The Mindy Project Sheds Light on a Christian Trend : When God is Telling You To Move On

 

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It was a real let down the other night, to discover the latest episode of New Girl wasn’t available yet On Demand. (When you’re missing things like Netflix in your life, such moments are pathetically disappointing.) So, since I wasn’t quite ready to invest in something deep and heavy (Breaking Bad has just about sucked every ounce of faithful TV drama-following I could possibly invest ... until January, that is of course, when Downtown Abbey returns), alas, I decided to give my next 20 minutes to The Mindy Project. (Side note: I realize, when it comes to TV shows, I can be like that person who “doesn’t like desserts” but somehow still manages to consume more than is necessary.) 

The Mindy Project is, just what it claims to be, a project by Mindy Kaling. Mindy Kaling (the annoying Kelly everyone loved to hate from The Office) created a show light and funny enough to not feel like a complete waste of time. It’s like Pinkberry for Primetime, sweet and not necessarily over-induldgent, but still completely unnecessary. Either way, having not watched more than a few episodes of the first season, in it’s second season (whatever was the latest available On Demand at the time) this well-established doctor has a boyfriend named Casey, who she went to Haiti with, who then proposed to her, and comes back to the States to marry her, just to decide they should hold off until they could have a “real” wedding (whatever that means these days). Oh. Did I mention her boyfriend just happens to be a fun-loving, cute, hip pastor? Go figure. 

(**Spoiler alert** - for those Mindy late bloomers.) In this epidsode, Mindy’s Pastor/boyfriend decides he’s not called to be a pastor anymore. So from the pastorate he leaves to pursue his new calling - the hard life of a DJ. To cut to the chase, he lands a few gigs, feels less than supported by Mindy in this new calling and quickly decides it just isn’t “him.” Pastor Casey’s next true calling is... Events Planning. By the end of the episode Mindy can’t take much more and calls it quits with Casey, the Pastor/ DJ/ aspiring-Events Planner. 

When Casey tries to defend his deeply rooted reasoning for his ever-changing career mode, he claims “God’s telling me to change; I have to listen.” Mindy replies, “Sometimes I feel like when God’s telling you to change, there’s a little of you talking too.” And... the sappy heartbreaking love music swells, Casey packs up his bags and Mindy finds herself on the couch with a box of kleenex, eating Ben & Jerry’s, watching Jerry MacGuire. (Ok, not really, but that’s where most girls would wind up by the end of the night.)

Its rare that Christians receive any limelight on a sitcom, unless you’re referring to the GCB-take on Christians or that coach on Friday Night Lights (sorry, never gave it the time of day.) While most stereotypes are harsh (such as GCB), representing a percentage of Christianity (a real percentage), it’s often a one-sided and generic view of people who identify themselve as Christ-followers. Christians are still human, no doubt; full of fault and folly. Specifically, Christians are rarely viewed as handsome, tall men with dating potential, on any show.

So, why a Casey would be chosen for Mandy’s rather somber episode says a lot about the perception of Christians in our current culture. What Mindy says to Casey, I wish more Christians would say to each other. I wish more people would have said this to me. 

While it’s not something we like to acknowledge, it’s interesting how a Christian’s perception of “hearing God” is often linked to the things that hold more of our attention than God does. So maybe it’s not even us we’re listening to as much as these obsessions or fixations, such as the perfect job.

The majority of young adults are already struggling to find lucrative careers that fit like a glove, that don’t feel like work.  But, a majority (of young adults - not necessarily Christians) also realize work, and an income are essential and not every season in life affords us the luxury of doing what we feel we are made to do. What we feel “called” to do, that dream job that excites and thrills us, often requires getting our hands more dirty and stretching ourselves much further than many self-proclaimed believers of Christ have the tenacity to endure. Yet it’s interesting how many of those who wouldn’t consider themselves Christians or remotely religoius can somehow sort through their emotions and frustrations, and truly commit to work that wouldn’t fit in their fresh-out-of-college-ideal dreams. 

Could this perception of Christians be because many (of us) can’t make up our minds and are too easily swayed by emotions and discontent?  Or do we simply hold too much of our identity in a career? For the Christian Culture, could our misinterpretation of vocation make some of us more unstable and unreliable, because in actuality it’s not God that we’re listening to but ourselves? While, clearly as The Mindy Project protrays, Christians have the tendency to move and change careers often. Could it be because we “listen to God” or, as the closing scene of The Mindy Project played out, could it be a common flaw among us? When “hearing God” shows a lack of maturity in those of us who claim to hold to this Christian faith, I wonder what faith it is we really hold to.

 

How Much Money are You Leaving on the Table?: All things (I wish I had) Considered

                                                                                   Image from Refinery29

                                                                                  Image from Refinery29

There are many things I would change if I went back in college. Not that I have any desire to go back, whatsoever, but I certainly would have considered doing some things differently. I would have been a bit more of a realist, particularly where my degree was concerned.

Maybe it’s a female trait (hate to stereotype) or comes with the creative type (can’t help but stereotype), but you could say I was a tad idealistic in pursuing a music performance degree. I was very much the “I just want to sing!”-type in school, without any consideration or desire to explore a practical approach to such a career, or better yet, pursue a degree that would compliment my passion for a more lucrative position, and by lucrative I mean a steady salary.

Often once we leave college, interests change, degrees change, and (thank God) we change. For those of us who have yet to pursue an MA, and are working to make a decent living as adults (though there is a growing trend to avoid that as long as possible) are we using our degrees to their greatest potential? Or are we leaving money on the table?

This week NPR covered a segment on Why Women Choose Lower Paying Jobs. A recent study shows “The Percentage of Women in the Least Lucrative Jobs” well outweighs the percentage of men. In the segment, economist Anthony Carnevale, of Georgetown University, took a moment to rate just how much money this NPR reporter left on the table:

I described my situation to Carnevale: I majored in applied math. I have an MBA. And 

I’m working as a reporter at NPR. 

‘Oh, you left a lot of money on the table,’ he told me. ‘You left probably as much as $3 [million] to $4 million on the table.’

Whether male or female, those in their 20’s likely pursued a degree in an area they considered themselves talented in. And Boomers (aka our parents and other wiser, older generations) would likely tell us, “You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated.(Just read the slightly demeaning, but practical advice in Forbes, 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get, which may benefit more than just 20-somethings.) Everyone is talented, but not everyone is smart enough to consider how to incorporate their talents into a career that would be both profitable and lasting.

Some of us may be more concerned with doing what we’re passionate about than whether or not there is any money left on the table. Though money is not always the objective, with whatever is left on the table, could we also be leaving opportunity and skills that could inadvertently be the necessary growth for our talents? 

There is no harm in pursuing a degree in the arts or doing what you love, but seeking out potential possibilities by merging your passions with productive skills, especially for those currently in college or furthering education, is certainly something to consider.

 

How We Women Add to Our Weight Woes

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“Do I look fat in this?”

We women tend to ask questions we already know the answers to. And often it’s not necessarily for the answers we don’t know but for the ones we want to hear.

The feminine species can be a tricky sort.

Sometimes we play games. Sometimes we ask the right questions (and probably in just the right way, in just the worst scenarios) to get the right answers. And sometimes we like to nurture a little thing called insecurity.

A women’s level of self-confidence and esteem has an impact in just about every aspect of her life; her choice of clothing, her facial expressions, her job performance, her interaction with other women, her interactions with men, her sense of drive behind the wheel, her eating habits and possibly even her tweets. Yes, we women can gear a lot in life simply by how we view ourselves. The power of insecurity can be paralyzing, affecting the way we communicate, conduct ourselves and even have a domino affect on our progress in attaining a healthy weight. 

If we haven’t been that girl asking those question, (which whohasn’t at some point) we’ve all known someone who’s questions and conversations are directed in such a way to edify themselves on a regular basis. Truly it’s a common mind game we like to throw on one another (and it’s exactly the kind of behavior women in my family have no problem calling each other out on) but it is often the root of insecurities we culture in our minds that wind up complicating so much more in life than is necessary, even possibly our weight.

It’s no shock to most of us that we are our worst critics, but in turn, we also are our worst enemies. Functioning in such thought patterns of self-doubt disables our ability to move forward, accomplish and achieve much of anything. Really spending the time we do analyzing, sorting and making a science out the simple task of “eating well” derails us into more emotional frustrations than our minds can contain. So tasks as simple as changing eating habits or being more active become like science formulas to us that we can’t unlock (and instead we buy into the health industry, who’s books, diets and programs feed everyone pretty much the same crap in just different forms. ) We can also allow such a self-image to discourage us, feeling that we aren’t good enough or of a certain status to be worthy of a healthy and happy life. This creates a sort of cynicism to the idea of being happy and healthy or ever getting to a weight you’re comfortable with, as if it’s unattainable and far-fetched, as if it’s a joke. If we were to view ourselves as deserving and capable of a healthy weight, the steps to getting there would probably look entirely different, as would our view of physical fitness and emotional well-being.

More than likely, nothing and no one effects our weight loss efforts more than our thoughts and level of self-confidence. Insecurity keeps us from doing what we love, dreaming of what is next and essentially living life. So with all these trickling effects of insecurity, could a healthy image of self play a key role in obtaining healthier habits, weight loss goals and overall holistic health? Now, why would I ask a question I already know the answer to?