Bloggers Recognition Award

A little over a week ago, I was nominated for the Bloggers Recognition Award by Beautiful Southern Heart’s own Kristen Walker. I’m incredibly humbled to have received this nomination and grateful for Kristen’s heart in this world. Her writing is vulnerable and real, and I appreciate her openness. As a Christian writer, I can see the way her faith influences her writing with the purpose of helping others to be better versions of themselves. Kristen, keep it up, there is a hungry world for people like you who have something meaningful, powerful, and intentional to say.


rules

  • Thank the Blogger that nominated you!
  • Write a post to show your award!
  • Give a brief story of how you started your blog
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers!
  • Select 9 Bloggers, you want to give this award to!
  • Comment on each blog to let them know you have nominated them, also link your post to their nomination!

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Though I began writing my blog in January 2016, I was writing long before then. I first put pen to paper for the intentional purpose of writing out thoughts when I was a sophomore in high school, soon after my first major heartbreak. Someone important to me lied to me and broke my heart, and that spawned the idea to write out emotional words of anguish, betrayal, pain, frustration, and many others. While I started off just writing words that rhymed together with the harsh acrimony of my darker emotions, this outlet eventually transmuted into poetry and song lyrics. Writing remained one of my outlets alongside weight-lifting, and by the time I graduated high school, I had written hundreds of songs/poems. By then I thought I was finished, but I couldn’t see my future then the way I can see my past now in hindsight: My writing continued throughout my college years in Florida and into my life in California, where I would start writing here on my blog.

This blog began with me writing about random subjects (my first article had been about mental pain and how role models help inspire those people in pain—it is deleted now as well as many others) and slowly, over the course of a few months, became a blog about my faith in Jesus. It was after I felt called to write about my faith rather than merely about my opinions about life that I began focusing more seriously on writing about the impact of faith on life. My blog enabled me (and continues to) to pour faith into places a blog can reach and where I (physically) cannot.

I believe the entire world needs to know about Jesus (the Bible calls us to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations of the earth Mark 16:15), which is why I make this blog public. I try to make clear that I am open to answering questions and hearing others’ thoughts, especially with regards to faith. I mean to help others to feel heard, acknowledged, and understood by letting them speak their minds/hearts, and giving them the space to do so.

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I’ve done a lot of reading in my thirty years of existence, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge from the minds and vernacular of other writers and their thought processes/beliefs. Over the years, I’ve grown fond of finding difficult words and ideas which made me slow down and think; not merely about a new vocabulary word, but about the complex ability to consider thoughts and beliefs far outside that of my comfort zone. Increasingly, this became something I rather enjoyed because I equated this “shock value,” if you will, to determining how much there was that I still didn’t know. This transformed the fear of the unfamiliar to unparalleled zeal for the unknown.

Throughout this process, I have come to realize this is the way I love writing most; taking others out of their comfort zones, and challenging them not only with new words, but with new thoughts, considerations, beliefs, and ideologies far outside of what they may be used to or familiar with. I consider the act of such a perspective shift to be a blessing and a courtesy, because without it, we would remain “blind” to the ‘outside’ of ourselves. This said, my first piece of advice would be to allow ourselves to be challenged and brought “outside of ourselves,” that we would know more than our “self” is already telling us. For me, faith in Christ has renewed my spirit and given me hope for an eternity far outside life on this earth. I would never have considered this if I had remained blind and uncurious, and I do not desire this blindness for anyone else.

PIECE OF ADVICE #2

My second piece of advice would be to seek and find what love means to you by coming to know the character, story, and truth of Jesus. I spent most of my life not believing in Jesus, and when He opened my eyes to see Him during my mid-twenties, my heart was radically changed. In this way—through coming to know and understand Jesus—I believe we come to understand love, and by understanding love in such a fundamentally different way, I believe we eventually discover the reality that God is love, that love is not God, and that the result of such a discovery is the seed to understanding why we’re alive in this world.

There is a plethora of relevant, important minutiae we have the capacity to learn in this lifetime; such as how to change the tires on our car, how not to stain or shrink clothes in the laundry; how to balance a checkbook, maintain an interesting, engaging conversation with another person—but none other is more important or more intrinsically pivotal than our understanding of love. Without this, we will find (inevitably, whether sooner or later) the rest of our knowledge intake has significantly less importance in the bigger picture of life.

Love is the “party” of life; not the things inside the delusion of earth as our final destination, where we each try to use “things” (sex, drugs, alcohol, food, work, etc.) to fill in the void of pain. But we can only acknowledge such a truth as this when and if we finally admit the nature of our deepest pain. It is bearing witness to the scar-covered wounds we’ve tried and failed to heal with the distraction of ignorance (rather than finding ourselves welcomed into vulnerability with a trusted and loyal friend), and seeking the forgiveness of someone we’ve hurt (or giving the forgiveness to the one who hurt us) that exposes the darkness of our pain with the light of God’s grace, inviting us to receive the gift of a fuller, richer life in Christ.

Love permeates through the spirit of God through Jesus Christ, or it lies flat in its own grave of obscurity through the blindness of the uncurious human mind. We either open our hearts to receive this Truth stemming from outside of ourselves, or every single lesson we could ever learn only points back to the lifelessness of solipsism; believing life only matters because we are in it. Life itself would remain an ambiguous question without answer, ultimately leading the human mind to suffer from self-inflation (i.e. all of life is about ‘me’ in order for it to be entertaining and therefore bearable), or self-implosion (degradation of the mind+heart and failure of the desire to grow or continue to exist, leading to depression and/or other worse maladies). Without understanding love and continuing to understand our understanding of it, we are like a balloon unsure of whether or explode or implode into airless, breathless beings without reason to remain intact. My prayer for each of us is that we will continue to seek Jesus above all else, accept (by coming to understand by the grace of God) the love He generously bestows through the Holy Spirit, and live according to His statues and commands (Deuteronomy 6:1 and 1 Kings 2:3). This will indubitably lead to us a fuller life, if not without the humbled smile derived from a life of delayed gratification in the wait for a better world with a perfect King.

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The Beautiful Rebellion – Mara, although she hasn’t written in a while, has phenomenal posts about such sentimental and engaging subjects, and her delivery is both personal and tangible. I love reading her posts as she has an amazing eye for what matters and the heart to help us to see why.

theclippedbutterfly – Ann writes short and sweet or short and moving/powerful, and I love this about her posts. They are beautiful, sometimes poignant in a meaningful way, and they are always engaging. Ann, bless you as you continue to seek God as He works in your writing!

pennyforyourthotsblog – Penny is always simple but profound, making simplistic points about complex subjects and delivering the message in a way that is as easy to follow as it is honest and real. God bless you as you continue to let the world see the gold that you have to offer, Penny!
Shattered in Him –  JD writes incredible articles about hard topics and her words land powerfully because they are authentic and based in a reality one cannot ignore. I love reading what she has to say and I look forward to reading more from her.
Nickel Boy Graphics – I love this writer’s ability to capture a story within pictures and then explicate the message with some down-to-earth yet complex studies of Christianity and faith. I encourage you to check out his site and see his work for yourself!
First and Second Blog – Bethany has beautiful words which accompany her amazing faith in Jesus, and I find this both inspiring and uplifting. I heavily encourage you to check out her site and experience this for yourself. She is a blessing to the blogging world and I’m grateful to have found her site.
Imagineateweb – Sparsha is poetic and visual with her posts; they are engaging on a level that I really enjoy and respect as a writer. I think she has an amazing gift and I do hope God continues to bless her with the ability to write such moving posts! They are a joy to read.
A Writer’s Reflections – Heather is an incredible writer with some very interesting things to say. I heavily enjoy reading her posts and getting to know her mind more. She’s gifted and filled with the treasure of knowledge. Check out her site and enjoy what she has to offer!
Joseph George – Joseph has really entertaining, thought-provoking videos combining elements of Christianity with the message of recent movies. I love hearing his perspective and I find his points of view refreshing. I do hope he continues to generate these posts which give the world something new to consider.
There are so many writers in this blogging world which deserve credit and I truly hope you will check out the websites above to experience the treasure of their gifts. We each have something to offer, and I hope others will be willing to experience these unique, raw talents.
Kristen, thank you so much for nominating me! I’m truly humbled that you considered me, and I’m just in awe of how God moves through us and speaks to us through others. Moving forward, may God bless each of us as we continue to seek the answers to the questions which matter most, and may we desperately seek to let go of ourselves in order that we would find God instead. In Jesus’s holy name.
If you’d like to read more of my article, you can find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017.
May God bless you all!
Lance Price Blog 2017

Triumph

Under the Microscope: The Fallacy Of Christian Niceness

LUDICROUSNESS OF FAITH

Humility is one of the main attributes of Christianity, one which gives the believer the ability to swallow their insignificance in this vast universe, while simultaneously drawing courage and purpose from the Spirit who spoke the universe into existence. Humility also changes the way we receive the Word of God: Learning of Jesus from the Bible either draws solid faith into the absence of hope, or its extreme claims become the items of religious caricature. Put differently, when people hear of Jesus, they either take Him seriously, or their shock in light of His story forces their logic to consume the lies of the world to make sense of what appears to be the ludicrousness of faith. 

 CHRISTIANITY AND NICENESS

One word in the English language which seems overused in describing the Christian character is “nice.” In this article, I would like to explicate the value of Christianity and its influence on the attitude of the believer, as well as why this should not be confused or mistaken with the correlation of faith. While niceness is a positive attribute, it does not add any measure of extraordinary depth to Christianity; rather, Christianity interjects authenticity into the character of niceness—insofar that our attitude isn’t a mirror of self-merit, but a reflection of the light of faith within. Let me explain.

TRANSCENDENT JOY

Receiving good news from a friend often brings momentary periods of joy through the conduit of empathy; however, this sensation lacks the effervescent joy we can find in Christ since earthly joy does not transcend reality. Furthermore, if we are to consider the notion of realities, we would be wise to also consider the way earthly joy inevitably foreshadows something rare and ecstatic: The high hope of a better world without pain or death or tears—Heaven. Sadly, the doubt of disbelief cloaks the mind and obscures this hope under the rigidity of logic. 

In this light, we can recognize how each of our ephemeral circumstances, whether or not they stimulate joy—are not transcendent of life’s circumstances, and therefore they do not inspire us to have hope beyond this moment. While happiness is as transient as joy is steadfast, earthly joy is like happiness in that it does not gain momentum from any eternality; only faith in Jesus commands the interior walls of belief to leap into the ‘beyond’ from limitation, revealing a more splendent joy as connected to our spirit. 

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Our spirit, once faith has been embraced through grace, no longer witnesses the self without first gazing through the love and provision of Christ. While we still desire pleasure and comfort, this short-sighted viewpoint is overseen by the wisdom of trusting in Jesus. Being encompassed by faith reinstates through the spirit our deeper and more intrinsic desire for a purposeful eternity: Hope in Christ not only answers our search and desire for this, it also heals the broken pieces of who we are from the wake of the destruction of our sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

THE “SMILE” OF NICENESS THROUGH FAITH

In this way, the joy of a Christian stems from their faith, not through an act they’ve carried out or a mood they’re in. Because of this, the expression of joyfulness, which is sometimes mistaken as its own entity—is more or less described as “nice,” in the sense that joy is commonly expressed through a smile and cheeriness. I love to smile at people because I know a genuine smile communicates an effective and positive message, but it isn’t to say, “I’m smiling because I’m Christian!” This reasoning would be so spiritually forced as to be histrionic. If belief in Jesus means, “We smile because we’re Christian,” then faith is simply an act of the will while hope is a mood enhancer. But this isn’t true. Faith in Jesus is rooted in the soul, where desire for meaning and purpose can only be satisfied and fulfilled by the living essence of the transcendent (namely, the Holy Spirit). Why is that? Because we were created by a God who lives outside of the ephemeralness of time and space and sin, and it is to His home to which we are invited.

NOT AN ACT OF THE WILL 

Why is it important for people to understand why niceness needn’t be directly attributed to faith in Christ? The reason is this: If we say we’re smiling because we’re Christian, then we give glory to religion rather than the Lord. In other words, we’re saying, “I’m joyful because I am a Christian,” rather than, “I am joyful because I live in the hope of Jesus Christ.” When we give credit to the belief, we redirect the mind to the act of the will (performance-based religion) rather than the gift from God (grace, and an intimate, personal relationship). In doing this, we give the impression that in order to be Christian, one must smile and “act” nice. This is precisely the fallacy which must be eradicated from the spiritual conversation and effaced from our hearts if we are to understand—and be transformed by—the authenticity of the spirit of Christianity.

EFFECTING THE SPIRIT

To be clear, niceness is not the thought pattern by which a believer operates; rather, faith is the conduit through which we breathe, desire, and move. If it is not through faith, then it is through selfishness/narcissism. Faith is not chosen, it is received through God’s gift of grace. The attitude and character of the reborn spirit are not circumstantial or ephemeral, but influenced by an eternality far beyond that of any association with the body or mind. Simply put, the Holy Spirit does not require our body to work properly in order for its power to be efficient; the Holy Spirit works through the spirit, not the flesh.

Transcendent joy is our new mentality and perspective, our very lifestyle, in fact—not merely a circumstantial event caused by external factors. From this, what we can take away is that niceness is only a single, minute facet of the natural response of our spirit to transcendent joy, not nearly an act of false banality derived of faith in Jesus. 

AN AUTHENTIC SMILE OF HOPE

When others see me smile, they tell me that it is genuine and authentic, and that is true. I do not smile because I’m Christian—I smile because I have hope for a life beyond this world. Another hope of mine is that others will find my smile contagious and grow curious. I’m always open to strangers asking me if I’m Christian (which has happened several times), because I’m always hoping they’ll see that there’s more behind this smile than the excuse of niceness. There is a Truth and a promise that we’re called to receive, and in receiving it, the consequent joy is invigorating to the extent that a smile (niceness) is merely a small courtesy of expression; an external indication, more or less, of such a gift received in the soul deep inside.

JOYFUL INTENTION

While I have emphasized at length the significance of a smile, this is obviously not the only expression of joy (and happiness/niceness), but one of many. My intent here was to use the smile as an example which others commonly recognize. Furthermore, I have witnessed churchgoers whose smile/attitude disintegrates as soon as their face turns a few degrees from mine, which comes across as incredibly forced. This is not authenticity as its best, for it is the absence of grace at work. Niceness is not only unnecessary with regards to those who believe niceness is solely an attitude associated with Christianity; many times it also has the power to propitiate the fallacy that faith in Christ enforces a fake persona in order to pursue. Quite oppositely, receiving Jesus begins at a much deeper level of the spirit, where niceness is merely a constituent of a much larger whole: JOY. Christians do not have to smile, but we do because we find hope and joy in Jesus.

In the late, respected words of St. Francis of Assisi: 

Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

My point and message is not that we become silent Christ-followers, but to point out how our actions speak loudly—especially to unbelievers when our actions contradict the words of our mouthes. Christian joy builds the desire to be more generous with our time; the openness even to being silent with those who are suffering and merely seeking the presence of someone who cares. These are expressions which we, as Christ-followers, have joyful reason to believe beyond the fallacy of coerced spiritual niceness, are the moments which matter most. 

LET’S CONNECT

If you resonated with this article and would like to read more, please follow this blog, and please share this with anyone. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or any questions you may have in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. God bless you, readers!

Impression