Fight Fear Less

As a woman who struggles with fear every day, this cannot describe a better solution.
It’s not just food; you have to trust God with your dreams…your future….your relationships…sometimes you just need to trust that He is going to help you run that extra mile or finish your homework.

It’s the greatest challenge that each warrior can face. But it is worth it.
Many thanks to the woman who had the courage to face her fears, and share this with all of us.
Fight fear less – trust God more. You can read it all day – my challenge for you is to try it.
Shalom. – Yael Eliyahu

BeautyBeyondBones

What are you afraid of?

Really. I want you to put it into words. Verbalize it.

What keeps you up at night?

During my anorexia and for some ofmuch of recovery, I was afraid of the weight restoration. I was afraid of certain foods; that “all elusive” weight range; how my body was going to change. I was afraid of not being perfect; I was afraid of failing, being a disappointment, and letting other people down.

Maybe some of those are ringing true for you. Maybe you’re afraid of admitting you have an eating disorder, period? Been there! Perhaps you’re afraid of adding a supplement, or stopping your exercise addiction. Maybe you’re afraid of revealing to your loved ones that you’re struggling. Or maybe you’re afraid of feeling your feelings.

Whatever you’ve verbalized, I’m guessing it sounds a little bit like that.

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When you were a little kid, remember how…

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Hot New Deals – Burnt To A Crisp

Busy life or not, I have been guilty of internet browsing. Sometimes I’ve got a quiet moment at work, or I’m looking for new music to jam to during school….that, and I probably put the pro in procrastination.

Well, the new browser for windows ten is Microsoft edge. Y’all have probably seen it, used it, fallen in love with it.(Kidding, google.)

Microsoft is a browser that’s meant to suck you into the internet, and never let you leave. Articles pop up instantly in hopes that you will click on them and forget what you were searching for. What’s supposed to take five minutes will take you three hours if they get their way.

But that’s actually not why I’m writing. I get the business. I don’t like the principal of it, but I’m the chucklehead who wastes my time staring at a maze of internet sluff.

I was doing just  that, when I came across a specific article – it’s really more of an ad. Dollar shave club is pitching it’s sale tone to women now, with an article by a woman who uses their products and loves them. It’s a good article, and though I had no reason to read an article on a shave club I was curious and clicked the site for kicks. After a few minutes I shrugged and went back to YouTube searches. I mean, there was really no reason for me checking the product in the first place. (Advertising at it’s best y’all…..it even gets the good ones trapped from time to time.)

YouTube and Pandora are my internet addictions – music, music and more music! I need it for my stories, schoolwork, my articles, heck, I’m jamming to Hollyn (Her beats never get old.) on YouTube as I write this! Naturally my boredom results in new music searches.

Unfortunately you’ve got to sit through the ads. Bleck. One popped up and I rolled my eyes, leaned back and tuned out.

What the F-K.

Crikey. Eyes open. Snap forward. What did they just say?! And I hear it again (along with the visual) – What the FAQ. The scoop on frequently asked questions concerning dollar shave club. Well, that’s just lovely. I skipped it and kept going, briefly noting that I wouldn’t ever buy their products. It’s rude and I wasn’t happy, but if uncultured jokes make more sales for them that’s their business. Now for my music. I closed my eyes again and let the melody take over.

Then the next video popped up. With another ad. It starts with a guy who barely fits in his chair, surrounded by all manner of odd things – he went on for some time about how he never purchases something without a reason, before launching into the dollar shave gimmick.

As the ad progressed I paid attention, unsure of where this was going. I didn’t want another hiccup like the one before. The scene switched, and it took me about three seconds to feel sick to my stomach. A man was tied to a bed and the lights were dim…..and he was talking about pain. The kind that is pleasant, versus the kind that is unpleasant.

I dare not describe the rest. I’m sure that there are people out there who believe it is funny. It’s a joke written by a full-blown snark genius. Some would say it is perfectly appropriate. Everyone was fully clothed, it wasn’t real, it was just an ad, they are trying to get you to remember…..well I remembered.

I remembered Corinth. I remembered Rome…..I remembered myself. Every joke in that ad pointed to something that someone desires.

Gluttony.

Greed.

Covetousness.

Masochism.

Promiscuity.

Sin.

It all looks good for a while. It might feel good for a minute. But  when the feelings fade, you have to up your game. The thrill comes at a higher price each day. Too late, you wonder whether it’s worth it.

Let me tell you this – it’s not. We’ve somehow reached this point where things that used to be dirty and indecent are a joke. Advertisements that are available to children include scenes of perversion so vile they were once performed only in secret.

I should know – I have done such things. I was trapped in sin, and I do NOT want the children around me to taste that same sin. But why not? Let’s join Corinth. Eat, drink, and make love before all! Come to Rome, and taste of our bounty. Worry not of your aching bones. Don’t concern yourself with the scars that grow with each new game. You are your own – there is nothing we will withhold from you.

Not even death.

For once you have your desires, those desires will own you.

This kind of slavery is hell on earth – a lie that will drag innocents into the fire, along with the damned.

At least dollar shave club sells good quality razors. Just get a fireproof guarantee before making a purchase.

 

 

 

A Mini-Kingdom of the Democratic Nature

Perhaps you’ve wondered where I went the past couple of months. Sadly I must admit that the answer is “nowhere.” School has taken over my life.

Mine, and every other senior struggling through their last semester. It turns out that all of that procrastinating catches up on you eventually. Oh, well. Now I must do something few have successfully accomplished.

Graduate on time. Yep, it’s a simple enough task when you do your school like you’re supposed to. For me, I’ve got twenty days to do six(ish) months of work. Hence my absence of late.

Today I am cutting into yet another too-short school day to share something I feel is of equal value as schooling. You’re welcome.

For some time now I’ve been praying about a lot of things; one of which is my home town. (I should be praying all the time…truth is, I wasn’t and still don’t.) A few months ago I wrote about The Invisible America, which seems like its own little conservative kingdom. (Well, democracy of course, being a microcosm of the country at large.) Most people are more familiar with this little kingdom’s common name: the state of Wyoming.

At least, that is where you will find it. Not even a tenth of the state itself is touched by the world I know. A small town- though it is not even a noticeable fraction of Wyoming- has become my life. When I first came here I would have thought it impossible to fall in love with this place.

  1. It’s tiny. By tiny I mean, less than ten thousand people. In this part of the country that’s actually big. (Another complaint I first had.)  I have wanted to live in a small town since I was a child. The problem with it’s size will be best explained in the next complaint….
  2. Everyone knows everyone. If you move in, everybody knows within a few months. Good luck finding friends for a while…every kid in town has grown up with their friends since preschool or even earlier. (Akward when you’ve lived A Military Brat Life)
  3. There are not very many young people here. It turns out that they usually move as soon as they graduate, and end up coming back after they’ve grown up and had a family. Why?
  4. Because there is nothing to do here. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Wait, never mind. You can go to the local soda fountain! So long as you don’t mind being the youngest people there, if you are teenagers. If you have any energy at all your options are get involved at a church, go bowling, and/or be bored. (And eat food. We do have plenty of places to get food.)
  5. If you don’t want to break the bank, you go up to Billings, Montana. Our stores have limited and sometimes expensive merchandise. (Still waiting on peanut butter…) Again, there are some things that are worth shopping local for. It’s just that we don’t have everything. (Sports equipment anyone? Let me know if I’ve just missed it somewhere.)
  6. Everyone has relatives everywhere. You can’t escape. Ever. (Don’t try either; you might get more than you wanted.)

 

When did I change my mind?

I’m not certain, but I know it wasn’t me. Since I moved here God has put this beautiful little kingdom on my heart. The people here are moving for Him and those who don’t desperately need Him! (Isn’t that true everywhere?) I don’t have to leave to minister to others as God has called me to. Here I have grown, learned and built relationships that are irreplaceable. In the place that I am right now, literally the room I am in, I have been able to bless people, pray for them, encourage them, and receive the same.

Here I have learned that it is not the location you are in. God uses missionaries in Africa, Europe, South America and even right here in Wyoming. There is never going to be a town that is 100% Christian. We need each other. How blessed am I to live in a place where being a Christian does not guarantee persecution. Fear has no hold on this town.

The other day I went to the coffee shop and was amazed to find a new addition to their décor. Within the last couple of weeks, they have added a prayer wall. Leave a prayer, take a prayer. How cool is that? I decided to leave one of my own prayers. This is the prayer I picked up in return –

Pray for continued unity in this town. That it would be found in Christ alone!

On the end of the note, someone left John 17: 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

As this prayer was made public, so I have taken the liberty of sharing it with you. Many thanks to the one who first wrote it! I believe we should all be praying this same prayer. Where better to start loving your neighbor than in your home town? (Hey, here’s a thought. Love your actual neighbor.)

This has become my home. As the people within have ministered unto me, so I desire to do the same for them in Christ. I love this little town; it was loved by God first.

Shalom.

Yael Eliyahu

 

 

The Return of the 80’s to High-School

Last night I went to see the 80’s in action. My friends were almost unrecognizable with their frizzy curls, heavy make-up and brightly colored clothing. The boys were also different, though honestly I like the polo & slacks look better than the skinny jeans of today. (Just don’t ever go back to 80’s hair. Please.) I was surprised to recognize as many of the 80’s references as I did. I mostly have my parents to thank for that. Even before the play we were making a game out of who knew the most music. Apparently we all know more than we thought, but we are terrible with titles.

The first thing I noticed as the play began was that the kids were actually singing. There was no lip-syncing at all. I was very impressed with how many of our high-schoolers can sing. I didn’t hear anyone do a bad job and some of the songs left me feeling awestruck. Keep singing guys, you were awesome. Certain dances were fantastic and lots of fun to watch…I had my feet tapping and I was fidgeting in my chair, wanting to join in. As if all of this wasn’t enough, the quality of acting went above and beyond that of an average high-school play. The kids were all in character & most importantly, they looked like they were having a blast. I want to see more of that in the future. I definitely had a favorite scene…it had me laughing uncontrollably by the end of it. My second favorite scene was also pretty funny…..I like funny things. J I don’t really want to tell you too much about them but…Mr. Miyagi and Star Wars. Funniest scenes in the whole play. There were some other really good scenes as well. Sing offs, conflict through song, joy, sadness. There was a smooth blend of emotions that kept me guessing and feeling involved in the play. Musicals are easy to mess up, either with too much music or not enough. I don’t think that was the case in this play. The music played a key part in revealing the emotions of the story.

A subplot within the play involved the romance of two high-school teachers. All was going well with their relationship until the male teacher saw a picture of the female in a magazine he confiscated from a student. This scene was done tastefully, focusing on the conflict between the two. Several scenes later we are shown the pain of this male teacher. I felt pain with him. Indeed, I experienced horror. His thoughts of his female counterpart were explicitly revealed to the audience, through his song and her dance.

Which brings me to the one real criticism I have of this play. It is a heart breaking sorrow that the adults in charge of the play didn’t see anything wrong with having a high-school girl perform that dance. I don’t care if they wanted to show the character’s thoughts. His thoughts were impure. That young lady is beautiful, and a very talented dancer. They have no excuse for asking her to do a seductive dance that even I, as a woman, could not watch. If it is intended to inflame lust, is it ok just because she had some clothes on? Fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters were in the audience. Have we come so far that we no longer feel shame? Besides the damage done to the viewers, just how is this young lady going to see herself? There were teenage boys watching this. Men of all ages witnessed her dancing. They put her on a table in front of all of them, on display. I hurt for this girl. Maybe she’s been taught that there is nothing wrong with dancing in that way, but that’s irrelevant. The community, school, adults in charge of the play, other actors, and audience don’t have to participate in her harm, and that is one of the reasons I write this. I want her to know that she is a talented dancer. She doesn’t have to dance in the gutter for the sake of some play. She is worth more than that. She could make people’s minds and hearts soar with her dance.

The responsibility for this shame can’t lie on this talented young lady or the other teenagers that acted. I don’t know whether they spoke up or not. These are my friends from church. These are my sisters & brothers in Christ. The kids who aren’t Christians have been trained to believe that you can sacrifice everything for your career. My prayer is that they someday find something that is greater than any career. How are they going to do that when even the Christian teachers and authority figures are compromising their beliefs? Why won’t they fight to protect the youth entrusted to them?

I saw more than I should have. My friends stayed with me and did the same. Perhaps it would have been better had we left. Instead I just sat still, stared at the ground and prayed for it to end quickly. I was wrong too. How much have I compromised? I don’t know yet. More than was right. Not just in the play. We are in a Christian town and yet we are silent. Today is the end. Before God, I will write for Him and not just when I want to.

My prayers are with the high-school today. The play runs again tonight. Kids will be spending another exhausting session singing and dancing. These young men and women need our prayers, and our support. I’m not sure how to do that right now, but I do know that the Lord will fight for them. They are beloved by Him and precious so they must be the same to me. May God ever direct our steps. Shalom.

The Invisible America

When speaking of America, people instantly have visions of thriving cities, apple pie, baseball, and loud yanks. Or perhaps they will think of the natural beauty of the grand canyon, or the architectural skill revealed in the golden gate bridge. Those who do not live within America (and some who do) can only begin to imagine the wealth of terrain, architecture, culture and societal structure that begins on the east coast and refuses to stop even at the west. (Thanks Hawaii)

That’s not what I see at all. The places that are truly America to me, don’t exist to most people. I live in a land that many Americans don’t even realize is a proper state. Within that state there is a city on the edge of a mountain. Let’s just say, that there is nothing of interest in that city. The heart of my America is found in a string of tiny towns running along the east of that place.

It would be easy enough to pass through our town in less than ten minutes. Unless you get stuck behind a beet truck and hit all the red lights. You might as well get comfortable if that happens. (Ok ok, it’s really not that bad…) But I could care less about the highway. I want to tell you about the town itself.

And I will. Later. One beautiful place at a time. If I feel a spurt of literary brilliance (or if my fellow citizens don’t burn my paper and pen by the time I’m done) I will even summarize it for you.

For now, lets talk about one thing that every proper town has in common. The grocery store. It’s a necessary aspect of life that goes unnoticed….until it’s taken away. America is blessed with plenty, which means we rarely stop to think about the exotic foods we can get anywhere. (I can guarantee that you aren’t growing any Bananas this far north.) Without our mundane little grocery stores, what would our towns look like? (Or taste like. No mexican vanilla. No costa rican coffee…..)

Let me tell you this. Chain stores are nothing compared to local grocers. Until I moved here a few years ago, I didn’t realize that chatting in line was an acceptable part of society. Addressing the cashier by name is a natural part of conversing with them. Complete strangers will strike up a conversation if the line is long or the store is especially busy. I’ve found myself spending an hour in the store when I meant to walk in for a couple of items because I ran into a friend.

Actually, I never walk into the store without recognizing someone. It’s awesome. If a display falls over and scatters stuff all over the floor, people who don’t even work at the store will help pick it up. Respect is a given, but in a small town grocery store people go above and beyond to treat one another well. When a mother comes in with a bunch of little kids people usually invite her to move to the front of the line.

I’ve had many instances of chastisement-not because anyone said anything-but because I was one of the least well mannered people in the store. (Coming from a pastor’s kid who has been trained up in manners since childhood, that’s really not an easy statement to make.) It’s the kind of society that people only see in movies usually.

Does it look like that every single day? Nah. We’re a town full of sinners. But this is the only place I’ve lived in where looking to other people’s interests above your own is a cultural norm. (Except for when pricing peanut butter. Seriously guys, I hate going to Walmart. You like it when I buy your stuff. Make peanut butter cheaper. Please.)

A couple of days ago I enjoyed another phenomena. I was the only customer in the entire grocery store. It was fantastic! I still took forever, because I can never seem to find what I want. (It would help if I remembered what I wanted for ten minutes straight.) And even though I was the only one there, people greeted me with a smile and made sure that they were available to assist me. Also, they asked why I wasn’t in school. And when I said “I’m homeschooled” they didn’t freak out like I was an alien. A polite conversation began about the pros and cons of homeschooling and they happily told me to enjoy my day. (Side note: It’s really hard to play hooky as a homeschooler…buying groceries for your family provides a pleasant respite from school.)

So now you know. Local grocers have the same products that every other store does. (Even if the peanut butter is spendier.)  The difference is the culture within them. (No, I’m not talking about yogurt.) Grocery stores may be almost invisible, but the people who work within them are a blessing to us all. Regardless of whether you shop local or in a chain store, treat the people who work there with respect. Without them, you wouldn’t ever be able to buy peanut butter. Or icecream. Or tortillas…a world without tortillas is a bad world. Society always has room for improvement. The easiest way to start, is with the places you go to the most.

America isn’t about the skyscrapers, the greasy food, the sports crazies. Sure, it wouldn’t be the same without them, but its core lies in the little things. The people you see every day will influence who you are. The way you treat them will change your environment. American pie is pretty dang great. Without the people to form it, you’ve just got a scattered mess of buildings and bragging rights. (Oh yea, people made those too.) So how about we go back to our origin. The individual. Not you. The one next to you. And the one by him. The girl behind the counter and the guy stacking up racks of fizzysodapopcoke. (Been too many places, couldn’t pick a word. Folks around here just call it pop.) They might be invisible to the outside, but they are what form America.

Geeks & Nerds Only

I’ve always been a geek. But I still remember the first time I was labeled as such.

She’s not a girl, she’s a nerd!

So she had said. My friend wanted to let me know that some boys had been talking about me. One guy asked the other what he thought of me. Those were his words. They had previously been discussing which girls they thought were pretty. Nerd is never an adjective for beauty.

It stings sometimes, to be rejected because you are different. You’re excluded because you pursue knowledge for fun, or you aren’t afraid to wear the clothes you like….maybe you just like marvel a little more than your friends. Or you’re still wearing pigtails in the eighth grade.

I know what that’s like. All of it. I’ve been picked on too…worse, I’ve been the nerd bodyguard. As a kid I was the tough one. I wasn’t afraid of bullies. (Side note, if you aren’t afraid they leave you alone. Hence why I was bodyguard…the others were too afraid.)

Now I am preparing for adulthood. I’m still a major geek, and often people still forget that I am a girl. So I would like to write this to my fellow geeks and nerds. (Yes, I even break tradition within the subgroups of geeks and nerds by taking on aspects of both.) I am here to prepare you. I want you to know that being a geek isn’t a bad thing. It’s something you should embrace without fear. It’s cool, no matter what anyone tells you.

You are the intelligent ones. You know that it’s ok to be different. Don’t ever be afraid.

Also, don’t forget what it’s like to be judged.

Here’s the deal. We struggle with labels. We have to fight every single stupid stereotype out there. It’s infuriating when people wear big glasses and suspenders and call themselves nerds. It’s even idiotic. Wearing socks with sandals does not make someone a geek! (Not even geeks…seriously guys.)

Now, pretend that just for a second, geeks and nerds aren’t the only ones who get stereotyped. Imagine what it would be like to be popular. As a girl, you wear nice clothes, have long curly hair, that perfect smile you always wanted, friends surrounding you, a really cute boyfriend…in other words…A STEREOTYPE!!

As a geek, this is what I know. We are judgemental. We look down on people who don’t seem as intelligent as us. We shun tasteful clothes because we don’t want to be seen as one of them. (Although the truth is, as a girl, I still wanted to be pretty.)

Maybe we’re the intelligent ones. But we can act just as stupid as any cheerleader or jock out there. I’m calling you out because I am guilty.

I chose to be a geek. I knew this, and I was ready for battle. I have never felt the need to describe myself as a victim. I’ve been the loner in the corner because I didn’t feel like I had to connect with people who weren’t as weird as me. I made friends, they just weren’t the ones who made a big clique. Everything I did was because I chose to ignore societal norm and be myself.

There is nothing wrong with that. But here’s another thing. I did conform. In a way, I used conformity to my advantage. I refused to be someone other than myself, but I only used the parts of my personality that worked best with my friends. Not that I realized that, but I did. And in a sense, that’s exactly what those other kids are doing. The ones we call shallow. The ones who are two-dimensional.

Here’s the thing. There’s conformity, and then there’s etiquette. Sometimes societal norms are a positive part of living with other people. Maybe it’s not part of my personality to be friendly to strangers. But aren’t we supposed to encourage one another? Isn’t it part of our job to build each other up in Christ?

Jesus didn’t hang out with the cool people. You have no right to twist that out of context as an excuse to be unkind to those people. Even if it’s not part of your personality, it can be such a blessing to someone if you step out and be cordial. It doesn’t matter what they look like or what clothes they are wearing. They are people. Created by God, fallen, sinful, people who need the love of Jesus.

Doesn’t matter what clique you belong to. I don’t care if you are intelligent, athletic, beautiful, funny or sweet. (Which, by the way, is still deeper than what stereotype you might fall under.) You are like everybody else. Remember that they are the same as you. You’re all sinners. So am I. You all were redeemed by Christ, and you are all loved by Him.

I’m not a nerd. I’m a Jesus Freak. It’s more than a stereotype. It’s an active relationship with the only person who has the right to judge me. He could have, but instead he redeemed me.

I chose to conform. I want to be like Him. And that’s why I want to love you, regardless of which crowd you hang out with. Or which one you don’t. Honestly you won’t even care once you graduate. There will be other stupid social classes you identify with. Regardless…you will always be a Soul.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace. Shalom.

– Yael Eliyahu

Conflict with Word Barf

Alright, so it’s gonna be a quicky as I’m behind in my nanowrimo goal. But I did promise to write about what I’m thankful for until thanksgiving, to hold myself accountable and change my attitude….so here we are.

  1. Nanowrimo has begun!! I am very thankful for nanowrimo. The little chart and green progress bar are huge motivators for me. I had forgotten how pleasant it was to sit and write.
  2. My fantasy series is planned. I am going to write four books, all of which are happily titled with their main themes organized. I’m really excited to finish this series, I’ve been working on it since I was twelve. Hopefully this will be the year when all of the rough drafts get typed up. 1 down, 3 1/2 to go!
  3. I’m really thankful for my siblings. They say the funniest things, which inspire new characters and dialogues. Even when I’m behind schedule, spending a bit of time with them is more important than any story. They are the best. 🙂
  4. A heart. Namely, that of a deer. Dissection is really cool. Just sayin.
  5. Arguments and fellow writers. As I try to organize my thoughts I tend to “word barf” all over a messy document dedicated to my scrambled thoughts. And sometimes my writer buddies help my cat “write his thoughts too”…..not sure if I’m annoyed or just thankful to have some great writer buddies. (And a really adorable cat, who acts retarded….no doubt about it, I’m blessed to have him.)
  6. My story has conflict. It’s fantastic. I know exactly where the characters main conflicts will be for the entire series.
  7. Comic relief. I see it in my family, my friends, my own klutziness, and my pets. God has a sense of humor, and it’s an honor that He shares it. I wish I could make people laugh as much as they make me smile and laugh.

So this was my day. And this is just a bit of the chaotic, unedited me. It’s even messier during nanowrimo, but in reality I’m not very eloquent or well spoken. The Lord shows meaning through the tiniest acts around me. I can’t really describe how wonderful that is. I hope that in the mess of life, you were able to find something to be thankful for as well. If you’re brave, it would be really neat to hear about your own adventures. 🙂