THE F-WORD

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit her to teach or have authority over a man. She. Must. Be. Silent.” - 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

I remember reading those words for the first time right after I graduated from college. In that season God’s voice had been so clear about the type of woman He wanted me to become, but those three short sentences were not. I sat there reading the passage over and over; trying to find something I hadn’t seen before. The black and white lettering seemed so stark, so clear; so… black and white.

See, if you know me I think the last word you might use to describe me is silent. I’m ambitious. I’m independent. I'm opinionated. And you can normally hear my boisterous laugh or loud voice long before you see me enter a room. So, where does this leave me? Am I destined to be some kind of unfit wife?

Throughout the years I've sat in numerous churches, yet I can never ignore the slight pang I feel in my heart as preachers encourage women in the congregation to be "quiet" and "submissive", to not pursue careers and to instead learn to be a "good wife." Growing up in these conservative circles often times I heard more about being a “submissive wife,” than about establishing a loving marriage.

In many Christian communities being a “biblical man” or a “biblical woman” is just as high of a priority, if not more so, than being a biblical person. I’m not sure how we came to the conclusion that men and women are to imitate Christ in different ways but I’d like to know where people see Jesus emphasizing that a man’s highest calling is to be a leader and a decision-maker, and a woman’s highest calling is to be a nurturer and “advice-giver.” From what I know about the life of Jesus, he called us to love God and love others selflessly. End of story.

That brings me to the dreaded f-word. In some circles, using the f-word is dirty, outrageous, and even offensive. Of course, I’m talking about the word feminism. But, let's take a closer look at what exactly feminism is. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a feminist is someone who “believes men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Notice how it doesn't say women who refuse to take their husbands last name, never want to have children, don't care about personal hygiene, and get pissed when a man gets her car door or pays for her meal on a first date. I've heard people accuse women who support the feminist movement of being "power-hungry" or "selfish" and even say that feminism has no place in the church because "women were made to help their future husbands achieve the purpose God has for his life" - as though God did not have one for me, too.

As a Christian, to me, feminism is about seeing and valuing women as Jesus did. I’m always moved by the stories of Jesus’ interactions with women in the gospels. In a time and culture where women were uneducated, looked down upon and viewed as property, He saw them and treated them as ones who were honored by God and deeply loved. If the church followed the example of Jesus in how he treated women, it could heal the world. Just like the human body, the whole flourishes when every part is made stronger. In my eyes, Christians should be on the front lines of the feminist movement, because God is a God of justice who loves us all equally — and we should aim to perfect those traits within the church, and within ourselves.

Loyally,

J

Photography by Garrett Lobaugh

FRIENDSHIPS: THE NEW NORMAL

As a middle school P.E. assignment my class was forced to choreograph a 1-2 minute dance routine and perform it in front of everyone. As you can imagine in 7th grade this was pretty much your worst nightmare. Alas, my best friends and I decided if we were going to do it we were going to make ours hot shit the best. So, we formed our little group and worked tirelessly to perfect our routine. We even took it a step further and got matching outfits (I’m talking matching juicy couture velour sweat suits and blue sparkly eye shadow, people.) And when the DJ, I mean our middle-aged gym coach, played Britney Spears' "Toxic" we simultaneously busted out our best moves… and killed it (duh!)

Middle school, high school and, even college, are typically periods of sameness. Not necessarily matching outfits and choreographed dance moves sameness, but we’re all in it together - navigating the same classes and campuses. Dealing with similar issues and trials.

As we enter into our 20s, however, everything changes. Suddenly, it feels like we're not all in it together anymore. After years of sameness throughout adolescence, it's easy to believe that in order to have deep, real friendships, we must stay in the same phase of life as one another. But, what I've learned is that connection doesn't require common ground. Tides are constantly shifting and, if we are only able to maintain friendships when we're all the same, it’d be virtually impossible.

While some people are getting engaged, others feel as though they’ll be eternally single. Some people are getting promotions; others are piling up degrees in grad school. Alongside weddings are divorces. Alongside babies are breakups.

For me, with joy for one, comes jealousy for another. The key to moving past this is understanding that the playing field is constantly shifting. There will always be someone who has what we want. And we will always have what someone else wants. By practicing gratitude for where we are, we can avoid being overcome with jealousy or nostalgia, and begin loving on our friends the way we were meant to. Be grateful for today and know that right now is enough. I know and believe that this life is unfolding exactly as it is meant to be.

Loyally,
J

Photography by Garrett Lobaugh

HELP I GOT REJECTED!

I've experienced it. You've experienced it. Even Taylor Swift has experienced it. Yet every time it happens, we're reminded again how not fun it is to be rejected.

A tiny part of me shudders even typing the word.

Rejection knows no bounds, invading social, romantic and job situations alike. As unpleasant as it is, rejection is part of life; and hear me when I say my life is no exception. From receiving a college admissions response in the dreaded “thin envelope,” to the boy I crushed on for years only wanting to be friends, I learned quickly about this wily beast.

You’d think that because rejection is such commonplace we’d know how to properly deal with it by now. Yet, time and time again rejection leaves us feeling ashamed, inadequate and wondering whether something is seriously wrong with us.

We humans can do anything (seriously anything!) but the fear of rejection is so powerful that some of us spend our entire lives just trying to avoid it. Fear in general, but specifically the fear of rejection, has imprisoned me for many years. Something I’ve learned, however, is that living in fear is comfortable and that playing it safe will keep you safe, but it won’t do much more than that. The sooner we are able to let go of this fear, the sooner we can begin the journey of becoming the person God dreamed up when he created us.

I try to think of it this way: What would your advice be to someone you love? Would you say, “Go for it,” or “You’ve got this,” or would it be more along the lines of “Yeah, you know what… Maybe not,” or “Gosh that’s a bit risky – better just play it safe.” It’s very possible that the advice you would give to someone else is different than the advice you would give yourself because when it’s someone else, you’re free from the bad feelings that come with rejection. Here’s what you have to remember: The pain of rejection is just a feeling. It’s not a life sentence, it’s not a defect and most importantly it. does. not. define. you.

Somewhere between the fear of failing and the courage for it not to matter is where the magic lives. It’s the deep breath in, the brave step forward and the boldness to live life like you own it that makes it worthwhile.

Loyally,

J

Photography by Garrett Lobaugh

10 CALENDARS TO GET YOU PUMPED FOR 2016

Call me old fashioned but I live and die by my pen and paper planner and calendar. *Gasp* I know, I know. But hear me out. Pen and paper provides me with the freedom to create a system that works for me. Scribbling "Meetup @ 2:30PM" takes much less mental energy for me than opening an app and filling out the many variables that come after tapping the “add” button. (Seriously though, why does creating a meeting involve as many entry fields as a DMV form?) I write down only the details I need to know, and don’t bother even thinking about the extra information that I already have in my head.

To kick off the new year I've compiled the 10 most fabulous calendars to get you organized and make your room or office the trendiest one on the block. Enjoy!

Come on people, there's an octopus riding a freakin' bicycle. You can't get that kind of joy out of iCal.

Loyally,

J

TRUE LIFE: CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER WAITRESS

“A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.”

Quick scenario: You are out to eat at a restaurant during a busy summer month. Your server is working over time, trying to make sure that everyone has everything that they need. She has provided you with all of the information that she has been given from the kitchen regarding delays in service. The restaurant is packed. She is sweating a little, running around, but she is very nice and cordial, taking the time to answer all of your questions. Something happens in the kitchen, and your food takes a little longer than you might like. You then choose to respond to this reality by screaming at your server, belittling her in front of five other tables, and degrading her as if she is barely deserving being spoken to. She offers you free drinks and dessert, while apologizing profusely. You pay the bill, over a hundred dollars, but you don’t tip her a single cent. You leave, and she cries briefly before plastering a smile on her face and heading out to serve the rest of her tables.

Admittedly, I was that server.

Having waited tables for 6 years, I wish I could say this was just a fluke, an isolated incident, one that was normally unheard of in the business, but if I did I’d be lying. I'd actually go as far as to say that almost anyone reading this that has worked in a restaurant or a retail store is, at this very moment, having flashbacks of similar scenarios that have happened to them. 

Working in this type of industry I was always expected to be friendly, courteous, and skilled at my job - regardless of how poorly my diners treated me. If I greeted a table and in the middle of my smiley introduction was met with, “I’ll take a Coke” I had to pretend that their attitude didn’t affect me. If a dish came out of the kitchen that a particular guest didn’t like, I was expected to empathize and respond with kindness.

Fine. I could handle big expectations; after all it was my job. But what is expected of the guest? Surely human kindness should be on the list.

With the holidays quickly approaching I felt it super important to address the fact that just because you are paying for a service doesn't mean that you now own the person taking care of you. For the average person the holidays mean extended weekends, time with the family, and fun producing that quite-essential holiday cheer. Yet, for those in the customer service industry the holidays mean extended workdays, less time with family, and all around stress-laced, Bah-Humbug workdays.

The people who are waiting on you, ringing you up, driving your uber, or doing any of the other things that make your day easier and/or more enjoyable are real people and they have real feelings. They're human beings and should be treated as such.

*Rant over*

J

Photography by Garrett Lobaugh