Thursday, April 30, 2015

Selfie no more?

The Selfie.

Urban dictionary defines it so eloquently - “A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person's arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.”

Dear Urban dictionary, 

Myspace is gone. #RIP.


Here is my definition of a selfie.  A selfie is a picture of just the picture taker who then proceeds to talk about themself.  

This is just my opinion and I realize I'm treading on sacred ground - the self, but here it goes. I haven't made anyone mad today yet, so maybe this will count. The occasional picture of something hilarious, a new haircut, skincare advertisements or botox procedure gone wrong can be quite entertaining and just fine, that is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about the constant self-promotion. 

Let’s  be honest.  We all spend too much time thinking about ourselves anyway.  Don’t you ever just get on your own nerves?  I do. Well, if you are narcissistic you probably don’t because you are perfect, but for the rest of us, don’t you sometimes just want a break from YOU?  

I keep trying to imagine if Jesus had recorded himself on his iPhone.  “Look Dad!  I turned water into wine!  #miracles” or  “Anyone need some fish? I have extra. #12baskets”  or how about this one, “Check out this before and after of my friend with leprosy.  #ihealedhim”  

How awesome would it be if we coined the term, “you-ie”??  I love the community I am a part of because they do such a great job of honoring other people.  Wouldn’t that be amazing if we could start highlighting those around us? Interesting things that are going on in our world?  Hilarious moments of others lives?  

Right now our church is going through the book of Philippians, and whether you believe in Jesus or not, these words are powerful. 

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
(Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)

This is why I am anti-selfie.  I already struggle enough with being self-centered and need help remembering to look around me.  We all see the people who constantly post selfies and have our different judgements and thoughts, but I wonder if anyone ever talks to them who truly loves them and seeks to understand what is going on in their interior world. Is there pride, loneliness and/or so much insecurity? Are we afraid we will be forgotten? All of us have our struggles and if God were to ever allow me to meet and become friends with Kim Kardashian I hope that I could talk to her out of a place of deep care for her and not annoyance and maybe she could help me dress better and show me more of who she is as a person. 

Larry says it best, “Never speak hard words to someone unless your love for that person has formed a vision for who that person could become, a vision that generates tender feelings for the other.  And never speak hard words if you discern that you are demanding a change in another for your sake.”

So, for all of us selfie takers, myself included, join me in becoming a “you-ie” culture?  I think there’s more to you than what you post, so lets find out who that person really is.  Show the world and people around you.  I think it will shift things in relationships and in perspective.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

To my faves

Pegs, Kathryn, Jenna, Blake, MC, Bethie, Christa, Carly, & Danni,

Was it really just 9 months ago that we looked at each other and said, “Ok. You’re in my life. Now what?” 

Discipleship is this weird, churchy word for, “I’m older and lets hang out and maybe you will get something of Jesus out of us walking together.” 

I thought I would wade into your life slowly and carefully. You were hurting and sad about the move of our beloved Jeff and Sara and so was I.  Loss was one of those weird things that bonded us, and in retrospect, it was fitting. We bonded over love.  You embraced me without hesitation.  Where was the slow, wading in that was supposed to happen?  

From day 1 you showed up and I’m not just talking about physically. YOU showed up.  You were hungry and struggling.  All of you in different ways had your own load you were carrying and when your load became a burden, you learned to share it.  You told your secrets and wondered if there was anything lovely inside because you felt your behavior wasn’t.  You wrestled with the age old question that plagues every woman at some point in her life, “What is wrong with me?”  (To which I wanted to scream, "NOTHING!!!!")

You felt insecure and other times you were so sure and anchored.  You prayed for one another and never tired of hearing repeated struggles when one of your sisters was self-conscious about sharing “again.”  You moved towards one another with compassion, truth, love, and fierceness that comes from knowing and being known. You’ve moved
from timidity to confidence and strength.  You will disagree and that’s ok, but I’m older and bossier and wiser so you have to listen to what I say.  You think tears and struggle means weakness, but dear one, it is exactly what makes you strong……your weakness and honesty about it.  

You loved one another WELL.  You walked a road of courage and at times, loneliness that no one could “fix.”  You had  conflict and didn’t avoid.  You learned to listen to Jesus for yourself and not for conformity.  You ran marathons and worked hard jobs. You risked what was expected to walk a path less traveled.  You stepped out and led when you were afraid and you stepped out of leadership roles when you felt it had become an identity.  You prayed for strangers, stood by your sisters through family agony, and rejoiced when one fell in love.  

Almost every year that I’ve been on staff I’ve had a group of girls that I’ve invested in and each year I say the same thing because I mean it. YOU ARE MY FAVORITE.   Whoever God has placed in my life is my favorite and remains my favorite.  It’s just expanded by 9 more this year.  

Pegs, Danni, Carly, Jenna, Kathryn, Christa, Blake, MC, Bethie, truly you have CAPTURED my heart.  We have laughed hysterically, danced, cried, written songs, cooked countless meals, walked through loss,  spa’d it up, eaten our weight in chocolate,  prank called, and fallen more in love with Jesus in the process. 

Words can’t quite capture what a band of misfits we are, but somehow it works and just when I think there’s no more room for my heart to grow before bursting, another one of you comes along and hops in (don’t leave us, Danni).  Truly, you have changed my life and it is strange that I cannot remember (nor do I want to) what life was like before you invaded every space in my house and heart.  :) Thank you, God that I still have another year with you. Cue Friends are friends forever. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

What's next?

I whipped out some classic Amy Grant this week.  Over the past two days I think I have played Thy Word about 50 times.  

When I feel afraid and think I’ve lost my way
Still you’re there right beside me
Nothing will I fear as long as you are near
Please be near me to the end
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
You’re the light unto my path

I need the comfort and strength of His words. I mean, I need them all the time, but I am just more aware of it in this season.  Many of you know that I am leaving Cru staff after 17 years of service.  I will still remain in partnership with them for a few things, but overall, this season is ending.

Let me tell you a little about the journey that led me to where I am now.

In early September I went to the mountains with Debbye and Kathie. Debbye and Kathie are older than me and for the past 3 years we have met every other Thursday to share our lives and to speak honestly to one another about what we see God doing in one another’s lives.  It has been very significant to each of us and we have grown to love one another deeply.  When we went to the mountains I began dreaming out loud about what I was/am passionate about and Debbye asked the question, “Is that a fit in the Cru world?”  She probably asked me that question 4 times and each time she would ask me, I would get up and go to the bathroom and not answer her.  

The next day I left to go to the beach with three friends from grad school.  It was incredible, but I was troubled.  Jane, Jen and Casey would ask me questions about my dreams and I was overwhelmed.

In October, friends and family rallied together to make it possible for me to attend a conference called Storyline. Donald Miller taught on what makes a good story and one of the questions I had to answer was, “What if I never left staff with Cru?”  I lost it.  I had no intention of leaving staff. I was comfortable there. These people are family and when you leave it is somewhat of this unspoken thing that basically you die. It’s not meant to be mean, but when you live in such a transient world, hello’s and goodbyes are as normal as breathing, and there are only so many relationships you can maintain. 

My friend Beth basically asked me to say what I knew in my heart and as I said, “I’m going to leave staff.” something in me broke free.  It had nothing to do with Cru, but had everything to do with me being obedient.  

Freedom follows obedience.

This isn’t props to me, there are many times I am not so quick to obey, but God had been setting this up for awhile.  

I also want to note that it seemed significant to obey without knowing what was next.  

During this whole process I never doubted that decision.  There have only been two other times I have had 100% certainty about the decision I was making:  1. where I was going to college and, 2. that God was calling me to join staff with Cru.   

Here is #3.

In August I am launching With, Inc., a new non-profit ministry based off of my favorite name of God - Emmanuel - God WITH us.  

More details will be coming over the next months, but here is some of what it is going to be about:

  • a hunger for more people to want more than just circumstances to change so they can be happy 
  • a genuine desire to celebrate the joys in life
  • help facilitate conversations on healthy emotion with God, self and others - especially in the Church
  • helping others enter in to one another lives in ways that speak to the heart and Spirit 
  • educate on anxiety and depression - but not just how to fix, but to find the meaning in the challenge and pain 
  • lead retreats for those in full-time ministry
  • lead retreats for lay leaders who feel burned out
  • address the shaming should’s in life and Church
  • speaking on Shattered Dreams
  • speaking on Femininity 
  • facilitate processing groups on disappointment, anxiety and emotion
  • reach out to be a resource to businesses, Cru staff teams, & church staff teams on shepherding teams & conflict resolution 
  • writing a book and blogging more

So here I stand at a major crossroads in my life.  I’m cliff jumping, but as Larry would say, “You have a rope tied securely around your waist that is anchored to the Father.”

I just want to help others across the finish line.

Thanks for caring and for reading.  I would appreciate your prayers.  I am asking all my current supporters to transition their support to With, Inc. starting August 1st.  I still have a lot of support to raise.  I plan on using my summer to regroup, plan, pray, prepare and close out with Cru and begin With, Inc.  The next big step is filing with the IRS for 501(c)(3) status and that should happen this week.  

Seriously, thank you for supporting me by even just reading my blog.  I know many of you have different beliefs and might not agree with all that I am doing and that’s okay, but thanks for reading anyway.  For those of you who pray, I would be grateful for your continued prayers as I take this huge leap from my comfort zone.  

Here we go.