Monday, March 26, 2012

hang in there

Any seniors out there that can relate? =)

Friday, March 23, 2012

even when i'm weary

One word: weary. That's how I feel right now. 

For the entire past six months, I have spent my time filling out more college applications than you would believe. Yeah, tons. With each new college I would come to, I would always think, maybe this is the one, and picture myself spending the next four years on the beautiful campus.

Well, I haven't found one yet.

After months and months of searching and hoping, I'm kind of burned out. It's not that I'm tired of filling out applications; it's that I'm tired of not knowing. This next huge season of my life is looming ahead of me, and I have no idea where I'll be spending it. 

I am a planner. And planners like to know things in advance. That's the problem. I don't know anything in advance right now. Everything is so uncertain, sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy inside.

And now I've exhausted myself.... because I kept trying to create a path that wasn't meant to be there. I kept trying to make everything to line up perfectly so that my life destination would be crystal clear. And while I kept trying to plan my own way, God kept directing my steps elsewhere.

After all of this searching, then planning, then burning out, I've noticed something odd about myself. Now that my efforts to figure out my future have failed, I've started spending my time on things that I don't really want to spend my time on. I'm struggling with priorities and productivity. It's almost as if since I can't know my future, then I turn to distractions in life to keep my mind off the fact that I still don't know. These distractions keep me from thinking about the uncertainties I've failed to resolve. I've gone from trying to do everything, to doing almost nothing at all.

Deep down inside, I think I've excused myself, saying that I'm simply trusting God and leaving the outcome up to Him. I tried and failed to do it myself, so I'm done. If God has a plan for my future, then it's up to Him now to bring it along.

Of course, it's absolutely true that God has a plan for me, that nothing in my life happens outside of His sovereignty. (We ALL know that.) However, I don't think that's an excuse for not doing anything. 

The Christian life isn't a passive game.

It's a battle.

And as soon as I realize that God's sovereignty is no excuse for resignation, I will begin to see that God's plan is so much bigger than the next four years of my life. In the span of eternity, my college decision is marginal. God's purpose in my life isn't that I find the ultimate university, it's that His name be magnified in my life.

I'm in a full-fledged battle, and God expects me to fight. There is victory in Christ alone, but it's my responsibility to engage in the war. Day by day, I must lay down my life, pick up my cross, and follow Christ. Even if I can't see where He's leading me.

Even when I'm weary.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Link Up! 3/17/12

How to Use the Internet - This is an interesting video and website about how to use the internet to its fullest potential. Something I could definitely benefit from!

The Hunger Games - I recently posted about this series, and I found this to be an interesting review as I sort out my feelings about the books.

Kony 2012 - Surely you've seen the Kony video by now. The video has had a staggering viral impact. But when I first saw all the links on facebook and tweets on twitter, my first response was, why all of this urgency now? All of a sudden, this 30 minute video gone viral transformed all of these social networkers to "social activists."

I found Tim Challies' article on it to be an interesting analysis when he stated, "This is a campaign designed to take advantage of the power of social media. . . .Social media campaigns tend to be dependent on one thing more than any other: speed. Do not think about it, just do it! Don’t get the facts, don’t wait a few days to consider it, don’t ask someone who knows more—just click Tweet or Share or Post or whatever else it is that will spread the word. We’re all in this together, we need your vote, we need it now! Go! Go! Go!"

While I adamantly believe that Kony should be stopped, I would be wary of supporting campaigns or organizations that I have not researched. Personally, I would rather give my support to a distinctly Christian organization who will not only provide physical aid but also spiritual healing, as well. (This article gives some great insight too.) All that said, I believe Matt Papa summed it up best.

Senior pictures - I just have to survive until May! =)

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Hunger Games - A Christian Review

I just devoured the first two books of the Hunger Games. (Pun intended.)

Riveting. Spell-binding. These books are page-turners for sure. But there's just something about this series, something that really sickens me. Honestly, I don't really know what to think about them. While I like the action and I like the suspense, there is definitely something I don't like about these books. I just haven't quite pin-pointed what it is yet.

Originally, I started the series after all the ranting and raving I saw about them on facebook. So many of my friends seemed fanatical over them. I wanted to know what all the hype was about. Plus, I wanted to have read the book before the movie came out.

Not knowing much except from what my friends had told me, I downloaded the first book to my kindle. I made the mistake of starting it at the beginning of the week. Needless to say, I was not the most productive person that week. =) I couldn't put the book down!

(Note: I'm not going to use this review to summarize the plot; so if you are unfamiliar with this series, I suggest reading these articles first so that my thoughts make more sense. Focus on the Family, CCB Review.)

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I read the Hunger Games. Generally, a book centered around teens who are forced to kill each other would appall me. I would never think of reading such a book! So why was this one different? Why did I consider it worth my time? I think it's because so many people I knew were crazy about them. They kept going on about how great they were. So I assumed it was just that. Maybe it's just me, but reading about how teens must kill each other to stay alive isn't "great" to me.

While I can absolutely see why people would love this book for its thrilling experience and relate-able characters, I just can't get past all the killing that goes on. Yes, I know it's necessary for the central plot of the story. But it's still a little disturbing. What really bugs me is how I cannot figure out the morality of these books: the morality seems to be so circular. On the one hand, killing is wrong and terrible. But the tyrannical Capital forces you to take innocent lives in order to save your own. But that's all the other person is trying to do as well! The other person is only trying to kill you because they don't want you to kill them, but the only reason you're trying to kill them is because they're trying to kill you.

Do you see how it seems so circular? I just can't figure it out. Is it honorable to kill someone in order to save your own life? If it is, then each one of the Tributes displays honor. And if all of them are honorable then no one is wrong. But I just cannot get past that there is something wrong.

I'm not saying that protecting your own life is wrong. In fact, it's right. But all of the Tributes are trying to protect their own lives. So in essence, the Capital forces these teens both to be the criminal AND the defender at the same time. You become guilty of murdering an innocent person who is only trying to preserve their own life; yet you've just preserved your own.

So this brings me to another question. Can Katniss be considered the "heroine" of the story if she is both criminal and honorable? The book series puts a bazaar twist on the dynamics of the protagonist in this plot. Is she really heroic? And if she is the protagonist then who or what is the antagonist?

I really haven't come to any final conclusions about this series. Maybe some of you could help me. I really want to know your thoughts on this series because I'm still trying to sort out my own. What do you think?

  • Why (specifically) are these books best-sellers? What is different in this series that makes these books stand out above the rest?
  • Is it okay for Christians to read about gore and death simply because the book is a best-seller or because everyone recommends it?
  • What do you think of Katniss as the protagonist or heroine of the story? Is she really a hero?
  • What do you think is the main conflict of the books? What is the struggle driving the entire plot?
  • What would you say is the morality of these books?
  • Is there some kind of political message the author is trying to portray? What are the major themes?
  • Are these books that Christians should read?
There are parts of these books that I like. And parts that I don't like. While I haven't decided for sure what my stance on these books is, I don't think that I could truly recommend them to anyone. To me, they were too hopeless, dark, and twisted for me to call them "great." Maybe there's something I don't see, and I'd love to hear your thoughts! But for now, I guess I'll have to conclude that I didn't like the Hunger Games as much as everyone said I would.