Accountability

I’ve realized that I collect a lot of Voice Memos on my iPhone. I like being able to record sermons from church in case any of my friends miss it and also so I can re-listen to messages or playback areas I wasn’t quick enough to take notes on.

One of the downsides to recording everything is that I’ve amassed so many that I’ve gotten a little lazy with the whole, taking notes from them, part.

During Colour I purchased a new notebook, even though I have a lot, and last month I got to thinking. I can use this book as an accountability tool to make sure that I am going through all my recordings and taking out the best notes from them.

What’s something you can do today to keep yourself accountable?

Enlarge Your Tent

Hey friends,

I’m not 100% ready to share full context yet, but early this morning, way before my alarm, I woke up ready to start a task. As I got up to do it, I felt like God said to me. Stop. I want to tell you something. And I felt like he wanted me to read something in the Bible. I had that sense within me. I wondered, okay, what should I read? And for a brief second I heard nothing. Then Isaiah 54 popped into my mind. Trust me this doesn’t always happen. Lol.

This part stuck out to me differently today:

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.

I feel like God told me this morning – that I’m the blacksmith. May is already a new chapter for me, unexpectedly, and although I have peace I’m still like – hey, I’m not prepared to enlarge my tent again!

Just wanted to share this moment because God spoke to me this morning, and I hope it encourages you in whatever season you find yourself in.

💖 Jess

Feelings aren’t facts

I remember someone told me this once and it stuck with me: Feelings aren’t facts. As someone who relies a lot on my gut instinct and emotions. This can be a little off-putting. But I think, especially when it comes to feelings, we can allow ourselves to be beaten down by negative self-talk and the perception that we aren’t enough. Here are some quick examples that I’ve thought just in the past year:

You might feel like you’re a failure, but fact: You aren’t.

You might feel like you are ugly, but fact: You aren’t.

You might feel like you can’t do anything right, but fact: You are smarter than you think.

I was washing my face or brushing my teeth the other day, all I remember is that I was in front of the sink, and I felt like God was reminding me that there were times in my life where I didn’t think I was good enough, and so I cheated on a test here and there, or whatever the case might have been. It wasn’t from a place of shame having done those things, but more like, why do you think so little of yourself? And this is something that you’ve had to fight feeling since you were a little girl.

I still remember being in elementary school and changing one of my answers to what the kid next to me had. I thought my answer was correct, but I felt like the boy next to me was smarter. After I erased and circled the new answer, one of my teachers saw, and said after we turned them all in, I wanted to tell you that you had the right answer the first time around, trust yourself.

I’ve never forgotten that.

Unfortunately I’ve been struggling a bit more than normal the past month thinking about how my Instagram page isn’t as popular as other women in my vertical.  Vertical is an advertising term. It’s when you’re in the same industry, you are appealing to the same audience, and it can often creep up on you because you feel like, why am I not as successful? Am I adding value to the market here? It can be a killer to the self-esteem and perseverance you need when you are attempting to build your dreams.

I decided to do something a little silly the other day. I’m so used to analyzing reports for clients in the advertising world and I decided to put my own worries about being “popular” or “important” to the test.

I pulled up three accounts that I felt like were really killing it when it came to my life as a Christian blogger. I looked through their profile and tried to find the lowest likes they got on average and rounded them up or down. Then I took that number and how many followers they had to see what their engagement was like and I have to say I was surprised.

  1. Lowest likes: 600 Followers: 26,400 = 2.27%
  2. Lowest likes: 650 Followers: 16,600 = 3.92%
  3. Lowest likes: 500 Followers: 8,400 = 5.95%

 

Me: On my lowest day the average “likes” are around 60.

If you take 60 and my current following of 611. 60 is 9.8% of 611.

Okay so maybe that’s a fluke right? Let’s see if I do the reverse with highest likes:

  1. Highest likes: 900 Followers: 26,400 = 3.41%
  2. Highest likes: 750 Followers: 16,600 = 4.52%
  3. Highest likes: 650 Followers: 8,400 = 7.73%

Me: On my highest day the average “likes” are around 100.

If you take 100 and my current following of 611. 100 is 16.37% of 611.

Like are you shocked? I’m still shocked. My feelings are still telling me: no one cares what you are writing. You’ve been doing this for years and no one seems to be following you. What’s the point when you aren’t doing as well as everyone else? Your style doesn’t seem that great. Where’s your awesome selfies? LOL. You know what I mean?

And yet, my feelings, are clearly not the facts.

I didn’t do this to make myself out to be the winner compared to these profiles that are KILLING it. I did it out of curiosity because too many times I’ve asked myself: It seems like everyone has tons of likes and followers. Am I a loser?

If you’ve ever felt the way I have and you want to reach other Christian women, let’s remind ourselves that we’re occupying our space. We matter. We’re making a difference. The people who are liking our photos and reading our captions matter.

Also just for fun, I did a bit of googling and created this graphic in Easil:

Potential Impact.png

 

It keeps everything in perspective because there are plenty of women to reach, plenty of people to reach, in just the USA alone.

This has helped me keep any negative feelings in perspective!

Comment below so I can hear what you think!


Tools Used:

It seems like everyone has tons of likes. Am I a loser?

https://percentagecalculator.net/

How many women are Christians in the US? (The 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study)

http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/gender-composition/women/

How many Christians in the US? (This ABCNEWS/Beliefnet poll)

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=90356

How many women are there in the US? (Census is every 10 years)

https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf

7 Months Ago

I wrote these verses down 7 months ago and they have been in my drafts since then. Well today is this little draft’s lucky day:

When I took an Evening College course through my church I learned that the purpose of 1 and 2 Chronicles is to retell the past to inspire hope in the present.

I could just sit under that alone. Couldn’t you.

Sometimes we need to remember the past, and how we survived events in our life so that we can look to the present and future with hope.

If God was good then, He will be good now. Amen?

Below were the two verses I was thinking about 7 months ago:

1 Chronicles 10 (MSG)

13-14 Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to God. He didn’t obey God’s words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance. Because he didn’t go to God for help, God took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

1 Chronicles 16(MSG)

That was the day that David inaugurated regular worship of praise to God, led by Asaph and his company.

8-19 Thank God! Call out his Name!
    Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done!
Sing to him! Play songs for him!
    Broadcast all his wonders!
Revel in his holy Name,
    God-seekers, be jubilant!
Study God and his strength,
    seek his presence day and night;
Remember all the wonders he performed,
    the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.
Seed of Israel his servant!
    Children of Jacob, his first choice!
He is God, our God;
    wherever you go you come on his judgments and decisions.
He keeps his commitments across thousands
    of generations, the covenant he commanded,
The same one he made with Abraham,
    the very one he swore to Isaac;
He posted it in big block letters to Jacob,
    this eternal covenant with Israel:
“I give you the land of Canaan,
    this is your inheritance;
Even though you’re not much to look at,
    a few straggling strangers.”

20-22 They wandered from country to country,
    camped out in one kingdom after another;
But he didn’t let anyone push them around,
    he stood up for them against bully-kings:
“Don’t you dare touch my anointed ones,
    don’t lay a hand on my prophets.”

23-27 Sing to God, everyone and everything!
    Get out his salvation news every day!
Publish his glory among the godless nations,
    his wonders to all races and religions.
And why? Because God is great—well worth praising!
    No god or goddess comes close in honor.
All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense,
    but God made the cosmos!
Splendor and majesty flow out of him,
    strength and joy fill his place.

28-29 Shout Bravo! to God, families of the peoples,
    in awe of the Glory, in awe of the Strength: Bravo!
Shout Bravo! to his famous Name,
    lift high an offering and enter his presence!
Stand resplendent in his robes of holiness!

30-33 God is serious business, take him seriously;
    he’s put the earth in place and it’s not moving.
So let Heaven rejoice, let Earth be jubilant,
    and pass the word among the nations, “God reigns!”
Let Ocean, all teeming with life, bellow,
    let Field and all its creatures shake the rafters;
Then the trees in the forest will add their applause
    to all who are pleased and present before God
    —he’s on his way to set things right!

34-36 Give thanks to God—he is good
    and his love never quits.
Say, “Save us, Savior God,
    round us up and get us out of these godless places,
So we can give thanks to your holy Name,
    and bask in your life of praise.”
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Then everybody said, “Yes! Amen!” and “Praise God!”

The takeaways I got, and was also challenged by were:

  • Because he didn’t go to God for help
  • inaugurated regular worship of praise to God
  • Remember all the wonders he performed

 

Sometimes I can forget what God has done. Not in a serious way, but just like, life gets busy. I never want to forget. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I don’t want to forget all that God has done for me, or feel deceived into thinking God does great things for others and I’m not his favorite.

You’re setting yourself up for a fall if you get into this way of thinking, trust me, I’ve been there.

Instead we need to always regularly worship and praise God no matter the season, remember all the wonders that he performed. If we don’t do this we risk turning to other things for our success. The first passage warns me that because he (Saul) didn’t go to God for help he forfeited what was rightfully his. Maybe I’m wrong but it sounds like God was blessing him with the kingdom, and instead of trusting God and what God gave him, God trusted someone else with it.

I never want that to happen to me.

God isn’t evil. But God wants you to be a good steward of your gifts and leadership. He doesn’t want you to wander around in the wilderness complaining about God and wanting to return to the garbage life you had before.

Let’s remember it’s all about him. And it will never stop being about him. Lest we forget.

Jesscbnyc Announcement

Hey guys,

I’ve been keeping a secret since November and now it’s official! I will be contributing content for Horacio Printing !!!

For those of you who might now know, Horacio Printing makes awesome planners that help you organize your life. Sometimes life can deteriorate your plans and dreams and this planner is crucial to make sure that you are cultivating the calling and dreams in your life.

The good news is I will be blogging here and there so nothing is changing. Feel free to subscribe or keep an eye on on the Horacio Blog here.

horacio

 

Also the planner has been such a huge success that the 2016 version has already sold out!!! But I have some news. There will be a limited re-release of planners for those who missed out on the first run.

Simply go to this link and enter the promo code “preorder” for a 20% off savings!

xoxo,

Jess

More than a number

Today was pretty discouraging. A few of my co-workers are banding together to help one another…get this…acquire more Instagram followers.

 

Wow.

 

Haha. I almost couldn’t believe it. So often people compare their own and other people’s popularity and if you have a low following, it’s almost laughable to today’s generation.

 

I have to admit a small part of me felt small during this conversation. Whether it’s a personal page or a professional page, you can often feel like no one notices you, values what you are doing, or listens to what you have to say. But ultimately our society values a lot of things that are fleeting or unhealthy and do not reflect true value and importance.

 

Let us remember that we have access to a God who knows the number of hairs on our head and does not care about the number of likes on our latest picture.

Christ Before Me, Christ Behind Me

The past few weeks have been, challenging.

So much good is in my life and yet equally we can all agree that there will always be something trying to pull you down.

Let me paint a picture for you.

I volunteer at Hillsong NYC as one of the leaders for Venue Design. This means all the signage, seasonal decor, etc is set up every week and broken down every week to make the venues we occupy feel more like home. We’ve been using this long poster box to house promotional materials, but if you know anything about the boxes shopping items come in, sometimes the weight of what you are carrying was not meant to hold all that is inside.

Hello.

But that’s a whole other sermon am I right?

The point is I saw someone try to lift that weight today and the box crumbled. Papers were everywhere and crumpled, and although the ideal thing would be to have a stronger box, sometimes you have to work with what you have.I explained the situation earlier today to my mom by saying “it’s like trying to carry a brick in a tissue box”.

That’s how it has been internally for my family the past few weeks.

For those of you who might be new to my blog and life journey, my older brother is schizophrenic. He has a kind, often simple spirit and is often mistaken for my little brother because of his temperament. When he was 21 he was diagnosed after a paranoid episode that he had never experienced before. They say mental illness strikes at that age if it is going to strike at all in a person’s life.

I both love my brother and feel like I do not know my brother.

These few weeks have reminded me of that very point.

Schizophrenia is often misunderstood in the media because so often you see people with mental illnesses villainized. Not every person is going to go totally off the deep end or endanger their life or other people’s lives. For my brother it is a matter of failing to identify fantasy or imagination from reality. It’s a confusion where he currently does not believe that our birth mother is our actual mother, it is a situation where he believes he is actually a hero in a video game he is currently playing. It’s a kind of imagination that you cannot always escape from.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Inception it reminds me of that. You go deeper and deeper into levels of dreams and after a while you feel like you can’t wake yourself up.

Some days its hard to cope with. I know I cannot save my brother. I know that he has a life ahead of him in Heaven of total health and to God be the glory for that. I am grateful that this is a promise we as a family can look forward to. However there are real human realities that you deal with as well. Sometimes that just feels like giving up. Sometimes that just feels tormented by the lies of the enemy. Sometimes you wonder why God hasn’t healed your brother. All of these things are acceptable to feel. But I was reminded at church today that my circumstances do not need to alter my convictions. My conviction is that God is good and loves my brother and while his mind might betray him our God never will.

God is behind me. God is before me.

God is likewise behind you and before you.

Let our hearts not grow weary. God is good and the things today on Earth will not hold us. We have eternity of joy as our future.