Do we give up too easily? | Being a Woman in the Indian Church

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I was watching a video of Aimee Mullens’ Ted Talk, for maybe the eighth time. I had already watched her talk several times before deciding to teach my students about about her speech or more so the power of her passion and how that elevated her speaking. She was poised, put together, passionate and was standing on prosthetic legs. She challenged society’s notion of what a “disabled” person should be and I looked at her and thought that if I were her, I wouldn’t have dared to stand on that stage. I wouldn’t have become a runner like her. But she, with her disability, was doing things I could only dream of accomplishing. 

Watching Aimee Mullens made me think- she trusts her legs. She trusts her prosthetics, probably more than I trust my flesh and bones. If she doesn’t give up, why do I? There are many times in life when we may face seemingly insurmountable challenges. Some of these hurdles have presented themselves in my experiences as a woman in the Indian church. In the moment we believe that things cannot and will not get better, that we are limited in some way. But looking at Mullens I am reminded that our definitions and perceptions of situations can be challenged and that maybe- we give up too easily. 

There are two ways people can respond to set backs. There are the Cains of the world and the Davids.

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Characteristics of Cains 

  • Jealous
  • Cynical

Cain and Abel are the children of Adam and Eve. Cain grew jealous of Abel’s sacrifice to God and this ultimately led to his demise:

…Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. Genesis 4:3-5

Cain’s jealousy of what his brother had and what he lacked led him to ultimately killing his brother. Instead of trying to offer something better to God, to be something more- he turned to sin. How many times do we feel like we just cannot do or be more? I believe we all know that feeling all too well. We fail in some way or form and instead of trying again, we give up. A friend of mine told me that before getting the job he now has at a big financial company, he applied to 99 jobs at the same firm. He now worked in hiring and can see all applications that come in for the company and noted how most people apply maybe once or twice. While hearing his story, most of my friends admitted that we would do the same. If a company rejected us after a couple of applications, that was it for us. But my friend didn’t give up on the company he wanted to work at until he finally got a position.

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Characteristics of Davids 

  • Resourceful
  • Hopeful

David was the youngest of his brothers and naturally passed by for opportunities. But David didn’t let his background hold him back. In fact, David leveraged the very qualities that would make others think he was weak. In the classic bible story of David and Goliath, David used the unusual tool of a slingshot to defeat a giant.

 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.(1 Samuel 17:49-50)

In a situation in which others would have given up, David remained hopeful. He trusted in everything that God had provided and in the end was triumph. Growing up as a female in the Indian church, it was hard to have an older brother in some ways.

Being a Woman in the Indian Church

I frequently spoke at church and was very open about how I loved public speaking but no speech I ever gave seemed to measure up to the sermons my brother spoke. He rarely spoke publicly and didn’t care for it, but the few times he spoke were admittedly spectacular. There were many times I wanted to give up on my love of speaking. Why try to have a voice in a society that would rather hear from a man, especially when others could speak better? There were many times when I felt as though the opportunities given to me in the Indian church would be so much grander if I were a man. How could I not think that way when even in one of our most prominent organization, Pentecostal Youth Fellowship of America (PYFA), I have only once seen a female leader in an organization founded in 1981.

My parents and grandparents would pray every night for my brother to be a minister of God, but I never once heard them pray for me to minister God’s word. My grandfather was a prominent pastor and my brother was the only grandson born with the last name “Thomas”, the default heir. My mom recounted that a prophesying preacher once spoke to my parents and told them that they had prayed and hoped for ministry to come from their family from their son, but it would come from their daughter. My mom shared what was said to me but reminded me that she still hoped for my brother to one day minister.

If Aimee Mullens doesn’t give up even when she was prosthetic legs, why would I give up because I’m a woman? Everyday we choose whether we give up or keep going. Giving up can happen in small ways. We stop working towards that goal we really had set in our heart. Or maybe we stop moving forward in acquiring a new skill we long to have. It could even mean underestimating ourselves because of whatever our “disability” may be. There are days that can feel so dark and times in which all hope is lost but I pray that if you cling to hope, you too can do the seemingly impossible.

 

 

 

 

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Proverbs 4:23 (Good news translation)

I started using a website to help encourage me to read my bible daily.  It’s usually a tiny passage that takes barely 5 minutes to read an analyze and helps me stay on track day to day.  Baby steps right?

Anyway while reading today’s passage I can across one verse that caught my eye, Proverbs 4:23 which reads

” Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

I never read this particular verse in the translation and I was surprised by how powerful it was to me, and how true.  What do you think of on a daily basis?  No really what do you think of?  I remember hearing that you become a slave to what you think about the most.

The minute I read this verse I reevaluated everything I was doing.  I did this because our thoughts really do shape our lives and so many times its so easy to let these negative ideas pierce through our conscience and this changes us.  This changes the way we live our everyday lives.

Today I want you to think about something that you have been obsessing over.  Do these things deserve your time and do you want to be the type of person who thinks of those things?  If they don’t deserve your time, its time you change your mentality.  And if they do then you’re one step closer to be the type of person you want to be.

Finding Motivation

Does anyone else struggle with this?  When I’m motivated enough I can do anything, I’ve seen it before.  I’ve had piles of endless work and I get it done because I know I can.  But unless I’m under a deadline, I don’t push myself just so I can do my best.  I push myself when it is necessary.  I remember hearing in a podcast, “If you think you can’t do a mile, then do two.”  But how hard is that?  Right now it’s time for me to study and I wish I could curl up with a good book or just keep writing until I fill this post with 1000 words or more.  But now it’s time for me to find my motivation.  I want to look back and know I tried the best I could.  So that I can regret nothing. 

4/365- That which does not kill me only makes me stronger

So its 12:06 right now, and I did my last post 2 hours ago, but its technically a brand old new day.

I remember when I fell in love with the saying:

“That which does not kill me only makes me stronger.” [I feel like I having the phrasing wrong?]

That was until I watched an episode of Modern family and Manny [the young latina boy in this family who I have grown to adore], commented on the ridiculous nature of the quote.  So if I’m in a hospital after a horrible accident and I’m weaker but still alive, how exactly does that make me stronger?

Yeah.

WELL, I agreed with young Manny for a very long time.  That was until I looked back on some of the mistakes in my life.  There is one mistake that always sticks out to me and had happened a few years ago, but it still haunts.  I poked my head where I REALLY shouldn’t have.

For so long I wished I could back in time and just stop myself, just knock some self into myself and say “Nina don’t be an idiot, some things are NOT worth fighting for, and it’s not your business!”  I thought of how easy, how amazing, how much better my life would be if this event had never occurred, and then I realized how horrible my life may have become as well.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this one event changed me and made me better.  It made me more mature, more conscious, more loving and closer to God.  I would like to think I’m not the same person I was the end of my freshman year of high school but who’s to say where I would be without my failures.

For a large part of my life I felt like a failure.  I remember beginning of sophomore year I was winning everything I competed in, and then, I lost.  I felt horrible, I felt like giving up, but somehow I think I’ve learned more from my failures than my successes.

When I somehow [really have no idea how] placed in a speaking competition I thought I did horrible in, I was complacent.  Sure it was nice to get a huge trophy but did I grow?

Then I worked hard, and when I lost anyway- I couldn’t understand why I was failing, but because of my failure I tried again and became a better speaker because of it.

It’s so easy to be angry at God when things don’t seem to go the right way. When you try try and try and yet you still fail.  But those are the moments that shape us and make us into the people who are truly meant to be.

If you look in Isaiah 64:8:

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

I truly believe that our God is shaping us, molding us and breaking us, but ONLY for his greater purpose.

I now believe that which does not kill me only makes me stronger is because I realize that it is during our trials and failures and troubles that we are shaped into what we are supposed to be.

I look forward to what I will some day become.

See you tommrow,

Nina

July 28th 2010

12:30

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