Women In Fiction

For the past week or so, the hashtag #womeninfiction has been going around twitter. It inspired me to write this post, which is really just a giant thank you note. Women in fiction are the bomb diggity, and I’d like to say something to several of them.

To Brave’s Merida. I wish your movie had been around when I was a kid, but even now, I love it. Thank you for your unruly curly hair, because even though mine is shorter, it’s just as unmanageable. Thank you for being the only Disney princess to end up without a man; it’s taken me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that not all princesses need princes, and I’m so grateful that you’ve shown that to me and to younger girls growing up with your movie. I hope they get that message. Thank you for shooting for your own hand.

To The 100‘s Raven Reyes. You got through the whole Finn thing. You got through falling to Earth in a really broken old spaceship. You even got through a major surgery without any anesthesia. Thank you for being strong and a mechanic and for showing me that I can be hurt without being completely broken. Thank you for getting through everything, because it makes me feel like I can, too. Also, thanks for being a sassy queen because that’s pretty great.

To Harry Potter‘s Luna Lovegood. Thank you for being one of a kind. You’re not afraid to be your compassionate and wonderful self, to support those who matter to you, and to show every single person (and creature) their importance. Thank you for reminding me to be myself and not be afraid to be different.

To The Archived’s Mackenzie Bishop. You were one of my first kick-butt female characters, in all honesty. Thank you for being well-rounded and for showing me that you do not have to be invincible to be strong. Also, thank you for that sassy scene where you beat Wesley up in the gym on your first day at Hyde because that was beautiful.

To Percy Jackson and the Olympians’s Annabeth Chase. You’re smart and you’re awesome and I’m very sorry you didn’t get what you deserved in Blood of Olympus. Thank you for being the brains behind the quest instead of the damsel in distress (at least, most of the time) and for showing girls that it’s great to be intelligent and smart girls don’t have to hide that for anyone else to like them.

To Sense and Sensibility’s Elinor Dashwood. I wasn’t going to make it through this post without a Jane Austen character. It sounds ridiculous considering your book’s title but you’re just so sensible and I love it. You’re calm and rational and not crazy. Thank you for giving some representation to the quiet, thoughtful ones.

To The 100′s Clarke Griffin. Mama Bear Clarke, where would the 100 be without you? Thank you for always doing what needs to be done and always trying, and for not letting romance get in the way of the bigger picture. Thank you for being so beautifully imperfect. You don’t always make the best decisions but I don’t, either, and I’m so grateful that you’re so real.

To The 100‘s Octavia Blake. Thank you for your amazing character development. You grow immensely through the show, and I’m honestly so proud. Thank you for continuing to be yourself even when you don’t feel like you belong. Thank you for being so incredibly strong and for teaching me to not be afraid.

To Harry Potter‘s Hermione Granger. I don’t even know where to begin. You’re smart and brave and not scared to stand up for yourself, your friends, and what you believe in. You advocate for House-elves, which is pretty rad. Thank you, Hermione, for so much more than your brains. Thank you for showing me that it is nothing short of awesome to be a smart girl with ridiculously curly hair, and that girls like us might just be able to change the world. It sounds crazy, but thank you for being there for me. Just, thank you. For everything.

So I’m a dork who lets these fictional characters take up very permanent residences in my heart. Sue me. They’ve got flaws and imperfections and confidence and insecurity and amazingness, and it’s such a blessing to read/watch. These fictional women have changed my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Falling Away

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.” -John 16:1

I don’t want to fall away.

I feel like more often than not, people don’t drop Christianity like a hot potato after some traumatic event. They don’t instantly cut ties with the church and break up with the Christian radio station, bristling whenever someone mentions Easter eggs. Instead, it’s falling away. Wandering further and further out until you’re completely lost and figure that any path will do at this point, so why try to get back home?

I never want to fall away, but strangely, that’s not what I spend most of my fear on. I fear not fitting in. I fear making wrong decisions. I fear being laughed at in the same way that I fear bugs, and let me tell you, the last time I saw a sizable roach I was paralyzed with terror and sobbed for twenty minutes. I fear failure, perhaps most of all. Failure is like a giant spider except I can’t call my daddy to kill it.

But none of those are worse than falling away. None of those will leave me as desperate and broken as looking back on my path and realizing that it was wayward and unwise. None of those will make me as disappointed as realizing that I’ve been forgetting the One who loves me more than anyone else ever could. I focus on all of these things that will never matter nearly as much as my Savior… and that just doesn’t make sense.

I’ve been learning that God does not want me to have it all figured out. That’s not my job. It’s my job to keep my eyes on Him in this world that will try to distract me. It’s easy to fall away because of my own shortcomings but also because of the world constantly tugging at me and pulling me in a million different directions. It is not my job to fit in, to make all the right decisions, to avoid failure like the plague. It’s my job to keep to this path going toward home and toward Him.

Maybe there are some times when you just gotta be reminded: Don’t fall away. In the daily to-do’s and mundane messes, don’t fall away. Keep your eyes on the One who will never fail. Don’t do everything all at once, don’t try to gain perfection, don’t attempt to earn grace. Sometimes, your only concern needs to be just not falling away.

My Crippling Inability to Make Decisions

Brownie or chocolate chip cookie? And do I eat said brownie/chocolate chip cookie with ice cream or without? Or should I separate the ice cream from the brownie/chocolate chip cookie and eat both but not together? Should I forsake the whole brownie/cookie dilemma altogether and go for an extra helping of cookie dough ice cream? Should I have the best of both worlds and eat cookie dough ice cream with my brownie?

I’m terrible at decisions.

Even simple choices about food, exercise, homework, and general time management plague me. But worse, I’ve recently become way too preoccupied with upcoming decisions. Adulthood approaches, and nearly every acquaintance I interact with seems to ask me the same three things in some way, shape, or form: Where do you want to go to college? What do you want to major in? What do you want to do with that?

I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. But I think about it day and night.

I have no clear-cut path. Several of my friends have planned out their futures down to the flowers at their wedding, no joke. Me? I can’t even decide which AP classes to take next year, let alone what career I want. I simply can’t figure out my future, but that is not a bad thing.

For the past few weeks, just about every waking moment has been spent agonizing over not knowing what I want. It’s gotten to the point where I’m so deep in that hole that I can’t see it from a clear perspective anymore. It’s similar to how, once you work on a paper for two months, it’s impossible to edit anymore because you can no longer see the forest or the trees. You feel stuck, and that’s exactly the way this kind of thinking has made me feel, too.

So I’ve given up. The Bible does not say, “Try to figure out your life without ceasing.” It instead says, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Rather than spending my time jumping five steps ahead of myself, I’m simply looking to the next one. How does God want to use me as His light in my current circumstances? Not my future ones. Not my college ones. The ones I’m living right now; what’s the next step I can take to grow and to love in those? There is a next step, I’m sure of that, but when you’re so distracted by thinking forward, you forget the moment right now. Life is beautiful, but I’m so distracted thinking about how much greener the grass of my future could be that I forget to water my dang lawn.

I’m done trying to figure out my future, because odds are, what I think will happen will just make God chuckle and gently guide me in the direction He wanted all along. My constant worrying really boils down to not having enough faith. But I’m committed to trusting Him more with the right now and the way ahead, rather than ignoring the former and freaking out about the latter. He’s got a plan that would put any of mine to shame. So I will take the next step, and the next step, and the next step as they come, and look back when it’s all said and done and see a masterpiece of His glory.