WONDER

In your name everything makes sense. That is an awesome wonder. You created a way for life to work like a well-oiled machine. You intricately designed all the detailed parts to work predictably when operated with the proper fuel. For every misplaced thought, there is a reason. For every curious instance, there is an explanation. I could never understand your mastery, but when I think I’ve grasped a glimpse, my logical brain goes crazy for you.

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Self Love: A New Gospel

It has occurred to me that in a lost culture that largely doesn’t know where else to place its faith, self-love campaigns, inspirational memes, and the self-empowerment movements have become our new gospel.

I wake up in the morning and scroll through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, which are littered with political commentary and hatefulness in a culture that claims to love. I suppose to reverse the effects of all this negativity, inspirational memes like these are created to spread positive vibes and cozy thoughts. I understand where these inspirational thoughts are coming from. And I would much prefer to see this positivity on my news feed than all the hateful and destructive things going on in the world. Understanding who you are and how to interact with life is important. But from a spiritual standpoint, in these inspirational memes, sneaks an underlying falsehood that is oh-so-well disguised. These inspirational ideas that our culture is coming up with are being cultivated from a ground that is human powered and self-focused. A ground that does not recognize the joy of God as a savior or a place to find solutions.

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Finding Wonder Every Day

As I was going through a sort of hard time in my life a little while back, I looked at the world around me, and wondered how people could be smiling and laughing and enjoying life, when my future looked so bleak. I had worked so hard to get to my job and the place where I was. But it turned out I didn’t like that place I was in, and the only way I saw to deal with it was to do just that: deal with it. Get through the days, feeling as little as possible, and trying not to think about my disappointment in the life I was living.

Working in such a secular environment, it puzzled me even further that if I was the one who was a Christian and had the light of Christ inside me, why was it that these people who didn’t know Christ had this ability to enjoy their lives so much more than I felt I was capable of? Well maybe they liked where they were. Or maybe they didn’t. But it is more probable that I was ignoring everything the Bible has ever told me about embracing life for the short time I am in this world.

You see, the Bible calls us to so much more than just getting through every day, like I was doing. We are called by the spirit to live in the moment and participate in life, because we never know what will be coming next, and we have no hope to truly control what does.

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Melding the Artistic and Christian Lifestyles

Dance Project 2011 at Western Kentucky University. Photo by Andrew Duff

In the past few months, I have been feeling convicted about the difficulty of melding a Godly mindset with the highly emotionally driven reactions that seem to be required in the arts. I know there are a good amount of books and lectures about being a light in the world of performing arts, and maintaining a pure heart and mind. But I wan’t to talk about the paradox of maintaining a Godly mindset, contrasted with the actual mental technique of the performer.

I was a musical theatre major and dance minor in college. My acting teachers would consistently drill into me that I had to be emotionally transparent, let things effect me, and react very realistically. This naturalistic way of entertaining my thoughts ultimately led to me reacting in a very worldly way… to everything. I became obsessed with how high I could rev my emotions. Every thought I had quickly turned cinematic, and my emotions just outrageously flirted with the world. I experienced this worldly change creeping into my real life in the name of “transparency.” I even considered this change a success because I thought it was making me a smarter actress. But at the same time it was making me a weaker Christian due to my sinful nature. Let me explain why it is so difficult to have genuine emotional reactions and a make Godly choices at the same time.

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