Inspiration for the End

Contributed by Alicia Hayes, Speaker for niNe. magazine

pexels-photoYou’re almost done with school! At this point, your problem with studying and completing assignments isn’t about lack of focus; it’s a lack of inspiration. Some people have a hard time “getting in the zone” without motivation to do so. I am one of those people. Here are some ways that I have found inspiration to “get going” again:


Music is one of the most accessible, inspiring resources I have when I don’t know how to start a project. There are many ways that music can serve as a motivator. Instrumental music in particular is great because there are no lyrics to distract you. It’s easy to categorize Classical music as the only type of Instrumental music, but Jazz, Techno, Electronica, Dance, etc. are all effective motivational music genres.

Find an album that is related to your project so that if you start to daydream, the music will point you back to your work. The excitement and energy that comes from listening to your favorite artist can be channeled back into your assignment. If your new music is piling up, pick something at random to play in the background.


Often when I’m struggling with articulating my words or figuring out where to start on a project, I’ll go for a walk. Or, I’ll take five minutes and go through a yoga flow. Whatever physical activity I choose, it’s short, invigorating and gives me a push in the right direction.


Believe it or not, a simple beverage will make me in the zone. After I set up my workstation, a cup of coffee, made exactly to my liking, is the boost I need to start moving. Of course, it doesn’t have to be coffee. There are plenty of other non-caffeinated drinks that can still invigorate you and be the finishing touch on a study session. Try fruit-infused water, juice or decaf tea.


You’re not alone! The people around you have thoughts and experiences connected to your school subject. Take some time to talk to siblings, parents, friends or youth group leaders about your study methods and assignments. When I have turned to other people, they have often either given me study tips or a casual discussion about my subject (which then made the wheels in my head turn).

For example, my last semester in college when I was writing for niNe. magazine, I had an article to write that I was struggling to finish. I went to do some homework with a friend and we wound up talking about the article. She thought the concept was really fun and interesting and our conversation led to me completing the article easily.


Remember, not everyone has the same learning styles and work methods. Don’t feel bad if you can’t just sit down and knock out some assignments. It’ll be better for you in the long run to figure out how to approach projects in a time-efficient and self-sufficient manner. If you want some encouragement, direction, motivatio, or inspiration, tweet to us @niNeMag or email at Also, let me know what strategies work for you! I’d love to give them a try before my next deadline. You can do it!

Church Clothes

Growing up, my mom would make me a special Easter Sundress and a beautiful Christmas dress to wear to church. Every week, I’d dress in my “Sunday Best.” It was what I expected and I learned to love it. Still to this day, I wear a nice dress or skirt and top – a step up from the clothes that I wear on a day-to-day basis. Lately, it seems like the attire at church is becoming a lot more casual. Now, I’m not old fashioned, but I see and observe fashion trends and the trend of dressing comfortably at church has caught my attention.

nmi_2010_fashionyear_00041aSince when has it become important for us to be comfortable worshiping the Lord? We are meeting with the Lord Almighty. We wouldn’t want to meet Kate Middleton or our favorite celebrity in jeans and flip-flops. We would be embarrassed. And, we should be embarrassed if we’re not putting any effort into our church apparel. When we’re going to church, were going to honor and worship the Lord. We’re not going to socialize and be comfortable. We’re not hanging out with Jesus, making little Snap Chat messages and taking Selfies of the two of us to post on Instagram. No. When you’re honoring and glorifying anyone, you must look the part.

Fashion is an incredible way of expressing the heart. If you’re comfortable then you’re saying:

1.) Lord, my comfort is more important then your honor.

2.) I’m lazy and you’re not worth the extra time, money or effort.
Because we have an intimate relationship with the Lord, we don’t have to dress in elaborate prom dresses. That’s just silly. But, that intimacy exists throughout the week, so the time to be comfortable and casual with the Lord is not when we are entering His house, it’s when He’s walking along side us on our daily journey.

Our attendance at church has a greater purpose than just hanging out with the Lord and expressing to Him what we think or need. We go to church to be in fellowship with other people who believe in Him, to hear from the Lord, to learn and be challenged by Him directly (through scripture, the sermon, the overall worship experience, etc.) and most importantly, we go to church to praise and worship HIM. Certainly, we can praise and worship the Lord in multiple settings or various situations without going to church. But, going to church is intentional (even if we’re dragged there by our parents – they’re being intentional and they’re responsible for you). Therefore, we should be intentional about what we wear.

Whether we realize it or not, our clothes say a lot about us. God created clothes to cover Adam’s nakedness and shame. What are you hiding that you cover with comfort? If you’re just comfortable, then are you missing an opportunity for God to speak to you? Are you holding yourself back from truly hearing from the Lord because you’re leisurely sitting in a pew or chair? Are your clothes acting as a shield, preventing the Lord from challenging you? That’s placing a lot of significance on what you wear, but your fashion is a true expression of your heart. If you’re concerned about being comfortable, then are you unwilling to hear because you don’t want your comfort to be shaken?

Certainly, if you’re new to church in general, then you’re comfort is incredibly important. Wear what does make you comfortable. The Lord is thrilled that you’re coming to His house and will welcome you and speak to you in your comfort. Same if you’re going through a hard time. The Lord wants to present you with His love regardless of the effort you put in. Your effort shouldn’t be laborious, it should be in perspective of what you wear regularly as well as within reach of what you can afford. But, the Lord deserves your best. Give Him your best. The Lord created your beauty – put your beauty on display for all to see. Don’t hide behind comfort. Express your love to the Lord by wearing something you love to wear – not because its comfortable, but because it’s special.