Stop Being A Slave To Yourself

Stop Being A Slave To Yourself

It's possible.
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In a day and age of "anything goes" and "Just do you, boo," it is easy to become confused and a tad distressed, especially if you are in your early 20s. You are no longer a teenager, but you're not quite an adult yet, either. The tide of the world's ideas and morals begin to push and pull you stronger than ever before. In high school, you had your close group of friends who share the same morals and values you do. When you got to college, you stayed close to those church friends of yours and people who want to lead you to Christ. But as the years pass, you are ready to branch out into different groups and walks of life. You see the importance of understanding life from a vast view of perspectives in order to become a more loving and vulnerable person. It is wonderful, exciting, and adventurous.

The only downside is this. You are no longer in a bubble. Each day comes with a different itinerary of temptation. The devil is there and he is crouching at the door when you walk out in the morning. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to say, "In the name of Jesus, just get away, fool!" But other days it feels as if you are wrestling with him again and again. You doubt yourself, you doubt God, you ask yourself is it really all worth it? Can I really continue to follow Christ? It's so hard! It would be so much easier to fit in! People like me better when I cuss and drink and behave recklessly. I'm cooler that way. I'm in the Army for goodness sake! I can't be a little b----!

And, then, other doubts follow afterward. "Am I really ever going to get married?! Nothing in me wants to be married. Will I ever have the desire to? But can I really wait until I'm 30 to have sex? That's a long time! Will I even be attractive then? If I have to wait that long I might as well join the nunnery!" And then Satan's voice is loud and very annoying. "You can never do it, Sarah. So just give it up now. No one else is waiting, why should you wait? Enjoy yourself! Have fun!"

But then a quiet voice comes from within. A voice of unrelenting love. It is so gentle and so tender. It has the ability to calm any tempest and mental anguish. It says my name. God says my name. It is beautiful and wonderful and I would travel the galaxy to hear it again. "Trust. Me". And then I begin again..."But God...it's so hard..." And again, I hear Him. "Trust Me, my child." And before I can debate again, an otherworldly peace comes over me. It is so strong and thick and deep I can almost touch it. I am surrounded like an ocean. I am immersed in safety, love, and the permission to be vulnerable. I unleash it all on Him. "God, I need your help! I struggle with wanting to drink, I struggle with lust, I struggle with loving myself. I struggle with pleasing others... I struggle with loving my body, I struggle, Lord! I need you. I need you to take away these desires right now. The desire to become intoxicated. The desire to be "One" with someone, the desire to be accepted by the opposite sex, the desire to be liked by everybody!"

I begin to feel weight lifted off me and the responsibility to determine my own future. Over the next second, minute, day, and days afterward, I feel desire leave me. The desires I have asked God to save for a different stage of life. I no longer have to be a slave to my sin and my mind day in and day out. I no longer have to desperately attempt to subdue my sinful flesh. I am free to love and to live life to the fullest.

"For your father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:8) and "Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether" (Psalm 139:4). And I am reminded that I do not have to continue living day-to-day fighting these demons by myself. No, I have the creator of the universe, capable of doing anything and everything. I have Jesus Christ, sent for this exact purpose.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" Galatians 5:1.

We all have things we harbor in the darkest corner of our hearts and minds. We all have things we struggle with. But one thing I can say is: give it to God today. Choose freedom over your flesh. You won't be disappointed.

Cover Image Credit: Denise Demetry

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.

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What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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