The Next Four Years

 

Four years ago, I was 22 years old and had my life totally figured out.

I was in my second year of teaching and could cook a one course meal using a frying pan.

Curiosity killed the cat, as they say, and my roommate Kendra and I blew out the pilot light on our gas fireplace. It appeared to be a safety issue, but once we realized we were mistaken, we had to call our landlord. (Seriously, how were we supposed to know it stays on?).

I also forced Kendra to hide my snack food on me because I had no portion control (still don’t) but then after awhile she refused to do it because she says I got too aggressive when begging her to tell me where she stashed it.

Life was most certainly an adventure.

So I may be using the phrase “totally figured out” loosely, but I made it and am a fully (read: mildly) functioning adult today.

The last four years have challenged me, excited me, devastated me, taught me and changed me.

I’m not the same person, or even close to resembling the person I was 4 years ago.

So with the election looming, okay stalking, all around us, it has me thinking about the next four. What will I do with them?

In four years, I will be 30. Hopefully married, (please, Lord) maybe with a babe or six, and probably a much more mature version of myself.

Looking back at how the years have flown by, I know in the blink of an eye it will be here. 4 years will have come and gone.

4 years that potentially (this is purposely written before the election to leave out any names or political stances #strategy), hold someone in office that does not represent the values or the morals that I hold dear to me.

That leaves me with this question: even if the outcome of this election scares me and hurt my soul, what do I want the next four years to be about and what can I do to make it happen?

Do I want to make it obvious the next four years how I think the election should have gone and where it all went wrong?

Do I want to argue points endlessly about controversial issues?

Do I want to add to the broken relationships that have weathered too many storms over the election season?

No.

For the next four years, I want the world to see how I feel about my Jesus, not my President.

For the next 48 months, I want to point others to the cross, not to the latest headline.

(Maybe I should also brush up on my multiplication facts during this time, because I had to google 12  x 4)

For the next 1,460 days, I want the light that lives in me to shine bright in a world covered in so much darkness.

I could keep going into hours and minutes, but I think you get the point and I don’t want to patronize you.

We are called as believers to fight for justice and stand up for  the truth that is found in  the Word of God.

But we are not God.

We cannot fix the brokenness by ourselves.

It’s not our job to fix the brokenness.

We can fight for change and speak out against injustice.

We can pray and we love and we cry out for the help we so desperately need.

That is our calling. To do His work.

This calling does not have to include the tearing down of other people.

I’ve got to think that God cares more about how we treat and love  neediness of people, than he does about how we feel about the President.

When I stand before Him one day, will He say to me,

“What is your perception of the political situation in America from 2016-2020?”

or will he more focused on the ways I was His hands and feet to those who needed Him most?

We can stand strong in a way that honors God in word and action.

The next four years, and truthfully, the remaining time until Jesus returns, will not be easy for followers of Jesus.

When I am almost 30 years old, on the eve of the election of 2020, I hope those around me can say that I spent these precious years loving Jesus, serving people and striving to be more like Christ in a world that needs Him more than ever.

In four years, maybe I will own a house that has a garage door opener. #dreams

Maybe I’ll finally cut back on excessive amounts of processed foods and sugar.

So much can happen in 1,460 days. There is so much we cannot control that happens around us, but what we can control is how we respond and react to the chaos we see and we feel.

Love wildly for the next four years.

 

 

 

 

10 Things We Can All Agree On in a Time of So Much Arguing

Online arguments are the bane of all human existence. They are also like a train wreck; no matter how much you know you should look away, sometimes you just can’t stop reading long comment threads of people fighting and debating and laying their dignity on the line.

To my knowledge, approximately zero people have changed their minds due to someone on social media lending a countering opinion. I have read a LOT of online arguments, and not ONCE have I read,

“You know, Steve, all of your statistics and sarcasm has totally changed my outlook on immigration, so I agree with you now. Thanks, friend. ”

Have you?

Listen, I am all for healthy debate. I am all for freedom of speech. But people, stop yelling at each other online. If you want to post your opinion, fine. I think it’s great that people have an outlet to express themselves, but when I see some of the people I hold SO much respect for get into it on Facebook, even Pastors, I just can’t look at them the same.

People are reading.

People are watching how you’re treating and the way you are talking to others.

So, in attempt to unite us all during a time of intense political division and varying opinions about the circus that is currently happening in our society, I have compiled a list of things upon which we will ALMOST all universally agree.

1. Burning your tongue is terrible

The pain of burning your tongue both as it happens and after it happens is terrible. Once I burnt my tongue on Hot Chocolate the MORNING of Thanksgiving. That is like spraining your ankle the day before the Olympics. I had to go through the whole day barely tasting the food on the biggest day of eating of the whole year. I have never met a person who enjoys having a burnt tongue.

2. It’s so weird when you take a drink of something and it’s not what you
expected

You know what I am talking about. You go to take a huge chug of water and it’s your sister’s Sprite. All of a sudden it’s like the equilibrium of the world is off. You don’t know anything for a moment. There are so many confusing sensations happening.

3. Leaving work on Friday is the best feeling

I love my job. But that sweet freedom of a Friday afternoon might rival the high of recreational drugs (do not know this from experience.) It’s a spring day, the sun in shining and you just walked out of work and the weekend awaits you. Tell me you don’t like that.

4. When you unexpectedly run into someone you know at the airport- it feels like worlds are colliding

Traveling is an exciting experience, and people watching during traveling is even more exciting. I have often observed groups of people run into each other unexpectedly at the airport and EVERY TIME it’s like this incredible reunion with shrieks and hugs. Even in “real life” if those people aren’t necessarily close, the airport makes you vulnerable and connects you.

5. People with accents are cooler 

We are pretty much all intrigued by people with different accents than us. Yesterday I was on the last leg of a five hour drive, and this woman with a thick Irish accent was doing a broadcast on the radio. I couldn’t turn it off. Her voice was so beautiful and different and I hung onto her every word. I also decided I am going to learn to speak with an Irish accent.

6. Your song sounds better on the radio

You might have bought your favorite song on iTunes and listen to it obsessively every waking minute of your life, but when it comes on the radio unexpectedly, it is the best 4 minutes of your life.

7. You probably have googled “Is it normal…”
Maybe you haven’t googled it, but you have thought it

8. Puppy bellies are the world’s best texture

If you disagree with me on this one, please just delete me from your life.

9. You do really embarrassing things when you’re alone

No need to get into details. You do. And I do, too.

10. You have your opinions because you think they are what’s best.

We all have views and opinions based on what we see is best. We can’t all be right. But we all think we are right.

Chances are, you’re wrong about some things. Chances are, you are also right about some things.

None of us knows it all. None of us is right about everything.

Let’s stop arguing over everything that’s different, and remember that at the end of the day, we all want what’s best and we are all in this together.

Blessings, not chins

Jenna