Purposeful Pages Link-Up: November Edition

Purposeful Pages Meme

Welcome, everyone, to the November edition of the Purposeful Pages Link-Up – and the final edition.

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How Vulnerability Can Bring Us Beyond Ourselves

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Sometimes we really don’t need someone to come along and give us a pep talk.

 

When life’s breaking us, we don’t need someone to come and shout, “Hey! You can do this! You’re amazing! Make your life whatever you want it to be! You are unstoppable!” because we’ve felt firsthand that those things are not right all the time.

 

We’ve all experienced failure.

 

We’ve hit roadblocks of all sorts.

 

We’ve felt that cluelessness when it comes to knowing what exactly we should do.

 

And so the pep talks often feel empty, shallow, phony. Hollow and falsely encouraging comments coming from people who seem to have their lives together when we do not.

 

Because often, instead of hearing “Hey, you’ve got this,” we long to hear Someone say, “I know this seems impossible, but I will be with you through all of it.”

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On Planning and When Things Turn Out Radically Different Than We Imagined

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The funny thing about writing is that it’s made up of so many ideas and so few realities. A lot of thinking, a lot of different visions of where to go – and then sitting down at the computer to actually write is often quite torturous.

 

Yes, I know I say I love this whole writing thing, but it’s really hard, alright?

 

There’s a lot of thinking involved. A lot of planning. A lot of daydreaming.

 

And then I sit down to my computer and the words don’t totally know where to go. They don’t know whether to form long sentences or short, to be sophisticated or poetic or blunt, to be precise or to be vague. They don’t know whether to arrange themselves into a concise doctrinal argument, or into a messy, heart-spilling session of vulnerability.

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So, You Want to Make a Difference

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So, you want to do something extraordinary?

 

Yeah, me too.

 

Make a difference. Change people’s lives. Bring hope to those seemingly hopeless. Impact, encourage, and inspire the world.

 

Sometimes, we just have this ache to…do something.

 

We see the model Christians over in Africa, digging wells and building schools, and those young teens starting nonprofits. We watch as people intervene in crises, take in refugees, adopt a houseful of kids, have this whole change-the-world-plan by age fourteen, and we’re over here in our cozy little homes drinking pumpkin spice lattes and sweeping the kitchen floor and feeling guilty.

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Why Do You Do What You Do?

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Why do I even do this?

 

Deeply breathing, I eke out the words, one by one. And slowly, slowly, my fingers begin to glide over the keys, and I let my thoughts run.

 

I don’t really know what I’m doing.

 

Oftentimes, the words come out more vulnerable than I’d like them to be.

 

What if I’m not living the life I’m supposed to be living?

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Purposeful Pages Link-Up: October Edition

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Welcome to October’s edition of Purposeful Pages, everyone, co-hosted by the lovely Hannah and me. Through Purposeful Pages, whether we keep it going long-term or it’s a short-term kind of thing, we want to encourage intentionality, individuality, community, and purpose-filled living in all areas of life.

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For When You Need Grace to Replace The Guilt

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Sometimes, a day’s worth of writing is made up of a lot of staring at blank pages and waiting for the words to come.

 

And some days, it takes so much energy to do simple tasks, to check things off a to-do list, to convince ourselves to do things we know we need to do.

 

And on those days, the ones filled with procrastination and lack of motivation, we can often let ourselves be overcome with guilt.

 

Guilt. The opposite of freedom.

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A Fresh Look At Positivity

A Fresh Look at Positivity

 

In this world, we hear a lot about positivity. We hear people tell us to not let the negativity of others affect our attitudes.

 

That’s a powerful message.

 

People say that we should keep our heads up because ultimately, whatever we want in life, we’re going to have to work for. So if we want to accomplish our goals, we must not let anyone deter us.

 

We must be positive. See the glass half-full.  See the sky as always sunny. And move on from gloom as quick as we possibly can.

 

The positivity message tells us to just keep swimming, because it’s gonna be alright. Don’t worry; be happy. And I do believe happiness is good, but we should have a reason for it.

 

What I want to know is this. In a godless world, how can we be happy? How can we be positive? How can we know that life really will go on? How can we accomplish what we want to when it seems absolutely impossible?

 

Forgive me for being blunt here, but this is where I see that the positivity message cannot hold up.

 

Positivity does not offer lasting hope. But Jesus does.

 

Positivity is a form of self-empowerment: If you think it, you can do it. And that’s not all bad, truly. Sometimes the only thing we need to keep going is faith in ourselves and perseverance because we already have everything we need to do it.

 

Sometimes, when everyone around us is cutting us down with discouragement, we need to be the ones to step up and say, “Hey, look. The end is in sight. We can make it.” Pressing on toward something is valuable.

 

So the question is not, “Should we be positive?” but “How can we be positive?”

 

For me, having a good attitude by just “trying to” is like trying to sing or speak without taking a breath. Pulling the positivity card out of nowhere has no depth to it, no standing, because it becomes just words.

 

But it doesn’t have to be.

 

The missing message of positivity is this: we can have joy in every situation.

 

Philippians 4:12-13

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

The secret to facing anything is doing them through the strength of Christ. That’s what gives us joy. That’s what lets us go on when things seem impossible. That’s what propels us through the times when we feel like giving up.

 

Not putting on a mask of happiness, but living it.

 

Positivity is something we can only truly grasp when we experience the joy of the Lord.

 

Nehemiah 8:10b

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

 

The joy of the Lord. Not the joy of nice things, a good relationship, a happy circumstance, no. This joy is knowing that we are loved. Knowing that His grace is lavished on us. The guaranteed assurance that we are new creations in Christ. Our pasts are not counted against us.

 

And we know this all because we have seen the cross. We have seen who Jesus is in the Bible. We have felt his presence in our lives. We have known His power.

 

And so the simple message of positivity just seems so shallow. “Be happy.” Okay, yes, but why should I be happy?

 

Because we are loved with an everlasting love by our Creator. We are treasured. We are provided for. We are never left on our own. And we are definitely never forsaken or forgotten about.

 

To be truly positive is about so much more than just feeling something – it’s what we can live in as Christians.

 

And that kind of positivity is the best of all.

 

*aj