Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Are these people good for me? Are these people bad for me? What is a friend? Am I a good friend? Do I tell my friends I love them enough? Why am I so mean to those I love? What is love? If God is love, why don’t I love Him enough? Do I love anyone enough? Where am I going? Why am I here? Is my calling really my calling? Am I deceiving myself? Do people like me? Is my hair messed up? Did I say the right thing to her? Did I speak from my heart or my brain? Who am I? Did I just say that? Did I just think that? Why don’t I care enough? Why am I so tired? Am I lonely? Am I afraid? Why am I afraid if He is right here? Is He right here? Yes, He is, but why are you questioning? Why is this class so hard? Why am I so stressed? Did I make him upset? Did I pray today? Did I pray at all the last week? If God is my #1 priority why do I give Him the least time? Am I a hypocrite? Am I a Pharisee? If, I’m not hot….I must be lukewarm? Did I leave the iron on? Why is my room such a mess? Why am I such a mess? When do I intervene when I see wrong? Why is he doing that he knows better? Who am I to judge? Why didn’t I cry…I should have cried? Am I hurting? Is it okay to be hurting? Do I show my family enough love? Do I just follow the motions? Am I selfish? Am I jealous of others? Does the good I do outweigh the bad? Am I bad? What good do I do? Do I act when I should? Do I care about the poor? What is heaven like? Will I get there one day? When I see my life before my eyes will I cry? Of sadness? Of happiness? Of anger? Why is it so hot in this room? How many hours of sleep are necessary? Will I ever get married? What will she be like? Will I have kids? Boys? Girls? Maybe, I will be sterile? Maybe, my wife will be sterile? Will I adopt? Do I care to much about being in a romantic relationship? Does that count as lust? Does that count as pride? Am I humble? Do I have a relationship with God? Do I read the Bible enough? Am I a hypocrite? Why can’t I cry? What do I even need to look for in a potential spouse? Are my prayers heard? Why is this seat so uncomfortable? What will I get on my Anatomy test Tuesday? Why does my heart race when I am taking a test? Why am I so nervous? Why do my hands shake when I ask her out? Gosh, why are my palms so sweaty? Why am I scared of people? Why am I so afraid of connecting? Am I afraid of people? If I am an extrovert why do I want to sleep all day? Do I love myself enough? Is it humble to say that? Why can’t I help him? How can I help her get through this moment? Did I call today? Why didn’t you call today? Why did you ignore that call? Why did you go out of your way to avoid them? Do they know that I love them? Does the stranger know that I love him/her? Why did I act like that in high school? Why didn’t I have courage to stand up against the crowd? How can I love strangers? How can I love enemies? Do I have enemies? How can I love God? What is my purpose? What is my will for myself? No, what is God’s will for me? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?
Have you ever been walking somewhere and all of a sudden a random song lyric comes into your head?
Yesterday, out of no where I started hearing the lyrics from Nick Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life” featuring Drake. The line that really stuck in my head was…
“No, I’m not Lucky, I’m Blessed…”
Back in 2010, when the song came out, I probably sang that lyric a hundred times. My music choices have changed quite a lot since 2010—sorry Nicki your songs are just chilling in my old iPod nano.
However, I want to thank Nicki for that lyric—which I haven’t thought about in years.
After reflecting on her words for a minute or two I was reminded of a theological lesson.
Ever since starting college, I have had a way of getting through tough obstacles and challenges. It just seemed natural to me. Many of these obstacles are academic, but there are others which are not. Every time I get through it, I always respond,
“It’s just luck.”
What do you mean by this Nick? Well, I can’t really describe it but if you ask my friends they will tell you. There are times in my life where failure is inevitable. Mostly due to procrastination, laziness, and uncertainty.
Against all the odds.
One “academic” example happened to me last semester. Last year, I took a final exam for one of my most difficult upper level science courses. The test covered 27 powerpoint’s, which had many bullet points of information on each slide. If I had to make a rough guess I needed to memorize 2,700 slides. I had other finals the days before, which I also needed to do well on. I didn’t give myself enough time AT ALL to study for this upper level science test.
I crammed and crammed the night before and remember walking into the test flipping through my Mac only on powerpoint # 16.
That is 1,100 slides I had not looked at.
Frantic, I took a deep breath. Said a giant prayer. And hoped for the best. It is in God’s hands.
I ended up doing really well and getting an A in the class. What was my response? What did I attribute my success too?
“It was just luck.”
Today, I am reminded of the verse Matthew 19:26.
“Jesus looked at them and said,’ With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Though my situations may seem impossible by looking towards Christ everything becomes possible. My fear and anxiety transforms into success.
Therefore, I will no longer attribute my success to luck.
Nothing I accomplish is pure luck. But everything—is a gift given to me through my Lord and Savior. I, just like the men healed from leprosy in the Bible, forget to come to Jesus and thank Him. I forget to talk to Christ saying
“Wow Lord, I felt so much fear in that situation and You held my hand through it all. Thank you for this moment. Help me to always remember to thank you for your gifts—both in good times and bad.”
The typical response from others when I make it through an impossible obstacle like the example above is:
“But Nick, its just because you are smart.”
Maybe, that is the case. Maybe, an individual who is “smart” seems to get “lucky” more.
However, even if that is the case, intellect and wisdom it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.
I can tell you that at many points in my life I felt as though God guided my hand, thoughts, words, etc. During that final exam, I know being “smart” was not going to cut it. I know that the Holy Spirit gives me the strength and hope to persevere.
To be blessed by God does not mean completely surrender and not persevere to one’s goals. It means to give your academics, personal life, and goals 110 percent effort. Through your action and determination you are giving glory to Him.
Remember today, that YOU are not doing this thing called life on your own. If you focus on God His will is going to prevail. Is that not an awesome thought? We are running this race towards God with the best running partner—Jesus Christ.
God’s blessings are disguised— we so often forget what He is doing for us every hour, minute, and second of our lives.
I am reminded today of all the blessings in my life—my family and friends who support me.
I am reminded that with God all things are possible.
I am reminded that I am not lucky but very very blessed.
A few years ago my Mom gave me a framed print out of one of my favorite Bible verses.
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7*
One day I decided to take the verse out of the frame and tape it to my ceiling right above my bed. My intention was to wake up every morning to that verse being the first thing I saw.
However, that was rarely the case. Most of the time I would wake up then immediately hit snooze….then I would hit it again…and again. The other day I was so tired I kid you not I hit snooze every seven minutes for over and hour…yikes. On certain days I would wake up to the verse and read it quickly with no reflection.
After reflecting on this verse the last few days I realized my error. I had forgotten the power and the truth that floods this verse.
Have you ever been called a coward?
To me it is one of the worst things a person can call me. Why is that?
To me a coward is someone that allows their fears to overpower their faith.
To me a coward is someone that gives up easily in any task.
To me a coward is someone who is lukewarm.
Christ tells us specifically that being lukewarm in faith is the absolute worst. Ironically, I have noticed that the problem with being lukewarm is that you don’t really notice it.
What do I mean by this?
Well, when you are sitting in a hot tub you notice the heat. You feel great. It is similar to the zeal you receive from the Holy Spirit. You just know that everything is right with the world. When you take an ice bath you know what you are doing. You feel the cold.
However, to be lukewarm is a scary thing. In lukewarm water sometimes you do not even feel like you are in water at all! Have you ever been in a room temperature pool or even the ocean? Sometimes you just stop noticing the water around you.
Why does this matter in regards to the verse? The Bible verse I am discussing today reminds us that God did not give us a Spirit of cowardice/ lukewarmness. We must remind ourselves continuously that we are given a spirit of power, love, and self-control.
I have reflected on the three gifts God gives us when we look towards Him. Power, love, and self-control all require ACTION. They all require the individual to remember who their Creator is and to always seek Him above all else.
Power reminds us that with God we have nothing to fear. Power reminds us that with God our strength is renewed. Power reminds us that with God we can and we will be brave.
Love reminds us to see the good in others everyday. Love reminds us to care for our neighbor. Love reminds us to find joy in serving others.
Self-control reminds us to form virtuous habits. Self-control reminds us to humble ourselves. Self-control reminds us to always keep our eyes fixed on Christ.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up.
I will feel exhausted.
I will not want to do the homework that will be due in a few hours.
I will not want to tackle all of the day’s anxieties.
However, I will look up to my ceiling.
I will take a deep breath and read the verse word by word.
I will put my feet on the floor and say confidently,
“With Christ by my side, I will not be a coward.”
* I understand there are many different interpretations/translations of this Bible verse. This is my favorite translation, so I decided to use it.
When I was a little kid I always thought my Dad was crazy when he would say….
“This car doesn’t feel right?”
“How can you tell Dad?” I would ask.
“I don’t know….you just…know.” he replied.
This happened to me yesterday. However, after a few more minutes of driving the uneasy feeling became normal. I stopped noticing.
I shushed my thoughts by telling myself, “You are just being crazy, its a new car. It’s all in your head.”
After stepping out of the car, I locked it and walked away. However, while looking back over my shoulder, I noticed that the passenger side rear wheel was flat.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME….”
I went over to the tire, pressed it with my index finger, and sure enough it was flat. It was ironing board flat. It was so soft it was like touching the pillsbury dough boy’s stomach.
I called AAA and was lucky enough to only wait a little over an hour. While the guy was helping me fix the tire, I noticed a shiny nail stuck into the rubber.
That little nail took down my 2 ton car?!
Why is this story important? I learned a few things from this experience.
- The fact that you can complain about “car trouble” is a privilege in and of itself. Therefore, stop complaining and be grateful.
- AAA is bae.
Is this what sin does to us?
If we are the car sin is the nail. At first we start telling ourselves that something just does not feel right. Whether we are acting on our lust, envy, pride, etc something just feels off. There is an inherent feeling of uncertainty. Over time, that “this doesn’t feel right” feeling goes away. We become our sin.
Our sin becomes normal.
In due time, the air deflates from the tire and sin prevents us from moving forward. We are stranded on the side of the road. Sitting in silence unsure of how this even happened. We felt so confident. We felt so secure.
Friends, today lets reflect and determine what nails are sitting in our wheels slowly causing our tires to leak. In order to make life the best road trip of all time we need to make sure nothing is going to slow us down. When we truly care about reaching our destination (Eternal Life) we will be sure that all our tires are free from nails.
“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of His son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We are without sin,”we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins,he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.”- 1 John 1:7:9
Let us not deceive ourselves, but rather understand that there are many nails along the road. But it is all good, because God is sitting right beside us in the passenger seat.
Hey Freshman Nick. Yeah you…the kid with the 7 inch biceps and beardless face. The kid that rocks cargo shorts. The kid that thinks green t-shirts match with green basketball shorts. I have a few things to tell you before you start your freshman year.
1.”You laugh at me because I am different, I laugh at you because you’re all the same”
I get it. You are far from home and you are trying to make friends. I understand that you want to be liked by others. Just remember, be yourself no matter what. Do not change who you are as an individual in order to blend in with the crowd. BUnique.
2. “A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that next time you feel alone.”
I can promise you that there will be moments of isolation. There will be moments where no one will understand you. There will be moments where you look up to God and ask WHY? There will be moments when you scream from the top of the parking garage. However, in these moments I can assure you that your faith will become solidified. In these moments of loneliness you will find your greatest friendship. Your friendship with God.
3. “How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.”
Be kind to everyone you see on campus. Call everyone by their first name. Thank your friends for being there for you in the good and bad times. Thank your professors for helping you succeed. Buy the person behind you in line at Starbucks a coffee. Help that kid get his bike off the bike rack. Smile at others because you see Christ in them.
4. “Be stronger than your strongest excuse.”
There will be times when you want to give up. You will say that you are tired. You will hit the snooze button. You won’t go to the gym because you “just ate.” You won’t study more for the test because your “brain is fried.” Stop. Take a deep breath. Or two. Or three. Remember the Navy Seal’s 40 percent rule. When you think you have nothing left and you feel like you can’t go on anymore that is only 60 percent of your strength. You still have 40 percent left. Keep fighting.
5. Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”
Study but CHILL OUT. The memories you make in college will have nothing to do with the equations in your textbook, but everything to do with your new best friends. Dance when you are walking to class. Sing in your car. Laugh for no reason. Smile because frowning sucks. Wear chubbies and cowboy boots….and rock it.
6. “The Biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”
LISTEN to people. Hear their story. Don’t talk so much (I know that is hard for you). Everyone around you is fighting a battle you have NO idea about. So listen. Pray for others. Hug people. Let your friends and strangers know that you are here to fight in this battle of life with them. Use your words to heal not to hurt. Be empathetic. As Brene Brown says…sympathy is looking down at a person in a ditch asking how you can help. Empathy is climbing down into the ditch in order to help them.
7.”If you love deeply you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.”
Forgive others. We are all sinners in a sin filled world. Hate the sin but LOVE the sinner. Do not let small harmful words destroy a well-built friendship.
8. “Too many people are trying to find the right person instead of being the right person.”
Don’t let the search for “Miss Right” get in the way of your development as a man of God. Seek to be a better soldier in God’s army and everything will fall into place. Be a gentleman to ALL women that you meet. Treat them like you would like someone to treat your little sister.
9. We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”
Pray everyday. Even when you are tired. Even when you feel that God isn’t listening. Even when you just failed a test. Even when you just aced a test. Pray. Pray. Pray.
Lastly…the most important thing I would like you to know.
10. “Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and the people He has made.”
Live by this in every moment and you will find peace.
Have a rad journey kid.
Nick Bellacicco, Senior
Getting back from a run, I walked down into my basement to grab a cold gatorade. As I opened the fridge, I saw an art project attached to the fridge with a magnet. It was of a bear holding a vibrant red heart that said,
“Love Bears All Things.”
I was surprisingly taken a back by this piece of elementary school artwork. I continued to stare at this bear, which was held together by a glue stick from my little brother’s pre-K class. However, now the art ignited a fire in my heart. Pondering the words that rested at the center of the heart and the bear, I was reminded of all the events that have been going on at Baylor.
A raging sea of mixed emotions have been scattered all over social media.
People are angry.
People are hurt.
People are scared.
Knowing all this, I chose not to say anything. I felt that by the grace of God Baylor would find her peace. However, after seeing this small reminder on the fridge my heart filled with joy. I recollected on all Baylor has done for me the last past three years. I was reminded of how Baylor has taught me the treasure that is Love.
Baylor has shown me that Love DOES Bear All things.
Everything that happened to these young women is disgraceful. I have a younger sister going into her freshman year next year. I love her more than anything. To even think about someone taking advantage or mistreating her tears my heart apart. I cannot only imagine the pain these women are going through, but also the pain of their fathers, mothers, grandparents, siblings etc. To all the women that went through such a traumatic experience at Baylor, I pray that you find comfort. Speaking for all of Baylor nation, we apologize not for certain things, but for EVERYTHING.
Due to what has taken place, the Baylor I know and love is being viewed as a place that does not demonstrate love. Quite frankly, Baylor is seen as a failure. I agree whole heartedly that mistakes were made and people are now hurt forever. It is sickening. However, now is the time to make amends and to be better. Now is the time to show the world that Baylor University knows what it means to LOVE.
Living in Connecticut, the people in my community only know the “social media Baylor.” They do not know the treasure that awaits in Waco,TX. They do not know that Baylor University taught a young freshman boy from Stamford, CT what it means to love. When I say Baylor “taught” I mean ALL of Baylor. The custodians, the professors, the students, the cafeteria workers, the administrators…everyone.
In order to show the world what I mean here are a few personal examples as to how Baylor University taught me LOVE.
Baylor taught me Love when…
I had missed my flight because my plane out of Waco was canceled. All my new freshman friends had already left for summer. The next morning I went outside with my bags. I was cold. It was raining. It was 6:00am and I was waiting outside my dorm. The bus was supposed to come at 6:15am. It was now 7:00 am. I still sat there. The rain was beginning to soak my clothes, but if I went inside I might miss the bus. It was now 8:00 am. The bus never came. A cafeteria worker took notice of me. She came outside, gave me a water bottle, and a hot pastry. She offered to drive me to Dallas. I thanked her and still waited. A few minutes later, a Baylor student pulled up in her car. She looked at me and asked if I was okay. I told her the story and she said she would drive me to Dallas. I asked her where she was headed. She was headed the opposite way. She insisted but I politely said thank you. The cold was not so cold anymore.
Baylor taught me Love when…
It was the first few weeks of freshman year. I was stressed. I had a science test the next morning. I was a nervous pre-med student. It was 1:00am. I was tired and sick of the workload. College was not fun. Trying to grab my bike off the rack, I could not get it out. It was stuck. Trying harder and harder, eventually I gave up. Outside the library was desolate. Picking up my biology book, I was about to throw it on the ground. I wanted to let all this anger out. Out of nowhere, I heard a small voice behind me. A girl asked, “Do you need any help?” Just like that my bike was free and the stranger was gone.
Baylor taught me Love when…
I walk into Hospice each week. I watch the sick and dying patients smile, laugh, and joke with all of the Baylor student volunteers.
Baylor taught me Love when…
I witness dozens of Baylor students excited to get up at 5:30am on Friday morning to serve the poor breakfast and to converse with them.
Baylor taught me Love when…
That professor invited my class to have dinner at his home. That professor that takes the time to help me pursue my dream. That professor that hands me his umbrella as it begins to rain.
In conclusion, in light of everything that has occurred, it is time for Baylor nation to bear all things through love.
Love the women that have been hurt.
Love every student that walks onto our campus.
Love your friends…and your enemies.
Most important of all, love He who gives us peace in the most heart aching moments.
Love is the answer Baylor nation.
1 Corinthians 13:7
It’s that time of the year again. What time? The time of the year when every pre-med out there questions his or her life choices. Our brains becomes flooded with statements like…
“What are you doing to yourself?”
“You are tired. Kick your feet up and just take a nice long nap. Forget about the tests.”
“Are you sure you are cut-out for this pre-med thing?”
“Why do you even want to be a doctor anyway?”
Though these thoughts usually come from the sleep-deprived irrational brain, there is some rational questions that arise…
Why keep going? Why not stop? Why not do something else with your life?
Most of the time we tend to silence these scary thoughts and pretend they never happened. We are pre-med. We cannot show weakness.
So what do we do?
- Drink gallons upon gallons of coffee.
- Study for 1,000,000 hours
- More Coffee
- Maybe sleep? Nope.
- Study another 1,000,000,000 hours…
- And eventually
- Make it into medical school!
- And then…
- DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN
Something else besides the prestige and the financial stability must be motivating us to keep going?
What is it?
Here are a few reasons why I keep going. I hope it resonates with all the pre-meds out there.
I keep going for…
That older woman in the free clinic. She tells me she doesn’t sleep more than 4 hours a night. I ask why. She tells me that she can’t sleep because her husband had lung cancer . At night, when he coughed, she feared he would die. He passed away years ago she tells me…but she still wakes up.
I keep going for…
That ten year old girl who wears a surgical mask anytime she goes out in public. She can go into anaphylactic shock for air-borne milk allergen exposure.
I keep going for…
The woman with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Her husband, sitting beside her, just had a stroke. His whole left side is paralyzed. She jokes about her upcoming death. He tries to forget by watching TV nonstop. He clicks the remote with his right hand.
I keep going for…
That little kid with Crohn’s Disease who takes more pills than I can count.
I keep going for…
My Grandpa, an engineer and man who loved working with his hands, who is now unable to move or speak because of Parkinson’s disease.
I keep going for…
The man in the nursing home who does not remember me after a few minutes.
That through my studies, I will gain the critical thinking skills necessary to make the correct diagnoses.
That through my studies, I will gain the patience to listen to each and every symptom.
That through my studies, I will gain the strength to carry on even when I feel like I can go on no further.
Why do we keep going?
For the privilege to make a difference in the lives of our future patients and their families.
Everyone knows THAT kid in Church.
You know…the four or five year old toddler who always laughs during moments of quiet reflection?
The kid who likes to throw animal crackers at his or her little brother taking a nap in his mother’s arms?
The kid who runs through the pews as if the Church is a track?
The kid who pokes at his Mom’s face like she is made of play-doh?
Get the picture? I’m sure you know THAT kid. Right?
It does not matter what denomination you may be a part of, everyone seems to know THAT one kid in his or her Church. If you are not a Christian, you still know THAT kid. He or she likes to giggle loudly during the death scene at your favorite Broadway play. He or she takes Mom’s phone and decides to watch a whole episode of a Spongebob next to you on the plane…without headphones.
So what gives kid? Just from observing the expressions on the faces of people around me, I notice that may people can get pretty frustrated with the havoc THAT kid creates. It always seem to occur at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
One seemingly wrong place is Church.
When the pastor, minister, or whoever is speaking that day, THAT kid decides to be the biggest distraction. E.V.E.R.
They start giggling. They start jumping up and down. They start making faces at you.
Usually, I start thinking thoughts such as:
- “Hey parent? How about you just bring THAT kid to the back of the Church? Everyone is trying to concentrate!”
- “Our Church definitely has a program to watch little children for this hour?!”
- “Kid, can you just contain your random excitement for just a few minutes…let me just reflect for a second…seriously just a second”
- “Ok, sweet, THAT kid seems pretty calm now. The drawing looks great, keep it up! NOOO NOOO STOPP get that marker away from my new shirt.
So obviously THAT kid is just not mature and does not understand what is means to worship Christ.
Actually, not quite.
Over the last couple of months, my frustration with the deviance little kids caused while in Church has shifted.
I have come to the conclusion that…THAT kid is above and beyond a more devote Christian than myself.
Wait, but THAT kid doesn’t seem to be living like Christ taught us?
In Matthew 19:15 Jesus makes this clear.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After changing my perspective I noticed the ever presence these children have with the world. I become frustrated because I need to concentrate…but do they? No, they show Christ’s love just by being fully alive. A key lesson I’ve taken away from all this is that maybe sometimes we just need to stop concentrating. Maybe, just maybe, in order to listen to God and be surrounded by his presence we just have to sit back. Not force it. Let it come.
So what are some reasons that THAT kid is so special.
The ups and downs of life never seem to take away THAT kids ever-present joy. Happiness and joy are distinct. Happiness is earthly so it comes and it goes. Joy is eternal and is given to us through the Holy Spirit. THAT kid is constantly emitting joy for just….existing. I’ve seen little kids light up the room with a smile for absolutely no reason at all. Nothing special happened to them. They didn’t get a present or eat their favorite food. They just smile. This is the type of joy that should radiate from us with our faith in Christ. Something we all need to strive for is seeking JOY in all areas of life. THAT kid seems to have joy figured out.
2.Not Caring What Others Think
THAT kid does not care what you think. He does not care what his friends think nor does he care about what his parents think (sorry parents). He or she will do whatever they think needs to be done in that moment. This is a key lesson to takeaway. We are people that care so much about how others see us. Sometimes we are to afraid to act in fear of embarrassment. As Christians we are called to not care. We are called to do what is necessary in the moment to be representatives of Christ’s love to the world. This takes courage. This takes strength. THAT kid does not worry about the future. He or she lives in the present moment without any doubts. THAT kid shows us what it means to be fearless in action.
3. Loving Unconditionally
THAT kid is always loving unconditionally. It may not appear that way at first, but if you look closely you may notice something remarkable. Though he or she may constantly poke their little sister…a few moments later they will hug them so tight Mom gets worried. Though he or she may run up and down the pews at Church, if they see someone who appears sad they will stop in their tracks and ask them what is wrong. In these little acts, children seem to lose themselves. The other individual becomes their whole world. They are focused on others not themselves.
Jesus makes it clear to us in the Gospel passage that this is the way to live. So, does this mean I can start acting like a little kid again? Yes and no. Instead of getting frustrated next time THAT kid makes a loud appearance during Church, remind yourself: