Sign up for my newsletter and get a free chapter from English Lessons! Click here.

this is a page for

Browsing Tag: striving

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…

When Women Are Jealous

Girls being jealous of girls was the spontaneous topic of conversation for me a few times this week. And by girls, I guess I mean women because the friends I talked to were in their twenties and we weren’t speaking in past tense. Sure, when we were in middle school we huddled with our friends and talked bad about the girls we secretly felt were prettier than we were even though we said they weren’t and who we secretly knew were better athletes than we or smarter or, what it most often came down to, we didn’t…

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…

The Journey Was His Idea

We all know the story about Jesus calming the wind and the waves, right? (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus was on a boat with his disciples and then a storm came. The disciples freaked out because they were afraid the boat would capsize, and they would drown. They woke up Jesus because, yes, he had been sleeping, and Jesus told the wind and the waves to stop. “And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Seriously, that story never gets old for me. But the other day, I was reading it and noticed the beginning for the first…

A Christmas Reminder for Perfectionists

This weekend I attended The Gift of Christmas–a night of spoken-word poetry and music with Ann Voskamp, Amena Brown and Ellie Holcomb. I expected the Christmas songs and the candles and for the word “advent” to be thrown around a few times, but I didn’t expect to be so moved by it all. I like Christmas, but I’m not a fanatic. I don’t want to get all excited about something that will last only one day. I think it’s a self-preservation thing. Anyways, that’s why I didn’t expect much more…

Beauty: The Race We're All Losing

If beauty is fleeting, why do we chase it? I was fortunate to be told by loving parents again and again that I was beautiful. Their compliments came naturally, but I took them for granted. Sometimes, I didn’t believe them and many times they even got on my nerves. Great, my dad thinks I’m beautiful, but no one at school does. And the guy in my algebra class was the real opinion that mattered. I wish I could say not believing in my own beauty ended in high school, but scrolling through old Facebook pictures recently made me…

The Houses We Build

I moved again, into a place that this time is mine. I own it. The whole thing. Both bedrooms, the kitchen, the balcony, all of it. The fridge and washer and dryer and everything else in the laundry closet and the cabinets. That is a lot of stuff to fall under my possession so suddenly. Since I’ve moved in, I’ve become a little, or maybe a lot, obsessed with making it look good. Exactly the way I want it. I care about it all. The colors on the wall, the brass hardware (gross), at which position this lamp…

It's OK to Give Up

I hold onto some things very tightly. Like white-knuckles-gritted-teeth-if-I-let-go-I-die kind of tightly. It’s actually amazing I have the energy to do anything else. Anything but hold onto these things. I don’t believe I am alone in this. I think the majority of us are probably walking down the street, teeth gritted, knuckles white, nails digging into our palms, holding on so painfully tight to things that were never ours to being with. Why do we do it? If it hurts us so badly and causes so much…