What I have learned & what is saving my life this spring.
1. Investing in a stronger and more beautiful infrastructure literally saves lives. Craig shared this podcast episode with me early on in the spring and I found myself feeling both incredibly hopeful and also disappointed. I think we in the church have a severe case of shortsightedness when it comes to what we claim to fight for. Our highly individualized bootstrap theology has betrayed us and left us cold, the way that fear inevitably does. We shun the notion that our well being is inextricably tied to the well being of our neighbors. And as D.L. Mayfield so eloquently put it, “a Christ-centered ethic that values all life will ruin us.” These days, I am praying to be ruined—undone for the sake of my neighbors. Perhaps it is in this undoing that a greater, more beautiful Kingdom may be found.
2. I forget how much I love to sing. I will absolutely be the first one to tell you that I will never even come close to winning American Idol. I’m fairly certain that the only reason I even made it into the women’s honors choir in school was because one of the first alto’s moved away. Nevertheless, singing, whether alone in my car or beside my church family at our gatherings, has been saving my life.
3. Online thrift shopping is amazing. Barring the time when I was ten and my mom let me buy a secondhand pair of roller skates, I have never liked shopping at thrift stores. I wish I did, but I cannot bring myself to enjoy browsing racks of clothes and knick knacks that smell like they’ve been soaked in a concoction of cigarette smoke, cats, and old lady perfume. That being said, I recently bought two tops on ThreadUp that smell brand new. Ten out of ten would recommend!
4. Substituting the word ego for the word flesh when reading scripture changes everything. As a little girl growing up in the church, I often heard the lie that my body was bad and that doing anything that felt good was shameful. Now, as an adult, I get itchy when I read passages about living “according to the flesh.” We’re reading Colossians in house church right now, and a good bit of it is about this. So I did some searching and found that the word Paul uses that we have translated to mean “flesh” actually means something more akin to the word “ego.” It makes so much sense—of course we do all sorts of cruel and self-serving things when we allow our egos to call the shots.
5. Accepting apologies requires humility. A couple months ago, a dear friend made a passing comment about me and Craig starting a family. I know that she would never intentionally hurt me, but her words stung. Being the last couple in our married friend group to have a baby, we get these comments a lot. A few weeks later, my friend texted me to tell me that she had been feeling convicted about what she said and she wanted to apologize. My knee jerk reaction was to say that her words hadn’t hurt—but I realized there was no growth in refusing to be honest and vulnerable. So I took a few hours to breathe and when I texted back, I told her that her words had stung, but that I knew she loved me. Instead of holding a grudge, I forgave her and I meant it.
6. Transitions are hard. This season saw me stepping out of the job I have loved for the past three years and into a completely different one. I have gone from making grilled cheese and wrangling toddlers in my yoga pants all day to working in an office for the state of South Carolina. Yesterday, my best friend asked me how things were going, and I told her that honestly, I feel like I’m having an out of body experience. It has been hard and exhausting. I keep thinking that Monday will come and I will go back to nannying and life will feel normal again. But this new role is mine to keep—we prayed for it, and God answered. People had confidence in me, and they’ve been incredibly kind and welcoming. Eventually, I will find a new rhythm, and it will be beautiful. I’m grateful, but for now, it is hard.
7. The relationships we build will long outlive our brands. The world feels a bit darker since Rachel Held Evans died last month. For days, I walked around feeling stunned—I cried for her family, for the fact that she did not live to see the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, for all of the people who would not know Jesus were it not for her radical hospitality, and because I desperately wanted to someday have shelves upon shelves full of her beautiful books. In her homily at Rachel’s funeral, Nadia Bolz-Weber said she felt robbed of these things. But what we could not have possibly known was just how far reaching Rachel’s impact truly was. People from all walks of life felt welcomed and championed by her. In the words of her sister, Amanda Opelt, while other writers were busy building brands for themselves, Rachel was busy building relationships.
What have you been learning, and what is saving your life these days?
Tell me all the things in the comments below.