faith, freedom, food

Tag: #friends

The Power of a Friend Like Alicia: Three Things To Absolutely Always Be Doing, Everyday Period.

The Power of a Friend Like Alicia: Three Things To Absolutely Always Be Doing, Everyday Period.

The buzz of my alarm greeted my ears this morning at 5:30AM, and I found myself instantly missing waking up with the sunrise time on the daily for work. As I have transitioned out of a three-and-a-half-year period of working at coffee shops just this […]

Blooming: How Three Days Up North Changed My Trajectory

Blooming: How Three Days Up North Changed My Trajectory

This past Wednesday, May 22nd, I embarked upon a journey that changed my life, and that I will never forget. This time last year, my dear friend and pastor, Nat, came home from a mystery excursion to the Muskokas raving about his experience, and telling […]

The NUMBER ONE THING Preventing You From Achieving Your Goals

The NUMBER ONE THING Preventing You From Achieving Your Goals

It’s 9pm on a Tuesday. You’re exhausted. You barely found the energy to make dinner having almost succumbed to Miss Vickie’s and pickles as your meal, you did a load of laundry but folding it is a whole other story, and you really wanted to start working on that personal project tonight after work, but all you feel like doing now is curling up in your bed with Netflix and Instagram.

Sound familiar?

In case you missed it, I wrote a few weeks about avoiding procrastination.

Now, there’s a difference between mindful rest and procrastination. And with this post, I feel called to clarify that difference by sharing the number one thing, likely the only thing, that I believe it keeping you from achieving your goals: mindless consumption.

I have wrestled with my role as a both a content creator and consumer for many years now. Sometimes, I want to delete all of my social media, surround myself with books, and boycott the Internet. Other times, I’m in awe of the wealth of knowledge available to us online, excited about the other content creators I can support by reading their columns, and keen to write what I feel called to in this corner of the Internet.

So, here’s where I have landed. And please, do allow me the gift of your own opinion by commenting below.

Like books, online content can be incredibly useful and worthwhile. But that stops the moment the content becomes unlike a book.

Here is what I mean.

I don’t read books mindlessly. I don’t pick up a random book, turn to any ol’ page, and start reading. This is what I DO do with Instagram. I– sometimes instinctively– open the app, and allow my “feed” to chronologically– well– FEED me. Whether I care to admit it, or like the reality of it, or not, this is what my feed does. It feeds me information. So I am mindlessly, but still willingly, submitting myself to all sorts of content, without care for the truthfulness or merit of it.

When I choose to read a book for entertainment purposes, I am still choosing to read one story, carefully crafted by an author, that I can reflect on and learn from. When I scroll through random bits of content online for entertainment, I am not consuming anything meaningful or purposed, but most prominently a stacking of photos carefully curated to make individuals look their best. THAT is what our generation spends a lot of our time doing.

Yeesh. As a Christian, I personally believe I’m going to stand before my God one day and give an account for my life. The time I’ve spent mindlessly consuming is a deep conviction of mine.

Now, mindful consumption is a whole different story.

Again, like when I choose to read a book, if I set aside time to read a blog post, or curate an Instagram feed that contains accounts that post meaningful, relevant, worthwhile content that will help me to help others, I think it is a vital tool, given it does not become an idol in your heart, or a way to boost your own ego.

Mindful consumption– not just of social media, but anything and everything we consume– can lend itself to helping you, too, and your personal projects to thrive. I don’t mean I think we should shut people out of our lives, because “I hate people” is not an okay statement. It simply means being aware of the way we are spending our time, and the way that influences us and everything we do.

Think about it: how much time would you have on your hands if you didn’t own a cell phone? If the answer is “I don’t know what I’d do with my free time,” it’s time to wake up and see LIFE.

Part of mindful consumption for me has been understanding what I believe to be True.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

I am constantly discerning, through God, what is His will, and what is good, and what is useful, and what isn’t.

I don’t want to waste the time on this earth that is already a blink of eye-short.

Tell me…

  1. Do you discern what is true/worth your time?
  2. Do you ever feel “guilty” for time spent “scrolling?”
The Writing Bug

The Writing Bug

I have an unwavering, overwhelming, constant need to write. I’ve had it since before I can remember. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher entered a paper I wrote in a writing contest that I ended up winning. From that point forward, I was […]

Our Proposal Story (+How We Met Three Years Ago)

Our Proposal Story (+How We Met Three Years Ago)

I had just told myself university would not be the time for a boy. But God knew differently. I noticed Johnny Fulford the moment I sat down in my Tuesday afternoon “Public Faith and Theology” class. He was smilely, shy-looking, and downright handsome. When the […]

Interpreting the Bible: Have You Ever Wondered…

Interpreting the Bible: Have You Ever Wondered…

This semester, I have been fortunate enough to take Biblical Greek with one of the greatest professors I have ever had. 

The following is part of my final assignment for this class, and I wanted to share it here, because I am truly blown away by the knowledge I’ve gained from this class. Can I write or speak the Greek language with ease? Not a chance. Do I have a much better understanding of how a knowledge of how the Greek language works is crucial for proper interpretation of the Bible? Absolutely. 

And here is just one example.

Let’s look at the New Living Translation of John 15:11-17:


I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Context and Background

The Book of John is found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, and is the fourth canonical Gospel in the New Testament. John 15 is one of the chapters that is commonly called the “farewell discourse” of Jesus (Carson 1980), as it features Jesus speaking in first person to his disciples the night before he is crucified. Prior to verses 11-17, Jesus had been discussing a parable in which he stated that he is “the true grapevine, and [his] Father the gardener” (John 15:1 NLT).

Beginning in verse 11, Jesus says, “I have told you this so that…” and goes on to explain his purposes for the discourse in the first place.

Ἵνα” Explained

“The single most common category of the subjunctive in the NT is after Ἵνα, comprising about one third of all subjunctive instances” (Wallace 1996). Phrases in the subjunctive mood express a “hope or desire,” while also recognizing that that desire becoming the outcome is not sure, but probable (Wallace 1996). There are several uses of the subjunctive, but John 15:11-17 is written in what is called the final subjunctive, “to indicate the purpose of an action” (Black 1998). Ἵνα itself, though, regardless of mood, is a conjunction translating most basically to “that” when introducing indirect discourse.

To recognize the subjunctive mood, we might look for “lengthened connecting vowels; no augment in the aorist” (Mounce 2009), as well as the word Ἵνα. So, when we read John 15:11 and see Ἵνα, we can assume we are reading a subjunctive message: an uncertain hope.

John 15:11 is translated as, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (NLT). While these verses were spoken to His disciples, many scholars agree that it was also a message for the coming church (Carson 1980). Let us imagine we are reading this verse as one who is mourning the death of a closed loved one in today’s world, and is not experiencing any sort of joy in that moment. If that reader read Ἵνα as a conjunction indicating a certain outcome, they would likely feel confused and doubtful, as “complete joy” is not their current experience. However, if the same reader understood that Ἵνα in this phrase is relaying Jesús’ hope for him/her, and His purpose for His discourse, a purpose that may or may not be reality, they are more likely to understand Jesus as one who loves and wants the best for His people, rather than one who makes false claims.

Jesus continues in the proceeding verses that we love each other as He has loved us… and that we “did not choose [Him], but [He] chose [us] and appointed [us] so that [we] might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever [we] ask in [His] name the Father will give [us]” (John 15:16 NLT). Now, let us imagine that we are the disciples listening to Jesus as He is speaking these words. If I were one of His disciples, and understood Jesus to mean that I absolutely must bear fruit, or as I understand it, be Christ-like in my love, and do so in a way that lasts, I can only imagine the immense pressure I would feel. This sort of command would give way to a works-centred Gospel, or one that suggested I must bear fruit in order to reap the “rewards” of the Father. Even the word “and,” placed where underlined in: “we might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever we ask in His name the Father will give us” is so crucial for the translation of this sentence. Without that “and” separating two ideas, two “Ἵνα” phrases, it would seem as if one action was necessary in order for the other: “we might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last– so that whatever we ask in His name the Father will give us.” However, what we have in reality is two separate “Ἵνα” phrases, in the subjunctive mood, and therefore phrases that are desires of the speaker, Jesus Christ, to His disciples and, likely, a exhortation to all Christ-followers, that He appointed us because He hopes that we will go and bear fruit that will last. As a reader personally, knowing this phrase in subjunctive in nature alleviates any pressure to “do good,” and rather pushes me on in wanting to follow Jesus, rooted in Him.

Finally, the latter half of verse 16 could be very easily mistranslated: “and so that whatever we ask in His name the Father will give us.” Now, imagine you are a newcomer to Scripture, reading the Book of John for the first time, and come across this phrase. You were told that Scripture is “Capital ‘T’ Truth,” and so you are very excited when you come across this verse! You close your eyes, and pray, “God, I ask you for a million dollars, in Your name.” You open your eyes, and… no money. You are bitter, and refuse to acknowledge the Bible as Truth.

Now, when we read this same verse in the subjunctive mood, we know that Jesus is speaking with a hopeful desire for His disciples and followers, also understanding that this is not a sure equation of “ask and receive.” This phrase, also separated by the and conjunction, so not directly linked to “bearing fruit.”
We might also add that the “asking in the Father’s name” is an action that follows abiding in Him and bearing fruit. We might assume, then, that the things we would ask the Father for when abiding in Him would be more in line with His will for us, and thus more likely things that He “would give us.”

Conclusion

It seems so bizarre that understanding such a small word, Ἵνα, is so vital for translating Biblical texts. But, upon close analysis of John 15:11-17, it is very clear that an awareness of the mood Ἵνα is used in, its meaning, and what it might be mistaken for meaning is so important for correctly interpreting the English translation of Biblical texts that use it.

A Letter to My Best Friend on Her 21st Birthday

Dear Maddie, You’ve heard it before. But when I met you, literally from the moment I saw you, I remember thinking, consciously, “I want to be that girl’s friend.” Little did I know, less than a week later, I would share more of my soul […]

One Major vs. Two: Is a Double Major the Way To Go?

One Major vs. Two: Is a Double Major the Way To Go?

Today’s post is all about double majoring. Why did I decide to complete my undergrad as a double Major? What are the pros and cons of this? Who I recommend it to? My application story: I cannot recall ever being stressed about post-secondary, having doubts, […]

I Believe Research Episode 4: Do I Have to Fast Food?

I Believe Research Episode 4: Do I Have to Fast Food?

Welcome to the blog, and welcome to the fourth instalment of my research for the Bible Study I am launching in March 2019!

I am so excited to be sharing the official graphic for the study, credited to my wonderful and compassion friend, Sam Stuckless.
And so excited about today’s topic: aren’t you supposed to fast food?

It is true that the Bible does not speak of fasting beyond fasting food.
And I think it is very important to acknowledge this.
Fasting literally translates to “abstinence from food.” So, perhaps a word other than “fast” should be used for the abstinence of something other than food in order to spend that time with God.
The important distinction here is that food is a necessity for life. Social media, television, a favourite sport, or anything else you might be convicted to fast certainly are not necessities.
Still, I think the key is that a fast is meant to remind one of their need for time with God, in prayer, worship, and in the Word.
And perhaps you’ll find fasting food is something important for you to do when you pray– but God meets us where we’re at.
I come from a past in which restriction of food itself was my idol. So, I would not restrict food. And I would urge you that if any slight part of you is thinking, “ooh, maybe I’ll lose some weight” at the idea of fasting food, that is probably not the thing you should fast.

Fasting [food] is not worthwhile if it costs you your health, and is in fact discouraged It is not necessarily what item you give up, but more about what that item means to you and how it reminds you to stay focused on the Lord (Mahoney 2017).

To clarify: the definition of fasting is the abstinence of food.
For our purposes, and in our culture, the goal is to give up something that is in idol in our lives, and spend the time we would be giving that idol in prayer.
What is an idol?

Exodus 32:1-5 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” 

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 

So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 

He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.

In the Old Testament, the idols of the Israelites were often of images or physical objects, such as the golden calf above.

The people knew they were meant to worship something… but they didn’t know what.
I can relate to this very personally.
I used to worship diets. I devoted all my time to planning the “perfect” day of eating, and gave that all my attention. It was like my heart and soul knew they were meant to pour their energy into something… but oh, how meaningless and temporary these “food rules” were, like the golden calf.
But God, perfectly loving Creator, immortal, who promises to “never leave nor forsake you… who has set you free”? Worth worshipping and knowing.
Do you believe? Feel your heart stirring? Curious?
Or already following Jesus, but would love the accountability to give up an idol in your life?
Message or contact me for all the details on the Study starting in March: worldwide, and absolutely free.

Money, Money, Money: How I Went From Being a Self-Serving “Hyper-Saver” to Finding Balance with my Finances

Money. It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible. Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles […]