transience of the temporary.

  It is no mystery that many of us have suffered hurt or rejection in some way during our lives. For some, the hurt has come from those who should have loved us the most and best. Thus, their rejection cuts even deeper, leaving wounds that need to be healed by the unconditional acceptance and love of Christ. Until a person finds his identity and worth solely in who he is in Christ because of His love for him, he will continue to seek his worth elsewhere, typically chasing the approval of others.

  It indeed is the natural way of man to constantly seek the approval of others. Teenagers, for example, look to their peers in particular as a means of gauging their own worth. The high school experience is notorious for ranking individuals based upon clique, dress, extracurricular involvement, and smarts. In fact, much of life is based upon performance and rank. Like the futility of chasing the supposed pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, trying to find our worth based upon human rank, performance, or others’ acceptance is never going to satisfy or fulfill the void that rejection and hurt has left in our hearts. It is a striving after wind. 

            Every labor, activity, and work of man is, in his natural state, based upon competition with others. 
  Women, for example, tend to compete based upon their looks, beauty, and figure. They compete based upon whom they have married and how well or poorly their spouse treats them. They compete based upon how successful their children are in school, sports, or other activities. More recently, they compete by trying to outperform men in what has traditionally been areas only open to men’s competition. There is nothing wrong with a woman playing sports or trying to make a career in business, for example, but it is a striving after the wind if she is trying to do so to make a statement or prove something to the world as a means of validating her own worth.
   Men, on the other hand, are prone to find their worth in who they are dating, in their status at work, in their bank account, in their athleticism, in their ability to fix things, and in their house, yard, and other possessions. A man is tempted to think that he has made it if he can just outdo some other man in terms of achievement, wealth, or any other kind of competition. Much of this is so ingrained in our ways as men and women that we don’t even have to consciously decide to compete and compare. We do it unceasingly and without even noticing it. 
We have become enslaved to a temptation of the devil.
 
We are trying to find our worth and identity not based in how God values us but in what others think of us.

 This is why we glorify and even deify sports stars, Hollywood icons, pop artists, and media elites. We constantly live under the illusion of if only I did this, had this, made this, knew so-and-so, became like so-and-so, and got this, then I would get so-and-so’s approval and then I would be happy.
   Sometimes following Christ won’t require that we “lose out” on things of this world. Sometimes we can stand for truth and even be rewarded for it. Many times, however, it will cost us something. Regardless of the outcome, the issue is the attitude and posture of our hearts. Is the kingdom first in our hearts, or is something else in first place? Do we want to please God more or man? Such is the question that we must answer.
           
The bottom line is this.
 What is more important, the pleasures of sin in this life, or the riches of eternal life in Christ forever? 
If we live for Christ in this life, ignoring what man might think, say, or do to us, we will be well-off in heaven. But if we choose to compromise and compete with man here on worldly terms for worldly things, we will lose out in eternal rewards. Weighing these two options side by side should come out to be a no-brainer. The eternal is quite a bit longer than life on earth, and God’s rewards are quite a bit nicer than a pay raise, being accepted by the “in” crowd, and chasing fame in this life. Clearly, from a purely rational standpoint, the eternal weight of glory is far greater than anything this world has to offer.Suffering is one of the best things to remind us that we don’t want to put all of our investments into the here and now. Death is the great equalizer, bringing even those who lived the “happiest” of lives to their ultimate destination. We need to fix our eyes on the eternal, viewing this life as a journey into the eternal. If we want to have a great heavenly “retirement,” we should work hard for our seventy or eighty years, if we are so blessed. This life is temporary, a mere vapor that is here and then gone. 
Wrestling with insecurity? Harboring rejection? Choose by faith to break the chains of seeking man’s approval. Anchor your faith today in the unconditional love and acceptance of Christ Who adores all of His children equally and perfectly. Find your worth today in the only One Who is worthy. Don’t wait for somebody to come and boost your self-esteem. Let Christ be your esteem. 

A Bit Under The Weather

fluThis week, needless to say, has been a very “rainy” one. I don’t think I’ve experienced as many “leaks, spills and drains” in my entire life as I have this past week and a half! What started off as a fun adventurous trip to Warner Robins, Georgia, ended up in a bed betrothed 8 day struggle. I’ll admit it, I can be somewhat of a mellow dramatic, however, the changes that my body has been experiencing this week has been NOTHING SHORT of a whirlwind!

Have you ever felt like the world was over?

Well this week I thought it was ending for sure! I was convinced, and I took every opportunity this week to loathe, cry, cough, and simply, be helpless! It’s not often that a Young Queen like myself gets sick! 😉 While I’ve been under the weather, I have truly been blessed with some words of wisdom and encouragement that has truly met me, right where I am. I consider myself to be a pretty positive person, however when it comes to MYSELF, as I’m sure many of you can relate, I’m not “as positive”, and the advice and motivation that I have readily available for others, just doesn’t seem to apply to me. I sort of check out on myself. And while I’ve been sick, I allowed myself to check out, shut down, and mentally move across the country.

BUT OH HOW I HAD A WAKE UP CALL LAST NIGHT! And it was from none other than Columbus State University’s very own Derek DBBailey. Derek, soon to be basketball phenomenon and Combo Guard for Columbus’s Men’s Basketball Team [Cougars], urged me to carefully evaluate and renew my perception of myself and my thoughts.

This is some of what he expressed to me:  “The key to it is not letting life or yourself get in the way. Their will be obstacles and haters. And sometimes, more often than not, your obstacles and haters will be in the mirror. When you learn to deal with adversity, self doubt, and criticism, there is no outside force that can stop you.”

When Derek told me this, it’s like a light bulb went off, and I realized that even though I was sick, there was no reason to wallow, and to use this opportunity to reflect negatively on my life.

Then he hit me with: “I feel as if we all have our own battles to fight but in certain individuals situations, their toughest battle is with THEMSELVES! Once you get to a point of realization, you’ll realize you’re a lot more powerful than you imagine. And the floodgates of life will be open to you. When you are are fully who you are supposed to be, and comfortable with it, blessings come down at an exceedingly fast rate.”

….Derek was right. In fact, he was so right that I couldn’t continue to feel sorry for myself; I couldn’t continue to wallow, cry, and think negatively about my life or my situation. I took his advice, and my own, and made a decision of quality. I made a decision to no longer allow myself to defeat ME! 

&&I urge everyone reading this to make that same decision…

Regardless of what challenge you are facing right now, know that it has not come to stay. It has come to pass. During these times, do what you can with what you have, and ask for help if needed. Most importantly: never surrender. Put things in perspective. Take care of yourself. Find ways to replenish your energy, strengthen your faith, and fortify yourself from the inside out.

There is a power in you that is stronger than anything that you are facing. Go within…tap into this power. Know that you will find courage, strength and resolve to go through any valley experiences. You have something special…You have GREATNESS within you! You have PURPOSE and POWER with in you!

…Even if you’re A Bit Under The Weather…

Identify Your Weakness

What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?

When you have identified a weakness in your life you have uncovered a powerful path for self improvement.

Think about it.

If you work on the things at which you are already skilled, you can make marginal improvements in your performance. Yet, when you put your efforts into overcoming your particular weakness the results can be dramatic.
Consider a salesperson who is knowledgeable about the products, very good with people, a great listener, excellent negotiator and skilled at closing the sale, but who has trouble managing time and is always late for appointments. That one weakness, poor time management, can severely restrict the effectiveness of all of his other strengths. Yet, if he works to improve his one weakness, time management skills, it can make a huge positive difference in his overall performance.

Can you identify a weakness in your life that is holding you back and preventing all of your strengths from showing through?

The positive payoff from working to overcome that weakness can be worth many times the effort involved.

Just When They Thought…

What unites us as human beings is an urge for happiness which at heart is a yearning for union.
-Sharon Salzberg

Have you ever looked into the mirror and wondered who is staring back at you? Or longed to unite the many parts within you? The friendly one, the angry one, the resentful one, the sad one, the calm one, the impatient one, the confused one – that are all jumbled up behind a public persona that’s buffed and glossed – but tends to crack when you’re angry or upset…

AT ONE POINT, THAT WAS ME.

When I was a young girl, I climbed trees, built forts, and swam fast. I didn’t shave my legs or wear make-up, I sat on the sidelines and, for the most part, I was okay with that.

What happened to that freedom, the innocent carelessness?

Next thing I knew, I was “too good” to build forts or climb trees, I didn’t swim because my precious hair would get wet; No make-up turned into light make-up, which ultimately resulted in clown make-up [by the bucket load]; It seemed as if overnight I went from sitting on the sidelines [carelessly] to [purposely] pursuing the role of “center of attention”. What happened to that young free-spirited girl?

She began living her life through the glory and assurance of others.

I remember having that “mirror moment”, looking at myself, scissoring through my layers& coming to the realization that I wasn’t really living, I wasn’t being ME. I was living a false reality. Everything about me was jumbled and messy; what my life seemed to be to others, was not my own physical reality and for the first time —-> I WAS NOT okay with that.

At this point, I had spilled my guts to everyone who would listen, over my dissatisfaction with myself and my life. I hated how I never finished anything, never got on a roll, never got good at what I wanted to be good at. I was not able to accept myself, because to accept myself meant that what I was doing (and failing to do) was fine.

Of course I wasn’t fine with it. I knew I was squandering my time and my talents, and it was killing me. I didn’t feel like I could get anywhere until I loved myself, and I didn’t feel like I could love myself until I got somewhere.

People advised me to decide to accept who I was, right now, and then I’d be free to live the life I want. I tried to do that. In fact, I did it a lot. I would get so worked up with enthusiasm about myself that I felt unstoppable. But enthusiasm fades. After a few days, the same patterns emerged again, and I was back to square one. This went on for years.

I can see now the mistake people make in trying to love themselves, it’s exactly what I did. They confuse self-love with how they feel about themselves. They want the warm, comfortable feeling of being loved. They are focused on receiving love from themselves, rather than giving it.

If You Have Trouble Loving Yourself
Know this —-> Love is action.

Self-love is not how you feel about yourself. It’s what you do for yourself. You can only love yourself by doing, not thinking. Execute feats of love, feats of respect, for your own benefit.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. There is nothing on this earth you will ever do that does not require its cooperation. Be nice to it. Get it into great shape. Don’t poison it, don’t abuse it, don’t neglect it. An unwillingness to worship your body will undermine any attempt to love yourself. Love it with your actions, or it won’t love you back. If you are rude to it, it will hinder you, embarrass you, and even kill you.

LEARN. Endow yourself with skills, languages, abilities and arts. Developing skills is the most immediate and liberating way to shoot your self-esteem through the roof. What qualities would make you love or admire someone else? Kindness, humor, thoughtfulness, ability? Cultivate and improve those qualities.

A lot of people seem to think indulging or gratifying yourself is the same as loving yourself. Magazines and commercials say “Love yourself,” or “You’re worth it,” and then tell you to buy something or eat chocolate cake. Finding some reward and indulging in it is not love. Often it’s just abuse. Comforting yourself is not loving yourself. Beware the draw of comfort; seeking comfort is often a response to fear, not love. Don’t appease yourself, revere yourself.

DO WORK YOU LOVE. Even if you make less money. Even if you disappoint others. Working a job for which you have no passion is betraying yourself, for eight hours a day. Nobody can love themselves while they subject themselves to forty hours of uninspiring work every week. If it isn’t practical to leave your current line of work just yet, start planning your escape now. That’s love. Do not resign a third of your life to someone else’s purpose. Dignity is worth any pay cut. If you don’t like your job, you are only getting better at being resentful.

…The Respect Habit…
The quality of your actions matters. Do everything with care. Pick up and put down objects as if you respect them. Don’t just drop yourself into a seat, sit down with purpose. Respect everything you buy, borrow, give away or dispose of.

RESPECT YOUR TIME. Spend your time on things that put you into a better situation in life, on things that make you more capable, rather than on things that make you feel good for the moment. You will love yourself for doing this.

RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE.

Respect their skills and their virtues. Their flaws too. Respect their thoughts. Let them finish what they are saying, don’t interrupt, don’t be dismissive. Try to understand what they’re getting at. Let them be who they are. I am convinced that people are exactly as judgmental about themselves as they are about others. Find the value in others, or you will never see it in yourself. Forget the ways in which you would like other people to be different. Forgive them, and forgive yourself. Forgive yourself every time you wake up, and every time you go to bed. Forgive yourself every time you screw up.

RESPECT THE WORLD AROUND YOU! The spectacles, the scenes, the details. Respect buildings and the people who built them. Respect businesses and the people who run them. Respect the trees. Respect the tiny, yellow-flowered weed that vehemently persists in thrusting itself up through the cracks in the sidewalk. It invests all its energy in growing, and it absolutely insists on being itself.

Love is picking up the dumbells the moment you start making excuses. Love is doing your scariest task first thing in the morning.

It’s not quitting early and treating yourself to a beer. It’s not telling yourself it’s okay for your apartment to be a pigsty.

There is a choice in every moment, between acting out of love, or out of fear. At any instant, you can stop and look at the moment, and it is clear which action is which. You will make a habit out of choosing one or the other.

You won’t be able to have respect if you do not make a habit of recognizing value. There is value in every person, object, place and moment, but you may miss it if you hold faults to be more important.

Find the endless value in the world around you, and it will be easy to find the endless value in yourself. Eventually you will no longer see a difference between the two.

I am PROUD to say I am on my journey to self acceptance& independence through exerting LOVE and I am LOVING the process…

&&Just When Others Thought I Wouldn’t Make it…

-Jasmine Ballard❤