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Where you don't belong: a lesson from Sandy Cheeks

Of all the things I carried forward from childhood- one of my favorite flaws is my juvenile taste in entertainment.

As a grown woman standing before you, this-many-days-old, I still love cartoons.

One the privileges this affords me is the ability to connect with the littles in my life on a whole different level. It is a joy of mine to watch their faces and listen to their giggles as they witness the on-screen shenanigans unfold.

Recently, two of the tiny humans in my life were excited to introduce me to their latest animated find: Sponge Bob Square Pants. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that good ol’ SB has been a part of my cartoon library since its inception in 1999.

As we cued up the episode they selected, one of my favorite characters entered the scene- little Miss Sandy Cheeks. (Yeah- I know, but what else would you name a squirrel who lives in a sandy-bottomed bubble at the bottom of the sea?)

And as I watched Sandy interacting with her oceanic friends, a thought occurred to me… what did Sandy need to give up in order to live amongst these creatures? Why would she remain in a place that wouldn’t allow her most basic need, breathing, to be fulfilled- save for a weighted dive suit and a giant bubble around her head?

Naturally, the next question to surface (see what I did there?) was this… Why would Sandy stay?

Does she not know about a freer life with trees and clouds and air?! Does she not envy her friends, just a little, when they remove their water-filled helmets upon exiting her larger, domed home (because they know they can’t survive in her environment), gliding away effortlessly in the ocean’s current?

AND… let’s not skirt the question we’re all wondering about (ok- maybe you’re not. But just play along, k?) what happens when her suit fails?! How will she survive being weighed down to the ocean’s floor?

As my musings turned slightly frantic and dark, I heard a gentle whisper in my mind—

How often do we stay in an environment that requires us to make accommodations, just to be able to breathe?

How often have I stayed in environments like that?

Whether it’s a job, bad habit, or relationship, at one time or another it is likely we have all found ourselves weighed down in some place where we don’t belong.

Like Sandy- we make accommodations, we enclose ourselves in a bubble. We walk around breathing limited air just to survive in a place not meant for us. An unsafe place. An oppressive place. Sandy is like the animated equivalent to finding function in our dysfunction. And that’s fine… if you’re a cartoon.

But the truth is that sooner or later, the bubble will break, the suit will fail. Then, what has been holding us in place will ultimately hold our demise.

So, what about you?

Is there an area in your life where you feel weighed down in an environment that doesn’t promote your best life?

Are you breathing the “recycled air” of an old, unhelpful story based on shame and lies?

What is the thing that God wants to set you free from? And make no mistake, He absolutely wants you to be free.

If you’re stuck for an answer, stop right now, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and gently ask yourself this question:

What is the one thing in my life I am believing or doing that holds me back from the one thing I want most?

If you can answer that- then its likely you have found your weighted suit. Now that you know- what will you do with it?

Doing this deeper work is hard! So, we don’t want you to go it alone. Join the community at and be sure to check out our resources page for help and encouragement on your journey to your healthiest you.

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