Hello. My Name is Peter.

I was reading the story of Peter walking on water the other day and something new struck me. Here is Peter, almost challenging Christ as he says “If it’s really you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said “come” and Peter obeyed. It was windy, it was unknown (he’d never walked on water before), yet he got out of the boat…he moved in faith.

But only minutes later, Peter let fear take control and lost focus. In a panic because he’s now sinking, he calls out and Jesus reaches out his hand to catch up.

That…Peter giving in to fear…reminds me of myself. It reminds me of what life’s journey is about…the journey. Right now I feel like Peter. I’ve taken a leap of faith and climbed out of the boat. But, I know that there will be times of fear ahead as I venture into the unknown. I will daily have to make a choice not to give in to that fear.

Moving on faith isn’t a one time act…it’s a process…a journey. It is one that for me will define this next season of life. But there’s comfort in the fact that when I give in to fear and begin to sink, I can always look to Christ who will pick me up. There’s comfort knowing He’ll never let me drown.

The greatest part of the story is the very last line: “They climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. Then those in the boat began to worship Him saying ‘truly you are the Son of God.’” God knows there are going to be times when we give in and fear puts us in a panic, makes us want to run, etc. And it is in those times when we rely on Him to pull us through that He is glorified. When our situation looks impossible and we make it through, that is a powerful demonstration of who God is and what He is capable of. I love that God redeems our fear for that purpose…to show His goodness, power, & mercy.

Do you ever feel like Peter?

Freaking Out and Fighting Doubt

For those of you who think I’m “strong” “inspiring” “courageous” or any other adjectives I’ve heard in the last three months, thank you, truly, but I’m going to burst your bubble…I’m not! I believe in being transparent and authentic…even if that means sharing the less inspiring, uglier sides of life.

I have been freaking out the last couple of days. Doubt, thoughts of giving up, asking myself what I’m thinking, all of it.

I’ve been waiting for the freak out to come since I made the decision to get out the boat. I think part of me, though, was secretly hoping & thinking maybe it wouldn’t come since it hadn’t yet. But, it did this week…big time.

It’s now Friday afternoon and I’m starting to calm down. God has proven once again that He is good, that He loves us, and that He has a plan. He has reminded me in big & small ways over the last couple of days that He’s got this.

But, it’s one thing to know all of that. Believing it with your whole heart & living like you do is a different story. Fear threatens to defeat us every day. So, more than likely I will get up tomorrow and be staring doubt in the face again, ready for another wrestling match. All I know is I’m glad I don’t have fight on my own because I’d lose every time.

Is doubt an unwelcome presence in your life? What do you do when it tries to creep in?

Ponder…Like a Child

I’ll be honest, I really love children’s books. Sometimes I think their author’s have a way of simplifying life in a beautiful way. I found “Is There Really a Human Race?” by Jamie Lee Curtis in my collection the other day and loved this part:

“Sometimes it’s better not to go so fast.
There are beautiful sights to be seen when you’re last.

Shouldn’t it be that you just try your best?
And that’s more important than beating the rest?

Shouldn’t it be looking back at the end
that you judge your own race by the help that you lend?

So, take what’s inside you and make big, bold choices,
And for those who can’t speak for themselves, use BOLD voices.

And make friends and love well, bring art to this place,
And make the world better for the whole human race.”

Slow down. Be you. Love people.

The Art of Mentoring

“A mentor is someone who believes in you more than you do.”
– Caroline Scott

During different seasons of my life God has blessed me with some incredible people to walk the journey with. Some have walked with me just a short while…a season or two…while some have seen me through several seasons. Dr. D is one of those people. He is someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself…and at times that’s probably still the case.

I met Dr. D near the end of my freshman year of college. I was a very eager Education major who had just been recruited to be the president-elect of the student education association on campus. Dr. D was the faculty advisor of the group and was a bit concerned because he didn’t know who I was. So, he called me into his office for a chat. I remember leaving that day knowing there was something different about him…he wasn’t your ordinary college professor. And there still is. If you met him, you’d see it to…I’m certain.

Dr. D was and is a natural mentor. He loves people and he invests in relationships. And he invested a ton of time in me and my journey in college. He’s seen me through more seasons of life than much of my family has. He was the one who told me it was okay to walk away from teaching. He was the one who taught me to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. He always pushed me one step further than I would push myself and somehow managed to find a way to make me think it was my own idea. But, most importantly he led me to the top of the cliff…the spot where I could get a 30,000 foot view of life…a place where I could get a glimpse of what was possible. And without a view like that, I think we can all only go so far. Unfortunately most of the time that isn’t a place we can get to on our own.

I had the chance this summer to catch up with Dr. D in a wonderfully lengthy conversation over coffee and tea, and it got me thinking about the art of mentoring. These ideas are still processing in my head…but I’m pondering how we capture and define the act of mentoring. And how we can teach the art of it…or even if we can teach it.

At the end of the day we are all better for it if we have mentors who speak wisdom into our lives, who encourage us, but who also love us enough to call us out and force us to be honest with ourselves. Oftentimes these people truly to believe in us more than we believe in ourselves and usually know us better than we know ourselves. And being a mentor truly is an art…one that I’m not sure comes naturally to most of us. But I also think it’s key to the success of future generations, of the growth and forward motion of the church so I believe it’s an important art to teach and to learn. The question becomes, how?

Any ideas?

A Soundtrack for Transition, Dreaming, and Faith

Music calms me. It energizes me. It clears my head. It gives my heart words when I can’t find my own. One of the first things I did when I made the decision three months ago to take a leap of faith into a new chapter of life was put together a playlist. I called it my “living it” playlist – it was time to stop just talking and start doing…it was time to live the story God has for me.

I’ve added to this list as I’ve continued to journey through this transition and along the way I’ve discovered there are a ton of people I’m somehow connected to that are currently going through transition, following dreams, and taking a leap of faith. So, I thought I’d share some of the music that’s been inspiring me on my journey…reminding me why I’m leaping, reminding me what it’s all about in the end, reminding me to dream, and reminding me most importantly that He’s got this.

Whatever You’re Doing – Sanctus Real
Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns
Moving On Faith – Jadon Lavik
Yours To Take – Jimmy Needham
I’m Letting Go – Francesca Battistelli
Arms That Hold The Universe – Fee
The Motions – Matthew West
If Today Was Your Last Day – Nickelback
Don’t Get Comfortable – Brandon Heath
Done Living – Justin McRoberts
Potter’s Wheel – Daniel Bashta

This isn’t the complete list, but it’s a start. And my list could always use something new. What song would you add?

Is Solitude Always the Answer?

Confession time: my head & my heart feel like they’re going to explode these days.

I realize that may sound completely ridiculous but that is the best description I can come up with. My head is full of ideas…I feel like I have more ideas than I know what to do with or have the time to process and work through. My heart is full of hope, uncertainty, gratitude, excitement, and everything in between. Describing what’s on my heart is where words seem to be failing me most. These days I’m learning to treasure the times when I sit down in front of my computer or with a pen and my journal and the words just flow. For a brief moment there is some relief.

Having a heart and a head so full makes me want to get away. Not run away, but simply escape for a time to create space to process it all. And I have done just that for parts of days here and there in the last few weeks. But, I’m talking multiple days in a row of processing, decompressing, & renewal. I’m realizing however, that there is a problem: I become more of an extroverted introvert every single day. Every day I find more energy from my interactions with people than from being alone. Every day I find processing with others more productive than doing so alone. Given all of that I’m not sure how productive and refreshing multiple days in a row alone would be for me.

That brings me to the question: is solitude always the best answer? Always necessary? Or is it possible to achieve the same result by escaping with other people? I’d love to hear your thoughts!