Category Archives: complex

to borrow words from another…

listening friend

I usually have plenty to say. and I would probably broach this subject myself, but Sarah does so beautifully and honestly. it is an experience we’ve all had at one time or another. a heart hurt, making its way up the throat, over the vocal chords, and finding voice. the words seem received. compassion seems to be birthed. but the one we’ve trusted with this pain suddenly says, “I know exactly what you mean…” or in some similar way cuts across our pain and inserts their own.

our stories are so very different, but at the core, in the painful places, Sarah says it so much better…

http://www.sarahmarkley.com/2011/02/twisting-your-pain-to-fit-me/

oh, that we would give each other the grace and compassion to meet in the pain and walk it together, holding, instead of hurting one another with careless words, inserting ourselves into their pain, allowing it to remain theirs and become instead, partners on the journey…

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Filed under aches and lessons, complex, simple

defining question…

there is a question that should be asked of everyone.

your answer to this one question, if honest, reveals more than almost any other.

I ask it frequently.

I wish someone had asked me more often.

how are you and Jesus?

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Filed under abiding, complex, simple, spiritual formation

my chief weakness…

I applied for a ministry position this week.

Aside from the usual resume and cover letter, there was also an application to fill out and return. Not a difficult application. But I stumbled through one question, thinking about it for days before putting pen to paper.

What is your chief weakness?

My immediate response startled me and I rebelled against it strongly. And rightly so. It is not a weakness and can actually be a strength for many. It is not a mistake to be corrected or something to apologize for.

I am an introvert.

I like alone. Quiet soothes me. Sometimes I need to talk to process, but mostly I write and think. Retreat is one of the most comfortable disciplines.

Being an introvert in ministry can be difficult. People are not like a business project. They cannot be checked off a to do list. Their lives cannot be contained in regular office hours. There are few neat little boxes to put ministry into and say the “job” is complete. Ministry is relationships, and that means people.Tasks are involved, to be sure. But the heart of ministry is people and their relationship with Christ.

Balance. I struggle to balance the needs of my family, ministry, and self.

Being an introvert is not my weakness. Balance is.

I have been in that place, that lonely place, where the body and heart and soul are worn to nothing. Burnout. It is not alone-ness. It is loneliness on many levels. We often liken burnout to frostbite when describing it. Once the damage has been done, that place is more sensitive. It needs more specialized care. Like a rubber band stretched to the almost-breaking point, there is a fear of being stretched that thin again.There is a remembrance of the pain. A fear of irreparable damage if it happens again.

Balance.

It swings both ways. Run too hard for too long and risk burnout. Or become almost reclusive and miss the ministry, the rich relationships before me, the lessons God wants to teach me and using others to do it.

What helps you maintain balance?

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days on the calendar…

It was one of those days. A date on the calendar. For most, just a date. For me, an anniversary. A painful one.

Dreams shattered.

Life swirling around despite it.

Holding to Jesus. Desperately clinging to Him.

A heart and body wounded, never to be the same.

New questions. A paradigm shift.

A fresh sensitivity inward. Someday to turn outward and hold others in a similar place.

We all have them. Quiet anniversaries. Sacred. Shared with few. Life hurts that remain quietly remembered.

Walking wounded all. Feeling so very alone.

And yet not. Others have tread these familiar paths, so new to us, so unreal.

Death of a loved one. Job loss. Diagnosis. Car accident. Miscarriage. Relationship destroyed. Betrayal. Devastating confession. And so many more.

It is good for me to remember dates like these. They remind me that we all carry heart hurts. And most often we do not know the significant dates on someone else’s calendar. They may need some extra grace, a smile, a kind word. Things that cost me so little time, such small effort. BeingĀ  Jesus’ hands and feet. Bringing some Barnabas encouragement.

More than just a date on the calendar…

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Filed under abiding, aches and lessons, being, complex, daughter-gift, life lesson, simple, spiritual formation

introverted…

if you’ve wandered through my blog roll at all, you’ve seen the introverted church listed. I haven’t had a chance to read Introverts in the Church yet, but have been looking forward to it!

I’ve found a piece of my heart in most entries published. and I have the honor of guest posting this week (I’ll keep you posted on that!)

I am an introverted, contemplative, Scandinavian girl.

people can be a lot of work for me.

I would be a great hermit. but I would miss my little family. then again, they are cut from similar cloth, so maybe we’d be hermits together.

Jesus called us to love people. and to love Him. that includes the introverted contemplative stoic. but people can be a lot of work.

it’s another balance, this dance of personality, ministry, and life.

there is a bit of relief in the label “introvert” and some push-back as well.

it feels selfish. sometimes lazy.

but I know the truth of it as well. when I am with people too long, even those I love deeply, there begins a deep longing for alone. time to process life. to write. maybe even read a bit. to catch my breath.

when those moments are missing, I get itchy, grumpy even. some days I feel like a rubber band, stretched to far, ready to snap.

so I’ll tell you up front–if I disappear for a while, it is nothing personal. I just need a moment of quiet. some time to talk to God, time to listen to Him, time to hear nothing.

please do not get me wrong. I like people. love a good number of them. family, friends, and ministry are true joys to me. most people do not even know this introversion runs so deeply.

sometimes it gets in the way. stresses me out. makes me question God and why He made me like this. but then He reminds me that He makes no mistakes, that there are reasons for it all. in all the Martha moments, He is calling me to Mary moments. sitting quietly together. and that is no mistake.

the journey continues, this living an introverted life in an extroverted world. and what a rich journey it is!

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abiding…

Jesus calls us to abide in Him.

Easy and difficult.

Simple and complex.

Full of peace. Full of turmoil.

Much like the beautiful way He boiled the Law into two simple commands, to love God and love people, the Christian life is pared down to one amazing statement. Abide in Me.

The journey into that life of abiding is what this blog is all about. It is not a perfect journey. Sometimes it is full of wonder. Often full of questions.

Grace.

Mercy.

Love.

A focus on Him.

A desire to honor and glorify Him.

More of Him, less of me.

A jump into the ins and outs of one woman’s sanctification journey, with some of the oohs and aahs and bumps and bruises along the way.

Learning to abide. Learning to love. Wanting desperately to be like Christ. Knowing how far short of that goal I am. Resting in His grace in the gap.

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Filed under abiding, complex, John 15, simple, spiritual formation