Christmas · Sunday Wisdom

Sunday Wisdom: Givin’ and Gettin’

Hi, y’all! Happy Friday! Hope it’s going alright for you, and that you’ve had at least one delicious cup of coffee today. I, as usual, have had a couple.

Sunday’s sermon at church was wonderful, especially for the holiday season. We talked about giving and receiving. The basis for the sermon was the story of the old widow who donated all the money she could, versus the wealthy individuals who donated money without a thought. Which isn’t to say that their contribution was meaningless, but the widow’s donation surely was more meaningful. It cost her much more than it cost them, which is of the utmost importance when donating. It’s not about how much you give, it’s about the nature of your giving. Nor does giving even need to mean giving in a monetary sense. Our time is equally important, if not even more important.

Which made me think. I go to church almost every weekend, and seldom do I donate any money. I readily will say “I’m a broke college student!”, which is true, but I do have some money to spare. Do I really need to spend $5 to buy a coffee when I can just as easily make it at home? Would that $5 be put to better use if I use it during offertory? Absolutely.

We also talked about giving and receiving. I definitely thought about this in regards to the holiday season.

Giving: I know that giving and receiving presents is not what Christmas is about. I know that, you know that, I think we all know that. But gosh, as I get older, I love giving people presents. We talked in church about how it’s not the price tag on a gift that matters, but the thought behind it. We all have our love languages, mine is definitely words of affirmation, but giving gifts is another way that I like to express my love.

Receiving: Now this one was really interesting to talk about. We talked about how sometimes, we need to allow others to give to us. Which, I had never thought about it. We try so hard to be independent and do everything ourselves, but sometimes we don’t need to do that. Allowing others to give to us is sometimes the most important gift that we could give them, as confusing as that may sound.

Hope you guys are having a great weekend, and I’m so sorry that this took so long to upload!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

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Sunday Wisdom

Sunday Wisdom: Love Thy Neighbor (Yes, Even the Loud Ones)

Hi, ya’ll! This post is quite a bit late, so I do apologize for that! Hope that your week has been treating you well, and this week only gets better. Sunday’s theme at church was, the classic, “Love thy neighbor.” A classic one, but one that we certainly can still learn from.

Over the summer, my boyfriend, Bobby, and I went on a camping trip. The day that we were packing up to leave, he got his keys stuck in the car and we couldn’t get them out. We had parked in the alley near the apartment so that we could bring things down from my apartment easier. Usually, there was a van parked there, but it wasn’t parked there today, which we were really excited about.

Then, we lost the keys. Initially, we had no idea that they were locked in the car, so we were looking everywhere. We looked through the alley, the stairs, my apartment, anywhere we could think of. Still, no keys. Eventually, Bobby came upon the realization that they must be inside the car. Which was locked. And we had no spare key. And the car windows were up. And we were supposed to have left half an hour ago. To say we were disheartened was an understatement. 

Bobby said that we needed a wire hanger to try to break into the car and unlock it from the inside. I, being a practical girl, only had felt hangers, you know, so things don’t slip off, and also because they save space. A great investment, by the way. Unless, of course, you’re trying to break into your car. Which, unfortunately, we were trying to do.

My advice, when all else fails: call your dad. That’s what I did, anyhow. 

“Dad? Hi. Bobby and I are locked out of his car, and we need a wire hanger to break into it, and we’re supposed to go camping, but we’re late and the keys are in the car…”

(When I’m nervous, I have a habit of over-explaining, if you couldn’t tell.)

He, being the great dad he is, said he’d be over shortly, and he’d find a wire hanger, too.

During this time, I went back to the apartment to double-check and see if the keys were magically there. In my hurry, I left the door to my apartment open.

I had lived there for a month or so, but hadn’t really talked to any of my neighbors. I think at that point, there was only one apartment filled. There was an older man and woman there. For whatever reason, I had been kind of scared of them. Well, I had never seen the man, so I suppose I was scared of the woman. She then passed by my open door, and I said hello.

She said hi back, and then paused.

“Is that your car there?”

“Well, it’s my boyfriend’s. We locked the keys in there, and we’re trying to go camping, so my dad is coming to try to help us break into it.”

She goes on to explain to me that it’s her van that’s usually parked there, and that she parks there because she has trouble walking, and parking there minimizes the amount of steps she has to take. She tells me that she knows they need to move to an apartment that’s easier for them to access (We have quite a few stairs going into our building) but they’ve lived there so long and it would be just too hard for them to move.

And I’ll tell you what. I felt BAD. Bad for every mean thought I had had about that van. For when I cursed that van when I was moving in because I had to walk a little farther to get into my apartment, bad for it all. I felt like the worst person in the world. I apologized profusely. I apologized that his car was stuck there, because she said that she was scared she would get a parking ticket, because she had to park on the street. But, unknown to her, I was also apologizing for the unkind thoughts I had had toward the van, and by association, her. 

I wish I could say that this interaction caused us to become best friends, but it didn’t. However, I am able to feel compassion towards her, and whenever I see her, I always make sure to say hi, and to make whatever conversation I can. It’s so easier to be sympathetic towards someone once you know their story, but shouldn’t we be that sympathetic always? We can’t only be kind to people whose story we know, because that is too easy. It’s much harder to be kind to people who are being difficult for seemingly no reason. And still being kind to them, despite what their disposition may be, is what loving your neighbor is all about. 

It’s so easy to get annoyed, and I, unfortunately, get annoyed quite easily. It’s one of the many things that I’m working on. Loving your neighbor is not always easy, and loving your neighbor(s) when living in an apartment is even harder. You’re living in a very small space where you can hear every move that they make through the shared walls. Which, isn’t always a comfortable thing. But then I think that they have to listen to me singing along to music in the morning. Very off-key, might I add. I’ve never had someone complain to me about it. And so, in turn, when my new neighbors are causing a ruckus before they go out to the bars, I just let them have fun. I don’t make a fuss, even when I’m trying to go to sleep.

Being a good neighbor isn’t just about keeping quiet, so as not to keep your neighbors up. It’s also about being friendly, even being friends with your neighbors. Which is something that I feel like people do anymore. When I was little I remember being so excited every time a family would move into the neighborhood, because it meant that there were potential friends moving in. I need to get back that way of thinking, of thinking that every new person is a friend, and to not only exist with my neighbors, but to love them as well.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

-Mattie Mae

Sunday Wisdom

Sunday Wisdom: Jesus is Calling you.

Hi, friends. I hope that you’re having a good Sunday! I just wanted to write another post about what I learned in church. Hope y’all enjoy!

Today’s sermon’s theme was “Jesus is Calling you”. We talked about some of the awful things that can happen to others, how people that we label as drama kings and queens could very well have reasons behind acting the way that they do. This is something that I have to constantly remind myself. I’m not the only person in the world who has problems, others do as well. It’s hard to be patient with people who are behaving in such a grumpy way, but we have to be conscious that they may be going through something quite terrible. I’m certainly not saying that it’s okay for people to be unkind to one another, or that you should let people walk all over you. It’s a very delicate balance, one that I still struggle with.

We also talked in the sermon about finding  what God is calling us to do. I’ve been pondering this since eleven this morning, or more accurately, my whole life. I don’t think that I necessarily do things that harm people, but what am I doing that helps others? I honestly couldn’t (and can’t) think of an answer. I suppose that the age I’m at is a very self-centered one, have a job, graduate college, then find another job, etc. As I say in the beginning of most of my blog posts, I am so busy. But I don’t know if I can keep using that as an excuse. We can’t wait until our lives are “perfect” before we begin serving the Lord and helping those around us, because that day will never come. Our lives will never be as perfect as we may want them to be, and that’s something that we need to accept.

I think that we all have been given gifts that will help us find a sense of purpose in life. With the gifts that we’re given, we have to remember to be kind. It’s sometimes hard to do, I know. We live such hectic lives and feel so constantly overwhelmed, but we really need to put time in our day-to-day schedule to show kindness to others, even (and especially) if they’re being difficult. These are the people that need that love the most. We may not know what our gifts are yet, but we can still be kind to one another.

Have a great week!

Sunday Wisdom

Sunday Wisdom: Viewing our Accomplishments through God’s Eyes.

Okay, it’s Monday, not Sunday. But we can all look past that, can’t we? I desperately hope that one day I won’t start off all my blog posts talking about being busy, but today is not that day. I meant to write this post yesterday, but I just didn’t have the time. Sundays are a busy day for me, which actually brings me to the whole point of this post…

Sunday mornings are generally the only day of the week where I can sleep in. Between work and school, I wake up generally quite early and in addition to that, I don’t get home until later in the evening. Which, admittedly, sometimes makes it hard to want to get out of bed to go to church. I usually groan to myself about having to put, “real people clothes” on. But I’ll tell you something else, I have never, EVER, regretted going to church once I got there.

This Sunday’s sermon we had a guest speaker, which is always exciting. The major theme of the sermon was the importance of not letting our search for approval from others dictate our life. If we constantly are seeking approval from others, we never will be truly happy.  Some people, no matter how hard we try, will never be proud of us. This is through no fault of our own,  so we need to stop using it as a way to judge ourselves. Instead, we need to focus on ways to make ourselves feel successful and with that, to focus on what we think would make God happy. In the grand scheme of things, what others think is truly not important at all.

This really hit home with me because WOW do I have a hard time not seeking other people’s approval. I’m currently pursuing a major in creative writing, so I write, A LOT. Which means that my writing is critiqued, A LOT. I have the hardest time not basing my opinion of my own work based on what other people think. There could be a line that I wrote that I absolutely love, but then one person will say they dislike it and I immediately am ready to scrap it. Why is that? I, like many other people, want the approval of others. As I get older I get less concerned what people think of me, but it’s definitely still have my moments.

This sermon, however, really put things into perspective for me. I want to try and change my way of viewing life after hearing this sermon. I’m going to make a conscious effort to view my accomplishments through God’s eyes — would he be proud of what I’m doing? Am I being kind to others? Myself? Doing my best? These are the important things to me and I think they are things that I can do that will make me feel like I’m making God proud.

Hope this Sunday wisdom inspires y’all, even if it is a Monday. Ha!