Loving People Like Jesus

Hello there!

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. My priorities have been to focus on my upgrades for college and now that those are done it’s a waiting process to get my marks back. Since that’s done I’m hoping to be able to put a bit more of a priority on my blogging and novel writing. But today I’m gonna work on writing up some posts and finishing up ones I started so today my friend Cori has written another guest post so I’ll let her share what she’s written.

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Growing up I learned that people are not always the easiest to love all the time. I was taught that you have to love everyone, even if you don’t like them.

One of the most important commandments is to love your neighbors as yourself. God said that himself. Treat others the way you would want to be treated is something my youth pastor would say often. Although not always the easiest route, it is the way that Jesus lived himself.

Jesus hung out with people that you wouldn’t really expect. He made friends with the liars and cheats. The outcasts. The people nobody wanted to be. I think He did this to set an example for us today. He didn’t have to love on those people. But he chose to show them the love and respect every person needs.

Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus took crap from people either. He would correct them when they were wrong, in a very polite yet clever way most of the time.

Don’t think I’m telling you to hang around a murderer and be best friends with them. But I am telling you to love that person no matter the sins they struggle with because, in the end, his sin is the same as mine. Even if mine seems minuscule in comparison God sees all sin as the same.

When I was in grade school the teachers would always pair the new kids or the weird kids with me because In my house you treated everybody the way you would want to be treated, therefor I was always the nice one in class, even when I didn’t want to be I was paired with them. Now I was a very shy kid. It was pretty hard for me to do this. But I felt the call that God put on my life to follow him at a young age and I knew it was the right thing to do.

There was this one kid who nobody got along with. I’m not gonna share her name but she was a nice kid. Just a bit strange. Once one of my friends asked me why I hung out with her so much. I simply told them that she deserved to have friends too. At the end of the school year, we went our separate ways but her mom came up to me and thanked me for being so nice to this girl. She was a bit hyper and talked A LOT but I did enjoy her company and learned to love her very much.

I wish more kids would give each other a chance rather than judging a book by its cover. It’s so hard for me to see all the bullying and abuse that goes on In schools these days. It’s sad.

I learned pretty young that it’s honestly so rewarding and worth getting to know a person no matter how much they annoy you.

Now I know we aren’t all in grade school here. That was just one example. I have another. Take homeless people for example. I have worked and served homeless people for as long as I can remember. But some people won’t even look in their direction. Some Christians don’t even see them as people.

I’ll never forget the day that I went up to a homeless man and gave him some food and he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He said nobody would even look at him that day. He searches in his bag for a ring he had made and he gave it to me saying that he wishes there were more people like me in this world.

I’ve given people on the streets Christmas presents that haven’t gotten anything for 25 years and they’ve broken down and asked me to watch them open it. It wasn’t much just some essentials and little things and a book but he was so thankful for his gift. He said that maybe there really is a God that loved him all because I treated him like a normal person for a few minutes.

I love these experiences. Ones with people who think they don’t even deserve it anymore. Broken people. I see them as a beautiful creation of God and it’s almost magical seeing these moments.

If people could just open their eyes and see them as people in a bad circumstance the world would be a much more beautiful place. But let’s move on to another example.

Now we’ve all had that one neighbor that everybody hates right? I have anyways. Those people are one of the hardest to love. Just the meanest most annoying people you’ve ever met right? Well God calls us to love even them. I know crazy right?! Well, I know for a fact that Jesus would have gone up to that guy and said: “I love you no matter what the sin you are struggling with.” So we are called to do the same. That’s not always the easy thing to do but sometimes the hard choice is the best choice.

So many times in the Bible the Pharisees would scold Jesus for hanging out with “that guy” like why would a guy like you hang out with a guy like them? Love, that’s the answer. Unconditional unfailing love.

I know these words aren’t really something easy to read but it’s very important. So next time you just can’t stand someone, pray for them. It not only changes them but it changes your heart towards them. I’m not saying you have to like them, but you must love them.

“Lord help me to love like you do. Help me to love my enemy’s and pray for them. Help me to go up to the weird kid and be their friend. I thank you for your love and grace on us. We don’t deserve it but you made us deserve it by dying on the cross for us. Help me to spread love through out the world and shine your light through me. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen”

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How To Find Peace In Your Imperfections

Hello Loves!

This week has been super crazy with work and school and my boyfriend visiting and I forgot to post this guest post by the lovely Molly Shaffer. So I’ll step aside and let her take over the blog today.

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For over three decades, I’ve struggled with self-hate. So much so that I couldn’t stand to see the woman staring back at me in the mirror. The world said I had to change in order to be beautiful. My face, without makeup, was not beautiful. The stretch marks that etched across my body were not beautiful. The cellulite, pimples, smile lines, and God knows how many other countless flaws, were not beautiful. In fact, there was nothing redeeming about me, and beautiful was a word meant for other people, not someone as broken as me. Lies!

This past year, the infamous 2016, was my year of self-growth. My New Year’s Resolution was different from my past ones, the ones where a number defined my life. In 2016, I made the resolution to become healthy: mind, body, and soul. Little did I know that uttering those words would send me on the most gut-wrenching journey of my life. A year of pain, growth, and ultimately, the beginnings of self-love…truly, honestly, lasting self-love.

How did I do it? How did I go from an inability to stare at my own reflection to becoming my own champion? Faith, quiet time, and most importantly, banishing the negative thoughts that were at war in my head. It took a lifetime to hate myself, and a year to come to peace, but it will take a daily commitment to choose love, in order to make lasting changes in my life. This is how you begin the process. This is where change resides. Not in a miracle pill or fad diet, but in rewiring your brain. Realizing that weight is truly just a number, but health runs much deeper than beauty ever will.

 

Step 1: Recognize the lies

One morning, I woke up ready to start a brand new day. I had a song in my head and a smile on my lips, but one step in front of the mirror, and my entire mood changed. Like a light switch turning off in my head, I felt the negativity creep in. My hair was in disarray, and my mascara smeared under my eyes, creating dark circles that would make a raccoon envious. I sat at my vanity, my head in my hands, and I cried. What happened to that strong woman from a second ago? Where did the warriorNowherewhere. She was inside me at that very moment. I had silenced her with a lie.

I picked up my head, and forced myself to look in the mirror. My eyes watered, but I refused to look away. I stared until my face blurred, and I ignored the menacing voice in my head…the liar. Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to make out an image. A cute button nose and full lips. Finally, a positive thought. I liked my nose and my lips. I ran with these thoughts, and as soon as the liar emerged once again, I had a weapon. Sure my eyebrows need to be shaped, but have you seen my nose. Damn, that’s a good nose. I took that first step, which lead to two more, and then, I was running.

 

Step 2: Find a Mantra

The negativity had defined me for far too long. The time had come to find my life quote…the one I could use to defeat the enemy…my war cry. I read through scripture until I came across the verse that spoke to my soul. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ.” I had read this verse many times before, but for some reason it held a new meaning for me. I can do anything. Anything. Give up the bad habits. Strengthen my body and soul. Heck, I could even love myself. Why not? My life verse echoed…all things. The key word being all. I can do this. I will do this.

You may not be religious, and that is okay. Find your life verse. The verse that clings to you, or better yet, the verse you cling to. You’re going to need it, because the liar is strong in you. You’re going to need a mantra to defeat that cycle of abuse. Find your verse, memorize it, and repeat it until it sticks. Over and over again, like a song on repeat. You can do this.

 

Step 3: Phone a Friend

I have an accountability partner. Her name is Jessica, and she is my sister from a different mister. There are moments that I feel we are the same person in different bodies. Kindred souls thousands of miles apart. It’s kind of freaky how well we mesh. The best part, I can be real with this woman, and she doesn’t judge me. She pours truth into my life, refuses to sugar coat my failures, or accept my excuses. She isn’t harsh in her redirections. I don’t need a drill sergeant. I need a friend. Someone I can cry out to and laugh with. Jessica is that friend to me.

My journey will not work if I try it alone. I can talk myself into some stupid mistakes. “Go ahead, girl, you deserve a slice of that chocolate cake…no, you deserve the whole cake.” So, before I make a bad choice, I text Jessica. She either affirms my madness, or gently redirects me. Find your Jessica. She’s out there.

 

Step 4: Give Yourself Grace

You’re going to screw up. It’s inevitable. The best thing you can do when you muck everything up, is to realize you haven’t really mucked everything up. Stand up, dust off your bum, and get back on course. So you failed: who cares? That’s part of the process. Don’t slit your other three tires because you have a flat (I love that analogy). Give yourself the same grace you would give to your best friend, because after all, you need to begin seeing yourself as your best friend.

 

Step 5: Perfect isn’t Real

For most of my life, I sought perfection, until recently. I read this amazing book, Present Over Perfect, and I had an epiphany. Perfect is cold. Perfect is plastic. Perfect isn’t real. I want warm, comfortable, snuggly, and sometimes that comes with messy, flawed, and blemished…and that’s okay.

The price I paid for perfection is profuse. I spent countless hours inspecting my physique, holding myself to severe standards, and beating myself up when I didn’t reach the unattainable. Sound familiar? It’s the anthem of our world. Kill yourself so others will love you. Well, I say, love yourself and kill the negativity. Once you can see the lies you’ve believed about yourself are just that…lies…you can begin to speak truth into your soul. That’s where real transformation begins, and I’m here to tell you, life on the other side is great!

 
If you’d like to read more about my journey to self-love, visit my website: www.mollyshaffer.com. I’ll be the one with the love of words. The messy chick with a crooked grin. But guess what, I’ll be the one smiling!