Category Archives: Change

Day 28: Embrace the Wondering (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Copy-of-DSC_0677-1024x681Over the past two years, my spiritual journey has taken me to unexpected places—deep into the heart of my own questions, doubts, and frustrations.

It scared me. I’ve watched people “wrestle with theology,” until suddenly, they didn’t want anything to do with God or church or Christianity. I thought I’d made peace with my own questions; I didn’t expect them to re-surface. What had I missed?

I didn’t want to lose my faith, but I couldn’t stop the unraveling. I grabbed hold of familiar truths only to find them crumbling in my hands. Many things I had been taught, had wholeheartedly believed, simply didn’t hold up against the reality I faced.

Several months ago, I wept my way through worship once again. I felt incredibly lost, when I sensed the breath of the Spirit on my heart: Don’t you remember who I am? I’m the One who guides you into all truth. And how do you find truth? You ask questions. I’m guiding your questions. It’s Me.

I can’t describe the burden lifted from me in that moment.

The Holy Spirit guides our questions. Have you ever pondered that? It’s a breathtaking reality. Doubt is not always a bad thing. Sometimes He wants us to doubt that thing we’ve clung to because it’s become entangled with something He never meant for us to be anchored to. Sometimes He wants to unravel our foundations, so He can build better ones.

Today, I’m over at The Art of Fear Not with Tammy Hendricksmeyer, writing about leaning into the questions and trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Join  me over there for the rest!

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Day 26: When Plans Change (31 Days of Simple Truths)

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was so proud of myself this morning.

Mondays can be rough, and I knew today was going to be especially full for me. I realized that come dinnertime I was going to be worn out, so I thought ahead and put a roast in the crock pot.

We got home around 6pm, but when we walked into the house, instead of being greeted with the wonderful, warm scent of dinner, there was the scent of . . . nothing. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I turned the crock pot on this morning, but somehow, by some freak incident, it turned off at some point.

I nearly burst into tears.

Of course there was no plan B. And no leftovers because it’s only Monday. The budget is pretty tight right now, so the thought of eating out was painful. I kind of just wanted to tell everyone to go to bed, they’d survive without dinner for one night, and we’d try again tomorrow.

But I quickly realized that was a horrible idea. Fortunately, I remembered a pizza coupon in the drawer—miracles!

And even though I was enormously frustrated, the evening turned around. We ended up having a good time as a family, eating pizza and watching the new Supergirl TV show. My kids never get to watch “grown up” TV at night, so it was a big kid treat for them. Not so bad after all.

It’s hard when plans change—big or small. But I’m learning to not let those moments derail me and to go a step further by making something special out of them. It was nice to treat Monday night like Friday night, even if that wasn’t the original plan. Maybe it was exactly what we needed.

Well, my roast is cooking now, so we’ll eat good tomorrow. And next time I grocery shop, maybe I’ll remember to buy an emergency back up dinner . . . just in case.

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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Change, Cooking, Family

Day 24: New Paint, New Start (31 Days of Simple Truths)

31daysOfSimpleTruthsWhen it came time to move last month, the whole process turned into a crazy whirlwind, the kind I’d hoped to avoid. In a very last minute turn of events, we ended up with a house that was not exactly what I hoped for. To be more precise, it was pretty ugly.

It’s an old home, and it needs a lot of updating. But it’s also a rental, so we don’t want to sink a lot of money into it. Still, we’re going to be here at least a year, so I’d rather not hate looking at it the entire time.

This weekend, my parents helped us buy paint, and then my dad spent his Saturday painting with us while my mom and brother kept the kids. (Can I mention here how grateful I am for my family? They’re the best!) While we still have a bit more to do, the contrast is already amazing. It’s fresh. It’s clean. Even though there are elements we won’t be able to do anything about while we’re here, I already feel so much more settled.

I hugged my dad tonight and told him tomorrow will be the first time in a month that I am excited to wake up in this house. Tomorrow, I’ll unpack my books and we’ll start putting things on the wall. Tomorrow, maybe this transition will start to feel less overwhelming and this place will start feeling more like home.

It seems crazy that something as simple as paint could make such a difference. I’m reminded that sometimes we complicate things. Maybe there is one simple step we need to take, just one, that can begin to shift things. Maybe the entire solution isn’t obvious in front of us, but one step could be enough to set the ball in motion.

What frustration have you been facing? Is there one thing you could do to push back and start the shift you are longing for?

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Day 18: Holding Hope (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Image: Autumn Mott/Unsplash

Image: Autumn Mott/Unsplash

Tonight, my words are few.

I’m aching and weary in my body from sleeping in a tent all weekend. I’m aching and weary in my soul from allowing myself a little bit of space and time to feel the magnitude of loss and uncertainty stirred up by our recent transition.

But I’m also reminded that my word for this year is redemption. All things new. And sometimes in order for all things to be made new, some things have to die. Isn’t that the lesson the seasons teach us? Isn’t autumn about the beauty of releasing the dead things, to lay down the burden in preparation for deep rest and new life?

So tonight, I offer you the words I am whispering to myself: Choose hope. Even in the dark, even in the land of question marks, choose hope. And keep your eyes open for redemption.

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Day 10: Rest Days (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Image Source: Unsplash

Image Source: Unsplash

All my life, I heard about the importance of a Sabbath rest – a weekly day set aside for rest, but I never regularly experienced this bliss until just over a year ago.

We started going to church on Saturday nights, something I previously thought would feel weird. I was so wrong. It was the complete opposite of weird. It was perfect.

What used to happen was that Saturday was for catching up on all the things that hadn’t been done all week: grocery shopping, house cleaning, errand running, etc. Then, Sunday was spent at church. And then it was Monday, and I was constantly tired. Maybe church is restful for some people. I don’t know. And I’m not suggesting that I didn’t like going to church. But it was a scheduled thing, somewhere you needed to be, and in my case, a place where I still had responsibilities and expectations to meet.

All that shifted for us when we went to a church with a Saturday night service. Saturday mornings, I did the grocery shopping, midday I took care of things around the house, in the evening we went to church. And Sunday? We rested. We played. If we felt like it, we did a project we’d been trying to get to. And by the time Monday rolled around, I was refreshed. I stopped dreading Mondays. Who knew?

We’ve moved now, and we need to find a new church. There seems to be a shortage of Saturday night services in the area. And we’re trying to figure out what to do.

But something is different for me. And the issue isn’t really one of whether Saturday or Sunday services work better. The real issue is that I’ve discovered the bliss of an entire day set aside to rest every single week. And I’m not going back to the way life was before. Whatever day of the week it has to be we’ll have to figure out. But this is the simplest, yet most profound truth I know right now: Rest is everything. It is essential. It’s worth fighting for. It’s worth saying no to things for. It’s worth whatever you have to do to make space for it in your life.

Do yourself a favor, and schedule some regular rest into your week.

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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Change, Church, Rest

Day 9: Perspective (31 Days of Simple Truths)

31daysOfSimpleTruthsIt’s important to realize when your perspective is skewed.

For example, my life is in a lot of upheaval right now. We’ve just made a major transition, we’re not settled into our new home, there are a lot of questions that still need to be resolved. So when people ask me if I’m excited or how we’re doing, I don’t try to come up with an answer; I just say, “I don’t know.” Because I don’t. I’m too tired to know.

Earlier this week, I started pondering a decision that might need to be made. I felt my tension escalating, but before I could get overwhelmed, I recognized that this is probably not the best time to contemplate potential life decisions. I’m too tired to decide.

I’ve read this advice before—to not try to make major decisions if you’re stressed, tired, sick, etc. But I think we have to go one step further and recognize our own unique signals. There are things that might interfere with my vision, but wouldn’t necessarily bother yours. We have to be honest enough with ourselves to say, “I’m probably not seeing this in the best light right now.”

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Day 6: Bridging Divides (31 Days of Simple Truths)

31daysOfSimpleTruthsI am deeply weary of polarizing conversations. To the point that I want to weep every time something controversial comes up. I already have an intense dislike for confrontation, but this? This is so much more.

I know some people who regularly hashtags their posts with things like #liberalsarestupid. I know others who regularly post things about all conservatives being greedy and indifferent to the poor or hating women. I want to shake someone and shout, “How is this helpful???”

If you see that there are some deep-rooted problems that negatively affect minorities woven into our system of policing, you must hate the cops.

If you state something showing gratitude for law enforcement, you’re racist and ignorant.

If you observe that yes, Israel has a significance on the world stage and in spiritual matters, but maybe that doesn’t give them a blank check to do whatever they want, you’re anti-Semitic, anti-American, and quite possibly, not Christian anymore.

If you support the right to bear arms but think maybe there should be some additional safety measures in place because the world is a messed up place, you’re ignorant, anti-Consitution, and anti-American, and want all the criminals to be able to run roughshod all over you.

If you think that in spite of whatever Planned Parenthood’s claims to the common good are, their roots are horrendous and there’s some shady business going, you hate women and want all the poor, minority women to suffer the most.

On and on. It goes on and on and on. I’d like to add a disclaimer that my examples above are extreme, but they’re not. These are conversations and interactions I observe every single day, and it breaks my heart. We think the worst and say the worst, and meanwhile, there are gaping wounds that need to be healed.

Maybe this isn’t a simple truth. Maybe it’s complicated, or maybe it’s become complicated, even though it shouldn’t be.

However extreme or different our views may be, we all have a vested interest in the well-being of our nation, of the world, of individuals, of families. Nothing will get better by calling names, by assuming that anyone who thinks differently than you is stupid or ignorant or hateful. That kind of language might get article hits and social media shares, but it doesn’t bring healing or redemption or hope or solutions.

The simple, not-so-simple truth? Change starts when we are willing to truly listen, not to tear down each other’s arguments or form our own defenses, but to hear what matters to someone else’s heart and find the common ground we need to stand on and move forward. Change starts when we are willing to challenge our own views and deeply held convictions, while seeking to understand why someone else’s conviction is different than our own.

Unsplash/Nick Scheerbart

Unsplash/Nick Scheerbart

We can all stand there stubbornly holding our ground and shouting insults, or we can close our mouths, open our ears and our hands, and start building bridges.

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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Change, Healing, Justice