Because ‘seriousness’ isn’t a fruit of the Spirit

G:

I’ve realized two things lately:

1)     This blog has become more stale than a loaf of bread three months past its expiration date

2)     Christians are way too serious

seriousness

I can blame my busyness for my blog’s dryness, but what excuse do Christians have?

We can’t blame it on our expiration dates.

For a people that have been redeemed through a sacrificial act of extravagant love, we seem to be walking around like our puppy keeps getting run over by a truck every single day.

I’m not sure if You can feel the chill all the way up there in the clouds, but it’s pretty cold down here.

If the “Frozen Chosen” were a brand of popsicles, it would probably be a lot cooler than what they actually are.

My friend went to a Christian concert the other day and told me that the band, in an effort to get everyone to loosen up and enjoy themselves, said: “We’re going to have fun tonight because seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit. Joy is.”

I know it was written on the stone tablets, “Thou shall not steal,” but I’m totally stealing that saying.

Somehow we’ve forgotten the joy. The laughter. The happiness.

Yes, there is a time and season for everything. “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecc 3:4). But we seem to be forgetting to laugh and dance.

We seem to be forgetting that seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit.

Like a spiritual fortune cookie, Solomon sums it up well in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I’m not sure what’s crushing our spirits as Christians. The world. Money. Jobs. Relationships. Suffering. Depression. Illness. I’m sure it’s a list that rivals an exhaustive phone book of New York City.

And I’m sure our joy-less spirits are drying up our bones.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped being a stale people and started being the ones that displayed joy amongst love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Turns out laughter may be the best medicine after all.

Your goofball,

m

8 reasons it’s important to have a core group of girlfriends

girlfriends

I used to dread being in a room with all girls. It would mean the inevitable opening of the tear duct floodgates and there never seemed to be enough tissues in the room.

Years later, I can’t wait for a girls’ night watching our favorite television show or praying and encouraging one another. While I appreciate and love my male friendships, there are significant benefits to having girlfriends in spite of the inevitable snot-sleeve occurrences:

1. Intentionality

Every friendship starts with initial effort and flourishes with continual effort. While any relationship takes work, having intentional girlfriends is both a give and a take. Your girlfriends are the ones that you’ll want to check up on and the ones you’ll want to take the time to be with. And in turn, they’ll do the same for you.

2. Accountability

As much as I would like to think I do everything right every hour of every day—I don’t. That’s where my girlfriends come in. Whether it’s suddenly fashioning index and middle fingers into a pound sign and yelling “hashtag inapprop!” when I say something inappropriate or sending a text to see how my writing goal is coming along, I need some checkups. Often. Allowing girlfriends to become an intimate part of your life helps you from straying off the path towards a host of temptations and problems. Whether it’s trying to eat healthier, maintaining boundaries in a dating relationship, or refraining from gossip, it’s better with a girlfriend walking alongside you.

3. Vulnerability

There’s a reason I buy bulk tissues now. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m an emotional being. Girls don’t bond by playing video games and drinking beer; we bond by drinking hot coco, watching a romantic comedy, and sharing our thoughts and feelings. Sure, it’s every kind of cheese in the dairy aisle, but that’s who we are. And we need a safe space with steadfast friends in which to share our thoughts, goals, dreams, and desires without judgment.

4. Encouragement

Think of your girlfriends like those posters in elementary school that had a fluffy puppy on it and read: “You can do it!” Only don’t tell them they look like a dog or that could be taken the wrong way. Sometimes you just need a boost of encouragement from a girlfriend to keep on plugging. Whether you’re frustrated at work, struggling in a relationship, or not sleeping because the baby won’t stop crying, you need a friend who will send you flowers, give you a call late at night, and show up unexpected with the sole intention of giving you a hug.

5. Support

After my parents, my girlfriends are my 911. If I need some wise counsel, a shoulder to cry on, or simply a ride to the airport, I can turn to my girlfriends to be there for me. Having a core group of girlfriends is like having a huge family of sisters from another mother and father—you know you’re never alone.

6. Growth

While my growth spurt ended when I was twelve, my character growth continues to develop. Having girlfriends affords a great opportunity to learn from one another as each girl has her own host of life lessons learned. As a single girl, you learn about marriage from married friends. As a newlywed, you learn about children from married friends with kids. I’ve learned more about life, love, contentment, travel, and careers from my girlfriends than any textbook.

7. Joy-giving moments

Hanging out with the girls doesn’t have to mean all seriousness and prayer time. Hanging out with the girls should also mean creating joy-giving moments. Laughter, silliness, happiness—these are all things to pursue daily and girlfriends can help you create moments where these things will occur. Girlfriends that know who you are and how you tick will help create these moments for you, especially when you are in need of them.

8. An excuse to have baked goods

Food and girlfriends go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Enough said.

God has blessed me with a core group of amazing girlfriends and sisters in Christ. Without them, I wouldn’t be spurred on to growth or enjoyed half the fun-loving moments I’ve experienced these past few years. I also wouldn’t have gained a few extra pounds from all the cookies, but I digress.

If you don’t have a core group of girlfriends, pray for opportunities to meet some and be intentional on developing those friendships once you do. Your spiritual and emotional well-being and stomach won’t regret it.

Cite your source(s)

G:

I’m a plagiarist.

And the copy and paste shortcuts on my keyboard weren’t even utilized.

It started out innocently enough. I’m at work receiving praise from a colleague, and we’re not talking the throwing-flowers-at-my-feet-let’s-erect-a-statue-in-your-honor praise, we’re talking the one-pat-on-the- back-and-a-teeth-showing-smile praise.

And I received it without any hesitation.

No online websites or articles were copied and pasted (including Wikipedia), no one received $20 dollars from me in exchange for a B paper on sustainability in Eastern Europe, and no books from the library were harmed in the making of this act of plagiarism.

All I did was forget to cite my source. (Even after years of constant threats of expulsion from institutions of higher education and multiple copies of the MLA handbook.)

When someone comments on my seemingly chronic state of smiling, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone compliments me on a wise word I said, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone notices my personal contentment and joy, I receive it without any hesitation.

I receive it as if I am the one responsible. As if I, through personal hard work and perseverance, created within myself a content, joyful, and wise spirit. As if I manifested these characteristics of my own accord.

But I know full well that every good and perfect gift comes from You[1].

The hope I have in your grace and Christ’s sacrifice[2], gives me a joy that radiates. Your love[3] keeps me in a seemingly chronic state of smiling[4]. Your Holy Spirit grants me wise words in difficult conversations[5]. The promise of Christ’s power to give me strength in all situations cultivates contentment within my soul[6].

This is all a sign of Your hands at work—not mine.

I’m guilty of taking Your work and passing it off as my own.

I’m a plagiarist that needs to start citing her Source[7].

Your child,

m


[1] James 1:17

[2] Ephesians 2:1-10

[3] John 3:16

[4] 8+ hours of sleep helps. Also, peanut butter. Also, Youtube videos that involve fluffy puppies.

[5] Romans 8:26

[6] Phillipians 4:11-16

[7] God