly the whole thing had been. Why had I been so worried? Over the past couple days, I’ve gone from stressed to depressed and back again, and sometimes a mixture of both–all because of a little thing that proved to be nothing.

We’ve all experience that kind of needless stress. And as I write this, I can’t help but wonder: what does God think of what we call “legitimate” stress?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” I love that. When something goes wrong in our lives, we have a perfectly understandable need to do something. In many cases, however, “doing something” just means worrying. Jesus knows how often this happens to us, and he wants to relieve us of this burden.

Basically, throughout this passage, He’s saying, “What’s the point of your worries? Worrying accomplishes nothing.” We can’t change something in our lives by just worrying about it.

When I read this passage in the midst of worry and stress, I sometimes have this response: “God, I know that worrying isn’t really helping me, but I can’t just sit around and do nothing!” We often feel as if by not worrying about a problem, we’re neglecting it.

Do Not WorryJesus doesn’t want us to worry about our problems, but he doesn’t want us to neglect them either. He tells us to “seek first” the kingdom of God and his righteousness, “and all these things will be given to you as well”. Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t worry! Just forget about it!” He says, “Don’t worry! Take your troubles to me and lay them at my feet, and I will take care of them.”

Jesus doesn’t want us to face our troubles alone! And He doesn’t want us to face them with worry and stress on our “team”. He is on our side. The God of the universe wants to deliver us from worry and fear, troubles and stress!

God is saying to you, “Don’t worry; just seek Me.”

Seek God above all else. This goes beyond going to God to help us with our worries, our stress. We go to God first because, in reality, He is all we need.

So whether you’re dealing with “silly stress” or some major problem in your life, go to God. Seek Him with all your heart. Your problems won’t all go away, but as you kneel in His presence, you will realize that He is greater than your problems, He loves you infinitely, and you have nothing to worry about.

-christrocks

Note: Any feedback on my blog’s new look would be greatly appreciated! I tend to worry about changing things… so I suppose this post definitely applies to me!!

Putting Off Procrastination

A couple months ago, the Flickr app on my phone updated. No big deal. A short time later, I had a photo I wanted to post, so I headed over to the app. Well, it seems that when the app updates, it logs you out. Totally understandable. So I pull out my password book (my brain can only remember so much, you know), only to find that I had not written the password for Flickr down.

*sigh of frustration* All right, then. That must mean that it’s one of my easier passwords, that I use for less secure sites and don’t bother writing down because they’re easy to remember.

Of course, it’s none of those.

Okay. Breathe. I’ll just tell the app that I forgot my password. I do so, and it tells me that it sent a new password to my email. Wonderful! I retrieve the password from my inbox and head back to the app, which in my absence, has re-set. Which means that the password they sent to me is no longer valid. So I attempt to get it to send a new password again. I’ll just check my email on my computer, so I don’t mess the app up again.

However (what did I expect?), it will no longer cooperate with me. At all. And there are few things more frustrating than an app that just won’t listen..

Tired of the whole thing, I decided to get back to it tomorrow.

As I said in the beginning, that was over two months ago.

So you can see, I have a little problem with procrastination. I often feel like such a hypocrite. I’ll write posts against procrastination, only to find myself falling behind in school because of that very thing.

While the story above is rather amusing, it’s also ridiculous. The whole episode took less than half an hour–an admittedly very frustrating half hour. After all that, however, my next step was clear. Get on my computer to tell Flickr that I’d forgotten my password, and bypass the app fiasco (what a fun word!) entirely.

And yet, I still haven’t done it.

Procrastination has a certain lure. We all have things we’d rather not do now. The solution? Don’t do it now! Genius, I know.

It is human nature to live for the present. We want to be happy now. We want to popular now. We want our stats on WordPress to top a thousand every day now (let’s be honest, a hundred would be wonderful). And we don’t want to do whatever we don’t want to do now.

The answer most of us come to is to put it off. (By the way, did you like the word play in the title? lol.) The world tells us that if we want to do something, do it! Similarly, if we don’t, don’t! But in putting off problems and responsibilities for tomorrow (or next month or next year), our future self is still going to have to deal with whatever it is.

The thing is, we don’t like to think about our future self. It just seems so… far away. “I’ll deal with this better next week,” we tell ourselves. “I just don’t even want to think about it right now.” While occasionally we might be able to handle something better later on, most of the time it’s just as bad as before. In fact, it’s often worse!

When we put things off, they won’t stay away forever. They often, I find, like to cluster in a small area of your life, unseen until you hit it head on. Suddenly, instead of having the one or two things you thought you’d have to deal with, you have one or two dozen things that have to be done right now! Because there comes a point when you can’t procrastinate anymore. To procrastinate doesn’t mean to get rid of something. It means to put something off until a later date. At some point, however, it’ll catch up to you–or perhaps it’s better said that you’ll catch up to it!

In the midst of your problems, do you ever feel like this?

In the midst of your problems, do you ever feel like this?

There’s a couple of lessons here. The first and most obvious, don’t procrastinate! I’m living proof, however, that just knowing that doesn’t get you off the hook. I’ve always known that if you procrastinate, it’ll come back and hit you on the back of the head. Hard. And yet I do it again and again and again, often in much more worrisome ways than the Flickr incident.

What I’ve had to learn, and what I’m sure will be of more benefit to you, is how to get out once you’re stuck in the pit of procrastination.

One of the most debilitating aspects of procrastination is worry. Once all of those procrastinated things catch up to you, it’s very easy to become freaked out. “How am I going to deal with all of this?!” we fret. “It’s too much!” After worry has us in its grasp, we find ourselves unable to deal with everything we feel like we’re drowning in.

In Matthew 6:25 and 27, Jesus says to us (and I’m paraphrasing), “I tell you, don’t worry about your everyday life. Can all of your worrying add a single moment to your life?” It’s a convicting thought. We worry and worry like we’re actually accomplishing something through our worry, when we’re really just digging ourselves deeper into the hole we’re worrying about. Worry never fixed anything.

This isn’t to say that when we have to deal with our procrastinations, we should just chill and pretend like it’s nothing. The Bible also says:

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)

This is procrastination, defined. Put off what we don’t want to do to catch a nap, or hang out with friends, or whatever else you like to do–and troubles will be upon us before we know it.

So, first off, the Bible teaches against procrastination. We’ve got that. But Jesus also doesn’t want us to worry when we do happen to get caught in the aftermath of procrastination. We all mess up and make mistakes. However, if we let ourselves succumb to worry, we’re not letting Jesus use those mistakes for good.

Finding yourself caught in procrastination? First and foremost, pray. Spend time with Jesus! Read your Bible. Share your troubles with mature Christian friends and ask them to pray for you. In essence, Jesus is the answer.

Let me give you a bit of advice: don’t try to overcome the effects of procrastination on your own. Even if you succeed in getting yourself out of that pit, you’ll have gotten so dirty in the process that it’ll take you ages to get clean again. Instead, why not grasp the hand that’s reaching out to you and escape procrastination, today?

In other words, go to Jesus for help. This applies to all things. When we try to do things on our own, we often fail; and if we don’t, we tend to make a mess of things in the process. However, even if you may feel like you’re in the biggest mess ever made in the history of mankind, run to Jesus. He’s an expert at turning our messes into things of beauty.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

-christrocks

Book Review: The Cinderella Rule by Bethany Jett

The Cinderella Rule by Bethany JettI finished reading The Cinderella Rule last night. It’s the first Christian book on dating I’ve read (which is to say, first book on dating, period), and I am so glad I started with this one! That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than other Christian dating books–because apparently I have no experience there–but I can vouch for the fact that it is an incredible book and I would recommend it to any girl who is single or dating.

The main focus of the book is announced on the back cover: Stop looking for Prince Charming. Let him look for you! The book focuses on, rather than chasing guys, allowing yourself to be pursued by a worthy, Godly man. As you delve into its fourteen chapters, you’ll find Godly advice and wisdom on things such as preparing your heart for a relationship, attire (aka modesty), boundaries in a relationship, and–fittingly the last chapter–engagement.

I loved the book as a whole, and I loved many individual things about it–too many to list (but here’s a few anyway)! One of the things I enjoyed was Bethany Jett‘s writing style. Her open, honest, and funny writing immediately put me at ease and made me want to finish the book in one sitting. (If I had had the time, I undoubtedly would have finished it within a few hours!). I also loved how she filled the book with her own experiences and those of her friends. It immediately made me feel connected to her. I appreciated the examples of what it means to be a Christian in a relationship, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized that I’m not the only girl who gets a little silly around guys. :)

My absolute favorite thing was how she talked about her relationship with Jesus. It gave me a desire to grow even closer to Him, and in doing so prepare myself to meet my future husband. When I meet him, I want him to find a woman that’s totally focused and in love with Jesus! (In other words, I do believe the book has done its job.)

If it sounds like this book could have application in your life, get a copy and read it! I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did. But as a girl who has had absolutely no experience in dating (which, mind you, isn’t a complaint), you might get something different out of it than I did; I’d love to hear what! So if you’ve read this book, please let me know what you think!

God bless,

-christrocks