Fixer Upper

allineedI have a problem.

Some that may not know me, or do not know me very well, may not call it that. Others, those closest to me, would hesitantly admit that at times I overdo things. You see, there is a fine line in between “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10) like we are commanded to do, and trying to be everything for everyone. 

I am a fixer. I like to fix anything and everything. I tend to specialize in people, whether or not they request the help/fixing. This desire to fix and to help and to take the reigns comes from a genuine passion for people. However, this passion is often misinterpreted, misconstrued, and misrepresented by both others and (mainly) myself. So easily do I offer up of myself to do things for people, and don’t hear me wrong I am not bragging about this. There comes a point where, although unconscious, my desire to help turns into a desire to control. My pride rears its ugly head and slowly creeps in to take hold of my once innocent desire to provide guidance and aid to others.

Organization and planning are my middle names (hyphenated, Sarah Organization-Planning Cagle.) Due to my proclivity for these things, I often feel as though I need to do everything because 1). there is always someone in need of help, and because 2). I’m the only one in the whole wide world who can help. I place myself in a position where I begin to think that I am so desperately and greatly needed. In reality, that couldn’t be  more gross exaggeration. In order to combat this, I must humble myself and place myself in a position of realization that I, first and foremost, am in even greater need. 

It is in this neglect to realize my great need that I feel the need to try to fill whatever need anyone and everyone else may have. By not taking the time to sit in the Lord’s presence, to truly pray and meditate on the fact that I am not, yet He is, I become my own worst enemy. Many tears have been shed from times I have given it my all, loved too hard, and controlled too much without stopping to realize in Whom my strength lies. 

My encouragement to you amidst this ramble of a journal entry turned blog post is this: I don’t have it all together. You don’t have it all together. You don’t have to be everything for everyone because there is one much higher than we are that is merciful and just and selfless in all things that has died so that we might live. He has died so that we might live joyfully, free of the need to be everything and do everything. 

 

You are so, so loved. Love hard, with right intention, from a pure heart.

xxx-Sarah (the true one in need of Fixer Upping) 

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A List 

Here is a list of things: things I’ve learned, things I’ve realized, things I need to work on, things I felt the need to share. 

1. Your mother is always, always right. Even from 200 miles away when you’re living on your own. 

2. Don’t forget that your dog is getting older too–hug him or her really tight and give extra treats often. 

3. Sleep is vital. Oversleeping, however, is not. 

4.  Writing is hard when you love to write. 

5. It is okay to feel alone so long as you truly know that you are not. 

6. Being everything and doing everything is not required of you. 

7. Love is not a feeling. It is a daily choice. 

8. Never underestimate how fun your dad can be, especially when old school Will Smith rap is involved. 

9. Appreciate the odd things in life for they are what make it oh so special.  

10. Learn to embrace your failures. Learn from them, don’t be bitter. 

11. Do what you think you cannot do and be sure to realize that the doing is not of your own accord, but Christ’s. 

12. Train yourself to be fiscally responsible. (That’s right. You don’t need that expensive coffee once a week.) 

13. Student loans will not be the death of you. 

14. Stretching is more important than you think. Do it often. 

15. Talking about your need to be “in God’s word” means nothing without action. 

16. Another’s success is not your failure. Don’t be afraid to be the cheerleader in the stands.  

17. Embrace messy hair. 

18. Write things down. Important things, unimportant things, all of it. 

19. “Art” is relative. 

20. Pay attention to the details. 

21. You really can live with your best friend and still remain best friends. 

22. Hugs are vital. Give them often. 

23. The homeless need more than food and money–they need genuine conversation. 

24. Explaining yourself is very seldom necessary. 

25. Rest. 

26. Pray daily for humility.  

27. Create and don’t let others tell you it’s not good enough. Creating in and of itself is important.

28. Unconditional love is hard. So, so hard. Don’t undermine God’s ability to love through you unconditionally. 

29. Stop and smell the roses. Literally and figuratively. 

30. Do not boast about your stress level and how full the pages on your calendar are. 

31. Ask people how they are and truly listen. In turn respond with more than just “good.” 

32. Be intentional in all things. 

33. Focus on Christ and let all other things fade. 

34. Flossing is actually pretty important. 

35. Sit at the front of your classes and engage, really engage. 

36. Vulnerability is so, so important. 

37. Your testimony means something and is not measured by the presence or lack thereof of difficult times. 

38. Finding and attending a church where you can grow is not about the building, it’s about the community and accountability. 

39. Doors will open before you that you would never have even thought existed. Pay attention to when they do and have the courage to walk through. 

40. Do not lose heart, for He who set the planets into motion knows and loves you deeply regardless of your past, is with you in your present, and has gone before and ordained your future. 

xxx- Sarah 

A Square Peg in a Round Hole World

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I’ve always been a little different.

I’m an old soul, a grandma who simply appears to be a college girl who is in bed by 10 every night who spends her free time binge-watching law related TV shows and documentaries and drinks a lot of chamomile tea.

On the outside I may appear to be like many other college-aged women. However, I’ve always been a little quirky. There were times were my insecurity got the best of me and I let the opinions of others force me into the molds in which others so carefully fit; a square peg in a round hole. Tonight, however, I have been reflecting on the importance of being willing to accept, and have confidence in, being a square peg in a round hole world.

If you were to have told me just a few months ago I would become an active member of a sorority I would have laughed in your face. Although I thrive off of forming relationships and love people I just didn’t think I would fit in–and I was right. Over the past few months I have come to realize something very important pertaining to both Greek life and life in general: you do not have to fit in to thrive. Among my many preconceived notions about joining such a large organization was that my individuality would be obliterated, that I would become just another one of the many. I believed that until I realized that fact was completely of my own volition. I control whether or not I decide to appeal to the masses. Of course, the Lord once more proved to me that he does abundantly more than all we could think to ask or seek. By his strength alone have I grown to become more confident in my individuality. The women he has brought into my life through joining a sorority have shown me a unbeleivable sense of community where individuality is not condemned but celebrated.

Deciding to celebrate my individuality and overall quirkiness has proven to be one of the most powerful decisions I have made in relation to both my spiritual growth and growth as a young woman.

Yes, there are times where I feel awkward and unsure of myself. Yes, I do often wonder how different life would be if, according to the world, I just “lived a little.” It is in those moments that the power of the Holy Spirit within me intercedes and reminds me of my worth and value that is found in Christ and Christ alone. I was created to be a square peg in a round hole world. I am called to look like Jesus and wage war against the many voices that tell me I am a no fun, prude who needs to just be a college student (whatever the heck that even means.)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:12

I find eternal joy in the fact that I was created just as I am for a specific purpose, and it is so vital and important to me that you, yes you, find hope and believe that you were too. Whatever kind of peg you are–square, rectangular, dodecahedron (anyone ever read The Phantom Toll Both in elementary school? Anyone?) know that you are fiercely loved by the Creator of the universe and that you were handcrafted to be just so. We can have confidence as believers in knowing that our purpose far exceeds fitting into this round hole world. YOU WERE CREATED FOR SO MUCH MORE! I want to shout that from the rooftops and tattoo it on my face I so desperately desire that others see their worth in Christ. But because both of those things are a little extreme, this is my prayer for you:

Ephesians 3:17-18

..so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…

Here’s to my square pegs in a round hole world. Keep on keeping on my friends, for the journey is tough but you’re never, ever alone. May you find confidence in knowing that you are deeply loved just as you are.

xxx- Sarah

When Patience Isn’t Your Middle Name

My middle name, most certainly, is not.

For as long as I can remember I have found myself always hoping for “one day.” That much anticipated day has come to be many different things. Whether it was awaiting the day I could start driving, move off to college, or get married and start a family, my eyes were (and still often are) fixated on that one fateful day.

I am a very driven, goal-oriented person with a need to plan, plan, plan. Regardless of this desire for organization and achievement I constantly find myself in a state of disarray. I often find myself unable to figure out how despite all of my planning and preparation things can still not happen as soon I hope, as easily as I would like, or as perfectly as I had planned.  The answer is simple: when we pursue the future more passionately and persistently than we pursue Christ we will always end up broken down and burnt out. 

Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind. –David G. Allen

I am incredibly blessed to have a boyfriend who never fails to bring me back down to earth and remind me that I am not in control and that no matter how badly I desire for tomorrow to come that it is still today. “One day at a time” is probably the statement he has to make to me most often as I am always getting ahead of myself.

In a culture where people are constantly moving it is all too easy to become caught up in its momentum and neglect to take things “one day at a time.”  The words “slow down” seem to no longer be in our vocabularies and the desire to get what we want, when we want it is more prevalent than ever before. This is not the life the Lord desires for us as his children to live. We must fix our eyes on the cross rather than that which we desire to happen next in our lives. How foolish am I to idolize the future and in turn ignore the present blessings the Lord has for me! We have a Heavenly Father who has promised that he will make all things work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).


If we are in Christ we have no reason to try to craft our futures on our own and rush to reach each milestone, for we have a Savior who loves us so that he has gone before us and made a way.


 

My prayer is that whether or not our middle names are patience, that we would meditate on these truths revealed to us in His word:

  • When we wait He strengthens our hearts (Psalm 27:14).
  • He promises us that when the time is right, he will make it happen (Isaiah 60:22).
  • We must remember that we should be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • We are called to clothe ourselves with patience (Colossians 3:12).

 

Take heart, my friends! The time we anticipate will come according to His will. Find rest in the blessed assurance of a Savior who blesses those who wait patiently before Him.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. –Habakkuk 2:3

 

xxx- Sarah

The truth is

The truth is many nights have been spent basking in the glow of my computer screen, fingers dangling above the keys, at a loss for what to say. At one time I found comfort and meaning in writing. It was not only a means by which I worked out the many thoughts racing through my mind, but an opportunity for me to communicate what I felt the Lord was prompting me to.

Quite honestly I have not been in constant enough communication with Christ to even know what he is or is not prompting me to share. This writer’s block and lack of passion has not been caused by one of the many excuses I have been telling myself. This is a matter of the heart. It is a matter of distraction of the heart, of my heart, and of a continuous state of “ignorant bliss.” I have never been one to be very self aware. In fact I don’t merely struggle with owning up to my sins or shortcomings, but in recognizing them as well.

I’m a liar.

The victim of these lies is myself. It is unbelievable how consumed I have become by the innumerable, shiny things the world has dangled in front of my face. There has been a numbness that has taken over much of my passion and desire to know Christ and make him known. Although I have known that to be true, I have buried that realization deep inside. Being honest with myself has proven to be one of the biggest struggles in my Christian walk. It is so much easier to slip into a comfortable state of ignorant bliss where I tell myself that a saving faith doesn’t always have to be an active faith. Complacency is often a slow and quiet thief of joy and passion.

These lies have crept in due to a loosening of the grip on my own fleshly instincts and desires. These thoughts are not of the Lord. I must realize, and I encourage you, believer, to realize as well, that if we do not keep a careful watch upon our hearts that it is all too easy for the lies of the enemy to become our own personal “fleshly truths.”

My encouragement to you (and to myself first and foremost) is to pray through it. Even when we are at a loss for the words to say and the energy to say them we must press on. I think that I have allowed myself to forget that the Lord never once promised that this life would be easy. My prayer is that I would become a believer who rejoices in the struggles of life; to become one who presses on and prays through it. I can’t do this alone. No one can. Not even you. My prayer for you is that you would flee from complacency. Run hard and fast after Christ even if you find yourself out of breath like me. Realizing and owning up to this sin I have been caught up in is one thing, but truly fleeing from it and running to Jesus is another.

I need Jesus. I need prayer. I need fellowship. No more wallowing in ignorant bliss. It is time to tell the truth. It is time to truly hear the truth and act on the truth. The truth that is this: there is no excuse so intricately worded, no falsehood so convincing, no state of complacency so numb that the love of Christ cannot be stronger still.

Join with me in dwelling on this truth. Know that you’re not alone and that you don’t have to pretend to be okay. Its okay to not be okay. We can be completely and unashamedly ourselves because we have a Savior who has covered all of our sins with grace upon grace.

There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still. Corrie Ten Boom

If you’re right there with me, if you related to any bit of what I have shared, I encourage you to please message me. No details needed. I just want to be in prayer for you, and for us even to be in prayer for each other.

Lets get out of this pit together.

 

xxx- Sarah

 

Bloom Where You’re Planted

imageIts been awhile.

These past few weeks have proven to be two things: busy but blessed. I have been distracted, distressed, and in denial about the first two. I have been constantly going. I have neglected to allow myself time to slow down, breathe, and realize where I truly am. It has been as if life has been flying past me all at once and I just can’t seem to catch up.

Without even realizing it, I have allowed myself to become fully consumed by my to-do list. Christian writer and speaker Bob Goff could not have said it any better: “The battle for our hearts are fought on the pages of our calendars.”

It is in this filling up of my calendar that I began to see things in a way contrary to what I believe and preach. Without even realizing it, I had begun to see life as a race without a finish line. I became weighed down by my plans, feeling as though slowing down was impossible and the end goal was not only unattainable, but nonexistent. I neglected to be still in God’s presence for I had made my to do list my god. Caught up in the monotony of everyday life, chasing event after event on my calendar, entirely neglecting to bloom where I have been planted.

How could I forget that the Lord has me where I am, at the time that I am, for my good and his ultimate glory? Why have I yearned to move so quickly through this life, eagerly anticipating the next season of life or event on the calendar?

I am impatient to the core. My flesh is never satisfied, and I constantly find myself desiring what is to come. Having a hopeful heart in the Lord’s promise of plans to prosper you and provide a future for you (Jeremiah 29:11) is vital, yet do not allow yourself to make the mistake of rushing through life as I have. If you are anything like me you want what you want, when you want it. I must realize that I am called to bloom where I have been planted and to reap the blessings that the Lord has sown for me at this place in my life.

Friends, join with me and do not allow yourselves to be daunted by the difficulty of taking hold of the courage to bloom now, right where you are, that the Lord has given you. Trust in the one true Gardener. He has not planted you where you are by mistake. Let us not be seeds constantly yearning to bloom before we are ready. In due time, in the right season, through both drought and storm, we will grow. We CAN bloom where we have been planted, so long as we put our faith and trust in Christ, step back and remove our eyes from the pages of our calendars, and look to the One who holds all things together.

Its great to be back, my friends.

xxx- Sarah

 

 

 

 

 

Desire and Discernment

imageAbiding in Christ, the soul learns not only to desire but spiritually discern what will be for God’s glory. –Andrew Murray

It has been my prayer for quite some time that the Lord would give me the desires that my heart should possess; that my desires would not be fleshly, selfish desires of my own accord. In being fervent in that prayer the Lord has surely answered. Things that I had once dreamt of becoming now pale in comparison to the mystery of the Lord’s true will for my life. I have found my heart being directed in ways which I never would have imagined. Laying aside my own will and desires is a daily surrender. It is not something that happens once and is fully complete. I am being continually renewed by the love of Christ and must lay down my selfish ambitions at His feet every day.

When asking the Lord to remove the desires of your heart and replace them with His own a painful pruning is often involved. Fear steps in, demanding your attention. It is often relentless in its pursuit of your heart and mind. As someone with a set comfort zone change is often a paralyzing fear. Coming before the Lord and asking him to change my desires has not been and is not an easy task. The fruit of this prayer, however, has left me in complete awe of the power and mercy and grace of the Father. 

Answers to prayers are often confusing. When the Lord lays desires upon our hearts that we never imagined the resulting confusion can lead to doubt. We begin to question our worthiness, our trust in his sovereignty, and if He who promised is ultimately faithful to equip us to carry out the will he has given us to desire. In asking the Father to replace our desires, there must also be a request for spiritual discernment. I am guilty of coming before the Lord and making my requests known to him, then quickly being overcome with confusion and doubt when he answers. I am quick to clench my fists and grit my teeth at the Lord when faced with things, good or bad, that I cannot fully understand. I must pray for discernment. I must pray for intentionality and the strength to focus upon the Lord’s will. It is only in prayer and abiding in His word that we may both desire and discern the will of the Father. I cannot simply expect the Lord to reveal to me his will and the purpose of his will without any work on my part. Prayer is tough. It is not always easy to come before the father; to pray with expectation and to fully desire his answer regardless of what it may be. Yet it is in this surrendering and seeking that we may both desire and discern. 


 

My prayer for you is that you would be willing to join me in a daily surrendering of your own will. Refuse to listen to the lies of the enemy telling you to continue in your own will and then rest in shame and guilt for not coming to the Father instead. Each day is new. You are not chained to who you were five years or five minutes ago. His mercy is always, always new each and every day. It is never too late to come before Him and ask for him to give you the desires which your heart should have and the power and wisdom found in Christ alone to discern his will.

Lets keep running the race with endurance.

xoxo- Sarah