I tell the stories of the voiceless.
As long as you haven’t lived under a rock then you have probably seen this artwork plastered on the front of journals, planners and all things that make girls swoon:
I (and maybe many of you) thought it was just the latest quote of some fashion designer or celebrity that ladies all over fell in love with and started plastering on everything in sight. But, in fact, I was awfully wrong. Here’s a history lesson:
During the end of World War I, and again during World War II, the British government started a division of government entitled the “Ministry of Information.” This branch was responsible for providing the people with constant information and propaganda having to do with the war. They released several posters of quotes by King George VI trying to keep morale high during war time.
These words were meant to communicate to people that, in the end, everything was going to be alright.
These words, “Keep calm and carry on” can mean the same thing to us.
A simple statement that was meant to remind the people that yes, things are hard and scary but they won’t last. Yes, things don’t make a lot of sense but life must go on. You’re alive, we’re all in this together and we need to stay calm in the face of adversity.
This week, our nation has found itself in a whirlwind of confusion and grief and anger and fear. And while I don’t write these words to remind us of what we already know, we have truly witnessed tragedy in the worst way possible. We experienced 20 innocent children have their lives stolen from them far too soon. That is tragic and difficult to swallow and move away from. BUT – there is glory and beauty and hope waiting on the other side.
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
“So we do not lose heart. Through our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us and eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
With it being an election year, there is much political talk about things far above my ability to understand.
Things like fiscal responsibility, international affairs, policies and strategies and budgets - my head begins to spin within minutes of political issues being raised in any circles of conversation.
And when it comes to being a Christian in an election year? Well, that brings about another slew of debates and ideologies and topics. We aren’t supposed to vote for the candidate that believes that or makes that much money or doesn’t care about them and we go on and on and on about issues and political agendas and in the end we seem to forget about the people these viewpoints represent. We speak out in the name of “fighting for our rights” all the while forgetting what it is we Christians have been entrusted with.
I am completely broken for so many people who haven’t been shown grace and love by a people who are supposed to be defined by those very things.
You see, this post isn’t about abortion or same-sex marriage or immigration. No, these words are about the things we say when we discuss the subject of two gay people who love each other and are looked at like they have a disease when they talk about spending their lives together. It is about the emotions tied to the discussion with an irresponsible teenager who has a decision to make as to whether or not the baby that is living in her stomach will be allowed to see the light of day. This post is about the young father from another country who can’t find work at home so he makes his way to America to seek a future and a hope and a life worth living for his wife and 3 children back in his home country.
These words are about people.
Politics don’t affect issues - they affect people. And the words we use when we state our case affect the people we stand next to each day.
I’m all for taking a stand, making a point and picking a side. Do that. Form educated opinions. For the love of God and the sake of all generations to come, educate yourself and place your vote. But what I plead is that we Christians do so in deep prayer and thoughtfulness.
Our approach must be grace and our focus must be Christ.
As we take our stand on the sanctity of marriage, remember our role in the disintegration of it. As we declare the rights of an unborn child, remember there is a God who loves the girl bearing that child as well.
Through the debates and information and (hopefully) exercising our right to vote, please remember that the God we serve is currently working in far greater ways than we could ever ask or imagine. (Eph 3:20)
And yes, may God bless America.
Today I wrestle.
I wrestle with questions regarding fears and doubts and insecurities about the current state of how things are, and how things should be. I wrestle with why I say things and do things. I wrestle with motivation vs apathy - happiness vs joy - acceptance vs tolerance.
And I wrestle with all of this knowing I am not doing all I can. A sleepless night dreaming about how things could be better does not do anything for the orphans or the widows or the enslaved. A conversation over coffee about leadership and injustice and community does nothing if I don’t put it into practice. Heart felt emotions talked about, scribbled down and thought over do not rescue a dying world.
How can we serve with our hands folded?
How can we lend with our money hoarded?
How can we speak up with our hearts so apathetic?
How can we give with our closets so full?
How can we help with our schedules so busy?
How can we love with our hearts so closed?
The world is longing for courageous people. It is aching for a voice worth listening to, a fight worth investing in, and a hope worth surrendering to.
Exemplify the why. Give the world no option to choose fear.
No matter how much promise or potential resides within our souls, action eventually trumps intention.
Potential is temporary. Courage is eternal.
Stop waiting for the right time to come. Quit dreaming about what tomorrow may hold. Forget about what could be and focus on what should be.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Several of you guys and girls have asked why I haven’t been writing. Why you care I’ll never know, but alas, here I am again hoping to inspire your soul and cause you to carry out your dreams in this scary world we have at our fingertips.
So much I want to write about, talk about, scream about and cry about yet, often times I’ve found myself too apathetic to do much more than simply whine about it all.
Life has been an adventure as of late with an internship, a new apartment, a part-time job, writing and speaking opportunities, a mini vacation and new relationships. It’s been a struggle to simply lay my head down at night and get my mind rested enough in order for my body to follow.
Nevertheless, yesterday I arrived at the ripe age of 25.
A quarter of a century. Halfway to fifty. 5 years from 30.
I wish I could pin-point exactly what it was that made this birthday so incredibly depressing yet simultaneously hopeful. I’m not sure if it is the combination of still not knowing what the next 5 years of my life will look like or if it was a multitude of other reasons. Regardless, here I am.
And what do I have to show for it? What do I have to prove my value? Why do I wake up each and every day? Why do you and me and everyone else on this planet buy stuff and get jobs and write plans and pursue lives and build homes and make families? Why do we go and do and see and hope and on and on and on?
Why do we struggle and persist and believe the best is yet to come? Why do we work for something better?
I’ll tell you why…
Because we know there is, in fact, something better. We are designed to have a deep longing for more than what we see.
We build houses we can’t afford so we look better. We buy cars nicer than what we need so we appear better. We work longer hours so we become better. We sleep with people we aren’t married too so we feel better. We drink too much with the hope that tomorrow will be better. We work for better. We hope for better. We neglect other people for the sake of better.
And this constant aching for “better” is exactly what we were made to feel. The problem is we simply forget that better doesn’t exist in things we find on this side of Heaven.
The better life we wake up to find every day is not found in the money we make, the jobs we have, the people we surround ourself with or the life we are living where we find ourselves.
The hope for something better that is scraping at the wall of our souls is found in who Jesus is. It is found in an eternal relationship with a King who is enthralled with who you already are, not in who you hope to become once things get “better.”
Better isn’t found in the marriage you’re praying for. Better is not going to be found in the job you’re searching for. Better does not exist in the money you want to make.
What you and I and every other broken soul in the world needs to understand is that this “better” that we work for our entire lives will never be discovered in anything or anyone other than the King of Kings.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a better life. There is nothing wrong with spending your entire life chasing something better.
Chase better. Fight for better. Focus on the better. Better is a promise you were designed to crave.
Live in the reality that you were created for better than what you see, just remember to walk in the humility that you will never make it there on your own.