Wednesday, April 20, 2011

All dressed up... with somewhere to go!

Girls in long dresses with flowers or sashes...
Mascara that stays on my long, thick eyelashes...
Wonderful memories with friends make me sing...
These are a few of my favorite things!
Junior/Senior Banquet, or JSB, was this weekend. I went with a group of girlfriends, many of whom were from choir. The evening was full of donning a gorgeous formal gown, enjoying a scrumptious meal, and taking away a rose from the centerpiece at the end of the night.

Half the fun, I think, is getting ready. A week before, I went out to my friend's house to look at her dresses. Having a friend who is close enough in size to be able to share formals is a wonderful thing. It certainly expands your wardrobe when you have another closet from which to choose! Then, the night of the banquet, I had my hair done, had my roommate lace up the back of my dress with elaborate straps, and finished make-up and shoes.

I realize that "beauty is as beauty does," but honestly, it's kinda fun to get all dressed up with your friends and venture into the city. :)

Another fun part of the evening was the dinner. I commented to a friend that it is delightful to be able to sit, relax, and enjoy a meal. So often as college students, we rush to the student dining room and leave within fifteen minutes. (See my lunch the day of the banquet for details.) Being able to eat quality food and have time to enjoy it was a privilege.

My "date" (a close girlfriend) and I got our photos taken in a photo booth, and then walked back to campus and had a few laughs taking what my roommate (our photographer) called "awkward homecoming pictures." All in all, it was a very pleasant way to spend an evening... a great respite in a semester of craziness.

I guess there really isn't a moral to this blog post. It isn't exactly profound. If you want to take something away from it, remember that sometimes, it's nice to get dressed up and enjoy a good meal. But... if you don't want to take away a moral, then just know that I had a very fun evening and wanted to share it with you. :)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Imitating Christ: Our Inward Witness

My choir has been going through the book Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. I have already found the book challenging and rewarding, and I'm looking forward to continuing to study it.

One constant challenge to me in this book has been seeking God alone. Whether it be relating to adversity, pride, or a focus on the world, the solution is to look at Christ.

"Then we chiefly seek God for our inward witness, when outwardly we are condemned by men, and when there is no credit given to us. And therefore a man should rest himself so fully in God, that he need not to seek many comforts of men," à Kempis writes in chapter 12.

This idea of inward witness is an interesting and difficult one. Frankly, I'm human. (I know you thought I was a perfect doll, but I guess the truth comes out...) Seriously, though -- like everyone, I like the affirmation of people. I like it when they observe that I'm growing. I like it when my godliness is noticed. When someone criticizes me, I struggle not to crumple on the inside.

But, as à Kempis so wisely demonstrates, we don't need to flaunt our growth for the praise of men. Some things are meant to be between me and God. When we don't receive praise of men, that can drive us to Christ. God can be our inward witness -- a witness to the holiness He is creating in us.

Resting in the truth that God's witness is what matters can help us take the value from the criticism we receive as well. The Holy Spirit convicts -- in my experience, praying over criticism I receive often helps me evaluate what in my life does need to be addressed. He can be a witness to areas that need correction, too.

So there's the first of my thoughts on this book! :) Look for more blog posts as I continue working my way through it.

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Note: Like any human writing, Imitation of Christ must be read through the lens of Scripture. (I certainly hope you do so with my blog posts!!) As I read with God's grace constantly in mind, this book has provided such an encouragement and conviction toward godly living and resting in Christ. If you were to forget God's grace as you read, however, you might see in the book an encouragement towards legalism -- so when you read this book, remember grace. :)