Tag Archives: inspiring

How to Thrive While Being Frugal

Have you ever had that mini debate in your head about whether to live for the moment and enjoy the present or whether to prepare for your future? What if we didn’t have to choose? I think we have all had these kinds of thoughts. Frugal Living is just another way of saying organized living – and that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Frugality is often associated with simplicity. Because it is. Simplicity in physical, mental, spiritual and financial wellbeing. So the real question is how do we live frugal without giving up on our so called wants? It comes down to many things but the main thing is becoming organized and budgeting everything. Budget your money down to the penny. Budget your time down to the minute. Budget your social energy based on your personal energy levels. Budget your time used for workouts. Not many people realize how much time, money and energy is wasted because of the carelessness towards them. Yes, we needn’t take life too seriously all the time with rigid budgets. Always allow room for flexibility. Let’s explore how to be more frugal and organized with our lives!

1. Frugality In Physical Wellness

Physical wellness is a pillar of total wellness. Whether its cardio, lifting weights, practicing your favorite yoga poses, or following along to a dance routine, there is something about letting the energy flow that makes you feel alive. In fact, feeling alive keeps you alive. Sometimes people make physical wellness too complicated, complex or rigid, when in reality, physical wellness can be incorporated into your life seamlessly based on personal goals or energy styles. Some prefer going out to the gym to get out of the house, while others prefer a fun home workout – whatever it is, as long as it works for you than that’s what counts! You don’t have to be a gym rat to have physical wellness! Just make sure to stick to a timeframe and have good form if you do. Oh, and of course, a good playlist.

2. Frugality in Spiritual Wellness

Everyone has their own definition of spirituality. For some, it is the faith-based religion they grew up with and have strongly held beleifs in. For others, it’s a new religion or philosophy they took on later in life. And of course for some it is about interpreting the stars and the universe. Whatever spirituality is for you, you can own it and not be ashamed of it. Spirituality is an inner world that is supposed to dramatically enhance or positively change your outer world – even if it’s just helping you feel peaceful or balanced. Carving out an hour or two every other day towards our spirituality can help one feel much more grounded in life.

3. Frugality in Finances

When it comes to finances, this can be a sensitive topic for some folks. Some put money on a pedestal, thinking it is the most important thing to acquire. Logistically, money is a tool that gives us opportunities to do what we want. The key isn’t making money your master, but rather being a master over money. Sometimes when budgeting is forgotten, money seems to disappear before our eyes. We often forget that money is just like time – we must budget it based on what we value. We must budget it down to the penny. Of course, one can leave room for flexibility, but being frugal with finances means being smart about our budgeting in a way that will help you with your goals.

4. Frugality in Social Wellness

If you’ve ever heard about someone’s social battery running low, that is a very real thing. In short, it means that person allowed their people pleasing tendencies to interfere with their social wellness. Of course, it is commonly understood that introvert’s social batteries tend to run out much more quickly, but it really just depends on each person and where they are at in life, along with personality types. A good method of keeping your “social battery” high is by respecting yourself by not letting it get too low. That means when you feel drained in a social situation or event, give yourself the social boost by taking a break to recharge or just let others know you need to bounce. How you recharge or restore social energy can be totally different than how your friend does, and that’s okay. Just remember your mental health is more important than people pleasing.

Why Cults are So Believable and Hard to Leave

Why are cults so believable and hard to leave or get out of? This question is loaded with many different perspectives, lenses, and opinions. I am exploring this through the perspective of a current non-denominational Christian.

First, we need to know what a cult is. Many often associate cults in a negative perspective. A cult by definition is ” a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous”. You may find definitions worded a bit differently, but they all have the same general meaning. It is basically a group of people or a club in which people become a little too obsessed with the thing in which they are devoted to. It’s not always religious. Though in modern times, cults are often formed in religions because they take an idea too far or too literally. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the church or religion make certain ideas or rules the object of worship which inadvertently is the slippery slope into a cult that uses mind control on its members to keep them.

So we must ask ourselves, at what point does a group or club become a cult? Are all churches cults? What is the difference between a cult and a good church?

Let’s be honest, when the average person thinks of a cult, they may often think of a certain church or religion, and honestly that’s where a majority of cults are at. This is not to say that church is bad. Or that religion is bad. I think it really has alot to do with each individual church. What are they teaching you? Does it apply to modern day age? Is it backed by historical text (The Bible)? Is the church gaslighting you in a negative way? (I’ll explain later). Is the church growing? These, and more, are all factors to consider when figuring out if you’re going to a healthy church versus if you’re a part of a cult. Like many already know, sometimes it’s hard to know the difference. Let me help by explaining the many subtle differences between what goes on in a cult versus what goes on in a genuinely good and healthy church.

1. A cult gaslights you and keeps you in a cycle.

If a church gaslighting you sounds crazy, you may want to think again about what exactly they’re telling you. Are they telling you you’re worthy? For women- that you’re beautiful inside and out? For men- that you’re strong and courageous, etc. That you’re made in God’s image, capable of great things like following your dreams or starting that business? That you’re worthy both as a single person and as a married person?

Or, are they like businesses that create consumers by hypothetically creating the problem? (Like almost half of companies that exist) Similarly, in a church that operates like a cult, they might try to convince you or directly tell you “you’re a sinner” (contrary to telling you you’re worthy), and then they treat this word like it’s a disease. Next they explain how to “cure” this disease. They create the problem and then offer the solution. But wait, you can’t get the cure all at once, no no, you need to come back again and again, at least once a week – for the rest of your life. I’m not saying that going to church every week is bad. What I’m saying is that if that’s you’re mindset for going to church every week (to get rid of your sin “disease”), then you are going to church for all the wrong reasons. You’ve been bamboozled into a very convincing and false cycle of lies. Let me explain this further.

First off, the church should not continually be calling you a sinner. Though it is hard to wrap our minds around, even if we do sin, we are not sinners because Jesus already successfully did his part to remove that chain and identity from us. When I say “us,” I am referencing those who beleive Jesus is the savior. We call Jesus the Savior, not the ultimate guilt trip, yet for some reason why do some churches often feel like that? The church will tell you that you’re a sinner and then tell you not to sin. That doesn’t even logically make sense. Its like telling a dog they’re a dog but not to do dog things. The church instead needs to tell you you’re not a sinner. That you’re worthy and wise and spiritually competent to take on life. So, what does your church do? Does it give sound and true uplifting words of truth into your life for you to be the best version of yourself & the best citizen of society? Or does it make you take a guilt trip almost every time and create a cycle of repentance from the “church”?, like a business that just received a customer and uses ethos pathos and logos to keep them coming back for the product. Furthermore, the church might even try to convince you that your salvation is dependent on going to that church, when in reality, once a person receives God into their life, salvation and God are within us and not a far-away object needed to be continually obtained our entire life. The purpose of church is for the holy spirit to be present, fellowship, worship and teaching. The church facilitates salvation but it itself is not salvation. So if you’re having a hard time figuring out if you go to a good church or if you’re unknowingly part of a cult, the first step is to simply examine the verbiage used. What are they telling you about you? Are they creating a hypothetical problem within you, telling you you’re such a rascal and you need to repent every time you sin? Or, are they giving uplifting words of encouragement or truth to elevate your spiritual grounding and wellbeing?

2. A cult uses black and white language or thinking, often with little to no explanation.

Black and white language fits well with cults because they like to portray things as an extreme. For example, if you grew up going to church, you may have been told in a sermon that “sex is bad.” (Just an example of many of a plethora of topics). Here’s the thing, sure maybe premarital sex is not okay. But even more so, I do not know of one friend who had a pastor explain the why behind this. As if teenagers are supposed to know why it’s bad. I think the church should be more open about those topics. Like, instead of saying a black and white blanket statement like “sex is bad”, “the devil makes you lust,” or “if you sin youre going to hell if you dont repent” which invoke guilt, how about explaining it a bit better, in a more human way rather than in a religious way. Like – wait till marriage to have sex because physical touch or intimacy creates chemistry, which can mess up and dramatically alter one’s perspective of their partner. It can deceive you to think that someone who obviously isn’t the one for you, is the one for you, because the physical touch (the feel good feelings) messes up your ability to really see them for who they are. When a church uses such vague blanket statements as the one’s previously stated as examples, without explaining them, they leave a big gap for false teaching and is a red flag for being a cult.

3. A cult tries to make their imagination your reality.

So what do we mean by making someone else’s imagination a reality? In a church this can often be seen when a preacher talks about a dream, or if there is a prophetic word in prayer. Let’s explore these in more detail. When a preacher talks about a personal dream, they are explaining their own subconscious world. It is one thing to talk about a dream, which is totally fine. However it is another thing to say that one’s dream represents what is happening or will happen to the church. Sure, dreams may have been predictions in biblical times. However, today we cannot rely on dreams to tell someone else or a group of people their future. Dreams are not from God, they are simply programming’s of each person’s inner world. We should not be projecting our dreams onto others. The second one is when there is a prophetic word during a prayer. Members of churches often take these very seriously, yet often times we do not even know if the person saying them has been reading the word and in prayer. What if they just had an impulse to say what is on their heart? That is not from God, that is simply a word from that person – yet people think that they are hearing from God. If a preacher’s dreams are being interpreted as the future of the church or the world, or if prophetic words are being told from someone who was not prepared, you may want to rethink if you’re in a healthy church or in a cult.

Again, it really all comes down to the verbiage used and the lack of explanation of things in cultish churches. This is because if you feel you’re on the good side of the spectrum, members of the cult often feel very entitled or holier than thou, wanting to stay in that mindset. This is the sign that it’s too extreme. Nobody can be perfect. So the next time you visit a new church or even just at your own church, at least take note and examine these three things, 1. Does the church gaslight you and make you feel like you’re in a constant cycle? 2. Does the church use black and white language with often little to no explanation? 3. Does the church try to make an individual imagination everyone’s reality? Life is too short to get trapped in a mind game of lies within a cult. My hope in sharing this is that you take the time to find a genuinely good church that stays clear of all of those previously noted points, and instead uses God’s word to encourage you be the best version of yourself and the best citizen within society by looking towards Jesus.

God is Always Hiring

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a few jobs in your past. Perhaps your first job was simply to have some extra cash, to get you through college, or maybe to save up for your first car. The next job or two were most likely for the paycheck and to add to your resume for your career goals. It seems that many focus on secular values when it comes to securing a job – The paycheck and the status the job holds. These are of course reasonable things to consider. You need the resources that money provides and your ego wants to hold onto a status from a job title. However I think sometimes there is one part to the equation that many often neglect -applying for “jobs” that fit our calling.  In other words, how often do we forget to ask God if He is hiring for spiritual work? This might seem silly, but it truly is an important aspect to wellbeing.

As believers we know that there is a spiritual realm that resides in our midst. Oftentimes we may forget it is there because we experience the physical world with our five senses, while the spiritual realm only has one sense – often referred to as the sixth sense. How powerful must the spiritual realm be if we have only one sense to access it, yet it is the ultimate sense, the one that transcends all others?

Oftentimes a person gets in the cycle of trying something new that they are passionate about, failing, and ends up doubting the process, themselves, and if they even have a calling all at the same time. “Lord, I take refuge in You from cowardice.” These are the words of a college professor used to silence his fears. One might think, what does cowardice have to do with our calling? Most of us often doubt ourselves instead of doubting our doubts. In other words, a coward lacks courage. It is someone who discredits their own abilities to be who God created them to be. In a way, when someone has cowardice, they are more aligned in their ego instead of being aligned with God to bring out their best & higher self. We all have the capability to activate our high selves; it just takes a genuine desire and a genuine inner work ethic.

“You start by getting out of your own way.” That is a saying I’m sure many have heard for a plethora of different endeavors. Predictably, This idea also applies to getting hired by God. One might think, “What does getting hired by God even mean?” I believe there are many answers to this question because it depends on what kind of spiritual work God has called you to. Oftentimes many people are living in God’s calling without knowing it, while others don’t know if they are. To truly know if we are working for God, we must get to the heart and core of ourselves and ask the “Why” questions. If the answers include something along the lines of “to help others, to make an impact, to bring people closer to God, to teach others, to bring others into the kingdom of God, to make people happy, etc” you know for sure that your heart is in the right place: aligned with God. If the answers to your “Why” questions includes things such as status, fame, luxury, money, etc., you may want to reflect on where your heart is at. The most ironic thing that we even see in scripture, is that those who do God’s work on earth often will receive the rewards and luxury we all want; but not in the physical word. Scriptures give us constant assurance that these things will be among us in the spiritual realm; we will have endless abundance in the kingdom of God.

 As I Obey and serve you, I spend my days in plenty and my years in prosperity. I eat the good in the land.

Job 36:11

The Lord brings me into my promised land and gives me great and splendid cities which I did not build, houses full of all the good things I did not fill, vineyards and olive trees which I did not plant. The Lord satisfies me with good things; I eat and I am abundantly satisfied.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

Mark 10:17-31

We can see that God has endless abundance for those who enter the Kingdom of God. After reflecting on these verses and the idea of working in the spiritual realm, one can’t help but reflect or reconsider their job or career goals. Are we prioritizing secular work and careers over spiritual careers? Yes, money is important to have resources for ourselves and our family for day-to-day living. However, how much more important is the wealth we create for our spiritual realm which is eternal? Perhaps the next time you are in-between-jobs, consider whether God is creating space for you to talk to you, align you, and re-direct you into your spiritual calling – whether within or outside your career.  As they say, “rejection is just divine redirection,” and honestly that is a deeply true cliché. Whether you incorporate your spiritual work into your career, or you find time for spiritual work outside your career, you can know deep down that God is so proud of you for doing the spiritual work you are called to do in the spiritual realm, that it is recognized, and it will be rewarded.

Talk is Cheap

This Sunday the preacher’s sermon was powerful. I can probably say that about every sermon, but I just loved the simplicity behind the sermon. In my own words, I’d name the topic is “Talk is cheap.” This is a common phrase that is used – in songs, in quotes, a saying in conversations. Although I wonder if we know what it actually means. It seems like this is a universal saying, though not many know there is also a spiritual Interpretation behind this saying when it comes to God’s Kingdom. We can even find it in scripture.

“I will come soon, if the Lord let’s me, and I will find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power”

1 Corinthians 4:18

I mean, Wow. I think that was the first time I’ve really noticed this verse. Some people might see the Bible as a historical book about our ancestors,, but honestly it is far more that that. It indeed contains the blueprint for spiritual living. It’s so amazing how many golden nuggets scriptures contain. Revisiting the previous verse, we can see how irrelevant our talk is if we lack the substance of God in our life- God’s power and God’s love. Having God’s power and using it means we are confident in Him and confident in using Jesus’ name for both big or small problems in our life. These two are far more important than becoming a scholar in Theology and being able to refute points in a speech or argue. Knowledge can puff us up, but God’s love will edify and soften us. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the semantics of theology, that we need to go back to the basics and simplicity of God and the calling of God’s children: To love others, live by God’s power, and share it by being a living example of that.

Meditating about a Kingdom Lifestyle

God has really been pressing information about His Kingdom to the church lately. Isn’t funny how most of us haven’t even been a part of a kingdom on earth, so naturally we just assume God’s Kingdom will be like a country? (Because that’s what we’re used to) Yet, surely we should know that a Kingdom is far different from a country in how it operates. It’s worth thinking about and preparing for a Kingdom-like lifestyle, because ultimately we will one day be ushered into the new heaven/new earth where we will live with the King (God) and all His people. Sometimes we get so caught up in earthly things that we forget about this reality and new earth and lifestyle that will sooner or later come to be✨ (and is already in our midst in the unseen world)

We know that many kingdoms function similarly, so maybe perhaps we can expect The Kingdom of God to have similar qualities, which are:

All kingdoms have:

  • A king and lord–a sovereign ruler
  • A territory–a domain
  • A constitution–a royal covenant
  • A citizenry–a community of subjects
  • The law–acceptable principles
  • Privileges–rights and benefits
  • A code of ethics–acceptable lifestyles and conducts
  • An army–security
  • A commonwealth–economic security, and
  • A social culture–traditions, protocol and procedures

And so, although we have the ability to enjoy a variety of experiences and enjoy pushing ourselves in different endeavors in this lifetime, we should also remember we have a different life ahead of us. “Remind us how brief our time on earth will be. Remind us that our days are numbered- how fleeting life is. You have made our life no longer than the width of our hand. Our entire lifetime is just is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing…”
Psalm 39🌸

My Thoughts on Jesus and Easter

When it comes to Easter, I believe many think that this is only a holiday for religious people. I think people should put all these “Churchy,” “religious” and “Jesus-freak” labels aside and actually explore God’s nature without society’s influence of domesticating it or without compartmentalizing God towards religion. So in a podcast I was listening to, someone said “affirming the trinity in the modern world is like crazy

talk,” and I kind of did that fast exhale, kind of when you see a funny meme on facebook, mostly because that seems to be true. It also mentioned “If we believe in the trinity, then shouldn’t we be called “Godtians” and not just “Christians?” While a bit humorous, it is also thought-provoking because it made me think, why don’t we call ourselves Godtians? Then the lecture brought out a good point though, we aren’t striving to be fully divine like God, we are striving to be fully human as Christ was. Some think Jesus was this perfect person, when in reality he was human just like the rest of us– he probably also clipped his toe nails and had inside jokes with the apostles.

Furthermore, in the podcast I was listening to, I really liked how he defined Omnipotence. When mentioning this word, I’ve always thought of God having all kinds of powers, or perhaps holding a lightning bolt. However, the way he said it made all the more sense to me, “Omnipotence is not a power over people, it is more of an empowerment from God and others.” Through Jesus, I can definitely see Him reflecting God’s omnipotence. Additionally, when he mentioned miracles, I often thought that miracles are only physical, yet he mentioned, “Miracles are God’s intervention in our lives,” meaning they can both be physical and spiritual. All in all, Jesus’ life not only showed what it means to live a meaningful and joyous life, but it also reflected God’s spirit and Omnipotence. Though this is a hard concept to grasp that God is both fully

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

human and fully divine, the podcast had a great analogy when he said, “Like the strands of a rope that, twisted around each other, provide a strong cord, these two perspectives compose the strands of the theological tightrope of Christology: the affirmation that Jesus is truly God and truly human.”

But, who is this God or Jesus we speak of? Just like many today, I also used to imagine God to be a loving wise elderly man. I’m not sure if that is my original thought, or if I got inspired from movies/media like Bruce Almighty or The Giver. Similarly, when I think of Jesus, I often think that he looked like Mel Gibson from The Passion. It is interesting though, I had found out from one of my college classes that Jesus most likely looked more Mediterranean, (just like in the picture below)

and not so much the European look we have gregariously applied to Jesus. I think it’s safe to say that external influences have distorted the image of Jesus. Nonetheless, perhaps this just goes to show that we should not look to random sources for discovering who or what God is, (His looks are irrelevant to his godly spiritual characteristics and actions anyway) but rather go right to the source and God will reveal Godself.

And now, since today is Easter, I often keep the golden nuggets of insight to myself but I thought I’d share one today. Here is a wonderful quote that beautifully epitomizes the nature of God in today’s world:

“Now yes, yes, creation sometimes screams a confusing message—fear, pain, grief. Fire burns, rivers flood, winds go hurricane, the earth shudders so hard it levels cities. But you must remember—this was not so in Eden. Mankind fell, surrendering this earth to the evil one. St. Paul says that creation groans for the day of its restoration (see Rom. 8:18–22), making it clear that everything is not as it was meant to be. People come to terrible conclusions when they assume this world is exactly as God intended. (An assumption that has wrought havoc in the sciences.) The earth is broken.
Which only makes the beauty that does flow so generously that much more astounding. And reassuring.”

How blessed are we to have a God who still intervenes in our fallen world?! How blessed are we that this God sacrificed himself to give us the perfect example of what it means to be human?! Happy Easter Folks!!

Surrendering to Vocation

I truly related this blog post,because it stated the obvious—sometimes our careers are not our vocations, they are just a necessary obligation to uphold finances in our life. Here are a few quotes from the blog that relate to what I’m trying to say, because sometimes other people are able to say things in a more coherent, clear and elegant way.

On careers

This is part of life and while it’s not much fun, if you want to eat and provide for your family, it can be necessary. But with vocation, you don’t have to do all the hard work. With vocation, God is involved in the search and there are so many needs out there, doors will start to open that give you clues about where to go and what to be.”

Although, if you’re lucky enough, your vocation and your career CAN match up! (sadly, they often don’t for everybody)

On finding your vocation

“Give yourself a lot of exposure to works like the legend of St. George and the Dragon, or the Chronicles of Narnia, or the Lord of the Rings … stories and myths that became epics by inspiring courage to try great things that are way over your heads. That’s when you see the greatness of God and the greatness he’s put in you that you might never have suspected was there. These stories show us something about taking the way that is not always comfortable and enduring hardship for the sake of something greater than our own pleasure. They tell us that the battle-scars of love and sacrifice are not a burden, they are an adventure. And the really great tales aren’t just about the biggest, toughest conquerors. They are about children and hobbits and anti-heroes who are scared spitless but do what they have to do for a greater good. These stories also include the importance of selflessly doing the hard things that are boring and frustrating and tiring to get to whatever prize God has in mind.”

More than anyone else in the world, you’ve been able to watch the supernatural love and courage of your mom. If you want to become like anyone in this world, become like her. You didn’t get to see what an Amazon she was pushing each of you 11-pound guys into the world through sweat, blood, agony and shrieking …But you have seen how hard it was for her to suck it up, work hard and take on leading . I know you appreciate it and you love her, but also, remember that you carry her physical and spiritual DNA … there is something of her in each of you. Don’t squander that great and precious gift on what the world tells you that you need to do or be. Give that gift back to God.

I think this idea applies to many people’s lives. On the one hand, you might truly enjoy learning new things and new perspectives. However on the other hand, maybe you don’t have a specific career path. However one’s career path can help them with their vocational path in many ways.  That can be the magic in it sometimes—a career may not necessarily get you to the top or guarantee you amazing wages, yet if it can help a person discover their vocation, that might be what is truly more important. I’m telling you, it’s all about the journey.

At the end of the day, vocation will boil down to surrendering to what God (the Universe) has for you, because it’s far better than anything we’ll dream up for ourselves.