A Hub for Recommendations

I predict that once I’m home from camp, I will need book recommendations, and perhaps some new music as well. So, here is the spot where I can recommend things to you, and in turn, you may recommends things to me!

This post shall be updated as I come across more awesome things.

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Boys Going on Quests // My Favorite Children’s Fantasy Stories

My friends, along with other great qualities, have good deductive reasoning. They know that I love to write, so they deduced that I must like to read. Then, when my birthday came around, they gave me Barnes and Noble gift cards. This post would not be possible without them, so I thought I should mention it. 

I decided to use the gift cards to feed the child in me and buy the books that I remember reading (or being read to) when I was younger. Without further ado, here are these books and some of the memories I have tied with them. 

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Knowing Your Why… Or Not

A popular piece of advice I hear from bloggers is that you need to know your “why,” or the motivation behind why you create. I am going to butt heads with this piece of advice because I do not believe that this is true for creators and here’s why.

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Coming to Terms With Being Myself

One of the hardest things God has asked me to do is be myself. 

It never occurred to me that God would want my honesty. Out of all the personalities I have tailor-made for church or school, who would prefer the original? 

Perhaps I should have realized that God knows who I really am and wants to interact with that self, but it is hard. It is hard because I do not like that self very much. If I were to describe myself, I would say “scrappy,” as in “made up of incomplete parts.” 

One of my cardinal rules of writing and speaking is never to teach a lesson you have not learned yet. I am bending this for sure, but I also wanted to write this to give myself a public reminder of who I am and what I believe, if nothing else.  

God is my judge

I have written about this before, but let’s go more in-depth:

No one, not even another Christian, is my judge. Even though I respect authority, especially Christian leaders, they are human. I cannot always assume their will and God’s will matches up. God must be the one I answer to and God’s will must be what I seek first. 

I am not my judge. One of my favorite proverbs is Proverbs 16:2, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” (NIV) It is spine-chilling to hear criminals defend themselves, seeing the way they twist logic to make themselves look right. I have this capacity too, wrong as it is, so I cannot be my own judge. 

I do not want to be my judge. Besides the fact that I acknowledge myself as a sinner, I know that I should not be my judge because of how self-hate skews my self-perception. God extends grace to me when I would never offer it to myself, so I would rather have Him as my judge. 

God is my judge because He sees. No one but God could be an accurate judge because no one else has understanding like Him. Another Bible verse I like is Psalm 33:15, which says “He who forms the hearts of all, considers all they do.” (NIV) 

God is my judge because He is righteous. I am still reading the Psalms, and I noticed many of them describe God as righteous. Particularly Psalm 58, which shows God as the avenger when human authorities are corrupt. 

Being myself goes beyond myself. I did not create myself or will myself into existence, I answer to God. I find my identity in Him through Christ. Understanding who my judge is shows me I need to stop seeking the approval of others. 

My true self is truly loved 

God’s love is powerful. It exposes things about ourselves that we prefer to keep hidden. It asks us questions we are not ready for. It makes us wonder if we really know what we are doing and invites us to see things in a new way. 

Sometimes God’s love feels annoying. I can no longer ignore my anxiety by looking at memes because I have this new urge to pray. When I cry, I am no longer alone. God’s love is steadfast, and I have felt it deeper since being more honest with Him. 

My gifts matter (but do not define me)

Note: Up until this point, I have been writing about beliefs about relationship with God and my identity. I am switching topics to write about my gifts. I do not see gifts as something that defines a person, but that we have been given desires and talents that make us unique from one another. 

Everyone is born with desires and talents. We seek what we want and do what we love. When you become a Christian, these gifts are refashioned and they now hold deeper meaning. 

It might seem ironic to you, but at this moment in time, I struggle with seeing writing as a gift. The only encouragement I have to offer myself (and you) is is as encouraging as it is frightening: 

Everything we do creates a ripple effect, however large or small. We will never understand the ripple effects of our everyday actions, their consequences go beyond our understanding. But God sees and understands these consequences. Maybe that is why I feel nudged to write sometimes. Maybe my writing is a bigger deal than I realize. Only God knows. 

It is a bit like when Mordecai tells Esther that if she does not speak, deliverance will come from another source. Someone else might write my book if I quit writing, but maybe I was born for such a time as this. 

Coming to terms with myself

I do not have a satisfying conclusion to this post because I am coming to terms with myself. I am deciding what I follow and accepting what I do not see. I hope this will encourage someone, or at the very least be something I can look back on as a stepping stone.