Maybe you can’t do it

I can’t do this.

Out of every disparaging remark my brain makes about me, it most frequently likes to tell me what I can’t do. Every new experience, project, and challenge is immediately met with fear because deep down, after more than a decade of reinforcement, I believe that I’m not capable.

It’s not always a direct thought of ‘I can’t do this,’ but it’s usually the theme. When asked to create something completely new at work, I’m sure I don’t have the skills or understanding to actually complete the project. The thought of meeting someone can put me into internal hysterics because I have no idea what to do in a relationship.

The self-doubt is so deep that it doesn’t matter how many compliments my work or social skills receive. It adds to the insecurity because it feels like I’m fooling everyone. I’d like them to meet anyone else to see what talented actually looks like. I’m an imposter. I can’t do this.

Recognizing this is half the battle and fortunately, after some very wonderful and challenging counseling, I have coping mechanisms to push through the doubt. Even when I’m telling myself I can’t do this, I do it and prove to myself I can.

Although I’ll argue there’s some truth to ‘I can’t do it.’

Anytime I rise to a challenge and surprise myself, I know it’s not because I had it in me all along. Honestly, I don’t think I have much in me at all. On my own, I’m terrified of life. Of succeeding. Of failing. Of letting people down. Of proving people right. It’s all too much. Which is why what I have makes all the difference.

It’s not a faith in my own talent and abilities, but the One who gave them to me.

God doesn’t choose the equipped, but equips the chosen

I heard this quote at a Dare2Share conference as a young teenager and I think about it all the time. It’s easy to think about it on a large scale, like Noah building an ark or Moses parting the seas, but chosen looks different in all of our lives.

God chooses people to be full-time missionaries and evangelists and helps them in their work, but He’s also chosen our careers, too. Whether you’re a writer, marketer, factory worker, nurse, salesperson, actor, or anything else you can imagine, it’s likely you have the skills and understanding to do your job. It doesn’t matter if you knew your entire life you wanted to be a teacher or fell into a management position out of necessity, you aren’t there by accident.

When Jesus called His first disciples, they were four normal guys fishing. They weren’t temple scholars or religious folk. They knew the laws but they weren’t especially learned.  You can look around you and think about all the people that are more talented and qualified, but God still chose you. On purpose, I might add.

Unlike a lot of my friends, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was good at school and liked almost all my classes (except English, go figure) so there wasn’t an obvious career track for me. One teacher told me I should be a talk show host, which is clearly off the mark. I’m a talker, but I could never maintain a conversation that stayed on time and topic.

It wasn’t until I toured a school my mom wanted me to visit and found a flyer about a major I’d never heard of that sounded exactly like what I wanted to do with my life. Before I fully understood it, God was revealing part of His plan and showing me a glimpse of what I could do.

Despite never having anything to do with public relations, I was instantly very good at it. I don’t say that to brag on my own abilities, but how my Creator designed me to be good at something I wouldn’t know about until it was absolutely necessary.

In Acts chapter 2, we see the disciples receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It’s been almost two months since Jesus was crucified and ascended and the disciples were following Jesus’ command and waiting for His spirit. Suddenly, what sounded like a mighty wind surrounded them and then flames settled on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

They began speaking the languages of all the people around them and people were amazed, although the loudest voices wrote them off as drunk. Then Peter, fisherman Peter, stands up and begins to preach (Acts 2:14-40).

He doesn’t just talk about his experiences with Jesus and vouch for Him being the actual Messiah. He pulls out Old Testament scripture and ties in kings of old and uses the theology of the Jewish people to sway the crowd. We see 26 verses of his speech, and then it just says He kept speaking for a long time.

You know what happened? ABOUT 3,000 PEOPLE WERE ADDED TO THE CHURCH THAT DAY ALONE! (Acts 2:41).

I’ve grown up in the church and while I’d never claim to be a Bible expert, I know it decent enough to carry on a conversation. Could I pull passages and on the spot preach a compelling case for Christ that would convert 3,000 people? Not on my own, and with the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to do something He’d never done and bring about amazing change.

This is just one of many examples I could use to illustrate how God doesn’t place you somewhere if He isn’t going to help you. I’m not saying you’ll instantly become a speaker to teach the masses, but anything is possible.

What I do know to be true is I’ve never found myself in a situation where I couldn’t rely on God to help me through. Even when I’ve failed, I’ve seen His hand and learned something valuable to carry to my next experience.

Next time you’re unsure of your abilities, remember that God has your back. He’s created you special with a unique purpose and for His glory, He will fulfill it. There isn’t a cookie cutter mold He uses for different fields, either. It’s not like I’m the exact same as every other marketing professional. He designed me special and every circumstance I encounter is built around the understanding of who I am and what I can accomplish with God.

Confidence in God’s abilities is way better than confidence in your own, because you know He’ll never let you down. Whereas I’m sure when you’ve tried to accomplish something on your own, it probably didn’t go super well. Trusting in God to equip you for every situation is believing in His basic promises to us.

That’s really the key, I think. Every time I’m walking to a meeting with new people or sitting down to work on a project, the script of how I can’t do it begins to roll. Now, through the anxiety, I admit that yeah, maybe I can’t, but I know my God can, so I got this.

“I’m trained in the secret of overcoming things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” Philippians 4:13 TPT

(you knew that verse was coming)

 

A conversation about weight

One of the hallmarks of my personality is how honest I am. Asking how I’m doing is a dangerous question because it’s unlikely you’ll get a ‘fine’ or ‘good.’ I’m prone to blurt out deep emotional issues related to my father or anxiety at any point. When people begin a conversation with me with “I don’t mean to pry, but,” I’m instantly overjoyed because I might have the opportunity to spew some of my honesty. There are few topics I won’t freely discuss with little to no prompting.

Except my weight.

It’s something I purposely avoid discussing in length on my blog. Yes, in real life, I talk to my friends and family about my struggles, but I’ve never felt the desire to bring that conversation to this platform. Mainly because I understand how much of an insecurity it is for many people and I don’t want to do a poor me post about being chubby.

I understand that there’s nothing inherently wrong about my current size. My body works well and I don’t have a lot of complaints. Despite not taking great care of it, my body has yet to seriously disappoint me. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s always been okay. And then recently by body started to betray me.

Earlier this year, I started taking Lexapro for my anxiety. One of the potential side effects was weight gain, but I wasn’t overly concerned at first. In July, I left my very active position at Sephora to move to a full-time desk job, creating the perfect storm to mess with my body.

It seemed like maybe I was gaining a little more weight, but I wasn’t surprised considering being less active and the medicine. I assumed I would stay within my normal fluctuations. Then, after I decided to stop taking my medicine, I went to the doctor and realized something startling: I’d gained more than 10 pounds in a month and was at my highest weight.

Ten pounds doesn’t seem like a lot when you space it out over a year, but when it’s more than two pounds a week, something snaps. I could no longer deny what I called a minor weight gain was escalating into something more damaging.

Since I was a teenager and these things seemed to matter, I’ve gone back and forth between overly obsessed with getting thin and striving to accept my body as it was. Remember, at no point was my weight hurting me in any way; I just wasn’t skinny by society’s standards.

The last 10 years have been the worst, especially since starting college. It was then I became more aware of my weight and started counting calories. In my final semester, I was eating 1200 calories a day and exercising for an hour every day on top of that. I was at my lowest weight in conscious memory, yet I don’t remember feeling good about my body. It was an obsession I couldn’t maintain and thankfully I graduated before it got worst.

Logically I can tell myself that I’m a fairly normal size. I understand there really isn’t anything wrong with what I look like, except it isn’t how everyone else looks on TV and the movies. When I picture good things happening in my life, like meeting someone or getting married, I’m always thin. This pudgy body feels like Baby Fat Chelsea and once I shed it, I’ll be a real adult.

I wish I could say that’s an exaggeration, but it’s the hard truth of my mental process. Being mildly overweight feels like a waiting period until my real life can begin.

Even when I’m not counting my food or workouts because I want to be at peace with myself, the mental images don’t change. So eventually I decide to start caring again for a few months and the cycle goes on and on.

When I look in the mirror now, I see a body I don’t recognize. My weight gain is noticeable enough that none of my clothes really fit like they used to and everything is a little bit more uncomfortable. I hate getting dressed because it’s a constant reminder of what’s going on with my body.

Saying that, I don’t think I’m so much bigger that everyone in the world will whisper about the weight I put on and thank God I’m not on social media where almost without thinking, we comment on someone’s weight gain.

Side note, but let’s stop doing that. I’m just as guilty. My first instinct is to notice that someone has gained weight and frequently I want to talk about it with someone. Do I want people doing that about me? Absolutely not, which means I owe them the same consideration. Anyway.

This weight gain scares me because it feels like the beginning of a bad road. It’s just a fact that staying thin and losing weight is harder as you get older, and before 30 I’ve started my decline. Before a few pounds felt like no big deal, but now it’s the realization that if I don’t try harder, I’ll keep gaining.

It’s not like I have illusions of grandeur in the form of abs. I’ve heard how you have to eat to get those and no thank you. I just want to get into positive rhythms so for the moment I get back down into a normal weight for myself and then stay healthy. I need to think about my groceries more and make sure I have time to go to the gym at least a few days a week. I live close enough to work that I can bike or walk and I want to take advantage of that when possible.

What I refuse to do is a fad diet that guarantees fast results. I have friends who are keto or whatever and they look spectacular, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my days reading ingredients to make sure I’m staying on my plan. Counting calories and trying to balance my daily percentage of protein is good enough for me.

I know if I cut sugar or carbs life would be amazing for my hips, but do I want to commit to a life with donuts, bagels, pasta, sandwiches, cake, brownies, and everything else that I love? This is probably one of my problems, but that’s okay. God gave humans the ability to develop really delicious food and I want to embrace it and consume it.

My lifestyle needs to change, but in the old fashioned way where you’re active and you practice portion control. Discipline is something I’ve gotten better at with age, and now it’s time to put those skills to use when it comes to my body.

At this point, I’m optimistic, because I’m more at peace with who I am. Before I had no love for myself, which meant trying to get thin was an act of self-hatred instead of self-love. I value myself for the weirdo I am, and I want to value my body as well.

Now, that doesn’t mean I think horrible thoughts about myself every time I look in the mirror. If I truly love myself, I have to love this body too, even if I’m trying to make it better. When I start thinking about how large something appears, I turn the negativity into thankfulness and praise God for a body that works.

I don’t know where you are, but I want you to know you are perfect just as you are. Your journey is your own and more important than anything else is your ability to love yourself, body and soul. Don’t make changes because you feel the pressure to be different or smaller. Let every bit of self-improvement come from your desire to change your life.

We can do this.

ARE GHOSTS REAL?

I’m going to start this post by saying I’m at a spiritual crossroads after reading through the Gospels. All my life, I’ve denied the existence of ghosts and assumed people were making it up in their heads. Even when I’ve heard personal accounts, I still think you only notice such things if you’re looking. AND I NEVER LOOK.

Then I stumbled upon this passage in Luke:

“Why are you frightened,” [Jesus] asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” Luke 24:38-39

It’s not just the NLT that uses the word ghost, in case you’re assuming it’s a modern interpretation. That imagery spreads across multiple versions, and the ESV uses the word Spirit.

When talking to my mom about this, she pointed out ghosts and spirits must be real because of the Holy Ghost/Spirt. Then she made a joke about the Holy Spirit wearing a sheet at Halloween and it felt extremely blasphemous, but whatever.

All joking aside, this really intrigued me. Was Jesus acknowledging the existence of ghosts or simply responding to their internal fears? On one hand, it seems obvious that He knew they thought He was a ghost. On the other hand, He goes on to explain how they don’t have flesh and blood like He does.

IS HE SIMPLY RESPONDING TO THEIR ASSUMPTIONS OF GHOSTS OR TREATING THEM LIKE THEY’RE A REAL THING?

Naturally my next step was doing some hard research via Google. I asked ‘does the Bible support ghosts,’ and learned some valuable information.

First Relevant pointed out some interesting scriptures and studies and essentially claimed that the Christian view is spirits exist, but they aren’t from God and they aren’t souls who haven’t passed on yet. God cares about us too much to allow us to wonder and scripture supports immediately going to Heaven or Hell. Another source, Bibleinfo.com, presented a similar standpoint although with less information on opposing viewpoints.

So where does that leave me and my opinions. After five minutes of research, I’ve decided I do believe in ghosts because they are something talked about in the Bible, although they aren’t ghosts as portrayed today. These are evil spirits that may look like someone we know, but it’s a trick and communicating with them is a bad idea.

I’m going to continue my life not assuming I’ve encountered the paranormal and if something does happen, I’ll call on the Holy Spirit to help me deal with it. Problem solved.

Forgiveness is more than saying sorry

Earlier this year I read a book with a leadership team about trusting people. In one section, it talked about the certainty that people will betray us in this life, because Jesus was betrayed. My mind was blown. If Jesus, God’s Son/the Word at the Beginning/our Lord and Savior/the Perfect Lamb experienced betrayal, so will we.

Yet when it happens, we act as if it’s this huge scandal and we can never trust someone again. Sometimes, yeah, it’s really awful. Forgiving someone isn’t easy because of what they’ve done and trusting someone new can be even harder.

I think this is where Jesus’ story of betrayal becomes even more applicable. In the Gospels, we learn about Jesus beginning his missions and selecting 12 disciples. These men weren’t randos He found on the street; as long as it had been planned that He would come for us, these guys were a part of it.

We don’t learn about the specifics of each of them, but we do know he called Peter first. More than helping spread Christianity in the beginning, Peter is probably most known for denying Jesus three times after he was told her would do it. Peter swore he would die for his Lord, only to deny knowing him thrice to save his own skin.

When Jesus walked up to Peter in his fishing boat, he wasn’t impressed by his fisherman’s prowess. He knew what Peter was capable of and needed him to be the rock upon which He’d build His church. In that moment, Jesus knew in His hour of need Peter would run, but He still saw his potential.

Judas was recruited as a disciple at some point, too. Can you imagine knowing you had to choose the person who would ultimately cost you your life and let him be an intimate friend? During His ministry, Jesus turned a blind eye to Judas’ stealing from their funds because He knew the greater plan in place. I asked can you imagine, but I cannot imagine in the slightest. It’s mind bottling.

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Jesus knew the part each of them would play in His life and death, but that didn’t change his feelings for them. Even if their eventual betrayal hurt him, He still loved them.

In the same conversation that would lead to Him predicting Peter’s denial, He left them with a new commandment:

“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34

Woof. That ‘just as I have loved you’ is filled with so many emotions for me. It’s the unconditional kind of love where He’s telling them I have loved you despite everything, and it’s your job to love others that same way.

Judas and Peter went on two different paths following Jesus’ death. Almost immediately, Judas felt the guilt of his actions and hanged himself. Peter, similarly racked with guilt, had the opportunity to speak to Jesus and feel the forgiveness first hand.

You’re going to deal with Judas’ and Peter’s in your life, both literally and metaphorically (although naming your child Judas is like thinking Jezebel is a good name). Sometimes people will hurt you and the relationship cannot be repaired. But that doesn’t mean you assume every single person after him or her will do the same. You don’t close off your heart because of what one person did.

Imagine if Jesus were like us. He came to Earth, gathered His disciples, and realized how truly terrible humans are. It’s likely He would’ve ascended immediately to Heaven and left us to our own devices, avoiding the horrifying ordeal of the cross. Instead, He loved us at our worst and called us to do the same with others.

Sometimes we throw away something too quickly because we’re hurt. In this case, we could be missing out on something great because we were too scared to forgive our Peter. Or too angry and hurt. Again, if Jesus saw Peter after His resurrection and was like ‘nah, I don’t want a jerk like you to feed my sheep,’ the world would probably be different.

Amen, amen, amen to the fact that Jesus is not like us and sees past the things of this world. He sees us, you and me, and writes a brilliant story for us. He knows it will contain heartbreak and betrayal, but He knows from experience the beauty of what it can bring to our lives.

Please know I’m not saying immediately forgive and welcome back everyone who’s hurt you into your life. That’s unrealistic and can lead to more hurt. I’m simply asking that you and I forgive like Jesus, which means we love like Jesus. We might not have the same relationship with a person, but we don’t harbor feeling of ill-will.

It’s about accepting that it’s likely everyone you know will hurt you at one time. When I look at my own life, I know this to be true. And I know I’ve hurt all those people, too. But I want to love like Jesus and not hold grudges or even tiny feelings of resentment masked by pretenses of forgiveness.

I get that it’s really hard, but it’s also really rewarding.

Be thankful, not sorry

I decided I would fast something monthly in 2018, mainly because I’m bad at choosing things to give up. I wanted a plan so each month I knew in advance what was happening instead of going back and forth and ultimately not fasting at all. Which is what I usually do. After doing some Internet searching, this is the list I created:

  • January: No social media
  • February: No Netflix
  • March: No necessary opinions
  • April: No negativity
  • May: No idle snacking or PTO
  • June Fast: Only Christian books and music
  • July: No sleeping in
  • August: No YouTube
  • September: No complaining
  • October: No curiosity (be okay with not knowing everything)
  • November: No music in the car
  • December: No diets or lists

Being in the penultimate month of the year, I’m actually excited to say I think I’ve done fairly well. Most months, with the exception of June and July, I managed to stick to my fast without issue and found it was much easier than I anticipated.

Then I realized it was November and time for no music in the car.

My original thinking for this was it’s November, so I’ll spend my time in the car praying and thanking God. And then last week I almost fell asleep while driving home from an event and remembered I need to be stimulated while driving or else I will fall asleep. If I had super powers, I’m sure my kryptonite would be putting me in a car and you just start driving. I sleep in cars. It’s kind of my thing.

More than the safety issue, it didn’t feel right. Partially because it sounds a little miserable (sorry God) and partially because I made this list a year ago and things change. I wanted to do something that was more impactful for my life now. So I decided I would spend this month saying thank you.

It’s not like I don’t already say thank you a lot. I’m a very well-mannered human bean. My issue is, like most women, I apologize for everything, and someday I fear I will apologize my existence away.

Sometimes you need to say sorry, like if you step on someone’s toe or accidentally open their stall door while they’re going to the bathroom. But most of the time I apologize when I should say thank you.

For example, I have to ask a lot of questions about where to find files at work because I’m really bad at finding things. Usually I apologize for being such a goof to my coworker, but the other day I took a different approach. Instead of groveling in my inadequacy, I simply thanked her for her patience.

When you apologize instead of saying thank you, you’re demeaning yourself. It’s an immediate arrow that points to you and lets the world know you did something wrong. Sometimes this humility is good, but too often it’s incorrect.

Here’s how I know it’s an issue. Nine times out of 10 if I bump into a woman at the grocery store, we’ll both begin a parade of apologies to each other. Nine times out of 10 if I bump into a man in a grocery story, I’ll apologize and he’ll either ignore me or say it’s okay.

It’s ridiculous and I want it to stop.

If I start talking about my feelings too much, I tell my friend I’m sorry for dumping on them. Or if I start to go crazy at a meeting, I apologize for being long winded. In both cases, I’m discrediting myself and putting the burden on someone else. It’s much easier to thank a friend for listening and thank co-workers for hearing my ideas. It’s so much nicer, too.

Similarly, I’m going to stop adding qualifiers to my thank yous. Like the other day I accessorized one of my work shirts well and received a lot of compliments. My response to every single person who liked my outfit was “thanks, but my skirt isn’t zipped.” The “thanks, but” will be the death of me.

Even if I don’t say it out loud, I think it. If you compliment something I’ve created, I’ll tell you thanks and think about how I’m actually not great and if you actually knew all the dumb shortcuts I took. But most of the time I’ll say “thanks, but it was actually easy,” instead of just accepting praise of my work.

If you’re like me, and I knew too many of us are, I challenge you to try this too. It’s November so be thankful, not sorry. Any time you’re tempted to apologize, decide if a a thank you works better. I’m positive you’ll find that most of the time it does.

Thank you for taking the time to read my writing each and every week. I appreciate your support and acceptance.

 

A half-review of a show about a half-witch

Basic review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes the TGIF version you loved and douses it in hell fire and goat blood. If you’re a fan of Melissa Joan Hart, this might not be your cup of tea, but if you enjoy the occult and Riverdale, time to start bingeing.

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Sabrina kicks off her new series at a horror movie during the last week of October. Our young half-witch is about to turn 16 where she’ll sign the Devil’s book and renounce her mortal life. The first few episodes grapple with this understandably complex decision and the remainder of the season is the repercussions.

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We’re immediately introduced to Sabrina and her rag tag group of well-represented companions, including her boyfriend Harvey, and best friends Rosalind and Susie. It’s clear that Sabrina is a good friend who fights against injustice and inequality. This show is incredibly woke, if that’s something people still say.

Okay, so here’s time for my random thoughts and potentially spoilers because I don’t feel like writing a lengthy, spoiler-free and sensical review.

  • If I’m being honest, I don’t know why I watched this over the course of two nights. It wasn’t a bad show by any means. But I wasn’t frantically pushing ‘play next episode.’ There was tension, but no sense of I have to finish watching this. Fortunately my obsessive personality doesn’t need real intrigue to become obsessed.
  • I had to Google if the kid who played Harvey was at least 18 because I didn’t want to feel weird about my feelings. I really enjoy that his relationship with Sabrina is previously established and the first season wasn’t built on will-they-won’t-they. They were just two kids in love and I feel comfortable rooting for them to make it through the series (with teen dramas, you can never be sure and I hate to have my heart broken).
  • I love Sabrina’s character being so confident and aware of who she is. She isn’t having sex but there isn’t a weird pressure and she’s not portrayed as a prude. At one point, she takes off her shirt so Harvey can look for a birthmark, and he takes off his in solidarity. He doesn’t make it weird or try to sleep with her. He just literally checks for a birthmark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super sensual, but he’s very respectful. A new entry for #notallmen.
  • I spent the first half of the season deciding if it was actually in the 60s or if it was modern day with that suspended in time feeling like Riverdale. Eventually we see Sabrina call Harvey’s iPhone and I breathed a sigh of relief.
  • Speaking of Riverdale, this is shot in the same perpetual sexy haze and it seems almost certain a crossover will occur.
  • Speaking of the sexy haze, one of the biggest complaints was how out of focus certain parts of the scene could be. My eyesight is too good for such shenanigans.
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All I want is for a boy as cute as Harvey to stare at me like this while driving so we can wreck and die and someone will write a love song about our tragic story

  • There were realistic conflicts in this story and believable resolutions. Sabrina raises Harvey’s brother from the dead only he doesn’t have a soul and is now just a zombie. Literally. Once she owns up, he decides to kill his brother and can’t look at Sabrina, which makes complete sense. Her friends find out through ghosts and grandmothers and immediately hear her story and accept her as she is, even when Sabrina tells them about Harvey’s brother.
  • I don’t understand how Sabrina accepts her witch life while also being a mortal. They praise Satan a lot. Like a lot. Normalization is weird.
  • There’s male witch named Nicholas who might be my third favorite character. He’s super into Sabrina, even offering to be her side boyfriend at her witch school, but he’s never pushy or conniving. He even stops other people from getting in her way so she can make things right. When all hell literally breaks loose in town, he goes to protect Harvey for her and does so admirably. He even convinces Harvey to forgive Sabrina. He understands eating another witch out of tradition is weird and doesn’t partake. I would give him a rating of #notallwitches. Nicholas loves witch orgies which apparently are a common thing but really wishes he could experience mortal love, something witches don’t really get.
  • This show is based on some rich witch lore, which I thoroughly enjoy. Salem is back as Sabrina’s familiar, only in this version he isn’t a human trapped in a cats body. Every witch has a familiar to help them and instead of selecting one, Sabrina puts a call out into the world and asks for one who could get along with her, because she doesn’t want to own him like that. Familiars are goblins in animal form and when Salem arrives, he seems like a very tall and awkward and he isn’t a properly trained  familiar, but he’s the best. I like him better than snarky Salem.

I realize there are about a million other plot lines I didn’t talk about, so if you want a real review you should read a real publication. Now for my predictions:

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The GIF above is one of the last shots of the season, after she signs to book and stops being a mortal. Her hair is lightened by all the power she receives and now goes to her witch school full-time. Here she’s winking at Nicholas, who’s upset to see how she’s changed. He liked the different from everyone else Sabrina, not this catastrophe. Prior to this, she says goodbye to Harvey after he tells her he wants to start again. It’s the classic ‘staying away to protect you’ because now she’s so powerful and doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Side note but the more I watch that GIF the more it makes me think of this:

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Back to predictions. I think Sabrina is faking it. Her plan before was to figure out how she can beat the devil, and it’s actually not unlikely because apparently she’s the strongest witch of all. She wants to keep her freewill and mortal life and get all the fun of being a witch, and dangit she will figure it out.

We’ll probably start season 2 and she’ll be this changed person, but it will be revealed to Ambrose or her aunts or something her real plan and she’ll be the Sabrina we all know and love. During this time, Harvey might find someone else, driving Sabrina into Nicholas’ arms. I’m okay with this because I really believe Harvey and Sabrina are end game. I think we’re heading to Sabrina becoming the most powerful witch and changing the rules and marrying Harvey.

My plan is now to continue watching, but then again that’s my plan for every show and to date I think I’m caught up with one show. There are just too many, you know?

Sexism is solved!

Attention: a man just solved the sexism issue and we can all go home and rest beneath our glass ceilings because our work is done. Thank you, man on the Internet, for your brilliant insight into our struggles as women and determining the cause.

“GENIUS MAN WHO SOLVED SEXISM: The fact that girls are torn away from their fathers is the problem. If fathers were in their lives, they would kick the guys ass. A positive father role model is essential for a girls emotional health. Male bashing of 99% of men for what 1% of men do is sexism. All racism, bigotry and sexism is wrong.

This comment appeared under a post from Girl Scouts of the USA. Specifically, this post:

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You wouldn’t believe (actually you probably would) how many comments appeared about this being political and objections from women who don’t really believe in sexism. Fortunately, even GSUSA got involved to be like ‘we can’t be an organization dedicated to girls if we deny the existence of these things’ and at my desk at work I was literally like

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Then I became J Lo reading the other comments pointing out to the doubting women that they don’t think they’ve experienced sexism because we’re programmed to think what we experience is normal. Which it isn’t.

Either way, back to the feminist hero who solved sexism.

First of all, sir, what are you referring to when you say girls are being torn away from their fathers? Is there some epidemic where liberal mothers are stealing children and running away to Canada? Also you imply that if girls had a father, asses would be kicked. Would the fathers kick the ass or would it be the girls who finally have the strength and bravery they need thanks to the loving support of their fathers?

I can’t speak for every girl, mind you, but my mother never tore me away from my father. In fact, she encouraged our relationship even though he was an emotional manipulator and definitely helped me develop a strong case of daddy issues. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard of any of my female friends being torn away from fathers, even if they were deadbeats and it definitely needed to happen.

Second, I do agree we need a positive father figure. I’ve seen first hand what happens when dads abandoned their daughters and toll it takes on them (or maybe these men were helplessly torn away?). I was lucky that I had one dad who really tried to screw me up and I had another father who did his best to make sure I grew up happy and healthy. I’m somewhere in the middle of a wreck and a functioning member of society as a result.

Will I agree it’s the end all, be all solution? Probably not.

Thirdly, you address the bashing of 99% of men for what 1% do and call it sexism. I’m not scientist, but if I did a study on all the men I’ve encountered and determined which ones behaved in a way that was sexist or unchivalrous, I’m positive it would be at least 60% who needed to be bashed because of their actions.

Even my wonderful, positive father role model believes that a bad driver is probably a woman. Which is a sexist comment, by the way.

Your ‘not all men’ argument is just the worst. It’s like saying ‘not all white people’ are racist. Obviously not every person, but enough that it’s a real issue. It’s also very generous to your sex that you would claim only 1% catcall, abuse, objectify, and belittle women. Clearly you’ve never spent a day as a woman and tried to do anything.

The worst part is, it isn’t just reserved for the really hot girls like you see in the movies. I don’t have to walk down the street with the wind blowing just right to get cat called. I’ve been as frumpy as you can get and still received honks and nods. Don’t get me started when I’m wearing a dress in my car. The truck drivers really love to let me know they enjoy my style.

For the record, I wasn’t even counting all those men in my previous estimated percentage. If you’re going to tell us ‘not all men,’ at least provide realistic percentages.

Finally, we agree on your last point that all racism, bigotry, and sexism is wrong. It’s also wrong for you, as a man, to comment on a post about women’s right and assume you have the answer for our problems. Which is unsurprisingly male-related.

The real solution is to raise a generation of girls AND boys who recognize that we are in fact equal and just because people have always behaved a certain way doesn’t make it right. It’s more than just women fighting for equality and men telling us we need father figures. It’s a concentrated effort for everyone to say we’ve been doing this wrong and we need to get better.

Here is the sexist thing I will say to you: for too long men have stood on top of the world and made a big ol mess of everything, all while telling women where our place in the world was. They created boys clubs to keep us out and assume we’re bra burners if we dare call ourselves feminist. We even have a president who can brag about grabbing women by their [word I will not say or use] and it’s fine because it’s locker room talk. Collectively, men are the worst. I have met men who seem to get it what most do not and they’re wonderful unicorns.

My last thought is if you have a daughter, which I hope you do unless you’re just trolling posts on Facebook, is to think about how you’re raising her. Certainly don’t raise her to hate men, but don’t let her think it’s only 1% who will treat her like she’s less. Always do your best to show her how she’s so much more.

And please stop trying to mansplain sexism.

Don’t let your heart be dulled

Have you ever experienced a mountaintop moment? I’m talking the kind where your whole soul feels like it’s on fire and you can’t wait to share the flames with everyone you meet. Maybe it was a mission trip or church camp that gave you a higher sense of purpose and you believe nothing can extinguish the joy you feel.

Until about two hours after you come down from the mountain and return to your real life.

My first time visiting a mountain top happened when I was 12 years old, the summer before I started seventh grade. It was my first time going to youth camp and my church chose Go Tell at Liberty University. For the first time in my lifelong church experience, everything clicked inside of me. I stood up with the other kids who accepted Jesus into their hearts and even felt a call to some sort of ministry. There’s nothing quite like the first time you experience true salvation and grace from Jesus. I was on fire.

I remember the seven-hour ride home and how excited I was to tell everyone about how I was changed. We finally arrived at the church and I practically jumped out the van so I could run and tell my sister my exciting news, only to see her face tell me now wasn’t the time. We grabbed my stuff and loaded it in the car and finally she explained her somber look.

While I was gone, my dad had tried to kill himself.

It was like I had summited Mt Everest only to descend too rapidly, causing altitude sickness and all the other horrible things that can happen to you when you push your body higher than it can handle.

I sat beside her and listened to what happened and felt all the fire that had filled me begin to smolder. Every detail was like another piece of sand tossed to extinguish it quickly.  I felt like I would choke on the smoke.

Within five minutes of returning from my mountain, everything changed and the reality of life set in again. I didn’t turn from my faith, but my relationship with my Heavenly Father stalled as my relationship with my earthly father began to deteriorate.

“Don’t let your hearts be dulled by… the worries of this life.” Luke 21:34

Toward the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus spoke about the end times and the different signs they would see. He warned His disciples to stay alert so they wouldn’t be caught off guard by His return. He knew how the worries of our lives can slowly dull our hearts.

I’ve never thought about my heart being dull, but when I think about it, sometimes it is. My faith becomes lackluster and my intensity is dampened. I’ll have a day of feeling so alive and ready only to be brought back down by the reality of what it means to be a human.

I can’t stop thinking about if I’ll have enough money. I obsessively budget and throw up a quick ‘please God’ toward the end of my tallying. I know I should spend time in prayer but I’ve been so stressed out I just want to watch Netflix. I’m worried about people thinking I’m an incompetent goon who’s a bad friend, but I don’t seek reassurances from my Father.

The Passion Translation takes the beginning of Luke 21:34 one step further:

“Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold. Remain passionate and free from anxiety and the worries of this life.” 

To be dulled is one thing, but cold? If I made a list of the most undesirable concepts, it would definitely be topped by my heart growing cold. I want to forever remain alive and excited, but life is really hard.

If I allow myself to be too consumed with my own problems and concerns, I will lose the spark inside of me. It doesn’t just stay lit because I prayed to Jesus at age 12. He isn’t in my heart fanning the flames if I refuse to help. I have to fight every day against my own anxiety and remind myself of the fire I carry with me all the time.

We are guaranteed that life will not be easy. Even if you’re literally born with a silver spoon in your mouth that makes you a YouTube celebrity as an infant, you’ll still have something to worry about. Something that will distract you from what matters, and if left unchecked, it will make your heart dull.

I’m not asking you to simply say your anxiety isn’t real because that’s ridiculous. I understand why you worry because I worry. The key isn’t to magically rid yourself of hardship, but learn to hold onto your joy and remember how it can fill you.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34

Our hearts follow our lead. They see what matters most to us and make that their priority as well. When worry is your main focus, that’s what your heart will care about. It will love the control it feels like it has over your anxiety.

Keeping your heart bright and warm is a choice you have to make every single day. I’m going to do my best to choose joy over worry, treasuring what truly matters instead of what will quickly fade away.

Anything Could Happen

Do you ever do something really stupid, like go to someone’s profile you shouldn’t, see a picture you don’t like, and then proceed to read all the comments? You can’t even argue it seems like a good idea at the time. You know it’s a terrible idea. Yet on you scroll.

What are we expecting to find? Perhaps that picture of him with someone else is secretly a love call to you and you just have to find the proof. Maybe it’s not that radical. Maybe it’s as simple as you need to learn it’s his or her cousin so you can move on with your life.

And by move on, I of course mean continue to obsess over someone who may or may not even know of your interest and/or existence.

Usually, though, it’s not a cousin and suddenly all your hopes and dreams are dashed. I’ve found that usually it’s a picture on a beach. If they’re on a beach together, especially if it’s a piggy back situation, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

It feels like everything inside of you sinks. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It’s like there’s this weight of hope you’ve been holding at the top of yourself and suddenly it falls through you. It rests in the pit of your stomach and begins feeding you lies.

For me, the line is usually ‘of course he’d be with someone like her. Look at her long hair and normal sized forehead. Your hair looks crazy in the wind like you have a skullet. You’re probably too heavy to be lifted up like that. She’s wearing an appropriate amount of blush.’ Etc.

Then it can spiral even worse. Even though you didn’t really have a connection to this person, you just feel disconnected. Like your one hope is gone and now you’re left alone. The good news is you know alone, it’s all you know.

Writing this makes me feel pathetic because yeah, this just happened. And here I am whining with my words about another boy who barely knew I existed living a happy life. It’s not like we had anything or he’s my ex. He’s just a boy and I just had a crush.

I can remove myself from the situation and realize this doesn’t actually affect my life. I don’t really care about him. It’s just the idea of him that I like. Having an idea is better than having nothing, I guess. But now I can’t pretend in my head like this is a real possibility.

I guess I’m just tired of being alone and without an idea, it feels like this will be my permanent state of being.

But you know what? Screw that.

I’ve been boyfriend-less for basically a decade, but it’s been a great 10 years. I’ve had some hangs but looking back they were all idiots. Literally. I don’t have one good guy on my roster. That’s what happens when you worry about being alone and let any jerk into your life.

The past 10 years were exceptional because they weren’t about dating. I didn’t devote my life to finding these fools; I just let them in when they stumbled in my general area. Instead I devoted that time to my family, Sam (it isn’t fair to say friends in general), myself, and my faith. And you know what? I really like who I am.

How is this relevant? I like who I am and I don’t need someone else to validate this person. If I never meet someone, I’m going to be okay. I’m happy for other people when they find love in a very sincere way. I’m not bitter. I’m brave.

Is it weird to call yourself brave? Ugh.

As far as the idea goes, a person becomes an idea because you feel you have a lack of options. You cling to this one guy or girl because you need someone to pin your hopes on. Let’s get our hopes up for something real and good, not something largely made up in our heads.

Instead of allowing one person to be responsible for our happiness let’s remember that anything could happen, because anything happens all the time.

Now I’m going to continue my day while listening to Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding on repeat. It’s such a bop. Next time you discover your crush is in a new relationship, don’t let the sinking feeling keep you down. Turn Anything Could Happen up loud and remind yourself that their happiness does not mean the end of yours.

Anything is about to happen to you.

Just a reminder that you’re incredible

I want you to know how loved you are. By me, Jesus, and everyone else in this life. You are valuable and important. This world would not be the same without you. Thank you for waking up every day and bringing your special magic into life. 

Most of us don’t like receiving an endless stream of compliments. I meant all of those words, but it’s so easy for your brains to tell you I’m just saying that because it’s the introduction to this post. Or, even worse, if only I really knew you I wouldn’t believe that.  I know that because it’s the same struggle I face.

No matter how worried we are about what someone thinks about us, it could never be worse than what goes on in our own heads. Every compliment is immediately met with either an internal or external rebuttal. We don’t want people getting the wrong idea. We’re really just a steaming garbage pile covered by skin.

For a long time, I believed I wasn’t a good or worthy person. I let the words of others define me and began to doubt every nice word. As a result, everything I did felt fake. If I wasn’t a good person, surely every act of kindness and service must be a facade to cover the stench of the garbage within. I lived in fear that someday a vent would somehow escape and someone would get a whiff, exposing the real me.

Then I wrote a letter from God.

My counselor wanted me to figure out how God truly felt about me, beyond just the words I read in the Bible. Yes, I obviously believe those words are true, but do they really apply to me? I’ve done this, this, and this. I still struggle with that. God loves me, but He probably doesn’t like me that much.

I put off the assignment for weeks because I knew it would wreck me. I was about to face my Creator, and I knew it was going to be painful. I was forbidden to include anything I knew God wouldn’t say, which meant I had to erase all the negative thoughts about myself. They weren’t from God and I couldn’t bring them into the mix.

The process began with some journaling. Using ‘Who You Say I Am’ as a guide, I read specific Bible verses about who I am with God before Finally I sat down at my computer, said a quick prayer, typed a few words, and began to wail. I was ugly crying to the extreme.

What I journaled that fateful evening, March 22, 2018

When I dreamed of you, I knew what your life would look like. I saw all the joy, but I knew about the pain. It breaks my heart to see how you feel. To feel how you feel. There are reasons, of course, as to why I kept those hard parts in. I wish I could explain, but that’s not what you need. You don’t need answers. You need me. Well, that you get. What you need is to believe you are who I say you are.”

This activity brought God’s reckless love to my level and it hit me so hard. Even now, as I reread the letter, the tears begin to fall. It’s written in a similar tone to my own style because I honestly feel like this is how my conversation with God would go.

The letter continues by going over specific struggles in my life and a shame that’s followed me since childhood, but it ends with the words I know He has for all of us:

“I love you so much. I know you know that it was enough to send my son and all that, but I need you to know that that was a hard sacrifice, but when I pictured your face and you doing some sort of weird dance in public, I knew it was worth it. You will always be worth it to me. I know your dad left, but I won’t. I won’t. I won’t. When I showed Abraham the stars and told him his descendants would be as numerous as them, I knew which one was yours.

More than just love you, I like you. A lot. I never text Gabriel about how today you were kind of annoying. Every day I like you a little bit more, and I never like you less. You are special. You are known. You are understood. You are forgiven. Walk with me, and live loved.”

I share these words with you because this love and passion isn’t just for me. God sees all of your weird quirks and habits and remembers how He designed you to be that way. He thinks about how odd you are and it reminds Him that this sacrifice of His son was worth it. Anytime you think you’re less than perfectly assembled, think again.

“This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.” Psalm 139:6 (TPT)

Once I fully let in the love of God, these words hit home too. I never have to explain myself to God. He has the greatest understanding of me, and He knows. Whenever I think about my perceived inadequacies, I remember how perfectly designed I am, and I let them give me strength.

Friends, it’s easy to believe the lies, especially in a world that tells you to standout while constantly reminding you that you aren’t actually special. It’s easy to get lost in this confusion and assume you aren’t really that great in the grand scheme of things. I’m here to remind you that you are.

Jesus would go to the cross every time, even if it was just for you. He knew all the ways you would fall short, and He did it anyway. He died for you, for me, for everyone.

You, right where you are, are amazing. You are spectacular. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Life without you would be more dull. You shine with more colors than my glitter collection, and let me tell you, it’s extensive.

Remind yourself every day that you are perfect just as you are. God doesn’t make mistakes, especially not with you.

We love you more than you know.