Saturday, December 7, 2013

I Was Wrong About Being Right

It doesn't satisfy like I thought it would.  It almost never accomplishes what I'm always shooting for: perfection.  Being right at work doesn't magically fix all our broken processes and get folks to do or see things differently.  Being right in relationships does NOT equate to resolution or deeper intimacy.  Being right is just not the reward in and of itself that I've assumed it was my whole life.

 I don't know if it's my highly analytical nature or tendency to trust my own intellect, but I often think I'm right.  Those of you who know me are laughing.  That's fair.  But being "right" carries with it an assumption that the process is over.  Exploration is complete.  Scientific method has been carried out, and observed conclusions backed up by evidence are sound.  The subject is finished.  Other than actual mathematical laws and proven theorems, what ideas, thoughts, emotions are ever over

I've opened up some of the boxes I had neatly wrapped for years: in theology, in love, in self-exploration.  Maybe the process isn't so bad.  Maybe I was wrong about my potential for creativity.  Maybe I was wrong about my potential.  Maybe I've been wrong about everyone's potential.  It's not all science when we're talking about a sovereign God.  I may NEVER get that right.  But that's a big one: People aren't static.  Lives are fluid.  Stories have chapters.  

The open endings are freeing.  God is bigger than my ability and even my desire to be right.  He ALWAYS will be.  Maybe "as far as I know right now" is a really good answer.  Being right for me has always been a crutch that replaced faith.  Why would I need to believe and trust if I could just "figure it out"?  If I haven't always reached a conclusion, then I can join others in the journey.  There are less walls.  Less division.  More conversations.  In the wise words of my husband, "There's no limit to what I don't know."  It was hilarious when he said it, but it's very true.  For all of us.  And that's okay. 

So here's to new things!  I don't know if this is related, but I recently tried out red hair without regret.  Here's to new opportunities, less fear, more conversation, and new goals of unity and love in my pursuit of Truth. 

And let me just add that I was WAY wrong about how hard it would be to jump back on the blogging train after getting back from India.  I think I'm still unpacking some of my thoughts on that experience.  If I bring to completion one of my five drafts going right now, you'll be the first to know.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I was wrong about Grace

Blissfully wrong.  In fact, it's a bit of a cycle for me.  I constantly revert back to believing I have to earn if I could earn it.  What a mess, right?  Gross-looking cycle of guilt.  I struggle with the performance trap, an idea from "Search for Significance" by Robert S. McGee.  It's a lie from Satan that states "I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself".  Life can be a heck of a time for this perfectionist.  I feel like I have more flaws than those around me, but I can't tell if it's just because I focus on them or if that's true.  In the grand scheme, I'm not sure it matters.  I am where I am.  When I can do or be better, I will.  Can you tell my counselor has given me some good weapons to battle these "old tapes"?  (Sidenote: I HIGHLY recommend counseling. No one's family was perfect.  We all have some baggage. Who couldn't use a lighter load?)

But God's economy isn't ours.  It's not a pay-for-service deal.  Grace is a free gift.  (See Ephesians 2:8-9.) Not a cost-less gift, mind you.  It costs living for you in exchange for REAL life.
“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: 'Ye were bought at a price', and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship 
 The reminder of my need for grace is not a bad thing. When the Liar spins conviction so that "I'm a horrible person; how could God or anyone else love me?", then it is perverted into a destructive thing.  But His kindness leads us to repentance.  What an option!!!  Repentance

Another key piece about grace is to live in a community that personifies God's grace in your life.  That's key.  Grace is tough.  Many don't understand it, and fewer have enough lying around to extend to others.  Feeling judged and isolated for where and who you are hurts.  I've experienced limited grace in that way before.  It sucks and makes me not want to risk again by letting folks in.  How automatic is that wall of protection once we feel spurned?  Yep, I said "spurned".  Getting all old school Bible on ya makes what I'm saying more legit, right?

In contrast, I've been blessed to be loved by folks for exactly who I am. Even in hurtful times, despite what was pushing some away; others still chose to love me through it.  Even right now.  With all my junk. I'm reminded daily in the love of my husband, my family, and my church family that grace abounds even unto me.  If they can love me like that, imagine how much God loves and accepts me?  And if you're not currently involved in a church due to fear of judgment from them or God, please understand: If they let me in, you're good!  I'm not exaggerating.

I could write all day about grace, and I will never understand it. God knows everything about me and gave His Son for me anyway. I will never, ever, ever, grasp that. I will keep being wrong about how extravagant and beautiful and transformative it is.  It overcomes, and it empowers. It's a blessed surprise at each turn of repentance.  Not a cheap net to catch us when we fall, but an ocean to swim in and be changed by. I will hope. I will focus less on my flaws and more on the beauty of grace that allows me to know the Creator God of the universe.  I will keep saying "yes" to the opportunities God gives because of grace.

How do you feel when you think about grace?  How 'bout the fact that it's free? What has been your experience with it or without it?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I was wrong...

About so many things.  It's a constant process of evaluating, relearning, tearing down, rebuilding.  As I scientific thinker, I'm constantly gathering data...even subconsciously.  I assess my findings, draw conclusions, and build life "rules" or laws, if you will.  I wasn't kidding; it's legitimately the scientific method.

When I threw the gauntlet down (okay, it was more like a light offer), challenging a friend to blog weekly, I began to consider what I might blog about weekly myself.  I decided it would be a good exercise to try to write a series around a theme. What could I find to go on about weekly for six or eight weeks?  Where would I get the material, the inspiration?  It was daunting.  It still is.  But something I do know a lot about and have a wealth of experience with is being wrong. 

Being wrong is messy, humbling, halting, gracious, and beautiful at times.  It's priceless when it means victorious redirection.  Sometimes it means regret.  It often bring gratitude for grace and second chances. 

With a lengthy intro, I won't spend many words on this "wrong".  I will state the obvious.  I was wrong about why to try to blog.  I was wrong when my goal was to get people to be interested in what I thought or what I was doing or how I could tie my thoughts in a bow at the end with a relevant Scripture passage.  I spent all of my childhood years pining to be famous...for anything.  I wanted to be a singer, an actress, a model, a child genius, a famous scientist, basically anything that would make me a household name.  I figured out pretty quick I wasn't going to put in the work to become famous for a sport, so those were the best my little aspiring mind could come up with.  Thank the Lord He didn't give me any of those.  I would have been insufferable.  See?  The gratitude.

But He gave me some traits and lessons to use for the greater good.  So if by blogging, by sharing words about my life or my thoughts or my heart, I connect with another heart or connect another heart to His, I will give this a go.  I will try to hone this skill.  I will say another small "yes" and look for what He wants to do.  I will not let fear deter me, or not this time anyway.  I will risk embarrassment, critique, and being misunderstood.  I was wrong about not trying.  So we doing this.  And I left out the helping verb on purpose in the last sentence.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It's a sweet one.  I mean that literally and figuratively.  It's summer here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, so we have long, sunny days and breezy cool nights.  It's my favorite time of year here.  I'll even take the heat.  People are so cute up here throwing out heat advisories for temps above 80.  They wouldn't last 3 days in the month of May where I'm from in Tennessee.  It's a sweet one figuratively as well because I sense change. 

I'm constantly learning new things through marriage, of course.  I have a feeling the season coming upon us is one where I learn more about grace: giving and receiving.  I have no doubt this will be a theme woven throughout, but for sure I'm about to dive in.  God's been answering prayers I didn't even get out in words.  He's giving me opportunities to be used and to pour myself out, and I'm thankful.  I want to get better at saying "yes" and quicker at responding to the Spirit's promptings.  The Lord knows I'm around folks all the time that long to feel His presence.  I want to long for it the most. 

I'm also excited for new friends.  God seems to have brought some folks around me that 1. get grace, 2. are authentic, 3. are open to connecting.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I truly hope God grows and uses that friendship to encourage and grow both of us. 

I'm trying to approach my life like I feel everyone should approach their summer: take a step back, rest, look around, enjoy each moment, and recognize God there.  I am grateful for seasons.  I'm grateful for this one.

How do you feel about seasons in life?  Do you see purpose in various ones?  What have you learned in the good ones?  What have you learned in the difficult ones?  How has God revealed Himself in each?

Saturday, June 1, 2013


It has the power to change everything.  Yep, spelled it like that on purpose.  It often single-handedly attitude.  Another confession: I'm prone to negativity.  It's a battle that never quits in me. My strength is finding room and areas for improvement.  My weakness is never letting things be good enough.  And I'm female.  So let's add the constant struggle with contentment.  Or maybe that's just me too.  In the midst of my fault-finding, I quickly spiral into nothing in my life is good enough.  Add a little hormonal influence, and it's over.  

Then I start bulleting the good: 
  • The sun was out today.
  • I have a husband that loves me.
  • He's extremely good-looking.
  • We enjoy spending time together.
  • He doesn't see the negativity that I do.
  • My husband makes me laugh and lightens my emotional load often.
  • He does dishes!!!!  And he never complains about it.
Those are just the things I can see.  We haven't even touched all the things I can't see: my salvation, how God loves me, the fact that the hairs on my head are numbered, etc.  That's an amazing existence.  Who cares what I didn't accomplish today or what I seemed to be missing out on?  Does it matter to anyone but me that I seem "behind" in some areas of life?  Should it?  I think of Solomon's writings in Ecclesiastes where everything pretty much boils down to "work hard and enjoy your quick, quiet existence".  That's my translation, clearly.  But I see the beauty in what he's saying.  This season in this existence of mine is sweet.  I'm trying to capture moments in my memory album to look back on as I live them.  I will look back on this season with fondness.  So why not be grateful now for what it is?  
And even be grateful now for what it isn't.  

See?  Gratitude helps me see the good in my "now".  It keeps me from beating myself up about what's not in it or whining about what I don't have. 

How does gratitude change your perspective?  What does it save you from?

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Here goes: I suck at hospitality.  And worse, I don't like it.  Even the word makes me uncomfortable.  It's a little shameful for me to admit this, being from the South and all.  We're supposed to be pros.  This was basically bred into me.  But I never caught on.  Or maybe I chose not to?  Either way, what we end up with is a 30-year-old girl who loves Jesus but fails at serving folks warmly.  I love meeting folks, introducing them to others, getting to know them, etc.  But the thought of having them over makes my blood pressure rise.  

In walks my husband.  He's a natural.  Truly, it just flows from him.  He doesn't overthink, underplan, or show the slightest bit of hesitation.  In fact, most of our hosting is his idea.  If not his idea, definitely his undertaking.  It's truly a blessing.  I get to do the "hosting" in terms of keeping conversation up, asking questions, at least offering something to drink.  He's planning the meal, prepping the food, and jumping in with some light-hearted humor here and there.  

I feel guilty.  I can't figure out if I should.  There are some pieces to serving others that I just need to be quicker at JUST DOING, regardless of how I feel.  I know I sound like a child.  I'm a little under-developed in some areas of maturity; it's not news to me.  Throw me a little grace.  Or at least don't voice your judgment.  The words in my head do that enough.  

The beauty (of marriage) is that I'm learning from him.  I'm trying to pick up his best traits.  I keep hoping as I scoot next to the ball of heat he becomes when we're sleeping that he will warm me too.  I want to serve like he does.  I want to do it as simply as he does, no calculation, no keeping track, no counting costs.  The differences that often make us untranslatable to each other are often the ones that create the beautiful balance that we thrive in.  In seeing him strong where I am weak, I get to thank God that we truly are better together than we ever could have been apart.  

I know I didn't really close my thoughts on this with a nicely tied bow, but I'm still ruminating.  And observing.  So I'll awkwardly close the conversation for now...  Feel free to share your observations/similar experiences/gratitude for your differences.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Marriage is Hard

I wrote this about a month ago as we were coming out of the "newness" bliss.  In hindsight, I'm so thankful for seasons as they teach me to be grateful for the really, really good ones.

There's too much I want to control for this to be easy for me.  Thankfully, God has paired me with someone who couldn't be controlled if his life depended on it.  It's not because he's wild and can't be harnessed; it's just that he's going to do whatever he wants whenever he wants to.  Period.  He won't roll over, not if he cares about something.  Often, he doesn't have an opinion.  Don't let that fool you.  It doesn't mean he's a follower or a pushover.  Oh no.  He just honestly doesn't care.  If he does, look out.  You'll never win.  (I LOVE this about him; it just doesn't always materialize at "convenient" times.)

So here we are.  We're almost 2 months into our marriage, and the pixie dust is wearing off.  I'm starting to feel a bit cramped now that his life has moved into the home I used to occupy alone.  Neither of us are neat-freaks, which has probably saved us a couple of fights already. However, that also means that piles have developed due to both of our procrastination in finding a home for two people's things in a house that used to suit one.  We both stand here, staring adulthood in the face.  Clearly I'm the late bloomer, being 30 and still never having lived on a budget or with a cleaning schedule.  I heard some of you gasp.  Don't judge me.  I prefaced this already with "I'm a late bloomer".  

Like everyone said, the crap in my heart (namely, selfishness) is raring its head.  I knew it would come, and its unwelcomed arrival has been blaring.  It's honestly hard to set goals about spiritual growth and personal accomplishment when the analytical perfectionist in me just keeps mulling over all my black-hearted limitations.  Shut up, Satan.  Shut the old tapes off.  I'm so done with you.  I certainly want to be.

God had a perfect plan in this; I still believe that amidst my frustration and doubt.  Multiple things in His Word promise that.  So I'll keep walking.  I want to first of all worship Him for who He is, despite and amidst my circumstances.  That always lends some clarity.  Second, I want to pray for the obstacles I see.  I want to take part in watching the miracle of His transformation in my life (and Kyle's too).  Sanctification is for now, too, praise the Lord.  Make ME new.  Today.  I'm hopeful.  And I'm grateful.  Both are a choice.  I continue to affirm that the major difference between children and adults is that "adults" understand that actions are independent of feelings, and you're still responsible for them.  I want to think before I speak, in all situations.  I want to pray with gratitude before I complain.  I want to build up, not tear down.   As much as it's up to me, I want to be the good that my husband, my family, and my friends see in me.  I will hold hope for my potential in Christ.  I'm grateful that Kyle believes in that potential for me along with accepting all that I am in the meantime.  Marriage IS hard, but IT'S WORTH IT.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Trusting God

Now THAT feels like a killer at times. It personifies the line between sanity and absolute pandemonium in my heart. Not sanity, PEACE. But it all hinges on that decision. Peace doesn't always come when I pray and ask for it. It does always come when I choose not to be anxious, but with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present my requests to God (Phil. 4:6-7). The promise there states that the peace that passes all understanding will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Who doesn't want that? Who couldn't always use some of that? Let's be serious.

But that decision. Man! It's so unnatural for us. It truly is. Not intuitive. Antithetical. Sheer choice grounded in faith. Many times it almost seems experimental. But you've got to start somewhere. Truly, what are your choices? If you could handle the situation to begin with, worry wouldn't be the temptation.

Speaking of worry...If we're honest, we find a bit of comfort in it, don't we? At least you'll admit that we find familiarity there. That's what we really like, right? What we know. Those faith ledges, whew! Somebody could get killed out there. Or worse, humiliated! That's about how we rank those when we're honest. Maybe that's just me. I just really like control. I know better, based on Scripture, but I like my facade of control. Is that where my worry comes from? My assumption that it's within my power to alter or manipulate a situation? Geesh, this is getting ugly.

I'm going to stop my hyper-analysis there. I DO know it's not worth it. It's not worth it NOT to trust God. Jesus freed us up to live much fuller lives than that. Worry is a cage, an oppressor, and a crutch. Grow my faith, God. There will be much bigger unknowns throughout my life. May we each walk out on the ledges we currently have in front of us so that we can know the "abundant life" (John 10:10) You came to give us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Here we go!

I'm starting a new blog. I don't have many answers regarding what I will post or on what schedule, but you've got to start somewhere, right? So you've been warned. So much has changed, so I figured my blog should too. I'm learning all kinds of new things in my faith journey as a newly married lady. Mainly humility, how selfish I am, and how amazing God's grace is if it's even better than that shown to me by my husband. I'm extremely blessed and over-analyzing it all as I go. Join me if you'd like!