Monday, June 23, 2014

Be Still

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10.

I awoke this morning with this verse in my heart.

Summer for me is a time of a certain restlessness. I think that other college students on break can certainly relate. After going away to school, being on your own, meeting different people, growing, challenging yourself, and experiencing life away from home, to return to your hometown can be tough.

The initial enjoyment of the company of your family and the comfort of your own bed and your own room can fade quickly. After all, you spent the year in practically a state of chaos. You adapted to a new environment and conquered countless challenges like overcoming homesickness, maintaining a high GPA, building new relationships and figuring out just who it is that you are. Now you are home. Probably at your old minimum wage job, far away from the friends that you made at school and somewhat at a standstill in terms of achieving career goals. School is no longer in session and a certain dullness may settle in to your lifestyle.

You may feel discontent with where you are. You may feel like you are trapped. Spinning your wheels. Going no where. And it doesn't help that photos of friends appearing to have the time of their lives, doing exciting things and going exotic places are all over social media. It can inspire envy and an even greater feeling of discontent.

It is hard to go from a speed of 100 miles per hour down to ten. If you do not understand my analogy, please let me explain. College is busy. At school, homework is ever present in our lives. You literally live with thousands of peers on campus, so you are forever surrounded by people, like it or not. You have so many responsibilities, a lot of which are totally new to you, like laundry and actually following and adhering to a syllabus. Things can get a bit insane. And then you come home. There is no homework to do. There is no more roommates. And your mom is back to tend to those needs that you had to fill yourself at school, like making dinner or doing laundry. At first it is glorious. But then that anxiousness stirs within.

At least that is how I feel at times. However, this morning God put a message in my heart. "Be still and know that I am God," He whispered as I woke up. Sure my summer has not been glamorous. I don't have an exciting and prestigious internship, I'm not studying abroad or traveling to an exotic place. But I am where God wants me to be. He is telling me to be still. He is telling me to hang in there. He is telling me to trust Him. Sure my job at the Dairy Queen isn't a real resume builder. And yes it does really stink that my boyfriend and I are over a thousand miles apart. But God is telling me that there are better days to come. He is reminding me that He is in control. That my life will be pieced together in His perfect timing.

If you also find your summer to be somewhat disheartening, be still. Know that God is in control of your life. He hasn't abandoned you. Trust in Him.  And try to make the most of the situation that you are in.

I find that many of us are unhappy with where we are. We think when things aren't working out, we need something new. In our youth we tend to be restless. We think we have to be going to exotic places and doing fun things at all times. We think that there no opportunities where we are currently. As a result, we close our eyes to what is right before us. God has led me to exciting opportunities this summer in the small town I grew up in in Western Pennsylvania. He's provided me with a good summer job in which I can make much needed money for books and gas and future endeavors. He's given me the opportunity to lead my church in contemporary worship, something new to our congregation. He's given me time to rest and relax and spend time with my family. I've made a true attempt to trust in Him this summer, and He has provided. As a result, my restlessness has turned to gratitude.

So I encourage you to not waste your summer day dreaming. Instead, I encourage you to open your eyes to the opportunities that God has placed before you. When you turn the wheel over to God, He guides your path to fulfillment. He will be with you guiding you and providing for you this summer and all the days of your life. So be still, my friends, and know that He is God.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Seeking Fearless Leaders

The death of Dr. Maya Angelou stirs inspiration in my heart. Such a statement probably hardly seems appropriate as her death is not celebratory. Rather, I mean that her life was. Her website describes her as a "warrior for equality, tolerance and peace." She will most likely be welcomed into heaven by greats and former activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Nelson Mandela.

As a child, I was fascinated by civil rights activists like MLK. I loved learning of his peaceful protests and his persistence for the rights of African Americans. In the second grade I read an autobiography of Harriet Tubman and could recite facts to you about the amount of slaves that she freed via the Underground Railroad (over 200) and how old she was when she so bravely lead fellow slaves to freedom (19). Maybe this seems like an odd reading choice for a second grader or a strange fascination for someone so young. Or perhaps you also drew inspiration from learning about such fearless leaders and continue to be inspired by such legends today.

Though I admit that I was not very familiar with the works of Maya Angelou prior to her passing, as I learn more of her triumphant life, I see the bravery and courage within her that persons like MLK also had within them.

I used the word fearless leaders to describe activists like MLK earlier in this post. I would like to elaborate more upon the adjective 'fearless'. I do not believe that they were fiercely brave because they were superhuman. I do not believe that they were without fear because of their own strength and courage. I believe they were fearless because they trusted fully in God. Like Daniel in the lion's den, when put into a frightening situation, they did not fret. Sure Daniel was brave, but he had a characteristic greater than bravery, he had great faith. He was not unafraid because of his own greatness, he was without fear because of the greatness of his God.

I believe MLK, Harriet Tubman and Maya Angelou also relied heavily upon the greatness of God. They trusted in Him to protect them from the lions of the civil rights movement.  They rested in Him and found strength and courage because of their great faith.

Again, the death of the beautiful, strong and faithful Maya Angelou inspires me. Because it leads me to the question, "who will be our next 'fearless' leader?" Who will find courage from the strength of our Lord? Who will stand up to the lions of modern day? Who will be the next voice of the oppressed?

It is time for our generation to step into the roles of our ancestors, so I hope that you also draw inspiration from the passing of Maya Angelou and her shining example of 'fearlessness.'

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Simplifying Marriage

I am growing a bit weary of those who create a future wedding board on Pinterest. For those who are not avid pinners like myself, please let me explain. Girls (and perhaps a few guys) of all ages are creating collections of ideas and items they wish to include in their future weddings and saving them online for future references. There is just one thing missing from their collections: a significant other. Is anyone else seeing a major red flag? I understand that most girls spend a lot of time dreaming of their ideal ceremony from the moment they are very small until their actual wedding day. However, in my opinion, an elaborate wedding ceremony is entirely insignificant and quite frankly a total waste of money if the relationship between the two individuals eloping is not solid and loving. It will not matter if your bridesmaids wore Prada gowns or that your caterer served Baked Alaska if your relationship is not founded on love and is not long lasting.

Perhaps our divorce rates are so high because the emphasis of eloping is no longer on the individuals that are becoming one, but on the extravagance of the event. In addition, I believe that society's perception of marriage has become far too lax over the years. For example, if I find something while shopping that I am not sure that I will want to keep forever, I tend to buy it anyway, because I know that I am always able to return it if I decide that the item is not for me. However, I do not feel that this same concept should apply to an institution as special as marriage. Yet this has become the generally accepted principle for marriage, "We'll get married, and if it doesn't work out, we can always get a divorce." Marriage is intended to be a permanent promise, a vow that will exist for eternity, not a "we'll see" or a "maybe."

I know what you may be thinking, and yes, it may be extreme to imply that future marriage boards on Pinterest are contributing to high divorce rates. However, I do not think it is unwise to suggest that we spend our time perfecting the details of our relationships as opposed to perfecting the details of our wedding ceremonies. Because again, a fantastic wedding ceremony means nothing if it the two persons getting married are not committed until death do them part.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Wonderful World of Walmart

Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears :) I, Samantha Peer, have joined the blogging world. Though I am only nineteen years young, I never thought I would live to see the day. Those that know me are well aware that I am not exactly what one would call "tech- savvy." I am centuries behind my peers in terms of technology. However, it is a new year and the possibilities are endless!

So, shall I begin my brand new, big girl blog with a word of advice? Or perhaps a refreshing outlook on a controversial topic? Or potentially an introduction to my love/hate relationship with Walmart? Yeah, lets go with that.

This may seem like a random topic, but after my extremely humbling shopping experience at the one and only Wally World today, I felt it necessary to expel upon the pros and cons of being a Walmart shopper.

On the one hand, I truly am amazed by the way Walmart operates. I have literally spent hours pondering how Walmart is able to keep their prices so extremely low in comparison to competitors. I am sure there is some corruption behind their production process, but I will get to the trash talking of Walmart later. For now, lets focus on the positive.Not only are their prices low, but they will price match anything! How can you even compete with that? I honestly cannot comprehend how any other store exists. I mean it's not like they are lacking variety; their shelves are full of options! In most instances, one trip to Walmart supplies all my needs. (Please excuse me if I sounded like the PR girl. What can I say? I am a Public Relations major.)

However, I really do not know how Walmart employees maintain their sanity. I mean does anyone else experience great hostility from their fellow Walmart shoppers? Today, as I was walking into Walmart, I noticed that I was surrounded by stressed shoppers. You know how Disney World is referred to as the happiest place on earth? I think Walmart should be labeled as the most stressful place on earth.. Apart from the dentist. I mean it. The whole shopping experience can really take a toll on a person. From dodging pedestrians and fighting motorists in order to get a decent parking space to trying to fit a shopping cart into a packed isle only to wait fifteen minutes when you are finished to check out so you can attempt to safely leave the parking lot without getting into an altercation or accident, a Walmart trip can truly be brutal. Like I said, it really is a humbling experience.

I know what you may suggest.. Simply going at another time, right?  Wrong. I have found that the only time Walmart is not crowded is between the hours of 10 p.m. to 9 a.m., and I would not suggest going at these hours, especially not alone! Not to pass judgment, but the Walmart patrons during these hours are not the kind of individuals you would feel comfortable bumping into in a dark alley.

I suppose I can really offer no remedy. It is more of a suggestion to simply pick your poison. Either go elsewhere and pay more or stay and increase your inclination towards heart disease. As for me, I'll take my chances. After all, you really can't beat Walmart's low prices. However, I have a dream that one day that we will not have to sacrifice low prices for a calm shopping experience!