Avoiding The Traditional Path: Chasing Authenticity

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Hey guys! Today’s post is going to be a little bit more personal! I want to share with you what avoiding the traditional life path so many other people my age pursue relentlessly. Ever since my sophomore year of high school, I knew I wanted to be different than everyone else. I wanted to do different things, I wanted to hang out with different people, I wanted to be different. I feel like a lot of times (because of my interests) people thought I wanted to be cool or popular. Honestly, I have always felt like I wanted to be the total opposite of cool or popular because nine times out of ten, having those traits means fitting in with everyone else.

Anyways back to sophomore year. I had big plans of different ways I could get out of my tiny high school in Indiana. I had plans to graduate early, to do YWAM, and more. I knew that I never wanted to live a traditional life and that I definitely did not want to get stuck living in the midwest for my entire life. I was super unhappy and I knew that I was different than everyone else. I didn’t care about anything that other people put their energy into like big friend groups, having parties, or posting the best selfie on Instagram. I began caring more about my real life instead of how I was portrayed on social media. That is what I liked about blogging, it was a creative outlet that did not involve self-gain. It was simply my words and thoughts for others to read if they wanted.

With the way things turned out, I ended up graduating in 2019 with my high school diploma and in 2020 with my Associate’s degree. I was super proud of myself and I was really glad that I had saved so much money and accomplished so much at such a young age. I also felt free: free from the feeling of having to go to college and get a four-year degree like everyone else.

Once I announced my graduation, the questions constantly began rolling in

“What’s next?”

“What are you doing next year?” 

“Where are you working this summer?” 

These questions honestly made me scratch my head a bit. I feel like in our society, everyone is constantly looking towards the future and planning everything constantly. There are also a ton of unspoken rules that a ton of people seem to follow…

“You have to attend a four-year university” 

“Make sure you’re building your credit” 

“You can’t get married until you graduate college”

These rules and concepts society has placed on us seem sort of ridiculous to me because no one seems to take time to appreciate the phases they are in. Everyone is constantly focused on reaching goals instead of relishing in the moment. Who I am is not based on my accomplishments, how popular I am, or all of the things I have. Who I am is my relationship with God, my feelings, my hobbies, what makes me happy, and how I love others.

I am at a super weird place in my life. The world is literally at my fingertips. Will I get a job? Will I get my bachelor’s degree? Will I get married? That is something you are going to need to wait and find out! Continue to stay tuned and continue to read my blog as the path of my life goes on. I don’t want to live in the routine of everyone else. I want to chase happiness and the plan God has for me. Right now I am just focusing on my blog and touching the lives of others. If you all have any suggestions for posts or different concepts on my platform, let me know in the contact section of my blog or message me on Instagram @thoughts.from.cami! Have an amazing day everyone!!

A Study in Philippians: A Guest Post By Faith

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I love to take verses from the Bible and pick them apart. Learning the original meanings of words, understanding what the writer was really trying to say, knowing better why it’s there in the Bible in the first place. God always intended for us to really know His Word–more than just on the level of having a few famous verses memorized (we’re all guilty of that)–more than even on the level of knowing the culture and tradition that’s so deeply ingrained into the Word. But knowing the Word. What it really means, the reason it’s there, the beautiful lesson He puts behind every single word. The Bible has always been more than just words slapped on a blank page, more than just inspirational stories, more, even, than God’s Word, directly from His heart. Everything in the Bible has a lesson underlying the surface image–something God wants us to learn about Him. So I try to learn it.

Philippians 4:10-11 says:
  10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
  11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

People have a tendency to bring to remembrance 11b when it comes in handy as a reminder that our circumstances shouldn’t determine our attitudes. They like to say that Paul said he learned to be content, even as he wrote this letter to Philippi in prison. That he was content with where he was–behind bars for no just cause. But I’m going to touch on what God has taught me through this verse as I’ve meditated on it.

In full context of this passage, you can see that Paul was saying to the Philippians that he noticed that their care for him has grown. . . back up. Interesting. Notice the use of the words “again” and “ye lacked opportunity”. So basically they hadn’t really shown their care for him until “the last”, meaning very recently. He could possibly have been referring to the time of his arrest, in which case he would be saying that they only actively cared for him when he was in trouble. And let’s be honest, we’ve all had a friend like that. One who only pays you any real mind when they think you need them to. Far past the time when you actually needed them to take notice of you. So we can understand where Paul is coming from here.

Now, to clear any confusion, the word “opportunity”, coming from “opportune”, originally came from the Latin ob–“in the direction of”–and portus–“harbor”, which was used to describe the wind driving against the harbor–which always happened at the expected time and place, like the tide rolling in. Also coming from “opportune” is the word “seasonable”, which meant in its archaic form “coming at the right time or meeting the needs of the occasion”. So when Paul says “opportunity”, he’s not saying that the Philippians didn’t get the opportunity–or the chance–to show their care for him, like we would read today. But rather, he’s saying that they didn’t show their care for him even when presented with the opportunity. Therefore, “wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity” means, “I know you cared for me, but you didn’t show it.”

Referring back to what I first said, this is where I point out the importance of studying more than just the Scripture itself. You have to look into the words used in the Scripture. Language has changed since the Bible was written (duuuh, obviously), so what the word used to mean isn’t always what it still means.

So back to the point. Paul notices that the Philippians’ care for him has grown back up, and he praises God for that. But then he says, “Not that I speak in respect of want”. So he’s saying, “Not that I’m saying I wanted you to show your care for me.” He’s pretty much making the most selfless statement ever. “I needed you and you weren’t there until it was too late. But that’s perfectly okay.”

This is where 11b actually steps in. “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul was never really saying that, in prison or not, he has learned to be content in God. He was saying that even without support and help and love from his “friends”, he’s okay because of God. Now, I’m not belittling the fact that living in prison, especially under unjust accusations, is hard. I’m positive that he was referring to that, too. But taken into full context, his mind was probably on the hurt that doesn’t come from imprisonment, but comes from. . . loneliness.

So let’s see again what Philippians 4:10-11 really means, in its truest context.
“I greatly rejoiced in the Lord, because recently I saw that you really do care for me. I knew that you cared before, but it was hard to see. Not that I’m complaining or putting you down for it. Because I’ve learned that, no matter what’s going on in my life, I can and will be content in all that God is.”

So I’m speaking this out over all those who are in a state in which it’s hard to be content. Those who feel rejected or isolated or alone. Especially in this day and time when we’re all so separated from our friends and family. It’s hard, I know, I’ve been there, even a matter of days ago. But guess what? There’s actually a Bible verse that speaks over your situation, pushing you to find your contentedness in God, not in people, and also not in your circumstances. People are so great to have in our lives, but they’re also so easy to trust in, even when they’re not trustworthy. So easy to depend on, even when they’re not dependable. Only God and Jesus will ever be worthy of the trust and dependence that we absolutely have to place on someone, because we all need someone who will hold us up, but will never let us down. That’s God. We’re not alone, after all. Now that sounds like something to be content in.

About The Author

Hey, y’all, my name’s Faith. I’m the author and creator of Suddenly, Grace blog; a blog where I write about everything from my life to my relationship with God to what I’ve learned from God’s Word. I’m a recently graduated homeschool kid from Texas, prepping for my first year of  Bible college to come in September. Some of my favorite things are playing with the worship team at my church (I’m the keyboardist!), reading, writing (DUH), taking care of my crazy family, and growing my relationship with God one day at a time. If you enjoyed reading this awesome God-post, be sure to check out my website at suddenlygraceblog.weebly.com and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! Praying for y’all!

 

Your Weekly Encouragement: Diving Into Gratitude

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

1 Chronicles 16:34

In the past six months, I have suffered from being in content. In today’s world, everyone is doing their workout routines, wearing cute and expensive outfits, and going on amazing trips. I struggled with being jealous of others because of their amazing opportunities and it was just such a negative mindset honestly. Sometimes when I would watch YouTubers, I’d be thinking “Wow I want a pair of lululemon leggings and that cute Louis Vitton tote that I could take to class with me” or I would think “wow I want to go to SoulCycle every morning then take tropical vacations every few months”. These are all things I have envied in the past and still struggle with today. 

When I was praying the other night, suddenly I began thinking about how blessed I truly am. I have my own room, I have hot water to take a shower, I have parents that aren’t divorced, I have a closet filled with clothes, I have an iPhone, I have the access to Bibles, I have everything I need; which is something so many people in the world do not. Whenever I feel jealous of others, I have begun feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit. I have so many amazing opportunities that have been given to me by God. I feel like when I get jealous of what others have I am telling God that what He has given me is not good enough. Whenever you feel in content with your life, think about all the amazing things God has done for you and all of the amazing things He will be doing in your future. 

I know I have talked about God’s provision in the past, but I want to touch on it again. God is going to provide you with every single thing you need in order to further His Kingdom. He will make a way for His plan even if you are in the darkest of situations. He knows exactly what He is doing even on the days where you lay in bed and think about how terrible you have it. 

Remember that being jealous of what others have is going to destroy you. Be joyful always, and have a heart that thanks God through every phase of life and every situation. Because there will be a time for you to celebrate your victories as well. You have amazing things coming up in your future that you cannot even imagine yet. God is constantly working in your life and He will bless you as you let go of everything else for Him. 

Also, take note that all of the things you have right now won’t have any significance in heaven. God is the center of our lives and He is the most important aspect of who we are and how we live our lives. We will not be able to take any of our material items with us to heaven, so don’t put too much value in the things you own. It is better to give than to receive, so try to donate money when you can instead of using money to buy something expensive that you probably do not need! 

I hope that this short post encouraged you and helped you with having a different mindset for your week! I want to be inspiring to you all and help you focus on God instead of life here on earth. 

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