Two Minute Tuesday: Find Your Treasure

As a bunch of twenty-somethings one of our most prevalent tendencies is to search until we feel as if we have found what we are looking for. We shuffle through social circles and work environments in search of the vibes and rhythms that most align with who we believe ourselves to be. We journey through experiences throughout high school and college in order to validate, or invalidate, our hunches and unsubstantiated beliefs. We search because we want to feel comfortable in our own skin, confident enough to attack the day, and, ultimately, gain the means to develop as human beings. Here are a few ways we can search and successfully find what that one thing is, whatever it may be:

 

  1. Seek Experiences: It is often said we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. On a larger scale we may be able to take the same idea of sums and averages and apply it to our individual experiences. Perhaps we become the sum of our most significant moments, interactions, and encounters.
  2. Find Your Life Treasure: Life treasure is the sought after core values that motivate us out bed and into the day; it is the confidence that grants us serenity to push through the obstacles of the day and achieve victory.
  3. Find Ultimate Value in that Treasure: For some, life treasure is religion, idealism, or something as tangible as a group of friends. Whatever it is for you, make it your everything.
  4. Nothing Else Matters: We live in a society of loud opinions, ambiguous norms, and, unfortunately, status quo. Retirement home folk are frequently on record as listing “caring too much about what others thought/not being themselves” as mistakes in their youth. Find your treasure, do not look to the right or left, and let the rest of life take care of itself.

 

Truthfully, we spend a lifetime seeking treasure. Right when we think we’ve found “it” we ultimately find that we still lack. I have seen some peers utterly fail in finding their “treasure”; their demise is found in their cynicism, fear of risk, and repeated patterns of self-destruction. So don’t be like my peers; be yourselves and fight for that treasure until it is the only thing you have.

 

Personal note: I’ll never forget the two quotes I left on the several hundred yearbooks of my high school. The first was “The Lion and the Tuna Story From the Other Guys” (super epic) and the second was this: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” It took up until just a few years ago to realize this, but the whole “Jesus as my treasure” thing hasn’t failed me yet; I hope it doesn’t. Just wanted to put it out there in case you may want a head start and find your treasure earlier than I did.

Advertisements

Microread of the Day: My Greatest Fear is ________

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda

You and I give fear a strange connotation. As millenials I think we’ve come to the place where we now avoid fear altogether. We don’t want to acknowledge it and we especially don’t want to give in to it. Whether it’s a phobia, social anxiety, or uncertainty we tend to avoid talking about our fears much less dealing with them. I think it’s time we change the narrative.

Big Idea of the Day: Fear itself may be a mental rewarding mechanism that tells us where we ought not to go. I’m by no means a psychologist; however, I think the tightening of the stomach we all experience across the board may point to an eager anticipation of what we are about to encounter.

Allegorical Example: Let’s imagine a girl named Michelle. Michelle might “fear” being in social situations; perhaps the case could be made that the “fear” she is experiencing simply points to her authentic value for people, what they think, and how she might fit in with her peers. This same fear could possibly indicate to us that Michelle is excited to engage in social interaction, but simply may not have the means to do so- and that is ok.

Question of the Day: Fear is a feeling, premonition, or mental inkling. We naturally assign negative feelings with fear. The feeling, premonition, or mental inkling may not be such bad experiences after all; what if we could re channel our experience into one that moves us in anticipation for what is front of us rather than cause us to flee in utter avoidance?  

Narrative Awareness

It is often said there are two sides to every story. You and I can be enormous narcissists and, as a result, often ignore the slightest possibility there could be more than just our side of the events we experience. This predisposition for our own narrative has created a lot of division, disunity, and disruptive disagreement. But what if you and I could wrap our heads around not only our own narrative or even the narrative of the person sitting across from us? What if we began to imagine a statement with several different perspectives, brilliant points of view, and diverse pieces of added value? Here are a few tips for how we can consider multiple narratives and not simply our own.

  1. Step back and ask yourself, “Is my perspective definitive?”. Most of the time the answer is no; most of the time there are remote possibilities we may be wrong and, perhaps to our dismay, someone else may be right.
  2. Consider another’s perspective with a desire to learn, regardless of validity. People can sometimes be crazy, evil, and wicked. However, there is always an opportunity to learn in a way that still gives us life. 
  3. Remind yourself the existence of another perspective does not have to inhibit your enjoyment of life. Food for thought: if you and I find ourselves getting constantly irked by another’s perspective and feel like it threatens our own we may want to consider how much we actually believe in our perspective regarding the issue at hand. Offense is not necessary.

It can often be crazy to be imagine there could possibly be more than just our perspective on the relevant issues of today. As we seek to navigate how to have proactive conversations that mend together cultural gaps as well as pursue the initiatives that bring us refreshment we can also be encouraged to engage perspectives that differ from our own. It is in this engagement of diverse narratives that allow us to accept, learn, and grow from one another.

Two Minute Tuesday: Privilege, What it Is, and Why it Matters

As it stands our world certainly is experiencing an appalling amount of hatred. The recent acts of bigotry in Charlottesville, VA have been horrid to watch as white nationalists protested for a “cleansed America”, free of minorities. There are many reasons why division rules in this nation: our nation’s history, misunderstanding, and pride, just to name a few.

As a minority and, more importantly, a human being I do not claim to know the answers, but certainly believe in the power of conversation. Can we have one right now? Can you and I begin to unpack our beliefs, little by little, in the hopes we would grow in empathy for one another’s background, culture, and lifestyle?

I want to share with you, from my eyes, what I consider to be a difficult topic, but crucial to our conversations of unity: the idea of privilege. Perhaps today you and I can speak truth in a way that leads us to greater peace and understanding. Here’s quick rundown of privilege, as illustrated in our society:

    1. What it is: consistently defined as a “right, benefit, or immunity that are predominantly unearned, but widely unaware of” by an individual. Many use the example of how a fish does not necessarily know it is swimming in water; it just does. Privilege can be our race, nationality, wealth, or a combination of all the above.
    2. So What: Privilege, whether intended or not, usually results in an inequality of some sort. What are the ways you and I can take a step back and reexamine our “privilege”? True equality can be achieved when the privileged make the uncomfortable move to reach out and equip the underprivileged.

 

 

Inequality is not an issue solved overnight, much less by an article touted to be read in two minutes. Conversations, however, help solve inequality and injustice; hopefully a conversation was had today and will continue to transpire between you and I.

Maranatha. 

5 Signs You’ve Found a Great Friend

Do you ever listen to a speaker, drift off, but hear one profound idea from their talk it makes you wish you had listened the whole time? I was listening to a sociologist speaking about the correlation between time and the amount of people we meet on average in a lifetime. I was dozing off until he mentioned a profound observation: in a case study of 25 young adults like you and I, every single person reported a consistent decreased interest or drive in meeting new people the older they grew.

This got me thinking.

For many reasons the observation made by the sociologist appears to be accurate. We get busy with work and tired from the long day. Some of us move to new cities; the idea of a creating a new network of friends feels exhausting. We then meet coworkers who introduce us to their friends or use app after app, even dating ones, to “meet people”, but in the end we usually end up even more exhausted from the entire process. We become exhausted because we end up comparing the close intimacy we’ve experienced with our friends from college or childhood with the people we just spent three hours chugging down drinks with, and being sorely disappointed after the first few meetups. In other cases certain values aren’t shared or assumed societal norms are not viewed in the same light and we feel a significant disconnect. As a result, we become massively disillusioned with our current circumstances and opt to simply stay in touch with the friends we already have made and carry on with our stage of life. We begin to lose the ability to discern what exactly excites us about being in relationship with people. At the end of the day you and I still desire to, in a sense, “do life with people” who understand us and where we come from, it’s only natural we would want such a reality for ourselves.

 

As we venture into the post college world here are five signs you’ve found a good friend and can hopefully make meeting new friends, identifying their immense value, and growing the relationship a bit easier:

  • There is a mutual feeling of brilliance: in any relationship people like to refer to this mutual brilliance as “chemistry”. The beauty of finding great friends is that this “chemistry”, spark, or whatever you want to call it inspires us to discover more about the person across from us and seek to develop the friendship
  • They possess a unique combination of the ability to support you, but call you out on your “B.S.”: acquaintances, and even “good” friends, will move to only offer words of support in our most vulnerable moments. Great friends worth keeping around not only hold us up when we’re down, but shoot us down when we are getting too high on our horse.
  • A seamless, yet constant exchange of leadership occurs frequently: in great friendships ego tends to dissipate. The friends we ought to pursue are comfortable enough to discern whether to take more initiative or default to you in certain situations; this can be seen when it comes to any issue whether it’s what restaurant to eat at or where to go on a Friday night.
  • They’re intentional; they ask great questions and move to encourage you: great friends simply know how to ask intentional questions that go beyond the superficial front you and I know so well. These questions inquire deep enough to the point of making us feel known, but not intimate enough to make us feel too vulnerable.
  • Openness exists between you two: Perhaps the final sign a friend might show to indicate their promising friendship is a transparent openness. When great friends get together transparency takes an underlying precedent, but doesn’t become the center of attention. In other words, you aren’t spending your time simply spilling your guts, but rather, moving towards resolution for whatever issue(s) you may be having.

The tendency in mundane or difficult situations is to resort to one stop shop methods and run short in patience; the latter becomes an even greater temptation in developing relationships. As we seek phenomenal, life giving relationships in a new stage of life we can choose to trust in the process and take time to see the community in front of us grow before our very eyes. The five signs listed are simply the top five ways in which I personally identify relationships, but there are different indicators for each of us. We all have unique tendencies and brilliant ways in which we see life, relationships, and everything in between. Perhaps this conversation can be a catalyst for your next season of life.

Two-Minute Tuesday: How to be Intentional With Our Friends [Today, Right Now]

As you and I seek to grow our relationships one of the ways we can do so is by being intentional with how we seek our friends out. At first glance the word “intentional” is rather intuitive, but something you and I very much lack in the foundation of our relationships; on a day to day basis it’s a behavior we forget because we assume to practice intentionality naturally. So for our two-minute read Tuesday here are perhaps a few points that might bring life to our relationships and help make us a bit more “intentional”:

  • Know the Five Love Languages (in no specific order): Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time. Cheesy, but nonetheless effective. There are other ways, but these are compiled into a simple, easy to understand list. (For more clarification on what the love languages are, check this link out.)
  • Find the love language you think the person most enjoys and then do it. Look for some sort of positive reaction: a smile, indicative body language, increased vulnerability in their sharing of conversation, and go from there.
  • Grab 30 minutes and ask open-ended questions using these opening words: Who, What, Why, Where, When, or How. (Ex: What do you feel excites you most in life? How do you enjoy your work and why?) Grab a quick coffee. It doesn’t need to be deep or gut-wrenching, but a simple time to be authentic and walk alongside one another.
  • Listen and Continue to Build Foundation: The Key Word is listen: remember what was said by the person across from you the best you can and reference back to what you heard next time you sit down together.

At the end of the day the above points are simply a few methods in which we can be intentional in developing our relationships; these are not the ways to necessarily grow with people, but certainly options in which we can choose from.

Introducing, Two-Minute Tuesdays + More

These days reading news, articles, or any other medium of information comes in all shapes and forms. You and I see it every day on our newsfeed via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…Some of us enjoy reading long research articles with a clean five point thesis plus supporting points and, for others, it just takes a simple tweet to satiate our curiosity bug for the day.

This dichotomy got me thinking and I started to ask the question, “how can I add value to my network without giving off the feeling of tackiness or unexplained opinion?”. So I started brainstorming with a few of my friends and we came up with this idea of a “two-minute read”. Perhaps it’s nothing new, but maybe it can be an improvement on the unsubstantiated, over opinionated tweet and a tasty summary of those long research articles.

Better yet, we wanted to add some wonderful consonance to your day and call it “Two-Minute Tuesdays”. Every Tuesday at 10:00AM, starting tomorrow, you can look forward to a two-minute read with a introduction explaining the given topic’s context, a meaty bullet point body of explanation, and a denouement of closing statement reiterating the entire read.

As a closing note/context: I’ve recently finished a summer business internship and will look forward to writing on a weekly basis; first a Two-Minute Tuesday blurb as well as a more extensive article later in the week. Topics will range from relationships, minority perspective, millenialism, young Christian living, and a few other topics. The nature of the articles, as always, is a posture to learn and gain deeper understanding from the world around you and I.

As I write, I acknowledge I am not a Bible scholar or expert voice in any one of the topics I engage in dialogue with; I am grateful for your engagement in my writing and hope to begin conversations towards further clarity, gratitude, and greater understanding between you, I, and the rest of the world. Maranatha, Kurios Iesous

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs: Final Part: The Pickup Where You Left Off Friend

As millenials the idea of change is nothing new. We blow through high school, discover ourselves throughout college, and swim through the deep waters of an entry level career. You and I have realized change is an inevitable reality waiting to happen. However, we still love to fight it. Why leave the safety of security in pursuit of the unknown? For others, it’s a thrill to venture into such depth.

Sooner or later you and I realize our illusion of control is only as surreal as the assurance we have regarding change, simply a delusion that we are not in the driver’s seat. Life goes forward whether we fancy its movements or not.

This is where the “pick up where you left off” friend enters.

Life has a funny way of wrecking most relationships with the bullet of distance, but the “pick up where you left off” friend becomes the exception. Years later life feels as if not a day has gone by and everything, the memories, proximity, and jokes, all seem to be in tact.

Here are three reasons why having a “pick up where you left off friend” is a gift and may be something we could learn from:

  1. They are a reminder of life’s simple joy: I know this sounds bad, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to put out the immense energy it takes to maintain your current long distance relationships? That’s what a relationship with the pickup where you left off friend feels like. Granted, fighting in sacrifice for relationships is an extremely necessary and beneficial endeavor; however, the security of knowing a friendship is safe no matter the distance regardless of your actions is evidently freeing. The pickup where you left off friend reminds us of the simple joy and privilege it is to live in security rather than trudging through the small talk and formalities life sometimes makes us carry out when reconnecting with old friends.
  2. They allow us to remain childlike: the pickup where you left off friend allows us to forget the routine of life for awhile and reminisce in a state of remembrance and camaraderie of the moments that first brought you together. For a moment we are released of life’s troubles and reminded how important it is to keep life simple and without worry, where applicable.
  3. They give us a picture of what it means to forgive and forget. As we engage with the pickup where you left off friend, we may be reminded of the brevity of time life offers between two people. We may be reminded life is too short to quarrel or spend missing people because there are far more beauties in life than to live in a state of bitterness or sorrow. The pickup where you left off friend becomes an encouragement to cherish the simple moments you currently have with the people in front of you and to always strive to love well, for we are not promised tomorrow.

Life goes on, friends, and it is such a privilege to be able to participate in this race. Everyday I’m reminded of the joy it is to live in beautiful relationship and to never stop fighting in love for the person in front of me.

This series is hopefully a reminder for you and I to love well and be intentional with the people God’s placed in our lives. It’s a call higher to walk in unconditional, responsive love for the people we naturally feel a propensity for and especially for the people we don’t necessarily vibe with.

From the man who does it the worst and in honor of a King who does it the best:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs: Part 5: The Older Friend

We’ve gone through quite a few types of friends leading up to this post. We’ve had the classic best friend who almost needs no distinction; we’ve also talked about the antithetical friend who, most of the time, is not an obvious nor convenient choice of relationship.

Now we find ourselves in front of a fifth crucial individual: the Older Friend.

Like it’s already been said, we naturally gravitate towards people who are most like us; this usually includes age, experience, and maturity. Most of us don’t seek to hang out with people younger than us much less people who have less experience in life-and rightfully so.

Unfortunately,  hanging out with people our own age simply sometimes gets mucky. Everyone is doing the same thing and coming up with noncreative solutions for everyday problems…it can feel like cabin fever.

 

But the older friend comes around and pretty much changes the game. He is usually a few years older and has gotten a head start on the significant stages of life such as college, a full time job, or even marriage. The pretentiousness that usually exists with people our own age seems to dissipate in conversation with the older friend; she knows where she stands and isn’t threatened by your existence like some of your peers would would perhaps feel. A clear distinction of experience is made and, as a result, sizing one another up becomes arbitrary; unadulterated transparency and friendship can take place.

So, in the spirit of diversity of friendship here are a few reasons why having an Older Friend makes sense:

  1. They Get “It”: In tough moments some of us go to older mentors. However, sometimes these mentors just don’t get it. We perceive them as judgmental and unable to understand our current context. Older friends have most likely been where you are within the last few years and can help bring helpful language towards a solution; this familiarity also breeds empathy which creates greater passage ways for further communication and understanding to take place.
  2. They Give You a Picture of Unthreatened Friendship: When dealing with peers it’s inconvenient and almost exhausting to deal with the insecurity and comparison that occurs between people of similar age. Some relationships would be wonderful if it wasn’t for ego, comparison, and an inability to see past certain qualities. The older friend usually is able to put all these things aside and see you for who you are and not what you are lacking. At the end of the day you guys can simply laugh and not worry about all the drama that comes along with friends similar in age.
  3. They are a Reflection of Unconditional Love: The love from an Older Friend is refreshing because they don’t simply see you as the younger, irrelevant human being like much of society might see you as. We, millenials, are often patronized and looked down upon for our arrogance and lack of experience. The older friend may even acknowledge our arrogance and lack of experience, but loves us through it anyway not because we deserve such treatment, but because they know it’s going to allow us to grow.

At the end of the day the older friend has very little selfish ambition when befriending younger folk; it doesn’t feel like they are loving you because they want to get a particular benefit out of the relationship. What a freeing thought, especially in the context of relationships, to know you aren’t being used and being loved for who you are! There it is folks, a few reasons why having an older friend is beneficial and wonderful!

 

The Friend Just Like You

Often times it’s the people who think, talk, and act like us who understand who we are and where we come from. As intuitive as this idea may appear many of us make the mistake of assuming the rest of society goes through our same thought process when making various decisions.

As a result we find ourselves in front of a bevy of issues: miscommunication, dissension, indifference, etc…the list goes on. In a world of so many different personalities and leanings it can become exhausting to engage in communication (granted I contend in the previous article this contrast is what makes us human; it actually becomes necessary to engage different backgrounds and cultures, but for this point we shall carry on).

In light of this disconnect, it can be safe to say sometimes we need a friend just like us. For mere moments we can consider and sift through our words and thoughts as the friend, who is just like us, conveys them. Are we making sense? Are the beliefs and values my like-minded friend and I share sensitive and life giving to the people around us? These buddies can be a mirror of reflection of consideration and awareness. It’s these same friends who allow us to have almost an out of body experience and ultimately become more self-aware of our good and bad qualities.

 

So in the spirit of self-awareness and avoiding destructive narcissism, here a few reasons why you might need a friend just like you:

1. They grant us validation: Normally validation isn’t so great, but for the few moments validation is necessary having a friend just like you is extremely helpful. It’s when we experience instances of faltering confidence that a friend just like us can come in and provide the needed reassurance to help allow us to move forward. Plus, they let us know we aren’t too crazy; it’s sometimes helpful to have a friend just like you who is older or more mature because they’ve been where you are and can give advice accordingly

2. They are a helpful aid for self-awareness: There have been times where I observe the friends just like myself and think, “wow, I was just thinking that”. Usually one of two things occur in that moment. I either think of how amazing and profound the same thought I processed was spoken by another human being so similarly or I think how I can make an improved adjustment for myself on what was just said. The goal for self-awareness is to pursue balance and beneficial action for the rest of society; the friend just like us gives us a mirror to grant us a reflection of how we may be and perhaps how we can make a beneficial adjustment towards greater development.

3. They’re fun: Let’s be honest, having a friend just like ourselves is thrilling and adventurous. It’s like the twin we never got to have. In the spirit of the ride or die friend we can experience the thrill of solidarity with buddies just like us and experience, if for a brief moment, beautiful harmony. The natural flow of relationship that comes with the friend just like us allows us to experience a light and easy exchange of love; when we are with friends like ourselves we can experience poetry in motion and friendship freely given.

These are just a few reasons of why we may need a friend just like us!

*disclaimer, it’s our natural propensity that brings us to people just like ourselves. The Bible regards like-mindedness and unity as cornerstones for godly, wonderful community. The idea I like to offer to my peers is to find friends like ourselves; likewise, we are given the privilege of sharing that same, easy love with the people around us. A godly love always invites and includes others where it’s easy to engage with one another. Just a reminder for you and I to not settle at the idea of community, but allow our love for one another to burst into a world that needs it more than ever.