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Be Teachable, In and Out of the Classroom

February 18, 2019

One of the best qualities to have is to be teachable.  The dictionary definition of “teachable” is “willing to be taught.”  To be teachable is more than studying for a test and learning material.  It’s being humble, willing, and moldable all situations, even in the seemingly mundane.

College is full of learning, growth, and change - in and out of the classroom.  You have so many exciting opportunities to learn about yourself, others, God, culture, what your studying, and much more during your college years. 

But are you willing to learn? Are you teachable?

Someone who is teachable and willing to learn enters all situations recognizing that there is always something to learn whether you’re in class, Convocation, or just hanging out with friends.  There is a clear hunger to learn.  They take notes, ask questions, and pay close attention to whoever is talking.  They surround themselves with people who are different than them.  You don’t learn as much from people who talk like you, look like you, and act like you.

The Bible talks a lot about being teachable and gaining wisdom, especially in the book of Proverbs.  Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise.”  God shows great favor to those who have a humble and teachable spirit.  God gives wisdom to those who ask and hunger for it!

Sometimes it seems easier to assume that there is nothing to learn, especially if you’re in a situation you’re not super excited about.  But choosing to be moldable and teachable will always open the door for unexpected blessings, growth, and opportunities.  Choose to be teachable and willing to learn, no matter what season you’re in!  You’ll be so glad you did.

Talk Soon,

Ellie 

How to Stay Organized: In the Simplest Ways!

February 13, 2019

 

College is fun, exciting, growing, and can be very busy.  I found myself very overwhelmed and unorganized during my first semester here at Liberty.  But with three years of experience under my belt, I’ve gained some wisdom on how to make a busy college schedule a little simpler and more organized!

1.  Pack your Backpack before Bed:

This may be my favorite college tip to give!  I make sure I have all the books I need for my classes, snacks for the day, headphones, my water bottle, chargers, my favorite highlighters, etc.  I even check the weather to see if I’ll need an umbrella!  This way, I won’t forget anything and have to take an unplanned and time-consuming trip back to the dorm during my busy day.  I also recommend choosing your outfit and setting it out the night before, it saves so much time in the morning!

2. Plan Your Week Ahead of Time:

I use my sticky notes app on my laptop and I write out each class, event, meeting, social activity, etc., I have for the week. I also put all of those things in my calendar app on my phone!  This way, you’ll know what times you are free!  Once I have my complete schedule, I’ll add set times to do homework as well!  Doing this has helped me simplify my schedule and recognize when it’s necessary to say “no,” and when it’s okay and good to say “yes!”

3.  Write a Priority List:

If you’re anything like me, sitting down to tackle homework can be very overwhelming.  I used to find myself wasting time not knowing where to start.  Now, I write out a priority list using my sticky notes app!  I’ll write out all the assignments I have to complete list them in order by due date.  I also include what each assignment will require me to do.  For example, if I have a 3-page paper discussing a specific article due next week, I would note that I have to read and study the article before I begin writing.  This allows me to know exactly what is expected of me and how much time I will need to complete it!

Here is an example of how I use the sticky notes app: 

I pray these three tips to help you stay organized and keep life simple!  College gets busy, but I know you can do it with God’s strength and wisdom!

Talk soon, Ellie 

Your Lack is God's Miracle

February 6, 2019

The Bible story where Jesus feeds the five thousand is probably one of the most well-known passages.  Because I grew up in the church, I’ve read and heard this story more times than I can count.  Maybe you’ve heard it too!  Of all the times I read this story or heard sermons on this passage, the same crucial character was left out of the conversation.  Not because the character isn’t mentioned in the story, but because he is very easy to skip over.  So whether you’ve heard this story before, or this is your first time, pay attention to the boy with five loaves and two fish as you read John 6:1-14 

"Sometime after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberius), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Last spring, I was studying the book of John and I noticed the significance of the boy with the five loaves and two fish.  I noticed that the boy didn’t have much to offer, but he gave it away.  The boy didn’t have enough to feed the five thousand.  He was lacking.  But this boy’s lack was God’s miracle.  The Lord revealed to me that my story is the same as the boy who offered his five loaves and two fish.  That we all – as followers of Christ – are lacking in what we have to offer.  But when we offer it to Jesus, He performs a miracle.

I’ve found that I focus on my weakness instead of what God can do with my weakness.  Instead of offering the little I have to God, I focus on how little my offering is.  If only I would take my perspective off of my lack and onto the power of God, miracles could happen!  If the little boy had enough bread and fish to feed the five thousand, there would be no need for a miracle.  Without our weakness, we wouldn’t need God’s strength.  Instead of seeing your lack and weakness as unacceptable, see it as an offering.  You’ll be so glad you did – because then God will turn it into a miracle!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Choose to see your weakness as the avenue that God’s strength can be seen.  God isn’t looking at what you have to offer, how much you can do, or your efforts to do good.  He looks at your heart.  Let your heart be one that offers all you have to God, even if it seems small. 

Talk Soon, Ellie 

Interdisciplinary Studies and Why I Chose It

February 6, 2019

Entering my freshman year here at Liberty, I was undecided about my major and I was unsure about a career. There wasn't pressure for me to decide right away, so I waited until the second semester to declare a major.  Since then, I have changed my major three times.  Now, three years later, I’m studying Communication and Business through the Interdisciplinary Major – and I LOVE it.  

I have never been the type of person who wanted to do just one thing.  I want to know how to run a business, plan events, counsel people, serve in ministries, build interpersonal relationships, and more. Each time I thought I discovered the right major, I would soon realize it didn’t include everything I want to study.  But in the fall of 2018, I discovered Interdisciplinary Studies – and it was everything I could want and more!

Interdisciplinary Studies isn’t only for those who want to be well rounded or those who don’t know exactly what they want to do, it’s also for those who have a very specific career goal but need to combine different areas of study to get there.  For example, one of my friends is an Interdisciplinary Major studying Natural Science, Physical Science, and Health Science to become a Pediatric Physician Assistant!  There are so many incredible opportunities this major grants students!

Now you may be wondering, “How does this Interdisciplinary Major thing work?” I totally understand – I had plenty of questions too.  So, here are the basic elements to understanding how the Interdisciplinary Major works:

1. Choosing 2-3 Areas of Study:

“Areas of Study” are the disciplines you choose to build your unique major.  For example, my areas of study are Communication and Business.  Within those areas, there are numerous types of classes I can take.  Under Communication, I can take Journalism (JOUR), Speech Communication (SCOM), Media (DIGI), Linguistics (LING), Social Media (STCO), and Writing (WRIT) courses.  For Business, I can take Accounting (ACCT), Business (BUSI), and Economics (ECON) courses. There are hundreds of classes I can take between those options listed above, and I can choose them based on my passions and interests! There are 20 areas of study that are offered, you can combine 2-3 of them.

2. Meet with an Advisor:

Once you have an idea of your 2-3 areas of study, you must meet with an advisor to be approved!  Your advisor will help you with planning your classes and answering any questions you may have.  You will also have to decide on how you would like to split up the credits for your areas of study.  For example, I have 2 areas of study, I have 30 credits for Communication Studies, and 15 credits for Business.  If you choose to have 3 areas of study, 15 credits are required for each area of study. 

3. Choosing Classes:

This is the best part of Interdisciplinary Studies!  In any other major, there is a list of set classes you are required to take.  With Interdisciplinary Studies, you can choose any class under your chosen areas of study.  When my advisor told me I had this much freedom in choosing my classes (there are requirements that your advisor will make you aware of based on your specific circumstances), I was so surprised! I’m pretty sure I asked her to confirm 3 or 4 times that I could choose any class under my areas of study that I wanted! It’s pretty cool.  For example, I’ve taken Journalism classes, Marketing, Interpersonal Communication, Graphic Design, Project Management, and more.  I also have more room for electives, so I’ve had the blessing of taking a Women’s Leadership and Christian Counseling class!

When you look at the list of classes you need to take, it should excite you to grow and learn! Changing my major to Interdisciplinary Studies is one of the best choices I’ve made during my college years and allows me to be challenged and grow in a unique way!  Maybe Interdisciplinary is for you too!

Talk Soon,

Ellie 

Don’t Wait Until Graduation to Pursue Your Dreams

January 25, 2019

Your passions, interests, and dreams are not a mistake.  They are given by God for a purpose –  and you can start pursuing them today!  You may think “that’s crazy!” Yeah, it is a little crazy.  But it is so worth it.   

Often times, without even realizing it, I only picture my dreams coming true or in the future.  I believe that someday I’ll pursue that goal, but not yet.  I subconsciously decide that my dreams won’t happen until I “know enough” and I feel “ready” to take the first step.  This mindset can usually be traced back to the fear of failure and/or not feeling “good enough.”  I’ve been there. I’ve been feeling that this very week.  Believing the lie that we have to know it all and be it all before we can make an impact will keep us from ever taking the first step.

We’ve got to start somewhere.  The first steps of learning or beginning anything are always small and awkward (and that’s OK!).  Although you may look at those small steps and feel extremely discouraged, overwhelmed, and afraid: take them anyway.  Those first few small steps are building the foundation for the bigger steps you’ll take in the future.  Pray for a teachable and humble spirit, and you will learn more in those first small steps than you expect.  Take those small steps in faith and believe that your foot is going to land on the solid rock that is Jesus Christ.

Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”  God doesn’t expect perfection; He just wants a willing heart.  He will rejoice in your willingness and bless each little step you take.

We miss out on God’s power when we limit what God can do in the small and mundane things.  You may just discover that when we say yes to the little things, God shows up and does great things.  Be faithful in the small things, and God will begin to open doors for the bigger things.  Matthew 17: 20 says, “If you have faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”

Want to be a writer? Start a blog! Do you have a passion for youth ministry? Start volunteering at a youth group or a school! There are so many opportunities around you.  Learn, grow, and jump in.  Take that first step!

Don’t rush for greatness, but be humble and willing in the little things today – and you’ll be amazed at what God can do with such a simple “yes.”

Ellie Jewett

Integrated Communications