Tag Archives: change

In Suspense and Incomplete

IMG_2441

I wrote this post a year ago reflecting on what had been three years of living in Nashville. Reading it now it feels almost a bit self-prophetic.

“It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Leave.” (Donald Miller)

Returning home to Nashville after 11 days of traveling earlier this week I was unnerved by my lack of excitement. I couldn’t wait to be home, but for the first time in as long as I can remember my soul wasn’t longing to be back in Nashville.

I walked into my apartment hoping for that “ahhhh, I’m home” feeling. I’m still waiting. I missed my friends, sure, but not in the way I used to. I was glad to be sleeping in my own bed, but that could’ve been in any city. I was happy to be back in the Southern part of this grand country but just so that I could say y’all without getting funny looks and even strangers would be hospitable. But a certain giddiness about returning home was missing.

Is it possible that I’m falling out of love with this city that has been such an instrumental part of my story? That’s a scary question to ask aloud. Because the truth is, I want to be giddy about returning home here. I want it to still feel like home. I want it to be the place where I feel like I belong.

So what do you do when you’re living somewhere between before and not yet? How do you find peace for your soul living in limbo as it senses change coming without a clue what that means or looks like.

Perhaps there is nothing to do but continue living, and waiting for the next step, knowing that you’ve survived leaving before and you can do it again.

“Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Squashing Creativity and Lots of Questions

When I was a child I had big dreams. I created with abandon. I didn’t care what people thought. Somewhere along the way I learned that creating & dreaming meant risk and that risk was bad. And that everyone would simply laugh at me if I failed. And they encouraged me to just do what was safe. And so I did.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard a musing similar to that in the last couple of months. It makes me kinda sad. I think it’s great that we’re aware of our society’s tendency to kill creativity and that we want to try to change that that future generations. But how?

How do we stop from simply reacting to that process and instead proactively change the process? Prevent the squashing of creativity before it happens. Can we have streamlined organizations that run efficiently and value individual creativity at the same time? Should efficiency even be something we strive for? Do organizations need to be smaller in order to accomplish this? How many generations will it take to make the change?

Clearly I have more questions that I have answers at this point. But I’d love to hear your thoughts because it seems this whole idea of creativity being squashed is a recurring theme. And I think there’s probably a reason for that.

Why Not?

I am a big proponent of asking the question “why?” I believe it’s important for us to understand the foundations, motivations, and intentions of our actions.

But the more I ask “why?” and have conversations with people about “why” the more I realize that “why” isn’t enough. Asking “why” is a necessary step. But, asking “why” won’t change things. Asking “why not?” has the potential to incite change…it begs for change.

You see things; and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?” -George Bernard Shaw

When was the last time you asked “why not?”

Learning to Love Random

“This is so random”

I’ve uttered that phrase more and more as of late and I’m learning to love it! I used to be a schedule and routine freak. When my routine got thrown off I got bent out of shape. It drove me crazy because I liked being in control. These days, I’m learning to be okay with not having control. I’m learning to love random. I’m learning to love my routine being thrown off…or maybe just learning to find routine in the random. In fact when I have too much routine now I get bored. Crazy how things change :)

When I say “life is so random” I usually mean that things aren’t going as I would have guessed…that reality isn’t matching the picture I had in my mind, and that I feel like I’m hanging on for dear life…in a good way! (This post is just one example) It reminds me of something a friend tweeted several months ago: “I don’t know all the mysteries of God, but I do know this: when you’re in His will, you are hanging on for dear life, not forcing things to happen.” Maybe it’s not so much that life is random but that God’s plans are different than mine. And living the life He has designed for me means rolling with the punches and hanging on for dear life.

Are you a lover of routine or do you welcome the “random” in life?

Picking Dandelions – My Interreview

A month or so ago I jumped at the opportunity to host Sarah Cunningham on her blog tour for “Picking Dandelions.” Yesterday, I sat down with Sarah via Skype and chatted about the book with a little life and ministry sprinkled on top  for good measure. Since I’m all about stories, I didn’t want to do a typical question/answer interview format here on the blog. So, instead, you get my interreview – little bit review, little bit interview, and hopefully little bit story.

For those who haven’t read the book, Sarah is quite open about her character flaws and the roller coaster ride she’s been on trying to tackle them. What would cause someone to sit down and write a book about their faith journey knowing full well revealing their flaws to the world would be part of it? Sarah wants people to know that their story of faith is important no matter how simple it may seem. She hopes that her story, flaws and all, will attract the attention of someone who isn’t looking for a Christian memoir, but maybe for a story of spirituality.

Sarah’s faith journey is a simple one, one that brought her to the metaphor of dandelions. She sees her faith as a simple gift she offers just as children might offer their mothers a simple dandelion picked from the yard. I loved this about her story because I can so relate. Growing up in the church faith was something that I always had, it wasn’t a dramatic conversion experience, and there were times when I felt I had missed out because of that. I read “Picking Dandelions” and thought, “it’s nice to know I’m not alone.”

In the church world we hear a lot about “Big Ideas.” The “Big Idea” of “Picking Dandelions” is transformation and the need for intentional ongoing change in the Christian Life. Sarah chronicles this journey in her own life with great humor and honesty for her readers in a Donald Miller-esque style. One change Sarah tackled was clutter, namely material clutter. Being a bit of a “hate clutter but can’t throw things away” person myself I was curious if Sarah had conquered clutter in her life. She says she has in some areas of her home like the living room and kitchen. Others, like her closet, however, are a bit of a different story. A great tip from Sarah for those looking to reduce clutter – put a post it note on clothing or shoes that you know you don’t wear on a very regular basis. Every time you where it, write the date on the post it note. Check the date the next time you use it. When you see it was a year and a half ago, you’ll probably be inspired to get rid of it .

Working in a church I was curious how we as the Church can promote or encourage this idea of transformation and the need for change. I asked Sarah her thoughts and the answer she had was quite simple: with everything that you do – every Bible Study you start, every Sermon Series, every song – ask if it is leading people to be more like Christ. I think this is something our churches need to start striving for. (By the way, if you want to hear more of Sarah’s thoughts on this, check out this article).

After reading Sarah’s book, I’m inspired. I’m inspired to share what I think is too ordinary. One particular paragraph stuck with me from “Picking Dandelions.” Sarah writes, “As I’ve lived and written about changes in my life, I’ve come to believe that the most powerful transformations are not distinctive, exclusive discoveries that separate one film writer’s or one author’s experience from the rest of humanity. Instead, they are ordinary stories that point to the extraordinariness of Eden growing up among the everyday weeds of our lives.”

So, if you grew up in the church feeling gypped because you didn’t have a dramatic dark to light experience as a believer, then, “Picking Dandelions” is for you. Or if you did have a dramatic dark to light experience but now, some time later, you question how much your life has really changed as a result. Then, “Picking Dandelions” is for you too. Maybe you just want to read about someone else’s flaws to make yourself feel better? Well, then, this book could work for you too.

But, be warned. As you read “Picking Dandelions” you will probably be, much like I was, inspired to take a good hard look in the mirror and give your character a check-up. And, well, you may not like what you find. The question will be whether you live with it or make a plan to change it.

* For more of Sarah’s writing check out her blog at www.sarahcunningham.org
* Buy the book on Amazon: Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life’s Weeds.