Oh, the randomness...

Just my thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What do we carry?

This past weekend I picked up the new Snow Patrol album. Overall I really enjoy it, but the first song is definitely my favorite. There is a line in there… “the fire, the fire: you can only take what you can carry.”

That really got me thinking. I remember in high school, a good ice-breaker question was always “if your house was on fire and you could only save 3 things, what would they be and why?" And it was always tough to imagine the 3 things you would carry out with you if you had to. It seems each person always picked their pet, their Bible (at church functions it would have to be a Bible, hello!!), and then girls picked photo albums and guys picked their baseball card collection (or something equally sexist-ha!).

The other night I was dealing with a lot of the crap I carry around with me, things that clutter up my mind. A key word in that sentence is the word ‘choose’: because I am NOT victim to these things…the truth is that I choose them. We all make choices on what to carry with us.

We can choose to carry fear. We can choose anxiety. We can choose to believe and accept lies, or we can choose to accept and believe truth. We can choose peace. We can choose community. Or we can choose to believe we’ll never be lovable and thus choose to hold people at a distance and therefore be alone. We can choose to fully live, or we can choose to crowd out life with the weight of this world. We can choose bitterness, or forgiveness. Hate or reconciliation. Emptiness or fullness. Being broken, or being whole.

You can only take what you can carry.

What are you carrying that you need to let go of? Hurt from that one person in the past. The bitterness of dreams that have been left behind or steered away from. The belief that you can never be whole. The fear of letting go of the crutch of that belief you can never be whole. Fear of being known. Fear of being unknown.

Be gentle to yourself. Don’t carry more than you can handle. Don’t carry things that will weigh you down and clutter you unnecessarily. Instead, carry the things that bring you life. The memory of your child’s first word. Your first date with the one you love. Your best friends’ jokes that always make you cry from laughing so hard. The truth, that God loves you and wants you to love this world and all of his people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This past weekend I saw RENT the musical. Finally! Wow, it was incredible. And I got to share it with my wonderful boyfriend, which made it even more amazing.

Afterwards I was thinking about which character I most identify with. Is it the impulsive and feisty Mimi? Some would say yes. Or do I identify with Angel, the one who brought the group together and gave of herself regardless of how anyone treated her? Well, I certainly wish I was more like that. Or am I Roger, recovering from something tragic, something I need to move on from and stop being victim to…but want to still hide behind? Perhaps somewhat. But sadly, I think for me, I am most like Mark. The one who longs for community and gets caught up in it at times, but doesn’t create it himself and finds a way to stay on the outside. It’s like a false sense of belonging – surrounded by people, but finding a way to be on the outside. For him it’s a video camera. For me, I don’t know what I use. Excuses? Work? Busyness.

Sometimes I feel how Mark's character does. I see a musical like RENT, and I desperately crave those sorts of friendships. And a group that loves and supports and challenges like they do. And I have groups of friends who indeed do that, but I can’t let myself fully enter into them. I hold back. Stay reserved. Sitting on the sidelines and entering in on my terms, when I want, how I want.

And it makes me wonder...how much community out there is 'real'? Or are there many "Mark's" in this world? Sometimes the thing I've thought was true community was actually a group of people afraid of stepping out beyond their safe & secure walls to be known by, and to know, others. Not all community is real. And I suppose that not all community is worth being a part of.

It would be an interesting study, because more often than not, I have a hunch most people would self-identify with Mark and feel on the 'outside' of their community...when many others within the community would look at that same person as an integral part of it.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

All or Nothing

I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately. More and more, I think I understand what the term "jealous God" means. Anyway, I was reading the beginning of this new book and some of the language really stuck out to me.

"Sometimes we're afraid to talk to God this way—like Job crying out in the night on the ash heap behind his house, like the psalmist treading water in the dark, like a furious teenager, welded into bed with a broken neck and bolts in her head. We repress those murky, edgy emotions about our suffering. We choose to be polite, speaking sanitized words, or not speaking at all. We bottle up our troubling questions and unspeakable feelings toward God, hiding behind an orthodox, evangelical glaze as we "give it all over to the Lord."

Except that we haven't. It's a lie and a ruse.

And He knows that too.

Why would God rather have our anger, our venom, our rage, our cry of desolation rather than our measured, controlled, even-tempered, theologically correct prayer?

It's all about the heart. Over and over again in Scripture you can hear God saying, "Give Me your heart or nothing at all."

God doesn't have time to play games. He wants reality.


Sometimes brokenhearted people say harsh things. Sometimes some toxic cynicism or long-repressed anger can spurt out of a lacerated heart. The Lord knows that...and wants to be close anyway. Sometimes bitter emotions and acid words can ooze from a crushed spirit. The Lord understands that, as well...and draws near to comfort.

The fact is, gut-wrenching questions honor God. Despair directed at His throne is a way of encountering Him, opening ourselves up to the one and only Someone who can actually do something about our plight. And whether we collide head-on with Him or simply bump up against Him in the dark, we cannot be the same.

We never are when we experience God.

Take your grievances directly to the Lord, which means moving toward the Lord. Go ahead and vent disappointment, express hurt, and even question the goodness of the Almighty. But whatever you do, don't badmouth Him to others. Please don't sow seeds of discord or incite rebellion among friends against God. Don't talk behind His back. Engage Him, head on.

When you think about it, the people you really get angry with are the ones you trust most deeply. "I am mad as a hornet, God, and I don't understand what you are doing one bit!" sounds like the dark side of trust, but it is trust nonetheless."

-A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You Joni Eareckson Tada 2008

Anyway, in here she repeats the idea that God wants it all. He wants all of our hearts and emotions and fears and joys etc. etc. That notion has been very freeing for me, because I've wondered who is strong enough to really see my darkness and still want all of me. God. I knew that intellectually, but not in my heart.

I loved this part "give me your heart or nothing at all". And I guess I think that should be true in any close relationship. I don't want to be held at a distance, and don't want to hold at a distance.

Anyway, hope it gets you thinking today... :)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I have to admit, I love this Coldplay song. The lyrics appear simple on the surface, but there is much going on underneath it all. And it's so poignantly written. it's impacted me so thought I'd share. Enjoy!

Just because I'm losing
Doesn't mean I'm lost
Doesn't mean I'll stop
Doesn't mean I'm across

Just because I'm hurting
Doesn't mean I'm hurt
Doesn't mean I didn't get what I deserved
No better and no worse
I just got lost!

Every river that I tried to cross
Every door I ever tried was locked
Ohhh and I'm just waiting til the shine wears off

You might be a big fish
In a little pond
Doesn't mean you've won
'Cause along may come
A bigger one
And you'll be lost!

Every river that you tried to cross
Every gun you ever held went off
Ohhh and I'm just waiting til the firing's stopped
Ohhh and I'm just waiting til the shine wears off

Coldplay, Lost

Monday, January 05, 2009


So, this weekend I was painting. A lot. Man, I forget how much work it can be! My entire upstairs is quite possibly the worst drywall job ever, and so first I had to prep the walls by plastering them and sanding them. And even then, I likely should have done even more! Then I had to clean them – my upstairs bathroom doesn’t seem to get good ventilation and the walls get so dirty with mildew. (Eeew! I know.) So I cleaned them and then to prevent future mold outbreaks, I wiped them all down with bleach.

Once that all dried, I could do my primer! I had to buy a special kind, to help with the mold/mildew problem. So on the second day, two coats of that and I still have speckled arms – it’s tough stuff! Then the 3rd day I painted the ceiling – two coats on Saturday. Finally, Sunday, my favorite…I got to do 2 coats of the light green paint on the walls. It looks so nice now! I really should put new white paint on all the trim to touch it up and finish it off, but I’m quite frankly ready to get out of my house and be around people again. :)

And it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to make things look nicer.


More…put together.

But, would it have been as good had I just painted and not done all the prep work? The cleaning, taping, bleaching, plastering, sanding…no, it wouldn’t have been. It might have looked nice on the outside, but underneath would be all this stuff. And I might get some of the green paint on the white trim without the tape, making it just a little less nice.

How true this is of our inner beings! We all have mold and mildew that can creep up into our soul, holes in the walls of our hearts…and many times it’s easier to just paint over them.

New clothes.
A new haircut.
New job.
New location.
New friends.

But no matter what, it will always just be a layer of paint that fades away over time, revealing once again the mold and mildew of our being that was never removed.

My friends, don’t settle for the paint. DO the hard work of cleaning out that mold. Scrub away until the mildew is gone and has no chance of coming back. Repair the holes of your heart.

Only then are we ready to painted with newness, with hope, with life and with joy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Better Way

Song lyrics are life-defining for me. Sometimes I think music means more to me than it should but regardless, here are some lyrics that sum up beliefs of mine better than I could do on my own. :)

I'm a living sunset
Lightning in my bones
Push me to the edge
But my will is stone

'Cause I believe in a better way!

Fools will be fools
And wise will be wise
But i will look this world
Straight in the eyes

I believe in a better way!
I believe in a better way!

What good is a man
Who won't take a stand
What good is a cynic
With no better plan

I believe in a better way!
I believe in a better way!

Reality is sharp
It cuts at me like a knife
Everyone i know
Is in the fight of their life

I believe in a better way!

Take your face out of your hands
And clear your eyes
You have a right to your dreams
And don't be denied

I believe in a better way!I believe in a better way!I believe in a better way!

Ben Harper, Better Way

Monday, December 15, 2008

Love begets Love

This is something I’ve really been thinking about, and so you’re welcome to dive into my new theory with me. But I apologize in advance – it can be rough the first time you dialogue through a new theory!

As I sit here typing this, at my desk, I am surrounded my reminders of the people I love. A picture of Ruthie and Ember and I in Nashville is to my right, me/Tom/the Relevant crew is up to my left, and Kim surrounds me on both sides. My family is also here as are the most precious girls in the world, my college roomies. And then on the wall behind me is the collage of senior pictures of my beloved LifeLine girls. It’s so crazy – for in a few months they will no longer be in my youth group, but will officially be becoming adults and they will finally, simply, be my friends.

Love is such a multi-faceted word. It summarizes the deep knowledge and intimacy with another person, and the choosing to honor, respect, and trust them no matter what. And sometimes it’s really easy to love people, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes people disappoint us, let us down, hurt our feelings, leave us out, forget to call back, hang out with our friends but without us, etc. etc. I know I’ve been that friend that has forgotten to call back, or who has disappointed those I love most, and the list goes on. That’s why love is a risky choice – there are no guarantees that it will be pain-free. In fact, in many ways one could argue that it will definitely be pain-full at times, but that there is still such beauty in the pain.

Anyway, I’ve always grown up a very curious person, always absorbing the environment around me more than people realize. I’m such a sponge – I soak everything in and carry it around in this over-worked brain of mine until there is a time I need to pull it out and examine it. One thing that I’ve always really enjoyed watching are relationships: romantic ones, parent to child ones, teacher/student ones, Christian ones, etc. And it seems to me that there is always this common denominator that with love comes a tendency to control. That there is a fear of love leaving, and when we sense that, we reach out and grab tighter and we punish or don’t give love when we feel we’re not receiving it.

I think that’s a bad model. A terrible one. First off, it teaches that love can be controlled, even worse that it SHOULD be controlled. I don’t agree with that at all. Love is a choice. It’s a daily choice, sometimes hourly. :) It cannot be controlled. It should not be tamed, it should not be controlled – it needs to be free to express itself. It needs to be free to not choose to love back. Secondly, it’s selfish. And oh boy, have I selfishly done this in the past: when I don’t feel loved back, it’s easy to then withhold love. To emotionally punish. But all that does is hurt the person, hurt myself, and hurt my relationship with God.

So instead, I’ve been working through and testing this new theory of mine: that love begets love. That even in the heat of an argument, a loving response will not only calm things down but it will also be so powerful that it must elicit a response of love. I just more and more am convinced that love begets love. That love is such a powerful force, that nothing is outside the redemption of God’s love, his perfect love. And that it is that love that we are called to emulate. And it is this love that repairs fragmented relationships, nurtures a healthy self-esteem, heals past wounds…it is this love that shows Christ to the world.

So in my life, what does that look like? Well, it looks to me like serving others well. It looks like loving my girls enough that I confront them on dangerous life patterns, and that no matter what they throw at me that I love them through it. That when they pull away, I don’t retaliate and do the same. It means loving my mom through the hardest times and not punishing her in the same ways she punishes the rest of our family. It means loving J well, and simply pouring out an abundance of love – not to get the same love back, but simply out of a desire to love well. I do think that ‘romantic’ love is the toughest challenge of all – I think it’s the relationship that for most of us it’s the hardest to be selfless. But once again, my theory would say that instead of focusing on taking and making sure “my needs are met”, that out of giving an abundance of love to someone that they can’t help but also give an abundance of love back.

So hopefully this all makes sense. It’s just something that’s been on my mind and I had to get down on paper. Er…computer. :)