watching, reading, and writing stories

Finding Dory and Worry

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I got to see Finding Dory, finally. I loved Finding Nemo and I’ve been waiting for this sequel for forever! Anyway, I noticed in the movie that Dory is very worried about her short term memory loss and that she will forget something important. And then I read this article about someone who deals with anxiety by keeping herself distracted and doing all these things to keep her busy. And then one of my good friends was in a car accident and she’s been dealing with all of the crazy stress and thoughts of why this happened to her. So anyway, I thought I’d sum up all my thoughts on these things in one blog post.

So here it goes. First off, if all you want to know is how Finding Dory compares to Finding Nemo, then it was great! If you loved the first movie, you’ll love the sequel. There are old characters that still make you laugh and a lot of new characters that are just as charming and hilarious. I definitely saw some similarities in the storyline to the first film. But there are enough changes to this movie, that it’s not a problem. I loved that we get to see Dory’s past, especially since she had forgotten what it was in the first film. It was great to see her piecing together her history and where she came from and who she is, but also realizing that her current relationships are just as important as her past ones.
Now I don’t want to ruin the movie for any of you out there who haven’t seen the film, so I’ll just leave you with a preview:

But as for the bigger picture, Dory, along with all of us, can get caught up in life and what is happening now and forget to think about the big picture stuff, like why are we here? What’s our purpose? Does my life really matter? I think these kind of questions can sometimes cause anxiety if we never address them.

And the article I read brought up some similar points and mentioned other negative thoughts that people who are anxious have running through their head. Here are some of the thoughts that I found familiar:
“You’re not good enough.”
“You’re a bad friend.”
“What are you doing with yourself?”
“You’re a fraud. Just good at faking it.”
“Everyone else has it together but you.”
“So many people have it tougher than you.”

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So whether you’re dealing with a traumatic event, or just the everyday busyness and life’s little problems, anxiety can trap us. We get stuck thinking negative thoughts and we need to stop. Dory “just kept swimming” to deal with this problem and focused on just doing the next thing. And the lady in the article I read suggested taking a second to stop and be still.

But what I’ve found is that no matter what situation I’m in, the best thing to help me not be anxious is taking my problem to God. Remembering that He is in control, He is good, He has a plan, and He loves me puts those negative thoughts back in their place. They are lies and attacks and I don’t need to listen to them. As I turn my gaze to the One who loves me, who died in my place, who has good in store for me and will never leave me alone or abandon me, I find a peace that transcends understanding.

So I hope this post encourages you today.

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Bearing Other’s Burdens

This past year I learned a lot about fulfilling the law of Christ, or bearing others’ burdens. So much so that I thought I would do a blog post about it. So here it goes.

Fishermen, Nets, Ocean, Fishing Net, Equipment
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Galatians 6:2 tells us to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” -NIV or in anther version “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -ESV.

And this makes sense, even if you’re not a Christian. It’s hard to go through life all by yourself. We need other people, to advise us, encourage us, listen to us complain, or just be there when we hit a rough patch. So why is this fulfilling the law of Christ? What’s so special about this command and what does it look like in everyday life?

Well, I’d say that this command is important because it ties into the golden rule,”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It also connects with Jesus’s teaching about the greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV

So bearing others’ burdens is showing them love, and fulfilling the greatest commandment. But what does it actually mean to “bear a burden?” I don’t think God is telling us to go find people who need help moving and start carrying their boxes into the moving truck, or if you’re a student to start carrying other kid’s backpacks at school. Don’t get me wrong helping people can have various applications and maybe actually carrying a heavy object is sometimes what we should do. But I think it boils down to what people get stressed out about.

This past year I’ve had plenty of opportunities to listen to other people talk about their problems, worries, concerns, and stress-filled lives. And I think that sometimes, this is what people really need. They need to know someone cares when they’re having a bad day, or a bad month. And it may not seem like much, but listening to others vent is sometimes all that they really need. In some cases, you might get to go a step further and offer help with whatever is stressing them out, but sometimes the situation cannot be changed, and the best thing to do is listen.

I would like to provide a word of caution though. In my experiences I see that many people in relationships can fall into two roles: The Talker, and The Listener. In a healthy relationship, the two friends can switch roles and be both a listener and a talker. But if the roles never switch, it can easily become one person always bearing the weight of the other person’s problems, without getting to release their own stress. I’ve been in this situation before. Sometimes I felt that my friend’s problems were so huge compared to mine that I didn’t have a right to talk about myself or what I was struggling with. But that’s not true, we all need to bear each others’ burdens (especially in the church). So that means take time to listen and be ready to talk.

Another caution I would add to this is that sometimes when sharing about difficult problems, a friend may ask that it be kept secret. And I believe that is good thing, however, swearing a friend to secrecy and forcing them not to tell anyone, is a bit of a stretch. You don’t want to blab what you know to everyone, but sometimes knowing someone else’s stress, creates stress in your own life, and if you can’t talk about it to anyone because of secrecy, that makes it even worse for you.

Lastly, I want to mention that none of us have to bear our burdens or our friends’ burdens alone. As Christians we can bring all of these burdens to Christ and ask Him to do the heavy lifting. He tells us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

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Time, Levy, Deadline, Hand, Leave, Pen, Note, Calendar

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This week I’ve been feeling the pressure of deadlines. Whether it’s applying for a job, turning in a paper, or even finishing your own to-do list, we all have deadlines. They can be frustrating, stressful, and almost give you a panic attack. I know there were definitely times in school when I’d have nightmares that a paper was actually due the next day and I was going to miss my deadline.

A world without deadlines sounds nice, but in reality, we need deadlines. Or at least I know I do. It’s hard for me to start working on a project if there is no “due date” no “deadline” no ultimate completion date. I hate the stress of deadlines, but I love what they force me to do; start working.

It seems like the only projects I ever finish are the ones that have deadlines. Even the fun projects, like painting, or writing, have to have deadlines or I just won’t finish them. For example, I’ve been working on a novel for years, but it wasn’t till I started forcing deadlines onto myself that I actually made progress. The first deadline I gave myself was to finish the manuscript by November 1st so I could participate in National Novel Writing Month with a sequel to my “finished” first novel. And this goal, or “deadline” got me working. I started writing more and more. I worked so hard that I even finished my first draft before November 1st and had time to start planning my sequel.

But now, I’m in another mode of writing; the editing phase. I wrote about this last week in my blog. Editing requires deadlines just as much as writing does. Well, my deadline is June 30th. I only have a few days left to finish making last minute changes and corrections before I get 5 sample copies of my very first novel printed. It’s exciting, but also nerve wracking. Sometimes I wish I had more time. However,  I don’t think more time would actually help in my situation. It would just give me more time to watch Netflix and put off actually finishing my editing.

So even though deadlines sometimes feel like a curse, I think they are actually a blessing in disguise…

So what about you? Do deadlines help you actually start working and stop procrastinating? Or do they just make life more stressful? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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