11 March 2015

Censorship: To Speak or Not to Speak


The very word seems like the antithesis to democracy and the free world. It brings to mind WWII and blackouts. It makes you think of being oppressed or controlled by someone or something.

Censor: the word is defined as a person who examines books, movies, letters, etc. and removes things that are considered to be offensive, immoral, and harmful to society, etc. By this definition, we can understand that our original bad taste of this word is correct.

Or is it?

I’ve blogged about it before, but authenticity and transparency are the catch-phrases of our world today, especially in millennial and Christian circles (not millennial Christian, but that too). Being real. Letting yourself be vulnerable. Showing transparency in your actions. Which is all well and good within balance, but what has this often led to?

A general lack of censorship in our words and actions.

Because I’m being authentic I can tell you that our friendship isn’t working because I just don’t like who you ‘ve become. In light of transparency, I can tell you all the details of other’s private lives because they’re bothering me and that affects how I treat you. In a moment of vulnerability, I can throw a fit, because I’m “feeling all the feels” and being vulnerable. Or not.

I’m emphasizing these things in a more negative light here, because more often than not, this is how they are portrayed. It’s not pretty. It’s not happy. And it’s not actually how relationships should be. Relationships should be gone into thoughtfully, we should be mindful in our relationships, thoughtful in our actions and loving in our words. Censoring our true feelings and emotions, and first discussing if being vulnerable, transparent and authentic in this moment is really going to have a positive effect in the end. I believe censorship can have a positive effect on our lives if we are willing to engage in it personally.

I don’t believe any of us intend to be offensive, immoral or harmful in our authenticity, vulnerability or transparency, but I do believe it can backfire on us when we feel entitled to share our feelings and for others to have sympathy because of what we shared. I personally struggle with this on my blog. There are feelings that I could share here that could inspire others to share and realize that they are not alone, but they are also feelings that could deeply hurt others. There are sarcastic comments I could make here that would make readers laugh, but again, if they are pertaining to my personal life, others are involved in my life.

Their is a phrase that paraphrases the Bible saying no man is an island unto himself. As a blogger, I don’t want to isolate myself by over-sharing or to protect myself by under-sharing either. I strive to find a balance between the two. Which, as I mentioned, I struggle with. Why don’t I post daily? Because scheduling posts doesn’t necessarily work for me. I work in the moment. However, that often means that I’m feeling all the feels when I write blog posts. Is this a good thing? It’s not necessarily bad, but not inherently good either. I want to censor my writing and blog posts through a lens of Philippians 4:11 “Whatsoever things are good, lovely, of good report…think on these things.” I have to censor my life. For the betterment of others. For the betterment of my own personal relationships and self-thoughts. Transparency, authenticity and vulnerability come almost too easy to me – I was raised to be sincere, and given the room to be such—I don’t want to abuse the privilege.

What are your thoughts on censorship in your personal life? 

02 January 2015

Top 10 Reads in 2014

I have to admit that every book I read in 2014 was not a brand-new 2014 publication. Many of them were older books, but some of them were actually new and terrific! You can see all 47/50 of my books over on GoodReads but I've listed my top 10 on the blog. Most of these books were personal growth books and I learned so much from them! If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you've seen quotes from several if not all of them - I like to share a good thing when I find it.

#GirlBoss - Sophia Amoruso 
The Power of Starting Something Stupid - Richie & Natalie Norton
 Moment Maker - Carlos Whitaker
One Way Love - Tullian Tchividjian 
EGO vs EQ - Jen Shirkani
Crush It! - Gary Vaynerchuk
Captivating - Stasi Eldredge
Unglued - Lysa Terkeurst
Everyday Life Bible - Ed. Joyce Meyers 

I've also set three new goals for my reading in 2015:

I will not finish books I don't like

I will not buy any more books until I finish the books I already have

I will finish 50 books by December 31, 2015

What books would you recommend for 2015? (Hopefully they're already in my collection, if not, I'll head to the library!)

31 December 2014

My Path:: Part III

When I reached my adulthood, I was going to eat chow mein and lemon chicken out of those glamorous square Chinese food cartons and eat cookie dough ice cream out of the carton for dessert. That was what adulthood would look like.  Or, at least that’s the picture my eight year old self painted. That was also around the time I was going to have pizza and English toffee at my wedding reception. Some things have changed since then (thankfully!). I had the perfect picture of what Adulthood would be about-making my own decisions and create my own structure. 

But adulthood is not about that.

Adulthood is understanding when plans change. Adulthood is giving friends space when they need it and being there to catch them when they need that too. Adulthood is feeling emotions that you never felt (or at least in a different way) in the years prior. Adulthood is grieving with someone’s loss knowing that your life isn’t eternal. Adulthood is the realization that you will never be the best at everything, but that you might be able to get pretty good at something. Adulthood is loving, both conditionally and unconditionally and letting go of relationships which are toxic to you. Adulthood is creating a healthy, productive life. Adulthood is cultivating the path you want to take. 

I read the quote “Nothing will ruin your 20’s more than thinking you should have your life together already.” It fit with the way I felt this year – like I really should have it all together by now.
I arrived in my twenties as a college senior, ready to conquer the world. I arrived with a position, a purpose and a passion for the things I was doing at that time. Over the last few years, that position changed, my purpose has shifted and my passion has redirected itself into another direction. But, the constant is Jesus. Even though I feel inferior or at times, even a failure, because my life isn’t 100% together, I have Jesus.

I find purpose in Jesus. My position doesn’t matter to him, because my place as His daughter has never changed. My passion is Him—and everything I do should be an extension of my relationship with Him. My path is directed by Him. 

I realized in 2014 that I am an adult, making adult decisions. Why didn't I realize this before? Probably because this has been the year that my freedoms have been recognized in my own heart. I’ve been forced to pass tests that I wondered previously if I’d be strong enough to pass. With God’s help I passed. And, in this year, I’ve taken the time to understand my journey, before taking action in any particular area. My word for the year was Engage, with the tag of with great heart. I wanted to engage with people, feelings, my own self with great heart, not just surface level.

My word for 2014: ENGAGE.

My word for 2015: ACTION.

I’ve already engaged with the feelings, friends and decisions that will probably stay constant in 2015, this year is all about action to further that engagement.

I need to study to pass the CPA Exam.

I need to invest in my future – financially and emotionally.

I need to love on my friends and family, and make time for them.

I need  to focus  on Action this year in order to stop talking about what I’m going to do, and actually do it.

Today I learned of the death of an example of beautiful womanhood. Life is not guaranteed, at any age. Most of this post was already written before I learned the news, but I had to include this last piece. It’s a well-worn cliché, but what if you died tomorrow? What would be said of you? What could be said of you? What did you accomplish? Did you fulfill your God-given potential? Or were there things you left undone, words left unspoken and relationships left unfinished? The last time I spoke with this individual I hesitated in approaching her, thinking she had more important people to talk to (which she did), but she made time for me. She was encouraging, uplifting and gave the warmest hugs.  She truly engaged people with her mind and heart acting together. I want to be like that.

Are the goals you’ve set for yourself more peaceful and intangible similar to my engage for 2014? Or are they harder, tangible, streamlined goals of action? Whatever they are, I hope you will remember that you only get the opportunity to live once. Your goals should reflect the life YOU want to live, not what you think society demands. The only thing that I allow to shape my goals is my relationship with God. Above all else, I want Him to be pleased and glorified in the goals and actions I choose to make.  

What are your goals this year? I’d love to hear them and pray with you as you go forward into accomplishing them! 


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