By Brook Ault
Embracing the Future
This past year has consisted of several big changes, crazy new adjustments, and exciting new beginnings. Moving away from home and starting a new life for myself at college was an incredible growing experience. Packing up all my stuff, saying goodbye to my family, and living five hours away in a dorm room with a complete stranger wasn’t exactly easy. Despite my eagerness and excitement to embrace new opportunities and invest in new friendships, saying goodbye to the familiar environment I had grown so comfortable with was rough. With freshmen year coming to an end, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my high school experiences. It’s easy to find myself thinking back to different memories I had or mistakes that I made. I often find myself grimacing at the ways I treated people or the things I’ve done in my past. It can also be incredibly easy to get the urge to crawl right back to my old friendships, relationships, and comfort zones. While I did experience some meaningful relationships and did learn from a lot of my high school experiences, confining myself in these relationships just isn’t healthy. God has been showing me what can happen when I ditch unhealthy relationships, learn from the past, and embrace the future.
Beating ourselves up or even feeling sorry for ourselves because of the things we’ve experienced in the past will only hinder our future. Don’t take me the wrong way, I’m not suggesting that you ditch your past relationships and constantly be on the look out for new friends and shallow relationships. What I am suggesting is that you not allow your past to hold you back. Ask God to reveal what relationships are beneficial to your spiritual growth and what relationships and hindering the plans he has for you. God puts us where we are and opens new doors for ourselves for many reasons. He wants us to learn from our past experiences, apply the lessons we’ve learned, and embrace the new opportunities and relationships he has in store for us.
Matthew 25:41 says, “The next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” This verse has given me so much peace and wisdom and I hope that it will resonate with you if your struggling with remorse from your past. This week, if you’re struggling with regret or guilt, remember the amazing future God has in store for you and find peace, knowing that Christ is preparing an amazing future for you.
By Brook Ault
A lot of times, I find myself getting irritated with God. When I want something, I want it yesterday and I’m not very patient when it comes to waiting on God’s timing. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish that my prayers would be automatically answered. I mean how incredibly convenient would it be if God could just heal my sick grandfather or reveal my future career plans right when I say amen. But the fact of the matter is, our God doesn’t work that way. He isn’t some being who sits in heaven, snaps his fingers, and then bam, all our problems are gone. Rather, Christ is our father. He wants to guide us, direct us, and foster a relationship with us.
We’ve all heard it before.God’s work isn’t finished, he is still working through us and crafting us everyday. This past year has made that truth ring louder in my ears than ever before. The growth I have experienced since high school and the continual growth I see in myself everyday is a testament to the fact that God is still working on us.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling hopeless and burnt out, I doubt that God will follow through. I think maybe that issue that I’m steeling with just going to be something I’m going to have to deal with. But each time I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. He may not work in ways I expect him to or when I expect him to, but he always comes through. Sometimes, God doesn’t change my circumstances by rather works in my heart so that I can react to them in Christ like ways.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you , plans to give you a hope and a future.
If you’ve been frustrated with God lately, if your struggling with something and losing hope that God will acknowledge your hurt, I encourage you to lean into this verse today and remember that, although we sometimes cannot understand God’s timing, he is still working in our lives.
By Sarah Breinig
1) Eat a grilled cheese sandwich
Today (Friday) is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, so eat a grilled cheese sandwich and live it up. Why not add some licorice to you meal? Today is also National Licorice Day, so snack on some!
2) Learn 10 phrases in another language
It is always a good idea to be familiar with other languages, so why not get started and try learning a few common phrases like “where is the bathroom?” or “my name is… what is your name?” Try discovering what your favorite color is or how to order your favorite meal. Pick a language and go for it!
3) Classic Movie Night
Grab some friends and stay inside this weekend and watch some old school movies. Check out these movies streaming on Netflix right now.
• West Side Story
• Raiders of the Lost Ark
• Pretty in Pink
• Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail
For more classics on Netflix go to https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/g25646011/best-classic-movies-on-netflix/.
Do you like fixing cars, but never know where to go for parts? Why not go to U-Pull-It? After paying a $2 admittance fee, you can walk through aisle after aisle of cars and pull and purchase the parts you want from them. Even if you are not into cars, this can be an interesting place to spend so time. Go to http://www.auroraupullit.com/ for more information.
5) Visit the Skydeck
Want to experience Chicago in a fun new way? Want to face fear right in the eye? If your answer was yes to either of these questions, visit the Chicago Skydeck on the Willis Tower (it is spelled “Willis,” but any Chicago native will tell you it is pronounced “Sears”). Located on the 103rd floor, the Skydecks are enclosed balconies with glass floors hanging off one of the world’s tallest buildings, giving visitors a view unlike any other. Although tickets cost $25, this is a unique way to experience Chicago. To order your tickets go to https://tickets.theskydeck.com/e-commerce/ItemList.aspx
By Brook Ault
Lets just be super honest with ourselves for a second, we’ve all slipped and said a thing or two we shouldn’t have. Whether we stubbed on our toe on a piece of furniture and accidently let a very colorful word slip out or found ourselves talking negatively about someone behind their backs, the truth of it is, were human and humans mess up.
God does call us to speak purely and represent him with the words that we say. His hope is that when we speak, people will recognize the love of Christ through our words and feel closer to him. This puts a huge amount of pressure on us, and, when we live in a world where it’s becoming increasingly common to speak negatively, it can be a very daunting task.
I am probably the poster child for letting my mouth get the best of me when I’m angry, and, frankly, this happens more often than I’d like to admit. When I get really upset, and I’m talking knees shaking, muscles tightening, heart pounding angry, it takes everything I have and then some to keep myself from chewing out the poor victim who set me off. But afterwards, when the harsh words have spilled out of mouth too quick for me to even acknowledge what they were, I don’t feel any better. In fact, I feel even worse.
We’re not perfect. We’re going to slip up and, yes, God will love us unconditionally through our mistakes. However, when we speak negatively about someone who God created, we are failing to glorifying him and represent Christ to those who do not know him.
I am just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to this and It’s something I’d really like to change about myself. Running off and talking bad about a friend when I’m upset doesn’t make me feel any better and it doesn’t fix that relationship. Lately, I’ve been trying a new thing where, when I feel like bashing someone or speaking negatively, I mentally remind myself that negative thoughts and actions only distance myself from the one thing that brings me real, sincere joy, my relationship with Christ. I then try to combat my negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones.
We’re human. We make mistakes and sometimes were going to slip up. However, I encourage you today to ask God to purify your heart and give you the strength and guidance to positively represent him with the words you say.
By Brook Ault
Sometimes, when life has us down, joy seems pretty far away and rejoicing in the Lord, although we know he is worthy of our praise, can be pretty exhausting. However, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, rejoicing can impact the vibe of our entire day. Reserving time to praise God in the morning reminds us of his unexplainable love for us. When we take the time to stop, reminisce, and bask in the presence of the lord, we are reminded of the amazing things he has done in our lives. In times of struggle, turmoil, confusion, or just plain exhaustion, rejoicing in the Lord reminds us that, even in these exasperating times, we stand in victory when we have Christ by our side.
With second semester coming to an end, this has been a huge struggle for me. Call me crazy but, when I’m knee deep in research papers, running on 3 hours of sleep, and cram studying for a huge test I have in just an hour, my first thought in the morning isn’t always to rejoice. However, being so consumed with worry and waking up every morning with no objective other than to check off a never ending to-do list isn’t honoring the father and it definitely isn’t benefitting me.
Colossians 1:11-14 says, “And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light.”
Like me, maybe you’re struggling to find the motivation to rejoice in God’s glory. This week, I encourage you to take little steps to make this a priority in your day. Whether it’s waking up in the morning and saying a prayer of thanks or just simply basking in the glory of the Lord, I encourage you to rejoice in him, remembering that he is worthy. Start each day reminding yourself that you are a child of the one true king, and see how this effects your mentality and intimacy with Christ!