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Category: Relationships

What Empathy Is and What It Is Not

I went hiking with a friend a few weeks ago and learned a lot about empathy. I learned a lot about it from myself, who was not being very empathetic. My friend was sharing a really hard thing with me and I kept chiming in with examples from my own life. Something deep down inside of me was saying, “Stop doing that. You’re not helping.” But I couldn’t. I just kept sharing my own stories, diminishing and quieting hers. I really was trying to be a good friend. I was trying to be an empathetic friend, but what…

Who to Share Your Dreams With and When

I’m learning that I can’t tell everyone everything. For a long time, my habit has been to gather opinions from everyone around me when I’m making a decision or going through a difficult time and need some guidance. I remember when I started dating a guy a few weeks before Valentine’s Day. As February 14 approached, he told me he would rather not make a big deal of the holiday–too much pressure, too soon. I sort of understood his reasoning and tried not to read too much into it. However, the next day…

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…

The Two Choices You Have Today

I recently returned from ten days in Peru on a mission trip with the student ministry at my church. Every day was different: street evangelism, building a house, playing with kids in the local community, encouraging the church there. We slept on the floor. We took cold showers. We stayed up too late. On mission trips past, I’ve walked away feeling I’ve learned more about the poor, or about the needs all around the world, or about feeling more grateful for what I have and wanting others’ eyes to be opened the way mine were. I suppose…

Are You Overthinking It? The Dangers of Introspection

I’ve written about this tendency of mine before—to daydream, to overthink, to create scenarios in my head and then have a difficult time returning to reality. I’m one of those people who’s been journaling since age eight and will disappear from time to time to sit on a beach, climb a tree or ride a bike simply to get away and think. I am of the overanalyzing persuasion. It’s something I’ve grown to accept about myself, but it’s also something I’m learning to watch about myself. I think it’s important…

'The Waves and Wind Still Know His Name'

If you’re not familiar with the Bethel version of “It Is Well With My Soul,” get familiar with it now. This song played in my head all weekend. My little sister chose it as part of the music played in her wedding ceremony, and I melted as I heard the band rehearse it at the church Thursday night and then again when my sister and I played it on repeat (at my request) on the way to the bridal luncheon and finally during the wedding itself as it played and everything else was silent before the moms walked down…

When We Let Friends Go

I spent this weekend wandering around a city where my good friend lives. I didn’t see him while I was there though. I actually haven’t spoken to him in a few years. We’ve lost touch and reaching out at this point would have felt strange. I was there for a music festival with another friend and as we drove, I remembered him, this friend I’ve lost touch with, and I wondered how he was. I wondered where his house was, or if I would run into him. I wondered if his family was ok and if…

The Risk of Getting to Know People

I think I’m getting worse at knowing people. What I mean is, I used to be able to ask new acquaintances endless questions about themselves. This is because I have good parents who are good at asking people questions, so I learned this from them. I’m still more of an asker and listener than a talker, but I remember after my first year out of college realizing this had gotten more difficult for me; it took more energy to keep asking questions. I blamed this on the fact I was living in England and people are less nosy…

Why Life Is Not a Paint-by-Number

Still, well into adulthood, I find myself just wanting to fit in. It’s not in the same way as it was in high school of course. I’m not hoping to be invited to the right party or pretending to smoke a cigarette or claiming my drink in my plastic cup wasn’t water, when it was. This was how I “fit in” as a teen. Today, I want to fit in with a life that follows the appropriate succession of events. I realized this recently over lunch with a friend. We discussed how each life phase brings its…

When Joy Seeps In

As Christians, we have access to something that sets us apart from all others: joy. I am not sure how to feel deep joy apart from knowing deep grace, the kind that Jesus made possible. That’s why I feel joy, the real kind, is reserved for believers. I know joy is real, that it’s a thing we have access to through the Holy Spirit, when I’m feeling it at times that I shouldn’t. This hasn’t happened for me often in my life. Even though I’ve been a Christian for a long time, grace and…