What I Learned About Being “Fearless” in 2013

The week between Christmas and New Year has always been a good time for reflection. So I’ve been thinking about my “One Word” for 2013 – Fearless.

Not that I saw myself as fearless, but I believed God wanted to grow me in that direction.  It didn’t feel like it was “mine”.  It was an aspirational word.  Kind of like “thin” will be an aspirational word my whole life.

There was the acknowledgement that “Fear not.” is the most common command in the Bible and that other command, “Follow me.” which usually involves risk and the F word, at least in my life.

Living with this “One Word” in 2013 helped me to pay attention.  Henry James, a novelist, writes “Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.” This was my goal.

Not that it’s been a smooth ride.  I had a panic attack for the first time in my life.  And that’s not “me”.  At least that’s how my pride responds.

But I also took risks, and went public with a big goal that I felt was beyond my ability.

I think the biggest “fearless” lesson I learned came while I was running. And running.  And, you know… trying not to die. Continue reading

Life is just a Draft (Win a copy of Love Does!)

As someone who writes a blog (I still can’t refer to myself as a “writer”), I’ll often be struck by ideas and dump them into a draft to be worked on at a later date.  Today I was looking through over 100 “drafts”, many with cryptic notes, some with quotes to be reflected on, others with just titles.

One of them had the title “Acts 2” and this picture of a coffee cake that didn’t turn out exactly as planned.
IMG_0935That’s it.  That’s all she wrote (as it were).  Sooo…what the heck was I thinking?  Why was this meaningful in my tiny brain and what does it have to do with Acts 2?  Was it funny?  Serious?  What part of Acts 2 was I thinking of?  Peter addressing the crowd?  Or the fellowship of the early believers?  I’m going to guess it was Acts 2:42-47 (but maybe not)

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The rest is up to you!  Put your idea or an experience you’ve had that relates, in the comment section, even if it’s just one line.  It can be silly or serious, intensely reflective or outrageously creative.  I’ll pick my favorite and give a copy of Bob Goff’s Love Does!

Unknown-2Life is just a draft.  We’re all trying to figure it out and make it better.  One way I’m trying to make it better is by running to raise money for clean water for Africa.  You can be a part of this caper here!

Jesus Stalker?

Bob Goff is one of my favorite guys.  He inspires, encourages, challenges, and cheerleads for Jesus. He reminds me of Peter Pan – a perpetual kid on a kingdom adventure filled with hope and joy.  He throws candy down to kayakers from a cliff above them. He helps orphans in Uganda.  I want to be his friend.

If you haven’t read Love Does, DO! (Check back in on Wednesday for an opportunity to win a free copy!)


Bob spoke at the Leadership Summit a couple of weeks ago and asked, “Are we just stalking Jesus?  Have we just been learning more and more stuff about Him?”

I picture a psycho with a creepy room with a stash of Jesus pictures, and Bible verses with strings to cards with the Greek translations, and maps with arrows.  But then…maybe he’s talking about people like me who love to learn and can get stuck there.

Continue reading

Inspiration in the Face of Trepidation on Fearless Friday

I’m amazed at how fear can constantly raise its head in different guises.  Like Whack-a-mole, you clonk a fear mole of rejection, and a little fear mole dressed as change pops up.  You whack the fear mole of the future, and up pops the fear of conflict or provision, or significance.

Sometimes trepidation needs a little inspiration to encourage us when the moles seem persistent.  So, here are a few resources on Fearless Friday:

Continue reading

Invitations and the Three Things You Need

I’m not that person.  I’m not the sell-everything-move-to-the-slums-of-Calcutta-like-Mother-Theresa person.  That’s not the invitation I’ve sensed from God.  Yet.

I’m an ordinary girl trying to follow Jesus where He’s put me and getting it wrong a lot.

But if there’s one passion I have, it’s responding to the invitations God extends, as crazy as they might seem in my ordinary world.

The thing is these invitations rarely arrive in a giant Oscar-like envelope with a red seal screaming “THIS IS IMPORTANT!  PAY ATTENTION!”


We long for invitation, but sometimes we have to lean close because the invitation is a whisper not a shout.

Recently, Bob Goff wrote,

“Jesus won’t try to speak over the noise in our lives; love whispers so we won’t be confused about who’s doing the talking.”

Sometimes it’s a whispered invitation to stop.  And do something you’ve never done before.  Something a tiny bit scary, or uncomfortable, or potentially embarrassing.

The whispered invitation may come right in your cramped apartment, or in your dysfunctional family, or on the road to work.

The invitation might look like a Jamaican cleaning woman stranded on the side of the road needing a ride,

or an injustice that begs for a note to your congressperson,

or a kid who could use a mentor or a meal.

The other day I saw a friend of mine who responded to the quiet invitation from God to take her aging parent for a delightful afternoon tea out, giving her mom loving attention and a listening ear no matter how confused she got.

Here’s the thing though.  I believe three ingredients are needed if you’re going to respond to these gentle, holy invitations.

An eye, an ear, an hour.

An eye for those in need, an ear attuned to the whispered prompts of God, and the time to respond.

I guess maybe the fourth thing that is needed is a willingness to actually do the work of responding, but the element that I think is most often missing in our lives, the thing that prevents us from responding to God’s invitations, is lack of margin.

A mentor of mine always said, “If you’re too busy to take a pot of soup to someone in need, you’re too busy.”

I know, I know…in some seasons margin is beyond our control.  And maybe the person in need is you.  You’re the perpetual care-giver who, like Elijah after an intense season, needs to respond to the whispered invitation for a snack and a nap.*

Then do that.  Pray. Rest.  Replenish.

But whether God whispers an invitation to be part of some kingdom work, or kingdom rest today, which element is most likely to get in the way of you responding?  An eye to see the needs, an ear to heaven, the guts to respond, or the time to do it?

God, show me where You want to work today, and invite me to be a part of it.  I’m trying to pay attention.

*1st Kings 19

Fearless Fridays

Last week, with fear and trembling, I shared my One Word for 2013 – Fearless.

Ironic, I know.  But there are so many important, relevant, good words!  What if I got it wrong?  I really prayed about strong, brave, secure, equipped, enough… What if it feels to God like I’ve thrown down the gauntlet (where did that phrase come from?) and says “It’s on!” leading me into situations to stretch me uncomfortably?  What if this year just shows how fearless I’m not?

And then I remembered the two words fear always asks: “What if…” And I said “So what.”


I hope you’ll enter into this year-long adventure too.

I’ve loved hearing from you through email, text, and FB and I hope more of you will share your words here.  Some of your OneWords I’ve heard so far are Margin, Relinquish, Trust, Live, Content, Enjoy

So here’s what I’m thinking…We’re going to rename “Spirit Stretch Fridays” (You may not have even known that was a thing.  I’ve kind of dropped the ball).

From now on it’s gonna be Fearless Fridays.  I’ll be posting on different aspects of Fear because I think it’s a pretty universal challenge and is related to so many other challenges.  AND, I’m going to be asking some of you to send me guest posts about your experiences with your One Word.

Here’s my thought for the day around “Fearless”.

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s just deciding that fear isn’t calling the shots anymore” Bob Goff

Soooo…here we go!

Have a great Friday and consider sharing your word here if you haven’t!

The Other “F Words”, part 3

I once put 2 CUPS of salt into a recipe of lasagna instead of 2 teaspoons.

Ok, actually I ran out of salt after a cup and a half, but still…  Inconceivable that anyone could be such an idiot?  A failure?  I know, I know it’s hard even for me to believe.  I can only chalk it up to the fact that I was multi-tasking and my mind was elsewhere.

You’ve never made a stupid mistake?  Or failed at something serious you worked hard for?

Did you fail your driver’s test the first time?

Fail to make the varsity tennis, football, or swim team?

Been fired?

Have a failed marriage?

Failed to get a promotion you applied for?

Failure.  Another uncomfortable “F word”.

Even writing the word brings feelings of humiliation and embarrassment.  A sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Experiences, choices, words, I’d really like to forget                    (another f word) :).

I have plenty of failures to reflect on.  I’m a passionate, aim-fire-ready kind of gal.  Leap before you look.  It’s all good.  Enthusiasm wins the day.

As a result I’ve inadvertently stepped on toes, lost money, received rejections for less-than-best work submitted too quickly.

Maybe your pattern is different, but you can still think of failures that make you cringe.

As I’ve been reflecting on failure I’ve read some inspiring stuff.

“Grace means our failures don’t define who we are anymore; they just shape who we’re becoming.”Bob Goff

“If you know you are the Beloved, you can live with an enormous amount of success
and an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity.
Because your identity is that you are the Beloved…” Henri Nouwen

Somebody asked Winston Churchill one time, “What most prepared you to lead Great Britain through World War 2?

This was Churchill’s response: “It was the time I repeated a class in grade school.”

The questioner said, “You mean you flunked a grade?”

Churchill said, “I never flunked in my life.  I was given a second opportunity to get it right.”

What we would like to delete, God wants to complete (I’m sure I heard that pithy little saying somewhere, but I can’t remember where)

But how do we translate all this peppy talk into anything more?  We all are going to fail, but what’s next?  How do we “fail forward” as I think John Maxwell said?

Stop trying (or crying) for a minute and hold your “failure” (whatever it is) before God and say,

Here it is Lord.

Use it.  Redeem it.  Teach me from it.  Show me my next step.  But don’t let it define me, paralyze me, or tempt me to turn from You.  Thank you that I am Your beloved child.  No matter what.”

What have you failed at that God has redeemed?

Just a Quote

“Our legacy is the trail of bread crumbs we leave leading toward Jesus.  Make it look like you lived in a bakery.”  Bob Goff

Reflecting on my “crumbs” from yesterday…Where did they lead people?

Were they crumbs of grace?  Inclusion?  Value?  Encouragement?

What about you?