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faith • Relate Magazine

You Are Enough

The world’s loudest voices shout that we don’t measure or fit the mold of what is plastered on every form of media.

Our media is filled with voices trying to convince you that you do not measure up because you don’t have enough followers or don’t receive enough likes or mentions.  

Those voices say you’re too fat, or too skinny; you need more makeup your clothes are out of style you are not smart enough, or pretty enough, or a hundred other things that cause you to think you are not enough.

But there is another voice that calls to you. It does not shout or shake you with a heavy hand, but caresses so gently that if you do not pay attention, you may miss it all together.   

The still small voice of the Spirit comes from God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and reaches into the deepest chambers of our heart. It resonates deep within our souls, and tells us we are more than what the world sees —more than we ourselves can see. It tells you that you are enough to the Lord because you are his child.

The story of Jesus’s life, as captured in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, is filled with accounts of people whom the world did not recognize as enough, but whom Jesus saw as extraordinary.  

Many times, the scriptures don’t tell us the names of these people, but show us that through coming to know Jesus, they were more than enough. They were loved, blessed, enlightened, changed, and healed.

John 8:4-8 tells of a woman who had committed adultery. Church leaders brought her before Jesus saying:

“Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.”

After all those who had accused the woman had departed, Jesus looked lovingly upon the woman and asked, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name” (John 8:10-11).

Such stories teach us it is not the view of the world that counts, but the vision God and his Son Jesus Christ have about us that really matters. Each of us is a child of God, created in his image and filled with divine potential.  

As we come unto Christ, his light shows us the light that is within us. We begin to see ourselves as he sees us.  

Marianne Williamson, an inspirational author and teacher, once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God…. We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.”

And as a child of God, you are unique. You have talents and abilities given to you by Him who is your Father which is in Heaven. Jesus lived and died so you can become all you were meant to be, regardless of whether you make the cheerleading squad or finish first in your class at school.

Jesus taught that with His light within you, you are to be the light of the world. You can let YOUR light shine before the world, so they can see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). That is how you will be beautiful to the world, and how you will best honor God.

So instead of turning on your Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram to check your follower count, or if your latest selfie went viral, turn to the Lord through prayer and scripture reading so He can show you who you truly are — his beloved daughter and child of promise.

Michael L. King, author of “The Unknown Disciple,” grew up in a Christian home but came to more fully know the Savior when, as a youth, he was involved in the accidental death of a great friend. He has spent his whole life teaching and testifying of the Savior’s atoning grace in every setting, from small classrooms to large audiences in conferences, workshops, and symposiums—yet remains to most of the world as an unknown disciple.

Don’t Believe the Lie

Life teaches us many things. One thing I’ve painfully learned is lies are usually too good to be true. Sometimes, there are lies told that are almost believable, especially at Christmas time.

How about this one: “Santa Claus is real”? Responsible sane adults tell it to little children, along with the lie “I’ll never lie to you”. Yep! I once fell for it hook, line, and sinker!  It was intentional and well-meaning deceit, but isn’t that how Satan works too?

In the Bible, Satan is proven to be the first liar. Genesis recounts the Creation and the Fall of mankind through Adam and Eve. You see Eve believed a lie (Genesis 3:1). That belief ultimately caused her to lose her home in paradise and earned her pain in childbirth as punishment for disobeying God (Genesis 3:16). Her husband Adam also paid the price for her sin. He was condemned to struggle to survive for the ground was cursed (Genesis 3:17).

Here’s what the serpent said and Eve’s response:

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Genesis 3:1-3 (KJV)

Here’s what God really said:

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:  for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:26-27

Sin creeps in because the heart is deceitful. Jeremiah records the truth in Jeremiah 17:9-10:  

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”  

These verses warn us about how easily we can be deceived and the consequences. It’s not pretty, as Adam and Eve discovered.

The world at large continually tears down the true meaning of the Christian celebration of Christmas. Jesus has been replaced with Santa and Self. Much ado is made over Santa and gift giving. Character is revealed very clearly during the rush Christmas shopping.

Believers celebrate the birth of Jesus, God’s own Son. His life on earth demonstrated God’s goodness, love, and mercy for mankind. He came to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. God’s law requires that sin be punished. Jesus took the punishment for our sins when He died on the cross. He satisfied God’s requirements so that those who believe in Him can be forgiven and reconciled to God.

Trust is precious. Once lost, it’s difficult to regain. Don’t allow yourself to get into the habit of lying. Even “little white lies” are a problem because they seem okay, even harmless. If someone lies about something small, they will lie about something big when it suits the purpose.

Let’s reject the lies about the reason we celebrate Christmas. Seek the truth. The Bible tells us Christmas is about a baby boy born in a stable who came to be the Savior of the world.

by Linda Hull

A Happy Christmas Day for Lydia

One sunny day in late November, my sister Emma and I sat in the cafeteria eating our lunch. “I’ve thinking about Pastor Jim’s message yesterday at church. He told us Jesus taught we should help one another,” I said, munching on a carrot.”I wonder if we can help someone have a happy Christmas. Maybe it could be someone who doesn’t expect a good Christmas Day.”

I finished the last of my fruit salad and said, “I know someone in my math class, and you know her too, Emma. Her name is Lydia Koch. She and her family recently came here from Germany. She told me her family doesn’t expect a happy Christmas Day because their father is away.”

“Oh, yes,” Emma said. ” She has blonde hair and blue eyes.  She’s shy and quiet, but she seems very nice. ”

“Let’s talk to Mother about doing something for her family today when we go home,” I said, as we put our trays in the cafeteria return window.

“Let’s do that,” Emma agreed.

That afternoon we found Mother in the kitchen. It smelled of good things coming from the oven. “Mother, Emma and I have a good idea,” I said. ” We were thinking about Pastor Jim’s message about how Jesus taught it was important to help others, especially when things aren’t going well for them,  and we were thinking maybe we could help  Lydia Koch’s family, have a good Christmas.  I could make some oatmeal cookies.”

“And I could bake a chocolate cake,” Emma chimed in. ” Mother,  you told me,  I can make good chocolate cakes.”

Mother smiled and nodded.  “Well, girls,” she said, ” I think that would be a very good Christian thing to do.  I talked with Sophie Koch after church last week. She told me she was not planning to have a Christmas dinner since her husband was away and couldn’t be home with the family, and lately,  she has not been feeling well either.”

“Mother, maybe we could prepare a turkey for her,” I suggested.  “Then, she can put it in the oven and bake it. That would make it a lot easier for Mrs. Koch.”

“Yes, it would, Alyssa. That’s a good idea. With a turkey and some pastries we bake, they should all make a good Christmas Day for Sophie and her family.”

“Let’s let it be a surprise,” I said.

A few days before Christmas, Mother, Emma, and I met the Koch family after church outside the entrance. While Mother  visited with Mrs. Koch, Ruth and I took Lydia to the gift basket we had prepared. “We have a surprise for you and your family,” I said, showing her the food basket. When Lydia looked inside and saw all the pastries and the big fat turkey stuffed and ready for baking, tears came into her eyes.  She reached out and gave Emma and me a big hug.

“Thank you. Thank you,” she said, smiling through her tears. “Now we can have a wonderful Christmas Day.”

I’ll never forget the look of happiness I saw on Lydia’s face as she carried the basket to her mother. Both Mrs. Koch and Lydia hugged us. Mother put her arms around them and said, “It was Alyssa’s and Emma’s idea.”

Mrs. Koch nodded happily through her tears “Thank you, girls,” she said.

“Last week Pastor Jim reminded us that Jesus wants us to help one another,” I said. “And today, that’s what we are doing. Lydia told us you haven’t been feeling well.”  I gave Mrs. Koch a big hug once more. Emma  and I looked at one another with a bright smile. We both felt wonderful inside. We knew we were following the teachings of Jesus by helping our friend Lydia Koch and her family have a Happy Christmas Day.

 

Written by Evelyn Horan

WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD!

The holidays are drawing near. Many may wonder if they will be alone yet again this year. Friends and family may be far away or busy with their own plans, but no matter the circumstance, there is one who knows your loneliness. No one has to go through life all alone.

I love Psalm 118:14 (KJV). It says, “The LORD is my strength and song and is become my salvation.”

Who is this LORD? Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. The psalmist is rejoicing in the One who can get us through any crisis. He is our strength! When we feel alone, our LORD is with us. We can be joyful because we have a constant companion!

How does this work? Jesus came as a baby, then was crucified on a cross, and rose again. His death was God’s way of dealing with sin in the world. Jesus paid the price God requires. Sin must be punished. Jesus took the punishment on behalf of all mankind. When He rose from the grave, He ascended into Heaven. Then the Holy Spirit came to reside in the hearts of all Believers. Consequently no one who has repented of their sin and called upon the name of Jesus for salvation from the punishment for sin is alone. The Holy Spirit comes to live in the heart of the Believer.

Therefore the LORD truly is with us, giving us strength to endure any situation. When life gets tough, I go to Psalm 118:24:  “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

The LORD already knows what a day will bring, whether sorrow, hardship, or joy. He knows and understands our trials and fears. He is aware of our disappointments. Yet, despite all we face, He never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

We expect to suffer trials and troubles, because we live in a sin filled world where the sin nature present in each of us has predominance. We must constantly strive to obey our LORD.  With the help of the Holy Spirit and guidance from the God’s Word, the Bible, we can choose to live a life that is pleasing to God.

We can choose to embrace the life He gives us, rejoicing in each day. To enjoy the happiness we can find in each day, we must choose to rejoice and be glad despite our circumstances.  We may repeat that part “we will rejoice” with gritted teeth, but we can know with certainty that we are not alone in our anguish.

I will rejoice and be glad!

I choose to trust Him with each day of my life.

That trust in Him gives me peace because I know He is faithful to do what He promises. Without Him, I will fail and fall. With Him, I can overcome. I will rejoice with thanksgiving because He is faithful even when I am not.

This holiday season let us rejoice and give thanks!

*Let us give Him thanks for His many blessings!

*Let us praise Him with love and joy for His gift of redemption and forgiveness of sin.

*Let us give thanks for our hope for an eternity spent with Him.

*Let us thank Him for revealing Himself to us.

 

by Linda Hull

Do You Thank God For Your Blessings?

Do you thank God for your Blessings? It seems I spend more time in prayer asking God for things rather than thanking Him for what He’s done.  In my self -pity, I seem to compare myself with friends and people I admire. There’s always someone who is more talented, more popular and more organized. I should remember to be thankful.  For example, I am thankful God hasn’t answered all my prayers.

 Earlier, in my prayers, I had asked God to help me get on the basketball team.  Emma, a friend, lives down the street. She is great at sports.  A few weeks ago, I was embarrassed  in front of the rest of the team, when Emma, team captain, of the after-school basketball team, and the most popular girl in class said to me, “Alyssa, I don’t want to make you feel bad. But it takes a lot of running and dribbling, and co-ordination to make the team. Isn’t that right, Mary?” Emma nodded to her second-in command- standing beside her.

    “That’s right,” Mary said.  “You know Alyssa, you made a lot of mistakes this afternoon. And you missed all your basket shots.”

    “Maybe, you should try out for the volleyball team,” Emma said. “They don’t have to move around the court as much as we do. They stand more in place. I think volleyball would be a lot easier for you.”
    I nodded. I was so embarrassed, I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.   After dinner that evening, my mom tried to tempt me with my favorite desert- chocolate pudding, and I didn’t even want any.

       I had asked God for His help to get on the basketball team, and I didn’t make it. I was sad. Could I look at the situation the way God expected me to do? Finally, I sighed, as I admitted to myself, it was true,  I wasn’t very coordinated. Once I almost fell down trying to dribble a pass ball from a team member.

     But now, I feel a lot better these days. I’m on the volleyball team, and I’m serving good shots over the net. I’m enjoying myself. I’m exercising and getting physically fit, and I think this is the plan God had for me, even though it is different from what I had wanted.

    There are times, I’m sure you will agree, we’ve spoken a cross word to a friend or a loved one, or a time when our younger brother or sister tried our patience.  I remember while enjoying my own good health, I forgot to visit my friend Debbie, when she was sick.  I know she would have been glad to see me.

      When I enter into self-pity, I try to think of all my blessings.  My first blessing is my physical and mental good health.  A second blessing is my Christian home and family. I remember my personal possessions and all the wonderful things I have– my room, my TV, my computer, and my cell phone.

    When I think of all the abundance I enjoy compared to the rest of the world’s population.  I know God has blessed me by letting me live here, when I remember there are millions living in poverty in many countries in the world today.

    God didn’t promise to grant me all my wishes, but He did say He’d meet my needs.  It’s time to trust God and know that He has our best welfare at heart, and He knows our future. I should be more grateful.

     It’s time to count my blessings and thank God for His goodness to me. I should say, “‘Thank You, God, for all You’ve done for me, and for all You’re going to do'”

    I think I’ll begin right now!

written by Evelyn Horan

Pencil Skirt Pride

Pride always seems to get in the way of pleasing God. I know because it happened to me.

When I started a new job, I wanted acceptance and respect as a true professional. A shopping trip was the first step! I really needed some new outfits meant to impress.

That navy blue suit was a perfect fit! I was bursting with pride when I wore it! It had an adorable little jacket and a pencil skirt that fell below the knee. A white blouse and black shoes completed my professional outfit.

I received several compliments from the older ladies in the office, who were just a little tired of the more casual attire worn by some girls. I was quite pleased I measured up to their high standards! The other girls didn’t say anything, but that was okay.

Right off, my boss gave me an important task to do that day. I was to go over to one of the government buildings to pick up some paperwork. No problem!

I found a parking place and started walking to the building. That’s when I discovered I could only take very tiny steps instead of my usual longer stride. I hated to admit it to myself but that skirt just didn’t have any give to it at all.  It was a bit of a hike and my time was slipping away. It was impossible to hurry.

When I finally made it to the building, my next obstacle loomed before me. To my horror there were about fifteen steps to the building’s main door. How does one get up steps if you can hardly bend your knees?  

I stood there, hoping  no one noticed I was deliberating about how to get up the steps. Obviously, my beautiful outfit was more suited for church, not office work. I had no choice but to swallow my pride and hike my skirt up a bit so I could go up those awful steps.

I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 16:18 (KJV):  “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Another verse that comes to mind is found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Later, I had to admit to myself and God that my goal in wearing my gorgeous suit was to draw attention to myself. I wanted to show up the other girls in the office. There was an attitude in my heart that set myself up as better because I had a much desired position in the office. It wasn’t about looking good, but about setting myself apart in arrogance.

God doesn’t mind us dressing up for an important event. He doesn’t mind when we excel and do well. He expects us to do our level best in every situation, not purposely fail.

To do our best, we need to turn to Him in prayer asking for His direction and guidance. Our focus is to be on how we can please Him, not ourselves. Instead of seeking our own acclaim, let us take pride in what our Lord does! He alone deserves the praise and glory! Our joy comes from knowing that we are pleasing to Him.

A thoughtful reminder from the Apostle Peter:

“…be clothed with humility:  for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the might hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:5b-7

Every time I begin to feel prideful, I am reminded of my humiliating experience in a pencil skirt. I remember to trust God to help me to be the person He wants me to be.

Written by Linda Hull

Does God Care About Our Daily Needs?

How do I know God is a part of my daily life?  Every time I begin to think God is too busy in His Heaven to remember my needs and wishes that might seem trivial, I try looking for Him in my routine activities.

I remember one busy morning I had to shop in a short time. I needed an indoor basket plant for my friend, Helen who was recovering from a short illness, and I had other shopping to do.  Knowing that florists expect a “good price” for the sort of dish garden I wanted, I thought of a large discount store outside my neighborhood.

But I don’t enjoy visiting this store because it’s always crowded.  Still, I felt an inner urge to shop for groceries items there.  Just as I expected, when I arrived, the store was filled with shoppers.

Then I prayed, “Dear God, please help me find a gift for Helen.”

Inside the store, with shopping list in hand, I came upon a temporary table of assorted,  dish garden plants. I couldn’t believe it!  They were exactly the kind I wanted, but much more beautiful than I’d even imagined.

“I must have one of those basket plants,” I told myself.  I knew Helen would enjoy the plants.  Cautiously,  I read the sign and then looked again.  It was true, these large, healthy dish gardens were moderately priced.

“Thank you, God,” I whispered.

Then further down, on the right, there was  a display table of children’s books.  As I browsed through them,  I found a beautiful picture book showing the life of Jesus.  It too was moderately priced. The book would be the perfect gift for my young granddaughter Alyssa, whose birthday was in a few days.

“Thank you, God, for sending me here,” I murmured happily, reaching for the picture book.   Through my prayers, God had helped me find the things I needed today.

At home, relaxing after shopping, I thought about my morning.  And I had to remind myself once again–when I take the time to look for Him, it’s easy to find God doing wonderfully, unexpected things in my ordinary life.  I just have to stay alert and recognize them.

When I do, I find the reassurance that these little “special favors” are God’s way of showing me that I am not alone to meet the challenges in my life.  They reveal that God is here with me, helping me, and smoothing out my way in my day to day needs.

Isn’t it wonderful how God makes His presence known to us in ordinary ways all the time!  What a joy to know God is here in our lives, helping us, and blessing us every day with His faithful love.

Written by Evelyn Horan

Healthy on the outside, a mess on the inside

I was a fat kid.  I was teased relentlessly for it, and in sixth grade, I discovered this great thing called exercise, and I lost over twenty pounds.  It felt like a miracle!

The thing was, though, I was skinny fat.  I hated vegetables.  I didn’t eat much fruit.  And I loved carbs almost as much as I loved fast food.  I discovered that I could eat what I wanted to, if I just did enough aerobic exercise.  And so I did that, for a really long time.  It didn’t matter that I felt yucky as in always, always tired, and that I got headaches constantly.  All that seemed to matter to me was that I appeared healthy on the outside.

Even as I was destroying myself on the inside.

It caught up to me.  Autoimmune diseases are knocking on my door.  I’m not that dummy who says, “Huh, how did that happen?”  I’ve had a conscience about this for years.  For the last decade at least (told you I’ve been doing this for a while), I’ve been feeling guilty.  I felt like an addict:  after every cheeseburger and French fries from McDonald’s that I consumed, I’d tell myself it was for the last time.  Next time I was hungry, I’d eat a carrot.  Except I didn’t.

Joint pain, fatigue, and abnormal blood tests made me change my life around.  I eat healthy now.  Not that I didn’t throw a million tantrums in the grocery store when I realized EVERYTHING I ate before had tons of sugar, gluten, or chemicals in it.  The first three months were the hardest, but I’d allow myself one cheat day a week, and I discovered after eating clean, I no longer liked the processed junk.  I no longer understand why I liked it to begin with.  And I feel amazing.  I feel young, even if the date on my license tells me that I’m not.

My eating habits have reflected my spiritual life more times than I’d like to admit.  I’d nurse that anger, focus on the negatives rather than the positives, focus on myself rather than consider anyone else’s needs, and overall let myself slip into habits that I knew weren’t necessarily practices I was proud of.  But I still went to church.  I still read my Bible.  I still prayed (if praying, “Please let this crazy annoying driver in front of me turn left while I turn right” counts).

Semi healthy on the outside.

While decaying on the inside.

If doing the wrong thing makes us feel so horrible, and doing the right thing makes us feel so amazing, why do we keep chasing the wrong choices?  For me, it was about habit.  And comfort.  Familiarity makes me feel safe.  And, to be brutally honest, because I am, you know, incredibly lazy.  So much so that it sometimes frightens me.

Creating my own illnesses scared me straight.  I realized I was poisoning myself by being so lazy that I wouldn’t look up new recipes or buy unfamiliar produce or try something new.  And each time I go out of my comfort zone and smile at a stranger and ask them about their day or do something selfless, I understand that my spiritual life is the same type of thing.  While I may know what nourishes my body, it does no good until it is what I choose to consume.  And while I may know the difference between wrong and right, it doesn’t do any good until I choose to engage in the better choices.

I don’t want to be fake.  I want to be as real as I can be from my soul outward, and I want to shine a light that makes other lives better.  Religious practices mean nothing if you aren’t communicating with the Savior and putting yourself out there as His vessel.  What is right isn’t always easy.  But it is always worth it.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:25 (NIV)

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

Believe In What You Do: Tying Faith And Career Together

There are times when it feels like your beliefs can rub up against the world outside in a way that often isn’t immediately a fit. A lot of young Christians find that when it comes to career. However, the truth is that your faith and your work can have a much deeper relationship than many expect. The conventional wisdom of the modern workplace and the wisdom of your faith aren’t incompatible. Here, we’ll look at ways that you can resolve those seeming mismatches and find a career that fulfills and works with your spiritual relationship.

Be true to the values

One of the easiest ways to reconcile your beliefs with your career is to focus on a job that speaks to the very core of your faith. There are few things more Christian than healing the sick, for instance, so finding a career in healthcare can be just the kind of mentally and spiritually nourishing work that helps both aspects of your life co-exist. Or you might consider the careers that follow the path of addressing the inequalities of the world, such as working in foreign aid or in taking paid positions for nonprofits that are at the forefront of battling many of the issues facing modern society.

Spreading the word

Sometimes, the best way to reconcile faith and career is the most direct path. Not every religious person should immediately think about taking a religious job. However, if your faith is not only your moral compass and your guiding path but is a true passion for you, then it only makes sense to follow a career in that position. There are a lot of directions you can take in it, too. A Master of Divinity degree, or a MDiv, can lead to a career path in the church, for certain. But it can also provide a bedrock for a more scholarly approach to religion, including teaching religious studies that can deepen your understanding and relationship with your faith.

Being a believer in the workplace

If you choose a career path outside the church, as you may very well want to, it’s important to realize that there might be some challenges when your faith comes face-to-face with the workplace. If you’ve been raised in a religious family and in a tight faith-based community, then it might feel natural for you for your beliefs to be a natural part of life and conversation and never far from your mind. However, it can cause some challenges in the workplace. It isn’t sacrificing your ideals or compromising your spiritual self to realize that advice based on the scriptures might not play too well in a professional environment. Rather, keeping your faith personal can be tremendously helpful. Prayer is often a great tool for fighting workplace stress and taking the Christian view on showing compassion to wrongdoing can help you contribute to a better workplace, even if you’re extolling the virtues of your belief directly.

Keeping your ties

The more major problem that many young professional Christians have is keeping themselves tied to their faith while in the working environment. For one, if you really want to succeed in your career, as your faith supports, then it can take a lot of time. Making time for God, and touching base with your spiritual self is important. Prayer and seeking the advice of your pastor or reverend can help you reconcile your faith and some of the difficult workplace related choices. For instance, many face issues when it comes to aspects of self-promotion and pride in the workplace that might be helped out with some advice or introspective prayer if you just take the time for it.

Be true to you

Most important of all, you should realize that God doesn’t intend for you to make your relationship with him the only thing in your life. It should always be there, but you are also on the Earth to do good here and to engage here fully and with confidence. If you have a passion, then figure out what it is and how you can make a career with it. So long as you keep your relationship with your faith and keep to the example set by it, there should be no conflict that stops you from working in the field you truly want to.

It can feel like treading a thin line when the modern working culture seems to prioritize ruthless competition and sometimes selfish behavior, but there are a lot of different work environments and career paths where you can find your fit. Hopefully, the tips above help you find them.

 

Saving Smiles One Bracelet at a Time

One in 700 children are born with a cleft palate, a common birth defect that happens when parts of the lip and mouth do not completely fuse together. If not treated, it can cause serious lifelong problems, such as difficulty breathing, dental issues, and speech impairments. Fortunately, it can be corrected with a surgery…unfortunately, not many families can afford that, especially in third world countries where medical treatment is not easy to come by. That’s where Nandini and Sanjana come in. These two fifteen-year-old girls are co-owners of Side by Side Smiles, a charity dedicated to raising money and awareness so that babies born with cleft palates can get the treatment they need so that they can live full, normal, and happy lives. I’m so thankful I had the chance to interview them and find out more about this important cause.

 

R: Tell us about Side by Side Smiles. How does it work?

S: Side by Side Smiles is a charity started by us in January of this year. We sell five-dollar charm bracelets that we make by hand to raise money and awareness for children who cannot afford cleft lip palate surgeries. Currently, we make and sell our charm bracelets and accept donations to raise money.

 

R: What inspired you to create this charity?

S: Nandini was born with a cleft lip, but luckily had access to the care and resources she needed. Nandini was fortunate enough to grow up with a normal childhood. Earlier this year, she realized that not all children with clefts are lucky enough to get the opportunities she did. So Nandini decided she wanted to help make a difference. When she asked her lifelong best friend Sanjana if she wanted to be involved, Sanjana was ecstatic. Together, they decided to start Side by Side Smiles.

 

R: What do you hope to accomplish In the future? What have you already accomplished?

S: We would like to raise at least $5,000 by the end of this year. As a long term goal, we would love to raise $100,000. So far, we have sold over 600 bracelets and raised over $4,300.

 

R: How can people donate and/or raise awareness?

S: People can donate by visiting our website, sidebysidesmiles.org. There is a link that will lead you to our Etsy page, where you can purchase a bracelet. However, if bracelets are not your thing, you can donate to our fundraiser, which is also linked on our website. The best way we gain awareness, however, is through word of mouth. If people find out about us, we encourage them to tell their family, friends, and people around them.

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add?

S: We are really thankful for the opportunities and experiences we’ve received since starting this charity and we encourage everyone to realize that, big or small, all efforts for positive change matter.

You can make a difference! Be sure to check out their website (and their beautiful bracelets) and go like their Facebook page. Share it with your friends and do your part to raise awareness for their cause. Every bracelet bought and every donation made brings a child one step closer to a surgery that will change their life.