Having a Great Deal to Do

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I am a perfectionist who has recently relapsed. Constantly striving for others’ approval. Continuously spending exhausting amounts of time and energy trying to reach the next rung on the ladder of success.  And persistently racing towards the next goal, only to reach it and find a lack of satisfaction.

And you know what? It’s not worth it!

I’m the first to admit that I am a “yes” person… But it’s my own, undue pressure that has forced me into my current state of frustration and exhaustion. I read the other day that the definition of busy is: having a great deal to do.

Doesn’t that sound about right?

Sherri says, “sometimes life just gets in the way.” And that frustrates me.

Can’t it all seem a bit meaningless at times?

The answer is yes. But if you’re anything like me, who believes that God is a faithful, loving, detail-oriented God… then we are safe to believe He wouldn’t let us go without meaning. (Psalms 86:15, Deuteronomy 7:9, & 2 Timothy 1:9-10) So then I am forced to ask the question… what IS the meaning? And am I missing it?

In a conversation with a dear friend tonight, I realized that it was all inward. The past year and a half has been focused completely on me. How is SARAH doing? How is SARAH growing? achieving? measuring up?

I bet that’s why it all seems meaningless.

What if we each chose to focus outward instead? How are my sisters growing? How can I help my employees achieve? How can I support my friends in their careers/passions/hobbies? How can I encourage John in his work/relationships/goals? What if I chose to make it all about them?

Not so meaningless anymore.

Isn’t that what God called us to do? To love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt 22:49)?

And if loving myself for the past year and a half has looked like giving every ounce of time and energy to reach my goals and dreams… then shouldn’t I spend my days giving my time and energy to helping those around me reach their goals and dreams? Wouldn’t that be better?

So that’s my challenge to you (and to me) this week. Go have a great deal to do like the overachiever, perfectionist, you are. But this week… make it about them. Stop in the middle of your great deal to do, and pay attention to the people around you. Talk with them and ask them how you can serve them. After all, even Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Matt 20:28).

Chase after their great deal to do with them. I’ll be here next week to hear how it went.

-Sarah

For When You Think You Can Do It All

This morning I woke up to feeling like my To-Do List is too long, my Dream List is too impossible, and my Can’t Do List is too large. This morning I woke up wanting to return my new found independence as a recent college graduate. Now that school is over, wasn’t this my big moment? Wasn’t this the time where I proved to the world, my family, and to myself that my college degree was worth every ounce of debt I now proudly hold?  After all, look at me now…

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Since graduation, I’ve spent most of my time and money feeding the social butterfly I neglected while hibernating in the library for the past four years. When I’m not socializing I have about 5 half-thought-out inventions or business plans that will surely take me to the top. And when I’m not becoming the next Bill Gates, I am finding holes in my schedule for workout plans and self-help books that people have been subtly or not so subtly buying for me since I graduated high school. I’m an adult now!

So while I’m acting like I enjoy myself and am responsibly becoming the adult I was always meant to be, why do I feel this way? Why do I still feel like I am drowning in the mere hopes of a successful future? Maybe doing it all isn’t the solution.

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I have so much going on- all good things from the outside looking in- that my overflowing schedule, agenda, and spending flood onto other aspects of my life- maybe even aspects or people who didn’t ask for it. I want to give my time and money and energy to those who need help, friends or strangers, but I can’t give them something I have already spent. Maybe trying to do it ALL is the problem; maybe I am just expected to do what I can.

So what if I stopped doing it all and just did some? Does life have to be all or nothing? I would like to argue that life can be fulfilling with just some. What if I spent some of my time and saved some of it for when a friend calls unexpectedly? Or maybe I spend some of my money and saved some of it for when my dreams actually need funding… or for when a friend’s card gets declined at dinner. (Because let’s be real… I’ve been the friend whose card gets declined on more than one friend date.) Maybe I work hard towards some of my dreams, the prioritized dreams, and channel my energy into making each one important and successful on its own timing? Then with my big shiny dream sitting on my shelf I can move onto some other dreams. Doesn’t having it all at a slower pace mean peace?

IMG_0788I vote for some right now and all eventually over all the stress of all right now. I hope you will too.

Cheers to doing some things well and saying “not right now” to others, because after all… look at me now!

– Sarah

6 Reasons Your Life Sucks Right Now

photo credit: heartofthematteronline.com
photo credit: heartofthematteronline.com

Now, that is a pretty bold statement. Maybe you’re even thinking, “my life doesn’t suck right now.” And if it doesn’t I’m happy for you! But if it does, if you’re in that moment between ‘can’t’ and ‘even.’ Know that you aren’t alone. Because Homegirl over here knows exactly what that feels like. Here’s the thing though. In order to narrow down exactly what is causing your life to suck we need to start with the facts.

1. Your job. Let’s start with the worst thing that ever happened to mankind. Making us get jobs and earn money to buy things. Does it even make sense that we have to spend time and energy making someone else money? Why can’t nice things just be given to us? AMIRIGHT?

2. Your significant other. Don’t even get me started. If you’ve got one, ask yourself, do I need one? If you don’t have one – maybe that’s why your life sucks. No matter what Facebook says your status is, I’ve got one word: REEVALUATE.

3. Your family. Can they just stop hounding you about when you are coming home? Can they not just give you money when you need it and send you care packages? Like what is the point of even calling home if all you’re going to hear is how much they miss you and how they have surprises waiting? ANN-OY-ING.

4. Your living arrangement. Between dirty dishes and smelly pets (maybe even smelly roommates.) I could write a novel on this. You cannot handle the dirty laundry or even thought of scrubbing a toilet one more time. Next time you have to replace the toilet paper roll just go ahead and move out. GOOD RIDDENS.

5. Your school. If the #BIGORANGESCREW isn’t truer than the gospel than nothing is. I don’t know where you are in your education, but I promise you that if you are still chasing down a diploma of some sort you might as well stop now. The only thing your school wants from you is more money. They could care less if you graduate, let alone in 4 years. Move back home with mom & dad and get a job at the local market. They’ve been saying they miss you anyways and the cookies on isle 4 aren’t half bad.

6. Your schedule. You never have time for anything. You don’t get to have fun. All you do is work, work, work. And when you’re not working you’re doing something else you stupidly agreed to sign up for. Can’t the world just understand that you haven’t had a pedi in over 3 months? And the last time you didn’t have anything on your schedule it was because you were grounded. Even typing this is giving me anxiety. TICK-TOCK.

So there you have it. Get rid of those 6 things and you’ve got yourself a care-free life!

OR we could all stop for a second and start seeing the real problem. The only similarity in these 6 things…. Is YOU. So maybe it is time for a YOU adjustment? Maybe there isn’t a job problem or a family/relationship problem. Maybe, just maybe there is a heart problem. I can’t answer that question for you, but that is definitely what I found this morning as I started letting my heart harden towards the above things in my life. I was angry at everything and everyone around me. But the only thing all those things had in common was BEING AROUND ME.

Ann Voskamp says. “Anger is contagious – so is grace.” Maybe the person you’re actually angry at is you? Maybe you just need to give yourself some grace. It’s ok. I won’t tell.

My prayer for you this week is that you can love yourself well. Love who you are in this season of life. Give grace to yourself and your surroundings. Jesus made you for such a time as this. {Esther 4:14} Don’t wake up in 5 years and realize your sucky life could have been the life of your dreams. Tell the people in your life that they matter to you. Be grateful for your opportunities and experiences. Spend some time in the Word – actually stop rushing for even 15 minutes. I dare you, just for one day, to seek joy in Jesus and see if it makes a difference.

 

– Sarah

Grateful.

Life moves quickly. That’s what I remember thinking on my 21st birthday last week. It moves quickly and keeps moving quickly. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good, and that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

If you didn’t know this about me, I journal. I write in a notebook starting on my birthday and I keep writing until either it fills up and I start another or it’s my birthday again. I like getting  a fresh start. Opening the first page and physically beginning a new chapter. Last year on my birthday I purchased this journal:

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And I am truly blessed to say that I found joy this year. Through trial and through blessing, Jesus has been there. There is a joy I cannot explain and cannot contain that comes from Him. And for that I am grateful. I have learned the art of being thankful. Especially for the little things. I was given this sweet gift from my dear friend Katie:

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It’s an awesome way to see where Jesus spoils you. Because trust me friends, He does! After realizing how truly blessed I am, I cannot help but think what a wonderful year and life I have! I am not saying there aren’t bad times. I’m not even saying there are easy times. But Jesus is good to me. And I just felt I needed to share that with you today. I have had more sentimental thoughts, I have wanted to write probably a lot more ‘profound’ opinions. I have even wanted to share some pretty hysterical stories and videos. But I just felt I needed to stop and say. “I’m grateful.” So here we are….

I got a second dog. “What?! She’s crazy!! You can’t do that…” I know…. But I did. And she is wonderful and she makes everything ten times better. I don’t have to defend my decision, but she is adorable and you will love her too. Her name is Wendy.

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Besides Wendy and Lucy. I have learned a lot about myself. I have realized how much I truly love flowers. And Laura was sweet enough to send me some on my birthday…

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I am beyond blessed to be a member of Sigma Phi Lambda. This year the girls in Phi Lamb have challenged me, blessed me, held me accountable, and showered me with love that I didn’t deserve. And as of last night, I was initiated as the President for the 2014 – 2015 school year. And believe me when I say, it is my honor.

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Alexandra. I have to say I am thankful for her, because Jesus was good to me when He gave me her. It wasn’t that He hasn’t blessed me with 100 thousand other people who love me too, but this year, specifically this semester, she has been there. He placed her in moments and gave her wise words. He blessed us with good conversation and for quiet moments. And I just needed to say so so THANKFUL for her.

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And lastly I am thankful for the gospel. Jesus has met me here when I needed Him most. People reminded me of the good news when I had almost forgotten it. And if it were not for the sweet truth of Jesus, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

So here’s to a new year and to the blessings Jesus has given me!

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Cheers! – Sarah

 

 

Who Am I?

In my Communication Studies 312 – Interpersonal Communication class, my professor asked us to define “the self.” He went on to explain that “the self” is merely how we answer the question “This is Who I Am.” or “I am __________________.” Theorists go on to argue that one cannot define “the self” without first gaining self-awareness (awareness of one’s self), self-esteem (one’s personal value of one’s self), and self-concept (one’s understanding of how one is viewed).

As I am listening to my professor ask these deep questions at 10 in the morning, I just cannot help but wonder how do I answer this question? How does anyone really answer this question?  And how do we know if we are “right?” So I made a list of who I am:

– Jesus follower   – friend   – sister   – daughter    – employee   – writer   – sinner

– deep thinker   – rusher   – wanter   – seeker   – lover   – helper    – someone who cares

– student    – crier    – laugher    – doer    – hard worker    – soon-to-be aunt    – dreamer

– goal setter   – someone who holds onto hope    – reader    – adventurer    – beginner

– crafter    – wedding admirer    – talker    – texter    – depender of the love of Jesus

School is going well. I am a junior and every single time I say that I am still shocked that I made it this far. And it gives me hope that I can finish. That I can complete possibly the largest milestone in my young adult life. It makes me excited to think about that day! But for now, I am a junior and I am still asking the hard questions like “Who Am I?” or “Who Do I Want to Be?” and my fear is that I won’t ever know. My fear is that I will turn 30 or 40 or 70 or 90 and still be asking “Who Am I?” “Why Am I Here?” “Why did God choose to let me live and let my sisters’ friends die?” “Why am I the one who woke up breathing so normally and went about my morning routine so effortlessly?” “Why am I so blessed??” “WHY?” I. DON’T. DESERVE. THIS. GOOD. LIFE. But Jesus so lovingly, LOVINGLY gave it to me. He chose the cross and He endured a debt that cannot be paid back. We just have to accept it fully and humbly. But then how can we not ask, “But LORD! What can I do for you?” I am a slave to the love of Jesus!! How can I NOT chose Him? Seek Him? Desire Him? Abandon ALL ELSE for Him?

Friends, I dare you to ask the question “Who Am I?” and place that answer at the feet of Jesus. Is that the answer He wants you to have? Is that what He planned for you? Is that where He has placed you, or have you placed yourself there? Did you ask Him to be there?

I don’t have everything figured out. In fact, I am not even sure I have anything figured out. But I can tell you, the only way any of us are going to be happy is if our answer to “Who Am I?” matches Jesus’ answer to “Who is She?” or “Who is He?”

– Sarah

Broken.

Shoot Shoot Shoot Shoot Shoot! [I’m going to be really honest. This wasn’t the word I yelled about 45 minutes ago, but let’s all just roll with it.]

The past three weeks have been about all I can handle emotionally, physically, mentally, psychologically, or whatever other fancy term you want to throw up there. The past three weeks have been freaking terrible. I’m tired. I’m emotionally drained. And my spirit just doesn’t feel like it can take anything else right now. The nannying life has been great. It’s just “everything else” that I am dealing with.

So why does it still surprise me that late at night, when I am all alone, and I just feel straight up defeated,  Satan began to creep into my thoughts? He began knocking on the protective walls of my mind and it was like the soldiers had all fallen asleep. My protectors of my fortress were so quickly taken by surprise. I will give them credit they have been fighting hard the past couple of weeks. But that’s exactly how a battle is won. Isn’t it? The enemy beats you and beats you and beats you down until you can’t take it anymore and then they come in for the final blow. The Enemy doesn’t sit back and say “Oh wait guys, she looks really really tired, she needs a break. Let’s pack up and come back tomorrow.” NO!! The Deceiver, like any good attacker, does the opposite. He keeps hounding and pounding and pushing and pulling until your mind cannot take it any longer. Then he takes a deep breath, pulls back for momentum and thrusts himself forward for the final blow.

Yesterday evening was bad too. But I had had enough to strength to pray for protection. I had called out the name of Jesus, my protector, the lover of my soul, the Almighty One. That He would stand for me when I no longer could. That he would place armies of angels around me in order to get me through the night. And Praise the Holy One. The One Who’s Reign Shall Never End, He did!! What a mercy. What a blessing. How GOOD my God is to me. But then again tonight Satan came crawling back, the way he is used to doing. He strikes like a snake at my mental process. Derailing my train of thought before it can get to Jesus. As he strikes again my mental strongholds failed. I truly watched them give up. It was like my mind said “We just can’t Sarah, you’re too tired for this today.” And the wall came crumbling down. It had been such a long battle. But again I failed. And once the fight is over Satan doesn’t help you clean up the mess. He doesn’t comfort like Emet Elohim Emet does. He doesn’t heal like Yahweh Rophey does. He doesn’t help and fix like Adonai does. He leaves.

After the disaster of the night. The broken child that I am remains. Nothing else. No one else. Just the mess that I was, am, and will be. But there is hope, because unlike the Evil One. My Beloved helps the broken.

Taped to my closet door is Matthew 11: 28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So tomorrow I will begin again. With renewed hope. Attempting to take on another day in this dark dark world. With the purpose of shining a light so someone else can have this hope that I have. This joy that heals. This love that claims you and makes you whole.

– Sarah

Where My Heart is at This Summer

It’s been a hard summer. God’s been working on a lot the past 8 weeks. And there are 5 more to go. That’s the scary part. I think the first 8 were just a warm up. Lots of changes. Lots of unexpected. Lots of I don’t know what the blank I’m doing anymore. Lots of I need people. And most importantly, lots of I need God.

I don’t really have much to say except scripture is where it is at. My dear friend, Sherri, has been sending me verses from all over the Word, and at the most random times, but they some how just seem to fit. Also people have been praying for me. And it has just recently been brought to my attention that people do this frequently. And I don’t know why but until this summer I didn’t think people did that for me. I just thought “I’ll be praying for you,” was the Southern version of “Wow, your life sucks.” Because a lot of the time, people say they will pray over you, but they don’t actually do it. You know? So when I found out from various people that they or others have been praying over me, it just kind of shocked me. I am humbled and I thank you if you are one of those people. Seriously. I can feel that you’re doing it. God has been whispering, “You aren’t alone.” There’s a lot going on, but the only thing left to say is I want you to read Isaiah 43. I’ll put pieces of it here and I encourage you to read it slowly. Just soak it in. I cry when I read it. Every time. It’s just where my heart is at this summer.

All enfaces are added by me.

Isaiah 43:

“But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘ Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you,'” (vs. 1-4)

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;” (vs. 5)

“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (vs. 7)

“I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” (vs. 11)

“I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.” (vs. 15)

– Sarah

I’m Not an Olympian

There are strong women in the world and women empowerment is something that has always been strongly on my heart. Especially since I recently joined the Speak Now team (more of this to come.) Our society encourages and demands women to be independent and strong and brave. The Olympics finished tonight and America had hundreds of strong female athletes take to their skill and show the world they were the strongest they could be and they claimed gold medal after gold medal after gold medal. And I can tell you I am so proud of these women it’s not even funny. #TeamUSA

But I want to ask the question that has brought me to my knees this evening. Is it so wrong to be weak? Is it socially unacceptable to “not be ok?” People ask “How are you?” Do they WANT me to explain that my heart is aching, it is being torn in two by the people I love the most, that my heart and mind battle it out hour after hour as I try to ignore the yelling of my soul so that I can continue with my day to day activities? Is it OK to cry in front of others? Openly? Honestly? Even if you KNOW what you are about to say is going to be rejected by 95% of the population in front of you? How does a woman handle such an emotion?

So I guess what I am trying to say is that for most of my life I take pride in being the super woman. I go to extreme lengths to make everyone proud but today I will not. Tonight I am going to admit that I am not always strong. I’m not always the best. And I most certainly do not have the emotional strength of an Olympian.

– Sarah

Worth it.

I sit alone in my bedroom. The kids have been tucked into bed and the lights are off in the house. Everything within me is dying to just go to bed. After the long day of visitors and large dogs and a terribly beating workout I find my eyelids getting heavier by the moment. But in the quiet I hear Him. He calls to me. Not begging, but requesting my attention be turned to Him. In this moment I have to decide. Am I going to spend time with Him? After a long pause, I decide I will gather my strength and sit with the LORD. I just pray I don’t fall asleep.

My prayer begins and I am speechless. What do you say to the Man who made it all? Where do you begin? I thank Him for the many things I never deserve. Listing them one by one. Then I open my bible to the Psalms. I find myself eye-to-eye with Psalm 111. “Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them… The works of His hands are faithful and just… He provided the redemption for His people; He ordained His covenant forever – holy and awesome is His name.…”

I reach verse 9 where these bolded words are written and I think to myself. HOW could I NOT sit in the presence of the Mighty King?! HOW could I DOUBT that His time with me is SO IMPORTANT and SO WORTH IT. WHY would I EVER pass up this opportunity? … But yet I do. More often than I would like to admit. The day goes by and my heart had wondered.

My Mother has often reminded me, “If you feel distant from God remind yourself who moved.

So in this moment folks. I ask you to remember the holiness and the majesty of our God. If today was a day you weren’t willing to sit and be still. I am reminding you. It’s worth it.

Where This Summer Takes Me.

Where can this summer take me?

To find that I love crafts.

To remind me of my love for writing.

To keep me committed to my pen pals.

To push me closer to the Almighty.

To bring me closer to family.

To expand my musical taste.

To force me to lack Young Life, just for a little while.

To try new recipes.

To let me travel past beautiful places like this.

To meet super legit people like this.

And of course, to take me back to Washington D.C.

Here I am. Nannying again. Doing one thing I love and enjoying the blessings this summer has brought me. Where has your summer taken you?

– Sarah (:

Here’s My May-athon.

Wow. It’s May 31. Dang I am getting old. I can’t believe it’s been an entire month sense I last blogged. I can’t believe this month of my life has not been exposed, not written about, not thought through. I need clarity people! Anyways, I guess I will start with the basics.

I moved out. scary thought that I am no longer a freshman in college. sad thought that I don’t live with my awesome roomies, and I live back in good ole Marietta.

Next was Matt and Lauren’s wedding. My cousin was married earlier this May and it was a joy to see him marry the love of his life who has been around for quite a while. We all adore Lauren, and honestly SHE is his better half! (:

After that I came back with a few days to recover before the guests started arriving for my baptism! I GOT BAPTIZED Y’ALL!

FINALLY!!

If you want to watch my testimony video and me getting baptized check it out here!

God’s love washed over me and took my sin away. It didn’t save me. Jesus Christ saved me. But it symbolizes what He did for me!

Then there were a couple days that gave me a chance to put my life in order. Unpack my dorm stuff, clean my room, and try to get into a summer routine. But soon came this monday, MEMORIAL DAY. We have several veterans in this family and it was awesome to get to celebrate this holiday with them. We took my grandpa, a WWII vet all the way from Knoxville down to the Atlanta Braves stadium where he had an awesome time at the game! This picture is us giving kicks and fist pumps so that I could send it into Today’s Letters (one of my favorite blogs. Check them out!)

And this week I have been taking things slow. Sleeping until noon. Doing lots of crafts including making ‘Merica shorts, flower pens, picture frame art, t-shirt blankets, writing letters to old friends, and working on some books (writing and Reading of course.)

 Hope your May-athon was as good as mine! See you in June!

– Sarah (:

The Morning After.

Satan whispers, “It’s going to happen eventually. You never have been able to break your habits.” I believe him, because it appears to be true. I should have reminded myself that his is known for lying to get his way. I tell myself, with Satan’s evil encouragement, that I am too dirty and too ugly and undesirable to be wanted by anyone else. This is what I have come to think. My emotions are building and now I am crying. Crying because I don’t want to do this, but I think I can make it my escape. I cry out, “God I need this,” and he replies, “My beloved you only need me.” And then I say the words I regret the most, “Sometimes that’s not good enough.” I have hurt Him. Did He see this coming? Of course, He is the Almighty. Did he want to? Absolutely not. I can hear Him crying. It’s a soft, heart-breaking, cry. My mind shuts off, the argument is over. I cry as I pour my emotions into this empty pit. As everything comes to an end the tears don’t stop. I continue to cry and I hear His words with His intimate gentleness, “Beloved, when are you going to learn this will never satisfy you?” I cry myself to sleep as I turn His words over in my dreams.

This morning, I sit, determined to learn. Determined to reach for the thing I have never grasped. God be my teacher. Mold me.

I am Yours.

– Sarah

Skin and Bones

It is 3:08 in the morning as I write this. An inner battle just took place in my mind. A spiritual battle is what I am referring to.

The Evil One is good at his job and he comes in all shapes and sizes. Clever. I will at least give him that. He is very clever.

As the inner turmoil is just beginning the Holy Spirit inside of me is quick to differentiate between my thoughts, the Spirit’s thoughts, and the Evil One’s thoughts. The conversation within me continues as I am merely a spectator now. Minutes go by while the Geology pages turn. As I am about to turn the page I realize that my eyes passed over the words but they were not read. My mind was else where. I will even admit to having highlighted and starred and added notations to where my subconscious thought my conscious would place them if it were present. I decide to wait until the conversation in my head was over before I continue with homework. There really isn’t much point. Once the three of us get started it’s hard to stop us until a decision is made.

For you see, the Deceiver is getting stronger. I can tell that as his lies are whispered they some how seem to continue to make the truth sound softer. Soon enough they sound roughly about the same volume. My own mind joins in. Reminding the two gentleman in the room that I am still there. This was a big mistake. Now the Deceiver can focus on me instead of continuing to argue with the Almighty. I should have let Him handle it. As he talks I can hear the soft echo, “that’s not true.” “are you really going to believe that?” I know that what he is saying is wrong. My conscious is FULLY aware that lies are being spoken to me, but for some unexplainable and irrational reason I still desire to listen to his treachory. As my decision was made and my walls went up, pushing the Holy One away. I knew I had lost this round. And as soon as the battle was over. The Liar retreated. Leaving me standing in the middle of the room. Without him to defend me as I faced the judgement. He had left me alone and hurt. Facing the reality of what I am. Flesh.

Overloaded.

This is my kitchen. Overloaded. Ironically, it is a perfect metaphor of my life right now. All of these glasses were useful at one time. All of them were doing really well. But then life and time got away from them and they still haven’t been cleaned, or “Re-charged” if you will. And so they are now useless and sympathetically helpless. I cannot afford the time to wash them and clean them up in order to focus and be able to effectively use the mugs to succeed with all the different aspects of my life. But the big bowl at the bottom willingly holds them. Just waiting patiently for me to re-focus. The big bowl, similar to how my father holds me, will take the mess and keep it compacted while i’m off running around trying to “Regain control.” Funny enough, if I took the time to clean the dishes… (if i took the time to pray and sleep more) I would gain such an advantage as the bowl. But right now it’s doing everything it can to keep me from going insane.

But luckily for me, there is a greater joy. My father will do the dishes, which this bowl cannot accomplish. Daddy not only holds the mess but He is willing to take it all away for me if I let him. Giving Him the stress and the problems and the anger and the tears. He is able to remove all the pain and just hold me instead. To hold the one He values and loves.

My dear friend Haleigh encouraged me with this, and now I give it to you, “…I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” – Isaiah 46:4

Have a marvelous Thursday. Chin up.

Feel free to comment below or contact me letting me know if you are as overwhelmed as I am. I hope this post gives you hope in some way. If you are a freshman and you feel like this…. this post is to let you know that you aren’t alone.

– Sarah (:

Find Your Joy.

For the third time in the past five days I had someone differentiate between happiness and joy. One way, I feel, that God speaks to me is through suggestions and comments from people influential in my life. So when a suggestion or an intriguing comment is made I listen. When Greg spoke tonight at Fellowship he prayed that as students we would find joy, not happiness, but joy.

SO…. I am going to talk about the differences and how this speaks to me this week.

Happiness is defined as: the quality or state of being happy.

Joy is defined as: the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

As I have been listening and contemplating the difference between happiness and joy, what I have discovered is this: joy is long-term. Happiness is superficial and it is short lived. But when a person can find joy it can last for a lifetime. I am NOT saying that once a person acquires joy in their life that life is easy or that hardships will never approach, but I am saying that with eternal joy instilled in a person’s heart he/she can conquer daily trials with inner peace that cannot be discovered without joy.

My God has provided me with Joy. All day he gave me loved ones who welcomed me and people who desire my presence with them. I felt like I fit in at school. That being at UT, isn’t a mistake, I can possibly make this work.

Today, I dressed for success. I set out with the purpose of finding joy. That I have been given this opportunity and it would be a shame and foolish for me to declare that God’s plan is unfit for me. That he made a mistake. That my job here at UT is only to walk through the halls as if I don’t care. Today I walked throughout my day being intentional. Every conversation, every assignment, every goal, I did with the full purpose of glorifying God and taking full advantage of His timing and His plan for my life. I have found joy. While I am jumping the gun to say this, I believe it to be true. That with the attitude of importance and with the mind-set of great delight, anyone can allow the eternal peace of Jesus to wash over them bringing them everlasting joy. (:

Tonight my friends and I decided to get crazy… we are pulling an all nighter and dying my hair. I am now a brunette (like I was before this summer). Weird. Thanks to Alexis, Micaela, Caroline, Claire, Kristin, and Elizabeth. We are studying together and working on essays and other assignments for the week. But He has placed us at this time to enJOY one another and rest in the JOY of these once-in-a-life-time moments. Embracing these evenings, and one another, with the same open and loving arms that Christ extends towards us.

Before

After

An evening I will always remember… Well back to Religious Studies… the girls say I gotta get back to studying.

– Sarah (:

College Confessions

So here is the thing…. yesterday I blogged about college being hard. I blamed everyone and everything else. Time for a College Kid Confession….. I am at fault.

While the work load is piling up and the teachers really are more strict. It’s true that John is leaving for Spain in 11 days. And I wasn’t lying when I said my bank account was empty, $4 to be exact, but I somehow I have to make a tuition payment of a little over $1,500 on September 30th.

But what I didn’t tell you was that I haven’t been moving. I myself have been standing still asking God, more like telling Him, to do all the work. Someone once told me the analogy that a girl said she was screaming to God for Him to call, but because she was screaming so loudly she couldn’t hear the phone ring…. ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my life.

I have been rushing through my devotionals and giving judging glances to the people who haven’t picked up a bible in weeks, years even. How dare me! How can I call myself Christ-like when I too have neglected the word of God ever sense I moved into my dorm? I kept telling myself that I would do it that evening, but I knew I would have to do homework instead. I would set an alarm with the intent of getting up to have my quiet time, but yet I would hit snooze until it was time to run to class…. I have talked so many times about God’s desire to talk to us, and His desire to have a relationship with us. [older post] and now I am taking my own advice. So here I am….. At 1:00a.m. on a Thursday morning with a giant to-do list, but yet I am sitting on my bench down by the CBT. [older post about devo spot] Simply in awe of God.

It’s funny that while I picked this bench I never took the time to notice and appreciate the giant fountain directly in-front of it. The refreshing song it sings as the water splashed against the pond at the bottom. Or taking a moment to smell the water as it rushed. (being a swimmer in high school allows me to appreciate this smell more than most. I love H2O. NO lie.) Sitting on the rim of the pond so that my feet dangled in and the mist brushed my face…. How come I am just now noticing these blessings?

So as I sit by this fountain the song that refuses to leave my head is “Beautiful, Scandalous Night”… which tonight kind of is one. Close your eyes and listen to this song. So beautiful, so true, so necessary at this moment.

In Christ – Sarah (:

At the End of My Rope.

Out of all the words I could use to describe this weekend: hard, exhausting, fun, ridiculous, frustrating, laughter, counciling, serious, rejoicing, inquiring, (you get my point) I’m going to stick with the one word Jesus has just kept tossing back at me. Patience.

3 beautiful kids walked into my life, 4 weeks ago (technically I walked into theirs), and while it has been an absolute joy the only thing I can think about right now is how not to kill them while I make it through this last week. It’s like the chicken parmesan I made on wednesday was actually a dose of “i hate my siblings.” The 3 of them have been at each other’s throats since then and at first it caught me off guard, because they are usually well behaved, then I learned to control it, and now it’s at the point where between Kim (their Mom), Mike (their Dad), and me we have grounded them from every activity but playing outside, reading, and an hour of tv each day. I’m over it. I felt like throwing in the towel, taking my last check, and just driving back to Atlanta early but I knew that actually wouldn’t happen. I can’t leave them just yet. I love them too much.

But all of this has brought it to my attention, how great is our God that He doesn’t ever even feel like I do right now? He doesn’t even think for one second about quitting on us or giving up. He is patient with us. Isn’t this wonderful?? Celebrate with me in this good news. (:

Psalm 86:15, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

I thank God that He does not have a heart like mine. He has reminded me that he loves continuosly and forgives often. How I desire to be like my God.

– Sarah (:

Love your Pimples.

This past week at church the sermon was on loving your enemies. As you might have gathered from my clever title. I detest pimples. The only problem is pimples LOVE me. Like seriously. Love me. Uggggg. If you can imagine this morning in my bathroom there was spiritual warfare going on between my outer Sarah and my inner Sarah due to the outrageous number of zits on my forehead. Ergo I am now presenting the truth found in the word about our beauty in Christ and the love and value he has instilled in us. Many of you have probably heard this before, and if you read my blog I’ve talked about it before. BUT I want you to earnestly listen to what I have to say. If you are a boy reading this you can take this in too, but I encourage you to tell every girl you meet today that she is beautiful. It will change her whole day around. Including your mommy!! I’m a huge supporter of Moms, especially while Nannying this past month. They do so much for you! Will I make a Team Mom shirt?? Quite possibly! Anyways….

I’ll start with the view that everybody starts with when talking about self image. Psalm 139.

Specifically, Psalm 139:14, ” I  praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We were made by the hands of the Almighty!! Thought of in endless time where He sat and pondered how to create each and every part of each and every one of us. The Angels rejoiced when you were formed!! Get with it people… we are beautiful and significant to the Alpha and Omega. This reality kind of makes us a big deal. (:

Second I want to jump back to a verse Jesus brought to my attention earlier this week [previous post].

John 14:18 (KJV), “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” I could talk about all the different meanings of this verse but right now I want to focus on the fact that this verse allows us to have full confidence that Jesus cares about us. That His undying love for us goes farther than we can ever imagine and that He undoubtably is head-over-heels in love with you! Knowing this fact brings me to my next point…

Jesus made us, and He has undying love for us, ergo; aren’t we beautiful. He thinks so!! The book of the bible Song of Songs was written by Solomon in order to give us a view of how a man and woman should love each other. But also this gives us a perfect example of how Jesus views us! After all He is the Lover of our Souls.

Song of Songs 1:15, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.”

Song of Songs 2:2, “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.”

Jesus loves you. I love you. You are BEAUTIFUL. Remember these things and rest in the truth that God is a loving and caring God, but most importantly you are His favorite thing in the whole wide world!!

*Steps off soap-box*

– Sarah (:

[posts that display the value Jesus has in us]

[posts about image]