Apathy is hard to conquer, but necessary

By Garrett Jones, Contributing Writer

The biggest enemy of success is apathy.

How do you complete any task you don’t care about? It only gets more difficult when you feel like you can’t care about it.

The more apathy takes over one thing, the more it creeps into other parts of your life. It can start with something you don’t want to do, school or work. Then it slowly creeps into your relationships with friends and family.

Maybe you stop seeing your friends as much. With apathy taking over your life, before you know it, it’s been months since you’ve seen your friends. If you let it get that far, it can suddenly take over your relationship with God. This one hurts the most. It might be the hardest to get back.

The best way to restore or even maintain a relationship with Christ is by spending time with Him in the Word or through prayer. How do you do those things when apathy has taken over your life?

It feels like you just forget to read Scripture at first. Eventually, it has completely become a chore. You don’t want to do it. Even if you can force yourself, you don’t care enough to comprehend what it means and certainly not enough to apply it to your life.

So, what do you do?

Obviously, you’re stuck in this spiderweb of detachment. It probably seems like there is no way out. It’s amazing how the lack of emotion toward something can cause more emotion than the thing itself. From my experience, there is one way out.

I will warn you, it’s not very easy. You have to be completely fed up with your apathy. The desire to destroy it has to overcome all of your natural instincts.

Pray without ceasing. I know, it sounds too simple. Quite frankly, it is too simple, but it’s the only thing that is guaranteed to work. I’ve already said prayer is something hard to care about when struggling with apathy; that’s what makes it difficult. You have to force yourself.

Set reminders on your phone. Wear a rubber band around your wrist or something. As long as you can remember, you can make yourself pray. Not only does this praying open up communication between you and God, but it changes your perspective on life. Everything you say or do is done with the mentality that God is present in your life always. Even your thoughts change.

I know it’s a difficult challenge, but if you can’t stand feeling apathetic anymore, it’s what you have to do.

Opinion: Let’s reject the impossible standard of perfection

By Jaden Jennings, Contributing Writer

Sometimes when I am doing all of the right things, I still feel separated from God. Do you?

What I mean to say is that even when I am reading my Bible, having a regular quiet time, or even praying like I should, periodically I get this awful, wretched feeling that I am still not doing enough. Or even worse, I don’t look good enough.

Let me explain. Lately, the devil has been attacking me. I don’t mean to say that for you to pity me, but I am telling you in this article for transparency purposes. I want to be honest and upfront with all of you readers.

I know the old song and dance that I am made in the image of God, blah blah blah, but it seems as if every time I look in the mirror as of late, those scriptural truths are pushed to the side. I am just left standing there, my reflection and I competing in a silent battle.

Who will win? What I know to be true from Christ, or the distorted image I see in the mirror?

This has been a haunting nightmare of mine for quite some time. Attending a Christian University, you would think the opposite to be true, but unfortunately, that is not my story.

I know being involved with a dance team in college adds certain pressures to maintaining a specific build, but I have realized that this insecurity is much deeper than that. This issue I have has been buried deep inside for so long, that the more I have tried to contain it throughout my life, it has boiled over into self-doubt, perfectionism, and distorted body image.

I feel crazy while I am typing this, but here is my concern: I am not the only one. Millions of women (even men) Christian or not, absolutely hate the way they look, or what they do.

Without pointing fingers at a certain reason behind this statistic, we know as a generation there must be something wrong. As a God-following gal, I thought my prayers would cover this issue, but still to this day, they have not.

You would think that following God would contain the thoughts of self-loathing and inadequacy, but truth be told, this is a natural human problem. Christians are not immune.

The media today has whispered temporary satisfactions into our minds about body, weight, and image. These messages are delivered to us every day whether we know it or not. They actually are so close to us that it will fit right in our back pocket.

Now, I don’t believe that cellphones are inherently bad. I use it to keep in contact with family and friends back home. My phone is my flashlight, my calculator, and even my personal calendar. I couldn’t live without mine, but currently, I am conducting a social media detox with myself until I can be truly content with my own life.

I sound like a bit of a drama queen because I know many people around the world have it worse than I do. I realize that and I know it. However, our world has become so submerged in being perfect on our accounts that I catch myself wanting to be perfect as well.

This is a problem.

I want to serve those in need and help others, but when I see someone else that looks super cute in their missionary outfit in Uganda, I feel a surge of jealous rush through me.

This isn’t even just about the way you look. It is about the way you dress, what you post, and so much more. Yesterday a woman posted the cutest picture of her starting her ministry, and guess what? I was jealous!

Something I should never be jealous about was twisted into something I couldn’t control. I wanted to be happy for her, but this is the truth of reality.

However, my life doesn’t have to be this way, and neither does yours. I have realized something the older I get, when I know where my identity is, that is when I am the happiest.

No comparison, no remorse, just God and I living life to our fullest potential.

In the famous words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy,” and I would have to agree completely.

I want to talk to my Christian ladies out there, is the self-doubt bug eating you up? Do you feel a presence gnawing at you telling you aren’t good enough or you won’t ever amount to a single thing? If that is you, let’s fight this together.

No more pretending we have it all together just because we go to a Christian University. (And news flash, Jesus won’t look at our social media accounts for us to enter into the gates of heaven).

Let’s be raw and open with one another. Women supporting women and men supporting men. We are brother and sisters, and most importantly, we are allies.

Instead of fighting for perfectionism on our Instagram posts, let’s start fighting for one another before Jesus takes us home. Hand in hand, we can do this. Together,


Identity found in the Lord, not human image

By Jaden Jennings, Contributing Writer

For me personally, working out has always been a part of my daily routine.

As I was in the gym yesterday though, I had an epiphany. I thought to myself, “wait a minute; why am I doing all of this work to my body?”

I run to get skinny, I lift to look muscular, but when I die, is anyone really going to care how chiseled my abs and legs were?

I do not believe this random thought came from my own mind at Planet Fitness on a Tuesday; Rather, I believe it came from God himself.

Now don’t get me wrong before you continue reading. I believe with my whole heart that working out is important as well as eating healthy.

Nevertheless, I have realized during my journey as a Christian, I was claiming I was exercising for God, when in reality; I was selfishly doing it for the results.

Being toned? A plus, but not my identity.

Rock hard abs and arms? Good for winning a fight, but not necessarily for winning souls.

You probably think that I will never step foot in a gym again, but I am here to tell you that is completely, 100% false.

Our body is a temple for God, and I hope to maintain it to the best of my ability here on this earth.

However, my mindset when going to the gym will no longer be one of selfish desires and comparison, but more so, of an opportunity I have to honor God with my body.

Nevertheless, I did have a small thought that maybe my philosophy to working out could be applied to shopping as well.

Ugh, that hurts to say in the very depth of my soul, but still, remains true.

What if we spent less time focused on designer brands, and more on our hearts?

I love my Louis Viton handbag no doubt, but I have been thinking lately, what is the point of having it?

Did I want it for myself when I bought it?

Maybe so, but I have a hunch that I bought it because of the prestige that came with it.

This column is not discrediting shopping of course, because I am a firm believer in looking good to feel good.

However, our identity should not be about our bodies or the items that cover it, rather, it should be more concerned with spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth.

That’s what we are here for anyways right?

To be good stewards of hope and worship God. All the rest is just temporary.

If you are reading this column, I would encourage you the next time you go to the gym to change your mindset.

Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself this body is just temporary, and I am working out for God because my soul is eternal.

Or in the dressing room, tell yourself that this article of clothing is just an accessory.

It doesn’t matter if it is from TJ Maxx or Versace. I will not rely on my clothes to define my worth.

If looks were important to Jesus, He would have been one good-looking man here on Earth.

Maybe He was, but the Bible describes His appearance as being common to man.

This alone should give us hope that attraction is not what God holds dear to His heart.

Instead, it is our actual hearts He evaluates.

Imagine what would happen if we exercised our hearts just as much as our bodies?

Or what if instead of buying new clothes every two months, we donated some of our old ones to those in need?

Or what if we stopped comparing ourselves to people on Instagram and started interacting with actual people?

God cares about our physical health and the way we feel when we look good, but you know what? I believe that it goes much farther than that.

I believe that Jesus loves us so much that He could care less about how skinny we are or how much money we spend.

I believe that He just wants us. Period.

We can run as much as we want, but if we do not have Him, we have nothing.

We can spend as much as we want on designer clothes, but if we do not have Him, we are just as empty as our bank accounts.

You see, if you are anything like me, this thought should set you free.

No longer will you have to be measuring up to an Instagram fitness model with an obtainable figure.

No longer will you be worried about the clothes you have on your back because you will know that brands don’t defi ne you.

You are loved just as you are.

No exceptions and no expectations; And that my friends, is a good feeling.

Nicknames also have spiritual meaning

By Mya Hudgins, Assistant News Editor

My grandpa tells this same story over and over again. It’s one of those stories that they use to introduce you to someone you don’t even know. Sometimes he even tells this story at family gatherings even though we’ve all heard it a hundred times.

I used to get so red with embarrassment when the story was told, but since all of Texas knows it already, thanks to my grandpa, I thought why not publish it in my college school paper. Right?

When I was younger, I was always so jealous of kids with long names. I know it’s a funny thing to say, but it’s true.

Every kid who had a name that was at least five letters long had a nickname. From Abigail to Abby, Olivia to Liv, Melanie to Mel or even Jacob to Jake. However, if you’re me, then your name is only three letters long. You only have a couple of options. It’s either “my” or “a.”

If I didn’t like those choices, the computer always suggest I change my name to “May.” Needless to say, I never had a nickname. Well… that was until my Grandpa started calling me his “pumpkin’.”

I know what you’re thinking, “aww how sweet.” Yes, I know, I loved it too. I didn’t get to see my grandparents a whole lot since we lived in a different state than them at the time.

When I would get to see them, I made sure I spent as much time as possible with them. One day my grandpa had to go to the store to get some groceries.

Of course, I was attached to him like glue. I wanted to go too. He agreed and let me climb into his truck. After getting all the groceries, we got in the check-out line.

As our turn came, I would stand on my tippy toes trying to see how the women was scanning all the food. With an amazement look on my face, the lady looked at my grandpa and said, “well isn’t she a cutie pie.”

He smiled and said, “Thank you,” as she continued to scan our items. On the other hand, I was not happy. I looked at her and was trying to get her attention, by saying, “ma’am, ma’am.”

She didn’t hear me. I had to tell her something very important. Like any five-year old girl, I screamed, “Ma’am!” Finally, she looked down at me and asked what was wrong.

I stared into her eyes and told her, “My name is NOT cutie pie…it’s pumpkin’.”

As both my grandpa and the cashier laughed, I didn’t understand what was so funny. I knew what my nickname was, and I wanted her to know that she got it wrong.

As I look back at this story he always tells, it brings a smile to my face. I used to get embarrassed when he told this story, but now I enjoy reminding myself of it.

I think there is a deeper meaning. My grandpa’s stories always having a spiritual meaning behind them, it’s just a matter of how long it takes me to find the real story. When we become a Christian, we become one of God’s children.

Our name is “child of God.” Though this world and society might use other names to describe or define us, it doesn’t change the new name the Lord has given us. As a child, having a nickname given to me by my grandpa was the something that I worshiped.

It was beyond important to me. When someone used my wrong name, I wanted to correct them because I wanted them to know my correct name.

This reflects over to our spiritual walk. We should never forget who we are in Christ. It’s a blessing to be considered one of His. On several occasions, God changed the names of people. It wasn’t just to do it but instead there was a reason, and a lesson behind it.

God wants to see us claim the name that He has given us. With a new name comes a new identity. This new name and identity in Christ should change your life completely. We should no longer chase our own desires but seek out what the Lord is calling us to do.

We don’t have to fear the future, as he will protect and guide us. We don’t have to compare ourselves to others, because we know we were made in his image with our own gifts and talents. And finally, we have a God whose love is never failing, even when we fail him over and over again.

Nicknames can have very special meanings, definitely if the person who gave it to you plays an important role in your life. But the greatest nickname you can receive is being called a child of God.

Column: Learning to appreciate chapel

By Nicholas Dingus, Sports Editor

The first time I walked through the doors of Raley Chapel on move-in day in August 2014, I knew that I would be spending a lot of time there over the next four years. Every Wednesday – and some Mondays and Fridays – I would walk through those doors into the cavernous expanse of Potter Auditorium.

I thought I would spend hours examining the details of the stained-glass windows that line the outer walls, taking in the story that each one tells. Spiritual Life and chapel services are two of the things that drew me to OBU initially.

97 chapels in four years didn’t seem like a daunting task. People told me all the time, “Oh yeah, if you go to every chapel, you can finish your chapel credits by Christmas sophomore year.” It all seemed so simple at the time. I was rolling along during the first semester of my freshman year; I went to every single chapel for the first two months of the semester.

Eventually, I fell into a routine and became comfortable. While I started out strong, when I got comfortable I began to slack. I would think to myself, “I’ve already been to a lot of chapels this semester. I can miss one and sleep in.”

This attitude got much, much worse during the spring of my freshman year. I had a difficult Christmas break that year, and over J-Term I had started hanging out with people who were not building me up spiritually. Other than my roommate, I had very few positive influences in my life.

In addition to that, I had begun to work as a resident facility officer at OBU, working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at the front desks in the dorms.

Working nights wrecked my sleeping schedule, and coupled with the fact that I didn’t have class on Monday, Wednesday or Friday until 11 a.m, I started sleeping through chapel on a weekly basis. I had stopped caring. I just thought that I would make it up the next year and end up finishing my chapels during my junior year.

I entered my sophomore year with a very similar attitude to the previous semester. I would go to a chapel every now and then, but largely I would elect to sleep in before my 12 p.m. class on chapel days. I never really thought about it honestly; I always had two more years to complete my chapel credits.

Junior year started, and I kicked myself into high gear. I went to nearly every single chapel during the fall semester. The chapel theme that semester was “Prayer: Beseeching the Lord through the Prayers of the New Testament.” I found myself really getting into these chapels; I remembered the appreciation that I held for chapel when I was a freshman, and I began to learn and grow spiritually. Unfortunately, this didn’t last.

Starting in the spring of 2017 I began to work at Visit Shawnee Inc. I needed this job not only for the job experience it was providing for me, but I also needed the money I was making to help pay for that semester’s tuition.

I had been working at OBU for the last two years as an RFO and as a teaching assistant in the communications department. The difference was that my jobs at OBU were scheduled around my class schedule, which allowed me to attend chapel.

VSI, however, required me to work 9-5 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I realized that this meant that I would not be able to attend nearly any chapels that semester. At that point, I had about 60 to 65 chapels left. I knew that I would be hard-pressed to complete the required credits the next year and resigned myself to the fact that I might have to write a few chapel papers.

I began this year intending on going to every chapel in order to lessen the number of papers I would have to write. I started out well for a while, until I started to get busy. I thought I had been busy the year before, but it was nothing compared to what I experienced during the fall of 2017.

I started having to miss chapels in order to have meetings before I had class and work in the afternoon.

While I went to every chapel I was able to go to, I didn’t get as many as I was hoping. The same thing happened at the start of this semester. At the beginning of March, I fully realized my situation, and haven’t missed a single chapel since then.

Despite my efforts, I was told that I would still be required to write a total of 39 chapel papers in order to graduate in May. While I know other people have had to deal with a more daunting number (I know of at least one person that will be writing over 80 to graduate), it was no small task.

I met with Dean Griffin at the beginning of April to discuss my situation. He encouraged me and told me to look at each paper as a personal devotion time. He told me to look at the papers as a way to learn something and try to get something out of each one just as if I had actually attended the chapel. I am so thankful for this advice. While writing these papers I was able to take away so many great lessons for leading a Godly life and was repeatedly encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone to allow myself to be used by Christ.

As I was writing these papers, I remembered the times I didn’t go to chapel for nearly whole semesters, and I realized the things that I had missed out on and all of the messages that could have spoken to me in times of need. I look back to the chapel series about the role and importance of the church and see my struggle to find a church home. I had no idea how large of a role the church plays in the life of a believer.

I have immensely enjoyed my time here at OBU and would do it over again in a heartbeat, but my one regret is not having made time for chapel while I still had time to go. I do not regret missing chapels because of work or meetings, but it was that those times during freshman and sophomore year when I made a conscious decision to sleep instead of going to chapel. I missed out on much of the spiritual growth aspect of OBU that I so greatly appreciated for almost two years.

If I were going to give any advice to underclassmen as I get ready to graduate, it would be this: go to chapel. When you’re tired and just want to sleep or you feel overwhelmed by classes or by life, go to chapel. Chapel is an important part of life at OBU and an institution that we are very blessed to have. Sure, it’s nice to get the credits so that you
can graduate, but nothing can replace being spiritually uplifted in the middle of the week. Don’t walk into Raley every week and treat chapel like a chore; it’s all about your attitude, and if you enter chapel each week with openness and a willingness to let
Lord speak to you, chapel will become one of the best parts of your week.

Op-Ed: Is Jordan really the greatest of all time?

By Jared A’Latorre, Columnist

Michael Jordan, an NBA legend is known to be the greatest basketball player to ever play. At least that’s what it says on the NBA website, and most people seem to agree with that.

Nothing should be taken away from his remarkable career, but there are still a few considerations other than Jordan to be the greatest.

Now, it’s not entirely fair to take away from his achievements. In fact, he averaged over 30 points in his entire 14-year career.

That’s something that no other player can say. He was always a great scorer, even when he was 40-years old.

However, many other players that can be in the category for the greatest ever played more than 14 years.

This means that they were consistent, and that they stuck with basketball.

Jordan took a break to play baseball during his first retirement, and then worked in the front office for the Washington Wizards during his second retirement. This needs to be brought up because Jordan was not a consistent person. He took breaks and came back to the league not once, but twice.

Despite this, Jordan won six NBA championships in his career.

That’s impressive, and it’s something not many people can say.

Although, other players such as Magic Johnson changed the game with his amazing passing, and he could play every position on the court.

Bill Russell, who played with the Boston Celtics during the 50’s and 60’s, won 11 NBA championships in 13 years. Russell was also an amazing defender.

Tim Duncan from the San Antonio Spurs, and Kobe Bryant from the Los Angeles Lakers won five NBA championships and were considered the best at their position for their careers and played much longer than Jordan.

There’s no taking away from Jordan’s greatness, he is one of the best. The thing that is in doubt is that he was the best. It seems like there are other players that can be considered other than him.

Most of his popularity came from basketball, but the reason he really became famous was because of his shoes, and “Space Jam.”

Other players that appear in music, movies, and own a shoe brand shouldn’t make a difference on their basketball careers.

It could gain fame, but it shouldn’t make a difference for their popularity on the court.

Otherwise, people could say that rookie Lonzo Ball could end up being the greatest.

That’s not true. Writers should really consider thinking about who the greatest ever basketball player is, again.

Ked’s Corner: The NCAA is under investigation… again.

Kedrick Nettleton, Columnist

The NCAA is under investigation – again. If you’re a fan of college sports, you know that this is not a new or unusual occurrence. Those fans with long or even medium-length memories will be able to call back, on command, at least one or two scandals that have rocked the college sports world. Say the words “Penn State” and people will think not of the historic success of the football program under Joe Paterno or the legendary traditions and culture in Happy Valley; they’ll think of the child molestation scandal and Sandusky, and the immortal image of Paterno’s statue being ripped out of the ground.

So when I heard that the NCAA was under investigation, I didn’t panic. We’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again. Even an FBI investigation didn’t seem world-shattering. But then I started reading articles about the importance of this one, how it’ll change the very landscape of the college sports world. And then Rick Pitino got fired. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised by that, but I was. It takes a lot to end the career of a long-established, Hall of Fame coach like Pitino, a coach who’s had incredible success at each of the programs he’s been linked to. (I’m not saying it should be that way, mind you, just saying that it is that way. Louisville’s been linked to some seedy things for some time now, and Pitino’s head deserved to roll for it.)

I’m not in the mood to predict the future, so I won’t try to guess how this investigation will end. I also won’t tell you how horrible everything in college sports is, and how it’s all going to hell in a rich, white leather NCAA hand-bag. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it’s not. We can argue about that later.

What I am going to use the rest of my space to say is this: the financial disparity in college sports is immense (meaning the disparity of wealth between the people in charge of the profits and the people who actually earn those profits, the players), and I think that this has a lot to do with the vast number of scandals, both major and minor, that we see in the college sports world.

What really gets me about this, though, is that the solution seems so blindingly simple: pay the players. Pay. The. Players. Somehow. Some way. I’ve seen a number of proposals for how it can be done – straight salaries, allowance of endorsement deals, etc. – and while I won’t go into those here, my point is this: it can be done, and done sensibly. Anybody who says otherwise is just lacking in imagination and is tied to the system as it is built today. We’ve made some progress, yes; the NCAA has started to let the crumbs fall off the table to the athletes. But let’s go further, and let’s get them a seat at the table.

The bottom line is that the NCAA is a massive, billion-dollar entity, and the people who get in bed with it get rich. Everyone, that is, except the athletes. Those who cause the cogs in the machine to turn don’t get any of the benefit of that machine. March Madness alone generates a billion dollars from TV endorsement packages, and what do the players get?

And think about it: so many of the scandals that we so often see occurring in college sports have to do with “improper benefits,” the term the NCAA gives for any illicit financial compensation for a student-athlete. This is at the heart of the current FBI investigation. And we all know it happens, probably a lot more than we even realize. It’s going to continue to happen. Schools pay players, shoe companies pay players, agents get paid and funnel that money to the players – if I recall correctly, there was even a mob organization funneling money towards student-athletes in the 80s and 90s. Let’s stop this. We know it’s happening anyway, we’re investigating it, so let’s throw it into the light, make it legal, manage it responsibly.

Something has to be done. It’s what makes sense.

Complaining contradicts Christian values, heavenly blessings

By Ashton Smith, Contributing Writer

Picture this.

You walk into the GC, see your friends sitting on those familiar couches, and you decide to join them.

The conversation, of course, is about school and classes and the copious amounts of homework in everyone’s lives.

Someone comments, “Why do teachers give us so much homework? Don’t they know we already only get like, maybe four hours of sleep a night?”

Someone else pipes in “I have a ten-page essay due by tonight at midnight, and I’m only two pages in. I’m going to get three hours of sleep, MAYBE.”

One more student decides to throw in her voice: “I have a Civ test tomorrow, and I have no clue what I’m doing, what my thesis is going to be or how I’m going to relate anything back to the prompt. I’M GOING TO HAVE TO PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER.”

And thus the circle goes on and on— students trying to make their lives sounds just as bad, if not worse, than their neighbor.

But should we, as Christians, really be playing this “who has it worse?” game when we all have it so good?

Think about it; we’re all in college getting to study something to pursue later on in life as a career.

We all have meal swipes, provided and paid for by our tuition, along with housing, facilities in which to clean ourselves, technology made available at every turn and much, much more.

So. . .should we be complaining about that essay we put off until the last minute or that Spanish homework we keep saying we’ll come back to later?

There are people all over the world who would do anything to obtain the kind of education we so flippantly bemoan and the kind of resource we take for granted every day.

Yes, you may not be thrilled for that one general education class you were forced to take in order to graduate, but the information and experience will help you move forward in your education as a person.

You may never think about that calculus class ever again once you’re done with it, but the credits brought you one step closer to graduation, the info was tucked away in your mind and the basic experience of persevering added to your character.

You got so much more out of those three credits than lost sleep and stress—you added to the person you want to be.

ALL of our experiences in elementary, middle, high school and college are working to form us into well-rounded members of society. In order to do that, you will have to be at least introduced to all areas of study, even those that don’t interest us as much.

So instead of complaining to friends about how much work you have to do this week, I challenge you to actually do it, and to get it done earlier than the night before its due date.

God has given us this life to live, and we should take advantage of as many learning opportunities as possible while we are in school because our time here is limited—on this campus and on this earth. We should all embrace educational opportunities; after all, why else are we here?

Remember the Parable of Talents? In order to experience returns on any investment, you must renew your commitment and be willing to take risks in order to see that investment grow. If you bury your talents in the ground, you just end up burying your potential as well.

Educational challenges aren’t the only area in which we fail to recognize blessings. We complain when we don’t have any choices, and we complain when we have too many.

For example, go out to the Salvation Army or to Community Renewal and help out the people there for just a little while, and you’ll soon realize just how good your life is in comparison.

Students complain about cafeteria food all the time, but they (including me) don’t recognize that we are complaining about our many culinary choices: pizza, the salad bar, the pasta or the stir-fry.

As we look at our many options, we make pejorative comments about each option—we complain about a bounty.

At homeless shelters, however, there simply is no room for complaints because most people are grateful for the meal.

Think about that next time you say the caf’s chicken is dried out or that they still don’t have those chicken nuggets we all want so badly.

The very fact that we have the freedom to complain about the abundance of meals certainly qualifies as a “first-world problem,” and perhaps we should try to recognize (and maybe even curtain) feelings of entitlement.

Pretty soon we’ll be out in the big, bad world and we’ll have bigger, more pressing problems than ten-page essays and Civ exams. We’ll have to worry about paying rent and completing taxes—stretching paychecks and paying back loans. This time in our lives is like the calm before the storm.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could focus on the beauty of the moment instead of what we may be missing? Too often we fail to see the grace in God’s gifts and we only recognize those blessings when they are gone.

So step back for a moment and realize how good you have it. You’re at OBU for four years of your life, so why spend those four years complaining? Be grateful that you have this community and an opportunity to grow and learn from it—all of it.

Embrace the bounty and the benefits, as well as the losses and angst. All of it contributes to your character, so you can decide now to utilize every moment to reflect the Kingdom; your attitude can become a mirror for grace.

The beautiful thing about the human condition is the very thing that frightens us—our mortality.

We have such a limited time on earth, so there is a sense of urgency in all we do, all we experience.

That urgency can be profound, though.

So much depends on this moment, and how it lends itself to the next. All of it, every bit of it (even the heartbreak, stress and disappointment) is part of the gift of existence.

Take that in, savor the brevity by reveling in what He has given us all.

Op-Ed: The pros and cons of online dating

By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor

The internet has become a place of endless possibilities, a place with the finest recipes, endless amounts of dog photos and love-struck romance–romance that can be found through online dating.

Online dating has become quite the phenomena in this social media-centered world. Couples are getting together on sites designed for the purpose of meeting a significant other. Online dating is fine of course, when done the right way.

When searching for a companion online, one must always be aware of the dangers. Always be sure to check that it isn’t a scam. Scammers are prevalent on dating sites and are constantly seeking out gullible people who will do their wishes, such as sending them money or giving away account info.

Some would say the online dating in its entirety is a scam. It is believed that meeting someone on the internet only causes heartache because the so-called match that has been found online never turns out as expected.

The idea that online dating only consists of heartaches and scams isn’t exactly correct, though; there are couples across the nation and even the world who have met online and have no complaints. Yes, there is always that possibility of a not-so-happy ending, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Another thing to watch for when trying to find a good match on the internet is to make sure it’s being done for the right reasons. Don’t just join a dating site for the sole purpose of finding an attractive party date. Make sure the search is also based on their different character traits.

Sadly, online dating is specifically looked down upon for the reason that it can be based only on looks, which makes for a very conceited society. Many people date online specifically for the purpose of finding someone attractive to have a good time with every once in a while.

Finding someone physically attractive is definitely important in a romantic relationship, but it isn’t the most important thing. Remember that when seeking out a relationship on the internet–especially because that can be all that is seen about a person initially when finding them on the web.

Also, when dating online always make sure to use a reputable site. If a website is well known and has a large number of decent reviews, it is probably more trustworthy than one randomly found on a Google search.

There are people who would disagree there are even any reputable dating sites in existence. These people believe that all dating websites are a waste of time and that nothing good can come of them. This is mainly due to the fact that they require no face-to-face interaction.

There are actually many reputable dating apps and sites that have led to plenty of happy relationships; you just have to take the time to find them. Popular sites with good reviews include Match, eHarmony and Zoosk. There is also Tinder, which is a well-known app used more by people ranging from the ages of 18-29.

Lastly, always meet in a public setting when meeting the online match for the first time. Just because some persons dating profile says they are a kind and compassionate soul, that might not be the case. There is no problem with taking a little precaution, especially on the first meeting.

In many circumstances, it is looked down upon to meet in person at all. There is the opinion that even thinking about meeting someone from a dating site can be unsafe.

This opinion is based on the idea that the person might not be who they say they are. Meeting someone in person after chatting on the internet doesn’t have to be an unsafe situation.

Plus, if the person is having any doubt they can always bring someone with them just in case. But as long the date or meeting is in a public setting there is no reason for there to be an issue.

Op-Ed: A lesson of self-worth from rebelling

By Mya Hudgins, Contributing Writer

Your throat tightens, your breathing gets deeper, your stomach has a weird feeling – like butterflies. Your heart starts skipping beats. You start thinking about all these things you should say, but nothing comes out. Then you catch yourself smiling when he walks in the room or even offers a simple hello.

Yes, I’m talking about your high school crush. Not the one where you think this boy is just “cute,” but the one where you feel a true connection. No matter how hard you tried to push that person out of your head, he somehow still ends up there.

Now, you may be thinking this is just another love story, but I hope you keep reading because this isn’t just your average “how we met” story. This story taught me a bit about who I am and who I wanted to be—even though it almost became the end to my high school love life.

The beginning of high school was a weird time for me; I really hadn’t physically matured until around my late junior year. All my friends started hitting their growth sports and that just wasn’t happening for me. So, picture this: a freshman girl who weighs about 80 pounds; her arms and legs are like toothpicks; she likes wearing basketball shorts and barely ever brushes her hair.

This was freshman Mya. I was out-going and had a lot of friends, but (needless to say) none of those friends were interested in me romantically.

Fast forward to the next year, sophomore year. I had a big crush on this guy who ran cross-country with me, played soccer and went to the same church as me. He was also close to my parents, especially so considering my mom was the youth minister.

It seemed like every girl had a crush on him at the time—he was that interesting. However, we had this strange chemistry with each other; we flirted with one another, but there was never an official date.

Finally, we ended up having a class together, which was an elective class so we didn’t do much in there except play on our phones and talk. I enjoyed this class because I got to chat with my romantic interest for most of the hour.

One day during class, our teacher said it would be fine if we wanted to leave the school and go get something to eat. The boy I had a crush on decided he was going to take advantage of that opportunity to go eat. Every instinct in me wanted to go with him, and not just because I had a love for food.

We would be. . .going out. Sort of. Together.

This was a significant decision for other reasons, as well. You see, our school was a closed campus, meaning we were not allowed to leave the premises for food or to go home without being officially checked out. Even though I recognized some of the implied dangers of leaving the school unofficially, I told him I would happily accompany him. Ever the gentleman, he tried to dissuade me so I would not risk getting into any kind of trouble. But logic is no match for the heart—or the stomach. I decided to go anyway.

Other students had left school, and they had advised that when skipping you should always go out the back doors, but he told me he knew the lady at the front desk so we could simply walk out the front door, care-free. I know what you’re thinking: if you’re leaving class don’t go out the front doors, but I was obviously not thinking. We got in the car and started heading to Whataburger. Our journey did not last very long before his mom called him.

The front office had called her, saying we just walked out of the school and the principal wanted to see us. At this point, my heart was pounding.

I never got in trouble; as a matter of fact I was known as a “goody-goody.” I knew my parents were going to be so upset. I started freaking out and wondering how I was going to explain this to my parents. This young man then tried to calm me down, telling me everything would be okay as we backed out of the drive-through line with no food in our hands.

Well, news flash, everything was not okay. Once we got to the principal’s office, he began asking me all these questions, and I tried to reason with him; I tried to beg for my young life. He told me I needed to call a parent and tell him or her what I did. So of course, I called my mom; I knew she would handle it better. She was very disappointed and said dad would be very mad about me leaving school with a boy he knew I liked. I thought maybe the disappointment would blow over and my mom might forget to tell my dad about it.

Both of us got ISS, In school suspension. I was crying because I couldn’t believe it all—I couldn’t believe I had rebelled, had been caught and had created such stress in my life.

As the day went by, I anxiously waited for the reaction I hoped wasn’t coming, but feared would.

Finally, my phone vibrated, and I received a text from my dad. I prepared myself before I opened it. Once the message was opened, I saw a screenshot and then his message. The screenshot was an email from the school saying, “your daughter has been sent to ISS for the day because of skipping.” Then in his message it read, “I know this can’t be true; we will figure it out when you get home.” Everything inside me wanted to cry.

It was true, I had skipped. Worse, I had violated the trust my father had in me. His immediate reaction was to believe someone else had made a mistake, and that made my misdeed so much worse.

My father’s parenting style compounded my fear; he was very strict and protective. In fact, this boy and I were not “official” because my dad wouldn’t let me date. He did like this young man a lot, however, which was encouraging. I just knew once my father found out who my accomplice was, there was no way we would ever end up together.

I knew it was over. No more cute guy. No more flirting. And possibly no more Mya when I get home.

He was disappointed. And I was punished. And I felt horrible. But I lived through it.

In fact, fast forward five years, and I am most assuredly “official” with this young man now. We have been dating five years, and are in a committed relationship. We were stupid and made some mistakes—some silly mistakes. My father was upset at the time, at both of us, but it didn’t ruin our relationship or my chances of dating my partner in crime. We laugh at the story now, even though my father didn’t do too much chuckling at the time.

Even though I don’t regret how the story ended, I do regret compromising values (even values others would think are inconsequential or tedious). That day, I learned it’s important to stay true to yourself, even if you want to impress a really cute guy.

When it comes to being accepted by people, we seem to do anything to achieve that—even if it flies in the face of logic.

Historically, I had never rebelled against my parents or the school’s rules, but I did so that time so I could illustrate my free nature and risk-taking behavior.

How often do we do that? On any scale? How often do we dress, speak or act in a way because we believe that is how others want us to behave? How often do we fail to value how God wants us to behave over others? Over our own selfish motivation?

Sometimes we have to take a step back, pause and realize our actions really do reflect how we think about the world, ourselves and Him. God created you to be exactly who you are, changing what you look like or even how you act is destroying a masterpiece.

You are a hand-crafted masterpiece, as am I. I’ve learned to follow my spiritual instincts and try to quiet the worldly, selfish cries for attention I hear all too often. Even though we are forgiven, we still must work to be who we want Him to see.

We must stay true to the nature given to us by the Creator. He instilled in us a sense of right and wrong, and then he gave us the intellect to apply that instinct to behavior – what a complex and beautiful system.

All of this is a pretty powerful lesson.

Deep down I know there was a second lesson to be learned that day—don’t use the front door when attempting to skip class.