December 10, 2012
August 22, 2012
Weird right? Well, unfortunately it's true (at least it's proven true in my life.)
Growing up in church and being raised by a Christian family, I was lucky enough to have a lot of friends with my same beliefs. All of my Christian friends have been so sweet, loving, kind, and I've had a lot of fun with them. But, we certainly had some drama.
It seems like a group of girls that were all striving to live a godly life would be in relationships that were at least 90% devoid of drama, but that has not been the case. I'm not calling anyone out, I've obviously been a part of it too, but what I've come to realize, especially in college, is that it seems as if Christian girls create the most drama. Does anyone else feel the same?
2 Things I've learned:
1. We're too godly to sleep around, get drunk, or do drugs...so why not gossip?
Wrong. Stop it. Don't do it! Gossip is not your anti-drug. And news flash, gossip does nothing but make you look bad! That also includes talking about someone without saying their name. We're all smart enough to figure it out. Stop trash talking the girl you're not a huge fan of because whoever is listening is only thinking about the fact that you're probably doing the same to them when they're not around.
I gossip too, obviously, it's so easy to find yourself doing it, but it really only starts more drama. When you start talking about someone, try to pause and think, "would I want them to be doing this to me?" The answer is probably not. All sins are equal, and that includes gossip.
Also, it is extremely immature and unnecessary to tweet and post to Facebook about one another in a passive aggressive way. WWJD? It's an insignificant phrase but it's extremely helpful in everyday decisions.
2. We think we're helping one another, that's what Jesus does, right?
Yeah, you're not doing that either.
"It's so annoying how (friends name) does ____. I really think she needs to deal with ____ in her life. I feel like all she does is ____, it's ridiculous. I mean how does she live with herself when all she does is ____ all the time."
That right there is called judgement. Whether it's drinking, sleeping around, being negative, lying, whatever, you're still talking about it with a giant plank in your own eye and it's totally blocking your vision.
Any sin that's taking over your friends life, that you've obviously noticed and feel the need to talk about, should be addressed in love and pursued in a Godly way because you want to help them. If you do feel like God is calling you to point it out, you're doing it to bring them closer to god, not judge them. Pray about how to approach it, pray about talking to others about it, God will show you how to approach it in a way that's pleasing to him.
"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye" (Matthew 7.1-5)
These are just a few things I've noticed. I'm imperfect, I gossip, and I sin all the time, but I would love to pursue relationships with other Christian girls that aren't full of DRAMA.
Enough! Be nice to one another, stop expecting the worst from one another. If someone says something that you think is hurtful, take a second to think about how well you know that person and if they really meant it in a hurtful way. They probably didn't. Stop texting, start talking. But learn when to speak and when to be still.
Life's too short and too precious to spend it wrapped up in pointless drama. Accept when you're wrong, learn from your mistakes, forgive, and focus on what matters most - living a life to honor God.
Posted by Laura Maddox at Wednesday, August 22, 2012
July 15, 2012
(don't ask me what this is about cause I have no idea)
"J, just get in the car"
I used to think that life was interconnected. That humans were living dominoes. That we were all just part of a web, delicately spun, intricately woven.
Life had happened a moment too soon. I had stains on my hands that weren't washing off. And they had spread too. It had gotten in my hair, on the inside of my fleshy eyelids, behind me knee caps, in the creases of my elbows. It was a mistake, and the effects of it were splashed on every ounce of me.
Cracked windows let in crisp waves of fall and his hair flipped and curled around his ears as the lights changed...
Red, green, yellow.
I sat in the passenger seat of the car and let his gaze dangerously pierce my skin with the gentle pressured of an unwound paperclip, knowing his eyes were completely off the road.
I couldn't remember the last time I'd let that happen. It was October and we were soaring. We'd been driving since dawn, downing bottles of Jim Beam, reckless, swerving on untraveled roads. We found a dirt path that snaked into the middle of pines, bounced, spun up gravel, and parked the car for the night.
I feel the engine cool and notice the sky is an ink spill of plum and Egyptian blue. I pull off my socks, crank the chair into the lowest possible position and stick my feet out the window. My pale skin is translucent in the moonlight and I paint the sky with the chipped magenta of my toenail polish.
Sid had climbed backward with the clicking of the ignition and had immediately passed out drunk in the back seat. I reach around the chair and pull a cigarette from the pocket of his jeans. I watch the lighter flicker and burn as the familiar scent swirls into autumn.
My heart contracts, and relaxes. I think of BIO 101. I picture the atria and ventricles working together to send blood through my veins. Electric, pulsing, pumping. I am an outlet and my wishful thinking is that someday soon the wires will snap and I'll fizzle out.
But I am an outlet.
I am an outlet and he's got me plugged in.
Posted by Laura Maddox at Sunday, July 15, 2012
May 28, 2012
May 05, 2012
You know what? It's time to try to enjoy your life. Make chocolate chip muffins in the morning, stop stressing out about grades that really don't matter, and take a moment to feel the sunshine on your skin.
Remember, life isn't about holding grudges. It's about forgiveness, letting go, and feeling the release in your shoulders when you realize the happiness you were missing out on. It's about going out on a Friday night and dancing in your cowboy boots.
Life's about blasting your music in the car. It's about exercising because you're body is the only one you've got. And hanging your feet off the edge of a mountain or snuggling in your pajamas. It's about hugging your parents, being cheesy (like this post), being goofy, being real. It's about value.
Life's not about creating a persona. Stop saying it and start living it. What good is a bible verse posted on your status or a quote about how to live without the actions to back it up? Be you and acknowledge your imperfections, and follow up with commitments.
Life's about drinking copious amounts of coffee and never letting go of a friendship because at some point, at one time, on one day, or one weekend, spending time together caused you to laugh and smile and experience real joy.
Life is about living in the moment. Not the future, or the past, but right now. It's about remembering to take snapshots in your mind of the tears, the leaves falling off the trees, the rain on your windshield. Life is about the puzzle pieces that all come together to create the big picture - a crazy, beautiful, vibrant one.
Life is about balance. Balance between school, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your real friends. Life is about realizing who is really there for you and sending up thanks for the ones that will always be there and will always come back.
Life is about treating others as you would want to be treated. Baking cupcakes on birthdays, buying coffee on bad days, and sharing encouragement on the good.
It's about honor. Honoring YOURSELF, Honoring OTHERS, and honoring GOD.
That's what life is.
Posted by Laura Maddox at Saturday, May 05, 2012
April 30, 2012
April 29, 2012
"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ"
1 Corinthians 15:57
I want to BE LOVE.
Wondering what I mean? Well, here are my thoughts.
I believe that every person is born with sins that they're always going to struggle with. This can be through alcoholism, homosexuality, stubbornness, negativity, loneliness, an eating disorder and a multitude of other sins.
To say that God has challenged me in the friend department at ASU would be an understatement. Friendships that I thought would last forever have vanished. Friends that I valued have hurt me to the core. Friends that I took upon myself to pour into have ended up dragging me down. Sin has attacked many of my friendships and has attacked my view of myself. Facing the closed door of these friendships has resulted in a deep self reflection.
I've been accused of being mean, being bossy, having a judgmental attitude, of always looking like I'm in a bad mood, of being negative all the time. I want to apologize to anyone I've hurt, anyone I've wronged and anyone that has felt this way toward me. These words left me feeling so confused. The things that they were saying to me were words that I would never use to describe myself. Was I really negative all the time? Was I bossy?
It honestly made me sad. I want people to look at me and see a happy person who is trying to live like Christ. I want people to look at me and wonder, what makes that girl act the way she does? I felt bad that I wasn't portraying that, but I knew that I was happy within, so I didn't (and still don't) know how to change it.
There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about what these people have said to me. I like to think of myself as accommodating. I always try to put others before myself when it comes to decision making. I would never define myself as negative. In an effort to not let myself get let down, I think of life realistically rather than being overly optimistic. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than let down.
I want to BE LOVE.
As Christians I understand holding each other accountable. If there is a sin that needs to be addressed in a friend's life, I'm instructed by God to let them know about it. But attacking someone for it and then leaving them left in a mess is not, what I believe, God intended. If I believe a friend is struggling with something, I want to address it in a way that says "I'm here to help. We're all sinners and I love you no matter your flaws."
Cutting people out of your lives is the right thing to do in certain situations, but using it as an escape can end up causing more damage than good. Does the bible not say to forgive others as God forgave us?
I once heard a quote that said "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. "
This is infinitely true. I have been hurt by friends countless times, and I've hurt them. I am FAR from perfect. I'm sure I have been some of the things that my friends have accused me of being, but I'm also a sinner. What they've said to me is in the past, GOD HAS MADE US CLEAN. Forgiveness can eat away at you, I know from experience. But as this quote says, it really hurts you more than the person you're not forgiving. I've stopped holding on, and the burns are healing.
I know that I've hurt others and I know that a lot of the things I've done have ended up hurting me in the end. I'm not happy go lucky. I'm not going to grin from ear to ear all the time. But I want everyone to know that I am overflowing with the joy of the Lord! I can't change my personality, but I can wake up each morning with the intentions of honoring God in EVERY aspect of my life. I want every spec of my being to radiate his LOVE. I want to BE LOVE.
My devotion this morning spoke volumes to me. I want it to be a guide for my lifestyle. It read: 1 John 3:18-24
"Dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us."
I am thankful for the lessons on friendship that God is continually teaching me. I'm not perfect. I'm just a rental space for the holy spirit of the Lord. But as I live, learn, am hurt, am broken, am healed, I want to BE LOVE, the love of the Lord.
Posted by Laura Maddox at Sunday, April 29, 2012