New Blog Alert!

****Hi Friends of the Self Love Challenge!****

I know I shut down this blog, however, you know me – I am still writing away. So if you do enjoy reading what I write, then please go and give my new blog a follow. It’s similar, but not really. I wanted to move away from the self help-y vibe and into the “just being me and rambling about whatever is on my mind” kind of vibe. So if you’re into that, then great! Go check it out!

NEW BLOG LINK

Once again, thank you for the support and I look forward to seeing your interactions with me on my new blog.

much love xx

Christina

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Love Always Triumphs Darkness.

Image result for love conquers all

It’s too beautiful of a day to be sad. And it’s too beautiful of a life not to honor myself by doing what I love, which is to write. As Mark Nepo, a favorite poet of mine once said, “it hurts not to be heard or not to be seen, but it’s more deadly not to see and hear,” in other words, it is more deadly to your spirit to not create at all, than to live in fear that your work will never be received.  So with that said, I must continue to write, despite the challenges I have been facing over the last week.

If you have been following my blog, or more so, my Instagram or Facebook page for The Self Love Challenge, you would know that a pesky little individual (which I will not give credit to by name) has been driving me absolutely mad by commenting the most cruel, disgusting, and malicious comments on my posts. I do not understand why another human being would have so much hate towards me or towards anyone really, but this is the world we live in – where hate is literally everywhere.

But you know what is much, much greater and stronger than hate – LOVE. Love will always triumph hate in every and any possible way. Allow to further explain.

While at first, I was a bit disconcerted by this person’s comments and almost allowed myself to believe them (how silly of me, right?), I decided that the best defense against this sort of hate was a community of love to surround myself with. So that is exactly what I set out to find.

I made a post on my various social media pages speaking out against cyberbullying and how I had been exposed to it. I was overwhelmed by the amount of responses I received to what I said. People that I did not expect to even read my post, were responding with love and encouragement. So many others were responding with reassuring comments telling me not to worry, that I was incredibly beautiful no matter what anybody said, that I was such an encouraging person, that I write so beautifully, that I am so kind hearted. The list went on and on and my heart began to feel amazed by the loving spirit of all of these people who I had no idea cared for me this greatly.

See, this is what love does.

It always protects. It is faithful. It fights. It always perseveres even through any kind of darkness. Love is vessel of which God’s light flows through and it fights against the dark and always win.

With that said, to the person who believed they could throw me off course or halt my journey – I say, not today. The love I have within me and that surrounds me is much more powerful and much greater than any of the words you can say. And I will not stop spreading the goodness of love, even to you. Because hate will never stand for very long. It may produce temporary fear or pain, but it will never outlast the power of love.

I will keep on writing. And I will keep on expressing who I am, and to those who do not care for it, then I bid you farewell. You have the right to not read anything I write. You have the right to not look at anything I post. Why waste so much effort trying to hurt another human being, when instead you could lift them up and love them instead?

That is the antidote to all of the hate in this world. To all of the suffering. To all of the darkness. To all of the destruction and toxicity. It is love. It is always love.

Thank you for helping me see that. I may not have known my full worth before and was still searching for that concrete feeling, but after this, I know that I am really loved. And although you may never understand it, I forgive you. And I hope one day you will feel the exact same love that I feel now.

To my friends and family, thank you for encouraging me. For reminding me not to give up on my purpose just because of a minor dark spot in the road. I am grateful for this journey and I am grateful that I am learning how to truly love who I am, because that really is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Once you learn that, you can use that power inside you to spread light to everyone else.

I had another post that I had prepared for today, but I won’t post it just yet. This was much more important. But I guess in every post there is a message – so this one being that love will always triumph darkness. Remember that the light will always expose the dark.

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

xx

Christina

Life is Not a Competitive Sport. 


With the Olympics going on, my boyfriend and I have been making a conscious effort to be more active together. This last weekend we decided to play one of our favorite sports together, basketball, near the beach (since it was much cooler weather). It was amazing getting back into the game and I not only realized how much fun it was to play together, but it really brought out my confidence.

My boyfriend asked me to use this picture of him from our game as inspiration for my next blog post. It’s been challenging trying to come up with something directly related to basketball that would tie into the Self Love Challenge. When you think of sports, you don’t automatically correlate it to loving yourself and others or with learning how to become a better human being. However, today after listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the idea finally came to me. It’s a little outside the box, but trust me, read on because it might be helpful.

In the interview, Liz spoke about the difference between ambition and competitiveness in relation to creativity. With a little bit of digging into my own imagination, I was able to find a way to connect her ideas with how it relates to life, love, and overall personal growth.

There is a time and place for competitiveness. In sports, it’s necessary. However, in living a healthy lifestyle and in pursuing creativity as Liz warns, it can be destructive. For example, when in competition, the end goal in mind is usually to win or to prove something, sometimes by any means. Your entire focus is on achieving this goal, because you want to be the best out of everyone in what you are competing in. Most of the time it is a means of proving our worth or our skill.  

However, when it comes to creativity, Liz explains that this kind of competitive mindset can actually be harmful and a killer of creativity. Competition should not be the motivating factor that drives you to create art. If the end goal of achieving fame, money, or recognition is why you are creating, then it really isn’t much of a passion but rather another form of striving for acceptance or recognition. Passion should come from a deeper drive within ourselves. We should want to create something, not feel like we must in order to achieve some sort of reward or win. Our passion should come out of our own place of curiosity and inherent desire to pursue what makes us feel alive.

She then goes on to speak about ambition and how ambition is a better motivating factor when it comes to creativity. Ambition is a different sort of drive. It is the drive that motivates you to be the best version of yourself, rather than simply doing something for the sake of winning. When we are ambitious about something, we want to put our best selves forth. We want to create something beautiful because it reflects who we are. We want to learn more and hone our craft just because we are eager to become better at it for our own sake.

How does this relate to life or loving ourselves and others? In life and love we do not compete. Our goal in life is not to compete with other people, to be the best at this or have the best of this, but rather to enjoy our own individual journeys. If we have a set end goal in mind, then we are not truly living, but rather in this competing mindset of having to prove something.

Think about it, if your only motive in life was to have more of something than someone else does, does that truly bring satisfaction? Or what about in relationships, would you feel genuinely happy when you know you are just in it to reach an end goal of say, getting married or having someone commit? Not really right. It would feel too forced. And then you would end up comparing your life to the lives of others, realizing that some other person did it better than you or has something more than you. 

That lack of happiness or joy comes from having a competitive mindset. Life isn’t a race or a game that we have to win at. Life is meant to be a journey where we experience different successes and failures. It doesn’t matter whether we are considered true winners, because in reality, someone else is always going to be doing better off than us.

Winning in life means living a full life. Loving fully. Giving our best selves to the world and to the people we interact with each and every day. We want to have an ambitious mindset and display characteristics of honesty, patience, kindness, and trust. We want to take our time. We want to carefully learn our craft of loving ourselves or loving other people. And that when we will understand that it’s really not about winning or losing, but simply experiencing something.

Just as in making artwork, when we do it for the pure love of doing it, even if it looks terrible, we still can find joy in creating it. But if we don’t bring that sort of ambition with us, and rather are creating something just for sake of reward and end up losing, we create HUGE disappointment for ourselves, which may even destroy us a little in the long run.

Let us not think of life or love as something we must do perfectly or competitively. We all know that striving and trying too hard at something, doesn’t really get us very far. So it’s really best to just be ourselves. To love purely. To live simply. And most importantly to do these things not with any hidden intentions or underlying motives for some sort of gain, but just living authentically because we want to be better people.

So when it comes to love, life or creativity, leave the competition at the courts, and do yourself a favor and just let it flow out from your heart instead. There’s no need to prove yourself, to compare yourself, to force, to compete, or to win – because in the end success is what you define it as. 


So I guess you could say that I what I learned on the courts that day. Yes, we may have been playing a type of competing sport against each other, but at the end of the day, I learned that it wasn’t about being a winner or a loser, it was about having fun, and enjoying life for what it is.

The Self Love Daily Challenge: Life is not a competition, so don’t treat it as such. Bring your best self into every situation, and don’t strive to prove your worth.

xx

Christina Ciro
P.S Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @christina.ciro and Facebook! thanks for the support! 

 

 

Finding Yourself Begins with Facing Yourself.


Every time I begin writing, I always ask myself, “why don’t I do this more often? I mean I get so much enjoyment from it, why do I wait so long in between to actually write again?” Well let me tell you why. It’s because I’m lazy. Yup. There it is. No, actually it’s not just that. It’s because I am afraid. It’s fear. It’s always fear that holds us back, isn’t it?

I have all these great topics inside of my head mostly inspired by all of the podcasts I listen to and influential people I research, and yet the posts are not flowing out of my fingers. Why? Because I think they are not good enough. Or rather that I am not good enough to write them. I worry that nobody reads them, and you know, nobody probably does, but that shouldn’t stop me! I shouldn’t be putting out content just because I want some kind of recognition or affirmation that I am a good writer or that I am helping someone. I should do it plainly because I want to. Because it is my calling, or my screaming, rather as Elizabeth Gilbert would say.

Speaking of Elizabeth Gilbert, this post is loosely inspired by her latest podcast episode on Magic Lessons, where she speaks of this idea of us each of us having our callings, and that if we are not truly passionate about something and it is not giving us energy or making us feel alive, then obviously we are not running after our calling – because naturally our calling should be something screaming at us and not simply existing in our daily lives.

While my post today isn’t directly about running after our callings, it is about finding ourselves, or rather just being our true selves. You’d be surprised to find out that many people aren’t true to who they are. Most people are usually either hiding a part of themselves by pretending to be something they are not or running away from a part of themselves because they don’t want to be exposed. Not many people are brave enough to actually be their true selves – however imperfect, weird, broken, or strange of a self that is. Because we live in a world where being ourselves is a very unnatural thing.

The world today is constantly telling us to be something else. Instead of standing out, try to fit in. Instead of following your dreams, do what is safe. Instead of liking purple, like orange, because orange is more in. You get the point. The world is never happy with who you are. It promotes competition rather than acceptance. But I guess competition is interesting, right? If we all accepted each other and allowed ourselves to just be who we are, then it would be too easy.

What is so wrong with being ourselves? Why is so scary about it? Are we that afraid of originality and uniqueness? And yet what I find funny is that there are all these other people promoting uniqueness, and yet everyone still just copies each other because they are so afraid to truly be unique, to truly just be themselves. They want to fit in. They want to belong. And I get it. Belonging is one of our deepest human needs. But there can be another way to find belonging – that is simply by accepting each other for who we are.

But I’m getting a little off topic here I guess. Me and my rants on today’s society. Can you tell that I have many issues with the direction that the world is headed into?

But anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that I feel that for the last several years I have been a very lost soul. I was probably a lost soul before that, but my awareness of being lost only happened a few years ago after my breakdown I guess. Up until that point, I was just like the many other people who pretend and hide and run. I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to do what was right or what was expected.

But once you almost lose control over your entire life, reality hits you hard and fast and you almost become forced with facing your true self even if you don’t want to. I think that the only way to truly find ourselves is to face ourselves first.


(Me trying to be silly – this is not an easy task)

Why is it so hard to face ourselves? Why do we run from who we are? I think we are afraid of being exposed, that if we reveal our true selves, people will not like who we are and reject us. And we can’t handle that rejection. So we hide who we are. We try our best to mold ourselves and fit in and please others, but then we often find that after a while we don’t even know ourselves anymore or our true identities. 

I feel like an imposter all the time, even now, even as I write this. I feel like I am not a writer. What gives me the credit to actually give advice or to write this? I feel like an imposter because I show people how to be happy and yet I still struggle with trying to be happy myself. I feel like an imposter because I am guilty of carefully crafting my own social media pages so that it appears to the outside world that my life is amazing, when in reality, I struggle. I am human still. I am weak still. I still struggle with so many problems of my own and yet I try and hide them instead of facing them, revealing them, sharing them, unburdening myself from the shame weighing down on me from running from them
I am trying not to do this anymore, but of course, no one is ever perfect, but we can try our best to actively become more aware and in tune with our true selves – not being afraid of being vulnerable or exposing too much to others. Sure, it comes with risks, everything we do involves some kind of risk, but I think the reward is far greater. Being able to be ourselves is truly the best gift we can give ourselves. It takes too much energy to pretend, eventually the facade will collapse. Eventually we will all be faced with the mirror with time and we won’t be able to run any further. 
I promise it isn’t as scary as you think. Once you can begin to befriend the different parts of yourself, rather than distinguish your lesser parts as your enemy, I think you will find that it’s better that way. It’s better not to be ashamed of your brokenness, or the fact that you are less than perfect in certain ways, or that you are quirky in others. It’s better to actually embrace these traits and to allow yourself that freedom to just be who you are. It’s not a bad thing. It’s what makes you YOU. And sometimes you find that you have parts of yourself inside you that you didn’t even know existed, parts that only will reveal themselves if you gently coax them out with your own acceptance. 
I’m still trying to discover who I really am. I know I am definitely far from perfect. My past is far from perfect. My present is still unfolding, and my future, I’m pretty confident will be bright if I manifest it to be. I know that I can be emotional and that you will always know when something is bothering me. I know that I try and pretend far too often that I’m ok, but in reality, I really just need a hug or someone to tell me, ‘it’s ok.‘ I think people often perceive me as shy, or even sometimes as unfriendly, but really I’m probably just intimidated or lacking in confidence of what to say, but when you open me up, there’s an entire world of wisdom waiting to be released into a good conversation. I am very sympathetic, and as much as I don’t show it out loud, I have a huge heart for hurting people, especially those who I know are going through events similar to what I’ve experienced. I want to help people. And I want to start doing so more directly rather than just hiding behind a screen and typing some words (although, writing will always be the most comfortable medium for me to express myself in.
I know so far that I want to live a life that is adventurous. I want to explore and learn as much as I possibly can. I don’t want to live a life hiding in fear or obeying to fear. I want to live a life filled with as much love in my heart as possible, for myself, for others, and for nature. I want to create change, even if it’s just on a small scale of helping a few people learn to love themselves more. 
I want to reveal myself. I want to be myself. Because I miss that. I feel like we are our true selves in childhood and then as we grow up, the world tries it’s hardest to break us down, telling us that we must be a certain way or else we won’t fit in. So we lose our childlike innocence and playfulness. We set our dreams aside and look to things that will bring us more security, more money, more fame, more credibility. We forget what it was like to simply let ourselves be. To have fun. To relax. To enjoy. 
Instead, we fixate on making sure the parts of ourselves that we think won’t be accepted are properly hidden, and focus rather on enhancing what we think people will find more interesting. We end up running from ourselves. Building up a fear that makes us believe that if we are truly exposed we will be unwanted. How is this a way to live? How is this a way to thrive? How is this a way to truly connect?
There is no connection without vulnerability. There is no trust without vulnerability. And without connection and trust, we cannot love. If we do not connect with or trust ourselves, we will never be able to truly love ourselves. If we cannot connect or trust other people, we will never be able to love others. And that is ultimately what we are commanded to do.

The Self Love Challenge: 

Stop running from yourself. Face who you are, accept it, love it, and show who you truly are to the world. 
xx
Christina 

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @Christina.Ciro or on Facebook! Love you all and thanks for the support!

The Meaning of Life or What Really Matters.

I came across a Bible verse today that really struck me hard this morning. It wasn’t even the biblical context that really made me question things, but rather in relation to life itself.

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? – Mark 8:36

For those of you who do not believe in God, I’ll translate it into what it meant to me that may relate to you more.

If you gain all the riches of the world, fame, fortune, all sorts of pleasure, any material possession, anything you can basically imagine achieving that is defined as success by the world, but then have nothing truly meaningful in your life like love, family, relationships, any sort of impact on other’s lives, or any kind of desire for creating eternal change, then what is the point of it all?

This made me think. It made me think of the world we live in. How literally everyone is focused on achieving their own instant gratification rather than creating deeper connections or greater impact. We have become such a selfish society. And I am not afraid to say that, even towards myself because we all fall into the same trap. It makes us feel good to fulfill our own desires. It is human instinct to be selfish. And the times we live in now, not only encourage it more so than ever before, but it has become the social norm to be this way, when in generations before, it was not.

Our image has become our God. We worship our image. We do everything we can to create this outward appeal. We go to great lengths, even if it means hurting others who get in the way. We sacrifice our families, our friends, our careers, our relationship. We seek more and more and more, and yet during our life time we have become the most depressed generation.

Why is this? Because we have turned inward. We have forgotten what it’s like to experience real connection. Loving others has become less of a priority and giving to ourselves has raised to the top. It’s not even about self-love, because we don’t even love ourselves. In fact, we hate ourselves more than ever because we are constantly so focused on outdoing everyone else’s image with our own. But we can never feel like we are enough.

I see how the widening popularity of social media has impacted the way we see our own identity. We base our worth on who “likes” our stuff or who we are friends with or how many followers we have.

It’s not only affecting our lives online, but also offline. Our culture has made it so that it has become so acceptable to overshare our opinions of literally everything that everyone believes that they must conform to what is popular in order to be deemed as a “worthy individual.” It is ruining relationships. Friendships. Careers. Causing identity crisis. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. Jealousy. Rage.   

It is creating so much hatred in the world as well. Look at the recent shootings. We are spreading news and opinions so quickly that people don’t even get a moment to digest it but rather are overwhelmed with the opinions of everyone else in a matter of seconds. Then before you know it, all of this promoting causes them to feel entitled enough to go out and fix the problem themselves – resulting in even more destruction. There is so much animosity. So much judgment. So much entitlement. So many opinions of what is right and wrong. And all it does is create chaos and produce more confusion.

I’m not blaming it all on social media. This isn’t a post about social media at all and how I am advocating against it (I’m not, I know now it can be used for good). It’s rather a post about the way our culture has evolved just in the last 10 years. How much importance it is placing on the wrong things. And as a result, we have lost the true meaning and purpose of life. It was never about us.

What is the meaning and purpose of life?

A friend of mine is doing a project on this very question. I responded to her question, and I wanted to share an expanded version of my response with you. I am not saying that even my own opinion is right, but what I can tell you is that the meaning of life is not to glorify ourselves and create a world of competition, lost identity, and hatred.

The meaning of life. Wow. Such a complicated yet simple question. I think the meaning of life is several things. The first purpose is to love. I believe we were created (by God) to love and to receive love in return. I think love was created for a good reason. It is obviously important because it is truly the basis for every purpose and motivation in life. We do things out of love. We experience things out of love. We pursue things out of love. We create things out of love. We are inspired because of love. Love is the one universal thing that connects us all. It is understood in every language.

It doesn’t even have to be romantic love, it can be any kind of relational connection from strangers to friends to family to significant others. Love is meant to be shared. It is meant to be given freely and received freely. It is not meant to be judged. It is not meant to create competition. It is not meant to spread division. Rather it is used to unite. Anything that is not love is based off fear and fear is what causes disconnection. Fear is what drives our need for competition. Fear is what creates hatred among each other. Fear is what causes entitlement. Fear is what tells us to focus on ourselves and not others. Fear is what kills. Love does none of this. Love is pure. It’s only motivation is for good. Love others. Love ourselves. 

The second purpose of life is to connect. We all learn from each other, whether growing up as children and learning from our parents to learning from our peers. Each of these relationships create a connection. Without connection humans would cease to exist. It is that vital. 

There was a scientific study in the 1950s called the “Monkey Love Experiments” conducted by psychologist Harry Harlow. Through the use of baby monkeys and robots, he conducted a theory to prove how critical it is to have emotional attachment and connection in our lives and when we cease to have this, we literally go insane. In his experiments he separated baby monkeys from their mothers and placed them in two separate groups – one with a surrogate robot mother that was made a plain electronics and wires but had provided nourishment (milk) and a second surrogate robot mother that did not provide nourishment but was covered in soft terry cloth to resemble the comforting presence of a real mother. He found that the monkeys that were placed with the plain robot showed signs of emotional deprivation and depression even though they were adequately nourished. The other monkeys seemed happier and more secure because they were able to form an emotional attachment and connection to the terry cloth covered robot. (Link)


What this proves is our significant need for emotional attachment and connection. Without it, we are empty. Purposeless. It is the same for human beings. Without adequate connections to others, our lives feel meaningless. I believe that one of our deepest human needs is to feel understood and we can only find that understanding when we connect to others. We connect by being vulnerable with each other and once we can break that barrier, we find understanding. We create the emotional attachment. Understanding allows us to feel loved and a sense of belonging.

In today’s world, I feel like we have less of that sense of belonging now more than ever. We are all trying so desperately to connect, and yet we have become so far from it because our attempts are directed in the wrong way. Instead of seeking to understand, we are seeking to compete. Instead of seeking to love, we are seeking to judge. Instead of being vulnerable, we are only revealing ourselves as a carefully put together façade of what we want people to see. Connection cannot blossom through this way of being.

The third and final meaning of life, I believe is to create. And not necessarily to create artwork, although it can be, but in essence to create anything. We can create life by reproduction , children. We can create beauty – through outward expression, through human connection, through love. We can create friendships. We can create whatever it is that inspires us to grow and learn, and most importantly to steer mankind into a worthy direction.

God created creation by creating us. He created love. He created nature. He created the Earth and all of the universe. Creating was His gift to us and we must also follow His lead by creating good things as well. We must create out of love, not out of fear.

This is what I believe the true meaning to life is. To love. To connect. And to create. When we lack these things, our life becomes empty – purposeless. Without love, we are nothing. Without connection we feel isolated and misunderstood. And when we have no creativity, we have no form of outward expression, no motivation to keep us going, so life becomes boring.

Three simple things originally based in love, and yet we have evolved into turning them all into things based on fear. Instead of loving, we now hate. Instead of connecting, we have now become selfish. Instead of creating,  we destroy. 


The self love daily challenge: Let’s work together to originate ourselves back to the true and worthy meanings of life. Let’s love again. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Let’s connect again. Talk to someone. Understand them. Relate to them. And lastly, let’s inspire each other to create good things. To express ourself in positive, healthy ways. 

xx

Christina Ciro

 

 

 

An Important Lesson in Patience and Trust.

  
Hi lovelies! 

The Lord loves convicting my heart, doesn’t He? Yes, another biblical based post, just because I am learning SO much from God right now in regards to my own life and because I feel it will be so relevant to others, I must share! 

I don’t know what it is, but once you hit your late 20’s, it seems as if everyone you know is either doing one of three things – getting married, having a baby, or living up their life with a successful job/relationship. And with the joyous help of social media, it seems as if all of these exciting life events that are happening to your friends will be broadcasted in your face 24/7. So it becomes a constant reminder that either a) you’re not engaged, b) you’re not married and having a baby, or c) your life pretty much sucks.

 Now, I hate to be a downer, but it’s only natural that as humans we like to compare and compete with everyone else. So my natural tendency is to compare my own life to the lives of everyone else I know and right now, my life doesn’t seem all too exciting. To make matters worse, as any girl I’m sure would relate, being engaged, having a baby or just having a wonderful life in general is a girl’s life goal. Ok, I don’t mean that it’s the only life goal we ever have, because that would be kind of shallow, but these events are all pretty important milestones that us women REALLY look forward too. And because I am ticking closer to 30 as each day goes by, the thought of “what if I never get married” is becoming much more prominent.

So because of all this nonsense and worry, I’ve brought it upon myself to have a mini panic attack after hearing the news of yet another engagement of someone I know and I’ve been stuck in a bit of a slump ever since. I went through the typical (pathetic, non-self-loving) motions – “why me? What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone love me?” for the past week and half. And then today I had enough. I sat down and I prayed. And I had a little conversation with God that went something like this:

“Hey God, yup, it’s me again. OK seriously what’s going on here? Why am I the last one to get married out of everyone? You know I want it so bad. Like I’ve wanted it since I was a little girl. And my dream has always been to be a wife and a mother. So why won’t you just let it happen already? I’m ready now. I’m going to be 27. Can you just make my boyfriend ready to propose already so we can move on with this? I reallllly don’t want to get to 30 and not be married yet, so please spare me that embarrassment ok? Work with me?”
And then God, being the loving Father that He is, said no.

 At first I was upset. I mean it’s normal for any grown 27 year old woman my age to throw a temper tantrum when her Almighty Father says “no” to one of her biggest requests, right? Yeah. I don’t know. But I was seriously upset. I started to even doubt His love for me. I started to doubt whether I was even good enough or beautiful enough or lovable enough for a man to even want me. But then I realized right away that it was all just Satan speaking in my ear. So I started to ask why instead. Why is He saying “no” to me right now?

I began listening to a sermon from The Gathering Oasis Ministry about Christian dating, and even though it was kind of unrelated, the pastor began to speak about something that completely answered my question. He was talking about women just like me who were asking God why He wasn’t bringing them a husband or children or whatever it is that they wanted out of life. He then spoke about how most of the time the reason is because it isn’t in God’s timing yet and because we aren’t trusting God with our desires. The other thing that really stuck out with me, that I know for sure was a message directly from the Holy Spirit was this one line: Patience is a fruit of the spirit. And contentment solves the need to be impatient.

Whoa. That is truth literally hitting you in the gut

God gave me my answer. He wasn’t saying “no” entirely, He was just saying “not yet.” He was trying to explain to me that I was being really impatient and not trusting in His timing for what He wants in my life for me right now. And because I wasn’t trusting Him and being really impatient, it was breeding a lot of discontentment in my life to the point where if I continued this way, it could very easily ruin the wonderful relationship I already had going. He made me aware that I wasn’t enjoying the waiting period – the discovering and learning period of a relationship. He told me that I was being too impatient, that I shouldn’t be in such a hurry to fast forward to marriage because in reality I’m still not ready because He is still working on me.

This hit me pretty hard, and I’ll be honest, it was kind of disappointing to hear that I wasn’t getting what I wanted still, but at the same time, I do feel at peace. I feel like I really do need to trust in His timing and His plan, because He really is the only one who knows best. It made me think that what if I really am not ready for marriage or baby and what if God is saving me from a lot of heartbreak because of my lack of preparation right now. I know He needs to work in me still. I know there is a lot to learn. And I’m sure there is a lot of work that needs to be done on my future husband as well (whoever that may be.) So yeah, it’s kind of disappointing, but it’s also kind of exciting, because I know that if I do trust and be patient and endure like He says, then the result will be something beautiful. I don’t want to rush things and make them a mess.

So here’s my lesson to you all, trust in the Lord and be patient. I know it’s hard to endure that period of waiting, but it will probably be worth it. And in the meantime, learn to be content right now. Find joy in the present moment. Maybe it’s not where you’d like to be, but enjoy it for what it is right now. Find happiness in it. Life is too short to be miserable over waiting for things you want to happen. They will happen when they happen, if they are meant to. I just thought of this metaphor that relates. It’s like fruit. If you force it to ripen before it is ready, it won’t be very sweet. But if you let it ripen on its own, you can guarantee it will be delicious and rewarding. So let the events in your life ripen naturally.

And for all of my married friends or soon to be married friends or friends with babies or even friends with super successful, amazing lives, I’m happy for you. There’s nothing worse than being bitter over someone else’s happiness. So I’m not going to let myself be that person. My time will come too. I just have to keep reminding myself – patience and trust, patience and trust, patience and trust. I think you’ll find that once you begin to let go of holding on tight to the thing you want most, somehow it will end up in your hands anyway when the time is right. 

The Self Love Challenge: 

Have patience with the things in your life you want most. Trust in God’s timing. And allow things to ripen naturally
xx

Christina Ciro

 

 

 

Love Remains. 

  

I’ve been having these thoughts lately about the purpose of life or my life rather because currently I am at a crossroad on which direction to take next concerning my job, as well as other things that are important. And it’s usually when we are facing a major decision or key moment in our lives when we begin to think about our purpose. We ask ourselves how much impact this decision would really make on our lives? How would things change or would they not change much at all? We begin to wonder whether this decision will be something that would affect how we are seen to others. All these important factors come into play when we are making an important decision regarding our life purpose. But in end, I’m starting to realize that our life purpose really isn’t about how successful we were or what things we have acquired or who we are better than. Sure, people may remember some of those things for a while like the time you received an award for your work on a major project that led the company to financial success, but in the end doesn’t all that fade away eventually – in 30,40,50,100 years? Shouldn’t we invest in something more eternal? Something that would impact others more deeply? Like love…

I’m not saying to give up on finding success but what I am saying is to also focus on something that will remain – like love. Love is eternal. And how we loved creates a lasting impact on the lives of others for years. People still remember how the love of Mother Theresa helped impact many lives. Something so small as her acts of kindness created change throughout many generations.

I always wonder when we die and (hopefully) make to heaven if one of the questions God will ask of us is if we loved (others). I’m sure He will ask us this because He was the originator of love in the first place and loved us first so that we would turn around and love others. So I feel like loving others is an extremely important act we must perform otherwise God would have not strained it’s importance of loving others in the Bible as often as He did (John 13:34).

I believe it is so important to do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). What do I mean by that? When we do everything with the basis of love, we are doing it for the good of others rather than our own selfish ambition. When we are constantly worried about our own gains, we don’t leave room for impacting the lives of other people. If we are only concerned with what we can achieve or how we can get ahead, how satisfying of life do you believe you will have? Wouldn’t you look back and feel kind of empty, because the only life you impacted was your own? But what if you lived a life where you gave love freely to others and committed acts of kindness throughout your life; wouldn’t you look back and feel so full of joy because you left an imprint of love on so many hearts?

I learned something new today – that when we are able to love others, that is the only time we will ever begin to feel true joy. Because instead of focusing inward and seeking our own happiness, which is usually fleeting and temporary, we focus outward instead, and produce a long lasting feeling of joy that comes from loving other people.

Love doesn’t always have to mean romance either. It can be brotherly love, sisterly love, friendship love, coworker love, stranger love, animal love, etc. Love can take on many forms. Love is a form of kindness, so we can show that to just about anyone and anything. Showing love can also mean changing our personality. If usually we are cold and unfriendly or distant from others, we can turn ourselves around, ask God to help change our stone cold hearts, and begin to look at the world and other people in a friendlier light. This way we are protruding out love instead of hate or indifference.

We can show love in the manner that we speak –using gentle tones or encouraging words. We can show love in the way we act –doing something nice for someone else or taking the burden off someone’s shoulders. We can show love by spending time with friends or family or even strangers who could use a new friend. We can show love by helping the poor, giving to the needy, or volunteering our time for a good cause.

Love is the only thing that will truly leave a lasting impact and legacy. People will remember your achievements, but they will remember the way you made them feel a lot longer. I was thinking about this as I began to form my decision. Sure, I want to have a good job someday, something I love doing that would motivate me to create each and every day, but in the end, is that really going to matter? Shouldn’t my focus really be on making an eternal impact of loving others on behalf of Jesus Christ? I’m not saying that I’m going to just quit everything I’m passionate about and focus only on this one eternal goal, but I do want to stop thinking most of the time in terms of what is going to benefit me or bring me more gain, and rather begin to think in terms of how could I help make the world a little bit warmer and make others feel more loved?

I’m starting small. Just writing this blog as often as I can find time. I’m hoping that my words and the things that I learn can help others feel encouraged or loved in a way and possibly impact their lives in a positive way that will trickle down and impact the lives of others they share their thoughts with. God created each of us with a unique gift and I know for me, it has been my gift of writing. I know that He wants me to use this gift to help encourage others and to help show His love to the world. So I’m trying my best to do just that. My goal in my own personal life is also to show more love to the people I care about. I know that because of my introverted personality I tend to be a bit self focused a lot of the time – thinking only about what’s going on in my own life or what I can do to better things for me. I want to step outside of that. It’s going to take a bit of time, but with God’s help, I want to start showing love more to others as well – caring about their days, asking how they are, lending a helping hand, etc.

Life isn’t all about me. It isn’t all about you either. So don’t believe that the world revolves around each of our own personal lives, because it doesn’t. We are in this together. Humans. Humanity. So we have to work together. To share our burdens. To encourage one another. To uplift each other. To give love and to receive it too. Because in the end, one thing remains – love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Everything else you do will eventually be forgotten.

The Self Love Challenge: 

Do everything with love in mind. From the way you walk, talk, work, act, eat, etc. Do it with a basis of love. 

xx

Christina Ciro