How to Avoid the Starry-Eyed Mentality With Your Dreams

As someone guilty of living a little too starry-eyed with my dreams, and honestly my whole life in general, sometimes it takes some self-inflicted advice to help me stay grounded. I’m not yet successful in balancing my idealism and realism quite yet, but it helps to write articles like this to keep me on track:

How to Avoid the Starry-Eyed Mentality With Your Dreams

Don’t forget to check out more of Reflect & Refresh‘s posts for some whimsical, motivational, or tough love advice.

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How to Fight All Things Negative, According to the Bible

How to Fight All Things Negative, According to the Bible

All scriptures in NLT version

Anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.

John 14:27
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

1 Peter 5:6-8
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Worry: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.

Matthew 6:25-27
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Psalm 55:22
Give your burdens to the Lordand he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Romans 8:31
 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Roman 12:2
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.,whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Joshua 1:9 (My favorite scripture!)
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Depression: the state of being depressed; to make sad or gloomy; lower in spirits; deject; dispirit.

Psalm 42:11
Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

Psalms 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

1 Peter 4:12-13
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

Pressure: the exertion of force upon a surface by an object, fluid, etc. (in this case, person), in contact with it.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

James 1:2-4
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Regret: a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.

Philippians 3:13
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…

1 John 1:9
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Micah 7:18-19
18 Where is another God like you,
    who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
    overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
    because you delight in showing unfailing love.
19 Once again you will have compassion on us.
    You will trample our sins under your feet
    and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

Stress: the pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain.

John 14:27
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

John 16:33
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Luke 6:48
It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.

Frustration: a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

James 1:5
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

James 1:19
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Galatians 6:9
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Exodus 14:14
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lordand he will give you your heart’s desires.

Romans 8:18
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

Self-Criticism: the act or fact of being self-critical.

Ephesians 4:29
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

Romans 6:14
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

Seeking Approval of Others: working for others to speak or think of you favorably; pronounce or consider agreeable or good; judge favorably.

Galatians 1:10
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Proverbs 29:25
Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
    but trusting the Lord means safety.

1 Thessalonians 2:4
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.

Fear of the Future: a distressing emotion aroused by the impending future and the inability to know what will happen.

Deuteronomy 31:6
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Thanks to Keep Calm and Trust God by Jake Provance & Keith Provance
Anxiety is a Choice

Anxiety is a Choice

Stop allowing yourself to be anxious or disturbed: and do not permit yourself to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.
-John 14:27 (AMP)

Did you know anxiety is a choice? I know very well how that can seem false. I’ve struggled with enough anxiety to think, “how is that possible?” But anxiety is entirely in the mind, which we do have control over. We not only have the power to combat anxiety, we have the power to keep it out of our heads altogether. Take a look at the words used in John 14:27-allowing yourself, permit yourself. The Bible tells us to stop it like we stop an unwanted bad habit.

We choose anxiety by allowing our minds to continue to think and accept the anxious thoughts that wander in throughout the day. The way we choose against it is by stopping the thought when it comes and consciously changing to a different thought, one that is opposite the anxiety. This is how we “stop allowing” ourselves to be anxious.

You don’t end a war by avoiding the fight. You end a war by going in and stopping the fight with the right strategy.

The Falsehood of Being “Behind”

The Falsehood of Being “Behind”

I once stumbled across a post that I saved and shared on social media because it spoke so personally to me:

“Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed. Remember that.”

I don’t know who wrote it or where it came from, but I would wholeheartedly give credit to its origin. This was one of those quotes that struck so deep it was like a punch in the stomach. A punch that I very much needed. From high school, I did not do things like my smart, overachieving, well-to-do group of friends. I graduated a year early, took college classes during the summer, did not participate in National Honor Society or other honorable student organizations, went to community college instead of a four-year university directly after graduating, and so forth. Certain motivations like avoiding unbearable student tuition debts as much as possible made me choose this kind of path, as well as circumstances like breaking my back which led me to start online classes out of sheer boredom. There’s also the factor of spending most of my time doing internships practically every semester for the past four years. Needless to say, I have done things a little differently from my peers; from most people my age, I think.

From the moment I graduated high school I have struggled with doubt, regret, jealousy, comparison, shame. I just turned 22, and many other 22-year-olds I know are nearly finished with their Bachelor’s, whereas I am just now, not even yet, on my way towards that same goal. Yes, I have made progress with an Associate’s that gets me a little ahead of the four years, with doing internships that have proven valuable experience and connection. It’s still hard not to think about how I will likely be 25 or 26 when I do get that Bachelor’s, as apposed to old friends already having it before their 21st birthday.

Everyone in my life who is in the loop of my life has repeatedly told me, “Why do you think this? You are only such-and-such years old! You’re still young! You are doing fine! Chill out!” And I imagine those who are older than me are probably rolling their eyes in their mind as they say this. If I step out of my body and rationally observe myself, I have the exact same reaction. Why, indeed? I really do need to chill out.

It all boiled down to personal expectations. I live in this subconscious mindset of age-induced deadlines, of assumed projected standards from others, of living up to a subjective definition of success, according to society.

This idea is “being behind” as if life is some kind of race to compete in is totally, completely, stupidly false. I know this. Doesn’t mean I’ve successfully overcome it, but I’m working on that.

Why is it false?

There are different paths to the same goal.

Your path is different from your peers.

Age is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with achieving dreams.

Your age does not define you or your level of success.

“Success” is a vague term that can have a million definitions according to the individual.

Doing things for the sake of accomplishing certain societal standards is a major waste of energy and passion.

More often than not, the expectations you imagine are from outside pressures are actually your own placed upon yourself.

There is no designated deadline based on timeline, age, or order of goals that says “you failed.”

Accomplishment differs between careers. What makes someone a doctor will be a very different list of goals from what makes someone a filmmaker or an entrepreneur or a childcare provider.

Value of time and energy also differs between careers. It may be more worth it for a musician to spend their time networking while an aspiring vet will spend their time in school.

5 Things to Say No to if you want to Pursue your Dream

5 Things to Say No to if you want to Pursue your Dream

Oh, the illusive, excruciating art of saying “No.” It evades us all. But it must be done, especially if we have some goals to achieve. There are a few certain things you must deny, no matter how hard it is:

  1. Multitasking

Hobbies are good, work is well, but too much will stunt your progress. If you want to achieve a specific dream, you must put your all into it, keep yourself focused on it, make it the most important thing in your mind.

2. Procrastination

It doesn’t matter if it’s just “part of your personality.” You must say no to procrastinating your dream. Ignore your age, your financial status, your level of education, your circumstances. Get going!

3. Compromising

Your dream is much too valuable to compromise for anything. If something is forcing you to, whether it be a relationship or work position or a life choice or circumstance, then that thing is not worth having in your life.

4. Comparing

Comparing to others is such a dream killer. Not to mention a self-esteem killer. Stay away from this! Forget the others, this is your story. Who cares how they did it?

5. The past

If your past is holding your dream back, it’s time to say no and let go. There’s no moving forward until you do.

10 Thoughts you’ll Encounter While Pursuing your Dream

10 Thoughts you’ll Encounter While Pursuing your Dream

As you go about making your dream a reality, there will always be certain thoughts that cross your mind, bringing in doubt, fear, and discouragement. But they’re just thoughts, and we can’t trust our thoughts. Your head likes to mess with you, especially when it comes to the thing you love. These thoughts will likely stumble into your brain at some point, but there’s no need to dwell on them.

  1. “I’m too young.”

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” So what if you’re still a minor? You should be working on your dream right now. There are dozens of success stories of people 18 or younger achieving amazing things. Age is irrelevant when it comes to achieving dreams.

2. “I’m too old.”

My favorite author C.S. Lewis said, “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Did you know he was in his 50s when he wrote the first Narnia novel? And he actually first had conceptual ideas for it back at the age of 16, but he did not begin writing it until much later. Considered his greatest literary achievement, amongst others, that’s an inspiring story. Once again, age is irrelevant to dreams.

3. “I’m running out of time.”

How, exactly? Because you’re growing up? Because you’ve created imaginary deadlines? Because your achievement date doesn’t match that of your peers? No, you’re not running out of time. And you better be pacing yourself.

4. “I took too long.”

I recently came across a post that I then shared on social media because it spoke so personally to me: “Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed. Remember that.” Remember that, indeed.

5. “I should have done it like the others.”

No, you are not them. They are not you. Your path is different. Something I always say: “There are many different paths to the same goal.” Just because you’re doing things differently from everyone else doesn’t mean you won’t achieve the same thing. Stop comparing yourself.

6. “I missed my chance.”

Doors open and doors close. They also open again. If you missed something, then something else will come along. It may change up your path a little, but like I said, there are many different paths to the same goal.

7. “I chose wrong.”

If it’s what you love to do, then you did not choose wrong. If you’re basing this off of the monetary success, well, DON’T! If your goal is to make money, well then, I hope you chose a path that made sense for that.

8. “I’m not skilled at this.”

If you’re passionate about it, then you will get good at it. Truly, ability should come naturally with passion, so perhaps you’re just underestimating your skills.

9. “I know nothing.”

Well of course, you’re still learning! That’s what studying is for! This is such a silly notion. If you’re passionate about it, the studying part will just be part of the fun.

10. “What the heck am I doing?”

Oh, we all think this, of everything. At least you’re doing something. So what if you have no idea? You’ll learn by trial and error. There’s no greater teacher. Let this thought slip away and laugh it off.

17 Soundtracks that give me chills

17 Soundtracks that give me chills

I am a huge soundtrack listener. About 90% of the time I’m listening to music, and about 60% of that is listening to soundtracks from movies, video games and tv shows. I even have my favorite composers like others have their favorite music artists (*cough* Harry Gregson-Williams *cough*). These 15 particular songs from some of my favorite soundtracks are on my top list of “Chills and Tears”, as I like to call it. They’re pieces that either give me chills or move me to tears because they’re unbelievably beautiful, they allude to a scene that was chilling or emotional, they evoke deep emotion, or they inspire me to dream. These are the pieces I highly suggest to those who love and need music for inspiration.

  1. “There Are Worse Games to Play/Deep in the Meadow”-The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2-by James Newton Howard

(Caution: Spoilers!) Fans most likely know when this piece plays in the last Hunger Games movie: the very last scene, as Katniss monologues to her baby while Peeta and their son play in the distant meadow, just before the screen goes black and the tear-inducing song of “Deep in the Meadow” follows in Jennifer Lawrence’s beautiful voice as the credits roll. Yup, emotions overload. I can replay this song over and over, and it will always make me weep every time. It’s my go-to when I just feel like having a good soothing cry.

2. “Alan Turing’s Legacy”-The Imitation Game-by Alexandre Desplat

The soundtrack for this movie is one of favorites, and the central piano melody always sends shivers down my spine. This piece tells exactly what the title states: the legendary and tragic life of the man who cracked Enigma during World War II. It evokes a bittersweet sensation.

3. “Only the Beginning of the Adventure”-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-by Harry Gregson-Williams

Naturally I love everything about Narnia. This was the soundtrack that made me fall in love with all of Harry Gregson-Williams’ work. This piece has it all: sadness, joy, thrill, tenderness, magic, innocence, timelessness. It spans a good amount of the story at the end of the movie, and so it travels and covers a lot of conflicting emotions and moments.

4. “Main Title”-Bridge to Terabithia-by Aaron Zigman

From one of my absolute favorite movies, this main theme is full of magic and the beauty of childhood. If you know the story, it also makes you cry, just a little.

5. “Arrival to Earth”-Transformers-by Steve Joblonsky

I’ve never particularly cared for the transformer movies, but they have one heck of a soundtrack. This is from possibly the most epic and memorable scene from the first movie. It evokes just that, a grand epicness.

6. “Merry Men”-Robin Hood (2010)-by Marc Streitenfeld

I adore the guitar and strings from this movie’s soundtrack. It’s so medieval and terribly catchy. This piece plays during the credits, which is one of my favorite credits (yes, I even have favorite movie credits. I’m such a nerd.) It makes me feel adventurous and capable, like Robin Hood himself.

7. “Mysterious Island Main Titles”-Journey 2: The Mysterious Island-by Andrew Lockington

The Journey movies are one of my guilty pleasure movies: entertaining, colorful, age limitless, with enough lighthearted emotion and fun action to be satisfying. You wouldn’t really expect that kind of movie to have a gorgeous soundtrack. Andrew Lockington took it a step up from the first film. I have several favorites from the soundtrack, but this one from the end credits brings it all together into one grand, cinematic finale.

8. “Forbidden Friendship”-How to Train Your Dragon-by John Powell

Did you know the soundtrack for this film was nominated for an Oscar? That’s how good it is. This one is the best piece from the album. It makes me feel beautiful, dreamy, one with nature.

9. “I Am Shay Patrick Cormac”-Assassin’s Creed Rogue-by Elitsa Alexandrova

The Assassin’s Creed video game franchise has some of the best gaming music out there (in my opinion). Each game has its own unique and original soundtrack and composer, with the music perfectly reflecting the differing historic time periods, settings, and protagonist’s cultural background. In result, the settings and events feel alive and present because the music so beautifully embodies it. That is what I find brilliant, especially when it’s by a different composer every time. I have a lot of favorites from this franchise, but Rogue’s is perhaps my top favorite. This piece from the album makes me pause and reflect on the protagonist’s intriguing and complicated story. Plus it alludes to an impactful ending cutscene from the game.

10. “The Lighting of the Beacons”-The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King-by Howard Shore

Everything about the LOTR trilogy is historic. Even those outside of the fandom can recognize themes from the movies. This piece plays in one of the best cinematic scenes from the third movie, which is merely a sequence of over sweeping shots of beacons being lit high up on moutaintops. It’s nothing but visuals and music, which is a cinematic achievement in the art of filmmaking.

11. “Liz on Top of the World”-Pride and Prejudice-by Dario Marianelli

Pride and Prejudice has one of those soundtracks you can fall asleep to and dream peacefully. A score made up almost entirely of piano stands out to be remembered. Just like the scene that this piece plays at, it makes me feel like I am standing on a cliff, on top of the world yet with nowhere to go. That is a very interesting and deep state of emotion to contemplate.

12. “The Grid”-Tron Legacy-by Daft Punk

The addition of Jeff Bridges’ monologue to the piece sets you up for a great film experience when it starts off with this. You can only go in thinking, “this is gonna be good.” The fact that this movie’s soundtrack is composed by Daft Punk makes it even more cool.

13. “Ezio’s Family”-Assassin’s Creed 2-by Jesper Kyd

This theme debuted in the second Assassin’s Creed game, and it was so darn popular that it popped back up in later games as the official standard theme for the franchise. Fans probably love it because it alludes back to everyone’s favorite assassin, Ezio (me? Connor for the win!). It is extraordinary, I’ll give it that. It’s raw, emotional, and competes with the timeless scores of gaming history.

14. “The Gravel Road”-The Village-by James Newton Howard

This soundtrack, with its haunting score, evokes that solemn, lonely, yet hopeful feeling that the movie evokes. Because of its slow, calm pace, this is the right song to think deeply to. It really shuts you up and forces you to feel the chills that run along with the solo violin’s melody.

15. “Fi’s Farewell”-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword-by Takeshi Hama

Outside of the age-old Legend of Zelda themes that frequent every game in the franchise, this is a singular and original piece from the Skyward Sword title. It’s bittersweet and gentle, the perfect touch for a farewell scene. And farewell scenes usually always evoke intense emotions.

16. “Martha’s Theme”-Doctor Who-by Murray Gold

Murray Gold is a musical master and proved it when he became the composer for the revived Doctor Who in 2005. I always adored how all the companions have their own theme, but the theme for Martha Jones is by far the coolest. It’s so different from the others, it perfectly represents her character, and its haunting vocals make you sway in a kind of trance. It’s hypnotic, in a good way.

17. “Rather Death than Slavery”-Assassin’s Creed Unity-by Sarah Schachner

Yes, I am putting yet another Assassin’s Creed piece here, but this one is special. Unity actually has my least favorite soundtrack in the games, least enough to make me have no immediate interest in listening to it. This song, therefore, is like a diamond in the rough. It stands far above the rest of the score, and I think it’s the haunting choir vocals and the *tick-tock* rhythm.

Bonus 6!

“Natsuzora: Ending Theme”-The Girl Who Leapt Through Time-by Kiyoshi Yoshida

“Promentory”-Last of the Mohicans-by Trevor Jones

“Safe Passage”-The Last Samurai-by Hans Zimmer

“Evacuating London”-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-by Harry Gregson-Williams

“12 Years Later”-Treasure Planet-by James Newton Howard

“Liberation Main Theme”-Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation-by Winifred Phillips