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Category: Faith

Introducing: Notes to Your Younger Self

What is an aspect of your faith that you struggled with in your past? Was it doubt, people-pleasing, trust? If you could go back to your younger self who struggled with those things, what would you tell her? What have you learned since then? What has God taught you? What have others taught you? What has experience taught you? For the next several weeks we are going to be talking about this on my blog. If you could write a note to your younger self, what would it say? English Lessons is largely a note to my younger self…

“At the Well”

It’s Friday night. I’ve been working and what I really want to do is lie down and binge watch West Wing. But instead I am here, typing. I just listened straight through Bethany Barnard’s new album three times in a row. The fifth song is called “At the Well.” It has a sort of haunting sound to it (in a good way), so haunting that it compelled me to forgo my binge watching for the evening and write this instead. Have you ever been continuously drawn to a certain passage in scripture but you weren’t sure…

The Name Jesus. The Word Love.

Perhaps what has brought me hope these last few weeks is seeing people come together. An election that has made many groups feel as if they’ve been voted against as someone else was voted for, we have linked arms in a necessary kind of way, vowing to stand up for each other and remember that none of this is normal. With our skills, vocations and talents—as artists or lawyers or teachers or pastors or leaders—we will fight for human rights. We will show them that love trumps hate. This weekend at church we sang a song with…

The Opposite of Fear Is Not Courage

A few months ago I had a week full of fear related to my work. I felt overwhelmed, andthe thoughts running through my head looked something like this: “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “This is too much.” “I need to just find another job.” “I’m not going to be able to fulfill everyone’s expectations.” You may recognize this pattern of negative self-talk. Rapid-fire statements rooted in a place of fear. Each one you listen to and believe hits you a little harder and if you’re not careful, you will one day find…

Between the Wish and the Thing

There’s this quote from All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy that has been totally haunting me this year: “Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.” Have truer words ever been written? That sentence is a bit glum on first reading. A lot of the things McCarthy writes are glum, but as I’ve turned this sentence over and over in my head, I see some hope in it. He says “the world lies waiting.” We’re all in this waiting thing together. So, so much of life is waiting for something we want to…

He’s Not the One Who Got Away

This phrase has been running around my head lately: He’s not the one who got away. Did you catch that “not” I slid in there? I thought about it one night when I was cooking and listening to the Civil Wars. Their song “The One that Got Away” came on and got me thinking. The song talks about forbidden love, saying “I wish you were the one that got away” and what it’s like to not be able to let go of that person. As I peeled my carrots and listened, I realized I’m fortunate that I…

When You Realize You’re the Pharisee

Often when I read stories in the Bible about Jesus, I consider myself one of his disciples in the story, and I consider the Pharisees my enemies. But in reading a story in Matthew recently, I realized the reverse was true. Matthew 12 begins with Jesus and the disciples walking through some cornfields on the Sabbath. While they were walking, they picked some corn to eat because they were hungry. Some Pharisees saw this and accused them of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus stepped in and reminded them that even King David broke into the priests’ pantry and ate “sacred” bread…

What’s Really Killing Your Spiritual Life?

What is the death of the church and the Christian life? I heard a pastor ask that this week, and his answer caused me to do an out-loud “hmm” – something I’m not prone to do in congregational settings, unless it’s really good. He didn’t say the death of the Christian life is not enough prayer or study. He didn’t say the death of the church was poor leadership or low attendance. No, the thing that will smother and sizzle out both the church and your Christian walk is this: Pretending. Hmm. When we, he explained…

Our Jobs, Our Calling, The Fall

I just came off a weekend with some wonderful people: my little sister, Sara, and her fiancé (my future brother-in-law!), Jeff. We talked about many things and of course at some point the conversation turned to our callings in work, as it often does when you are a group of twenty somethings. I think the years in your twenties can be multiplied by 7, like dog years. You experience life so quickly and furiously in that post-college time. You are forced to absorb and learn at a highly concentrated level. From 22 to 27, so much can…

Why Being Still Makes Us So Uncomfortable

I hate being sick. I know everybody hates being sick, but I feel like I have a particularly hard time with it. I’ve had a cold since Friday, and I noticed that with this cold I was doing more than usual to try and make it go away as soon as possible. I took a ginger and cayenne shot at a juice bar. I purchased whiskey from the liquor store—something I never buy—to make a hot toddy. I Googled “home remedies for colds” and discovered that oregano tea can help, so I made some, and…