Opinion

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    How to Do Christmas Right: Part 2

    Thanksgiving is now forgotten; there are not even any leftovers from that wonderful meal. The only focus left is one quickly approaching date – December 25. People will now begin to participate in their yearly holiday traditions. There are some classic traditions like building gingerbread houses, shopping for gifts, ice skating, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and so many other things. Participating in these activities is always fun and should definitely be done, but perhaps trying something new or starting a tradition special to you will keep the Christmas season closer to your heart.                                                                           In my family we have a tradition concerning gingerbread houses. We love to spend all day creating a house that best represents us, and then we vote on the best creation. They can become very intricate. Usually my mother’s is a small but extremely delicate, well-organized house. My brother’s is usually some type of a battle scene; this usually includes a fortress, weapons, and gummy bears in varying states of distress. I always like to build a somewhat large house with a front and back yard, depicting a simple family life, by having gummy bears posed in the middle of every-day actions. Gingerbread house making is an awesome way to be reminded how different everyone is within our small family unit. Another gingerbread house making tradition is that of the Burr family. They build these gingerbread houses to commemorate their beloved late aunt. Several years ago their aunt started the tradition of building intricate gingerbread houses. She passed away due to breast cancer, and they now do it in remembrance of her. They always add a little bit of pink.                                                                      The Culbertson family has a special gift-opening tradition. Lizzy Culbertson said, “Instead of giving out gifts based on who they are to, we pass out the gifts based on who they’re from, and then we give them out one at a time so it’s more about giving than receiving.” Other families have more simple traditions for present opening, like the Cunningham family, who watches “A Christmas Story” every year after opening their presents. These are just a few examples of special family traditions you will find in almost every house. Don’t forget the generic traditions because you can never go wrong with hot cocoa in front of a toasty fire, or spending time with loved ones. Put your all into your family’s yearly traditions and appreciate them for the meaning behind them. But also don’t be afraid to start a new tradition! Just remember to have fun this Christmas and to not waste your Christmas break. Do Christmas right and have fun!
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    Escaping the January Gym Scene

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    December 11, 2014
    January is about to roll around and a new crowd will soon take over the gym equipment. Some of them might use the machines in a way you could have never imagined. A swarm of people will be found on the treadmills and ellipticals, partly from familiarity with the equipment and partly out of “first time at the gym ever” embarrassment. The weight room will appear more crowded than usual, with folks glowing with sweat and the hope of accomplishing their New Year’s Resolution of finally getting those muscles worth showing off. For those who habitually visit the gym, these new faces and appearances may be overwhelming or annoying when it comes to sticking to our routine workouts. What are we to do when our indoor exercise outlet is taken over by newfound dreamers, who may or may not stick around for longer than a month? If you have to get your daily run in, try taking to the reality of the trails, streets, or sidewalks. It might snow, rain, hail, or even simply be a really cold day with a bit of wind chill. Throwing a twist into your exercises, such as stadium workouts or a bit of a focused core workout, will get the other body parts you’ve been granting only so much attention. If you can’t work up the warmth to face the cold and can’t stand around waiting for your favorite workout machine, go try something new in the gym. There’s no better time to try out something new than when everyone else is doing the same thing.The only difference is you might have a clue as to what you’re doing. If you have to, pick a different time of day if your usual workout time is clogged with newcomers. According to the Telegraph, about 12% of gym memberships start in January. However, the Telegraph also said  “Fitness Industry Association said that almost 22 per cent of people who join will have thrown in the towel after 24 weeks. A further 20 per cent will disappear before December.” If anything, lead by example and try to help out the newbies this time of year. Try a new class or check into at-home workouts that avoid the whole congested gym situation all together. Don’t let the January gym-goers get you down.

    A Silent Calling

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    December 11, 2014
    Silence. We are called in the silence. Sometimes it may be a gentle voice, a soothing whisper, or a tug on your soul. Regardless of how the call generates, you are called to serve The Master. Repeated calls flow and ebb like the cerulean sea guiding you towards an emerald paradise or crashing you violently among the jagged grey rocks of a land embattled by fear and rage. He calls you; even amidst a noise so deafening you seek to stop hearing at all. So child, why do you stubbornly keep running? Your feet are worn and scraped. Your shoulders bear the weight of a hundred oak branches. Your face is falling towards the earth from weariness and flash-tear floods. “Why do you fight so?” This is something I have heard God ask me a lot lately. I try (and maybe this is my problem) to stay strong, listen, and walk where He leads. But I have moments where I yank back control and declare I am superwoman. I don’t know if I do this with malicious intent, but I acknowledge I do this—too much. I fight the one person I shouldn’t. I could blame my humanity and call it a “fickle failure” but I can’t. Each time I try to control my life, I drown in life’s noise instead of drowning out life’s noise. I should be praising Him always. Why don’t I? Honestly, I can act like a raccoon—I see something shiny and it grabs my full attention and I won’t let go even if it means my freedom. Light and shadows distract me. Too often, I allow the world to suck me in. When God is calling to me in silence or in a whisper, I can’t hear Him when I am walking the other way or when my desires mute all other things. I know a lot of us are going through rough times. I have days where I feel like I have been beat with a bat. I have days when I am tortured by a thousand tiny paper cuts that never seem to heal. However, more often than I acknowledge, I have days where all of creation sings with me in worship of a Father who only wants to love me and guide me in His purpose. In those moments, I feel as if I can fly. So in the midst all of the noise in my life, today I ask for silence. I don’t want to be in control. I want to hear God call and direct my footsteps. No longer do I wish to wrestle with my stubbornness but instead learn to anchor deep, hold on, and pray. God, please meet us here and cut through the noise. Help us hear you. Silence all of our worries, doubts, grief, and anxieties. Heal our pain. Heal our loved ones. Heal our hearts. Help us stop running away. Turn our eyes towards you. Show us how to anchor deep. Show us how to hear you through everything. “He wasn’t in the fire. He wasn’t in the quake. He wasn’t in the wind. He is the whisper here.” ~ Bluetree.

    Leave George Fox!

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    December 11, 2014
    Leave George Fox! Get off campus as soon as possible. An epidemic is spreading and none are safe from it. The epidemic is known as overwhelming lethargy. The symptoms consist of lack of motivation, loss of identity or self-purpose, unshakable laziness, and pure apathy. I know these symptoms because I have been infected. At this point in the semester, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of schoolwork stacking up—papers, presentations, readings, exams, deadlines—all piled on top of each other until I am the one who topples over. I keep feeling that there is hardly any time to get these assignments done, let alone socialize or sleep or have some me-time.   But there is a solution: leave George Fox. Don’t unenroll from all of your classes and pack all your bags into your Honda civic and drive down 99 waving goodbye. But do take the time to step away from the fenced in bubble we find ourselves in. Open the gate and give yourself a break. There is something about being off campus that always reminds me of how big the world is. It is nice to sit in a coffee shop and watch normal people walk by, remembering that the world goes on after college, that my life will not be defined by the test I have tomorrow morning. It is nice to go to James Project on Saturday mornings and take time to focus on someone other than myself, remembering that this life is not about me. The world is bigger than the twelve page paper I have to write. Whether it is taking a walk in a park, going and getting coffee, going to church on Sunday, going on and adventure with friends, find some way to get off of campus and take a moment to put life back into perspective. It is easy to be overwhelmed by work and think, “I can’t do such and such right now because I could be studying.” And while working hard is great, every once in awhile we have to take some time to refill of tank of joy and energy and purpose because no one can run on empty forever. So I hope you will soon be able to find what it is that reminds you of who you are and brings you joy. I hope you can avoid the epidemic of overwhelming lethargy. Leave George Fox. Get off campus. Take some time to live.

    Joy is a Noun

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    December 11, 2014
    Last week, in my C.S. Lewis class, a classmate did a presentation on the difference between joy and happiness. When she gave us the definition of both words, I was immediately struck by the fact that “joy” is a noun while “happy” is an adjective. Why is this important? Joy is a part of us, woven into our very core. Happy is a construct in which we find temporary elation; happy is not an eternal state of being. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines joy as “A vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction; the feeling or state of being highly pleased or delighted; exultation of spirit; gladness, delight.” The word happy means “Senses relating principally to good fortune.” My classmate also pointed out most concordances show the word “joy” is mentioned at least 213 times in the Bible while “happy” is only mentioned 21 times. The Word of God places Joy above happiness of good fortune. We are to be joyful in all things. Galatians 5:22-26 says: “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Being happy is not one of the fruits of the Spirit; however, a few moments of happiness allows us to praise God if we keep our eyes focused on Him and not the world. Saint Augustine wrote in his Confessions IX 1: “How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure . . . At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching sore of lust. I began to talk to you freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.” Why can’t I profess myself to God like this? I know I am not supposed to covet things or gifts that are not mine, but I hunger to explore the deepest chasm within and have God guide me through my search. I want the kind of joy that is fruitful, joy that is unending, true, free of worry, so overwhelming that I don’t seek an earthly fortune; the kind of joy that helps me change circumstance and follows into eternity with my Father. Too often, I find myself looking to be happy. I look to feel something like good fortune. The problem with feeling is the same thing as being happy—it is temporary. We feel pain for a while. We feel grief in waves. We feel happy until we don’t. We feel like a failure. We feel successful. We feel pleasure. But yet, none of these feelings are permanent or restorative. Lewis wondered if “all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” In Psalms 52, King David cries out to God asking for mercy after the prophet Nathan called him out. David was devastated, not solely because he got caught in his sin but because he had turned away from God’s wisdom by seeking earthly pleasure. Verses 10-12 are familiar to most Christians but, after I heard my classmate’s presentation, I noticed, maybe for the first time, David’s call for the restoration of joy in God’s salvation. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,     and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence     or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation     and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Joy is something we may not be actively seeking right now. I can admit that I am just trying to get through this semester. I am not sure how to ask God for anything but focus, clarity of mind, and time to finish my projects because I don’t know how to rest in joy and I don’t seem to have time to learn about this. But I know I need to seek joy as there may not be a tomorrow. In Lewis’s biography, Surprised by Joy, he said, “The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.” I have been sitting in nonsense. If Lewis is right, that joy has a nature, I have been deaf to God’s calling me closer to His refining fire and salvation of joy. I need to step off this temporary merry-go-round and strip off the worldly definition of joy and common misunderstanding of the pursuit of happiness in order to find true joy, His joy. Joy is a thing within us. Joy is a gift from our Father. Joy will only get stronger when we are with God. So if you hear me say, “I am happy” or “doing ____ will make me happy” please hold me accountable for remaining entrenched in nonsense. My name is Heather and I no longer seek happiness; I pursue joy!

    Tough Questions about Modesty

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    December 9, 2014
    By Kyle Privette – Guest Contributor With excitement and trepidation, Mark walked the paths of the George Fox University campus on his first day of classes. By now he was slowly getting used to the idea of living at school, a school that was several times larger than the high school of his hometown in Washington. Despite being anxious about whether he chose the right major or not, Mark was comforted by the knowledge he was in a Christian school that would support him on his journey. Then, to Mark’s surprise, the women he saw walking the path in the opposite direction were wearing short shorts – if they could even be called shorts – that went up past their thighs and wavy white tank-tops that showed off their cleavage. As his eyes slowly returned to the women’s faces, they looked at him with scorn and that infamous “You pervert!” face. Mark couldn’t believe it. Before his first class at a Christian university he had seen more skin than he had in all his years in high school, an institution which actually enforced their dress code. He hadn’t been undressing them with his eyes, at least not intentionally, but the way they dressed made it hard for him not to stare and admire their beauty – something Mark suspected they wanted. He was annoyed they looked at him in such a way. Embarrassed and angry, Mark trudged off to his first class of the semester. Emily was likewise eager to start her freshman year, enjoying the beautiful sunshine of the late Oregon summer. She’d gotten a great tan on the beach and was worried that she wouldn’t be able to wear anything to show it off after reading the student handbook and its section on appropriate dress. It seemed Christian schools believed women had to dress like nuns just to keep men from being perverted. She didn’t want to tempt her brothers in Christ, but she wanted to be free from such silly social restrictions. It was the 21st century after all. To her delight, most of her floor-mates felt the same way, and she pulled on her favorite tank-top, relishing their compliments on her tan. On her way to her first class, Emily noticed a few guys looking at her and smiling. She hadn’t really been noticed much in the halls of her high school back home, especially not by guys. Her new outfit and golden skin seemed to have made her an instant celebrity, something that made Emily feel like maybe GFU would finally be a place where she could be herself and not worry about social expectations. Mark’s and Emily’s dilemmas mirror one faced by GFU as a whole. While students attending this university are hopefully mature enough to respect each other and not stare at bodily features, one has to wonder just how far a Christian university should go to protect the virtue of its students, male and female. Mark believed the women on the path were objectifying themselves and blaming him for admiring them. Emily believed women have the right to dress in a way that is pleasing to them rather than inside strict rules that seem to only apply to their gender. Both of these viewpoints have merit, yet the student body cannot continue to avoid the fact that there is a need for discussion on the issue. It seems that the dress code and the strict Lifestyle Contract were written up to placate the parents of students, yet these rules aren’t regularly enforced in order to placate the students who feel their rights are being violated. How little clothing for men and women is too little? How can we reconcile our right to dress as we please with the respect of others who might be tempted to objectify us? Such a discussion can be started by as simple an action as asking your friends what they think. You may be surprised by the answers you hear.

    How to Do Christmas Right: Part 1

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    November 24, 2014
    Many will probably look and see that Christmas break is four weeks and two days long. The initial attitude students have when seeing that is, “Oh that means plenty of time to sleep and relax.” Sleeping and relaxing is important and enjoyable, but there are better ways to maximize your Christmas break. There are many things necessary for the Christmas season, and there can still be plenty of time to relax. Some of these activities are caroling, cheesy Christmas movie watching, gingerbread house making, ice skating, bazaar shopping, decorating, listening to Christmas music, and baking. This list is just some of the most important things one might do; the list may seem long, but these things can greatly improve your Christmas season. The best way to make the most of the Christmas season, is to begin celebrating right away. Right as Thanksgiving ends there is a noticeable change in the air. The crisp cold outside is no longer viewed as painful, but as a lovely reminder of what season it is.  Almost all the leaves have left the trees and what remains are beautiful, haunting trees. Trees that remind us of death, but also assure us that there is hope and life soon to come. The only trees left are the lovely evergreens or, as I like to call them this time of year, Christmas trees. The day after Thanksgiving is known to many as Black Friday. In my family it is known as the day we go in our backyard and cut down a Christmas tree. Some people can’t go in their backyard to cut down a tree, but most can find a Christmas tree somewhere. Without your Christmas tree and decorations it is impossible to truly begin your Christmas season.   I love to dedicate a whole day to this. If you have a cut-your-own tree business nearby, cutting down your own tree is the most magical experience. You can hunt for the perfect tree that is shaped just right for your home. If you can’t do that it is still almost as fun to buy a tree from a store. Once you have your tree inside your house and you are ready to get down to decorating, begin blasting your favorite Christmas music! Pull out decorations, some that are new and some that are SO old you have no idea when you got them. Just go crazy with them, and have everyone participate. There will be multiple styles of decorating portrayed on the tree and throughout the house, but this is the best part. The whole family is represented in these Christmas decorations. Take this time to sing out loud, dance, be creative, and spend quality time with your family. Go all out and decorate until you feel like you are about to drop. When you have finally created your masterpiece, sit back and relax. Have a warm drink, eat some cookies, and admire what you have created as a team. These decorations will be up in your home for almost a month. Having a pleasant, fun day putting them up will inspire good memories in all for the rest of the season every time they admire this creation.  

    Feminism in the Weight Room

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    November 24, 2014
    Back before college, there was always a table where all the cool kids sat at lunch. In some schools, that table and the right to sit there were a big deal. No one, uninvited, sat at the cool kids table because the people who sat there intimidated the people they didn’t know and welcomed those they shared similarities with.  This intimidation factor also applies to any weight room. The weight room is a sort of “clubhouse.” If you walk into any gym, you might notice free weights in the corner, while other machines take over the floor area. Separate from where the treadmills and other cardio machines may be set up, the population is often sparse but entirely male dominant. If you hung up a “No Girls Allowed” sign, no difference may be had at some gyms and fitness centers.  The weight room can pose as a scary place to venture as a female because, bluntly, it’s not normal and sometimes visually stated as unacceptable to be a girl lifting weights. People stare when something new enters the picture. When a female walks into the weight room, her defenses go up and her mental judgments swarm her mind with any pair of eyes she spots locked on her. When boys stare, girls can become extremely self-critical about anything they do. In some gyms, even the Wheeler weight room, there is a smaller space nearby that offers stretching mats, yoga materials, and a few meager weights.  It’s almost as if females are expected to slack off or be unable to push themselves when it comes to athleticism. There’s an unspoken hint that suggests the heavy lifting should be left for the naturally stronger gender. This is a confidence issue as much as it stands as a fitness issue. Females feel unsettled when it comes to the weight room because of the weight of judgment of internal laughter, respect for a fit lady, or exclusion. Confidence is one of the best qualities anyone can carry with them. Numerous amounts of women aren’t confident or proud of the body they were given, yet can’t find the independence or strength to go make the change on their own.  The shame of a body comes from society’s interpretation alone. One who is ashamed of their body has only accepted society’s theory of physicality. Breaking the stereotype is difficult and scary sometimes, but it’s worth it when it’s all making a mentally and physically stronger individual. There are pregnant women doing Cross-Fit courses and competitions. There are little girls born and raised in an athletic world. Others make a turning point and become fit by their own choice. Getting up, going to the gym, and sticking with the hard workouts are what changes you from the intimidated to the intimidation. The weight room doesn’t have to be a scary place and the ladies can be the cool kids.  

    Consider Faculty Lectures

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    November 18, 2014
    When I arrived at Hoover 105 at 5:15 p.m on October 21, for the Faculty Lecture, I did not expect a line of seemingly unmoving students. The Faculty Lecture Series has been a tradition at GFU since 1955. Each year, the university invites a professor or professors to speak on a given topic. This fall, the University asked Professor Brian Doak to speak about his book, Consider Leviathan: Nature and Theodicy in the Book of Job. I impatiently stamped my left foot (anxious habit) while attempting to figure out why the line wasn’t moving. After a few minutes, I noticed Paula Hampton, the fabulous administrator for the Biblical Studies Department, and asked her why there was a line. “This is the line for students who are signing in to get credit for coming to hear Professor Doak,” she said. I felt sad that some students were coming solely for credit in class instead of their own accord. However, knowing I no longer needed to stand in line, I entered the room from the other door and sat down in the first row. The room was filled with the scent of meatballs, cut vegetables, and scholars–who smell of dusty books and burnt coffee. When it was time for the lecture to begin, I turned to see the rest of the room—every seat was taken. After an introduction from President Baker (which unfortunately did not mention Professor Doak’s awesome bow-ties), Doak began by discussing the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon, Portugal which prompted a bigger separation of science and humanities. Doak is a skillful storyteller. (If you take any of his classes, I suggest bringing a tape recorder; he is full of great one-liners and explanations.) An example of his ability to catch the audience’s attention is when he said the Book of Job contains the most “riproaringest argument in the Bible.” Who says that? Doak’s lecture was complex and thought-provoking, yet accessible and easily absorbed. I found my right hand cramping as I took copious notes as he explained what he found in the Book of Job with regards to a covenant nature narrative and theodicy. Doak suggested that, “Job could serve as an anthem for the disoriented world,” because “we need a battered Job to speak to our battered selves.” Anyone in the audience could really see how Doak’s passion for knowledge, understanding, and God were evident in his sharing. How wonderful for students to see a professor seeking to connect with students outside of a class. How awesome for a professor to facilitate a conversation about human suffering and how God replies to it. So why should you care about the Faculty Lecture or that Professor Doak wrote a book? Because each student should want to know what his or her professor seeks to discover about this world. A student should want to see that his or her professor has not become complacent in his or her field. Each student should seek to support a professor as he or she continues to pursue knowledge. A student should want to make sure a professor does not just lock him or herself up in an office in order to stay in the George Fox bubble and avoid the world. Some of the lectures in the past few years have had some very interesting topics. Last fall, Professor Ken Badley’s lecture was titled, “Miley Cyrus, the Google Algorithm and New Epistemology.” In 2009, four English professors led the Faculty Lecture—I am sad I wasn’t here to see that one. There is a deep history here at GFU—one which requires participation. So I would like to encourage you to attend the next Faculty Lecture in the spring in order to encourage the faculty and learn about their passions.

    Epidemic of Apathy in Churches

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    November 14, 2014
    There is an epidemic of apathy in our culture today. Apathy is widespread and evident in many areas, but one large area where this is seen is the church. In some churches, it is steadily becoming more popular to believe this: God loves us; all we need to do is accept His love; we can sin and it’s okay because He forgives us; we can live our lives however we want and never change. This is not a biblical concept, but something created by churches. God does forgive our sins, no matter how many, but that does not mean we should stop attempting to change. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, KJV) So God does forgive our sins, faithfully. But does mean we should sin? Some Christians take verses like this to mean that they can sin, and live however they like, and just ask God to forgive them afterwards. God will forgive you, but this is not the attitude we are meant to have. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.” (Romans 6:1, KJV) Just because we have grace does not mean that we may continue in sin. That is taking advantage of grace. We will make mistakes now and again, but to purposefully sin, planning to ask for forgiveness later, is not acceptable and is a slap in the face to God. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:5,6, KJV) God saved us so that we may grow to be Christ-like, and learn to live sinless, loving lives. This mindset, that we can sin and live any way we’d like to, is an excuse for apathy. It makes it so that people can be “saved,” but still live the same way they used to. They don’t have to make any change; the only change is that now they believe they can go to Heaven when they die. This is apathetic and evidence of a culture that encourages a lack of change. Change is good and necessary; growth is good and necessary. Otherwise, how would will deal with this problem of apathy?

    Keep Calm And Ask For Help

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    November 14, 2014
    There are only four weeks left before finals. I don’t know about you, but I am freaking out just a little. Okay, maybe a lot! I am a junior so I should have “stress management” down by now, right? I shouldn’t still battle with procrastination, but I do. I have friends who work better under pressure. Their ability to juggle papers, extracurricular activities, and studying boggles my mind. Too often, I attempt to mimic them and fall horribly on my face. I rest in the insanity of hope that someday, I too will be able to juggle it all. Why do we do this to ourselves? We break our backs trying to be like those we admire. I’ve heard the saying, “We want what we can’t have.” But is that true? I have learned I can manage my stress, if I ask for help. Therein lies the rub. Asking for help can be really hard. There are many feelings that rush to drown us as we think about asking for help: shame, self-loathing, weakness, anxiety, and fear. Many students try to rationalize why they can’t ask someone for help. “The librarian is too busy.” “My professor probably has heard too many excuses and won’t be open to helping me.” “I am going to try and take this exam like other students. My disability won’t come into play.” “I am struggling with Greek. I am sure others are too and they probably couldn’t help me anyway.” Other students might make the following assumptions: Assumption 1: Having someone help you means you are unable to exhibit control of your life. Assumption 2: Asking for help shows how weak you are. The problem with these “reasons” and “assumptions” resides in the simple fact that most people want to help and they don’t assume you are an uncontrollable weakling. Professors want us to succeed and grow. Friends want to see us happy. Like most people, I sometimes struggle in asking for help. My mind doesn’t work like most. I have bipolar—it does not have me. However, there are days when I fight to pull a cohesive sentence out of the racing images, words, and scattered thoughts that fly through my mind. Sometimes when the sun shines so bright I have no need for help: my manic highs make me feel indestructible. Sometimes the grey dulls my skills and I feel incapable of functioning. In between those drastic moments, I try to be like everyone else and, at times, ignore the need for help. While taking my first exam of this semester, for example, I knew there was an essay part of the test. I refused to ask my professor for extra time to do the essay because I wanted to be like other students. However, I struggled to put thoughts together in a short amount of time—I needed extra time in order to construct a thesis statement and supportive claims. Not asking for help before the test resulted in my receiving an 80%, when I should have scored higher. My professor said I had a great thesis but provided no support—this is because I came up with the thesis at the end of the class and had no time to fix what I wrote. I take ownership of my grade, because I tried to be someone I am not. This doesn’t make me less than any other person, but what it does is present an opportunity to ask for help. Ironically, I had just encouraged another student to ask her professors for help. Why can’t we take our own advice? I think we avoid our own advice because at times we feel emotionally mature enough to believe we would never make a bad decision. There is a small part of us that sees ourselves as wise sages; unfortunately, even wise people fall on their faces. Sheena Iyengar said, “Life hands us a lot of hard choices and other people can help us more than we might realize. We often think we should make important decisions using just our own internal resources. What are the pros and cons? What does my gut tell me? But often we have friends and family who know us in ways we don’t know ourselves.” Receiving help and encouragement from others only aids us in success. I am writing three papers, one sermon, one sermon series, preparing three presentations, and studying for two exams in the next three weeks. I also work on campus. So I have begun to ask for help. I need people to keep me accountable for my time. I need extra time for in-class essays. I need extra help with making sure my papers make sense and cease to have grammatical errors. I also need God to keep me balanced. Some might wonder, “Why ask Heather for assistance if she also struggles at times to ask for help?” My reply is simple. God has given me a servant’s heart to encourage others to find their voice. Helping others actually sharpens my mind and aids in stress management. Facilitating plans of execution and ways to accomplish goals is something I excel at. But like everyone else, I am human, and therefore wrestle with things. Any stumble on my part does not hinder my ability to aid others with advice and training. I want to be open about my battles, because I know others are battling their own issues. We may not approach things the same way, but we all look to others for guidance and honesty. I know, as students, most of you are looking at your syllabi and saying, “Holy crap, I have a lot to do!” Asking for help, especially in the last four weeks, is important. I want to encourage you not to wait for it to rain down from above. Take a step out of your comfort zone and ask for help now. Schedule an appointment with the ARC, your professor, your RA, your advisor, or your friend. Ask God for guidance—He is waiting to help you. Don’t try to be like someone else! You are special and have much to contribute. Reach out if you need to. Reward yourself for seeking help. Go grab some Crazy Sushi in Sherwood or go see a movie. Don’t let shame or fear keep you from asking someone to help you. “Learned helplessness is the giving-up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger