Living To Be Freshly Pressed (Or Not)

Writing

Blogging (and all writing, for that matter) is absolutely amazing.

I love it so much.

I can press my fingertips to the keys on my keyboard, and almost magically, words come out.

It’s my joy to sit up until midnight (or 1am or 2am) and just express myself with written words that I could never formulate in speech.

I love to write about what God is doing in my life. What I’m learning. Who I am. And who I want to be. It’s a passion and a privilege of mine to be able to use my little fingertips for the glory of God.

No matter what others tell me, I’m going to keep on journaling and typing, because that is what I love to do, and it is one of my ways that I worship God.

However, there is a very interesting feature on WordPress called “Freshly Pressed”. Basically, WordPress employees find ten well-written and interestingly-expressed blog posts (that have a unique point of view and are attractive) every day from around the WordPress blogosphere and promote them on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page. To many bloggers, this is an AMAZING goal.

I mean, who wouldn’t want five million views on their blog and potentially millions of followers because one post went viral?

Tell me, who doesn’t want to be popular?

This presents a slight problem. See, I can almost assure you that people have blogs dedicated to “trying to make their posts go viral”. If you know anything about modern media, well, you’ll know that it doesn’t happen that way. You can’t produce viral content purposefully, but I suppose that people don’t really understand that.

At the same time, I think we forget this point that should be so obvious to us in life.

So many people live their lives for show. They live to be cool and popular. (Sounds to me like another way of saying ‘viral’ and ‘Freshly Pressed’.) But really, does that make a lot of sense?

Let me put it back in blogging and writing terms.

Every Monday and Friday night, I stay up late doing what I love. I eat chocolate (shh, don’t tell Mom and Dad…just kidding) and listen to instrumental music (good for the brain) and wear away my laptop keys in the beautiful silence.

And not only do I love doing it, but I write for one main reason: I do it because I love the One who saved my soul, and my life is dedicated to Him.

I don’t write to make my post popular, though high stats days are definitely nice. But see, if I were to write for being Freshly Pressed only, well, I think that would alter my content.

Hypothetically, I wouldn’t express my faith so openly.

I’d probably side with the secular world when it came to issues like marriage and politics, relationships and worldviews.

I would probably use explicit language to “blend in” with everyone else.

And honestly, to me, that sounds miserable.

I will either write to please God, or I will write to please the world.

Do I really want to write words that pacify a bunch of little mortals, or do I want to please the Almighty God of the Universe and hear Him say “Well Done”?

I’m going with the latter.

And I believe life is the same way.

As a Christian, do I want to hide my faith, act like everyone else, hold the views of the secular world (that the Bible is clearly against) use inappropriate language, and ditch the Bible for temporary popularity?

UM, NO WAY. Never in a million years.

I have made my choice that I do not need the approval of the world to live my life. I already have the approval of the Creator of EVERYTHING EVER, so what more do I need?

Am I going to live to be Freshly Pressed, or live to please my Lord and my God?

Am I going to change my lifestyle to be popular according to the world’s standards, or live to serve my Maker and Sustainer?

I choose to live in freedom. I am free from the mold that the world has set upon me to be popular and cool, and I am going to live for God.

And if no one else does? Well, I still will.

*aj

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A Letter to the Younger Me

Notebook Letter Writing

Lately, I’ve been all over open letters online. I’ve been loving the Dear Future Husband letter thing, letters to Your Future Self, etc. But I decided to take a slightly different path and write a letter to the Younger Me. Basically, I wish I had known these things when I was ten, eleven, twelve, and on. I’ve learned so many little tings in the past few years – and I think it’s important that I share them. So here we are now. A Letter to the Younger Me.

Dear Younger Amanda,

There are some things I wish I could have told you when you were younger, in the midst of life, trying to figure everything out.

Perhaps you would have turned out to be a different person than you are today. But no matter. You’ve lived a short fifteen years at this point in time, and you’ve already learned a lot.

First of all, I want you to know that life is going to be hard. Things are going to happen that will test you. Your heart will get broken no matter where you are in life – by people and all kinds of crazy circumstances. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch, but God will be with you through it all. Trust me on this. You will never ever be alone.

Besides not being alone, you should know something else. Sometimes, life will be really dark. You might feel hopeless, or lost, or drowning. But darling, always remember that the sun will rise, however long the night. You’ll get through whatever happens, because you will not be alone. There is hope, and you must not ever give up.

Dear Younger Amanda, having a lot of friends doesn’t mean much. Being popular doesn’t matter. It’s really okay if you’re not “in” with the “cool kids”. It’s much more important to focus on being a good friend to others and getting to know a few people well. It’s the quality of friends that matter; not the quantity. And you can work on being a quality friend.

Dear Darling, I want you to know that drama really doesn’t matter. It won’t matter who-likes-who in a few years. Don’t even get your heart all tangled up with crushes and drama and silly young-teenage girl things that don’t matter. Your heart is WAY too precious to throw around like a bowling ball. It’s worth it to focus on more important things than relationships at such a young age; don’t worry about marriage. You’ve got plenty of time.

Younger Me, figure out things you love and work on cultivating those things. Don’t be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and brush yourself off from those embarrassing little mishaps. And keep on trying. God has given you passions for a reason. Don’t give up on things you don’t think you have talent in. (And here’s a hint: in the future, you are going to love to read novels and write like crazy. Don’t give up just because you think you’re not good at it!)

Dear Girl, find people to look up to and get to know them. Amazing people will come into your life, and you’ll feel like the luckiest girl alive. You probably will be. Listen to people older and wiser than you, and learn from them. You are going to be blessed greatly and learn a lot. Don’t forget to thank those people.

Dear Amanda, hard things are going to happen, but look at the big picture. Don’t fret so much. Everything happens for a reason, and you don’t need to worry so much. You’re young and free now; enjoy it.

Even when you feel like you know better, trust your parents. Remember that they were once your age, and they really do know better than you. Amanda, make sure to cultivate a relationship with them. Trust them. Listen. Take advice. And know that they understand the Bible really well, and you can always talk to them.

Dear Younger Me, the most important thing I will tell you is this: READ YOUR BIBLE. You will be thirteen when you really start reading your Bible regularly, and your life will change after that. It’s going to be an amazing ride, so hold on tight, and follow God wherever He leads. It’s crazy, awesome, and totally worth it. And by strengthening your relationship with God by reading your Bible every day (or as best you can) and praying, you will grow so much.

Love,

Your Slightly Older Self

*aj