Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yet another "what am I doing with my life" days...

I ask myself this question often, "what am I doing with my life?" And I don't often have an answer. Every few weeks to every month or so I have a crisis of self, lamenting my current state of affairs and wonder madly if I am making the most of my life and resources, talents and abilities. And I'm not always sure of my answer. It just feels like there is always something "more." As if I'm only just missing that great epiphany which would illuminate all things hidden and uncertain. But, is that simply an ever-elusive, incessant thought that at its root is truly discontentment? Or is it a necessary fire lit to propel and compel me in a direction?

There seems a never-ending battle with discontentment in my life, good and bad. Discontentment isn't always negative, but the space between healthy and unhealthy discontentment is small and a precarious balance between sanity and insanity in my head. It seems when I feel I have "arrived" at what I believe is a healthy place and space something occurs to throw me off balance again. I think it's good to be kept on ones toes, regarding where we are and where we're going in life, but it can become exhausting to always be guessing at ones standing on the balance beam of life.

I think it's one thing to be asking oneself the hard questions and allowing them to provoke healthy introspection, which compels action, but than I think it's another matter to allow these questions to drive one mad and prevent any sort of peace or rest. Back to balance and that healthy place. I think one can live in that healthy place, still asking those hard questions, but remembering ultimately that you're not the one keeping your balance anyway.

Which sounds fabulous, but my question remains: "what am I doing with my life...?"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Can't skip breakfast

It doesn't matter when your day starts, you can't skip breakfast. Whether you rise at 5:30 a.m. or at 1:00 p.m breakfast signals the start of everyday. It's the cornerstone, dietarily speaking. If you skip it you will throw off the great cosmos of the universe. Or just cause you to suffer from hunger pains till lunch. Either way, breakfast is, in my opinion, essential to starting ones day right.

You begin with the coffee. Pick your favorite mug, this is very important, pour & add sugar or cream as desired. The coffee accompanies the rest. Eggs are a must, any style, but my current favorite is sunny side up on a piece of buttered toast smothered with pico de gallo. Delicious. Oh, and you always need fruit of some genre.

It's essential to savor each step. You can't rush these things. Sip your coffee while watching the eggs frying in the pan. Toast the toast. Butter toast. Flip eggs. Sip coffee. Repeat.

Once complete, sit and savor. Read the newspaper, Bible, or favorite blog. Or just sit & eat & be.

You may think this seemingly inconsequential meal is optional, but you're wrong my friends and I strongly encourage an exploration of the beauties that are a breakfast savored. Give it a go. You may never go back to cold cereal or God forbid no breakfast at all. *Shutters.

Monday, December 12, 2011


"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I say I have faith, but do I really? If this is the definition of faith, I fear I am severely lacking. Faith is a wonderful theoretical notion, but an extremely difficult concept to embody...

Though, I'm realizing more and more: faith is a gift. I cannot conjure it, foster it, or create it. It is given, gifted if you will. And I must choose it, or not. It is constantly offered, but how often do I take it? Too infrequently. It says in Ephesians, "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one." It is the only piece of armor said to actually deflect the enemy's attacks. Why would I not choose it daily? Pride? Fear? Both & more.

So much keeps us from trusting our Lord.


He has given us every reason to believe Him, yet we continue to find every excuse to disbelieve Him. Amazing. He proves Himself ore and ore, yet ore and ore we deny His sufficiency. How?

The enemy speaks the same lies to us as were spoken in the garden: "Did God really say...?" "Did God actually promise...?" Except now he just masquerades them differently, dresses them up to appear and appeal to our current culture and mindset. But, they're the same lies. They are all calling His trustworthiness into question. Calling Him into question. And we listen.

But, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! He never changes. He IS trustworthy. Why then do I struggle to believe Him when He speaks? Because I am weak and frail. Human.

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen." Faith is believing even when the serpent whispers, "but did He really say...?" and saying back boldly, "yes, He did." It's choosing to stand firm despite all else telling you to doubt. It's believing Him when He says,"I shall never leave you and I shall never forsake you." It's believing Him.

That's faith.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I think I'm beginning to gain a greater sense of purpose in my life; it's been some time in coming and it's still coming. I'm by no means arrived, but I'm at least progressing. I've been greatly struggling with this concept as of late: What is my purpose in life? It seems like quite a daunting concept to determine and pursue ones "purpose in life." Doesn't it? It feels extremely narrow and as if we have one shot at hitting this "purpose" and if we miss it, we're screwed. But, what if we actually do miss it? Well, then I suppose the rest of life is pointless, at least according to this narrow philosophy. I cannot accept it. Although, it has far too long ruled my thinking about life. No longer.

This is my purpose. Here. Now. What I'm doing right now is my purpose. He is my purpose. People are my purpose. What and who He has in front of me is exactly what I'm suppose to be doing at the present time; that is my purpose. And what I will choose next will be my purpose then. I'm starting to feel freer in my head as I ponder these realities. And also that, I can't really screw up my life; I'm just not that big in the grand scheme of things. And it's rather arrogant to think otherwise. A friend encouraged me recently that we ought to simply step out in faith--regarding our purpose--rather than waiting on a push from God that may never come. That is faith. Trusting & believing that if God is good and our deepest desire is to pursue His will than He is big enough to care for even our smallest decisions. When He is our purpose than little else matters. Blessed relief.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Somewhere in between

I find myself in an interesting space. It feels a bit like no-mans-land, to borrow a cliché. I'm not sure where I am or quite where I'm going. I lack vision & thus lack direction. I'm not aiming at anything, or going after anything. "Without a vision the people perish," as my mother always says; she's right. Without something to shoot for, what's the point?

I'm not entirely sure, but I'm trying to figure it out. Up to college graduation there was "a plan," but then came the abyss, the abyss of "post-college life." No one warns you about the abyss, it just appears before you, a black, gapping hole, ready to swallow all poor, unprepared college graduates whole. It hasn't quite swallowed me yet, but it's come pretty close...

I know many of my peers are also experiencing this same phenomenon, the "not knowing what to do with your life" phenomenon. I suppose it's not really a phenomenon, but rather an inevitable reality. However, the question remains, "what am I doing with my life?" Still no idea. And it's been two years. I feel like I should know, but I don't.

I desperately desire direction, momentum, forward motion of some kind, yet I'm not sure where to begin. Isn't that always the problem? Where to begin. It's like writer's block and the blank page. Always hardest just to start. I wonder, if I actually get going somewhere, will I like it when I get there? And does it matter? Is it just as important to simply have direction as to have the right direction? I'm such an idealist. Who knows if there is a "right" direction. I mean I think we're all made for specific things and purposes, yet I think it's so much less what do we as how we do it. Goodness, just over-flowing with the clichés today aren't we.

Altogether, I suppose if I spend too long trying to figure out where I'm going I may never actually go anywhere. I might just stay, staring at the blank page for the rest of my life and never write a darn thing. Perhaps I could start with a little old fashioned brainstorming...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Control...or lack thereof

I think everyone wants control of their lives; I know I do. It seems more maddening, however, to realize I can't control other people's lives, which I suppose is really the same thing as wanting to control ones own life. My students for example: I can do nothing to alter their desires, their actions or behaviors, their outcomes--nothing. Unbelievably frustrating reality. When I see potentials, but than see them fail to reach those potentials I feel defeated. Why? I'm not entirely sure. I think it has something to do with me putting myself into their efforts, and feeling like I am thus ineffective when they do not perform as hoped. Ridiculous? Maybe.

Control is an interesting thing. In reality it evades those who seek it, but this evading causes people to chase it all the more. When we want to control something and don't have it our desire for control of that thing increases, tightening like a noose around an imaginary hold...because control is just that: imaginary.

Yet, I still want it. Control. Or at least a semblance of it. Contradictory? Definitely. It's just incredibly difficult to relinquish control of a thing you greatly want. But, I'm realizing the more you hold onto a thing, the less you have it...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Avoiding the inevitable

I avoid things like the plague, even if they are as simple as brushing my teeth...alright, maybe not that, but I avoid many things, as if they were the death of me. It's like a sick mental block. And the saddest part is that the thing in front of me may not actually be very hard or complicated, but I make it so by putting it off and putting it off, again and again. And with the mounting avoidance comes the inevitable growth of the mental block in my head. Then after so long whatever the thing is becomes so huge and pressing because, small though it might have been originally, has now become a colossal mound, now absolutely necessitated by my avoidance. Why do I do this to myself? It's madness. Sigh. Fine, I guess I'll go brush my teeth...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

S.....l....o.......w & p.....a...i...n....f..u.....l

Everything in life feels incredibly slow at present, almost painful in its processes. Life, I am discovering is just that--a process--and a slow one. I am also realizing nothing of value comes quickly or without effort. My natural impatience and laziness balks at this reality, yet it's simply true. This is easy to speak (or write in this case), but not so easy live.

Matt Chandler comments in one of his sermons, "progressive sanctification is horrifically slow." He's right. Emphasis on horrific. I think this truth is just beginning to set in, in earnest in my life. The gospel is actually starting to become real. My sin is becoming more painfully apparent and often overwhelming. And I am realizing that no amount of concerted effort on my part, or "pulling myself up by my bootstraps" will amount to anything when it comes to my sanctification. Whew. And that it's going to take a LONG time. Yikes.

And waiting on the process of others is just as difficult, if not far more so because I can't control others, I can only control myself, which apparently I can't really do that either. I can't make my kids desire to learn, grow, change, or become better, I can only encourage, prod, love, watch and wait. Wait. Always wait.

How often must God wait on us? And I'm complaining. Me, who is confined by space and time, complaining to an eternal God that He's being too slow. Absurd. But, true. I can't cause people to respond, move, act, initiate. I must wait. And be patient. With others, and with myself.

I also cannot make myself do better or "be better." It's a cosmic impossibility. And a maddening reality. Why must the process of personal growth & sanctification be so painfully slow? Why can I not simply realize my shortcomings and find remedy via that understanding? Because knowledge does not equate change. It's part of it, but not all of it. So frustrating. I assume if I "think" about something enough than surely it will become a reality, not true. Sadly. It's just not up to me. When will I realize this? That I cannot change myself. That I cannot sanctify my flesh. Slow & painful.

Monday, November 7, 2011

They are me and I am them

I had the revelation recently: I am my students and my students are me. I am discovering that the things which irritate me most about them are my own fatal flaws. Sad truth. But, isn't it always that way? The things that irritate us most about others are in fact our own deepest discrepancies.

Hopelessly lazy, ditto.
Everything is "too hard," yeah, I get that.
Perfectionists. Yikes, yep. To a fault.
Finding identity in grades, achievement. Hmmm, check.
Just wanting to finish, accomplish, and move on. Mmm hmm.
If something's difficult, too complex, requiring of actual thought, forget it. Whew.
Doing things ones own way. Yep! That's me.

Each one individually seems to posses at least one quality that, collectively amongst them, makes up all the qualities which summate my greatest shortcomings. Humbling. Perhaps God has so much more to teach me about myself and His character through these kids than I actually have to offer them, which is not much.

Mini me's are not as fun as one might imagine...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hipster: the new mainstream

It is my observation that the current "hipster" trend, an alleged counter-culture movement is in fact it's own version of mainstream. Urban dictionary defines hipsters as: "a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter." The last bit is great: "witty banter." However, the portion of the definition that pertains to my thesis is that of counter-culture. My thesis is by no means original or earth-shattering, but I think it's relevant. I find it amusing, being a wanna-be-hipster myself, the lack of originality that I see amongst my "hipster" peers, who's intent is the very opposite of conformity, yet have attained just that. Myself included.

The next part of the Urban dictionary definition goes like this: "Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses." As I sit in Starbucks blogging away on my MacBook, my iphone & a moleskin journal at my side, sporting a flannel shirt and wearing a pair of skinny jeans, I sadly conform to the stereotypical image of "hipster," or so I believe. And my favorite part is the girl sitting across from me who's wearing and doing essentially the same thing, MacBook, flannel shirt, skinny jeans, moleskin and all, except she's got her "hipster" glasses on; I left mine at home today in favor of the contacts. Thus, I help prove my own thesis, sad isn't it?

Again, these observations are not revelatory, but they are, I believe, relevant concepts and ones which I've been stewing over for some time. The more "hipsters" I hang around, the more I realize we are all stereotypically stereotypical, and we like it! But, than again, this shouldn't astound me. It resonates with the very fiber of what it means to be human--to want to belong. i.e. A group. It's the same with any select group or subculture; it's a place to belong, to find identity. I do believe such groups, or subcultures begin as a reaction to what a specific group considers "mainstream;" however, over time, coupled with growing popularity and appeal that same group or subculture inevitably becomes it's own version of mainstream. It happened with the hippies and it's happening with the hipsters. Beware all hipsters: you're not as original as you thought. And neither am I.

I purport that the valuable, core principles of a movement can remain intact despite growing popular appeal and general conformity, but if such principles are to be retained there must be some smaller culture within the subculture itself that remembers and lives what those values are. I may not be a real hipster, per say, but I hope I can aspire, at least somewhat, to the principle that just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean I have to do it too...oh wait, I already did. So much for counter-culture.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It's a beautiful thing, watching my students learn. It's the best part of a day when I seem them actively engaging with subject matter, being curious about a topic, asking hard questions, helping each other understand a concept, and in general learning. The moment one asks a question that spurs another question that spawns a whole discussion about Communism during WWII, which leads to a conversation about the nature of sin in the world. Those are the best moments. Those are the moments that make it all worth it. They make all of the exhausting pulling and prodding and pleading seem worth it. It can be exhausting trying to make them want to learn. But, I've realized as of late, I can't. I can't make want to learn; I can't make them care. BUT, I can always be here to encourage both and try to care when they don't, and foster an environment of learning when they could care less. I think that's my job. To care. If nothing else, I can care...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Solitude and choices

I'm in a lonely season, a solitary season. And I don't love it. I don't hate it, but I don't love it, and most days I want to run far far away. But, I can't. I'm just here and I have a feeling I'll be here awhile. It's good, I know. There are things I must learn as I sit in the stillness, but if I'm honest, on days like today, I don't care about learning lessons, I just don't want to be lonely anymore...

But, I'm learning that even loneliness is a choice, to a degree. Everything is a choice. We cannot control where we, or how long we're there, but we can control how we choose to act & react in that space. I may not be able to control the fact that I feel lonely right now or control how long I will be in this season of solitude, but I do have the power to choose how I will respond to these things...

So, the question is: how will I choose?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just call me the resident expert...

My job is a unique one, in that I wear a lot of hats, and they are constantly changing. I could be called on at any moment of any day to answer any question, ranging from the periodic table, to algebraic equations, to the uses of relative pronouns, to how to determine the volume of an irregular object, to explaining the nature of sin and the gospel. I think I'm going to start referring to myself as the "resident expert," although I'm discovering I'm not an expert of much, besides royally flying by the seat of my pants...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life is seldom what you plan...

I am finding that despite how much I attempt to plan, prepare, or anticipate life, things never quite go how I plan. Which is kind of great, although frustrating in the moments in which we realize we're not in control. But, those are beautiful moments too. I'm realizing, maybe for the first time, that I don't want control of my life. Truly. I'm exhausted of managing, manipulating, & controlling. I'm done. Or rather, Lord, I ask you to cause me to be done. I can't rid myself of control for sheer desire's sake; I need the power of your Spirit.

It's a miraculous and merciful thing, I find, when life doesn't go our way. Because, if it did I think we would all be in a whole heap of trouble; at least, I know I would. "In his heart a man plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps." Disconcerting/comforting truth, depending on your paradigm. I find it comforting. Although, it took me some time to get here...

Surrender is a beautiful and terrifying thing. It means you let go, of everything: hopes, dreams, desires, fears, pains, longings, anxieties, everything. It can mean you lose everything, or it can mean you gain everything. Or both. But, the reality is we must release our tight fisted grip on our lives if we every hope to embrace life abundant. I don't know about you, but I want abundant life. "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." The road of faith is not an easy one, but it's the one I want to choose...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sitting in the stillness

It's amazing to realize how much and how often I've run away from solitude and aloneness. I think in my deepest self, I'm absolutely terrified of loneliness. I know I've said this already, but I want to reiterate just how much I think I truly fear being by myself. And I'm not quite sure where this fear is rooted, but it's there. When I think about it I've spent most of my life surrounded by people, by choice, but perhaps also by necessity, whether knowingly or unknowingly. I'm just now realizing how infrequently I've been truly alone; it's kind of amazing in fact...

This past week was the most time I've spent alone, maybe ever. And this coming week appears to hold the same forecast, but perhaps more severe. My parents left today for Phoenix, which leaves me, literally, to my own devices. I was really dreading it earlier today, dreading it. But, since leaving work I have felt nothing but peace, for many reasons. It's amazing, I think, when I just accept something it never quite seems as horrible as I imagine. The anticipation always seems worse than the thing itself. Like loneliness and solitude. I think I may find that I actually enjoy them. We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Remembering my making...

Even though I am learning to sit in the stillness, I like to have it broken every now and then. I know it's good for me to learn to be still and sit and revel in the quiet and the solitude, but I have to remember how I'm made. I'm a lover of people. But, I know as I wrote yesterday that I also become "people tired." Balance is necessary for me, I am learning...

I had a coffee date with a friend today, a normally regular occurrence for me, but this week-the first of it's kind. It was difficult leading up to it in my head, having become somewhat settled in the solitary nature of my week, but once in it I remembered myself. I love people. They energize me, encourage me, & inspire me. People are my heartbeat, but sometimes, I am finding, my heart beats a little too fast and I can't keep up, and I become exhausted...

I want to learn to live well within my limits, because we all have limits. I love how my Father has made me, but as with any crafting or gifting it can become distorted and misused...

Father, teach me I pray to live wisely and well within the confines of my design. May I not abandon altogether how you've created me and how I believe you mean to use me, but teach me also to abide and learn what it means to "be still and know that you are God." I greatly desire to know & experience the abundant life you came to bring. I want to live full. And I want to live free...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The stillness

Life feels very quiet at the moment, very solitary, very still. It's an unusual season for me. In fact, I'm not sure if I've had one quite like it, ever. I think it's good for me. Although, I don't know if I would have picked it by choice...

Most people who know me well know I'm a socialite. I'm always with people, doing things, being busy. I can't remember the last time I haven't been busy, till now. Hence, the unusualness about this time and this season for me. Prior to this season I would be out doing something every night of the week, maybe bar one. I think I made a point of it too, whether consciously or unconsciously. It was like being with people had come to characterize me; it was who I am. Or it was who I was? Still discerning. Perhaps this season will help tell.

It has been quite interesting to watch myself walk through these recent days of not going anywhere after work, not meeting up with anyone to have a coffee or dinner date; I've barely even talked on the phone with my closet friends. And the oddest part of it all--I kind of like it.

I believe the Lord is using this unique time to teach me about a deep fear I didn't know I possessed: loneliness. He revealed this to me very recently, and it was quite an intense revelation. I don't think I grasped how much of my constant of going, and people, and business was directly related to this deeply rooted fear. It's not a fear of being alone, it's fear of loneliness; they're different. I'm still learning about how this fear manifests itself in my life, but I deeply desire to understand...

I must acknowledge here how I understand and embrace fully that I am wired just as I am for a beautiful and specific purpose-"I am fearfully and wonderfully made"-and that is to love and be with people. But, I also fully acknowledge the natural evils that can accompany any natural gifting when abused or misused, especially when allowed to spring from fear or lies. And the reality is, I didn't even realize the depth to which I was abusing this gifting in myself. It has taken this time to understand how much of myself, my energy, and my identity I was placing in my busy, social, people-oriented nature. I still don't think I fully know the extent, but I'm beginning to see, and desire a change.

I love people, this will never change, but I think I must re-examine my relationships, and my reasons for relationships, and in general indulge at least a brief hiatus from my constant pursuit of people. Because often and truly, it's a self-inflicted wound. I pursue, I set up dates, I call, I initiate. Because I love people. But, then I become "people tired," and it's too late to un-do the pattern, or so it seems. Maybe this is mercy, on the part of God in my life, to allow me to relearn my pattern, to learn to say no, to be still, to be alone-and learn to not fear it so. As much as I'm uncomfortable in this space, I know it's mercy. Now, the question remains, will I choose to embrace it fully, or no?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Being...or trying to.

It's amazing how much I struggle to simply do nothing. Even my best "nothing" times, I still measure on some level of productivity; that's so sad. I mean, I think many people struggle with this notion of "nothing" or of "being;" I know I'm not terribly unique in this regard, but that doesn't change that it's still my struggle. I'm not completely sure how to break this mind-set or engrained way of...doing. It feels terribly inherent and virtually inescapable. But, I cannot believe this. I can do it, but it will take effort, and time. For me, I am finding, it has to be incredibly intentional to do nothing, as strange as that sounds. I have to force myself to slip out of my usual "product" oriented mindset and remind my brain that it's ok to not do for the sake of doing, but rather be for the sake of being. I hope this will eventually become more instinctual and less intentional, but I have to start somewhere if I wish to change. And I do.

I think this new season of my life is a gift in which I am to learn this skill, if you want to call it a skill. But, I have a choice, I am realizing. Like today, for example. It was an empty Saturday, for all intents and purposes and I could have done anything. I almost went to the farmer's market, but ended up staying in bed and then getting up and doing yoga. Then, I had an invitation to have lunch out with friends, I decided to stay in and make crepes and read my Bible instead. I almost went and saw another friend in the afternoon, but chose to clean the kitchen and do laundry instead. And besides some feelingly obligatory cleaning, the day has been fairly blissful and free of the normally, ever-present constraint of feeling the need to be productive. But, it's had to be intentional, all day. There were numerous times when I felt the creeping pressure to go "do," but I had to resist it. It's a choice.

I think it's less the simply "being" and not "doing," but more being ok with not "doing" and just "being." It's being comfortable and content in that space. This will take time for me I know, but I truly want to learn to live in that space rather than the space I'm used to living; it feels so much freer. And I want to be free, in many more senses than just this. But, it can start here...

Friday, September 9, 2011

One task after another task after another...

Sometimes my life feels like a series of tasks.

Start, finish.

Start, finish.



Complete. Start,

finish. And start again.

I feel like I somehow turn nearly everything in my life into some kind of task or a thing to be completed or accomplished.

Like eating for example.

Even preparing and consuming a meal can become for me an exercise almost, in completion. Cutting the celery, putting the hummus in a container, washing the grapes, packing it all into a lunch bag, then methodically consuming each portion, to completion.

I think it's some kind of sick OCD.

I'm not sure, but it does frustrate, even though it's almost entirely self-inflicted. I get into these mindsets of feeling "accomplished" "in order" & "on top of it," which are all positive sentiments. But, the negative inverse is that I can become so entangled by this notion and feeling of "completion" that I all too often lose the process.

I lose the process in the completion.

This doesn't always happen; I go through phases and stages, but when I do get into these modes of feeling "accomplished" and sensing "completion" which half of me revels in (the OCD part) & the other part of me loathes (the hopefully sane part).

I'm not sure if I'm doomed to function this way, or if I have hope of transformation. I suppose I know If follow Christ as I claim than I must believe and claim transformation. For the good Book says:

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

Thursday, September 1, 2011


It's strange, not really having much of an agenda at the moment. I have time. I don't think I remember the last time I had time. And I'm not quite sure what to do with it if I'm honest, not quite sure what to do with myself. I don't remember what it's like to not strive after a thing, it causes me to wonder if I should be striving after something I just don't know about. It's like I'm waiting for someone to sneak up behind and say, "Hah! Sucker!"

I feel almost guilty for having the luxury to even ponder these things. Shouldn't I be stressed over some deadline or exhausted from having no time to rest? Instead, I have time: time to take naps, time to write, time to pluck my eyebrows, time to dust my furniture (who has time for that?), time to read, time to think, time to think about thinking. Crazy. But, I feel rather awkward in this space if I'm honest, this space of learning what it means to just "be." I've needed desperately to learn this for some time, maybe this is the time...

I need to learn to slow down, to stop, to not always feel the pressure to "go go go" all the time. I've never learned this, only talked about learning it. And who knows, my agenda-less status could change next week, knowing me, but for now I'm going to do my best to simply revel, revel in "being." And I'm also going to do my best not to feel guilty about it either.

Gosh darn it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A teacher...of sorts.

I am a teacher, of sorts. I have students, but I don't teach them, exactly; I help them learn; I encourage them to focus; I make sure they get their work done. I am more of a facilitator really, but that title just isn't quite as appealing as "teacher, of sorts." At least, I don't think so. I want to be a teacher, and I guess you could say I'm a teacher in training, of sorts. But, we all must start somewhere, and this is where I'm starting, as far as teaching is concerned. I know I have a long way to go and many many things to learn. In some ways I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or how best to help, encourage, etc. My best comfort is that I'm only a teacher "of sorts" at the moment; I have time. However, I don't want to waste any time getting going. This could take awhile, and as we all know: Rome wasn't built in a day...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Real & False Selves

"If we take our vulnerable shell to be our true identity, if we think our mask is our true face, we will protect it with fabrications even at the cost of violating our own truth. This seems to be the collective endeavor of society: the more busily men dedicate themselves to it, the more certainly it becomes a collective illusion, until in the end we have the enormous, obsessive, uncontrollable dynamic of fabrications designed to protect mere fictitious identities--'selves,' that is to say, regarded as objects. Selves that can stand back and see themselves having fun (an illusion which reassures them that they are real).

-Thomas Merton

Monday, July 18, 2011

Exhausting the inexhaustible

It's tough. Pouring into people. It's my heartbeat, and it's where I feel I am deeply gifted-in connecting with people-yet it is where I struggle the most to balance myself. I don't say this with arrogance, but I feel I am needed by many, and in that there is a heavy weight and responsibility. A feeling and fear of, if I don't pour into this person, who will? Or the insecurity that if I don't reach out to this person, no one will. It's an issue of trust, an issue of faith; I know this. But, I struggle. I struggle to believe that the responsibility does not lie solely with me. I said it, but do I believe it? I'm not sure. How to I strike a balance between acknowledging and pursuing my gifting, but also releasing my tight hold on something that's not mine to begin with? He knows how He made me, better than I. What then God am I to do?

My father refers to it as the "angelic fantasy." Namely that I, and people like me, live under the illusion that we have infinite energy, time, and resources to expend. But, we don't. We are finite and fragile. I cannot pour into everyone that is placed in my path, and if I try I will inevitably damage those already existing relationships as well as those new and fledgling relationships I am trying to form. It's like exhausting an inexhaustible resource, eventually the resource will be exhausted and be of no use to anyone. I will be of no use to anyone. By trying to be utterly authentic and connected with so many I may ultimately become fake and forced with everyone. A tragic reality for a heart like mine. But, a necessary revelation.

I don't think it means I cannot pour into people, or that I can't be authentic or attempt to be authentic with those whom I interact with daily, but perhaps realizing that my energies are better spent quantifying my already existing relationships and choosing wisely the people I pursue. But, this is still tough. I want every person I meet and know to feel as special as the next person. This seems impossible when put into words, and a bit absurd. But, it's my heart. I want everyone to feel loved, appreciated, special, and understood. And I feel I can do that for many people. But, if I'm honest it's rather exhausting. How then do I reconcile? Am I to deny myself and who I am and my gifting, or rather am I to learn to stem it and focus it? Still not sure. But, wrestling to know. This is not a new struggle, but an old one newly thought through. I deeply desire some kind of reconciliation in myself regarding this matter.

Lord, I don't think I am meant to live splintered and spread thin, but I know you have gifted me thus, how then would you have me live? I beg you to show me...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The new & the old

I struggle sometimes with how I'm made and how I function. I'm an adapter. As well, I'm a compartmentalizer. Both good, but equally negative qualities. I can adapt to almost anything and be relatively happy.

I do this with friendships. I can get along with almost anyone and find something to love and appreciate in nearly everyone I meet. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, I'm very open and accepting, loving and non-partial, but on the other hand I put people in compartments & deal with them accordingly, depending on where I am in life.

A friend told me once that everyone could be my best friend, based on how openly I engage with people, but it would just depend upon who I was spending the most time with at that moment in my life. This was somewhat difficult to process, partially because there was truth in what she said. Am I that non-descriminatory?

I have experienced many great communities of people thus far in my life and have known many wonderful individuals, but I feel like I'm a drifter in these communities, these entities. I can easily flit into any community and get along, make friends and feel connected, but then I often flit away again based on either circumstance or necessity. I can seemingly fit in anywhere, which is great, but things never seem to stick long term. And this is ironically all I desire-long term.

I thought for certain my college community would be my life-long community of friends-everyone else from JBU seems to have remained unbelievably close. Or, I was certain the friendships from Slovakia or my summer at War Eagle or perhaps even high school, or the community I formed when I first moved back to San Antonio. Maybe now, maybe the community I have now is it...

But, it really is a little disheartening, but should it be? Is the fact that I can easily adapt negative, or has it simply played out negatively as far as longevity goes for a community. I'm not sure. But, this is a topic I'm not through exploring.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A tire

I bought someone a tire yesterday. Seems like a simple thing to do, but it was profound and filled with the fragrance of the Divine. It was mercy. It was grace. It was humility. To be allowed and be a vessel for the Divine was something I cannot explain. I felt unworthy. I felt humbled. I felt unspeakably grateful. And the gratitude I was met with I knew didn't go to me, but went to Him and His mercies in allowing such a collision of His wills. The mingling of these emotions points only to Him. He created the need and He allowed the provision.

Thanks. Praise.

He provides of His children, of this I am confidant.

I pray this is only the first of many tires.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Are you my Mother?"

Do you remember the book we read as kids? The one in which a small, lost bird is looking for it's mother, and asks everyone and everything along its journey, "are you my mother?"

I think this is often how we go about looking for a mate. We proceed through life, meeting people, wondering in our heads, "are you the one?" It can be a maddening pursuit. Because it never ceases and is always self-driven. And it consumes. The incessant question is pushed by self and society. It's exhausting. The question of who shall be our mates, at this stage of life, feels a most pinnacle issue, if not at times the issue.

It's the questions you get asked during family reunions or at weddings: "So, are you dating anyone." And if you are dating someone: "Are you two engaged?" Why is this of primary importance? Is this what determines a 20-somethings worth or standard of progression in the adult world? I hope not, because if so, I'm failing.

Is life not more than our choice of a mate? Is our life not more certainly bound up in eternity, in which none shall neither be married nor given in marriage? And where we shall be consumed forever in the celebration of the all greater marriage feast of the Lamb?

I absolutely acknowledge the earthly importance of marriage and of hoping for the partner God has for you, yet I also confess a concern for the disproportionate importance that seems to be placed upon this earthly union and the focus it takes off of why the union was created to begin with. It was intended for our enjoyment and pleasure, yes, but more deeply and more importantly it was intended to be a mirror of the churches's union with the Father and an earthly means of glorifying better the God we serve. Is not this the purpose?

Please, do not misunderstand me, I deeply desire a mate, and eventually marriage, centered around a pursuit of Christ and His Kingdom; however, I think our Christian culture-myself included-have adopted too fully secular norms and standards, and it seems the true intent for marriage has been lost in the pursuit. I believe we are going about seeking this whole thing in entirely the wrong vein and fashion...

And much of the problem lies in the very word "seek." We ought not seek out that which is meant to be given & gifted to us, and in the best and perfect timing of a God who knows better and best what we need-even if we might think otherwise. This extends to another and separate topic-wating on God-however, the point is valid here nonetheless.

I myself am weary of many & many seasons of asking the cultural, 20-somethings equivalent of "are you my mother." I suppose I can keep on asking it and keep on anxiously wondering, or I could release and repose this burden upon a God who knows intimately the desires and secret petitions of my heart...

I choose this.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Productivity is like a drug for me. I use it to mask, make up, & all too often define myself. I equate who I am to what I do; if I'm not "doing," if I'm not "busy," than who am I? What is my value if I'm not producing something to validate my worth? Sounds mildly ridiculous, I know. The thought patterns behind this way of thinking feel inescapable. I know they're false, yet they are so engrained...

It lends itself to a multitude of evils, this notion of productivity. It controls, by how much it does. It creates the illusion of self-sufficiency, because "I can do it." It lies, by how much it covers up and sits in place of. There's always more, and yet it's never enough.

Productivity in its most basic form is not inherently evil, but it becomes a demon, when taken to it's worst extreme, which I of course do.

How to unlearn this false pattern of thinking...?

That's the question.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I will wait

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Psalm 37 [my prayer]

3 Trust [lean on, rely on, and be confident] in the Lord and do good; so you shall dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust [lean on, rely on, and be confident] also in Him and He will bring it to pass...

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I have a picture in my head: I imagine material things like props, and people as naked manikins- help up, supported, self-portrayed, and defined by these, our props. This picture is maybe a bit absurd and could apply only to myself, but just go with the analogy for a minute...

A slip of fabric, a dress. Adorns a body. A piece of metal and screws, a watch. Hangs on a wrist. Leather strips and buckles, sandals. Wrap around bare feet.


Do we allow such empty, material pieces of the world to define and confine us? I'm afraid I often do. I self-create. In an attempt to cover my nakedness, I seek out and wrap myself up in the props I believe best "fit" me. I have created an idea of myself-the me I want to be-and I support this notion, carry it out, define it, in large part, by the things, the props I pursue. And I would purport--we all do this, in some form or fashion.

But, what if our "props" were taken away? What if we were stripped of everything, material and otherwise, that we believed made us who we are?

Would our naked, manikin selves be recognizable or distinguishable from the rest? It begs the basic, yet difficult question: what makes us who we are? And are we willing to try and separate ourselves enough from the props we pursue to figure out and discern this bare truth?

Exposing inquiries.

Nakedness can be uncomfortable; yet, it's also extremely freeing. However, it requires the willingness to endure the uncomfortable stripping process, and a desire to pursue this level of self-discovery.

So, it begs the question: do we desire it?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Me Myself and I

It's strange, learning to be alone with oneself, myself. I know I've commented on this before, but this is a new something.

A different kind of aloneness, a singularity. It's deeper: mental, spiritual, maybe even metaphysical. Whatever that means.

I didn't even realize how filled my head and my heart have been. I suppose we don't realize how full or occupied we are until we're not. We seem to fill our empty spaces and occupy our vacant places with anything and everything. The idea of space and stillness seems a wretched thing to the modern mind. But, it oughtn't be.

It feels somehow hard to embrace, and awkward-this new solitude of the mind and heart. I am so unused to the practice. Yet, it's welcome too. As strange as it is--this learning to be alone--it's even stranger that I think I might like it. Odd for me. New for me.

I have much to learn in this new space and during this time, and such lessons are not learnt overnight. But, I feel like an eager student on their first day of school, excited and terrified for the learning to begin...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"The answers aren't in your head"

I'm a thinker, and a ponderer of life. An analyzer. And, an over-analyzer. I've always thought that if I thought enough about something I could figure it out. I never stop thinking, figuring, pondering, dwelling. I'm a terrible dweller. People have told me, "Lauren, it would be exhausting to be in your head." And they're right, it's pretty constant. I don't know how to be otherwise. This is just me.

But, I had a friend tell me recently, "Lauren, the answers aren't in your head." Profound. For me, thinking has always lent itself to answers, to understanding, to clarity, but I am finding that is not unanimous in fact. For some things, some circumstances, some answers, there is no amount of thinking or figuring that will alter the outcome. Again, profound. For me. Somewhat discouraging, yet more encouraging in truth. It relieves some of the constant pressure in my head to figure, understand, grasp, manage.

Because after all, the answers aren't in my head...

Monday, May 16, 2011

The abyss

I'm slightly terrified. I feel like I'm walking forward into yet another vast unknown, and it looks very lonely from where I sit.

There is space, emptiness, not knowingness. And it's scary.

What's next?

There is no form or shape, nothing.

Unmapped territory to some is thrilling, to others a terror. I wish I was the type to whom the unknown was an adventure, but it still scares me spit-less. Maybe someday I'll be there.

I could go anywhere, do anything. But can I? I used to believe that, not so much anymore. Real life has set in somewhat. But, what do I really know of real life...

I'm about to walk into the abyss, and I can either stayed scared spit-less, or I can keep walking. I haven't decided yet.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


They say it's the best policy.

I think it's a beautiful thing myself.


I prize it above most virtues, and strive for it in myself and seek it in others.

It's a wonderful thing when people can be honest with each other. It's so, freeing. And yet, people are so often dishonest with one another, and with themselves.

I think the difficulty is that at it's core honesty is vulnerability. When we're totally honest, we're exposed, all of our cards on the table. It's pretty naked.

And not everyone enjoys being naked. It's uncomfortable, painful. But, there is also a beauty in this nakedness, this honesty.

You risk much when being honest, when being naked--both to gain and to lose. I believe more to gain. But, when we're not honest we're holding back, hiding something, trying to play our cards just right. It's like a game, dishonesty.

And honesty is not safe per say--in that you risk losing much--but it is safe in that you risk gaining far more than you could have imagined. Take the risk.

I prefer reaping honesty. All I have is gratitude for it's outcomes.

It is after all, the best policy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I have many, and for almost everything.

My mind works in compartments, boxes, sections. And these compartments don't often intersect; they are separate, distinct. I need them to be.

I wish I thought or functioned in a more fluid, less structured way, but my mind struggles against itself in this regard. I feel only able to define this idea in extremes, imagine that. But, I may not, in actuality, function as strictly as I perceive myself to function. I am after all inside my own head.

This, my tendency, to compartmentalize, can be extremely helpful--but it can also fracture and fissure my mind, my life.

It's sometimes good and necessary to section things off, put something over there or over here, but other times it pulls and pressures, and artificially separates.

And sometimes, it gives one the illusion that something doesn't exist if you've put it somewhere that you can't see it or feel it. But, it does.

I found one of those compartments last night. I thought because I had sectioned it off, put it away, closed my mind to it, that it didn't exist anymore, but it does, and it's painful.

It was a frustrating realization that my compartmentalization had failed me. That my safety mechanism had proven faulty.

But, the reality is I can't simply section something off and not deal with its contents, fully.

This a bit of a painful revelation. But, I want to be whole. I want all of my disparate compartments to be reconciled, somehow.

As a wise woman once told me, "you can't control what you think, but you can control what you do with what you think." This is good advice.

I cannot change how my brain functions, but I can learn to work within my framework, attempting to reconcile the parts and pieces I would sometimes rather keep separate, or even pretend don't exist.

I must learn to face my realities, all of them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I feel greatly lacking. I'm not sure how to meet all the needs, answer all the questions, help all the hurts, assuage all the fears--I'm not enough.

...But, in the silence a voice assures,

"I know. But I Am."

Yet, I struggle. I struggle to know the scope of my role in the lives of those who have been placed where I can touch, where I can influence, where I can help.

There seems so much, yet I am so small. How can I help? I don't feel equipped for such tasks.


I want to bear well what I've been given, but I fear I will fail. I fear failing those who have put their trust in me. I suppose I must remember the assuring Voice and recall it's not truly me in whom they put their trust. Because, if it was, I would fail.

"I know. But I Am."

I know...

Monday, April 18, 2011


I feel like I'm standing at an intersection, a crossroads, a precipice--whatever cliche you wish to attach yourself to--either way, life feels extremely pivotal at present. It feels like whatever life choices I make in the next few months will determine much, and much more than my mind feels comfortable with. It feels like I could go a thousand different directions, but which is the right one? And what does that even mean. Not sure. But, I'm mildly terrified.

I'm trying to decide something, well many somethings. For one, am I a reacher, or a settler? Like, am the type of individual who will forever be reaching, always striving, always wanting the next challenge, the next thing. Or, am I the type of person who is more content to simply be, to accept my circumstances, to settle. And is one delineation "better" than the other? Or, can we be one and then the other, depending on stage of life? Or, are these delineations altogether false? Not sure.

All of this said, life decisions seem a bit daunting at present, but I can't allow these crossroads to paralyze or I'll never move forward, in any direction.

But, where do I go? What do I do?

I feel like I'm on a round-a-bout, and could be spit off in any direction. But, which way...

I could go, I could stay, I could study, I could teach, I could settle, I could reach, I could love, I could not, I could live, I could not...

What if I miss something? What if I miss out? What if I choose wrongly? Is there a wrongly...?

Wow, that's a lot of pressure.

Maybe I'll stop trying to madly figure out my life and instead entrust myself to a God and Father who holds my entire existence in His hands...

Yeah, I'll try that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I feel like I am always performing, always. For someone. And I don't even always know who. Sometimes it's someone, sometimes it's no one. But, I feel like I'm somehow always performing for an invisible, ever-present audience. Always.

And couched within this is the constant desire to please, impress, project, perform. But, for who? I'm still working on that. But, frankly, I'm sick of it and greatly want to be free.

It's exhausting.

I'm so tired of trying to impress "someone." Yet, the irony--there are many--is that most of the time I know I'm performing, I'm conscience of it, and I even attempt within myself to not do it, but even within this there is a strange double layered form of acting.

It's sad.

It's like when you try so hard to be sincere that you end up being fake, and often without even intending to. This is a possible trap. Especially for performance prone individuals like myself. Because I will say, I'm not fake, I aim always towards sincerity, and I do care, very much in fact, and I don't wish to act, but sometimes all of my good intentions get bundled up and confounded in my strange attempt to please, impress, project, and perform.

Perhaps I should try some new acting classes. Or, maybe I should try a new career path altogether, because I don't think I'm very fond of this performer's lifestyle.
Embarrassed. Exposed. Wretched.

That's how I feel.

I suck at loving. I am discovering that I tend to love those that are easy to love, but even the pagans do this. I am drawn to what draws me. I seem to love when it doesn't cost me much, and usually and most often when it benefits myself. I love what loves me in return. I seem to love when it's easy, not so much when it's hard.

I am a wretched creature.

I am human.

But I am not ok with this status quo. I know in Christ there is no condemnation, and such realizations should only bring about a desire for growth and sanctification, but in my current state I am drawn to despair and frustration with myself. These are the kind of sickeningly painful epiphanies of self that one would rather ignore,

But I can't.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tired of being Tired

It's true, I am. I can't recall the last time I was fully rested, in any sense. That's terrible. I feel like I've been running on fumes and grace for way too long. God forgive me.

I wonder if it hurts the Lord's heart to watch me, frantically running around like a small busy ant, pretentiously assuming I can carry my own burdens. Again and again missing out on the abundant life He so freely offers, yet somehow it continues to evade me, or I it. Either way, I'm exhausted.

Sadly though, I think it's mostly my fault. I do it to myself, mostly. I still haven't seemed to figure out how to balance myself: My time, my energies, my passions, my relationships, myself.

I am always willing to spend myself on people, always. And it's always worth it. But, it is? I am beginning to wonder. But, I don't know any different, and I can't imagine any different. Or is it all simply about balance?

God, I beg for something. Something to discern this space and my place in it. How am I to truly embrace the abundant life you have for me, yet remain true to how you've created me? Help me Lord. I pray.

I'm so tired of being tired.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life Learnings part II

Further revelations that are still settling...

1. I don't need the thoughts of others to affirm my own

2. I am not defined by what I do or what people say about me

3. I can't please everyone, and I'm tired of trying

4. I'm a bit of a insecure mess, but it's ok

5. I am who I am

And there's always more...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Life Learnings part I

I'm learning a lot right now, a lot. It's kind of overwhelming sometimes. There are multiple lists. Such as:

Thing's I'm learning I'm ok with...

1. I'm ok being alone

2. I'm ok with just "being"

3. I'm ok with silence

4. I'm ok with stillness

5. I'm ok with my style

6. I'm ok with staying in on the weekends

7. I'm ok with saying no

8. I'm ok with awkward situations

9. I'm ok with people not liking me

10. I'm ok seeking and maybe not always finding

11. I'm ok with the process

12. I'm ok with not being ok

13. I'm ok with me

And that's the short list...

To be continued.


I do a lot of different things at my job: I take kids to school, I pick them up; I change diapers, I create activities; I plan field trips; I go to story time; I help with nap time; I load and unload groceries; I deal with the daily temper tantrums of two-year olds and all other year olds; I help cook for 30+ people. I do a lot of different things at my job. But, my favorite thing to do is simply to hold the babies. It's true, I'll admit it--I'm a baby holder. It's amazing: I honestly didn't even know if I liked kids before taking this job, and I now I am proudly professing my "baby-holdingness." Life is funny. God is funny.

I spent all morning with one of our new babies, and I got to do my favorite thing: hold him. We can't hold the kids all the time because otherwise they will become accustomed to it and expect it all the time, and we simply don't have enough staff to hold all the kids all the time. But, today I could do what is normally not permitted, just hold him.

So, I did.

It's an incredibly sweet thing, on many levels, to hold a child. Dependence. Vulnerability.

These inverse feelings are new for me, and I am still processing many of them. But, I am enjoying the beauty and newness of it all. In many ways, I feel closer to God through these experiences and understand better different parts of my Father.

For example, as I held this baby today I was overcome by a strange, but sweet spirit of worship, understanding that just as I held this child, so my Father holds me, always. We are all infinitely held. The keen desire this baby had to be as close to me as possible was overwhelming as I thought of my own keen desire for closeness to my Father. I was this baby's source of comfort, and security. If I made as if to leave him, he reached out to me with imploring arms and eyes, wordlessly begging me to stay. If I moved, he moved. If I sighed, he sighed. We were working in unison. As he lay against my chest, I could feel his breath, his hair, his skin, his heartbeat. It was a human moment touched by the Divine.

It was a moment that made me want to be a child again, if only to more fully understand the relationship with my Father, or rather how the relationship with my Father really looks. Sweet moments indeed. And all from holding a baby.

I'll say it again with pride: I'm a baby holder.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What do I want to be when I grow up?

This is a daunting question, mostly because I have no idea. But, does anyone? I'm starting to think not. Yet, I still get this panicked feeling that everyone else really does have it figured out and I'm somehow screwed or more simply, just behind. I hate that feeling.

I have many passions, dreams, desires, yet all of these things feel so amorphous when truly faced with the "what do you want to be when you grow up" question. And said desires feel even more naked when faced with the sheerness of life and its realities. What will you do? Where will you go? And my favorite--How will you support yourself? Daunting. But, I suppose only has daunting as I allow it to be...

I am the type of person who cares far less about what I'm doing, or even where I'm doing it and far more so about who I'm doing it with. This is mostly true, in that I do care about what I do and where I do it--I'm not simply an amoeba responding to stimuli. However, I do value above all else people in the midst of experience. I find I can like much and tolerate much if the relationships I'm engaged in through the process are worth it. It's always come down to people for me, relationships. And I battle with this in myself.

There are two types of people--well, there are many types of people, but for the sake of this illustration, I shall restrict myself to only two. There is the type of person who forms their lives, plans, pursuits, etc. separate from the impeding factor of others, more or less. And then there is the type of person whose life forms itself in and around the lives of others. The second perhaps is like a chameleon, that person adapts and adjusts to its surroundings and mainly, the people in those surroundings.

Uncomfortably for me on some level, I think I'm the chameleon. I have always seemed to simply adapt myself to the people I'm around, more or less. Not entirely of course, I'm still me, but I'm me along with a whole bunch of other impacting forces. It makes me wonder, who am I really? And along with this theme, what do I really want? I'm not sure I've truly considered this question yet. Or, maybe I'm just getting to the point where I can really ask it. I'm not sure. But, I want to start figuring this out. And maybe in the end I still won't know the answer to the, "what do you want to be when you grow up" question, but I hope to at least start figuring. We can only move forward with what we have right now.

So, let's start moving.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Rhythm. Rest.

They feed into one another, and create a self-sustaining cycle of life--if we practice them.

But, how does one find a consistent life rhythm when there doesn't seem enough energy to sustain even another day? Herein lies the problem, I'm afraid. We are so exhausted, as a culture, as individuals, that the ideas of rhythm, much less rest, are sadly distant concepts.

We live so thoroughly in the relentless day to day that we don't leave ourselves space enough to explore the possibility that life could be anything else. Sadly, I believe so much of this vicious cycle is self-inflicted. I know it is for me. I have convinced myself somehow that this is just how it is, or this is just how I am, and thus have become trapped within an idea of the world, or an idea of myself.

We convince ourselves that certain things in life are immovable obligations or essential to our existence, but it's often these very things--good and bad--that are killing us, so to speak.

For me, it's people. People are my passion. My heartbeat is relationships. Relationships for me are extremely life-giving. But, simultaneously, I am a person of extremes and in regards to relationships this can be one of my biggest detriments. I struggle to strike a balance, as with many things. I will continually push my boundaries--physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual--if it means relationships are pursued and maintained. Nothing is as important to me. Yet, I often do this at my own expense. I will forfeit sleep, health, other priorities, etc. for the sake of a good conversation or a meaningful interaction. It's all worth it to me. But, is it?

And it's something different for each of us. But, we must strive to identify our own individual imbalances, which are the perpetuators of this self-inflicted vicious cycle, in order to find remedy. We can be free, but it starts with us. And we have to want to be free.

It's ironic--rhythm, rest--are created and instituted by God, for our good. He desires us to live a full and abundant life, that's why he created such patterns. But, due to our own willfulness, and continually pursuing what we want, I believe we often miss out on that abundant life that's so freely offered us.

A friend told me recently that he needs rhythm in his life. He said, "I still want adventure, but I desire discipline." What an apt way to put it.

I don't think God views my emphasis on relationships as negative, or thinks my pursuit of them is evil, but He does know that when I place that pursuit as more important than my pursuit of Him, which entails a pattern of rhythm and rest, than something is wrong. God doesn't want to ruin our fun, quite the contrary. In fact, He wants us to live and experience Him and His blessings as fully as possible. But, we have to learn to live within the boundaries that He's given us, which include those of rhythm and rest.

For our good, we must learn to submit to these boundaries and patterns, and stop being like stubborn, foolish little children who refuse to lay down for nap time...

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired.


It's amazing to see how far you've come, when you look back.

Growth is almost imperceptible while it's occurring. We aren't usually aware of the minute or slight alterations of character, or changes in our person or habits, until later. But, we do see it, eventually.

That's one of the beautiful things about time. It reveals in the future what we can only strive towards in the present. Time carries us steadily and ever onward, with or without our consent, yet always forward. And along this journey we grow, with or without our consent, and often in spite of ourselves. That's a comforting reality.

But, growth can only be truly recognized through reflection. We cannot learn from what we do not seek to understand, and if we do not seek to understand, we shall never see the change inherent in ourselves.

We must reflect in order to see growth and we must seek growth in order to require reflection.

Yes, it's cyclical. But, so is much of life...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The rich young ruler

I feel a bit like the rich young ruler.

Who approached Jesus, desiring to know what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. As many of us know, Christ told this man to sell everything he owned and give it all to the poor. But, he couldn't do it. And the rich young ruler departed from Jesus "disheartened, because he had many possessions."

Am I like this rich young ruler?

Have I so allowed the things of this world to define and hem me in that I place more value in their definition of me than my Father's?

Uncomfortable, but painfully necessary questions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Musical posing

I do it.

I admit.

I'm a musical poser.

I all too often succumb to the pressure, when surrounded by those who are more musically savvy than I, to attempt and scrounge up all conceivable musical knowledge I possess and try to impress by spouting off the most obscure and possibly edgy artists I can conjure, hoping at least one is indie enough or alternative enough to evoke a head nod or non-verbal grunt of approval.


But, sadly, the danger in this game is that eventually you'll be caught. You will run out of obscure indie band references or ancient 80's bands, and the truth will slowly be revealed--that you don't really grasp all of the musical nuances being thrown around in the conversation, and your obscure band references shrink slowly into insignificance.

Eh. It could be worse.

We could try to avoid this game altogether, and admit right off the bat that we sometimes enjoy a horribly typical pop song simply because it's got a good beat and for no deeper musical reason than that.

That's not to say that the so-to-speak, musically obscure, don't possess a shred of musical knowledge or even appreciation, but we should attempt and release ourselves from this false pressure to impress or seek approval amongst the very ones who seek approval through their art.

It's ironic.

Let's be honest, it's all about approval.

Now, that's another conversation for another time...


Are we comfortable in it? It's an interesting question. I find that most people are not. I fully confess that I struggle to be.

It's an uncomfortable and seemingly never-ending process--becoming comfortable in ones own skin. It requires constant shedding: shedding of prior and previous layers and understandings of self; the awkward, the insecure, the inconsistent. And it feels like it never stops, this shedding of self. Just when we think we have arrived at ourselves, yet another layer sloughs off, revealing further uncomfortable realities and revelations.

But, we must slough off ourselves, again and again in order to reach any real sense of who we are. It's a necessary journey through the very rawest parts of self: who we thought we were, who we want to be, and who we will actually become.

It's a step into the vast void of the unknown, this shedding, realizing, and becoming comfortable in ones own self and skin. And it's a scary step. What's out there? Or more accurately, what's in here? Not questions we all like to ask ourselves.

Yet, if we refuse to ask, we subsequently refuse to become. Becoming comes through knowing and knowing comes through asking and asking comes through shedding and shedding is what ultimately brings us to a place where we can say, and perhaps even with confidence:

"I'm comfortable in my own skin."

But, in order to get there we must first be willing to do a little shedding.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Life feels like a lot of trying, and often failing. Trying for everything: every result, every conversation, every outcome, every relationship--everything. I get tired of trying. It's exhausting, and relentless. Can I be free from this weight of always striving, always trying?

I wonder.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A material girl in a material world

I am that girl, sadly.

I am a material girl in a material world.

Our ultra materialistic society bombardes us from all sides. Wherever we look, wherever we go, and wherever we don't; it's there.

It's there when you walk into a store, not previously wanting anything, but feeling like you should buy something, because it's there. Surely I need shampoo, or at least a pack of gum?

And it's there when you walk aimlessly through the mall, feeling perhaps relatively content with your material status, but are suddenly struck by an itch for a new pair of running shoes, because you can.

The unsaid, but ubiquitious message of materialism permeates the very fabric of our culture. And the silent, subversive message is this: discontentment. At it's root, this is materialism. This is the message of the culture.

It is the sickly and infectious belief that what we have is not enough, and even worse than that is the greater underlying belief that we are not enough.

And that somehow the addition of material things to our lives will enhance, make better, or somehow satisfy the unnamed longings of our hearts. But, which sadly will only serve to deepen and increase these insatiable desires.

Materialism also connotes that the material world is our greater reality; that this is it. That we must rely on what we can touch, taste, smell, or feel, to determine what we are and who we are.

But this is a fallacy. We are called to be in, but not of, this material world.

And it is encouraging to know that this is not, in fact, our greater reality. This material world is passing away. And we are called to pursue our greatest reality, which we cannot touch, taste, smell, or feel.

And even more encouraging is to realize we are indeed not defined by this material world or its material things, but by an eternal Father and our inheritance in His kingdom. As the good book says, "we hope for what is unseen, not for what is seen."

This material girl chooses to hope for what is unseen.

I must pray for new eyes.

Art II

It's all about perception. Art. As with the saying, "beauty is in the eye..."

I love the concept of art, and the actuality, depending. Again, perception. It's individual.

It's a lot of pressure, I feel. To be thought artistic. The label "artistic" carries with it definite connotation and weighty responsibility, at least in my own insecure head. Perhaps it's because I long to be considered or deemed "artistic," yet don't feel as if I am worthy of the title.

Art should be free of such pressures, but sadly the world is not free of such pressures, and art exists within the world and its incessant expectations. The very nature of art aims to fly free of this messy web and exist beyond a world confined by convention, but it struggles, and often, against itself. As we often struggle against ourselves.

Art at its core is the epitome of individual expression.

Raw. Real. Beautiful.

Perhaps I am allowing the cultural definition of art--or my own definition of art--to intimidate and disallow me from enjoying and engaging with it various mediums as they are meant to be pursued. Perhaps it's my own individuality that hinders and not the art itself...

A friend once told me, "Lauren, you get in your own way." I think she was right. Now, the question is--how do I get out of my way?

To be explored.

Art I

What is art?

Who defines it?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or the ear, depending.

This saying deems that art is subjective.

Is it?

Does not some set of beholding eyes--or ears--determine what is beautiful and what is not? What is talent and what is not? What is art and what is not?

There is a terrible irony within the world of art. As with any sect, or group, or set of people, there is exclusivity, by it's sheer nature.

I say this is ironic because the very essence of art is the ideal of individual expression. Which, would seemingly denote inclusivity-because everyone is an individual and everyone's individuality is prized and deemed beautiful. The art world is extremely receptive and open minded.

But is it?

The reality is that those who are deemed not "artistic" or not "talented" fall outside of this world and thus the very nature of art is betrayed by itself.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

This seemingly universal mantra, that everything is art to someone doesn't stick.

At least not in my opinion.

I am still in the throes of mulling over this entire concept.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I hate them. But, I live by them; they are how I function. I have an agenda for everything: for each day, each task, and for many of my interactions--even the interactions with my Father. There are pre-perscribed notions for everything in my head. Why do I do this? Is it simply my personality? Is it a vice? Should I aim to irradicate such tendencies in myself or rather learn how to live within them? Questions to be explored. Like, is it possible to approach a time with my Father with no agenda? No notion of receiving anything from Him, but rather simply learning to rest in His presence?

How I long...

Friday, March 18, 2011


What does it mean? Sabbath. Is it simply an antiquated Judeo-Christian concept that isn't relevant to modern society? Or, is it a beautiful, timeless, God-institutided discipline that we have tragically lost sight of in our hectic, non-stop, multi-tasking, overworked, society? Sadly, I think it's the latter.

Where have we gone wrong here? How have we come so far from a pattern of rhythm and rest?

We are meant for rest; God designed us that way. Yet, we fight Him like stubborn little children who won't lay down for nap time. We need a nap, badly, but we run from it like it's some sort of punishment. It's not! It's meant for our benefit. We run from what we need most: rest. Sabbath.

God designed the Sabbath with our frail humanity in mind. He created us with limitations, and then beautifully created a way in which we can function and live abundantly within those limitations. But, we must enter into that rest in order to partake in the abundant life. We must learn to stop. Be still. And know that He is God.

The Sabbath is profoundly about trust. Trusting that for one day, for one hour, for one minute, the world will survive without our undivided attention and management. Trusting that our Creator will sustain us (and the rest of the world that we think will collapse without us) for a day, an hour, a minute. But, we have to trust.

I know I need rest. I know I need Sabbath. I know I need to build this discipline into my life or I will never live the abundant life that was intended for me.

Now the question is, will I trust?

As inspired by a sermon on Sabbath rest by Ruth Haley Barton

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The universal ache...

"The heart has tremendous capacity to love, and to ache. And this ache is universal."

-Rob Bell
Sex God

Friday, March 4, 2011


We all say it, all the time. "I miss _____." : You. That feeling. That person. That circumstance. That thing. But, what do we really miss? Is it really you, or that feeling, that person, that circumstance, or that thing? Or is it something so much deeper, more basic, and more lasting. Is it the God-created yearning for more? The very essence of the eternal interwoven, invisible into all aspects of our lives...? Perhaps. I think yes. It's like there is this perpetual, continuous longing inherent within all of us. A longing for the eternal. The never-ceasing ache for what we were really meant for. And it manifests itself in the all the missings & the longings of the world. Perhaps its a good thing to miss, painful though it is. It reminds us that there is indeed something more, something better, something eternal. Something worth missing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Agreements. We enter into them constantly, and many without our consent or knowledge. But, the type of agreement I am referring to is not with an earthly being, but rather with the prince and power of the air. Satan. Our enemy. He is cunning and constant in his deceptions. And we are sadly all too often deceived.

Agreements are two-sided. There is the one who proposes the agreement and the one who accepts it. And in this case, there is one--Satan--who proposes the agreement, and us, who accept the terms of the agreement. But, the key to understand is that it requires consent. We are not bound except by ourselves.

There are thousands upon thousands of agreements that we enter into daily with our enemy...

"Everyone else is happy because they are in relationship, and I am not because I am alone."

"I married the wrong person."

"I am unhappy because I don't have ______"

"Life is unjust because _______"

The list goes on, and on, and on. It's disheartening to realize how many I have myself agreed to, and still agree to, without evening knowing it...

First, we must identity what "our agreements" are. Second, we need to meet with the Lord and ask Him to break these agreements and free us from ourselves. Because, truly, we keep ourselves bound by these faulty agreements, and we can't even see it.

Free me Lord...

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I feel extremely flat lately, almost apathetic. Life just is, and I very much dislike it. One of my youth girls told me this morning, "I just feel lukewarm." That's a great way of putting it-life simply feels tepid. Icky. I would want to spit me out too.

God, I know I am attempting to learn what it means to "be still," but is that what this is? Or have I missed it entirely and have instead happened into a stage of sheer lethargy? I hope not the latter. I know I am terribly uncomfortable with "non-productivity" and that stillness is a very foreign concept to me, but I don't know what the balance is between letting go, yet remaining intentional. What's the difference?

Teach me to be still. Teach me to abide. But, please teach me also to never stop seeking your face. And show me that balance, I pray...

The Plains

We often refer to the peaks and valleys of our lives, metaphorically speaking, when describing the ups and downs of our existence, yet we don't often discuss the plains-the steady, unbroken plains.

The plains are neither thrilling nor devastating.

They are in no way extreme.

They simply are.

Life is very daily, and I am just learning how much. This new revelation is somewhat discouraging for a person of extremes, like myself. But, if I don't grapple with the reality of the plains now, I think I will only discover discontentment and spend too much of my energy chasing after the extremes, ultimately finding they are truly not as satisfying or sustaining as the contentment that's to be found along the plains of existence. It's easy to live in extremes, I find. But, it's more of a challenge, I believe, to live with intentionality amidst a fairly unchanging day-to-day.

Balance is always more difficult than imbalance.

I can't say I enjoy the plains, if I'm honest, but I hope I can learn from living here what it means to live well everywhere: peak, valley, or plain. It's not about where you are, but what you do with where you are. Contentment. Now, I have to figure out what that actually looks like. That could take awhile...

Sunday, February 13, 2011


What does true, Biblical community look like? And is it even possible in our very disjointed modern age? I feel as if I was much more enthused in terms of communal living while in college--in an ideal community--but having since emerged into the "real world" I am less enthused and sadly more skeptical. I don't know if it's possible. And I hate that I'm even saying that. I haven't lost the vision entirely, because I do believe we are called to live in Biblical community; however, it seems less plausible now that I see and experience the disparate nature of modern, adult life. It would have to be so intentional, so deliberate. And it would require not only a huge alteration of thought, but more importantly a genuine conviction and transformation of the heart. We can speak of ideals and noble notions all day long, but unless the Holy Spirit moves us to action, all efforts are void and vain, I'm afraid. But, the idea or ideal of Biblical community truly appeals to the very basic parts of me. I long for the kind of community I believe God intended for His church. But, have we lost the capacity for it...? To be continued.

Epiphanies Cont.

So, more epiphanies...

Epiphany 4: I find and have always placed my value of self in others rather than in self, me. It makes sense why the opinions of others have always weighed so heavily in my estimations of self. I invest so much in people, and apparently so much of myself in people that I have become indistinguishable from others thoughts and affections towards me. If these things waiver, so do my feelings and confidences in myself. It's fascinating, and tragic really.

I am a bit in distress in light of this revelation. One, because I don't know exactly how to break free from this position of thinking. And two, because it seems so much of who I am, that I fear the undoing process. But, it must occur.

I believe the key, in so many of these struggles, is contentment. And as the good book says, "ask and you will receive; seek and you will find." Perhaps I should begin asking for contentment. And to quote a wise woman I know, "what a phenomenal idea." Ask I shall.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Epiphanies. I am having many of them as of late, and it's kind of overwhelming. The relentlessness of life combined with constant new findings about oneself feels like a lot some days, many days.

Epiphany 1: I"m pretty sure I'm ADD. How I never knew this before, I have no idea. It's so painfully obvious and explains SO much about who I am and how I function. Amazing. Duh.

Epiphany 2: I apparently find my confidence and sense of self in others and not in myself or in God my Maker, basic, but unbelievably core. And very much in need of remedy. This one is far more serious and needs some serious priority of thought and action, which brings me to my next epiphany...

Epiphany 3: I have no ability to prioritize (which could indirectly or directly be affected by my "new-foud" ADD-ness)...

But, truly, I had no idea until very recently how much I truly struggle to simply prioritize daily tasks and necessary obligations. When I make "to-do" lists, everything on that list holds, in my mind, equal weight and priority. For example, taking care of my student loans, getting a hair cut and attending to work projects all exist on a level playing field of importance in my head.


How did I not know some of these things earlier...? I suppose growing is indeed a constant process, but it sure is exhausting sometimes. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I am weary, comprehensively weary. It's a weariness that transcends the physical, and penetrates deep down to ones spirit. It's the kind of weary that isn't remedied by a good night's rest or even a good cry, in fact it's the type of weariness that is only intensified by such activities, depending.

On another weary note: I am weary of throwing my affections at anything that will accept them. It's exhausting and miserably dissatisfying. I know what I need, and what I don't. Yet, I persist in pursuing some of the very things I know I don't need and don't want, yet are better than nothing. That's terrible, I know, but at least it's honest. Sigh.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Singularity. It's an interesting thing, and a new thing, which I have not experienced much in my life. It was kind of scary at first, but it's gaining thrill as I progress further into this unknown world of learning to be alone with myself-and more importantly-learning to be ok with it. It's a phenomenon, for me, to be certain. Ask anyone who knows me. I suck at being alone.

I am a very communal person. I thrive on inter-personal relationships, as do most people, but for me it boarders on dependence. And I didn't know this until recently. I thought it was normal to depend on people-and it is-but not to the extent I am, or rather, was apt to do.

It's like learning to walk for the first time, or rather, like learning to walk again for the first time. I am having to re-learn how to relate to people. It's strange, and kind of painful, but unbelievably necessary. I have to be ok with just me.

It's been interesting to walk through the mental rewiring of my own brain. It's like a constant back and forth conversation and debate in my head. Because I am so apt to rely on people for much of my security and most of my decision-making processes, I am forced to mentally spar with my former tendencies and my new-found knowledge, which is that I don't "need" people to be ok. It's indeed a process.

I have to continually remind myself that I don't need to ask someone's opinion regarding what decision I should make in a given situation, or that I don't need to have someone to accompany me to a social event, or that it's ok to go a whole day and not hear from anyone, or that I don't need the attention of any of the male species to feel valued or wanted. I'm fine with just me. This will be my mantra.

There is much more which could be plumbed on this topic, but I will end here for the time being.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did curiosity really kill the cat...?

I want to understand, everything. I am an extremely curious individual, and I find the world a fascinating place. I am like that obnoxious two-year old who is always asking, "why? why? why?" about everything.

I want to know why asparagus makes your pee smell funny. I want to know why 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. I want to know why we drive on the right side of the rode. And is it even the "right" side? I want to know about the nature of belief. What is faith? Why are some people successful and others end up homeless? What is success in any case and who defines it? Is there a man in the moon? And what's his name? Why...? And what?

I want to know everything, everything I can.

And I am realizing how much I desire to pursue and befriend people who share this quality. I want to know people who are never content knowing what they know. As I myself desire to be ever growing and changing, knowing and understanding more and greater, I desire to surround myself with people who desire the same. I want to be pushed and I hope to push.

There is too much to know and understand; it's never ending. So, we as people can't ever stop asking the question,"why?" At least I can't.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The greatness of self

Personal greatness has to be known before it can be affirmed. We, as individuals, have to learn and know the qualities that distinguish us from everyone else, in order to be confident and confirmed in who we are inherently. We cannot believe the good things people say about us if we don't believe such things ourselves. It's a problem of confidence, of belief in self and our own personal greatness. We have to learn ourselves, our faults and our fortes, our weaknesses and our strengths in order to have healthy self-perception and an accurate perception of self-worth and our own personal value. It takes time. Knowing oneself is a life-long process, I am certain, but conversely coming into a certain confidence of self must happen before so much else can occur. We must be able to recognize and embrace within ourselves the beautiful things that others can so easily see, but we ourselves are apt to ignore or remain blind to. We must learn our own greatness, and in this know ourselves a bit better. Self-discovery: a never-ending process of growth. Bring it on.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Will we ever arrive? Recently, I have had the feeling that the answer is no. But, what does it even mean to arrive? In my head it's some kind of final step, a solidification, a maturation, a settling of self. But, does this ever truly happen? Are we not always maturing, always growing, always changing? Yes and no, I suppose. We are in one sense always growing, and forever will be, but in another sense we have to arrive: we must arrive at ourselves, and be comfortable and confident with what we find. We have to be comfortable walking around in our own skin, naked and everything. The process of growing is painful, and terribly slow, but beautiful. It's like constantly be stripped of self. The pealing back of layers upon layers of who we think we are--getting deeper and deeper beneath our self-created shells, revealing more and more of who we really are, or who we are intended to be.

And I'm not sure if I'm there yet. So, I guess I indeed haven't "arrived" in the second sense of the word. That's both discouraging and encouraging. Discouraging, because it feels like there's a long, weary road of grudging growth ahead, but encouraging because I have the choice--the choice to view that road as a beautiful journey and a process that I know I wouldn't miss for anything. I guess in the end it all comes down to perspective, and choice. Yes, it's painful, and a process, but it's all part of it really. All of it. And since I can't skip it, and wouldn't even if I could, I might has well embrace it. Because after all, who doesn't want to be comfortable naked...