WHY DID JESUS SPEAK SO STRONGLY AGAINST LUKEWARM FAITH?

To this day, I remember the message that brought me to Christ. The message was so strong that it still brings tears to my eyes because of the reverence and urgency in the speakers delivery…”What if Jesus were to come RIGHT NOW? Would you be ready?” Honestly, I felt so unworthy of God’s omnipresent love that I couldn’t even fathom that I, a lowly human being, could be forgiven of my sins through confession that Jesus is the Son of God and by being baptized into the watery grave. I have been a Christian for 11 years and I haven’t looked back.

It has not always been easy. Attending college and the need to fit in –  to surrounding myself with people who very likely did not have my best interest at heart… I became victim of being a lukewarm Christian. Because of my self-righteous complacency, my stubbornness and wanting to do things the “Kiara way.”

Over the years, I have realized how important having a relationship with God was. Not only that, but the guy that I would marry needed to have the same tenacity and longing for God as much as I do (iron sharpens iron). As Trey and I continue to court and seek out marriage, my dad suggested that before we get hitched, we go through spiritual relationship counseling. As direction given by our counselor at the end of our session, he challenged the both of us to read the Bible everyday. It wasn’t until I started reading the Bible not out of need because of something negative going on in my life, but out of necessity to feed my soul everyday was that I realized that everything I need as far as direction on what to do is in the Bible and is still applicable today.

I have found that for most of my Christian life, I have been a lukewarm Christian… until  recently. I don’t have much friends anymore. I enjoy attending church service and really try to hear, understand and apply the lessons taught and see how and where I can apply it in my daily life. But for so long, I was a lukewarm Christian. The beauty of it, is that you don’t have to be!

Read the devotion below and see how it can be applied in your daily life to boil in The Spirit!

DEVOTION

In Revelation 3:14–21, the Lord is describing the “lukewarm” heart attitude of those in the Laodicean church, an attitude manifested by their deeds. The Laodiceans were neither cold nor hot in relation to God, just lukewarm. Hot water can cleanse and purify; cold water can refresh and enliven. But lukewarm water carries no similar value. The Laodiceans understood the Lord’s analogy because their city drinking water came over an aqueduct from a spring six miles to the south, and it arrived disgustingly lukewarm. Laodicean water was not hot like the nearby hot springs that people bathed in, nor was it refreshingly cold for drinking. It was lukewarm, good for nothing. In fact, it was nauseating, and that was the Lord’s response to the Laodiceans—they sickened Him, and He said, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (verse 16).

The letter to the church at Laodicea is the harshest of the seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor. By His indictment of their “deeds” (Revelation 3:15), Jesus makes it clear that this is a dead church. The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (verse 17). Their lukewarm faith was hypocritical; their church was full of unconverted, pretend Christians.

Jesus frequently equates deeds with a person’s true spiritual state: “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:16–17). Clearly, the lukewarm deeds of the Laodiceans were not in keeping with true salvation. The deeds of the true believer will be “hot” or “cold”—that is, they will benefit the world in some way and reflect the spiritual passion of a life transformed. Lukewarm deeds, however—those done without joy, without love, and without the fire of the Spirit—do harm to the watching world. The lukewarm are those who claim to know God but live as though He doesn’t exist. They may go to church and practice a form of religion, but their inner state is one of self-righteous complacency. They claim to be Christians, but their hearts are unchanged, and their hypocrisy is sickening to God.

The fact that the lukewarm individuals to whom Christ speaks are not saved is seen in the picture of Jesus standing outside of the church (Revelation 3:20). He has not yet been welcomed into their midst. In love, the Lord rebukes and disciplines them, commanding them to repent (verse 19). He sees their lukewarm attitudes as “shameful nakedness” that needs to be clothed in the white garments of true righteousness (verse 18). He urges them to be earnest, or zealous, and commit themselves totally to Him. Our Lord is gracious and long-suffering and gives the lukewarm time to repent.

The Laodiceans enjoyed material prosperity that, coupled with a semblance of true religion, led them to a false sense of security and independence (see Mark 10:23). The expression “I am rich; I have acquired wealth” (Revelation 3:17) stresses that the wealth attained came though self-exertion. Spiritually, they had great needs. A self-sufficient attitude and lukewarm faith are constant dangers when people live lives of ease and prosperity.

PRAYER

 Oh, Father, You have created me with the capacity for deep affections —  and You made me this way that I may glorify You by finding you my Supreme Satisfaction and the Fountain of everything delightful.

But I confess that my affections for You are often grievously tepid while my selfish interests steam.

  • I am bold to defend my own honor and reputation and often timid to defend Yours.
  • I am quick to satisfy my bodily appetites and often slow to feed my soul with the Bread of Life.
  • I squander moments devoted to communing with You while carefully protecting moments devoted to banal entertainment.
  • I am distracted from speaking with you by books that need straightening, email that needs answering, and a bald spot in the yard that needs seeding.

I am easily and foolishly concerned with worldly success and prosperity while languid and unmoved about the greater things of another world!

And I know that my errant affections are most offensive to You when I hear of the infinite height, depth, and length, and breadth of your love for me in Christ Jesus,

O gracious Father, thank you that your Son’s great sacrifice is so great and so sufficient that it pays even for such sins as mine.

Father, I am humbled to the dust that I am not more affected at what affects you! I repent of being “slothful in zeal”! No more, Father! Make me boil in spirit as I serve you (Romans 12:11)! To be moved by your glorious gospel and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) is why you gave me affections! Nothing in earth or heaven is greater or more important.

Today, I take to heart Your Son’s warning: “Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm… I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15–16). Merciful Father, make me hot! Whatever it takes, whatever it costs me, give me the Spirit-salve for my heart-eyes (Revelation 3:18) so that I may see what is Real, believe what is True, treasure what is Valuable, and forsake what is worthless.

In the name of Jesus, amen.

This prayer was inspired by and adapted from a portion of Jonathan Edwards’s book, Religious Affections (the last three paragraphs of Part 1).

 

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A LETTER TO MY MOMMA

Dear Mom –

Thank you for all you do for me and our family.

Thank you for picking up after all of us and screaming at the top of your lungs for us to clean up after ourselves (haha).

I know that you could spend most of your day picking up the things that we leave around between coming home from work or school and going to bed. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate it!

Thanks for cooking for us, I know it takes a lot of planning on your part to brave the crowd and go to the grocery store, to read labels and pick the best foods to keep our bodies healthy. I know it takes a lot of time and energy to put the food into the cart, out of the cart to pay, into the cart to the car, out of the car, into the house, out of the bags and then into the pantry; all before you even cook us dinner.

I know that when you have rules and consequences, it’s because you love us, thanks for setting limits and disciplining me even though it’s not a small feat and exhausting. It has helped me learn and to establish good character.

Thanks for the years of cleaning up my boogers, my throw up and wiping my hiney. Thanks for teaching me to do those things for myself; and for teaching me to tie my shoes, get dressed on my own and to use a real cup with no cover! I really needed you to help me grow, Mom!

Thank you for teaching me to be organized (Erin Condren, washi tape, planners and all), to do my homework, clean my room and to practice the flute. I have learned to be responsible which helps me feel positive about myself. Thanks for pushing me even when I complain and argue with you.

Thank you for not letting me quit the team when I wanted to. Sticking with it taught me to be a good sport and that a strong commitment is the single most important trait that a person can have; to follow through, and to persevere. I have found those skills very helpful in my success.

Thank you for comforting me through heartbreaks. And thank you for always answering your phone even if the call only lasted 30 seconds because I needed to know the answer to  a silly question!

Thank you for giving me everything, literally. You never told me no I appreciate that generosity. I know kids can be expensive and demanding.

From supporting me emotionally through my awkward middle school phase, to sacrificing your personal time after your long days at work to talk me through problems when no one else cared, to supporting me financially through college, you have always been there.

You have sacrificed so much in order to give me a better life than you had when you were a kid.

Thanks you for always believing in me. Life has been challenging and there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up, when things were not going my way. Each time, you were there to remind me of my worth as a human being.

You encouraged me to keep reaching for the unreachable and to never settle for anything less than what you know in your heart I deserve. No matter how bizarre my goals are– you always tell me to go after what makes me happy.

As I get older, I realize more and more how much you have done for me and continue to do every day.

Thank you for showing me grace when I didn’t deserve it. Perhaps it is easier for me to take my frustrations out on you than anyone else in this world because you love me limitlessly and unconditionally. There were times when I was a total brat to you; I was rude, selfish and unkind. Still, you loved me anyway, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Thank you for your unconditional love and friendship. You are my best friend and you always will be. I’ve seen your love when you attended my sporting events, posted on Facebook about how proud you are of me and when you comforted me at times that life became a little too tough to handle. Not to mention, you showing me how to love others and how to love them well.

Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me to do my best and to try new things. I love myself and I am proud of myself. I have confidence and believe in myself because of you. I need to make mistakes and make failures to grow, so thanks for being there when I’m down, and for helping me find my way back up.

Thank you for modeling how to be respectful, kind to others and patient with anyone that walks in my path. I have and always will look up to you! Even though I don’t always LISTEN to you, I do always hear you. I hear how you use good manners, how you listen to a friend, how you laugh with (or at) grandma.

Thank you for being there to talk through problems and to ask you questions, any questions. Thanks for answering honestly about literally everything in life. I ask you where something is even though I know you probably have no idea where it is, but you take the time to help me retrace my steps and find what I was looking for.

Mom, thanks for driving me all over town and state to friend’s houses, tryouts, activities, performances, games, concerts, auditions, practices, and college! I know I wouldn’t be able to do all these fun things without you. And thanks for driving home and back when I forgot something at the house while I was in college. Thanks for showing up and cheering for me during my track meets and cheerleading competitions. Always intently waiting for me to compete with your camera or iPhone in hand.

Thanks for not letting anyone get in your way when getting your degrees. You make me so proud to be your daughter because you push past adversity with such grace!

Thanks for volunteering at my school, for kissing me goodbye, even in front of my friends and for hugging me (and then tickling me when I’ve hugged you a few minutes too long).

Thanks for noticing when I do and things, like when I help around the house or make the right choice. I really like when you notice the good things I do, it makes me want to do more!

Thanks for being the coolest most hippest mom I know! We can bump Rihanna or Beyonce and you actually know the words!

You’ve taught me and are still teaching me life skills, you’re helping me learn how to become a happy and healthy adult everyday. You giving me limits and structure but also space and confidence to step out toward independence.

You’re teaching me that my attitude and the way I look makes all the difference.

I love you. Thank you for loving me in all the ways that you do.

Love,

Your Favorite Daughter

7 THINGS COUPLES WHO STAY TOGETHER DO OFTEN

We all know that one couple (or maybe a few) who seem to be doing everything right. They navigate marriage (or relationship) with ease and make being a couple look so effortless. Don’t be fooled; a ton of effort goes into making any relationship a great one. Here are seven thing you can do everyday to make yours go the distance.

JOKE

A long-lasting relationship shouldn’t be so serious. Couples who can laugh and joke together on a daily basis develop a deep friendship that is essential in any marriage or relationship.

COMPLIMENT

Getting a little positive recognition for our efforts is something we all crave. Many times, it’s the people we are closest to that we fail to recognize. Giving each other regular compliments are the little things you love about them will really help your relationship go the distance. You smell really nice today, Thanks for working so hard, and You’re the best thing that’s happened to me, are all good places to start.

COMPROMISE

When you enter into a partnership, you become the other half to a whole. Your desires, whims, and needs don’t always come first and sometimes conflict with the other person’s. Anyone who has been in a happy one, you have to compromise. Your hubby/boyfriend loves sports or motorcycles? Sometimes you have to hand over the remote, or take a daring ride. It’s like a see-saw: you each take turns getting what you want.

SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

You can’t get to that diamond anniversary without spending a little quality time together. At least once a week, schedule a night to be with your special someone, sans kids. Go to dinner and a movie, hold hands in public, catch a concert, or drop the kids off at grandma’s and enjoy some quality alone time in your own house.

APOLOGIZE 

Two of the hardest words in the English language happen to be, “I’m sorry.”

When conflicts arise, evaluate whether it is more important to be right, or more important  to be happy. Don’t hold onto old arguments. Don’t wait for the other person to apologize first–you’ll cause an unnecessary standoff that will cost you valuable time together. Be the first to put your pride in your pocket and say, “I’m sorry” more freely. Besides, we all know, the sooner we apologize, the sooner we can start making up.

LISTEN, PROCESS, AND ACT

A major complaint of couples everywhere is a lack of communication, “He just doesn’t listen to me,” or “I can’t even talk to her without an overreaction.” Effective communication essentially means: listen, process, then act.

First, listen, without interrupting to what the other person is saying. Don’t react immediately. Take a moment to process and think about how you would like to respond. When you do respond, do so truthfully and earnestly. Lastly, act upon the request. If John voices his concern about Sarah’s latest designer shoe shopping spree, Sarah should first listen, without getting defensive, then take a moment to process and think about how her spree affected John. Lastly, they can decide on a course of action they can both be happy with. {Sarah knows she simply can’t live without the Manolo Blahniks, but agrees that the Jimmy Choo pumps can wait.}

TRY EVERYDAY TO MAKE THE OTHER PERSON HAPPY

The number one thing that couples who stay together do, every single day is make each other happy. When you truly love someone, you want to give them the best; you want them to be happy. When both of you feel this way, you’ve conquered the secret to a long-lasting, healthy, over-the-moon happy relationship.

POWER IN SERVICE

BIBLE THOUGHT: “YOU KNOW THAT THE RULERS OF THE GENTILES LORD IT OVER THEM, AND THEIR HIGH OFFICIALS EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER THEM. NOT SO WITH YOU. INSTEAD, WHOEVER WANTS TO BECOME GREAT AMONG YOU MUST BE YOUR SERVANT” (MATTHEW 20:25-26, NASB).

READ 1 KINGS 12:1-19 to gain a better understanding of this lesson.

THERE IS a paradox inherent in leadership. The more we attempt to control people the less control we have over them. Those who rule with a heavy hand, issuing edicts from on high, then sitting back to critique the labor of their subjects, will soon find rebellion and desertion among the ranks. However, those who lead by rolling up their sleeves and joining the workforce will win the loyalty and respect of their followers.

Peter understood this principle when he exhorted elders to be “eager to serve, of lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). Although we may not hold an official position of leadership, likely we serve as leaders in some capacity. As parents, do we work alongside our children as they perform their chores, or do we sit in our easy chairs, barking out orders while reading the newspaper or watching TV? As Bible class teachers, do we learn the memory verses along with our students, or peek in our Bibles as they recite to be sure it’s right? As coaches, do we play alongside our athletes or watch our athletes suffer in pain and smirk?

Let’s resolve today to follow the example of Jesus, our ultimate leader, who “…did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:28).

Sing “Lord, Make Me a Servant

Prayer: Father, please give us the heart of a servant and help us not to ask or expect anyone to do anything that we are not ready and willing to do ourselves. In the name of Your Servant, Jesus. Amen.

– JAN KNOX, Granbury, Texas

This lesson was brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

PRAYER IS A LIFESAVER

BIBLE THOUGHT: “THEREFORE CONFESS YOUR SINS TO EACH OTHER AND PRAY FOR EACH OTHER SO THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED. THE PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN IS POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE” (JAMES 5:16, NASB)

READ 1 SAMUEL 12:16-25 for a better application of the lesson.

I HEARD a story about a bald eagle soaring over a lake. The eagle sent his talons deep into the lake for a fish, but his catch was far too heavy! The eagle began to sink when two other eagles appeared. Each one went under one of the wings of their comrade and carried him to safety. What a beautiful picture of prayer.

I like to think that prayers build walls of love around those prayed for. The walls are built with sincere concern, promoting healing and well being in Christ.

Make a wall of love and prayers for someone today. You may not know the results of your prayers, but God knows. You can be strong, lifting wings for a friend in need.

Sing “Pray All the Time

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for answering our prayers. We worship, adore and glorify You in every way. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

– JOAN CLAYTON, Clovis, New Mexico

Devotion pulled from POWER, a daily devotional magazine.

A POWER-FULL LIFE

BIBLE THOUGHT: “‘MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR POWER IS PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS'” (2 CORINTHIANS 12:9, NASB)

READ 1 SAMUEL 1:9-20 for a better application of this lesson.

I REMEMBER driving nervously to the hospital on the day our baby girl was born, being so fearful that she would not be healthy. I prayed through my fears, “God I’m so afraid that she will not be healthy, happy, and all that we want her to be! If she isn’t… I can’t sustain that thought!” Then I knew the only hope was to give her to Him, “She is Yours, God.” I prayed that prayer with all the sincerity that Hannah prayed in her prayer to God. I knew that He agreed, “Yes. She is mine.”

Four years later, we learned that our precious little one had Type I diabetes. I held her tiny, trusting finger as they stabbed it for a blood test. Tears welled in both of us. What will this mean for her life? There is no cure. And every blood-lancing day since, she has battled that disease.

But every day since she has also exuded God’s beauty, His goodness. She sees life as God’s art. We could not change a single thing about her including her disease. And she agrees. She often quotes the full passage of our Bible thought as she testifies to God’s grace to her in her weakness. She is thankful even for this weakness and its pointing to God’s power.

Sing “The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Prayer: Lord of life, help us today to see the glory of Christ shine in our weaknesses. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– PHIL PHILLIPS, Westlake Village, California

This lesson was brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

PRAYING ALL THE TIME

BIBLE THOUGHT: “THEY ALL JOINED TOGETHER CONSTANTLY IN PRAYER, ALONG WITH THE WOMEN AND MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS, AND WITH HIS BROTHERS” (ACTS 1:14, NASB).

READ 2 TIMOTHY 1:3-12 for a better application of this lesson.

WHAT BRINGS you to your knees before the Father? Usually, it is a deeply felt need for God’s deliverance and direction. We can’t live life on our knees physically, but we can always be on our knees spiritually — in our heart and in our head.

Do you talk to yourself? You don’t have to admit it. But it has its uses; we can cultivate talking to ourselves about God. Say to yourself, “I need the LORD.” “Jesus is with me.” “God’s mercy covers me.” “He weeps with me.” Small sentences that can be said in our heads to remind us of the unseen truth. It can become a habitual response to life. It is spiritual kneeling before the Father.

You also have memorized verses that you can bring to mind… even if you haven’t, why not start now? “The LORD is my shepherd.” This is another way of kneeling, of keeping things straight. Focusing on Christ prevents loneliness and hopelessness. Walking, waiting on a ride, waiting on a meeting to end, waiting on the waiter– we can be saying our small truths silently so we know where we are, who we are, whose we are.

Sing “Into My Heart”

Prayer: LORD of heaven and earth, I cannot organize or purify my life. I need Your LOVE, Your BLOOD, Your LEADERSHIP to do anything good with this day. Help me focus my mind and heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– EMILY Y. LEMLEY, co-editor

Devotion pulled from POWER, a daily devotional magazine.

EMOTIONAL CHEATING: HEALTHY OR HARMFUL?

It’s a fuzzy issue and when it happens in a relationship it can be hard to place the blame.

Now I know I’m going to receive a lot of flack for this, but let’s be real, most of us will eventually emotionally cheat on our partners at some point in our lives.

It’s a reality that most relationships either won’t face or cannot escape – but is the harsh reality actually that bad? Can a long-term relationship actually happily sustain monogamy for years and years without a wandering eye? Or is the societal belief that monogamy comes first at all costs so strong that we consider anything outside of this to be a betrayal?

For many who have been dating for some time are or will be faced with the millennial dilemma of can this work in the real world?

I’m sure you have a close friend who you think to be smart, charismatic, motivated, successful, happy and beautiful. Men may be drawn to that particular friend for as long as you’ve known her. And while she has always loved the attention of other men, she never engaged in this attention until her relationship started having problems.

She may now have (what you would consider) emotional relationships with two men since she started having problems with her boyfriend, and while this behavior has had many negative consequences, you have actually seen a lot of good come out of it as well.

Occasionally texting, flirting, and talking with new and interesting men has given your friend a taste of what it would be like to be single and dating. As someone who has been in the same relationship for (insert amount here) months/years, she has never experienced dating an adult. Having these connections with other men has taught her a lot about herself and what she wants from a relationship without throwing away (insert amount here) months/years with someone she loves.

Here’s the catch: just because someone is emotionally cheating doesn’t mean they don’t love the partner they are with. Is is disrespectful? Yes. Can it hurt your partner? Yes. Can it create even more problems in your relationship? Yes.

No matter how long or little you’ve been with your partner, questioning the status of your relationship is just part of life. And in many cases having an emotional affair with someone else can actually bring you back to a positive place with your partner.

Because of the connections with other men, you or a friend may realize that her/your significant other is the person you/she wants to be with and that your/their relationship is worth fighting for.

Now, I am in no way saying that emotional cheating or cheating in general is okay. Participating in any behavior that you know would hurt your partner is selfish and should be a reason to re-evaluate your happiness.

However, cheating is complicated and the reasons people engage in emotional cheating vary from person-to-person.

As a generation that grew up with so much choice and endless options, it’s challenging enough for us to commit to an Insta filter let alone a life-long partner. Sometimes we need to make mistakes to find out what we really want.

And anyone who says that you shouldn’t have to explore other options to be sure about your partner is being naive. Not everyone has to explore other options, but some people might feel like they do.

Our emotions are not black and white. Being in love doesn’t mean you’ll never be attracted to anyone else ever again. It’s human nature to wonder what if. We shouldn’t judge anyone for the journey they need to take to figure out what a happy relationship means to them.

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STRUGGLING WITH AMBIVALENT RELATIONSHIPS

I’m in my senior year of college and as anyone who has experienced college you know that it is a roller coaster of emotions; good situations and bad situations. Seemingly, the one thing that holds us together during the great and tumultuous times of college are our friends. Coming into college, I couldn’t wait to meet the friends that would be my life long besties. But things didn’t exactly  work out the way that everyone said that they would.

I like to think that I am an approachable and kind person. Every now and again, I may have the occasional bad day that may seem as if I’m some villain from a Disney movie, but I’ve gotten better at channeling my negative energy into something positive. I have always wanted that #squadgoals, which at times can be unattainable and unrealistic.
I have had my fair share of disagreements and arguments with friends but what I’ve realized is that if an individual, in particular, a friend, really cares about you, they will do what it takes to keep that friendship alive. Some friends fight more than others but at the end of the day, you have someone that you can rely on for guidance, support and love.

If you’re experiencing a tumultuous relationship with a close friend, try doing some self-reflection. In the past, I never thought that I could do wrong. I never thought that it was me who had the issue. After having an awesome boyfriend who felt comfortable enough to tell me my wrongdoings, I realized that it was partially my fault that I had lost a great friend. But without the apologies from both parties and the realization that both you and the other person were in the wrong, things can’t move forward. So, that’s where I was at.

I have gotten closure from a person that I used to call a friend but they couldn’t come forward and put there pride aside to apologize. Maybe you’re in this predicament now. Friendships can end for many reasons; sometimes you may not even realize it.

Some reasons of why friendships fail…

– The relationship could be or is competitive and your friend may not have been or isn’t in a good place career-wise or personally. This can cause conflict between the two of you.

– When the other party is reluctant to get together with you, the meetings aren’t as satisfying as you thought they would or could be.

– Outside influences could be effecting the way your friend views you. Of course, this is manipulation. Some don’t see it that way.

In my past, instead of including myself, I made assumptions thinking that my friends didn’t want to spend time with me because they made other people a priority. But now that I am older, I wish I would have pushed that aside and included myself instead of forging the whole “we don’t spend enough time together.” But in the same token, I didn’t want to spend time being a 3rd wheel all the time. I’ve learned that people make time for who they want to make time for. If asking a friend to spend quality time together is like pulling teeth, it’s time to let go.

Being self-aware is a very great quality to embody for many reasons. But the main reason is so that you can handle situations more maturely by thinking things through before pointing the finger at someone else. One of the reasons that I decided to write this post is to help anyone dealing with an ambivalent friendship or relationship. Like my situation, maybe its YOU that needs to evaluate yourself in the situation instead of pointing the finger.

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A SEASON TO REMEMBER: LESSONS MY TEAMMATES HAVE TAUGHT ME

Before beginning what would be my the last collegiate track season, I began to brainstorm ideas of how I could make my last season the best season that I have ever had. My teammates or my coaches weren’t the issue; they have seen me at my worse and at my best and have always been my cheerleaders. But there was something about this season that I wanted to make sure that I remembered for the rest of my life. Let’s face it, the wear and tear has definitely taken a toll on my body and to be able to get a break from any form of exercise sounds so appealing.

Being on a team, no matter in what form, can be very rewarding but sometimes disheartening or difficult. Its how you handle the situations that will allow you to see it to the good times that you will always remember. Our last meet before PSAC championships at Susquehanna on February 20 made me realize why I give back so much to my teammates.

Lesson 1: They have taught me to love unconditionally.

Coming onto a team where everyone comes from different backgrounds, I was a bit reluctant to open up and show them my true colors. That was until I had a teammate that literally did not care what people thought of her. She was sassy and brought a lot of competition among the team and I will forever thank her for that because she allowed me to not only open up, but to not judge others. In addition, I would have to say she made the team better in many ways with her outspokenness. The one common thing that you and your team will have is the sport that brought you together and that should be more than enough to build a relationship upon if you love the sport enough.

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Lesson 2: They have taught me how to be a leader and how to be a follower.

Yes, some may say that I am a “natural born leader” which in some cases may be true. I love leading by example and better yet, being the person that people come to with their problems because I love to solve. However, being a great leader requires you to also be follower. With a great team like mine, they are willing to take on some responsibilities so that I don’t have to do everything.

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Lesson 3: They have taught me that winning isn’t everything.

More specifically to my coach, but to my team as well. Not every race I run, will I win or set a ground-breaking personal record. And that’s okay. My team has always been there for me when I do well in a competition just as much as they have been there for me when I don’t do so well. They uplift me and put me in the right mindset to focus on the next gain I plan to make.

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Lesson 4: They have taught me that practice doesn’t make perfect… practice makes better.

I know that many pro-athletes and even inspirational speakers say that “practice makes perfect,” but I would have to disagree. Having been through some very hard practices, I would have to say that those practices were not ‘perfect’ by any means, but they did make me better. Over time, yes, practice helps you perfect your craft. However, for the most part practice is somewhat of a nuisance. My teammates show me that practice makes things better with every A, B and C skip we take.

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Lesson 5: They have taught me that wasting people’s time is the single most disrespectful thing you could do.

If you are going to be late, tell someone. Having a group of people wait or wonder where you are is very disrespectful. Don’t just saunter into some place and expect things to be alright. If there was mutual agreement that you are to meet at a particular time in a particular place, show some integrity, and do just that.

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Lesson 6: They have taught me what commitment looks like.

I have worked with some of the most talented athletes I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We come to practice when we are as sick a dog (and probably shouldn’t be at practice to be honest; Airborne has become my best friend); bronchitis, the flu, and other possibly life threatening conditions (*clears throat* Aunt Flo), but they come to practice despite those things happening to them. When you’re on a team, you don’t just represent yourself, but your entire team as well. Doing something is better than nothing.

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Lesson 7: They have taught me what it’s like to have a sister.

At times, they get on my nerves but then other times, they are the people I confide in the most. It’s like having 25 sisters!

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