Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I tend to see my life move in rhythms. Influxes of themes. Repetition in the routes conversations take. Those tend to be what move me, what impassion me and inspire me to dig my heels in a little deeper. To take the moments and just let them settle on my shoulders as important and notable.

The repetition lately seems to be in regards to hearing pain in people. Interactions with people in dark places stumbling beneath heaviness, carrying burdens and reminiscing about seasons of pain, my own or others. At twenty-four, I am by no means an expert, I'm actually fairly inexperienced at dealing with tragedy or crisis. But I hear it often enough and have had my own fair bouts with it to be able to tangibly recognize it quick and empathize deeply.

As I've been reflecting on the pain around me, I sense an overarching desire to overcome pain. To beat it. To achieve renewal that extracts the painful experiences from our story. Like it is some wall that once we reach over, it becomes a trophy of something attained or accomplished.

But the problem is, pain doesn't ever speak to our virtue. And neither does healing.

We know that's true because pain doesn't necessarily come with warning. It doesn't afflict particular people and avoid others. Pain cannot be about virtue because pain cannot be deterred. I have too many friends who are in the throes of infertility or breakups or financial ruin or health problems to ever believe otherwise. These are virtuous people, full of grace and belief and hope and trust in Jesus that I cannot fathom ever possessing myself given the situation reversed. They've just received the shadow of pain without any due.

So why do we believe that overcoming/beating/moving beyond pain boasts any achievement of us then? Even more than that, why do we believe that that should speak to a value in us? Maybe it's because we have some psychological need to believe that there is something in us that can win SOMETHING when we feel like we're losing everything. Maybe it's because we actually believe that we deserve painful things based off of something we've done wrong and we can do penance to right it. Maybe it's just because we are so afraid of hurt being a part of our being that we choose to believe that if we fight hard enough we can leave it behind us and people will notice how strong we are.

I would pose that the most latter may be the most true.

But what if rather than trying to overcome pain, we absorbed it. If we let it rest uglily on our shoulders as part of our story. If we let it have its place in our lives and experienced healing so deep that we were changed permanently.

The word that most comes to mind about what this looks like is limping. Because pain damages us, right? Injuries don't fully heal and there are residual stains over every area of our lives that no prayer, husband, friendship, job, dollar amount can actually remove. And actually, maybe we're better if it isn't removed.

What if our limping actually allows us to make it further than we ever could in full form? The only place a paradox like that works is in the presence of Jesus. He is the one who invites us ugly ones to sit at His table of communion.

Like the parable in Luke 14:16-24 where the rich man invites all his wealthy friends and no one comes, so he tells his servant to grab the homeless people to share a meal with. David Benner talks about this in his book The Gift of Being Yourself. We are the homeless people invited to the table. Our whole persons, the really crappy, self-righteous parts of ourselves included. The parts that experience pain and want retribution. The parts of ourselves that are self-righteous and incredulous. The parts of ourselves that hate who or what has inflicted pain on us. That is the part Jesus invites to the table, not to scold, but to tenderly hear and love through invitation to His kindness. He doesn't look away from our brokenness, He invites us instead to sit around His table and drink deeply.

That's where the healing happens. The good healing, the kind that allows marriages built on infidelity to be healed through forgiveness and repentance, the kind that believes simultaneously in firm justice and unending grace for horrifying wrongs like with Planned Parenthood. The kind of healing that takes time and work and effort and pain and discomfort and screwing it up a bunch of times before getting a little better. But it's the healing I have found to be most true and most worth it; where I have been invited again and again in my life to find real freedom that doesn't confine me to live my life around my pain or my overcoming of pain as a measure of my value. The freedom to walk with a limp for the rest of my life without being afraid of how ridiculous I look.

Because more important than how I'm limping is where I'm limping too. I'm limping to Jesus and His world that redeems pain and heals desecration. His home that welcomes my torn tissue and nerve damage and answers it with a song of deep hope. Restoration for both my body and my soul. And given the choice of experiencing deep pain and knowing deeper healing or never having any of it and not knowing the glory of redemption, I will chose the former every time. Every. Single. Time.

All of this to say, I pray and cry and hug my friends in the dark days and let them do the same for me. Pain is pain and meant to be experienced fully. I'm thankful that I no longer have to be afraid of either their pain or my own. I'm thankful that my story has been one that's been met with deep healing and hope so I can believe in it for other people. I'm also thankful that I'm not responsible to be the healer for any of them. Instead I just get to bear burdens and remind that health is there for us, it just doesn't take the form we thought it did. It's a Person not a position.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Scones and Truth

There's the new bakery in KC I'm quite enamored with. I'm a big fat sucker for pastry and iced americano's, so you add Anthropologie wallpaper and I will declare it my home. They will be my people, their recipes my recipes.

The second best thing to their cranberry orange scone is meeting my friend there for breakfast every other Friday. We've tried other places, but they can keep their crepes, I will be eating muffins like they're going out of style. I digress. These little breakfasts are cherished. It's a steady place for me to say the truth of where I'm at, without explanation, without "why", without pretense. In fact, when those are present it's typically met with a hard stare because who actually has themselves figured out?

My boss has taken his family to Colorado for the month for their July Sabbath. This means lighter work days, reading time, holiday, and lots of time to just look and see. My truth last Friday morning about what I'm seeing was that I am a whole lot worse of a person that I thought I was. Most of my wrongness revolves around the fact that I'm terribly selfish and incomprehensibly arrogant.

As I'm slowing down this month and finding myself feeling through things, part of what I've needed to think about is my busyness. Not just HOW busy I am but how I PRESENT my busyness, I don't think I'm the only one either. I tell people I'm busy like they should be impressed. I pack my schedule then tell people I don't have time because somehow I believe being busy makes me important. And the busier I am, the more important I am, and if you don't understand that then it's just because you're not as important as I.

See what I mean by incomprehensibly arrogant?

And I just doubt I'm the only, mainly because my friend was the one who said it first. I can only bet that you feel that too whether or not you think it. We live in a culture that finds elusiveness endearing. Tenacity and longevity are boring. To be interesting you have to be up and coming and different. Wearing a miniature bun on the top of your head and picking out the essence of acorn in your coffee. Or naming your child Symphony and protesting the gluten in your pasta.

Busyness, liking how you look, enjoying food, fostering uniqueness in children and being cognizant of health issues are good things to care about. They are terrible things to determine your importance. I tend to lean towards time management, likability, and introversion as being my qualifying factors. These are areas where I squirm and get tense when people try to engage them not on my terms. And when my friend said that about importance and busyness I just found myself saying, "yeah, I actually think that too".

I'm enamored with Dr. David Benner's works right now. This month I have read Surrender to Love and The Gift of Being Yourself. Both about discovery of God through the means of self-discovery. He asserts that God has created us so intertwined with Him that the better we come to know ourselves, the better we will know who He is. One of his encouragements to how to get to know oneself better is through meditation and reflection at the end of the day. Stick with me, it's not as Mother Earthy as it sounds.

He suggests that we practice sitting quietly for five minutes and just thinking about our day, remembering interactions as they come to us and registering how we felt about them. He reminds that this isn't an exercise in determining why we felt what we did, just in knowing THAT we felt it.

For the ten minute meditation he proffers that we should read the through the Gospels in short spurts, no more than fifteen verses at a time, and think imaginatively about them. Consciously putting yourself into the circumstance and wandering there for a few minutes.

Both of these practices have proven themselves extremely disquieting at first, mainly because there's no measurement. I can't gauge the quality of my time when I do this. I can only be there and participate. I am not responsible for or even sure how anything can come of such practices, but as I'm attempting to just show up I'm finding myself seeing Jesus to be a lot more tangible than before. A lot more capable. A lot more.

Right now, my truth is that I'm really bad. Sometimes I just avoid people because I feel like I'm only capable of ruining things. How surprising for me to find out that the truth about MY truth is that I can see that reality and not feel hopeless. Because as I am not responsible to know why I feel what I feel, I'm not responsible to change how bad I am. I just have to recognize it because in sitting with Him, I find it goes immediately and exclusively hand in hand with a need for Jesus. One that sees my horror and says that He's a safe place for me. He will help me to not be a ruiner. He will help me realize that to be busy is not synonymous with importance. He will help me to be present and slow down and rest and not try so hard. This month has revealed that I am actually not gaining any traction by doing so anyway.

I'm taking a lot of time to digest this. And I'm liking it that way. This is how it's seeping down deep in my bones, altering my DNA and redeeming my humanity. These are the moments where everything is the least controlled and I feel the most safe.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"' and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." 
GK Chesterton

I have posted that here before, probably multiple times. Every year or so though it circles back through my mind singing its song a little louder than before. I read it to my roommate last night as we talked about laughter and the embarrassing things we enjoy but would never share. I live in a beautiful city, full of creativity, artistry, thought, culture. A city that encourages development and growth and change for the sake of betterment. I get revved up when I have that conversation. 

But I realized it's not a conversation I want to have all the time. Devotion to change and betterment is necessary and helpful, but can also lend itself to dissatisfaction and cynicism. Change doesn't have space for monotony, especially the monotony Chesterton writes of. 

I think "monotony" and my mind free associates directly to boredom. It's a short line between the two. Dullness, weariness, lackluster, meh. But what if that's not the true nature of monotony? What if my cynicism and desires for growth have actually tainted the goodness of monotony, tamed it of its fierceness. Disfigured it into a cumbersome burden rather than Chesterton's version that seems to directly associate monotony with joy and belief. 

When did I lose the innocence I maintained and decided to live a "once is enough" lifestyle. One that says God is only capable of achieving good things every once in a while. That He has to reboot and recalibrate before He's able to do it again. Or that He should just stop messing in my life already, I'm just fine. Where in my fight for independence did I stop seeing the His actions towards me as sufficient and decide that I needed Him PLUS what I do for myself? When did I ask Him to stop making the daisies because there are damn well plenty already?

I long and pray for the day when His joy is in me and my joy has been made full (John 15:11). When His joy is in me, THEN my joy is made full. Only then. Cause, effect. Only then will I see Him achieve miracles in my world and immediately say, "Do it again!" because I know He is capable and pleased to do so. I'm often afraid that I tire God out, when in fact I haven't engaged Him remotely close to His capacity. 

Jesus talks often of childlike faith. Growing up I thought that was only about innocence maintenance. But I think it's the opposite. I think it's the actually the return I make from my adolescent independence. The redemption of those of us who posture and pretense and defend and self-sustain. The realization that maybe He's the only one capable to repeat good things and intense things and impossible things. Maybe it's not actually a fluke. I think childlike faith is the redemption of cynicism, not the absence of it. 

It's fierce and it's free. When I return to the place where I can ask again and again, there's a fervor incomparable to any intensity I alone can achieve. Because I don't need to cover up, I don't need to hide my love and enjoyment in the name of saving face. I don't have to be afraid or embarrassed of being unimpressive or naive. I am free to love what's before me and to look to Him to do extravagant things on repeat. 

This week, a weird and inconclusive relationship in my life met resolution way faster and way more beautifully than I ever dreamed could be true. And rather than hiding it, not believing it can be repeated, I want to revel in it and know that God can do it again and again and again. I think something about wanting it repeated and unchanged offers God the glory and me the rest. It reminds me that His glory and my rest is sufficient. He is enough for me. And He does not grow weary in doing good to me or you. 

I resolutely believe that today. Abounding vitality is awaiting us at the end of our geriatric cynicism and disbelief. His delight in repetition and joy is contagious, having a Benjamin Button effect. But we must sit in the fullness of His immediate presence. We must consider the daisies. We must slow down to see it. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


There was wine. There was chicken. And there was Pazookie (pronounce puh-zoo-kee).

And I sat around my kitchen table admiring the collection of girls that sat there. Girls who are new to me but not to each other. Chatter flowed easily, talk of Miles Davis, our community group, if we were boys — what kind would we be, etc. Some of it deep, some of it light. It's wonderful evenings like this where I can just relax into the conversation, taking in the little collective of personalities. Strong and adventurous, meek and gentle, fervent and passionate, everyone a little different but together, a symphony of souls.

Growing older I've noticed how much I belong in a menagerie. Something about being around people who are cataclysmically different than I does me good. It stretches me, comforts me, teaches me how to really see people, and subsequently care for them. People come to the table with their ugly beautiful. With their bad days, bad families, bad attitudes, but also with good grace and good laughter and good riddance of bad rubbish.

When I was young, I remember having company over. It meant a clean room and a good attitude. Sometimes I would grab a notepad and scurry from room to room taking drink orders, pretending it was a restaurant. These were the years I learned how to serve with my actions. Now, hosting my own table, I am learning to serve with my heart. My parent served with their hearts too. But unlike how to keep a clean house and when to refill the ice bucket, hospitality isn't taught, it's caught.

As I've been "catching" community the past few years, I can't exactly define it. It's a welcome to interrupt but never actually interrupting. It's being sacrificed for but never feeling as if you put anyone out. It's being allowed to see behind the curtain, both the gifts and the gross misconduct and having permission to abide there.

It's easy to fall into a rhythm of having company over. Preparing for an event rather than hosting people. Seeing the "to do" rather than seeing the space and souls. A big portion of my job is to host people, and I can easily tell the difference when I am having company and when I am hosting community with a heart of hospitality. One asks to be done perfectly and for acceptance and affirmation, the other doesn't ask for anything.

My heart is prone to only offer things if they push me further into people's good graces. I fail (or choose to fail) to see that Jesus really calls me to serve anyone and everyone, especially those whose good graces matter least. And that only happens when He is enough for me. Left to myself I will always be about company and impressions. I stumbled upon the first C.S. Lewis quote I can recollect, and just like the first time it struck deep:

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think to often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, it at all, only in a nightmare. 

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. 

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization, [hospitality] — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. 

Lewis reminded me today that the simplicity or elaboration with which I do anything matters not. The reactions of those that I crave are only my concern for my potential glory. Jesus' desire for my table is for me to bear the burdens. For me to see the immortals and cherish them. To push them hopefully heaven-ward rather than nearer immortal horror. It's a bold proclamation, there is no challenge in it, just reality. I can neglect others immortality all I want, concerning myself only with my own. What would that be worth? Rooting one another on, seeing victory, freedom, redemption. That is the life I long for. That is the life I hope to foster at my table and beyond. I hope the crevices of my world carry this as the torch. People did it for me, in fact they still are. I see how I am changed for it. Grateful for how I am changed for it. 

Praise God from whom all tables flow. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Foraging Fig Leaves

I spent the weekend at my parents. Walking, cooking, watching more HGTV and Food Network than is healthy. And praying.

The last one I don't do so often. I say I will. I think towards doing so. But in reality, I think a lot more about praying than actually praying. I think a lot more about being better, kinder, wise, listening, gentleness, awareness, love, than actually being any of those things.

The mental energy I tend to devote to concepts is appalling.

The past few weeks Jesus has been revealing to me the processes I have in place in my life that lead me to sin, not just the sins themselves. The distractions I take on, the platitudes I boast, the running and diversions I frequent, all that preoccupies me from actually healing of my sinfulness and learning to love Jesus better.

This isn't better exemplified than through the conversation I had with someone this morning. Conversation is a euphemism in the case for my actually repenting to her because I'm a jerk. I was a jerk two months ago and today I finally sat down and talked about it. Classy huh?

And what my lack of repentance, my distractions, my platitudes, my diversions and preoccupations have revealed about me is my misdirection to avoid exposure. To self-protect. To forage fig leaves. Because if I can hide from myself, then I can actually hide from God too, or at least I think that's the case. If I never admit that I'm incorrect, then I never need to be corrected. I become the director of my repentance, authority over my change, and god of myself and can just stamp "By the Grace of God" on myself once I've autonomously figured out my shit.

The past weeks and especially four days have shown me is how religious I am. I work the system in my favor. Except the favor is just self-sufficiency. That's my god.

When one friend gently prompted me to consider repentance as an option with my other friend, it was like a tectonic shift in my heart. But the opposite affect. The broken plates actually started shifting back into place. The solution was actually to be broken. To admit defeat and wrongness and selfishness. Placing autonomy on a guillotine is where fresh air permeated.

I spend a lot of time placating myself to avoid having to repent. If I'm not mad/hurt/upset, then hard conversations don't have to happen. So I just seek to never really feel anything bad, and subsequently have missed feeling a lot of good too. On earth, there will always be more joy in healing than there ever is in non-brokenness. Just like how my right relationship with the Father came through blood and death, so does right relationship with my brothers and sisters. Except, it doesn't take physical shedding of blood or a physical death. The cost of right relationships here is exposure to the point of spiritual death. Dying to autonomy. Dying to the hunt for leaves.

Rightfully, C.S. Lewis realized and allegorized this much better than I could in Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

"Then the lion said — but I don't know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. 

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worst than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. it hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

Well he peeled the beastly stuff right off — just as I thought I'd down it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt — and there is was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had bee. Then he caught hold of me — I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as son as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again."

So I find myself today feeling like a "boy" again. Having been stripped and smarted and washed. The exposure was actually what I needed for healing. Letting the wound breathe. Letting the reality of pain and hurt and wrongness cleanse with fresh air. It boils and scabs at first, but coming back to rightness is so refreshingly good. I don't want to forget it.

I pray for the remembrance of my failure and the deliciousness of repentance. I pray this for you too. May we remember healing to be so much better than hiding. May exposure be much more freeing than self-justification. May we rest in the shade of the trees rather than plucking their leaves to hide.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Facebook, Frienemies and Freedom

Last week I deleted my Facebook. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I kept saying I didn't care about Facebook and then was on it 6 times a day. When I'm being a hypocrite to myself, I know something probably needs to change.

I'll be honest, when my other friends have "fasted" from social media, I always thought myself a bit better than them. "I don't need to do that," I thought to myself, "I have a handle on it....unlike them." Well turns out I don't. I shut down my account and have felt far more uncomfortable than I would care to admit. So for those of you who think you're better than me, you probably are. As for the rest of us, I thought I'd share what I've been learning from deleting my Facebook.

Facebook is the frienemy of introverts. 
I always thought given my introverted nature that Facebook would be a helpful way to keep up on the happenings of people without having to interact with them. While that's absolutely true, I also knew way too much about way too many people and found myself becoming exhausted when it actually came time to spend with real people. Information overload. For being a person who tends to thrive when relationships are an inch wide and a mile deep, I was inadvertently living the opposite. I knew a  lot about a bunch of people who I don't spend frequent, meaningful time with.

I get to make my choices about my time. 
I could spend an entire post blaming Facebook for my distraction, but it can't/won't change its nature. It's an object. I've felt uncomfortable the past week because in the past I spent my down time perusing Facebook, taking inventory of the goings-on of everyone in my inner, outer, and beyond circles. I've been noticing the lapses in my day more and am having to make choices where I spend my mental energy. It still looks like online shopping sometimes, but there's something about removing my reflexive source of entertainment that has caused pause. I'm reading more in the evenings, and during the day am asking my office mate how her day is going when I have ten extra minutes and need a mental break.

I have forgotten how to ask questions and learn about people.
When I removed the influx of information about people via Facebook (what they did that weekend, photos, who their friends are, etc.), I realized I actually have lost some ability to create conversation out of nothing. I have grown so accustomed to referencing information I learned about them online, I have neglected the art of learning about people based off of simple questions (other than "how's your day going"?). I am awkwardly having to remember to ask about people....slowly reverting from always knowing what's going on to choosing to care to ask and realize things I don't know about them.

That which I thought I was gaining from Facebook was measured on a false scale. 
Nothing is wrong with Facebook. I think most people can go on for a lifetime and use it and never have an issue. However, I have far less self-control than most people. I never chose to give it up before now thinking that what it provided me was more helpful than if it wasn't there. It's where I have posted about my blog, how I remember birthdays, where I saw people's names so that in the future when I met them I had a frame of reference. But in reality, I don't care if anyone really needs my if my "readers" fall off, I'll still be content (plus I can post about it on Instagram), I'll always know the birthdays of the people I'm presently close to, and there's nothing wrong with meeting someone I have no idea about and shaking their hand for the first time without seeing 100 million pictures of them prior to our introduction.

Social media is a great thing, meant for fun, and nothing more. 
I read this Citizen's Press article a few weeks ago. It was just another cog setting this deletion-mindset in motion. Truthfully, I deleted Facebook but I still love Instagram. It isn't an issue for me. Some days I'm on it 4 times, others I forget it's there. I'm not a hypocrite, I just realize that my heart is what matters, not social media or rules I make about it. My admonishment for myself and others is to always examine the sources of entertainment (and all else) in our life, pray and ask the Lord to reveal bentness, repent and change as needed. There should always be freedom to enjoy and nothing more. Facebook had gotten out of hand for me and I'm happy to admit that.

Jesus is better than my perspective on Facebook.
That's the rub. Facebook wasn't always a bad thing for me, it wasn't always a good thing for me was just a website, and like anything else in this world, it can be abused because I'm sinful. For me, this shift has been a quarter turn towards Jesus and away from building my own kingdom. It's freeing me to be more present in my day and to a way to see how I can better abide in Jesus. Creating rules around things that aren't sin issues is unhelpful garbage, so I don't have a rule book to social media. I am only praying for self-awareness and humility to admit when I sense problems for myself. That's my prayer for my life. That Jesus would give me more of Himself and reveal to me the patterns in place that cause me to stutter in knowing Him better.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Worry

Sometimes I worry about what I do here. I worry about my attitude, I worry about perception of others, I worry for you as a reader. Perhaps I'm giving myself too much credit, or perhaps I am being given a good dose of humility. What I do here really does not seem so important. Typing words into an abyss of millions of others who are typing words. 

But somehow my society really loves to take excerpts and run with them to create perspectives and that's given me pause this afternoon. I am not insecure of how or what I write, but today I feel fear that what actually is happening is not helpful. Is what I'm doing perpetuating the social media frenzy? Is it provoking others to judge or envy or pity or doubt? Am I causing more harm to you than gain? Today, I am experiencing a healthy dose of stoppage. 

The past few weeks my mind has been a flurry of consistently big thoughts. Not-so-subtle shifts in how I'm seeing and experiencing and pursuing my people and my time. A lifelong friend and I ate Indian food and then went for a drive last night. We continued the conversation we've had a dozen different times this month. A conversation about slowness, methodical living, purposeful time, simplification. 

These are words that are constantly rattling in my mind recently. How do I take out more things for the sake of putting in deeper things. Deep things in my life can't live in massive community, they are introverted changes, needing room to breathe and time to latch on. Deeper rest, deeper relationships, deeper attitudes, deeper fun. I've made lists recently of things that can provoke timeliness in my life to let them stew. Things I know I already like to do, but placing them in bulleted form somehow gave them more teeth, a simpler way to decide what to do with my free time. 

And my worry comes from these changes in myself. There is nothing about these thoughts that I don't find helpful or I fear sinful, but what I really fear is that I'm deciding somewhere in this that everyone ought to grow as I am growing. Or said differently, you ought to think and be like me because my thoughts are profound enough to be blogged. I don't think this blog has been that arrogant all the way through, but this week I have noticed this shift of expectation. 

In the slowness I've been pressing into, the depth and moments of change make me want to share. They instill in me a desire to provoke others to experience the same. I start to see my changes as being THE changes. The ways I sin as being the ways EVERYONE sins. And while that may be true, I would be loathe to miss the forest for the trees in learning how to just offer suggestions or anecdotes to those around me. 

Rather than sharing my sanctification in a way that offers rest in the grace I myself am receiving, I find myself offering it as an insinuation, a nuanced but horrible shift. I hope this maybe hasn't been felt by others in the garish way I'm seeing it exposed in my heart, but somehow I think my messiness is pervasive enough that it's been felt by others. 

Amazingly enough, Jesus doesn't just change me, He changes how I change too. I think that's why frustration and a felt lack of progress is often how we feel as we're noticing His work in our lives. He's not just changing the thing in us, if He were, we could just learn the rules and move forward and be better. But He insists that the way I change is also writ with sin and needs to be altered as well. He doesn't leave a stone unturned as He roots out sin in me for my good. It only leaves room for me to lean heavier on Him. 

And that's the part I don't worry about. The "how" of His teaching never actually outweighs His presence. Becoming a "better person" is a garbage pursuit, I will never be better. But in His shadow I can be healed from my worstness. And that progress is often uglier than I'd like it and not very blog-worthy, but perhaps most of all should be shared. 

By His wounds I am healed and you are healed. We are offered healing from ourselves and our selfish, worry-worthy tendencies and each others arrogant and insensitive actions toward each other. I don't have to offer you the list of things He's showing me to enact in hopes that you pick up my sanctification. I can offer you the same thing I'm always offered, grace to be. Grace to hear your pain and mundane and your minor frustrations and your immense joys. To hear them and believe for you and with you that Jesus changed everything this Easter weekend so that we don't have to remain in these places. 

That's what I really hope to be offered by you as I worry that I am ruining all of your lives. And that's what I pray I'm learning to offer you. I'm thankful for you little readers and I'm sorry for my frailties in this outlet--and all the others that I may interact with you. Pray for me and I will pray for you and we can remember for each other that Jesus finds us here.