the feeling of being an inadequate christian

“And here I am, the same Hagar, in a different establishment once more, and waiting again. I try, a little, to pray, as one’s meant to do at evening, thinking perhaps the knack of it will come to me here. But it works no better than it ever did. I can’t change what’s happened to me in my life, or make what’s not occurred take place. But I can’t say I like it, or accept it, or believe it’s for the best. I don’t and never shall, not even if I’m damned for it. So I merely sit on the bed and look out the window until the dark comes and the trees have gone and the sea itself has been swallowed by the night.” (The Stone Angel- Margaret Laurence, pg. 160)



As the last passage of chapter five in The Stone Angel, Hagar is reflecting on her memories of the past. After a flashback of her life as Mr. Oatley’s maid, she recalls his kindness towards her, John’s teenage behaviour, and even the bitter emptiness she felt when she found herself waking up alone, without the presence of Bram. It was a moment of uncertainty of her coming future- hoping, and praying for happiness to come. She then proceeds to break the fourth wall before stating the quotation, saying the future was not to be expected, foreshadowing the later events of the novel. The quotation illustrates present Hagar finding herself in a similar position, trying to pray for a brighter future. A future that does not include being admitted into a senior’s home.



Hagar’s character remains unchanging throughout the course of the novel, carrying pride and negativity through her youth, adulthood, and old age. She is in a similar situation of discontent at different points in her life. Hagar finds it obligatory to pray for an improvement to take place for her future, without the belief or faith that they will be answered. This feeling of obligation stems from the religious influences in her life. Religion is a recurring motif throughout the story, including: her father never missing a Sunday service, Bram’s indecency in the church, Doris inviting her religious friend to their home to influence Hagar’s spirituality, and Murray Lee’s loss in faith. Hagar contradicts most of these instances by having a very weak connection to God. When her prayers remain unanswered, Hagar automatically chooses to be pessimistic when in prayer, one is supposed to feel patient. Her loss of faith is derived from her loss of control, good fortune, and happiness in her life. By replacing faith with pride, Hagar is accepting condemnation. Without allowing herself to accept her past, she is unable to move on and experience happiness. By bowing down to even the divinity of God, Hagar feels a sense of weakness, as if being in need or requesting relief of her problems is a sign of inadequacy. Hagar’s character is presented as headstrong and completely independent. Though she remained unwavering of her values, Hagar’s aging has caused her to regress back to a childlike stubbornness. With such a potent personality, Hagar has a weak sense of self, she does not know herself well. She disallows herself to feel any negative emotions, especially represented through John’s death when she refused to grieve or cry in front of anyone. Avoiding negative emotions causes an individual to harbor more resentment and hate towards all aspects of life. Hagar cannot feel happiness without acceptance.



Unfortunately, Hagar has lived a full life of pure sadness and bitterness. It is as if she has lost hope while waiting for a moment of happiness in her life. What is she waiting for? Perhaps her own death as she constantly deems herself old and useless. This immensely strong sense of pride Hagar carries results from the reinforcement of the importance of reputation and social status her father instilled within her from a young age. Unfortunately, this mentality has caused her to make decisions at the cost of her own success or fulfillment. When an individual continuously sacrifices their happiness for the sake of others, resentment develops because they have not felt any self satisfaction. I have recently learned that not allowing myself to accept elements in my life that cannot change is denial and avoidance of my problems. Maybe my life is not filled with all the tribulations I’m destined to face yet, but I still experience hardship. I took this quotation on the more religious level. Similarly to Hagar, I have felt a slight disconnect with my faith at my own fault. Although this might not seem like the be-all end-all of my life, but it was an experience that I didn’t even realize was happening to me. I’ve noticed that the loss of faith is not abrupt. It is a slow strenuous process or lethargy and avoidance. The fact that I had stopped praying almost cut me off. Yes, I attended service twice a week as I was supposed to, yet I always felt guilty to even be in the presence of God. I feel undeserving. With all that said, I’ve been putting more effort in reaching my full potential of faithfulness.



Dear Father in Heaven,
I’m waiting again. It’s 10 o’clock at night and I try, a little, to pray, as one’s meant to do every evening. I know that for so many nights, I’ve put myself above Your Name, I’ve avoided Your sight for days, although I know I cannot hide from You. I sit in guilt because I know that I am not worthy of Your unyielding goodness that reigns on me, but I seem to be holding an umbrella above my own head, hiding.

Yes, I haven’t been doing well. I’m sorry that You experience disappointment everyday because of me, I’ve doubted You heavily. For a fraction of a second, I thought You could not give me happiness and I know that was wrong and it pains me to think that I could have denied Your love for even a moment and I’m so embarrassed to ask for forgiveness when I’m undeserving and I will never do it again and please don’t hurt me as much as I’ve hurt you and I’m sorry.

I promise I am good.

I promise I didn’t mean it.

Please be merciful. I ask that You, please, see my heart. You know that I can’t lie to You. Because I always seem to be making promises that I can’t keep. In service, a promise always comes up in prayer, but I can’t stop answering just because I’m too weak to be perfect. And here I am, the same person You’ve always known, on my knees, making a solemn oath. I will put my complete trust onto You.

You are my refuge.

In the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,




I wrote this prayer in hopes of getting my emotions onto paper to visualize. Physically writing allows me to have a certain cathartic experience thinking or talking does not provide. I felt so much guilt and it only brought me farther and farther away from God. And I know, I am not the best writer or presenter, I’m still trying to authenticate my voice and style. I will be better.



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4 thoughts on “the feeling of being an inadequate christian

  1. Dear Mia,

    Great job on your first blog! It is evident that you are a strong analytical and creative writer in this piece – your analysis of the quote, coupled with your emulation, were well thought out and flowed very nicely.

    My favourite part of your analysis of the quote was in the mean portion, specifically when you wrote that, “[b]y replacing faith with pride, Hagar is accepting condemnation.” While I had realized that Hagar’s pride was overpowering, I had never realized that it had “replaced faith.” The idea that one cannot have faith with excessive pride, and therefore cannot have excessive pride if they are faithful, was one that I did not truly recognize the significance of in “The Stone Angel” until this blog made it apparent to me. It has now left me with more questions than answers about the characterization of Hagar, which is a good thing – I am having to think more to truly grasp all the elements of a character like Hagar.

    Further, your insight has helped me understand not only the great significance of the undertone of religion in “The Stone Angel,” but also more about religion and the depth of prayers as well, namely in your emulation (which I thought that it was brilliant to structure it like a prayer). You had said that in writing this blog, you found it a cathartic experience – for me, I felt that I was most impacted by your emulation when you presented it in class. In hearing you read your emulation, my preconceptions of what a prayer should be diminished. I had thought that prayers could be impersonal, a repetition of the same thing, but the obvious connection that you have with praying and with your religion was truly enlightening. My household is not overly religious, celebrating major events and holding religious ceremonies only a few times a year. However, the passion with which you spoke for your religion made me realize the significance of participating in the ceremonies I had previously mentioned whole-heartedly and with a desire to connect and understand the mantras and prayers that usually go over my head.

    Thank you for this.

    – Shyla

    P.S. You have great ideas and can articulate them well! Don’t be afraid during presentations to speak up; I know that you will bring great revelations to the class if you do. 🙂

  2. Dearest Mia,
    Great job, love, on your presentation and blog alike. Please don’t be so hard on your writing/ presentation skills; of course, you will grow but where you are now is really quite good 🙂 I really enjoyed your blog: the insight you gave with the mean and matter of your quote (in relation to the text) was very impressive. “By replacing faith with pride, Hagar is accepting condemnation.” was a brilliant use of a simple sentence as it allowed it to be as punchy as a line like this needs to be. It caught my attention and I was all the more excited to read more. As far as your personal matter and emulation go, I was once again impressed; first off, #relatable so please don’t feel alone or guilty. There is no need for perfection when it comes to faith. Once again you sentence structure dazzled me. “…the loss of faith is not abrupt. It is a slow strenuous process or lethargy and avoidance”, wow, we love an articulate sister!

    The only thing I could suggest to improve upon would be breaking up your paragraphs into smaller chunks but that is greatly influenced by personal preference.

    Great work Mia. Jesus loves you, I love you, and you will be great!


  3. Mia,

    Honestly, I am so utterly in awe of you – you have such a beautiful air of unwavering strength in the face of your truth and vulnerabilities, a sincerity in your voice that is so rarely found and so incredibly refreshing.

    Your presentation had me tearing up as well; I’m so, so proud of you for getting up there and blowing everyone away, especially because it was your first presentation in this class! You literally had no reason to be as nervous as you were 🙂

    The lens of religion that you brought into your presentation was quite profound, and it served to personalize the message of the book for me. I remember when I was reading the book, I was slowly warming up to Hagar following her small acts of redemption – that is, until I got to the second-last page where she proclaims, “…Bless me or not, Lord, just as You please, for I’ll not beg.” At this point, I was just so done with Hagar and her pride, her inability to accept the mercy that would provide her the freedom she’d been longing for her whole 90+ years of existence. You summarized the essence of religion in Hagar’s life so beautifully when you said:

    “By bowing down to even the divinity of God, Hagar feels a sense of weakness, as if being in need or requesting relief of her problems is a sign of inadequacy.”

    Hagar is unable to recognize the enormity of God and her relative insignificance in His presence. Her pride is such that she places herself above Him, as though He owes her, and not the other way around. Her “childlike stubbornness” stunts her and annihilates any chance she has in finding a sense of peace. However, it’s so easy to judge someone whilst turning a blind eye to one’s own faults. I appreciate that you yourself are humble enough to help us recognize that these demons reside in all of us, and that how we interact with them is up to us, whether we allow them to fester or cut them out completely. The introspection provided by literature is what allows us to slowly redefine and reshape ourselves; we are not confined to the words on the pages, but the ink of the pen, authors of our own stories.

    Another one of your (many) profound sentences that really stuck with me was,“With such a potent personality, Hagar has a weak sense of self…”


    You’ve shed light on such a fundamental aspect of Hagar’s character that COMPLETELY escaped me as I was reading the book. Hagar doesn’t recognize herself except physically – in failing to acknowledge her weaknesses she denies herself her own individuality. She doesn’t allow herself to ever fully be a mother, a sister, a daughter, or a wife, but you’ve helped me realize that she doesn’t even let herself be Hagar. She is a hollow shell of the individual she could have been, filled with the emptiness of pride and convincing herself it fulfilled her. The duality between one’s personhood and their true, unadulterated self, the ego and the essence… thank you for allowing me to ponder on that! I think I may have a blog topic thanks to you 😉

    “I’ve noticed that the loss of faith is not abrupt. It is a slow strenuous process or lethargy and avoidance.”

    Mia, how are you so in tune with the workings of the world?? You’re exposing to me the bits of my own soul I have neglected, revealing to me how faith is a commitment one makes, not something they’re forced into, devoid of passion or action. That must be why it didn’t work out for Hagar – faith is a continuous push to be better, prayers not just when things are bad but when things are looking up as well. It’s feeling lethargic and still trying anyways, once more, to connect with the thing that makes you feel whole again.

    One last gem from your exquisite emulation that really hit me: “You are my refuge.”


    The coherence with the theme of mercy that you were able to maintain and develop throughout your blogpost is actual goals. Mercy is one of my all-time favourite themes, and I think it plays such an important role in both our everyday lives and in religion. Where would we be without it, honestly? The world would be a much darker place as a result of its absence. The existence of mercy itself, be it in a person or an ideology, acts as a sort of sustenance for the soul. We depend on it so utterly, both from others and from ourselves, and I’m so glad you brought this to the forefront, because we are apt to forgetting.

    I love this piece so much it was a struggle coming up with something you could improve. The only small thing would suggest working on is GUMPs and general flow. There were a few breaks in flow here and there that could be quickly fixed with a quick read-through, though none of it lessened my complete awe of you.

    Finally, Mia, I have to commend you on your resolve to always be a better individual, because that mindset is where growth truly takes root and flourishes. The fact that you joined AP because you have faith in its ability to develop you as not only a writer but a thinker, a human being, speaks volumes to who you are and the wondrous places you’ll go as a result of your resolve and open heart. Remember that you are enough – everything you need, everything you’re looking for, you already hold within you; don’t ever doubt the beauty, the value of what you have. We’re just here to help you realize it.

    I’ve known you for less than a month, and I’m already so grateful that you chose to stick it through, and so floored by what I’ve already learned from you. Thank you so much for trusting in this class; I hope you know how much faith we all have in you! I can’t wait to see you soar through the year and grow as both an amazing writer, and the beautiful soul you are. I’m so excited to keep learning from you!!



    (Sorry for the essay… I kinda got carried away :))

  4. Dearest Mia,
    First of all, I LOVE your featured image! Also, congratulations on your first post in ELA AP – I’m proud. I love how as you said in your presentation you decided that through this piece you would explore your own voice rather than emulate from another work, much like you would in the past. In your piece, I especially loved the lines: “I promise I am good. I promise I didn’t mean it.” Talk about parallel structure!! Also, I loved the line: “ You are my refuge.” Instead of using a long complex sentence, you decided to punch the reader with this simple 4-word sentence – spectacular!
    I only have one suggestion, perhaps you might want to take the titles you have of say, mean, and matter off as they might disrupt the flow of your piece. Kelley gave me this suggestion and I totally see how it disrupted my flow, so, perhaps you may want to consider doing the same.
    Can’t wait to see more from you this semester!
    Natalie 🙂

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