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28Sep, 2017

  • Sean Little

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

-by Sean Little

My wife and I celebrated our nine year anniversary last week. Undoubtedly, the best years of our marriage have been the most recent ones. But, you may not suspect the reason why.

It’s not because we were just joined by our firstborn, Ember. Nor is it because we’ve resolved all of our disagreements and harmonized all of our differences. And, it’s certainly not because we’ve settled into comfort; in fact, quite the opposite, we recently quit our jobs, sold everything, and moved to Hawaii.

The reason is, well, each of us fell in love with someone else.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we still love one other, very much. Arguably, more than ever. But, that’s a direct result of the other person each of us fell in love with: ourselves.


One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I am hurt. Specifically, in the season that I met Erin, I was hurting, deeply, about a lot.


Erin, that’s my wife, and I, met and married in our early twenties. While I know that our affections and desire to commit were sincere, I also know, now more than ever, that we were young. Ignorant to the realities we would face in the years to come and what we would discover, with one another, and about ourselves.

One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I am hurt. Specifically, in the season that I met Erin, I was hurting, deeply, about a lot.

I was hurt by my broken home; hurt that I had been kicked out of my Mom’s house (deserved), then my Dad’s (debatable), hurt that those explosions were expressions of relationships that were stunted and severed. Hurt that I had been neglected and all but forgotten. I was hurt by countless choices I had made, choices that I thought would help and heal my hurts, but only made them worse. And I was hurting from the elongated absence of my brother, Scott. He was my best friend and my functional father, but he was also an addict; worsening in his addiction, so he’d been gone for years.

But all of that hurt was a drop in an ocean of devastation when Scott died of an overdose.


I was just so conditioned to being hurt that I became numb. Consciously and unconsciously, I worked to not feel. That was my coping mechanism.


Just a month before his death I had confessed my love to Erin. Like a Catholic priest, she received my confession in silence and responded by sending me away.

She just wasn’t there and felt it would be best for us to let it breathe. So, it breathed as she went away to work at a summer camp. A month into that summer break, an emergency phone call summoned her to our unexpected reunion.

Hours after Scott died, I called Erin. We had only known one another for a year at that point, but I called because I knew she cared. I knew she would listen and help, be there for me, and feel. After all, we had spent the better part of that year getting to know one another, primarily on the phone. Separated by some 400 miles, with social media in it’s infancy, our foundation was built on late night calls, Gmail chats, and endless 160 character texts. We were firmly in the friend zone and that buffer helped us build a relationship that has yielded quite a harvest over the years. Although, at that point, the harvest was looking like slim pickings. Still, I called.

Through that conversation, summer silence was ceased. And for more than a decade, in and out of season, Erin has continued to care, listen, help, be there, and feel. And she’s teaching me to do the same; specifically, to feel. See, in hindsight, I wasn’t aware of all of my hurts. I was just so conditioned to being hurt that I became numb. Consciously and unconsciously, I worked to not feel. That was my coping mechanism. Sadly, Scott’s (coping mechanism) was lethal, but I know his pain and I carry it still. I carried it into my marriage and burdened Erin with it’s weight, until it almost buried us. 

Nearing divorce, we found ourselves in couples counseling. Couples counseling led to individual counseling and years of both have lead to my second love: myself.

In any relationship that is healthy and life-giving, truth and love are united. Love never relinquishes itself to lies and truth never yields itself as a weapon. Truth, on the lips of love, is aloe to burn, a beautiful balm to brokenness, a soothing salve on the sting of selfishness and self-sabotage. Love speaks the truth, to it’s beloved, to allow the beloved to begin to love himself, or herself, as love does. For, not until we love ourselves can we love anyone. After all, that is the appeal being made through the old sage words: “love your neighbor as yourself.” 


But loving myself also includes not allowing myself, and my relationships, to remain restrained by my hurts. Loving myself means mourning and grieving, yes, but also moving and growing.


Loving myself, in this season, includes an intentional effort to excavate experiences, unearth emotions, and feel feelings that I’ve long suppressed. To mourn for a much younger Sean, a boy whose childhood was stolen, whose innocence was robbed, whose security was sacrificed. To face the fears of feeling. Feeling love, trust, and respect for someone. Feeling vulnerable and open to them. Realizing that I’m afraid to feel all of that because people fail, and disappoint, and when I’ve opened myself to them, and they inevitably do, it hurts.

But, loving myself also includes not allowing myself, and my relationships, to remain restrained by my hurts. Loving myself means mourning and grieving, yes, but also moving and growing.

Erin and I have been moving and growing for more than nine years now. I can’t fathom who I would be without her. Erin is my first love and the entirety of my existence has been redefined by her and because of her. I wonder who I’ll be when I celebrate my nine year anniversary with my second love; myself.

 

 

 

Sean Little’s love for language was conceived by early 90’s rap and cultivated by hip-hop culture. In the traditions of both, narrative is the nucleus of his writing. Sean recently sold everything to leave his life in Indiana and moved to Hawaii with his wife and daughter. Sean has toured nationally/internationally as a rapper and speaker, pastored in a local church, and is a featured Second in an I Am Second white chair film.

 

 

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Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson

I can remember every detail about Beijing: the smell, the lights, the crowd. I remember Nastia Liukin go up and compete and give a beautiful routine. I remember looking at her score and it was one point higher than the highest score I had conjured up in my mind. It was impossible for me to get a gold medal. I remember my heart just sinking. The entire world is being told.

Do I even go out and compete? Do I just throw it? I remember thinking, well, if you can’t win the gold medal at least prove to the world that you deserved it. I started my routine and gave the best routine in my entire life. I’ve never felt lighter in my life. I felt on top of the world. I remember seeing 50,000 people on their feet giving me a standing ovation.

I told everybody it was the biggest honor of my life, but, really, it crushed my heart. I remember being given the silver medal on the podium. The person who did it gave me a hug and told me, “I’m sorry.”

It was really strange for me, because I was being given the silver medal at the Olympic Games and being told, “I’m sorry.” It was validation in my heart that I had failed. I got two more silvers after that and then finally got the gold. But, then, once I got the gold, it didn’t matter. I felt like the damage was done.

I would go to school everyday and every single person would ask me about gymnastics. Or watching me on TV or reading an interview. Every news article in the entire world said that I would come home with four Olympic gold medals.

I’d given 200% that day in competition and laid it all out on the floor. I feel like I failed the world. I felt like since the world saw me as nothing else. So if I failed as a gymnast, than I failed as a human being. I was sixteen years old living in a fish bowl. Every single person and their mother was applauding and congratulating me and also critiquing me because I was on the world stage. It was now about what I wore and how I looked.


Shawn went on to become the youngest contestant in the history of Dancing with the Stars.


I was growing up in the limelight. I was sixteen years old and a muscular gymnast and I was not even 4′ 8″. I was dancing next to girls who were supermodels. And I remember, at sixteen and seventeen, from Dancing with the Stars, reading all these blogs and newspaper articles and headlines, people criticized my weight, my appearance, my personality, and my character.

It affected me, immensely. It drove me to try and change everything about myself. Trying to act like someone and look like someone you will never be, it is exhausting and draining. Feeling like the world doesn’t accept you for who you are hurts your heart.

I felt like all of that compiled into one big moment. It was this 2012 comeback and I had all these sponsors. It was six months before the actual Olympic trials. I was hitting my all-time low. I was spending over forty hours per week training. I was constantly trying to lose weight but it wasn’t happening. My parents wanted me to go see a doctor because they thought I was clinically depressed. I remember I was losing hair, wasn’t able to sleep, wasn’t eating properly. I was struggling with not being 16 any longer.

So for months, I just pushed myself in practice. I said if this is what will make the sponsors happy, my parents happy, my coach happy, and my team, the USA national team, happy, if this is what is right for everybody, then this is what’s right for me. I can just push through it. Everyday I came home from practice just bawling and bawling and just not having peace.

I remember walking into practice one day and getting up on the beam and standing at the edge of the beam, I  looked down and to get ready to start flipping. It’s one of those moments that’s really hard to explain and I feel like a lot people understand. But, in that one moment, I feel like God was telling me, “You’ve been so distraught over this decision. And you’ve been putting yourself through all of this and your family through all of this. You’ve been afraid of disappointing a lot of people and have not been yourself. But, it’s okay follow your heart and put it behind you.”


Shawn chose to retire from competitive gymnastics on June 3rd, 2012.


In that instant, I felt the entire world lift off my shoulders. In that one instant, I knew that it was going to be all okay. I was giving my heart and soul and getting to a place that I was not proud of all for that gold medal again, that I distinctly remember in 2008 not being the greatest thing in the world. And, I think its validation that there’s always more. God is the answer to everything.

Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross so that when I stood up there and was given that gold medal; yes, its’ a monumental and amazing experience and wonderful thing, but it’s not the end all be all. Yes, I can work my whole life to become a CEO of a company or to make a certain amount of money or to win 12 more Olympic gold medals, but its not my purpose in life. He will always be my greatest reward and my proudest reward.

My name is Shawn Johnson and I Am Second.

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Courtesy of the San Angelo Standard-Times

Years ago, a friend of mine had on her I Am Second wristband. She went to the airport. I can’t remember where she was going. She got her boarding pass, checked in her bags, and proceeded to the security lines. She got up to where you pile all your stuff on the conveyor belt to run through the scanners. And a TSA agent happened to glance at her wrist.

“Don’t let anyone tell you you’re second, girl!” she said. “You’re first. Don’t be put down like that.”

At first, my friend didn’t understand what the agent was even talking about. Usually, the TSA folks are about excited to be doing their jobs as we are to be standing in their lines. Interactions are mostly limited to them ditching the half empty water bottle you forgot in your backpack. But this lady was so shocked that someone would proudly claim second place, that she stepped away from her screen and spoke up. She feared for the emotional well being of my friend.

But, that’s when my friend got to explain what the wristband really meant. It’s a thing, nowadays, to wear your cause on your wrist. It’s a way to define yourself, to differentiate, and express yourself. It’s a way to shout to the world your life motto. And for my friend, that motto was simple:

“I Am Second.”

God above all and others before herself. She is Second. Not first or third, fourth or seventeenth. It’s a statement of both humility that life is not all about ourselves and our own self interests. But, also of pride and purpose, that we aren’t some insignificant peon for the universe to expend.

And, if you’re reading this post now, you understand what I’m saying. You’ve been inspired, or at least intrigued, by this philosophy of life to wind up here, reading the stories of people who make it their aim to live Second.

But I want to push you to go beyond inspiration and interest. I want to challenge you to live Second. If you’ve ever worn an I Am Second wristband or T-shirt, if you’ve ever volunteered at an event, shared a video, or claimed to be Second, then I’m talking to you.

You’ve seen it in your social media feed and on the news. Right now, an entire city is under water. The people of Houston, TX, even as we speak, are watching as their homes, livelihoods, and cherished possessions wash away in the deluge of hurricane Harvey and its tropical storm remnants.

We recently launched a simple and practical way for you to live out the motto stamped onto your wristband or tattooed on your forearm. Second Helping brings practical household help to veterans, single parent families, seniors, and those experiencing financial difficulty. It’s a simple, effective, and real way to put your money where your mouth is.

We’d like to send in armies of handymen to help piece together the lives of those affected by this storm. But that will only happen if you step up. Whether you’ve got $5 or $5,000, you can bring the real help people need. Right now, people there are fighting for survival. But soon it will be time to rebuild. And when that time comes, we want to be ready.

Stop reading the news and start making some. Step up and give. You have an opportunity to fix what’s wrong with the world. And you can do it, one small household project at a time. So give, live Second, and change a life.

Click here to step up and give or text HelpingHouston to 555888.

 

 

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer, small groups coach, and author of I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives. and Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First.

 

 

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27Jan, 2017
(Photo source: Stuart Vivier via Unsplash.com)

(Photo source: Stuart Vivier via Unsplash.com)

I have 987 friends. At least, that’s what my Facebook Page tells me.

I was scrolling through my list of friends the other day, and made some observations:

Some of these “friends”, I’ve met one time in my entire life. At least 5 of those friends, I’ve never actually met face-to-face. Other friends, I haven’t spoken to since high school…which was….a really long time ago. And others still I have to do a double-take to actually figure out how I even know them.

But, according to my Facebook page, these are all my “friends.”

It’s kind of funny, when you think about it, how loosely we use the word friend. Thanks to social media, a friend can be a stranger, a relative, a spouse, a lifelong pal – and everything in between.

But I find it ironic with how saturated we are with “friendships,” living in a technological age where we’re connected with the largest amount friends we’ve ever had  – that so very many people are feeling extremely, and utterly alone.

As a professional counselor, and relationship blogger, I get the privilege and enormous responsibility of hearing from people across the country and world. And through the thousands of emails I receive, it’s impossible to be inattentive to the amount of people reaching out to me with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Even in a crowd, it’s easy to be lonely, isn’t it? And sometimes, the larger the crowd of “friends” – the lonelier we can feel.

As I’ve been thinking through this dilemma recently, I realized that one of the problems is that we’ve taken the word “friend” out of context. We apply it to too many people, and too many relationships. And at the end of the day, when everyone is our “friend” – we find that we’ve lost something really significant in cultivating meaningful relationships.


At the end of the day, when everyone is our “friend” – we find that we’ve lost something really significant in cultivating meaningful relationships. 


I was chatting with a young man over a Skype Session, and in our session I asked him to draw a social map. A social map is something I learned to do in graduate school, and it’s basically the idea that there are “three rings” of relationships in a person’s life.

The first circle is the “core group”. These are the people who are the closest to your heart. They’re the ones you’ve laughed with, cried with, and walked through the mountains and valleys of life with. They know everything about you, and you can trust them with the deepest and most meaningful parts of your life and heart.

The second circle, are your “level 2 friends”. These are the people who you may see and interact with on a regular basis. Maybe you’ll have coffee, or grab lunch with them. Maybe you’ll sit with them at church, or hang out to watch the game. They’re people who are in your life physically – but maybe not FULLY in your life emotionally, because there are just some things that you don’t quite feel comfortable sharing. But even so, there’s the potential there for a deeper relationship.

The third circle is  what we would call your “acquaintances” or level 3 friends. These are the people who are on the peripheral of your life. You see them in passing, say hello to them at work, and chit chat with them about the weekend. You pass the time with small talk, and polite gestures. You may see them at a gathering or an event, and maybe even get together with them infrequently. But for the most part, they remain on the fringe.

So back to my session with this guy. He shared with me that he was feeling really lonely, but couldn’t understand why that was, because according to him – he was a really well-liked guy with a ton of friends.

But when I asked him to draw his social map, something really interesting came to light.

His life was packed with level 2 and 3 friends, but there was really no one he could think to put in his inner circle.

He had so many people “in his life”, but really no one in his life at all.

That’s when I realized that part of the problem with our social media society is that we have WAY TOO MANY FRIENDS, yet hardly any meaningful relationships.


He had so many people “in his life”, but really no one in his life at all. 


We spend hours of our time commenting on photos, or posting Happy Birthday messages to people we hardly interact with in real life, and often fail to take the time and energy it takes to cultivate real relationships in real life.

Because you know what? Facebook relationships are EASY. They’re easy because in the world of Facebook friendships, you can give at your own time, take at your own time, and interact at your own pace. You can present yourself however you want to. You share your best recipes, your best photos, and your best moments. Not only that, but all from the comfort of your own home (or bathroom- you know you do it)! With a click of a finger, you can give affirmation. With a push of a button, you can “interact”.

And if for some reason along the path of clicking and commenting, you decide you no longer want to interact with someone, or maybe their posts start rubbing you the wrong way, with a click of a button, you can choose to ignore them or even, no longer be friends! It’s that simple.

But real life, real relationships are not so mapped out and cookie cutter. They’re messy. They’re inconvenient. They’re filled with good emotions and bad. They require time. They require energy. And they require an authentic look into the good, the bad, and the ugly of life.

They cause you to step out of your “comfort zone” and be real… be real with your heart, your imperfections, your weaknesses, and your struggles.

But in exchange for that authenticity, you gain true intimacy.  And only where there is true intimacy can loneliness begin to disappear.


What if the only real cure for your loneliness is not having more friends – but having less?


You see, that’s why it’s so much easier to settle for fake relationships. That’s why it’s so much easier to invest in “clicking” rather than truly “connecting”. What if the only real cure for your loneliness is not having more friends – but having less? What if this year, you chose to invest deeply and give deliberately to the people God has placed in your life?

I remember the year I went through this transformation in my own life. The transformation of moving from more friends to less friends. I felt like I was surrounded by acquaintances, but not one friend I could really call “my own”. It’s a strange place to be. I was feeling lonely, even though I was one of the most social people in my circle.

But that was the year God asked me to concentrate and condense. To take the limited time, energy, and resources that I had, and invest myself in a few significant friendships that God had put in my life. It was time to get real. It was time to go deeper. And looking back, I will never regret it. Those friendships are some of the most significant ones I have in my life to this day!

What if this year becomes the year that you chose to commit to less friends, but in a more meaningful way? What if this is the year you decide to be real, authentic, and engaged with a few significant people in your life? What if this year you chose intimacy over convenience?

Imagine how that could impact your life. Imagine how that could deepen your relationships. Whoever you are and wherever you’re from – my prayer for you this year is that this would be the year with less friends, but in turn, far less loneliness.

This post originally appeared on True Love Dates and was republished with permission.

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from over 150 articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

(Photo source: Dollar Photo Club)

(Photo source: Dollar Photo Club)

I usually laugh when people leave rude comments on my articles online. Like the man who commented, “man chicks r stupid” on a recent Seventeen magazine piece I published. I laughed because of the irony of his inability to use correct grammar as he was insulting my intelligence, and because I know that he is, in fact wrong: not all “chicks” are stupid.

But instead of laughing at the negative feedback about my latest I Am Second piece, I was slightly — what’s the best word? — offended, horrified, angered…the comments people left made me want to respond.

So that’s what I’m doing.

[Read Karis’ first piece]

I’m trying not to respond in anger or defensiveness, and I’m trying to look at the comments as simple misunderstandings rather than attacks against me, personally. But it’s hard, as some people called my article “unreadable” or said my feelings were “laughable” because of my age.

That’s right. My age. Something I have literally zero control over apparently makes my thoughts irrelevant and my emotions a joke. A few commenters in their 40s said that I had no right to consider myself “painfully” single because I’m only 22.

I don’t know what it was like growing up in the 80s, but I do know what it was like growing up in the ‘00s. I know that every book I picked up, every TV show, and every movie I watched was saturated with romance. Starting as young as middle and high school, every form of entertainment that I consumed told me that the best way to be human is to be in a relationship.


They taught me that being romantically loved by another person is everything.


As I mentioned in the article in question, my bread-and-butter were Christian novels — historical fiction and romance, namely. And those taught me that if a girl is pretty enough, clever enough, smiley enough, she will get a guy. They taught me that reciprocated love is the highest goal to strive for. They taught me that being romantically loved by another person is everything.

Movies and TV are no better. There is romance interwoven throughout every story it seems, even the ones that aren’t about romance. Chick flicks are one thing; but even action shows have romance. “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings” — they show people being in relationships.

I know that my childhood was saturated with images of love and romance. I know my friends started dating in elementary school — I’m sure of this because I was the one delegated to pass their “love notes” between them. First kisses and dates were had before adolescence.

Except for me. I was the odd one out who didn’t have boyfriends or kisses or admirers. I had crushes on others, constantly. But nothing ever panned out.

I know that it’s harder to be permanently single at 45 than at 22. But I take issue with the idea that my relationship status can’t be “painful” because I’m “only” 22. Because here’s the thing — 22 might be young, but it’s the oldest I’ve ever been. Your twenties might look like the very beginning of your life when you’re 80, but when you’re 20, they are all you’ve ever known.

I have been alive for 22 years. The entirety of my consciousness has lasted 22 years. But because that’s all I’ve known, that’s an eternity to me.

I understand that older people might look down and see me as a young little bud, barely alive at all, with so much possibility in front of me. (By the way, doesn’t one of the most popular books ever written talk about people looking down on you because you’re young?)


So, no, maybe my singleness isn’t “painful” compared to yourself, but it is painful to me.


But all I know is what I’ve experienced, and that is this: 22 years of being undesirable to men. So, no, maybe my singleness isn’t “painful” compared to yourself, but it is painful to me.

Someone commented that most people in the church aren’t with someone at 22, and in response to that, I laughed. I laughed a lot.

Because that might be true in some places — it is in Italy, where I grew up and where finding fellow Christians is like finding a needle in a haystack. But it’s not true in American church culture.

I went to a Christian undergrad, and a huge, disproportionate chunk of my classmates were either married by the time they graduated or were married within a few months of graduation. If not, they were in relationships. If not, they had been in relationships.

The church is the place in culture where people are “with someone” by age 22, usually.

Our culture is saturated with romance, our Christian culture even more so.

And finally — the point of the article wasn’t that I’m single. It was that God’s love is the greatest romance. I just decided to share that through the lens of my realization that being single is okay.

That was the point. That being single is okay, whether you’re 22 or 47 or 89. It’s not something I’m okay with in every moment of every day, but it’s something I’m becoming aware of. That’s what I wanted to communicate.

I’m sorry if my ruminations on being single got in the way of that.

Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Her writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com.

If you’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm, there is hope. You can call 1-800-273-TALK to chat with someone about it. For a list of other resources, visit the website of To Write Love on Her Arms here.

22Oct, 2015

Who are you?

That’s the question we’re trying to figure out. If you’re reading this, you probably either follow us on social media or you like visiting our website. Since that’s the case, we want to get to know you!

We want to learn the kinds of things you like. What you want to see more of. How you grew up. Where you’re at in life. If you prefer Facebook or Instagram. Those kinds of things.

We’re hoping you can take five minutes and answers the questions below. There aren’t many, but it will help us put together the kind of website that you want to visit.

Thank you so much!

Find the survey below if you’re on a desktop, or by clicking here if you’re on mobile.

Create your own user feedback survey

Do Christians need to avoid certain types of music? Should they read lyrics before they start humming a catching tune in the shower? What about Justin Bieber talking about the Christian faith? Is it different for different people?

Those are a few of the questions we tackled in our first-ever I Am Second podcast. Joe Hamm, Lucy Allen, and I sat down to talk it out. Give it a listen, and if you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions for other topics use #secondpodcast on Twitter to reach us.

16Sep, 2015
Source: Dollar Photo Club

Source: Dollar Photo Club

Let’s be real for a second. I think the best way to start is to be blunt: Stop being so freaking offended.

I spend a lot of time reading social media and web comments. I try to keep my pulse on what people are saying, thinking, and wanting. I did it for five years in the news business, and it continues here. Here’s my big takeaway: We are way too focused on being wronged.

I see it so much: One person disagrees with someone or something, and it becomes some knock-out-drag-out literary battle, using words and arguments taken from a fifth-grade playground. Oh, and of course there is some scripture thrown in there.

We live in a culture of offense. In both public and private, people are always on the watch for some statement or group — somewhere — whose ideas might possibly run counter to their own,” writes Lucy Schouten.

Preach it, Lucy.


Christianity is countercultural in its DNA.


I hope I’m not the first one to say this to you, but here it goes: As Christians, we should expect that there are going to be a lot of ideas that run counter to our own. Christianity is countercultural in its DNA. We need to be uncomfortable in a society that tells us comfort is the ultimate goal.

Well, that’s exactly why I need to tell this person that what they’re doing is wrong! Their sin is so offensive to me! I’m showing them I’m different! 

Are you, though? Ask yourself this question, “Have I earned the right to speak into this person’s life?”

Jesus could have been “offended” by a cheating woman’s actions, taken up a stone, and joined the mob who just couldn’t stand what she did. But he didn’t. He bent down, wrote in the sand, and told her to be on her way — and by the way, stop doing what you’re doing. Obviously his approach took care of what the mob’s didn’t.

Talk about countercultural.

But even Jesus overturned the tables in the temple! He got angry at sin!

Yeah, you’re right, he did. But take a look at that story. Who was Jesus angry at? It was those who were using faith to benefit themselves. Those who were taking advantage of the temple instead of using it for its true purpose.

Survey those to whom Jesus directed His strongest, most severe words,” write Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. “It was the self-righteous, judgmental Pharisees and Sadducees—those who didn’t see themselves as sinners but who leveled that charge against everyone else.”

Allow me to contextualize that: Those who see themselves as the Christianity police, always on the prowl to point out how everyone else isn’t living up to their standards. And technology makes that so easy and accessible. Think about it, 20 years ago you never would have known what Jason S. was thinking or doing 2,000 miles away. Now you see it the moment he hits enter on his keyboard.


You may not be able to convince someone Christ is the answer right away, but your words and actions can quickly and easily convince them that he’s not.


In our lives, our attitude shouldn’t be looking for wrongs, it should be looking for ways we can make things right in the world. How can we restore brokenness? How can I be different in this situation? We need to stop focusing on being right and start thinking about how to make things right. We need to stop focusing on how to win arguments, and start focusing on how to win people.

So ask yourself this, “Is writing this snarky comment really going to be the one thing that changes this person’s mind? Is sending this Tweet and attaching #truth really the best representation of it?”

The early church was focused on relationships, on “how to stir up one another to love and good works.” People were selling their possessions and giving the money away. Can you really convey that Christianity in 140 angry characters?

Think about it this way: You may not be able to convince someone Christ is the answer right away, but your words and actions can quickly and easily convince them that he’s not.

And you know what? I don’t care if that offends you.

15Jul, 2015

Love Thy Homies Tee

  • Jennifer Fleming

LoveThyHomies

Recientemente, me senté en un confortable sillón con mi café favorito en la mano y con un equipo de trabajo. Trabajamos en un ejercicio que trata de sugerir adjetivos que mejor describan a los adolescentes en el 2015. Como grupo, surgieron palabras como “superficial”, “piensan en sí mismos”, “desentendido”.

Lo entendí, muchos dijeron lo mismo de mi generación y de mí. Seamos honestos. Todo lo que se tiene que hacer es navegar a través de Instagram y darse cuenta que esta generación no solamente ha inventado el “Selfie”, también ha perfeccionado el arte de eso. El término “Selfie” puede apoyar las percepciones generales y dirigirnos a la suposición de lo que trata esa generación.

Eschenbach dijo, “En la juventud aprendemos, en la adultez entendemos”. He trabajado con adolescentes desde hace más de una década. La sociedad muchas veces marca a esa generación como la del “Selfie”. Sin embargo, he aprendido que hay mucho más debajo de la superficie que miran nuestros ojos. Hay ciertas cosas clave que podemos aprender de los adolescentes que podrían inspirar al mundo a #Vivir Segundo.

5 Cosas por aprender de los adolescentes

1. Está bien no estar bien.

Esta generación, más que otras anteriores, celebra y  motiva a admitir el “no estoy bien”. Muchas personas sienten esta presión para presentarnos en una manera que dice “yo estoy bien”. La verdad es que todos tenemos “asuntos”. Los adolescentes aceptan esta realidad.

2. La justicia importa.

Una vez Kurt Cobain dijo, “el deber de la juventud es desafiar la corrupción”. Los adolescentes tienen una gran sensibilidad por la injusticia. Ya sea por el bullying, racismo, sexismo, pobreza o por tráfico de sexo,  esta generación no se sacude la cabeza con estos retos. Al contrario, ellos alzan su voz, creatividad y esfuerzo para hacerle frente a las injusticias en su mundo.

3. El valor de la comunidad

Los adolescentes valoran conocer a otros y ser conocidos. Las relaciones importan. Los adolescentes ven la comunión como algo necesario y lo cultivan intencionalmente, tanto en persona como por internet.

4. Celebra la singularidad

Nuestra sociedad crea etiquetas y categorías a prácticamente todo. Esta generación tiene cierto disgusto por las etiquetas y celebra la singularidad de cada uno. Su manera de ser enseña a otros que nuestro trabajo no es rechazar o juzgar a quienes están en nuestro alrededor, sino amar a los demás por cómo son.

5. Pensamiento global

La definición de un movimiento es “un grupo de personas trabajando juntas para promover su ideal político, social o ideas artísticas”. Los movimientos están catalizados para cambiar. Mientras los adolescentes celebran la individualidad, tienen un deseo para ser parte de algo más grande.

Una mirada más allá de los “selfies”, revela características y valores en los adolescentes que pueden inspirar a otros a #VivirSegundo

Por David Martin

David Martin es el Director de Estudiantes de I Am Second (Yo Soy Segundo). Para aprender más de este movimiento nacional de estudiantes, dale click aquí.