The Western dream… no servitude

I was in year 12 when I first heard about ‘The American Dream.’ We were studying Of Mice and Men and my teacher was explaining George and Lennie’s pursuit of land to call their own as the ultimate American dream.

This goal has become the veritable ‘pot at the end of the rainbow’ for much of western society; to own a piece of land has become both the American and Australian dream. We may have masters at work, but at home we are slaves to no one. Even our political systems are built on the premise that the common man does not serve the leader, but the leader serves the common man.

As a result, one of the greatest challenges I face is that of servitude to God. No longer does my generation feel any real duty to ‘King and Country.’ In fact, if I’m honest, the concept of truly living my life in servitude to anyone seems foreign to me.

There are many who have laid down their lives for our liberty, and for that I am grateful, but I am afraid that it has created a dangerous illusion. I struggle to lay down my life in full servitude to God, because I have been falsely led to believe that my life is my own. Not only to I fail to see that I am a slave to sin or self, but I have lost all comprehension of the honour it is to serve a great master.

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The Smashed Avocado Debate – My take, in 250 words

avocade-toast-web-42-1080x675A recent article in The Australian, by Bernard Salt, has set the internet on fire in what is becoming an increasingly tiresome war between the generations.

He took a stab at ‘millennials’ saying that if they forewent hipster foods like ‘Avocado on Toast’ at $22 a pop, then maybe they’d be able to afford a house.

The millenials, naturally, have erupted with the damning eloquence of post-hipster university students, doing the math and claiming they’d have to save their avocado toast money for a decade to afford a deposit.

Clearly, both are missing the point.

Salt’s patronising tone offers little to a1408021947_8_1 generation struggling to afford even a tiny piece of the Australian dream. Housing prices have risen astronomically since my parents bought their first 3 bedroom house for two-and-a-half years’ salary back in 1984. When I bought my two-bedroom unit on a postage stamp of land, it cost me five years salary.

Many millenials, however, have also missed Salt’s main point; that things that are common place now, were luxuries 40 years ago, and that just because your parents can afford it now, doesn’t mean you deserve it. Millennials need to learn that IKEA isn’t cheap and that new or matching furniture is an earned luxury. Smashed avocado brunches or cocktail nights at that copper-lantern-bar cost money that people didn’t used to spend.

The small things do add up… maybe not to a house deposit, but to other forms of investment that will get you there in the end.

When the ocean tosses you around like a rag doll

Water_size480I went surfing on the weekend. I am by no means a surfer, but I thought it would be fun to learn.

It’s probably not the best time to start. Australia is being plunged into winter and the winds that blow in off Antarctica make for a cold and rough swell, but a couple of friends and I braved the chill in our wetsuits and had a good day.

One thing that’s struck me about being an amateur surfer is how much you have to fight the ocean. Sure it’s fun when you catch a wave, but the rest of the time is spent paddling out, or, in my case, being tossed around and rolled under the water like a rag doll.

That’s a bit how life can feel sometimes; being tossed like a rag doll in the ocean; battered by the waves. No sooner have I gasped a breath of air, than I am down, under the water again. Why? For what purpose?

I asked God about it, and he reminded me of this: That I cannot see myself, but He can. And He knows that finally, when I have been removed from the water, I will have been refined into a pearl far more brilliant than anything that could have been attained on the shore.

And therein lies the peace: it is worth it, and suddenly the waves hold less fury, because at the end of the day, they’re working for me.

You Couldn’t Handle the Guilt.

Photo Credit: Mare-of-Night

Painting Credit: Mare-of-Night

Growing up in a Christian home meant that while I always knew I was a sinner, my ‘good little Christian girl’ behavior often made it hard for me to really see myself that way.

As I grew older, and my understanding of both myself and the gospel deepened, I came to understand that while I was good at avoiding the obvious, visible sins, in my heart, I was no better than anyone else. I understood this, but I often struggled to really feel it; instead of wrestling with guilt, I’ve wrestled with not feeling guilty enough.

I’ve prayed through this many times, grappling with the paradoxical desire to fully comprehend my sinfulness (which would hopefully enable me to more completely experience God’s graciousness) while at the same time recognizing that the cross has done away with my sin and I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

I was struggling with this once again on the weekend; struggling with my lack of guilt and my apathy towards my sinfulness, when I sensed the voice of God say to me ‘Sarah, you couldn’t handle the guilt.’

I know that I’m a sinner, and I know that I’ve trusted Jesus with my sin, so instead of wrestling with not feeling it enough, I need to rejoice in God’s grace. He knows that I could not stand under the weight of my own guilt, and He has not asked me to. Jesus paid for that too.