A Culture of Stress

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In a culture of triple shot espressos, rush hour trains, city-speed walking and endless work/class hours- how can I not worry? Living in New York City is not for the faint of heart and I’ve grown accustomed to intimate train rides with strangers at least once a week. I worry about pretty much anything and a strange part of me enjoys the worry. I rarely admit this to myself but feeling worried makes me think that I’m at least working. But in the midst of my “busy” and “stress” I hear God asking me, why do you worry Nina? God points to the lie that stress and worry should be a work day norm or even that I can blame my job for my worry. Matthew 6:25-34 warns us against embracing this culture of worry and anxiety.

 

1.Worry is rooted in a lack of trust.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

God reminds us that the opposite of worrying is trusting that God will provide as he does for the birds of the air. Ultimately worry stems from a lack of trust that we hold.

2.God will give you more than you can ever find yourself

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

How many times have I tried to find my own solution to problems and acted in haste? I think back to when I needed an internship for my Communications major. I couldn’t afford to work unpaid and all of my attempts at securing a job always seemed to lead me to illegitimate internships. I finally trusted in God and only interviewed for two places. The first place offered me a better position after meeting me. I ultimately accepted the second offer which was at a company I never thought I was “good” enough for. I still remember college friends telling me I was wasting my time with the “Christian club” and yet during my interview, my work with said Christian club got me the internship. It was completely out of my control and I thank God for how he gives.

3.Instead of worrying about things, seek God, the ultimate provider

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The secret to this passage is hidden in verse 33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I am making a choice to seek God instead of money or prestige or success. Because every time I seek perfection out of my own strength I come to a striking halt. Instead, I choose chai lattes, quiet time in the mornings, long walks in the sun and trust in God. I lie to myself when I say that I am worried because of my job or graduate classes. Worrying is ultimately my choice and I can also make a decision to stop.

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25 days of Christmas (Day 1)

 

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Welcome to my photo project, twenty-five days of Christmas!  Every day leading up to Christmas, I will be featuring someone on my blog.  Now, unto the first person…. (drum roll)

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(Day 1)  Meet Felix Feng!

“I do not ever celebrate Christmas before because I was in China.  Christmas is connected to shopping and people get together.”

Day 20: Nicknames

Here are a few of the nicknames I have been given over the years!

Neener

This was first given to me by my cousin Eden and I was kind of offended by it at first.  Over the years I have grown to love this name though, I even find it a little bit charming too!  It just sounds really weird and odd and I love being weird and odd.

Niku

Only my cousins in India call me this.  I get surprised when I see them after a long time and they call me this because it makes me feel odd.  My body instinctively responds to it but my mind may not have consciously recognize it.  I actually like this name a lot!  I think it’s cute!

Nina Cootie

This was given to me by my dad.  It’s my house name and strangely longer than my actually name.  It’s kind of embarrassing!  But I feel like only people who really love me call me this.

Nine-ah

Only a few people call me this and mostly to just annoy me.  I’ve always thought my actual name is easy to pronounce.

Snap

I was Snap, Christine was Crackle and Sherin was Pop.  It was actually supposed to be that Sherin was Crackle and Christine was Pop but I feel like Christine can sometimes come off more as a crackle and Sherin more like a Pop.  All three of us girls have gone through sunday school together for our entire lives and these were the name we betrothed upon us.  I also call Christine Giggles and Sherin Cuddles, I need a cute nickname like that!  Maybe… talkles? nah

Fire

I’m the Fire and Christine is the Ice.  We’re total opposites but I think that’s why our friendship has worked so well thus far.  When the fire get out of control, bring in some ice.   But something you need some warmth too!

Day 4: Your parents

(Photo credits: Manmadham Kesavan)

See those lovely faces up there?  Well those are my parents.  And today I will be telling all of you about the two most important people in my life.  I’m so tempted to also include my brother because I feel like he deserves a post, but unfortunately he’s my brother so I will not talk about him, at least for today.

Lets start off with my dad.  I’m a little upset that no one thinks I look like him, except for my nose.  I’ve always felt like my parents are very good looking people!  My dad is the lenient one, it’s almost as if my mom is the ying and my dad is the yang.  I’ve always been envious of the fact that my dad seems to be the one person I know who doesn’t care about what other people think about him.  He really doesn’t.  And I’ve always cared so much that it’s always bewildered me.  My dad is an engineer and I’ve always loved the fact that he’s not the type to brag.  I remember finding out he had an incredible memory and being really surprised.  And when I tried asking him about it, he denied it.  When I was younger I thought my dad was superman and that no problem was too big to solve.  If there’s one thing I know for sure about my dad is that I am one of the people he loves most in the entire world.  I am certain of it.  I love the fact that he can be silly but he can also be serious.

Now unto my mom.  My mom is a phenomenal human being and I mean this with the utmost sincerity.  She’s the type of person who if she only had a piece of bread to live on, she would give that piece to the person next to her.  My mom is my best friend and in many ways she’s a role model to me.  I aspire to one day do the things my mother was able to do and with just as much poise and charisma.  She encourages me to be more and want more every day of my life.  And showed me that I am far more capable than the limitations I put upon myself.  My mother is a nurse manager and the only person I know who can gracefully function on 3 hours of sleep.  She loves to garden, even if she’s not that great at it, and have a spectacular niche with making food.   My dad is lenient, but my mother is strict.  I remember forgetting to call her one day when I was at my dorm only to find 10 missed calls, voicemails and then texts from my brother.  Over the course of 24 hours, she thought I died.   Needless that was the last time I forgot to call my mom.

I love my parents for so many reasons and I find myself so grateful for having them in my life.  Whenever I really needed something, they have always been able to provide for me and more.  They graced me with amazing genes too!  (I’m just joking…or am I?)

Day 3: Your first love

I was getting shake shack yesterday and took a picture of the look of raindrops from inside of a clear umbrella. Something about it is really beautiful.

 

When I first read that I would have to write about my first love, I thought that this was limited to “my first relationship”.  But it’s not because otherwise it would have said just that.  So today I want to tell you about the first thing I ever really did love, music.

Music was the first thing I ever loved but it was also the first thing I ever really hated.  When I was younger I remember going for song competitions at church and really hating it.  I want to clarify that there is a big difference between loving to do something and being good at something.  I am by no mean claiming to be a good singer, but I’ve always loved to sing.

How I started singing was really odd actually.  One day while I was preparing for competition, I chose my own song and when I sang it, I won first prize.  It was really odd because before that point I would get really excited to even get 3rd place and suddenly, I won.  I sang the song, “God so loved the world”, and from that point on, all I wanted to do was sing.

So I went to music class and even got vocal lessons and for a while I wanted to be defined by whether or not I could sing.  And I hated it.  I hated going for vocal lessons and having every note I sang being penalized.  I did sound really good, but I didn’t enjoy it anymore.

I hated going on stage to perform a song.  I almost always forgot the tune leaving me frazzled and embarrassed in front of an audience of people.  Because of this my hatred of singing and my hatred of music grew larger than my love of music.  And at one point in time I never wanted to sing again.

No one would really notice, except maybe the person sitting next to me in church.  But I stopped singing because I wanted to.   And I couldn’t really do this, at least for long.  I tried but when you’re surrounded by music how can you really not sing?

Because of this I missed music and suddenly singing again was really one of things that made me feel most happy in the entire world.  When I sing I can express feelings that I can’t just say out loud.  When I sing now, I don’t really care if I sound amazing or even out of tune.  I sing to lose my voice and I sing to cry.

Because music was the first thing I ever really hated, but it was also my first love.

Day 2: Meaning behind your blog name

New York City makes everything look really pretty.

 

I wish I had some really cool story to tell you about the name of my blog.  But in actuality, I’m not even really all that creative.  My blog name started as “ninarachel621” then moved to “the life of an intern” and is finally, “six:twentyone”.

“Six:twentyone” is quite literally the day I was born, June 21.  There’s really nothing more to it.  Maybe in the future I can try to be a little more creative and my blog name can maybe mean something.  But for now, it really means nothing.  That is other than the day I was born and the longest day of the year.

 

Day 1: Introduce, recent picture of yourself, 15 interesting facts

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Hello essentially the world, my name is Nina.  I am eighteen years old and currently a lower sophomore in college.  I started this blog because I love to write and hope that maybe some of my ramblings may be of interest to you!  I’ve always kind of worried about that.  I mean, who really cares if I start a blog about my life?  What does what I have to say differ from the person next to me?  Well maybe I don’t really have any interesting to say, but I like writing this blog, maybe even just for myself.

The picture above was taken almost 2 weeks ago during Basileia, a conference held by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  I’m actually really excited about this 30 day challenge because I’m not usually good at these kind of things.  I can do the first 5 days without hesitation and then day 6 hits and I want to finish.  But not this time, I’m doing it until day 30!   Now, I will tell you 15 interesting facts about myself:

1.  I haven’t always been like this.

By this I mean the fact that I’ve finally come to a place in my life where I am happy with who I am and before this point, I was really just struggling to figure out who I actually am.  Now I know most people won’t like me, but I’m okay with this.  And more than anything I just want to be happy and make the people around me happy.

2.  I am addicted to social media. 

I don’t mean this lightly, I am actually addicted and working on not being AS addicted.  I have the need to check my Facebook at least once per day and have the need to press like on everything.

3.  I’m very good at traveling long distances.

I can go on a six hour bus ride without any problem and can handle 13 hours with the right preparation.  I’m really just used to this because I would have to get used to long rides when going from America to my family in India.  13 hours with a 2 hour transfer is no joke!

4.  I’ll make the effort in a friendship, but only for so long.

I’m the type of person to send the first text, but if you don’t respond to that, then it’s all on you.  I won’t send you a text again… that is except if you’re in my prayer group.  In which case I will send you texts every week, twice a week, until the end of the semester.

5.  I like smiling at strangers…and need to stop doing it! 

I have the need to smile at people and this includes people I don’t even know!  I’ll catch myself doing this and force myself to stop smiling.  I just feel like smiles brighten people’s days and forget that some people may find me creepy…or take me smiling the wrong way.

6.  I really love public speaking, when I don’t hate it.

I don’t know any other way to put it, I just love public speaking!  There’s this adrenaline rush of going on stage and I love being able to communicate my ideas.  But I hate the feeling right before speaking a crowd, the butterflies are enough to make me want to run away.

7.  If there’s one reason why I smile, it’s because of God.

I don’t even know how to begin to explain this without giving enough credit to God…maybe I’ll explain this more in the future.

8.  I’m a social media intern for Kevin Davis Productions (back to social media..)

It’s really crazy how I even got this opportunity, I’ll be writing more about this Thursday.

9.  I love taking pictures. 

I love being in pictures with my friends and making dorky faces.  I love seeing bad pictures of myself and especially love good pictures.

10.  I love taking pictures. 

I love taking pictures of people, places and things.  I especially love when I can make something look really artsy and pretty.

11.  I used to be addicted to “Animal Crossing” on my DSi. 

It was really so sad.  I would walk around and talk to animals all day and collect things off of the beach shore to sell to “Tom Nook”.  Super Mario brothers was a fun but I really sucked at it.  And I never could reach the elite four in Pokemon.

12.   I have enormously large feet.

It’s true.  This has always been the case and shoes ALWAYS break on me.  Hey, at least I have an excuse to go shopping?

13.  I’ve never had braces.

THANK THE LORD!  But I have been really jealous of people with braces in the past though.

14.  India is my favorite place in the world.

My family is there and I love my family more than I can really explain.  It makes me feel at home and everything just feels nicer.  I’ll always enjoy America more though.  It’s were the other half of my family is and everything else I love and care about is.

15.  I love to sing. 

I love singing so much and I’m not really good at it, but who says I have to be?  I sing for fun and to praise my savior.

So that is all for Day 1, I hope you enjoyed my random ramblings!  See you tomorrow!

Nina Thomas