Welcoming….

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No matter who you are, what kind of family you are from, what your bank account holds, your age, or your education, we all have shared one common experience — walking into a classroom, a sanctuary or a party and not knowing a single, solitary soul. This experience brings with it a sense of fear. You wonder: what is an appropriate amount of time to stay before making a mad dash to the exit. You wonder: if it’s okay to eat from the table yet or to wait for others to start. There’s a fear of small talk and chitchat. And woe of woes, a fear of standing in a room full of strangers with a little clear plate full of tiny appetizers and miniature ham sandwiches, trying not to spill anything on yourself.

We’ve all been in situations like this. Hoping someone will come up and say, “Hi, I don’t recognize you and I am normal. Let’s engage in delightful conversation.”

The first 10 minutes of any experience have a strong chance of defining the next hour or so of that situation. Basically, if we do not feel welcome or accepted in that window of time, it’ll be very difficult for us to have a positive experience.

That feeling of welcoming and belonging is crucial. And welcoming is not just a nice gesture, it is something deeper. By welcoming, we are doing something bigger. We are allowing someone to feel at ease. To feel comfortable. To feel accepted. We are showing them the open arms of God. 

Whenever you’re in confl…

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Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.
- William James

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What do you think of when you hear the word “stain”?  

My mind goes back to a certain incident when I was a child. It involved a carpet and my muddy shoes. Now, when the two mixed I had a very common emotion: complete and utter fear.  You see my mother did not like when my muddy shoes met her carpet. So I panicked. I took off the shoes immediately, rushed to the cleaning closet, and tried to find that foamy carpet cleaner. 

I hurried back, believing that every second counted.  I scrubbed and scrubbed, trying to lift the stain while brushing the carpet back to normal, hoping that no one would suspect anything. And no matter if it’s mud on a carpet, a spill on a piece of furniture, ketchup on our clothes, or coffee on our car seats, we switch into crisis mode when something is in danger of staining. 

 What if we treated our relationships that way?  What if the hurtful words we spoke, the anger we showed or the times we didn’t listen, caused blemishes or stains on our lives.  Because, if we’re honest, we don’t treat those types of stains immediately. We let them sit, hoping they’ll fix themselves. And when those stains settle deeper and deeper, we see it takes a heavier amount of scrubbing to make it right. 

So whether it is a broken relationship, a moment of anger, or just silly drama, don’t let the stains set. Go to the closet, get the “resolve,” and start scrubbing. 

So thankful for you, 

        Jamie

 

Transparency

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What if you and I were more transparent?

What if we were honest with each other about what was going on inside of us instead of doing the insane things that we do? Because we do insane things, don’t we?

We are an interesting species. We say things that we don’t really mean. We do unkind things to other people. We send the ones we love on guilt trips. Why? Because there are things inside of us that we do not want to deal with and the easiest thing to do is take it out on others.

We do these things because, in a way, it numbs our pain. We don’t want to have to deal with it. But the great startling truth is that when you and I choose to be transparent and engage each other with honesty, there is growth and maturation. When you and I come clean about who we are and the things that we struggle with, growth occurs. When we all come together, unified in our own inadequacies, we see there are others that help us carry the weight.

So today, I call us to truth. I call us to come clean. I call us to deal with the things
that weigh so heavy on us, seeing that there are members of our Averett Family that will help us carry the load.

Have a wonderful week! Jamie

New Transitions…

Hi. I’m Jamie.
I’m Averett University’s Chaplain and I want to welcome you to campus. For some, you know where classes are and how to decipher a syllabus. For others, this is a brand new experience which can be hectic and often times overwhelming. Regardless if this is your first semester or seventh, every week can bring with it a numerous amount of challenges and stresses. Therefore, I created this interactive blog to encourage our students, faculty, and staff. It’s never long or laborious to read, but just a simple note to provide hope and reflections on life. Oftentimes it’s these small notes of encouragement or happiness that get us through times of transitions.
And that’s what college is. It is about growing and transitioning. It is about being formed and molded into the people we are going to be. How we arrive is different from how we leave. Transitions can be difficult, but also really exciting and meaningful.
As you start this week, remember you have an Averett Family that is in your corner. Know that whatever comes, you’ve got friends and family to help your weather and celebrate the transition.
Have a wonderful week!
Jamie

Hope

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Ever seen this screen before?
Imagine this.  You’ve been working on a paper all night.  You’ve done the research, got your bibliography together, are literally seconds away from saving it, and your computer freezes.  The mouse arrow is stuck.  The hourglass won’t stop. The pinwheel keeps spinning.  And you begin to wonder if you should throw the computer out the window or simply cry.  
We have all been through these times.  Out of nowhere, unexpected events arise and we’re forced to figure out in an instant what to do.  I submit that it is in these moments that we see ourselves clearly.  It is not when things are going great, but when turmoil strikes.  And it is in these times we rely on others.  We rely on friends, faith communities, family – people who can help us carry the load.  
So today may we remember that we don’t have to walk through this life and all its glitches alone.  We have the opportunity to join with others and share the load together.  
                                                                                                                            - Jamie

Awakening to Color

ImageHave you ever woken up and thought, “just another boring day ahead,” ?     
There is a part in the old Wizard of Oz movie that I love.  It is when Dorothy’s house crashed into the Munchkin village.  You see, the first fifteen minutes of the movie was black and white, but when she emerged out of her house there was color.  You could see the yellow brick road.  You could see that her dress was actually blue.  You could see the witch’s face was green.  Even the emerald city in the background was, in fact, colored emerald.  Could you imagine watching the entire movie today in black and white?
I have found that we have the temptation to view life like this.  We sometimes see our lives as mundane and boring, black and white.  We wake up and go through the routine of class and work and forget that there is something at the threshold of our doors.  And when we see that, everything is changed.  Whether it is an inspiring lesson, encouragement from a friend, a new romance, or a startling realization about one’s self, life becomes colorful.  There is purpose and passion again.  
Even in the preparation for this semester to end, the exciting truth is that we have the opportunity to go outside and see a world that is bursting with life and creativity.  So may you be encouraged and see that life is a beautiful world full of color and richness.  And may you and I seek to show others this beauty.  
                                    Finish strong,
                                              Jamie