Dear World

Dear World,

Be kind, please. I’m talking to you. Yes, you. At the grocery store. In the parking lot. In the drive-through. Even behind the counter. And you, especially, behind the desktop and holding that cellphone while tippy tapping out that post or comment attacking your fellow neighbor, American, and fellow humans across the seas. Be kind.

This virus is not just a physical ailment. It is not just COVID-19. It’s a mental virus and a social virus. It’s causing us to attack each other on politics, parenting, job status, religion, race, and culture. It’s got so many people scared and angry that it’s become a free-for-all. We are throwing everything we can at each other and seeing what sticks.

Please stop fighting a political war with your friends, family, and strangers over whether or not the Democrats or Republicans are making things worse for us. In case you are oblivious to this – neither side is actually good. They are both corrupt. Each side has its own agendas and, get this – they have a common agenda too – and it’s not looking out for me and you. So please stop doing their bidding. Be kind.

Parents and teachers, please stop being snippy. I’m sure some of you are relishing the fact that many parents are now stuck at home with their kids all day and are finally realizing what little hellions they’ve raised. There’s no need to rub it in. Trust me they are feeling it. Parents, stop taking your anger out on others over being home all day with your kids. They are your kids. It is your responsibility to take care of them and teach them how to behave. You may not be a math whiz or scientist. You’re not going to be able to teach them every subject at home just like the teachers, and that’s okay right now. Stop beating yourself up. Stop beating other parents up for their perfect post on crafting with the kiddos and just parent your kids. Give them structure and love and don’t make them feel like a burden right now. They will remember how you handled this time. Be kind.

Workers, both current and recently unemployed, stop arguing over who is essential or not. Stop putting other professions down although some have shown to be less needed to survive. Once the quarantines are lifted we will flock back to certain stores, restaurants, and services showing how much we really missed them. And once we do let’s not take the smaller ones for granted anymore because some of them aren’t going to survive this down time. So please be kind.

Religious or not, stop mocking religions. Fellow Christians, I’m looking at you first. I see you name-calling and angrily debating others over politics, religion, and even race during this crisis. We cannot fully love with hearts fueled by anger. Others, please stop asking “why doesn’t your God make this vanish,” or “where’s your God now?” We know where our God is and where our faith stands, even when we don’t understand what’s happening. Be kind.

Americans stop the race arguments. It does not help anything. It just adds fuel to the fire. Stop bashing other countries and cultures for how they are handling this. If you are reading this from another country, please stop hating us and wishing for us to get it worse because you don’t like our American president or American culture. A society that is scared and divided because they are blaming each other and taking their anger out on each other is easier to control locally, regionally, nationally, and worldwide. So please knock it off. We are all humans. Be kind.

Please, World, be kind.

xoxo,

Ash

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalms 19:14

Dear Spring

Dear Spring,

Thank you. You are the season of fresh air and fresh starts. The season of new growth. You bring rain to wash us clean and nurture the flowers. As the new buds soak up the sun, so do we.

The evenings and mornings may still be cool, but we can tell by the singing birds and the feeling in the air that it’s going to be a beautiful day. We open the shades and front door and let the warm afternoon sun heat the house.

Although I am Summer’s girl, I admire your beauty Spring. You are this photographer’s dream. I photograph leftover rain drops hanging on to the tree branches or sitting on the leaves of my unbloomed irises. I crouch down into the grass on dewey mornings and capture my sleepy daffodils. And once my tulips pop up, I’m grinning from ear to ear as I snap them from every angle I dare. They are my favorite, at least until my summer daylilies bloom.

Even the dog loves you and is eager to shake Winter’s blues. She’s not too fond of the rainy days but has no problem splashing through the mud puddles left behind. With mud coated paws and belly, she trots up and drops her ball or frisbee at our feet. Oh, it’s difficult to resist that happy heeler smile, even if it means one or both of us will also be muddy after a while. She enjoys walks to the park and checking out all the Spring smells along the way. And back home she finds the most sunny spot for her afternoon snooze.

Oh Spring, you are so many lovely things.
Most of all, you are the season of hope. Hope for beautiful flowers to bloom. Hope for leaves to fill the trees and provide shade for the warmer days. Hope for outdoor activities and laughter in the air. Hope that better days are ahead.

Thank you, Spring, for giving me more reasons to keep smiling.

xoxo,

Ash

.

 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Matthew 6:28 NIV

Dear Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

I’m not taking you back. I don’t care how hard you try. I’m no longer under your control.

You’ve been quite sneaky attempting to slither your way back in while I lay in bed at night. I see what you’re doing, taking advantage of the darkness and silence. Using my stillness as an invitation to run wild in my thoughts. Bringing up our postponed plans, what ifs, whys, and what nexts…flooding me with uncertainty and sadness.

You have my peace in a chokehold, squeezing until I begin drowning under the weight of my rapid heartbeat, tears welling up in my eyes.

I fight you off with deep breaths in and forceful breaths out as if the audible flow of air pushing through my lips is pulling you out of my chest. I do this over and over.

Then I start replacing those rampant thoughts with healing phrases:
Be anxious for nothing. I give you peace. Be anxious for nothing. I give you peace. Be anxious for nothing…

The weight begins to lift.
I slow my breaths.
You’re gone.

A worship chorus pops in:

Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are*

I don’t remember past that point because His peace has washed over me now, protecting me from you as I drift off to sleep.

You will not do this to me each night, Anxiety. You will not keep me awake or disturb my sleeping husband. I refuse to let you worm your way back in.

I’ve come too far. I’ve grown too much to give up the freedom I gained by breaking up with you.

You are my past. With you, there is no future.

No matter how many times I have to call on the name of the Lord, how many verses I have to repeat, or how many times it takes lifting my hands and surrendering my life to Him…

I will not surrender to you.

Do you hear me?

I will shout it from the mountain tops if I must.

You. Are. Done.

We. Are. Through.

No longer yours,

Me

*Way Maker, song by Sinach

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,
This sucks. I mean really sucks. I slightly cringe using that word – sucks – because it was forbidden to leave my mouth growing up even if whispered under my breath. But this, this is a whole new level of suck. And it’s selfish. Yep. Selfish. That’s me right now, and I feel bad about it. I’m not proud of the anxiety I’ve allowed back into my chest after several years of having it under control. I’m not proud of the anger I let boil up inside of me over and over until it came out in words shooting from my mouth like flaming daggers as one thing after another stacked up to this level of suck.
Ten days. Just ten days. That’s all that stood between us and the first of two life-changing adventures we had plans for this year when the president declared a National State of Emergency due to COVID-19. Stupid virus.
The excitement that had been building and building like a balloon being filled and ready to float off into the air was turned into turmoil in our stomachs as we felt our dreams begin to deflate within us. We went from being ready for the best year of our lives to a nightmare wishing someone would pinch and wake us up from. Normally we would have a couple weeks worth of food in our cabinets and meat in our freezer, but we were preparing to leave. So we had been eating what was left and not buying more. We were prepared for an adventure not a quarantine. Not mass panic as many Americans became hoarders overnight. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer disappeared as if part of a magician’s act across a national stage.
We were unsure of our next step. Do we stay? Do we really have any other option? Other states are worse than ours. As a nation we’re not supposed to go anywhere that isn’t necessary right now.
I cussed. I cried. I threw a fit like a selfish toddler. I argued and pleaded with God.
Why? Why this year? Why after telling me not to be anxious and putting me at peace with our plans? Why after all the scriptures and messages of faith put in front of me these last few weeks are our dreams that we’ve saved so earnestly for suddenly fading away?
Can’t you fix this God? Can’t you save us from this mess? Can’t you just give us a break? Why is this happening to us right now?
Question after selfish question…directing my anxiety, uncertainty, heartache, and anger towards God.
Then my best friend, who knows about our adventures, checked in with me. I told her my fears and shamefully confessed my wavering faith, and she reminded me that even heroes in the Bible struggled with their faith.
That’s what trials are for. I don’t know how strong my faith is until it is tested. I can’t improve if I’m not challenged.
Faith is believing even when you can’t see. I had faith that we could do this adventure until other things started closing in around us. As I saw walls being placed in front of our dreams I lost sight, and I forgot. I forgot that I don’t have to see what’s ahead in order to have faith. I forgot the very essence of faith – choosing to trust no matter how bleak things seem. I forgot the peace that comes with it – the peace of knowing God is still working. He knows his plans for me, for us. We may not see our dreams come true right now. If that’s the case, it’ll be okay.
This situation is so much bigger than us. This suck isn’t just affecting us. This sucks for our family, our neighbors, our friends, our nation and most of the world.
I’m well aware of how selfish it is for me to complain about our dreams being put on hold, but I remember a therapist telling me after the devastation of our 2011 tornado that it’s okay to mourn for my own situation. It’s okay to be sad for our own loss even if someone else’s loss is greater.
It’s not okay to just shut down though, and it’s not okay to take from others, especially when we are all struggling.
We are still on this Earth to love one another.
I’m done wallowing in the suck.
It’s time to put my faith into action. It’s time to smile, to laugh, and to encourage others even if I’m still hurting.
Chin up, Ash. It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.

xoxo

-Me

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27 NIV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6 NIV

“But you, Lord , are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Psalms 3:3 NIV

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 NIV

“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
James 1:3 NIV

Captured Moments

I dug out some childhood scrapbooks recently on a mission to find a particular photo. I didn’t find the photo, but I found something much more interesting. I came across an old scrapbook that belonged to my parents. I forgot that it had been given to me.

Looking through photos from the early eighties was such a treat. The outfits, hairstyles, and house décor – oh my! There were photos of random moments in my parents’ lives before I was born, their friends, other family members, and holiday parties. I especially enjoyed Halloween photos and seeing the costumes they came up with back then. One of my great uncles went as a tub of lard for Halloween one year, and my grandpa was a giant milk carton.

There were a few posed photos, but my favorites were the ones that weren’t posed. My favorites are the ones where my parents were captured laughing. I love the moments caught where someone’s facial expression says it all. They were in the moment, not stopping to say “cheese” because they didn’t know the moment was being captured. There were dark photos and slanted photos. These pictures from a pre-digital age weren’t perfect, and I love them!

As a photographer, I am grateful now for digital cameras and photos and the benefits that come with them, but I still remember the pre-digital age. I remember using my Kodak 110 camera as a kid. I remember dropping off rolls of film at the drugstore and returning a few days later to pick up the photo packets. I remember being excited as I opened the packet and thumbed through the pictures. I remember being sad about the ones that didn’t turn out because they were too dark or someone’s eyes were closed. I remember throwing the bad ones away.

I am thankful that whether I’m using my DSLR or the camera on my phone I can see the photo right after I take it. I can decide right then and there if it’s worth keeping or just delete it. I can take another one and not worry about wasting film. However, looking through my parents’ scrapbook made me realize how important those imperfect photos can be too and how much I miss them. It allowed me a glimpse into who Mom and Dad were before I ever existed. It reminded me that every photo taken or kept doesn’t have to be post-worthy (and maybe we need to wake-up and break-up with that post-worthy mindset).

I’m thankful for technology. I don’t like it causing us to strive for only those perfect captured moments though. Let’s not forget that most of life is made up of imperfect moments and those are meaningful and worth remembering too.

So, let’s adjust our focus. Capture more random moments of the kids playing, the husband working on his motorcycle, and holiday moments where not everyone is gathered up to say “cheese.” It’s okay to still have some posed photos, but remember that captured moments don’t have to be perfect.

I’m making it my photography goal this year to take more un-posed photos and capture everyday life. Why don’t you give it a try too?

Be brave.

Be blessed.

Be captured.

xoxo

Ash

Drop the Niche and Just Be You

Drop the Niche and Just Be You

Whether you work for a company that fits your degree, own a small business, or strive to “find your tribe,” you’re most likely aware of the niche craze when it comes to social media growth. The business strategists helping entrepreneurs and influencers grow their social media platforms continue to remind us how vital it is to pick a niche.

Narrowly defining who you are or what you do is apparently what brings the right people to you. Hmmm… I can see how that works if you have a business that provides one type of product or service or you don’t plan on changing anything. I don’t think that strategy is for everyone though.

If one is content with staying at one job all their life or having a single passion, that’s okay, but it’s not for me. I once thought I would spend most of my life working behind a desk at the dream job I had straight out of college. I left that job after seven years because my hands could no longer physically keep up with the work.

I was terrified of leaving that job – losing my career, benefits, and the life that I had planned. I pleaded with God for help while He continued to push me to let go and trust Him. Now, years later, I don’t even like the girl that sat behind that desk. She was too serious and close-minded. I’m not her anymore. I’ve grown and changed. My thoughts have changed. My perspective on work and life has changed. My tastes have changed.

We can change. You can change. You don’t have to stay at one job until you retire just because it fits your degree. You don’t have to choose one niche and stick with it if you don’t want to.

I have struggled with this blog and choosing a niche to connect with on social media because that’s what the gurus said I must do.

You wanna make an impact? Choose a niche. Wanna find your tribe? Choose a niche. Wanna grow? Choose a niche. If you have other passions or hobbies, keep that stuff on your personal accounts.

Umph, no thanks! I tried that. It didn’t work for me. I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I felt boxed in.

I’m not just one thing, and I don’t just want to connect with one group of people. I connect with other female faith bloggers. I connect with fellow nature photographers. I follow other language lovers. I applaud my recovering perfectionist sisters because I’m one of them too. I haven’t found “my tribe.” I found tribes – people in different places doing different things, yet connected by something.

I quit focusing on numbers and started focusing on people. I would rather connect with hundreds of people than just be followed by thousands.

God didn’t put us here simply for the numbers. We are meant to connect and help each other. Sure, He gave us certain gifts and areas where we are more fruitful than others, but that doesn’t mean we are limited by those things. Follow your passions. They burn in you for a reason even if it’s just for a season. Someone might need you in that season, or you might need someone else.

Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid to share more than one passion. Be brave and let go of who you thought you were supposed to be if it just doesn’t feel like you anymore. We can do other things, work different jobs, connect with different types of people, and have multiple passions in our lifetime.

You don’t have to be defined by a niche.

Be brave!

Be blessed!

Be you!

xoxo

Ash

Practicing Gratitude Can Change Your Attitude

Practicing Gratitude Can Change Your Attitude

Each new year it seems gratitude ends up on my mind. I like to tell myself that this year I will be a more grateful person. Just like some other New Year’s resolutions, it starts out well and then begins to fade away.

This year I found myself, yet again, wishing I was better at being grateful and wondering why it’s such a challenge to have an attitude of gratitude on a regular basis. What am I missing? Perseverance? Mindset? Not repeating enough grateful mantras/scriptures/quotes?

It’s practice. Practicing gratitude by putting it into action is what I’ve been missing. Gratitude isn’t just one thing. It’s a combination of thinking, speaking, and acting grateful. If we really want to change our attitude then we need to practice gratitude.

Here are some ways to practice gratitude.

Let’s start with our thoughts. Whenever you find yourself thinking ungrateful thoughts, pause and adjust. For example, if you’re looking in the mirror wishing your nose was smaller, remind yourself how valuable your nose is to you because it allows you to smell. If you wake up thinking you wish you didn’t have to work, remind yourself the money it provides to keep you clothed and fed. Whenever you find yourself thinking something negative about a person, place, or thing, find something to be grateful for instead.

I know these are just basic examples, but you know the things you most often complain to yourself about each day. So, just catch yourself and reconstruct that thought. If you think you just can’t find anything to be grateful for, ask yourself, “Am I breathing?” If you’re breathing, then simply start with being grateful to be alive.

The next way we can practice gratitude is with our speech. Take that same concept for grateful thinking and apply it to what you say. Instead of complaining that your husband put something back in the wrong cabinet or drawer, thank him for putting the item away. Instead of complaining to the kids about making a mess with the dog food, thank them for trying to feed the dog themselves.

While we’re on the topic of grateful speaking, let’s also address the “but.” Saying, “Thank you, but…” isn’t fully grateful. I’ve been guilty of this far too many times. “Thanks for doing the dishes honey, but you got water all over the place.” It doesn’t sound all that grateful followed by a “but,” does it? That’s because the “but” negates what comes before it. So, you’re basically undoing the “thank you” when you follow it with “but.” So, let’s be mindful of this as well and simply speak gratitude.

Another way we can practice gratitude is to act grateful. Grateful people don’t huff and puff while standing in line or glare at the cashier for not being quick enough. Acting grateful is not storming away or slamming doors. Acting grateful is being patient and kind. It’s smiling at the struggling cashier. It’s taking a deep breath and helping your child clean up the mess. It’s biting your tongue when your husband tracks mud across the floor with his work boots and being grateful for the work that’s done in them instead.

There are many little ways to practice gratitude daily. This year I’m going to focus on actually practicing gratitude to change my attitude, and I encourage you to try it as well.

Change those thoughts. Mind your words. Show gratitude.

Be grateful!

Be brave!

Be blessed!

xoxo

Ash

Taken for Granted: Long-term Friendships

Taken for Granted: Long-term Friendships

Friendships have been on my mind a lot lately. Since I’ve been learning more languages, I’ve been striving to learn more about the cultures that go with them. The topic of friendships in other cultures has come up in the language, travel, and lifestyle vlogs I watch.

The German culture has been my main focus lately. German vloggers and expats have brought up the friendship topic several times, and the ones I’ve watched have said that it can be difficult at first to make German friends. This is because Germans are typically more private and keep out of others’ business in general. They are not big on small talk. However, they say that once you become friends with a German you have a friend for life. I’ve even heard a German vlogger say that it’s more difficult to have long-term friendships here (in the USA), and that once you are close friends in Germany, there’s not much you can do wrong to ruin that friendship.

The American culture can be quite different when it comes to making and keeping friends. We are not as private. Small talk is our jam. We strike up conversations with strangers, become social media “friends” with mere acquaintances, and share quite a bit of personal information with others. It’s been said things here are a bit more fast-paced and also temporary.

So, although it may be easy to make friends here, those friendships may be more difficult to keep long-term. I have to say that I have noticed this about our culture even more as social media platforms have grown. We’re quick to become #besties with new friends. All the while, we kick an old friend to the curb because they offended us, hurt our feelings, didn’t do what we wanted, or just don’t fit anymore. We are becoming too vain, and our friendships are becoming too shallow. Roll your eyes if you must, but all too often what I just said is true.

Another cultural difference between us and Europeans is how bluntly they speak. They’re not trying to be mean. They just speak honestly. Ask a European if they like your new haircut, and they’ll say “no” if they don’t. Ask most Americans, and you’re more likely to get a “yeah,” “it’s cute,” or maybe even “it’s different.” We won’t generally say “no” in that type of situation. We live in the land of sugar-coating. Speaking honestly when someone asks for your opinion or advice doesn’t tend to work well here. Trust me; I’ve tried.

We get so easily offended. How dare a friend tell us what we need to hear? How dare a friend disagree with us? How dare they say or do one wrong thing?

Then we go ahead and do some more damage on social media. Seriously, y’all. Social media is damaging long-term quality friendships. Comparing and jealousy are running rampant these days thanks to social media. Before the days of FB and IG you didn’t know that Sarah hung out with Katie on Tuesday nights unless one of them told you directly. You didn’t know that three of your friends went to a concert together unless it was talked about in front of you. You could hang out with one friend without another friend getting upset because they didn’t get invited.

There was a lot let jealousy before we started tagging where we were and who we were with so frequently. I’m not saying jealousy didn’t exist in friendships before. It did. We just didn’t have so much of it in our face like we do now since we’re tethered to a device with multiple social media feeds at our fingertips.

We have got to do something about the decline of long-lasting friendships in our culture. Stop comparing your friendships to picture-perfect ones on social media. Let go of the jealousy that arises when you see a post of your friend with someone else. We’re allowed to hang out with others separately. Stop being so easily offended when a friend speaks honestly. Don’t ask a question, if you only want a sugar-coated answer. And quit being so quick to drop friends you’ve had for years because they made a mistake.

There is not a perfect friend out there. We all mess up. The beauty of friendship isn’t just about who’s there for you when you need them but also being able to extend grace when they need it from you. I trust a friend who’s willing to be honest, disagree, get upset, and still talk to me tomorrow over one that glosses over things and says what they think I want to hear.

You want life-long friends? Have more meaningful conversations, be less judgmental, and be more forgiving.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Prov. 27:6

Be brave!

Be blessed!

Be a life-long friend!

xoxo

Ash

Bad Choices and Consequences

Bad Choices and Consequences

I’ve written about forgiveness, not punishing others for hurting you, and letting go of the past, but today is about the honest reality of the consequences we face for the bad choices we make.

I’ve been thinking lately about some ways I still feel punished by bad decisions in my past, and I’ve realized something I have let myself forget as a Christian. Just because God forgives us, doesn’t mean man will forgive us. We can repent and be forgiven by God, but that doesn’t mean we won’t still face earthly consequences.

You don’t get to choose what happens to you or if someone forgives you. You can ask forgiveness. You can apologize. You can change your ways. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still face punishment from the person you hurt. You may repent and still lose that friend, your spouse, or your job.

I can repeat Christian comfort phrases over and over: I’m forgiven. I’m redeemed. I am loved.

Those phrases may be true when it comes to me and God, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone I’ve hurt. Repeating those phrases doesn’t take their pain away. It doesn’t change their thoughts. It doesn’t erase their memories. It doesn’t undo what has been done.

Yes. God forgives. Yes. God can change hearts. Yes. God can bring good from any situation.

I will never stop believing in forgiveness, grace, and redemption. We can hold on to these truths. We can forgive ourselves. We can choose to make peace with our past.

But, let’s not become cavalier with knowing that no matter what we do, God still loves us. God’s grace isn’t a free pass for bad choices. Nor does it entitle us to forgiveness from anyone else. We are not entitled to forgiveness from others, and that’s a hard truth to swallow.

Some people may choose to never forgive you because they’re holding on to their anger or their pain is still too much to let go. That’s their choice to make, not yours.

I’ve come to realize that I may face some earthly consequences for the rest of my life, and that sounds awful. The pain and suffering we face here will all be gone when we get to Heaven though. If that’s the only hope I have right now, may it be enough.

Be brave!

Be blessed!

Be mindful of your choices!

xoxo

Ash

Known by How We Love?

Known by How We Love?

They will know we are His by how we love. Really?

There are Christians today that would rather tell people that they love Jesus than tell people they are a Christian. We put “Jesus Lover” on our profiles in place of the “Christian” label. Why? Because today Christians are not known by how they love. Media shows certain Christian groups protesting various causes in anger. It shows Christians being judgmental, rude, and exclusive. They show the worst of us acting the opposite of Christian.

So much damage has been done that to many people the word Christian is becoming synonymous with intolerance, hatefulness, and self-righteousness. Instead of being known by how we love, we are known by how we hate.

How’s that for a slap in the face?

“But,” you say, “we’re not all like this.”

You’re right. We’re not. However, society today loves to slap that label on the whole lot when somebody causes a stir, especially when it comes to the media. The gun owners get accused of being crazy rednecks. The Democrats get accused of being socialists. The Republicans get accused of being hate-mongers. Unfortunately, those who have control are going to portray certain groups however they want the public to view them.

We may not be able to change how the media portrays us as long as there are some out there acting like fools in the name of Christanity, but we can still have an impact on a local level and an individual level.

First of all, let’s remember we need to love each other. If we can’t love our fellow Christians, then how can we love those who don’t know Jesus? How we treat each other is important. If we’re fighting within the church, we can’t expect others to want to be a part of that.

We need to love on social media. You can state an opinion or disagree with someone without being hateful. I’ve seen fellow Christians, who I know personally, attack others in comments while trying to teach someone something from the Bible. I really want to ask: What in the world do you think you are doing? Do you actually think that you can bring someone closer to Jesus by attacking them publicly, telling them they are wrong or ignorant? All you showed them was a hateful Christian. Congratulations.

Sometimes we don’t realize how unloving we are being until someone tells us or shows us. I was so snappy in my office job that a sales rep for the company once told me that some co-workers from another department were afraid to transfer his calls and customers to me because I usually had something to snap about. I treated them like I didn’t have time or didn’t want to help. I called myself a Christian and couldn’t even be loving towards my co-workers. It hit me being told that I treated them like that. I didn’t realize I was coming across that way. I just wanted to get my work done.

Pay attention to how you treat others in general.

According to 1 Corinthians 13, love is being patient and kind. Love is not proud or boastful. It is not rude or easily angered. Calling people names is not love. Shouting at people is not love. Attacking people on social media is not love. Condemning someone for how they choose to live is not showing love.

Our job is not to judge how someone else will spend eternity. We have the Bible for instructions on how to live. Some choose to interpret it differently than others. We have the free will to make our own choices, and how we are ultimately judged for those choices is between us and God, not us and others. My job is to love. Your job is to love. As Christians, our job is to show we belong to Jesus by how we love.

Love is a fruit of the Spirit. If you are struggling with this, then you need to get in tune with the Spirit. Read your Bible. Spend time in prayer and in worship. If you aren’t staying close with God, the fruits of the Spirit can begin to spoil within you. Don’t let love become a rotten fruit.

Be brave!

Be blessed!

Be known for how you love!

xoxo

Ash