A toast to change, perseverance, and freedom

Guess who’s back?

Back again? (Help it’s been in my head for days)

As promised, I want to take a moment this week to type out (for me just as much as you readers) where my blog is headed!

It’s safe to say that, after two years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to write consistently, and how difficult it is to confidently post a blog. I found  myself time and time again thinking “this topic isn’t interesting enough”, “this isn’t relevant” and “this isn’t something readers will care about.” And so I ended up deleting blogs and waiting for moment of inspiration so I could write something that would be noticed.

And some of that is important… just not for this blog.

More than ever I’ve realized I need to stop trying to force myself into a “blogger mold”, stop trying to make myself into something I’m not. Unfortunately, I’ve spent practically my entire life doing the exact opposite: trying to meet everyone’s expectations, believing that was the only way to be heard. Desperately striving to impress. Needing to prove myself.

Luckily, that’s starting to change.

As I’ve leaned into the Lord, and learned to trust, I’ve found incredible freedom.

As I study His Word, and listen to his voice, my heart feels free because, bit by bit, year by year, I’ve just… stopped caring.

Faced with a choice, or a compromise, anxiety would cripple me. I felt like a failure, always a half-step behind, almost-great but instead mundanely mediocre. And that still happens, but lately? Less and less.

I don’t know if it’s because high school feels so far away, but I can look back and laugh at what once terrified me:

My hair looking terrible several days in a row?

Obsessing over thick thighs that were made to crush my enemies?

Eyebrows that are neither thin and manageable nor thick and striking?

I think college had drained my ability to care about these things.

-SIDE TANGENT-

As an encouragement to young women (especially high schoolers) like me who struggle(d) so hard against the “If I were just a little less…” or “If I had just a little more…” mentality, I can honestly promise you that if you push on, it gets so much better. I’ve had the opportunity of talking to many 30/40 somethings, and all of them told me the same thing: it doesn’t matter how fit they were in their teens/twenties, the older they’ve gotten, the happier they’ve been with what they see in the mirror. But it starts with a choice. Keep on fighting–it only gets better, and that better day starts with right now, and tomorrow, and every day after that.

-Back to my point-

Those might be small victories, but you better believe I’m going to celebrate them,  because it’s the small victories over the trivial things that lead to the powerful victories:

“Men are intimidated by you! And can you blame them? You’re too smart and opinionated for your own good- you won’t find a good man until you can bring that under control.”

Well I might not have caught myself a man, but my intellect and opinions have saved me from countless toxic relationships and are about to get me a Bachelor’s degree in both English and Counseling Psychology, so I think that worked out in my favor.

“You’re wasting your time getting an education at a Christian College. No one is going to respect that. Good luck getting a job in the real world.”

Yeah, I mean, going to school with people from all over the world, having connections on virtually every continent, and studying under people who have decades of hands-on experience might not be considered “real-world”, but… oh, wait.

All that to say: I want to continue to break molds and push boundaries. I want to keep on using this blog to show you guys (as best I can) that Christians still have opportunities to make a difference in a world that desperately needs Jesus, and these opportunities have nothing to do with passing out tracks and voting republican. It’s about finding your gifts and passions and running with them, and harvesting the beautiful investment that Christ has been preparing for us.

So, no, not every single one of my blog posts will be mind-blowing (even though I want them to be). But they will be real accounts of my life as I choose to live my best life without living it for me.

Thanks to everyone (there’s literally so many I can’t even begin) who has encouraged  me to keep on writing, and helped me grow and change with each new year, and thanks to you guys for reading and enjoying the ride with me!

May your swords stay sharp,

May you seek truth always,

and may peace live in your hearts,

Julia

 

 

(A Little Over) Two Years

I can’t believe I missed my two year anniversary of starting my blog! 

That’s… kind of embarrassing!

To start, I just want to thank everyone who has been and is currently reading what I’ve been spitting out! It’s been an incredible ride, and I’ve learned SO much.

May 21st, 2015, I posted my first blog, and just in case you forgot, some of the highlights include:

1) Me trying to figure out what my blog meant to me, mainly finding my place in culture and appreciating it.

2) Admitting a lot of embarrassing things that are still mostly true 2 years later.

3) Missing several grammatical issues and stubbornly refusing (still refusing) to fix them because I promised myself I wouldn’t go back and meticulously edit things.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I promise I have been writing!

There’s been quite a bit stewing in my mind for some time now, (I have 3 finished posts in my drafts that I haven’t posted and it’s been MONTHS) and I’ve felt frozen for some time now.

A change is coming.

I’m not sure if it’ll be a name change, or a purpose change, but I’ve been doing some reflecting, and by next week (I’m a woman of my word!) I will be launching into a new stage of blogging! 

Once that initial change happens, I’ll be posting my saved-up blogs and sharing about the incredible last few months I’ve had (because let me tell you, they really have been incredible).

Thank you again for reading, happy adventuring to you!

Julia

What’s in a name?

As a logophile, it became obvious when I started the blog that the most difficult part of the process would be choosing a fitting, delicious name for my site. Not only were there an incredible amount of ideas in my head, there was also the task of picking something that wasn’t taken, something original. I could’ve made the decision much easier by using my name, but I knew that every time I logged in it would remind me of logging in to my student profile and checking on my grades or financial aid. Obviously this was not the sort of feeling I wanted to have when signing in to my personal word-place, so I quickly discarded that idea.

I have a friend who associates a word with certain times in her life– sometimes she picks them before the time has even come to pass, other times she picks the word when it’s all said and done (for example, one of her more recent words was “Victory”). I’ve always admired this skill she has, even to the point of jealousy (though not a negative sort). Somehow, this friend is able to look back, evaluate a series of events, and come to a conclusion; her ability to genuinely inspect herself and have that sort of closure is something that appeals to me. I’m not very good at looking backwards, and I seem to have the habit of pressing forward no matter the circumstances, leaving many memories and people behind that, if not in my journal, will most likely be forgotten. I tend to lump memories in big piles labeled “good” and “bad” and leave it at that, without considering why it was all important, or what it means. This has worked very well for me in many ways, but I think it has led me to oversimplify my life and the choices I have made. Nevertheless, I did my best to apply this technique in choosing my name.

To Kalymma, as you may have noticed, is not English. This year, among many other things, I studied Hebrew, specifically in translating the scriptures and learning about the documented consistency in the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic contributions. To Kalymma is Greek for “The Veil”, which was located in Ancient Israel’s temple, separating the “Holy of Holies” from all of humanity. There was nothing special about the veil. It had no magical properties or special significance other than to protect people (except priests) from coming in direct contact with the power and glory of God. It was only by a devoted and pure life that a priest was able to enter the Holy of Holies without immediately dying: the pure, holy presence of the Lord cannot abide in any sin. In the New Testament, when Jesus died on the cross, paying for all of humanity’s sin, the veil in the temple was torn. God no longer needed to protect His people, for Jesus Christ’s perfect blood protected them and cancelled out their sins, allowing not just the Israelites, but the Gentiles who believed as well to finally have unity with God. God the Father could now dwell among His people without killing them. I know this is a bit of a long explanation, but bear with me a little longer. Alongside this, I took a course called Western Thought and Culture, in which I studied art, music, anthropology, and the culmination of many other things. That’s the difficulty with courses of culture, it’s very difficult to “summarize” when it includes everything. During the course, I finally learned a phrase that identified a problem I had been bumping into for as long as I can remember: the “Sacred/ Secular Divide.” You see, as the modern church evolved, it continued to divide itself from the rest of the world for the sake of being set apart, many times justified by the example of the early church in the New Testament. However, as I studied, I began to realize that while the modern church walked away from the secular world, drew a line, and began throwing things over to the other side, the early church was completely integrated into their “secular” society.

WARNING, SILLY ANALOGY COMING UP

The early church was like a bath bomb that people sometimes put in their tubs. They were deep in the culture, letting their ideas out among the people, adding to the culture, continuing to spread and change… and bubble!

The modern church is more like… a rubber duck. We say we want to relate, sometimes we bob under the surface, but for obvious reasons, we are eventually ejected and float on the surface once more.

Now comes the “title” part. Another phrase I learned in Western Thought and Culture was “thinning the veil.” Here’s the deal: God never wanted the veil. He never wanted to be separated from His creation, it was free will and sin that led to that. And God doesn’t want people who have already met Him to be separated from the rest of His people. Just like the early church, Christians should be “thinning the veil”–actively giving to culture instead of trying to bury part with hasty replacements. Whether it be painting or typing away at a desk, every human is creating something, but it’s up to Christians to use that “something” to reveal the glory of God, to “thin the veil.”  We don’t necessarily need to create something and then slap a “Christian!” label on it, let the creation speak for itself.

To Kalymma, The Veil, is my “word.” I want to end the Sacred and Secular Divide and instead pursue beauty and live life the way God created me to.

Part 1:

2 Corinthians 3:14-16, 18

Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it ‘the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.’ The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of ‘Artist.’

So I Suppose This Is My Debut

Hi guys! Before I jump into my blog basics, I just want to start out by saying that I am an incurable perfectionist, which I’m sure you’ve heard before. What I’d really like to do with this blog is challenge myself to be vulnerable.

Instead of editing posts over and over until I think it will attract the most attention, or have the widest audience possible, I’m going to be dangerously me. Sometimes, that may mean a grotesque grammar mishap, but it may also mean saying something that sounds outrageously heretical. I may appear to contradict myself, when in reality, I’m trying to point out the contradictions that exist in our society.

One of the things that has become vitally important to me is challenging cultural norms. I’ve been realizing how use culture… and how it uses me. I’m not talking about culture as in ethnicity, environment, or even media specifically, although they all play a part, I’m defining culture as the inconceivable collection of what each individual throughout history has given to humanity. Now how is that for outrageous? And that’s my point- so many of the cultural norms today (whether it be in music, art, literature, politics) have become so specific, and so separated from their roots, that the beauty and variety of humanity is on the decline. I’m not saying humanity hasn’t progressed, because it’s obvious we have, but we have lost precious parts of culture that I truly believe would solve many of today’s problems.

Now that I’ve scared everyone away, I’ll start with ten confessions that may help some of you relate to me.

1. I embarrass myself with my fangirl-ness. I will talk a lot about books, movies, shows, and other things not just because I am an English Major, but because I can’t help myself.

2.  My name is Julia, and I am incredibly hard-headed. I’m working on that.

3. I profess to enjoy all kinds of music except country, however, since this is a confession list, I admit there are some guilty-pleasure exceptions to that exception.

4. I am a vegetarian. No, it’s not hard, because I just don’t like meat. Yes, I am still the chosen cook for my group of friends, and I have no problem making food from animals of all sorts.

5. Once upon a time I thought I could be a English Major and a Music Major at the same time. Music Theory changed all of that for me,

6. I take pride in that fact that I’m usually able to eat more food faster than anyone else at the table. I think my friends have accepted my vegetarian-ness because of this fact.

7. I have never made a Build-a-Bear… and that sort of makes me sad, though my sister pointed out the other day it has many characteristics of a satanic ritual. Food for thought.

8. Before writing this post, I only had a general idea of what my overarching theme would be, so for other beginning bloggers, trust me, writing it all out really helps.

9. I didn’t realize how much trouble I would have coming up with ten confessions, and I’m running out of ideas.

10. I, like every woman, enjoy chocolate. Very much so. But when it comes to ice cream, I’ll always choose vanilla!

Thanks for reading!

Stay Golden,

Julia

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one that makes you think.”

-Harper Lee