Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Stop Worrying and Start Living"

So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing?
(Matt 6:25 NLT)

Worrying is one of the most destructive of all human habits because it decreases your effectiveness in other areas. When you worry about something, your thoughts and your emotions focus on events that haven't yet taken place. It's like Mark Twain once said: "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened."

Worrying is totally passive. It accomplishes nothing. On the other hand, worrying can literally make you sick while keeping you from accomplishing the things that really matter. Here's a sobering thought: Worry can keep you from living your life the way God intended it.

Think about the things you worry about. Amazingly, you probably worry about the small stuff. Those details of life over which you have little or no control. Oswald Chambers wrote: "It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us."

Jesus asked the rhetorical question, "can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not" (matt 6:27 NLT). If anything, worries can and will take away from your life. Are you trying to arrange the details of your life so carefully that you are leaving God out of the process? Then you're probably worrying too much. You're relying on your own abilities, and you think you have a lot to lose if things don't turn out the way you want.

Clearly the antidote to worry is trusting God to take care of the small stuff of your life. Invite Him to get involved in the details of your life. "Give all your worries and cares to God," says the Bible, "for he cares about what happens to you" (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

  • Live longer by worrying less.
  • Don't worry about what you can't do. If you must worry, worry about why you won't do what you should do.
  • Before you worry needlessly, ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that could happen?"
  • When you're feeling overwhelmed, remember to take things one at a time--one day at a time.
  • Worrying occurs when God is left out of the process.
  • Anxiety is short-lived if we give it to God.
  • If you prepare for the future, you won't have to worry about it.
  • Don't worry as much about where you are as where you are going.
  • Rather than worrying about change, learn to thrive on it.
  • Worry is a choice.
  • When you choose to worry, you are choosing not to trust God.
  • Worrying can literally harm you--emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • Instead of worrying about what you can't do, think about what God can do for you.
  • The best way to stop worrying is to start praying.
  • Never confuse worrying about tomorrow with planning for tomorrow.
  • Prayer changes things; worry changes nothing.
[from a book written by Bruce and Stan called "God is in the Small Stuff and it all matters"]

I think that line that says, "Rather than worry about change, learn to thrive on it," was written especially for me. I'm normally quite the adventurous one who's always looking for the excitement in life, but when it comes to making adjustments in life, I...get scared. Yes, I said it, I get scared. KAREN gets scared. yup! you better believe it. People say it's normal for this stage in life and that I'm not the only one experiencing this.

I'm more like my dad than I realized. He has a regular tendency to worry about the littlest things, well, here I am following in his footsteps when I so adamantly told myself I wouldn't.

Worry really does eat one up alive.
My insides have been eating themselves outward, my muscles are all knotted up, and worry pretty much has affected my whole, before it gets too far and reaches the surface, I have put my foot down and said to WORRY, "stop eating me alive!" I will not let YOU run my life and control my thoughts.

This year, rather than make a whole long list of New Year's resolutions that I would most likely break, I wrote one thing: Trust in the Lord Always. That's it. And here I am practically spent all of January worrying about the future! Wow, I'm learning a lot about myself and my resolutions.

So, each day I've begun to pray a new prayer. "I've given you 99% of my doubts, fears, and worries Lord, there's just that 1% I can't seem to let go of. Please, teach me to unclench my fist and drop it in your hand. I want to Trust in YOU always."

This is my walk (or crawl) and I'm sure many will be able to relate. I'm learning to worry less about change, because whether I like it or not, change will probably be the most constant part of my life here on out and I better get used to it. The only thing I can change is my attitude towards it.'s to [the rest of my] life and to a change in attitude! May they be the best changes I have ever experienced as well as the best you've ever experienced in yours. Cheers...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

August Rush Movie Review

I really love inspirational, warm-fuzzy-feel-good movies that just leave your heart feeling afterwards. I went down to Tennessee for the weekend to visit some friends I hadn't seen in a while and it turned out to be a really refreshing decision. I'm really glad I decided to be spontaneous and jumped in the car when the seat was available. Alright, so my friend and I made time to watch August Rush this afternoon and once again (for those of you that know me) I have only great things to say about the movie and strongly recommend it. It's one of those movies that's not really all too realistic, but the deeper moral and message to it can only add to your life, if you so choose to see it that way.

Here's a quick summary of what the movie is about [I'll try not to give away too much so you will want to see it]: A New York Philharmonic cellist (Russell) meets rock star lead singer (Meyers) at a party. Their individual understanding and loves for music spark instant chemistry. However, an uncontrollable situation separates them and redirects their lives for over a decade. After 11 years of waiting, an orphaned boy decides to leave the communal Home he was bound to in search of his real parents. He claims to hear them through the sound of music. He finds himself in the big bad city of New York and becomes a street beggar playing music hoping that they in turn will find their way to him. This kid turns out to be quite the musical prodigy and learns everything about musical theory and composition what major known composers take several years to acquire. Basically he's a magical kid and is the fruit of his two musically-talented parents. See the rest of the movie to learn how it concludes. Starring Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, and Robin Williams, August Rush is definitely a must-see if you haven't already seen it. I give my personal critic and Two Thumbs Up of a wonderful heart-warming family movie.

I connected with this movie because it showed me another element of the substance of hope and faith. Although completely non-religious, the faith and hope the main characters held on to was very inspiring. Despite how big the odds may be against you, to truly have faith means to never let go of the hope that what you've so earnestly prayed for will be answered in its own time, even if it means waiting for several years. For some, patience is terribly hard, but having faith requires patience. Knowing that in God's perfect time all things will be revealed according to His purpose.

As I make time to watch more movies this semester, keep your eyes peeled for more reviews. I enjoy responding to movies and attempting to derive some sort of deeper meaning or analysis of them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I am Humbled

I am humbled. Today someone shared their personal experience "working in the real world." She didn't share the top 10 secrets you need to get a job and survive in the real world. She shared something I wasn't expecting to hear from a talk entitled: "Working in the Real World." She said being authentic to who you are as a child of God is all one needs to survive work in the real world. But the problem is many (including myself) still have trouble/issues with the authenticity of who they are. We want to be so many things, to be a certain personality (or all personalities) so that we can fit in to any and every situation. I'm not trying to be negative, but I discovered that it's not possible to be everything for everyone. God has truly designed each and every human being to be unique and possess different qualities. We want to achieve this goal or get this kind of job because that's what the world defines to be successful. We will feel valuable if we get this kind of title or position or we're dating a certain type of person. Our identity and self-worth is tied into what we do and who we know and the goals we achieve.

Some friends of mine (the Melissa Otto Band) shared in their ministry of music as they tour the U.S. how "finding one's identity" is such an epidemic in the world today. If we are always seeking these things, trying to find value and worth in the things the world defines as successful, then we have missed the whole point of our existence. Now I understand why there's so many types of identity crises. If it's not mid-life crisis, it's 1/4-Life Crisis, which is what one of my friends categorized me in. Apparently 20-something year olds such as myself in the stage between graduating college and entering the real experience something real called the 1/4-Life Identity crisis. I haven't read the book she suggested to me yet, but the gist is these 20-something, soon to be college graduates struggle in finding their identity and where they belong in this world.

I am sharing this because I am one struggling with the same epidemic. I once belonged (worked for) to a company where I originally thought God directed me to for a purpose. I'm not undermining His purpose, I saw it, I acknowledged and aligned myself with it. In the beginning, I separated myself from the values of the world and tried to stand firm with my beliefs. I stood apart from the rest of the staff and was often commented on by my superiors that they admired me for my unwavering faith. But after some time, I began to "immerse" myself in the culture I was surrounded with. I began to compromise little things here in there for the sake of fitting in. By my fourth year with the company, an observer could say that I was just like the rest. I had eventually blended in and intertwined my old values with theirs to such an extent that my original values were no longer as visible as they once were.

I have no problem with people who set goals for themselves. I'm all for goal-setting. I became one of those people actually because that's what the business world teaches us we need to do to be successful. But the goals I began to establish for myself were self-seeking and selfish. I wanted to reach a certain level of achievement so I could be seen as worthy and famous in the eyes of my peers. Every time I received an award or public praise, I basked in the attention I would receive. I'd hear comments from others, often newer reps in the business: "oh, that's the Karen from this office that sold $9,000 in one day? I want to talk to her and ask her how she did it." I thrived from that attention. It made me feel good. I began to connect my identity with the things I achieved.

All this time, I knew deep in the back of my mind that it wasn't my own personal ability that I achieved such heights in sales. I knew that God was always involved in every transaction and every detail of every sale and encounter. But when it came time to someone asking me, "so, how did you do it?" I began to tell them all the sales strategies that I had been trained to share. "This is how you do it...." but God was barely mentioned in the list. I should have added, "Oh, by the way, I have a God who is all powerful and brought me to this job and gave me this success. " I didn't know how to share that without being laughed at. I tried a couple of times to share God's power in the details, but it didn't seem to impress them, so eventually I dropped it and just shared my top 10 secrets to being a successful salesperson. They began buying that and I found myself in front of larger crowds sharing talks at meetings and conferences. I felt like I was on top of the world. I had it all, money, leadership, attention, success, etc. But when I didn't have high sales and those really sales hit, my adrenaline and excitement would also drop along with it. I was like on an emotional rollercoaster every single day! They say, well that's what comes along with Sales. But it was more than that. Did it still make me feel valued? Maybe for a short time. My feeling of being valued and important would drop right along with the sales quota and jump up again when I made another big sale.

One day during my junior year (it's another long story so I'll give the short end of that), I decided maybe being a student missionary for a year will help people think that Karen still has some "godliness" in her. They will tie her identity back to God. I hesitated in making this decision because once again, I was afraid I was giving up something good. I knew there was risk involved. If I went off and served the needy for a year, I may shed all the things I once viewed as important and valuable in the past four years. I knew that the job would still be open for me after I returned, but would I still view it the same way?

Truth be told, I am now back from that year as a student missionary. You can say my heart went through a transition. That risk was realized. I did not go back to that job that made me feel so good about myself. I know the possibilities available, the advancement opportunities available, the income possible, but I have chosen another path because I no longer felt aligned with God's identity for me. Yes, I missed making the large sums of money, but after a while time does heal all wounds and I've accustomed my lifestyle to making less and being content with less. I went from $1,000+/week to less than $250/2 weeks. Talk about humbling. I am truly humbled.

Today, I struggle with the uncertainty of my future. I am worried that I won't find the job that I'm supposed to have because I have yet to discover what I'm supposed to do. I have a list of ideas of what I think I want. But, is it what God wants for me? And then this weekend, I was reminded that the ONLY way we human beings will ever feel fulfilled and satisfied, truly fulfilled, regardless what we are doing in life, is to identify ourselves with God. We can keep trying and search every corner of this world to find worth and satisfaction; something to connect with, to feel valued, but nothing in this world can ever quench that thirst and satisfy us like God. Will I be secure in my identity as God's child when I'm out working in the real world?

I am humbled. Because I realize that my worries and fears about the real world is common among college seniors going through their last semester before "entering the real world."

I am comforted because I am placing my heart and future in God's hands.

I pray that someone is able to relate to this and able to connect with something they've been longing to share. Please share so that I can also be blessed by others experiences.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


hi, my name is karen and i'm new on the blog. for the past year, i've posted blogs on myspace, but i realized if i must grow up i should start writing more significant and relevant thoughts on a site that's specifically meant just for blogging, not socializing or gossiping. plus, i was strongly encouraged (and grateful for the encouragement) to continue sharing my thoughts because i have a lot to share within me.

so, don't be shy...please come say 'hi' and respond to my musings, epiphanies, complaints, philosophizing.