Monday, December 26, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

I was watching It's a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart; a Christmas Classic and like all good movies should, it made me think. I began thinking during the part where Mr. Potter offers George Bailey a job, and is basically describing him as this noble person, who is finally going to get what's coming to him, so long as he makes this seemingly shrewd career move.
Mr. Potter was lying, but he was doing it with as much truth as possible. The best liars do that. They stick very close to the truth so as to not get caught in any loopholes, and play to the sensitivities of those they deceive.
George Bailey was in fact this ridiculously good person. Time and time again through out his life he came to a point where he had to make a choice between his dreams and the people who needed him and chose the latter. He never got to do what he wanted, which was to travel, see the world, be independent, and build sky scrapers. (I could never figure out of the sky scrapers were literal or metaphorical.) During emercencies he was quick to act without thinking, like saving his brother from drowning or keeping his head when the stock market crashed. He wasn't a perfect person by any means. More often than not he did the right thing begrudgingly, and was awfully eager at first to take that job with Mr. Potter knowing he'd be making ten times what he had been making at the Building and Loan. But in any case George Bailey was a good person and still his world came crashing down around him. Realizing that he was worth more dead than alive he wanted to kill himself.
The reason why it's such a beautiful movie to us is of course because none of us get to reach for our dreams all the time so we relate to George and we all want to think that life would suck for the world without us and that if we ever got to the point of wanting to kill ourselves, an entire town would give us their spare cash as well as a rich friend from high school in Europe and all of our problems would be solved in one chorus of Auld Lange Syne.
The movie ends, and we all feel warm and fuzzy inside as the season of holidays demands but its not long before we remember that life still sucks and we begin to question time and time again why the heck the world doesn't come through for us the way that it should.
But let me ask you something very important.
When was the last time you came through for the world?
We all do nice things for other people once in a while, but when is the last time we genuinly lived for other people; when every decision we made was for the benefit of others' but not ourselves?
George Bailey had built such a network of relationships around him with his good deeds that not even the richest man in all of Bedford Falls could ruin his life. We don't do that. In fact the reason why there are so many pessimists in the world is because we happen to believe this lie that we are all George Bailey and the world should come to save us and when it doesn't we think "Well, I guess this is a mediocre life."
It is not so an exaggerated attitude of self-entitlement that we carry but the truth is if we don't put our everything into existence then how can we expect an everything return?
So I'm laying in bed, post-feel good flick, and thinking about the parts of my life that are less than satisfying and wondering why things that I have no control over don't just work out for me. And finally I realize that first of all, I shouldn't be feeling so self-entitled, and second of all, where is my trust? If I were to actually examine my life I realize that the things I want to be different that I have no control over I still for some reason try to control instead of letting God take care of it. And yet I still expect everything to turn out all right? Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. (Star Wars: For the Win.) I fear my lack of control, I get frustrated at how life doesn't turn out and I end up miserable thinking "I do so much and get nothing out of it."
I'm not George Bailey, and this is not Bedford Falls.
So next time you want to bang your head against the wall because that part of your life you've spend so much time trying to tweak is falling all apart again think of this.
The world isn't going to pull through for someone who doesn't pull through for others. You can't control this, you can only control your compassion. When we all share, there is enough. When we give of ourselves, those things we have no control over will fall into place anyway. In this life no person can wash their own hands.
It isn't karma, it's trusting God, and doing what he's asked a million times, instead of fussing over the details that don't matter.
I'm going to go ahead and post this now, but for the record, this whole Jimmy Stewart related epiphany seemed a lot deeper in my head. But now that I type it I think, "Duh, Sara...duh..."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


For as long as I can remember i've been...well...lets say husky. It mainly started when I was about 8 or 9. I went through this stage of a few years where I was really depressed, mostly because I didn't have a lot of friends, or any. I got made fun of a lot, and I spent a lot of time by myself and bored. Not playing with other kids meant watching a lot of tv, and developing the unfortunate habit of eating when I had nothing else to do. By the time I reached the fourth grade (easily the worst year of my life) I broke 150 pounds. To this day I can not remember weighing myself and being under 155.

It wasn't so bad in high school, I managed to maintain 175. Life was pretty good in high school I must say, and since I found myself incapable of losing weight I figured that as long as I didn't gain weight either I was fine with that. I would just be me.

Then college happened...

The freshman fifteen for me was more of a freshman 30. I thought that maybe with diet and exercise I might be able to fight off the sudden landslide of bad health I suddenly found myself in. But when the heck was I going to be doing this exercise, and how the heck could I diet when I could barely afford food let alone healthy food.

I now exist at 220 and counting. Tonight I had an experience that sort of let me see how big I was and possibly how I looked to other people. And I just...I'm overwhelmed. I don't know what to do because I feel so powerless.

It is so hard to maintain the things that are already meant to be maintained. I have to keep up with five subjects at school, sixteen credit hours four of which are for a foreign language (do the math for homework yourself). That's a full time job by itself. Add the job on weekends that I can't afford to drop. The volunteer time i'm trying to get that will work so well with everything i'm working for in school already. All that I do my best to do for LB, a 140 minute round trip commute every day, trying to maintain relationships with the people that I love so much but never get to see because of all of the aforementioned stuff... then those little things like laundry, sleep, showering...I CAN'T DO IT!!!! I can't go to the gym every day or run every morning or do curl ups before bed, or pull ups...ever...There's no way to incorporate it into my schedule, there's no room. There's no way for me to make the time because there's none to be made.

I wish I could say that I just wanted to be healthy but I know that that's not true. I want how I look to be different. I'm tired of being the big girl, even if it's only in my own brain. But i'm so lost as to what I could even do about it. Everything I do has a prioritized purpose behind it. I've given up things like theatre and my clarinet and having regular tv shows to watch every week because they can't be kept.

So I look at myself and I look at the scale and I look at my jeans and how they've grown and all I can feel is despair. There is no hope for me...i'm only going to keep gaining and i'll never be able to lose anything and i'm going to be unhappy with myself for the rest of my life.

And then I get mad at myself because I know that those aren't good thoughts to be having. I know that the bible says that my beauty needs to come from the inside, but no matter how hard I wish that outer beauty didn't mean anything to me it still does. And no matter how mad parents get or feminists or social justice activists get about the unrealistic standard of beauty set by our media or how vehemently they tell us that we're all beautiful and we need to be accepted for who we are I will still see the rest of the world step aside or bend over backwards for the skinny girl. And I don't want special treatment, but I don't like being treated like a lesser.

When I was a kid everyone was supposed to be beautiful and we were supposed to accept and love ourselves no matter what we looked like. Then I got a bit older and we were suddenly supposed to not "take any more of these excuses" and put our nose to the grindstone and fix it.

Then there's the whole God thing. Sometimes I wonder to what extent he cares about this issue. I know that he loves me, and cares for me, but if I focus so much of my attention on my weight wouldn't he just say "You're missing the point. Focus on others and the tasks I have set before you, and trust in me. You shouldn't be so worried about something so skin deep." ?

So...I guess what I'm trying to say in short is that I am dramatically overwhelmed by everything. I just want to have a separate life or a time turner. I've played the game before though. The more I focus on me the more depressed I get. I just have to have a life serving others or I won't be able to function. And I complain about how busy I am but I need it that way too. The less I have to do, then the less I do at all, and the more I find that I am actually not doing anything and that makes me feel even worse about myself.

For the record, any of you reading this who are bigger or weigh more than I do and are getting mad at me over that I'm sorry. I feel your pain. Every time a girl thinner than me complains about her body or her weight all I want to do is scream at her and tell her how much I wish I looked like her. That she needs to shut up and realize how good she's got it. I have no delusions about how blessed I am. I know that I am completely and utterly blessed. Having the friends I have, the family I have, the God I have, the education that I'm getting. Life compared to like...well tons of people is pretty sweet. But I can't help but feel hopeless.

I don't know if I want too much, or if I shouldn't be wanting what it is that I want. I don't know if I'm making excuses or making things too complicated. I don't know how much is my fault and how much is my circumstances. But mostly I don't know what to do about it. I don' t know if there's anything that I can do about it. I'm stuck.

Even if I was a healthy weight and size I'd probably be complaining about something else right? Something like my homework load and how I don' t know how to handle it all, or my money issues and how I don't know how i'm going to be paying back my student loans, or something else. But I'm not a healthy weight and size and whether its trivial or not it weighs most heavily upon my heart at this moment in time.

the end.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


i'm a generally happy person most of the time. well not necessarily happy per se, but up beat. i certainly am an optimist and proud of it, although i have admitted that the time i find it most difficult to be optimistic is when in regards to myself.

so here's the rub. even though i'm upbeat most of the time, i do in fact get sad, or distressed, and when i do its not about one thing, its about EVERYTHING. its like if i let myself feel down for a second a domino effect follows and everything that i could feel down about gets piled on. so, for example if i were to hypothetically be upset because i was in an argument with a friend, i would not only be upset about that, but about every insecurity i have or have had about myself, and every issue i would hypothetically be going through at that time. it's really an efficient emotional habit, its like i get all my grievances out at once.

tonight i can't sleep.

and i couldn't sleep last night either.

and i think its because i'm stressed. (i think this because the thoughts that have been plaguing my ever-so-awake brain have been stressful)

you can see my issue here can't you? i got stressed about one thing, and now i'm stressed about everything.

i'm stressed about money, i'm up to my ears in student loans and piling more on as i have one year left to finish school. yes i will hypothetically get a job and pay them back but what if i can't get a very good job and i can only pay so little a month so that it takes me a decade or two to finish paying them off? what am i saying "what if"? i KNOW that the job i will get won't be a very high paying one because i'm going into non-profit (that doesn't pay well)
so i caught myself doing math in my head whilst lying in bed awake and speculating that if i wanted to get my student loans paid in less than five years i would need to work like 72 hours a week. i don't know if i can handle that. i've worked sixty hour weeks before and i almost cried. (kudos to all a ya'll who do work over 40 hours a week. no seriously i don't know how you do it.)

so thinking about money gets me thinking about getting a job gets me thinking about moving out and WHAT ABOUT MY DOG?! i think in terror. i'll have to leave her here with my parents. i'll NEVER SEE HER! what if she gets sick and dies while i'm not here! what if i have to come home quickly just to say goodbye to her soft muzzily face that has loved me ever so unconditionally when i didn't even love myself?

so now on top of money i'm worried about my dog dying, for SOME reason. (she's healthy and not likely to pass soon)

thinking of my dog leaving this world gets me worried about leaving my friends. what if the only job i can find is across the country or the world, which is honestly likely in the profession i'll be entering. i can't stand it, i'm going to leave all of my friends and we'll drift apart and they'll replace me with some other person and i'll have to make new friends which of course i am TERRIBLE at and i'm going to be alone for the rest of my life!!!!

do you see my predicament? somehow i've gone from "oh no, its my last year of college" jitters to "i'm going to drown in debt" fear to "my dog is going to die while i'm gone" to "i'm going to die alone" how exactly did i get from "its my senior year of college" to "i'm going to die alone?"

so now i'm up, and blogging about it to you, the faceless reader. (not that you don't have a face, i just don't have any idea who will be reading this) i drank some vegetable juice (don't ask me why, i have never heard of that helping sleep)

here's the real thing though. i know its all going to be okay. i know that whatever comes my way i will be able to handle because whether i feel like it or not i do have family and friends who love me and will support me through my life. Jesus said "how does worry add a day to your life?" i know that God will provide everything i need and that will include taking care of my student loans.

i know i'm going to be fine, i know that God is in control and i just have to remember that He is who He is, and I am who I am. i know all this, but it still helps to write it all out and post it on a social networking site. its like screaming into an empty sky, you don't know who will hear it but it still feels good to say it.

so that's it. i'm going to get another glass of water, go lay down, and NOT think about the looming question marks of my future, and not somehow get from "i'm a senior" to "i'm going to die alone far from home and without my dog" after all this is real life, not a country song.

Friday, August 12, 2011

clean and inspired

i've noticed that whenever i go to bible study, and actually get into the discussion i feel like i've just gotten out of the shower, i feel clean like a glass of water.

i've also noticed that a lot of the time i don't feel this way.

when i look at myself and the world through a worldly lens, as the world would have me see things, it affects me for weeks. i won't be happy with myself because i can't stop obsessing with all the things that are wrong with me, especially physically. i feel less like a glass of water, more like a glass of coke. brown and full of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives and over compensating by an excess amount of bubbles.
it also affects my relationships with other people. i begin to expect things from them that i shouldn't. things to expect that are unfair to them and to myself.

but when i start looking at the world and at myself the way God would see me, i see my flaws for what they are, but not as the entirety of who i am. i see others as images of God, and treat them that way. i see a direct correlation between the times that i am connecting with God and literally having the desire to write poetry. i'm clean, i'm inspired, and the giant question marks of the future do not seem nearly as scary or intimidating as they might otherwise seem.

i've been frustrated with myself this summer, because i haven't been serving enough. and i can see it in my life. i've been so selfish lately, and i just can't be anymore. living for me leaves me feeling awful about myself, and sticky like spilled coca-cola in the sun. (and some of you may know that i HATE being sticky) living for God, and living for others, i'm the opposite of sticky.

you could possibly care less about these words, and they may not affect your daily lives whatsoever, but this was something that i felt i needed to say.

Friday, July 29, 2011

i wrote this when i couldn't sleep.

we thought we knew what fun was, and thought we knew love up and down.
i waited till i saw the sun rise this morning- to think about what i had done.
i put it off in my mind, procrastinated, and took my time.

i didn't think till i saw the sun.

when the sun rose it blew my mind.
i'd never looked at my actions in the light.
it seemed so harmless at night.
and looking back at my life
how every morning i'd wake to closed blinds
and say "today i live for me"

but for a while- i was right.

for a while i knew how it felt to be alive
and it wasn't how we had thought it was.
but how can i exist in pure daylight
and ever go back to not thinking?

because i never thought about what i had done
until that morning when i saw the sun.

i thought i knew passion
but now i know passion
i thought i knew joy
but now i know joy
i thought peace was a myth
but i see it all now.
Both peace and passion, joy in sadness.
and how to live for others' sake
because now i am awake.

we thought we knew what fun was
and thought we knew love up and down
and i waited to think on all i had done
until that moment when i saw the sun
and realized it rose for me.

overcome by light
i'll extinguish those moments of night
and bathe in forgiveness
and be set free.

i now know passion and joy and peace
i've seen the son rise
and now know release

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen!

Easter Thoughts:

God gave me everything, so I would have the opportunity to give everything, and such an opportunity He has given to everyone here in the States.

To those God has given nothing, He has given the opportunity to give with nothing to lose.

To those with neither or both, He has given the best of both worlds.

The End.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How much more human could you get?

Sometimes I get the feeling that i'm weird.

Okay, I know i'm weird. I don't consider weird a bad thing. I feel as though people's weirdness gives them dimension; makes them more than just flat characters in the background. However it is not the quirky kind of weird, or the charismatic kind of weird that I am referring to. It is the weirdness that makes a person a

Let's put it this way, sometimes, I don't fit in.

I know that much of these feelings are in my head. They stem from bad boxes I have from situations i've been in where i genuinly did not fit in. I'm self conscious, its true.

However I can not say that I wasn't warned. It says in the Bible that we are in the world, but not of the world.

So sometimes I feel as if there is something wrong with me. While other girls my age are meeting fellas and falling in love and getting hitched and whatnot I am going to church and leading worship with teenagers and trying to figure out why I am not doing the same thing, and why I don't feel bad about it.

Not to say that other girls who have active love lives are not as "christiany" to use a technical term; far from it. I know many women of God who date and get married and seem...well...normal.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm one of those "called" to be single, and wonder if i'm okay with that.

The point of this seemingly personal blog is that I realized yesterday that I am more normal than I would have thought. Let's look at it this way...

If I were to meet a guy whom I fell completely head over heels for, and we went out and got engaged, then I would wind up rearranging my entire life around this event. I would make plans on where I would live and what jobs I would take and even how I scheduled my social calandar and other activities based on this person, because part of the whole point is integrating this person into my life. On top of this, not a single person would question it because this is normal. It is in fact normal to rearrange one's life to accomodate another person for the purposes of integrating them into your existence. This is very human.

I realized yesterday that this is exactly what I'm doing. The person I have fallen completely head over heels for is Jesus, and I have organized my schedule and redirected my life based on my relationship with him, so that I could better integrate him into my life. I am catering to, and making accomodations for this relationship. How much more human is that?

I've always agreed with the idiom "Christianity isn't a religion, it is a relationship" (I mean I of course agree that it is one that we follow "religiously" in the sense that there are rituals and traditions we follow for the purpose of spiritual community) but I feel like I better understand it now.

And while I still know that I am odd, to the extent that a Christian should be considered odd (and possibly more so) I think that i'm a little less self-concious about where my life is going. And if there be a fella with whom I could find a companion the only possible way to make it work would be if he were to have made the same arrangements and rearrangements for God as I have, because that is the only way that our lives will fit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


So, i'm sitting here in the VU library knowing full well that i have work to do and i can't help but feel the need to blog, so here i am, blogging. There is a lot going on with me right now. Even though i'm only taking 14 credits this semester, school is till the weightier part of my to-do list that just doesn't get done. As of right now i have a paper due tomorrow evening i haven't started, a presentation due monday evening i haven't begun and another paper i need to pick a topic for asap, in the same class that another paper is due in a week from this friday. i only just barely get my chinese work done every day and i don't study it like i should. how can i expect to remember a foreign language if i don't take the time to use it? none of us would have learned our own language if we hadn't conversed with our parents from the time we've been brought up! i'm going to china may 18th, for about four or five weeks or so. i'm supposed to have an internship there and take a class. however i haven't gotten all of the paperwork done for either of those things either. i need to officially register for the summer course and have my advisor sign a paper that says my internship fulfills my internship requirement for my major. not a day goes by where someone doesn't mention my trip to china, and i sort of wish people would stop bringing it up just because im so scared to go that i don't like thinking about it. but truth be told theres no way i could or would ask them to do so because the fact of the matter is that this is where my life is pointing right now, and you can't mention a compass without mentioning north. in the midst of all of this i embrace distraction like a junkie embraces cocaine. distractions like today being One Day Without Shoes. An annual day put on my TOMS shoes where people walk around all day, you guessed it, without shoes in order to raise awareness of the millions of children in the world who walk around without shoes not by choice but because they don't have any. this exposes them to diseases, injuries, and reduces school attendance since they have to walk there (if they have a school to attend) another distraction is my participation in the Vagina Monologues. I'm aware that this is contraversial especially within the church, but the purpose of these monologues is to raise awareness and help combat violence against women. last year proceeds went towards women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where rape and sexual violence has been used as a war tactic for decades. Even though the V-logues supports a few things that the church does not, the message i get behind is that of respect of all kinds of women everywhere. the first step in loving is respecting. i'm still teaching kids at life bridge, although its my month off and i didn't do very much teaching during my month on. i'm still figuring out where my place is in that ministry to be honest in the sense that i don't feel like its my calling but i don't necessarily think i'm not supposed to be there either. it is a place where i wish more people got involved. i've been trying to remember to pray that whomever God calls to work with the children will step forward but prayer is one of the many disciplines in which i fall short. i pray often in my mind and in my heart all day all the time whenever something registers in my mind as in need of prayer, but most often in the short term. things like safe travels, and sick people, and friends that are on my heart. but when it comes to those long term things where so much is unknown i tend to forget to give them to God, which is a shame because i tend to just worry about them. another example of this is our need in the teen ministries. we don't have a male youth leader which is integral. the teenage boys go through so much that a female leader can't relate to, nor will boys respond as well to a female leader who guides them. in additon to this i'm still struggling with the organization of the youth band. alot of that is me, and my shortcomings. i think really, truthfully, and honestly, that this entire blog is a prayer. God, give me focus and motivation to finish the things i've left undone. give me strength to deal with the obstacles that come my way. give me peace of mind as i look forward to the changes that are coming into my life and to the parts of my life that i don't know what will happen. thankyou for all that you provide that makes these things worth it. i'm sorry that i often fall so short of your glory, and i praise that even so you continue to lift me up. help me be more like you, remind me to pray for what i neglect to pray for. and thankyou for reminding me that while there are issues now that what is before my eyes is nothing but a moment in time but you see into infinity and you know what is to come and you are in control. father, when has worrying added a day to my life? you're beautiful, and the life you've given me is beautiful, and while i fear the path before my feet i wouldn't want any other path to trod upon. in your sons name i pray, amen.