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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Somebody |

“Be somebody who treats everybody like a somebody.”

I guess I’m just an advocate of making everybody feel like they matter, like they have worth. I think that the greatest thing we can do for someone is to invest in them. There have been so many times throughout my life that I longed so desperately for someone to take the time to truly invest in me, and speak into my life, someone who was outside of my family and friends circle. Over the course of the past year and a half there have been three of four people who have truly taken time to invest in me, simply as a human being. Not necessarily as a musician or a singer or a writer, but me, Nicole Arnold, the person. And I can tell you that those few, very limited, conversations mean so much more to me than those people will probably ever know. Those few people have made a difference in my life, to an extent that they will probably never fully realize.

And what I've realized is this: People not only crave human interaction and acceptance, but they crave interaction from people who truly see worth in them when nobody else does.

People, at their core, desire to feel like they have worth. And what I have found is that investing in people and treating people with kindness and respect can mean more to them than you will ever probably realize. You will not always be surrounded by the people who are social media famous, and wear the best clothes and have the funniest comments, but more than likely you will encounter someone on a daily basis who desperately needs to know that they matter.
Invest in people. Invest in that 13 year old girl who everyone thinks is a lost cause. You never know who she could become. You never know the impact that you could make in her life, simply by taking her out to coffee, shopping or writing her a card. You have the power to alter the course of her life. Your words of encouragement and acts of kindness could motivate her to believe in herself and could propel her to jump start her own life.

Throughout my study of Jesus’ ministry, I’ve learned that he made everybody feel like a somebody. It didn’t matter who approached Him, He took the time to truly focus on their need and then acted accordingly. He invested in people who were not the prime candidates of discipleship. He invested in the misfits, the nobodies and those who were considered second rate people.
For instance, the woman at the well. The woman at the well was an individual who really had no prospects. She didn’t have any friends. She was kind of the outcast. She had been married five times. Clearly, she had an identity problem. She didn’t really fit into any sort of category or mold. Perhaps she was searching for worth in the midst of a broken marriage. Perhaps she spent every day wondering if someone would ever take the time to invest in her. She may have wondered if she was even worthy of true, deep, pure love. No one had ever taken the time to inquire about her situation. Perhaps, instead, others would gossip and snicker and write her off as a lost cause. That’s when Jesus stepped into the picture and demonstrated what it means to truly invest in someone. He simply had a conversation with her that altered the entire course of her existence. Her life was transformed because one person took the time to invest in her soul.

Never underestimate the power of one conversation, because that small, seemingly meaningless conversation could change someone’s life.

 Invest. Uplift. Repeat

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Burnout |

This blog post was originally intended for She’s Intentional, the Dainty Jewell’s blog that I have the privilege of writing for, however, I decided that I wanted to post it on my personal blog. So without further ado, here is a portion of my heart. For all the world to see….


If you have served in any capacity for a lengthy period of time, you have most likely experienced burnout. Webster defines burnout as: “the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time”.
Today instead of a Pinterest inspiration or an outfit post, I am going to just speak from my heart. I have been a Pastor’s daughter for almost fifteen years. We started with very few people and have essentially had to build a church from absolutely nothing. If you’re a PK or have any experience with ministry, you would know that whenever a role becomes vacant, it becomes your job to fill that role, regardless of inexperience or age. In many larger more established churches, a member will come to the Pastor and ask if they can serve in a certain capacity, but when you are building a church you are placed where you are needed. You do not necessarily get to choose where you are placed or how you want to serve.

About four years ago, our music team moved and we were left without a music director, praise team and musicians. We basically had to start from scratch. My parents desperately needed a piano player, so I began taking lessons again and learning to play with chords. At about 17 I began leading worship and playing the piano at the same time. My brother also began singing with a headset while playing the drums because we needed a strong tenor. Then a little over a year ago, our youth pastor got a new job that required him to work on Wednesday nights. This meant that he couldn’t teach youth class anymore. My dad approached me and asked if I would teach the class. To be honest, I was terrified. I have had anxiety about public speaking for years, and to top it off, I had absolutely no experience teaching. I have been teaching for over a year now, and I absolutely love it.
However, I experienced burnout. And to be honest with you, even typing that seems like a defeated response. I try so hard to be super woman and not complain and just serve despite my self-imposed inadequacies, but to be completely transparent I felt emotionally exhausted. If something were to go wrong I would place the blame entirely on my shoulders. I found that it is difficult to have passion for music ministry and youth ministry when you experience burnout. You have no energy to continue, and your stress level is at an all-time high. I was envious of those PKs who seemingly had life served to them on a silver platter. They didn’t stay up at night worrying about the future of the music department.

Then the questioning ensued, God why couldn’t I have things a little easier? How come they don’t have to work as hard as I do? God I’m not cut out for the job.
Yet, it was during these times of immense burnout and stress that I drew closer to God. Instead of complaining and asking why, I began to pray for the anointing. I began to pray that when I sang and played and taught that people would see Him and not me. I do not claim to be the greatest piano player or the greatest teacher, but above all else, I wanted to play and teach with anointing.
To be honest with you, I still experience burnout, on a fairly regular basis, actually. But, what I have learned is that in times of great stress and massive burnout, you draw closer to Him. I’ve learned that there is a work that God wants to do that is greater than me. I’ve learned that when you completely surrender your will and let Him take full control, he will do things through you that you never thought were possible. I’ve learned that God is not concerned with ability but instead: availability. I promise you that your labor is not in vain. And I promise you that God will bless you exceedingly, abundantly, above all you could ask or even think. Despite the time and massive effort and the un-glamourous behind the scenes work that I do on a weekly basis, I never grow tired of watching God completely transform someone’s life. All the work that I do for Him, all the burnout that I experience, all the times that I feel inadequate, it all becomes worth it when someone’s life is made whole and given meaning and hope.

To quote the lyrics of a song written by my dear friend Farrah Newton,
“It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it all. I believe that.”
Your efforts are not in vain. It’s all going to be worth it, when you hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”. I promise you this.