Safe Places and Risky Questions

We’re taking a few days of vacation this week! Since there are so many new readers to the blog, I didn’t think you’d mind a repost from a couple years ago.

“So how and what are YOU doing these days?”  A seemingly simple and innocent question from a friend I hadn’t seen in a few months.

I want to yell, “DOING???  What am I DOING??   I’m Road Runner running straight off the cliff and not realizing it!  I’m Charlie Brown constantly falling flat trying to kick the football!   I’m like the psycho squirrels in my back yard, frantically spinning around, more than a little confused about which way is up!”

Fortunately I catch myself, realizing this might not be an appropriate answer, especially since we’re in the middle of a crowded Starbucks and I’d probably start crying and that would be ugly.

Instead I smile and answer confidently, “Oh everything’s good!  I’m doing a lot of little things, resourcing some organizations here and there… praying about some different options.” Which is true as far as it goes, but certainly gives a different impression than my first answer!

Have you ever felt like everyone else has their life together with a master plan complete with long and short range goals and is right on track doing meaningful work on the highway to success? Continue reading

A Near Death Experience

There’s a prerequisite for heaven.  It’s called death.

You remember that line from the movie, Princess Bride?  “There’s dead and then there’s mostly dead.”

The other day I realized I was only mostly dead.  Or even less than that.  Maybe just a smidge dead.

But I wanted to be SEEN as totally dead.  Dead to self.  To selfishness.  To self-centeredness.

Several times in the course of two days I gave time and effort and gave up comfort to go out of my way and serve someone.

And you know what?  It didn’t seem to matter at all.  No one said “thanks”, much less threw a parade.

The kid I tutor was rude and uncooperative.  The meal I made for someone didn’t fit their dietary restrictions.  And, and, and…

And my bratty 13-year-old self, wanted a high five or at least a little “Woohoo!” from Jesus.  And by that I mean from everyone around me.

The main person I really wanted to serve was myself.

I wanted the image of serving others, and the perk of being noticed and admired.

I wanted it to look like I had a shiny outside but my inside was pretty gross…maggoty in fact.

Have you ever recognized this in yourself?  Maybe once?

Continue reading

The Temptation of Cool

This week we’re in Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference.

For the uninitiated, this is the church world equivalent of the cool kids’ table in Junior high.  The one with the vibe that everyone wants.

Catalyst is for the young and hip – the guys who wear the rumpled uniform of untucked plaid flannel shirts or V-neck t’s, super skinny jeans and tiny black Rob Bell glasses.

They use product that makes their hair spiky or shave their heads if there’s not enough “there” there to mousse.  You used to see a lot soul patch and piercings going on, but not so much lately.

People like to write about Catalyst.  Tweet about it. It’s a good place to see and be seen.

Continue reading

Christmas Card Fail

One of the casualties of the Holiday Ham meltdown ’11 was our family Christmas card and letter.  We’re not going to do one this year to save some money.  As the Christmas Queen who wants to do everything Christmas, and who’s dream is to be a snowflake in the Holidazzle parade, you can bet this wasn’t my vote.  I’m really into tradition.  We even have a book where we keep all our family Christmas cards through the years.

But maybe it’s better this way.  I received a link to The Best of the Worst Holiday Cards yesterday and I’m thinking some of ours might make the cut.  We were really into holiday sweaters.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking…What if Mary and Joseph wrote a Christmas letter a couple of years after Jesus was born?  It might have begun like ours did in 1987, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”?

Continue reading