I am Light by Indie Arie

The Unpopular Vote

Leaderboard with Voting Day

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever.” I John 2:15-17

As I watched, “The Voice,” on TV, I imagined how it must feel to shine in the spotlight among millions of people after giving a spectacular performance. It must be an exasperating experience. It must feel so good to hear the cheers and screams from so many people.

So many people desire fame and fortune. It is all over the media. We watch celebrity reality shows, dancing and singing competitions and internet sensations. We are consumed with being followed on Twitter, liked on Facebook, and shared on YouTube. We are obsessed with appearance, personalities, talent and style.

We also live in a very competitive world which creates more stress to be the best. Sometimes by striving to be the best, we sometimes lose sight of the deeper connections to ourselves. We start comparing ourselves to others and trying to be better or do better than our neighbor. In the long run, we become dissatisfied or discontented with who’ve we’ve become in the process.

After thinking about things, it just made me realize how many followers we have in this world. Some people will lose themselves just to fit in. It just doesn’t feel good to stand alone in the midst of a crowd. People are easily swayed to go along with the majority or simply ignore conflict to blend in.

Children are constantly bullied in school because they are different. Women are judged for not keeping up their appearance, so they get plastic surgery to be approved by society or to feel better about themselves. Men are criticized for not being the stereotype of what a man should be. Men often cannot show their sensitive side or express the desire to be in a committed relationship.

We all have a role or a mold to fit into to keep others comfortable. It crosses all cultural, ethnic, class and social groups. We have roles in families, we have roles in our workplace and roles in our communities. If we step outside of expectation, we may realize that we’re standing alone which is a very cold place to be. It made me realize that the lack of leaders are slim to none.

What makes a good leader? It takes courage and strength to be a leader. You must not be afraid of the opinion of others. You give direction and guidance, but also know your strengths and weaknesses which allow you to delegate tasks appropriately. You take the blame when things don’t go as planned but know when to apologize when you make a mistake. You walk with integrity and authority and let go of ego and control. It’s a place where you stand in your convictions despite what others may think or say. True leadership is a place of solitude. It’s a place where not only your character is tested and challenged, but also your intentions and motivations.

Great leadership is hard to find. There is only one true leader who was not recognized for his miraculous work. Jesus, led by example and fulfilled the great commission.

However, I also wondered how many followers Jesus would have if He was physically living in the 21st Century? By unpopular vote, He would not agree with the gay right issues and gay marriages being passed, He would not agree with abortion rights or gun laws. He would not agree with women living with men and men living with women without being married or having children outside of marriage. So, He would definitely be a man who stands alone among a few followers just like He did over 2000 years ago.

As a leader, let’s remember that we will not always be praised or honored for the work we accomplish but we should work to please the Father in all that we do.

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” Gen 1:27-28

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:6-9

Happiness vs. Joy

Within the past two days, the topic of being happy in life came up in conversations with friends. I was inspired to write about the difference between being happy vs. having joy. I believe that happiness is influenced by external factors like a career, relationship, material possessions, etc. It can also be determined about how you view your life and the meaning of what you feel success means to you. So basically, you determine how you feel and how happy you want or choose to be. It’s a combination of the external and internal feelings and how you relate and interpret those feelings.

However, I believe joy is a feeling that responds regardless of your circumstances. When I consider my personal experiences, I have experienced joy in the worst situations and circumstances. May I also add without the use of medications, drugs or alcohol. I’ve endured very uncomfortable circumstances and was still able to smile, laugh and function in daily life despite my difficult situations. At the same time, I was not happy with my life or my circumstances. I do believe we all experience depression at one time or another, but as long as we don’t remain in a negative state of mind it is normal to experience periods of discouragement.

The key is to know how to respond and react to your circumstances. It is important to build on hope and encouragement which I touched on yesterday on my blog post. You must realize that life is constantly moving and nothing remains the same. Each trial that we face, is a learning experience and provides us lessons in life is we choose to listen. You must seek inspiration or something that brings you joy regardless of what you may be experiencing.

I also believe you can simply have joy from just being. You have to be in a mindset of not comparing yourself to others and not living in a material world in order to truly experience genuine joy. It’s being free to be who you are and accepting yourself and your faults. Most people have a hard time spending time with themselves because they are afraid of what they will find within themselves. To reach a healthy self image, you must deal with the good and the ugly by looking at yourself in the mirror and then make a change for the better.

The end result is that you are in control of your happiness or joy. You may not be able to control what people say or do, but you are in control of how you think and how you feel. Unfortunately, we live in a negative world and it will take every drop of energy to overcome challenges, obstacles and situations that we may feel consume us. Just keep this in mind….”Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5