Monday, January 27, 2014

8 Things Not to Say to Someone Who's Looking for a Job

Let me put it to you this way: looking for a job is insanely stressful. I've been telling people for months now, "Oh, I don't feel stressed or worried or anxious about not having a job yet/ the possibility of being unemployed/ etc." LIES. How could I NOT feel stressed and worried and anxious about it? I essentially have 3 months to find a job (not counting the summer, because when you're studying 12 hours a day for the bar exam, you don't have time to look for a job) or face the reality of being an unemployed law grad with a fair amount of debt. I'm stressed about it all the time. And seriously, no one is hiring right now! Or at least, no one is hiring brand-new grads who have less than a year's worth of experience.

I believe that God will provide for my needs. I believe that stuff will work out. But I don't know how, or when, that will happen, or how difficult the road may be before things do fall into place, because just because I want to follow God's leading does not guarantee me employment. I know it's wrong to let anxiety get in the way of trusting the Lord, but it is truly hard to turn off all feelings of panic when you don't know what you'll be doing OR where you'll be living in just a couple months. So I've put together this handy little guide for how the families and friends of job seekers like me can help support them--specifically, those things that, in my experience, you should NOT say to someone who's looking for a job and why, and then a few things you should say instead:

1) "What do you have lined up? I'm absolutely sure you have something great." Me: "No, I don't have anything yet." "You have GOT to be kidding me!" You should avoid saying this because it's like, well, no, I'm not kidding. I realize that I have significant work experience/ have done well in school/ had this great clerkship 1L year/ whatever the case may be, but that doesn't always equate to automatically getting a job. Plus, if I had one and you are an important part of my life, I would tell you. I will volunteer updates as they happen, but the job market affects everyone regardless of credentials, and few of us just automatically have something lined up.

2) Me: "I'm thinking about applying for _____ or pursuing ______." Other person: "But you don't want to do that." Um, you don't get to tell me what I want to do with my life. You don't even get to tell me what I should/ have to do since I'm an adult, but you especially don't get to tell me what my subjective, personal desires and goals are. Other statements that fall into this category: "But you've never wanted to do that before!" or "But you've always wanted to do X, not Y." No one but you really knows everything you want and don't want--and sometimes, even you are not sure.

3) "If you do X instead of Y, your law degree will be a waste." This one's self-explanatory, even though I've had several people either say it or definitely imply it.

4) Me: "I'm legitimately fearful of being unemployed for several months after graduation, having to move back home, and not being able to pay off loans." Other person: "You're jumping to conclusions!" Well, no, not really. The legal job market has been affected tremendously by the recession, and a very significant percentage of graduates from my law school (and many other law schools) are unemployed for an average of 9 months after graduation. These are statistics and facts, not unsubstantiated conclusions. Plus, I'll just be honest--when a job seeker tells you what they're afraid of or how they honestly feel, acknowledge their fear; don't discredit it. Tell them that you understand why they are afraid and will do what you can to help.

5) "I'm 100% sure you'll find something." I know people who say this mean well. But when you say this, all the job seeker can think about is that they haven't found something yet and that no one has offered to help them and that career services isn't as good of a resource as it should be and that they're worried about having to live on tuna fish and Ramen.

6) "You're not working hard enough to find a job." No. Just no. You don't know all the things a job seeker does to find a job. Most of us are searching online every single day, submitting applications several times a week, and going to networking events as often as possible. We can't work on it 24 hours a day, but we are doing the best we can.

7) "I just got a great job and they're going to pay me $140,000 a year!! But ugh, think of all the money that's going to come out in taxes. And they want me to do some work in the business litigation group, and I HATE business litigation. And I already have a place to live but my commute's going to be crazy." If you have a job, it's fine to tell your friends about it, but be very sensitive about how and what you tell your friends who are still looking. Bottom line? Even if it's not your dream job, you are incredibly lucky to have a job at all, and none of your unemployed friends want to hear you complain about any aspect of your job.

8) "I'll help you find something! I have all these great connections!" . . . but then they do nothing and don't follow up and don't do what they said they would do. I'm not talking about busy people who wait a week or two to respond to emails, because that's to be expected. I'm talking about the person who, for example, tells you that they have some great contact and you ask them about it several times and months pass and they never get it to you. If you can't help me, that's totally fine, but just don't SAY you will if you won't.

Things you should say instead:

  • "I'll help you." And then do it. 
  • "I'm praying for you."
  • "God has a plan for your life." This may seem cliched, but it's truly calming to hear this reminder.
  • "I will support you in whatever you choose to do." THIS. There is nothing you can say that's better than this. Because no job-seeker wants to handle the stress of worrying that whatever they choose, they'll be disappointing people they love. 
  • "Here's somewhere else to look. Have you tried _____? Have you contacted ______?" This may seem like an annoying thing you shouldn't say, because chances are good the job seeker has done so. But maybe they haven't, and even if they have, it shows you're trying to help and that you care. One caveat: keep your suggestions at least generally in the realm of what you know they're looking for. If you know the job seeker wants to work in a certain city and you're constantly recommending others, it feels like you're not listening.
I hope these suggestions help!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is Our Social Media Addiction Infringing on Scripture's "Secret Place"?

We live in a world where we can literally be connected with individuals at nearly any place on the globe with the press of a button. Texting, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, and other resources are at our fingertips to communicate with almost anyone at any time, and we often, in very real ways, live our lives through these technological lenses . . .

Does the meal taste just as good if you don't take a picture of it and post it on Instagram first?

Is your life just as fun and exciting and filled with travel and accomplishments and good times with good friends as it appears on Facebook?

Have you ever done something just so you can tweet about it or update your status?

Why can't we talk about the tough stuff on social media too . . . like loneliness or depression or real struggles in real relationships?

Is it really possible for us to show our real selves on the Internet . . . #nofilter?

I have never thought about this before, but I've realized lately that we live out much of our spiritual lives entirely in the public eye because of social media and other technologies. We post about church and prayer and the Bible and charitable work and the ministries we support and what God's doing in our lives. We Instagram photos of megachurch services with thousands of people with their hands raised in praise--but only after choosing the perfect lighting, contrast, and cropping, of course. When we do something for God, my goodness, we let people know about it. Think pictures of college students surrounded by African children at an orphanage on their short-term mission trip, or statuses about what a great time you had volunteering for XYZ Christian humanitarian organization. I do it too, and I'm not condemning it in the slightest, but I think we need to stop and think about it just a little bit more.

Have we ever considered that maybe, by so much sharing and clicking and connecting and posting and tweeting, we're bringing the whole world into some areas of our lives that were meant to remain intimate--just us and the Lord? That we're cheapening sacred moments by turning them into statuses? Because some things are meant to be between you and God, in the secret place.

Consider Psalm 91: "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Or Isaiah 45: "I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." And even Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount commanded His listeners not to tell the world about everything they do for God: don't let everyone know when you're fasting, don't pray on the street corners where everyone can hear you, and when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. In other words, sometimes we need to shut up about it! I read that verse in Matthew last night and my first thought was, "Oh. I think I kind of forgot all about this." God cares about your heart, not what you tell the world online. It is far better to do something for God that only you and He know about it than to do something for Him primarily so that you can tell the world all about what you did. And maybe, at an even more basic level, we need to stop posting so we can start experiencing. Put down your iPhone so you can join others in worship. Forget the camera for a day so you can really look in those children's eyes and share with them how much God loves them. Don't live your life in retrospect through the photographic and social media-driven trail we can create--live it as it happens. It's a whole lot better that way.

I don't want to miss out on these secret moments with God. And I don't want you to miss out on them either. Moments where He whispers His grace and mercy to your heart, and yours alone. Where He reminds you of his promises, holds your tears in his hands, and sings songs of joy over you. Moments where you can laugh and cry with God. Those things aren't always meant to be shared. There is much to be said for the deep and heartfelt and passionate intimacy of the secret place, for life experiences we share with God and no one else, for dreams and secrets and stories and confessions that only He knows about. He desires intimacy with you, and I believe that intimacy can be affected in real ways by our obsession with sharing every detail of our lives with the world. Sometimes you shouldn't share it, because it is your treasure to keep. Don't bring Facebook or your Twitter account or your smartphone into the secret place. It's secret for a reason. Don't let technology compromise your ability to be alone with God; your ability to do things for God just because you love Him, not because you think they'll make you look good; and your ability to experience life with Christ as it unfolds, not later. Your relationship with God is not about showmanship or competition with others or being better than the next person.

May we not forego the blessings of the secret place because we feel compelled to share it with the world.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

5K Day!

Today has just been such a good day! Catherine and I had our 5K to end homelessness today. I know that I'm not in the best shape right now because I didn't run very much over Christmas break, so I only had one goal: to run the entire 3.1 miles without stopping, regardless of how fast or slow we went. And we both did it! I know that's not really very far at all, but the thing is, when I go for runs, I usually either go solid for 2 or 2 and a half miles, or do 4-5 miles but with some breaks to stop and walk. I'm just not very good at any kind of real distance running, and never have been, as much as I do enjoy getting out there and running as much as I can. So it's rare for me to do 3 miles without stopping, and that definitely felt like an accomplishment. The temperature this morning when we started? Approximately 16 degrees. It was SO COLD that we were seriously considering just skipping the whole race and going out to breakfast instead--the kind of cold where you can't feel your fingers and toes and your breath is coming out in gusts and your skin is getting chapped from the wind. I was like, what HAVE I gotten us into, since doing this race was my idea! But of course once we started running we got a little warmer. And it was worth it A) to be able to sprint full-speed across the finish line and B) together with all the other runners, to raise over $38,000 to fight homelessness in this part of the state.

And then we got to go out for breakfast. We went to this fantastic little hole-in-the-wall cafe that neither of us had ever been to before, and were so hungry that we ordered, between us, fresh-squeezed orange juice, French toast, some of their delicious coffee, an amazing omelet with red onions, garlic, and veggie cream cheese, fried potatoes, and their specialty sage-quinoa grits. It was so delicious, and we're definitely going to remember that spot to go back again!

Then this afternoon, we practiced for the client counseling competition for a few hours with our 2L teammates, and we had a very productive practice and it's all kind of coming back to me from doing it last year, so I feel like we will be ready for Jacksonville in two weeks to do regionals. And now, I'm basically sitting on my couch watching Friends but I am so tired/ sore that I think I will be heading for bed very soon.

Hope you all had a great Saturday!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Back in the Swing of Things

And suddenly, the semester is back in full swing and I'm every bit as busy as I was last semester. This week's to-do list includes things like:

  • do laundry ASAP (actually, this has reached the level of an emergency situation. I needed to do it 5 days ago. Now I really, really need to do it.)
  • work on my divorce mediation notebook
  • start the crash course in First Amendment law before the client counseling competition and start helping to coach the 2Ls in how to conduct the client counseling session
  • finish editing globalization and trade manuscript
  • email multiple people to set up informational interviews
  • prepare direct examinations for trial practice
  • prepare petitioner's argument for Friday's moot court practice
  • speed-read the Fair Labor Standards Act section of as many of the 200 team briefs as I possibly can before competition in one month
  • join a small group at church
  • do a few final runs to prepare for Saturday's 5K 
And I could go on, but you get the idea. But even though I sometimes wish I had more time to sleep and/ or watch TV, I 100% prefer running around to meetings and classes and the gym and working on projects all day to sitting around bored (as was the case over Christmas break). Right now, I'm also on a mission for the next few days. There's an attorney who works about an hour and a half away from here that I'm dying to meet because we have both my undergrad and my law school in common, and I feel strongly that he will be a great resource for me in getting a job, so I emailed him last night to ask if we could meet. I then found out in a semi-stalkerish fashion that he's running the same 5K as me on Saturday, so now I'm determined to meet him on Saturday. I just sense that he is a resource I don't want to miss out on in my job search, and that he could, and will, help me a lot. I know that meeting important people for coffee to discuss careers after you've both run a 5K and could use a shower is not really how you're supposed to network, but I feel like it's how I'm going to do it anyway! Updates to come soon. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

30 Ways to Seriously Make a Difference in 2014

I don't know about you, but when I read books or hear stories about people who have done great things for God, I'm incredibly impressed, but at the same time, I start listing in my head all the reasons why I CAN'T do what they did. I'm talking about people who have up and moved to foreign countries to do mission work or started their own non-profits from scratch or people like the girl who wrote Kisses from Katie. It can feel overwhelming to some of us--I'm not in a place in my life to start a nonprofit, and most of us have job, family, and/ or financial/ debt responsibilities that keep us fairly grounded in our day-to-day lives and can keep us from pursuing huge, bold steps of faith--leaving us to find small ways to make a difference in our lives day-to-day. Yet sometimes the small things are not so small.

I've pulled together this list for you all in the hope that it will inspire you--yes, YOU--to make your corner of the world a better place and touch it with the light of Christ. Although some of the items on this list do require a lot of time, money, and planning (like 22 and 23), most of them don't. You can do a lot of these things right now--for example, 6, 8, 17, and 28. Some of them without even leaving your computer, in fact. So here's the list. And I will definitely be adding to it as I get more ideas.

1) Sponsor a child through World Vision or, if you already do, become a child ambassador to help more children get connected with sponsors.

2) Be a microphilanthropist, which basically involves donating the price of your morning latte or some other small expense to a good cause each day, like this guy.

3) Participate in Operation Christmas Child.

4) Do something you already probably like--shopping online--for a good cause by using Amazon Smile, where Amazon automatically donates a percentage of each purchase to the charity of your choice.

5) Next time you're at Walmart, get some extra deodorant and shampoo and socks and donate it to your local rescue mission or homeless shelter.

6) Send someone a text message that says you're thinking about them or praying for them--in my experience, these can totally make a day.

7) Invite people over to your house for dinner. You don't even have to be able to cook. You can connect with people and minister to them just as well over pizza delivery as a gourmet meal.

8) Do a beginning-of-the-year home cleanout and donate unused clothes, shoes, jackets, canned goods, etc. to the food pantry/ thrift store/ Goodwill.

9) Donate blood.

10) Celebrate 100% tip day and tip an unsuspecting waiter or waitress the full cost of your meal.

11) Connect with old teachers and thank them for the difference they have made in your life.

12) Visit residents in a nursing home.

13) Get a haircut and donate to Locks of Love, which provides wigs to kids with medical conditions that have made them lose their hair.

14) Write a handwritten letter to an old friend.

15) Go on a short-term mission trip.

16) Call your parents, grandparents, or other important people in your life.

17) Pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you.

18) Send thank-you notes.

19) Write cards or put together care packages for the troops overseas.

20) Volunteer at an adoption agency or crisis pregnancy center.

21) Volunteer at a soup kitchen or community food bank.

22) Go on the World Race mission trip or support someone else who's going.

23) Explore the option of being a foster parent.

24) Send thank-you notes to people who have positively impacted your life.

25) Run a race for a good cause, like Race for the Cure or myriad other races of varying distances that support local non-profits.

26) Pray for the nations of the world. One way to systematically do this is with Operation World, which can help you be aware of prayer needs in countries you never even hear about, like Togo or Tajikistan.

27) Get connected with local volunteering opportunities through Volunteer Match.

28) Commit to only putting kind, encouraging things on the Internet . . . Twitter updates, Facebook statuses, blog posts, comments on other's articles, encouraging emails, etc.

28) Check out If you like trivia games, this site is for you. Basically you can play vocabulary games for free, and grains of rice get donated to needy areas for every correct answer you give.

29) Make a different to-do list for your day or week: not all the errands you need to run or chapters you need to read, but people you can help, causes you can support, and little things you can do to show the love of Christ around you.

30) Deliver on all the commitments you've already made to help the people closest to you. We often get so caught up in helping "the community" or "the world" that we forget that there are people in our everyday lives that we've told we would help with one thing or another. For example, I told N. awhile back that I would help him with cover letters and J. that I would help her with Moot Court, but I haven't done those things yet, and I need to. Today.

If you have other ideas, let me know in the comments!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

DIY Projects and More

Today has been such a great Saturday! It's been the first day in awhile that I haven't had anything I had to do or anywhere I had to be, and I really love days like that. I slept in. I read my library books. I cooked (my latest winter food obsession is potato-carrot-onion soup. Today I discovered that adding a little bit of coconut milk to said soup makes it even better.) I worked on a black-and-white photography project for my bedroom (pictures to come soon). And most of all, I painted. And painted and painted.

This morning I set off for Home Depot with the intention of getting paint for my huge wooden desk in my bedroom that I bought at a yard sale a few years ago. I went in planning to buy primer, paint in some shade of blue, and some drop cloths, and I legitimately did not think it would be very expensive. Don't laugh at me, but I really thought I could buy sufficient primer and paint for, say, $6 each. So I started browsing the paint samples and found a color I liked, and started talking to one of the guys mixing up paint samples. Well apparently, a gallon of primer is $33 and paint is not much cheaper, and the guy was encouraging me to buy more to start off with because "you'll waste money if you end up buying smaller amounts twice." I quickly realized that I can't afford to do this particular DIY, but I didn't really want to tell the Home Depot guy that, so I asked him if I could get a sample or two and "come back later to actually get the paint." [Read: never coming back in.] So he mixed up two paint samples for me, a green and a blue in 8-oz. bottles for $2.94 each, and I threw a paintbrush in for $1. He told me not to buy drop cloths because I can use heavy duty trash bags instead (good thinking, Home Depot guy). When I got home, I realized there was actually a LOT of paint in that 8-oz container. Not enough to paint my desk, but definitely enough to paint my dresser. I've had my old white dresser for a long time. It's always been fine, but just kind of boring, if you know what I mean. So I decided then and there to paint my dresser blue, and that's what I did. (Again, pictures to come once all the paint is officially dry). It took forever, but it looks great. I am so pleased with a successful $4 paint job. And now I think I'll try the same thing with my desk, only that will probably require 2 sample bottles. Not sure on the color yet either, since I probably won't do blue again. Maybe yellow? But I'm really happy I made this work without having to spend a ridiculous amount of money.

Now I'm incredibly inspired to start doing a bunch more Pinterest/ DIY/ painting projects. I realize that I'm a bit of a decorating addict, but it's just so satisfying to make your surroundings beautiful. Okay, I'm off to browse Pinterest for my next project . . .

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blog Poll

Please vote in the poll located on the right side of this page! I am really trying to determine what my readers want to read more or less of so that I can improve this site in 2014, and this will help me out a lot. You can choose more than one answer if you wish. This will help me learn how to make this blog better serve your needs.


Final Semester

Well, life is officially back to normal, which actually feels really good. While I love the whole stretch of time between Thanksgiving and going back to school/ work after the new year, it feels great to just get back into my normal routine after the annual month and a half long break from that routine due to exams and the holidays. And I might be in the minority on this, but I LOVE January. Sure it's cold, but it's brimming with new possibilities and is goal-setting heaven for a Type A person like me.

So, here's what's going on with me now and in the next couple of months:

1) Yes, this is indeed my last semester. I graduate in May, and even though I know this term will end up being just as busy as any other, at least at the outset it's academically the lightest semester I've had in longer than I can even remember. I'm taking advanced litigation drafting, divorce mediation, trial practice, torts II, and a family law seminar, and I will only have one real exam and one paper, so that's good. Most of the classes are skills courses that will involve things like putting on an entire trial and writing court documents, rather than the normal law school class that involves learning tons of case law and legal theory. So it will still be a challenge, but a different kind of challenge, and all of those classes are incredibly relevant to my future career. I've also had exposure to most of the subject matter at some point already, so this semester is mostly about nailing down the advanced skills. For example, I already know how to write almost all the types of documents on the syllabus for litigation drafting because there's not much I didn't write last summer at work, but I know I still need to get a lot more comfortable with quickly pulling together things like pretrial orders and ante-litem notices. I'm also hoping to audit one of the bar prep courses (I can't actually take it for credit because I can't take any more credits than I'm already taking.)

2) I'm doing Moot Court this semester and am really excited about it! We have the best people on our team and I'm already good friends with all of them, so I'm excited to work with each of them. Our competition problem is about the legality under the Fair Labor Standards Act of unpaid internships--incredibly relevant, timely, and also something that matters personally to most 20-somethings who have taken on at least one, if not many, unpaid internships. And best of all, we get to go all the way to Seattle to argue our case at regionals! If I literally had gotten to pick any city in the U.S. for our regionals to be held at, I would have picked Seattle.

3) As of today, I'm jumping back into eating healthy and exercising. I'm not going to be obsessive about it or go paleo or anything like that, but I just want to be conscientious about trying to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. Today, for example, I made salmon with honey and cracked black pepper and glazed carrots. I am planning to have smoothies for breakfast almost every morning and I am stocked up on Greek yogurt, juice, and frozen fruit to make that happen. And Catherine and I have started training again because we are doing a race soon! It is a 5K that raises money for an organization that fights homelessness, and it's in just two weeks. This was something I signed up for in my "I need to do something that matters with my life" moment about a week and a half ago. I made some other exciting plans then too, such as what I want to do to celebrate my 25th birthday, but more about that later. I'm determined to get outside my own little bubble this semester and volunteer more and do more for others. There's a whole big world of needy people out there, and I can't continue to stay comfortable in my own little corner of it.

4) In addition to the whole running thing, I really want to do a lot more strength training this year. There are few health benefits I can even think of that can't be acquired by regular visits to the weight room, even though I know a lot of women who are scared to try it for fear of "bulking up." (But ladies, that's not even a possibility because we don't produce enough testosterone. Just putting that to rest.) But the best thing about strength training is that it makes you burn more calories at rest--like, while you're sitting on your couch watching The Bachelor--than you would if you weren't doing it. What's not to like?

5) Catherine and I are also going to Jacksonville in a few weeks to compete in a client counseling competition! The topic is First Amendment law, and I know we need to prepare for it, BUT it's hard not to look at the trip as a beach vacation on the law school's dime. But we need to try to do a decent job at the actual competition, of course, and then there will be beach time.

6) Possible trips to Chicago, Albany (GA), and the beach are also in the works over the next few months. LOTS of traveling about to happen.

7) I want to read 50 books (or more) this year. I just read The Rainmaker by John Grisham, and it was excellent. Now I'm working on his book The Street Lawyer, and also Ben Mezrich's book Bringing Down the House.

8) I'm going to at least test out becoming a morning person this month/ year. I'd like to try at least three weeks straight of getting up no later than about 6am and immediately diving into early morning productivity. If I'm not into it after that, I'll just go back to being a night owl and sleeping in a little later, but I've heard so many people rave about the early-morning thing that I have to try it.

9) Anna and I talked about this while she was here--we want to celebrate our daily lives more. Not just the big things or the big accomplishments, but the little things too. I'm calling this my "celebrate because it's Tuesday" philosophy. Every day deserves to be appreciated, not just, for example, weekends or vacation days. So we're going to try to stop and smell the roses more/ watch more sunrises/ light more candles/ wear the pretty jewelry and use the pretty dishes just because.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Catching Up With Long-Lost Friends

My dear friend Anna came to visit me this week, and it was amazing, relaxing, and much-needed. We've been friends since we were fourteen, but she lives in Korea, so I hardly EVER get to actually see her in person, and our preferred mode of keeping in touch consists of insanely long emails peppered with the occasional Skype conversation. But this was the first time we've ever gotten together on our own turf instead of at our parents' houses when we meet up in NC, which is what normally happens. I got to show her everything about my day-to-day real adult life, and gave her a tour of the law school, and took her to my favorite restaurants. We went thrift store shopping all over Atlanta and talked for hours and hours about everything. Belying the fact that we are both 24 and not 5, we made an awesome fort in my living room out of my couches and a bunch of blankets, got inside, and watched a bunch of scary movies, talked, and laughed until we almost wet our pants, because sometimes you just need to be a kid again. We cooked meatballs with savory raspberry sauce and bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and sea salt brownie bites. We talked about relationships and fashion and goals and the legal system and marriage and school and work and health and spiritual stuff and a million other things. We made "25 things to accomplish before turning 25" lists while eating lunch at IKEA and talked about how desperately we want to lead meaningful lives and make a difference in the world and have our day-to-day existence be about something more than just ourselves.

And, as always, I am so inspired after being with her. I'm inspired about the big stuff, like finding a great job and being responsible with money and traveling and praying more, and about the little stuff, like cooking healthy food every day and washing my dishes as soon as they are dirty and getting to the gym more often. I miss her already because I know it will probably be many months before we see each other again. Next time we see each other, if all goes as planned, I won't be a law student. I will be an attorney. And I envision that we'll be these super-sophisticated adults swapping career advice over margaritas, but maybe that's just my imagination!

So immensely grateful for friendships that can be 10 years old and still going strong!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

There's So Much To Do.

And I am not doing enough of it. Let me explain.

I feel so restless tonight, readers. I've been reading a couple of inspiring books lately that are basically calls to radical, Spirit-filled Christianity. Recklessly abandoning the comfortable and truly following Christ, instead of just giving Him his little corner of our hearts or His two hours of our Sunday morning. And I want to do that, because I have decided to follow Jesus.

But following Jesus is, of course, not a one-time deal. It's not just about securing our salvation and then being done with it. Our faith needs to show up in our good works, in our love for others, in our compassion. That's not what brings us into right standing with God, but it's for sure what we need to have because we are in right standing with God.

And the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. There are millions of people on this planet who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are millions more who don't have the Bible in their own language. There are so many people, both in our own communities and abroad, who are struggling with hunger and poverty and abuse. Children the world over lack access to an education and die of readily preventable diseases. Women and children are forced into sex trafficking all over the world and, in fact, the United States. Babies are abandoned by the side of the road just because of their gender. Thousands of children in orphanages and foster care want nothing more than a family to love them. More people than we really want to think about don't have access to some of the very basics of life, like clean drinking water, warm clothes for the winter, basic medical care, and homes capable of protecting them from the elements. There are lonely elderly people in nursing homes that long to have someone come visit them, homeless people in our own cities who just want a hot meal or a jacket to wear, kids that just want someone to take them in and show them love.

Are you getting where I'm coming from? There's so much to do! Homes need to be built, the Gospel desperately needs to be shared, the hungry need to be fed, children need to be fostered and adopted by loving parents, and so much more. My generation is more passionate about these issues than probably any generation that has come before, probably in part because modern technology and the Internet have opened our eyes to the magnitude of the need worldwide. Some of my generation has wrongly traded social justice for faith, believing that compassion rather than Christ is what saves you, and that's so misguided. We need to have compassion because of our faith, not instead of our faith. But no matter how we look at it, we're a generation that craves maximum impact with our lives.

I know I do. I want to impact people. I want my life to be one that matters, where many people have a better life because I lived. Moreover, I get tired of my predictable life and want to reject the familiar and pursue Jesus wherever He leads me, to places I've never been before, both literally and figuratively. The Christian life should be an adventure, full of divine appointments and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous favor of God enabling us to impact others for Him. Because really, that's what it's all about. It's not about us just chilling in our cozy little corner of the world. We need to get our hands dirty and our hearts heavy with the plight of those who suffer, and do something about it.

But do you ever just feel sort of stuck? That's exactly how I feel tonight. It's like, I'm here in my comfortable home sitting on my comfortable couch knowing that there is much to be done, people and hearts that need to be reached, but not knowing what exactly to do about it. Or having a voice of negativity drowning out the ideas I do have. Maybe I should volunteer at a soup kitchen. But you don't have time, the voice says. Maybe I should write that devotional e-book I've wanted to write for years. But you don't really know how to write, it says. Maybe I should go on a short-term mission trip. But it reminds me that I don't have any money.

But you know what? Maybe I should volunteer anyway, write the book anyway, and go anyway. And maybe you should too, and find a way to do what needs to be done in spite of the fact that it's bound to be awkward, expensive, inconvenient, uncomfortable, ridiculed, or perhaps all of the above. We need to start doing it anyway.

Because following Jesus implies that there is motion involved. We pursue Him, we run after Him, we go where He leads. And chances are good that can't all be accomplished sitting on the couch. So get in motion. Do it.

Write the book. Or the check. Or the blog post.

Go to that foster care meeting.

Sponsor a child.

Visit the prison, the orphanage, the homeless shelter.

Have that conversation.

Just do it.