5 Questions About…Risk

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Sharon is a dear friend who both inspires and intimidates me with her amazingness.  She has guest-posted here before.  I’m so thankful that in the midst of a busy, stressful time, she was willing to share some more of what she’s learning.  Here’s the next in our 5 Questions About…series.

1. Recently you took what must have felt like a huge risk. Can you tell us about it?

Eight months ago, I resigned from a job I had loved and made the leap to running my own business. This happened after an extended season of prayer and discernment, so by the time I made the change, I felt certain it was the right thing to do.

Yes, there were practical risks involved: leaving a certain income, benefits, 401K; losing the familiarity of my office and team. And as a single person, I didn’t have a safety net of a second income, back-up insurance, or a support person to pick up slack in other areas of life. But I was also very clear about why I was making the change: 1) to be faithful to what I understood God was putting in my hands; 2) to learn and grow through a new challenge.

So when I framed it that way, I realized that even if my business failed (and I had to move into my parents’ basement), I would experience God in deeper ways and learn things I wouldn’t otherwise. Continue reading

On Slaying Dragons and Whistling

It’s Fearless Friday and one of my favorite people in the world graciously agreed to guest post!  I know you’ll be blessed by these thoughts from my talented friend Sharon Sampson.  She’s the Director of Communications at our church (Christ Presbyterian Church, Edina) and this year has started her own consulting business called Open Book Communications 

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There’s an old Stephen Sondheim song I like called “Anyone Can Whistle” because it points to how fear tends to work its way into my life. In the song, a seemingly strong, capable woman sings this:

“Anyone can whistle,

That’s what they say — easy.

Anyone can whistle

Any old day — easy.

It’s all so simple:

Relax, let go, let fly.

So someone tell me why

Can’t I?”

Continue reading

Who’s Dancing with You?

I really admire my husband.

He’s brilliant and wise and athletic and better than me at everything.

Except maybe one thing.

When we were dating, we never danced.                                                                                 And when we got married we didn’t have dancing at our reception.                                    And when we went to our first wedding reception as a married couple he didn’t ask me to dance and I cried and was sure he didn’t really love me.

I wrote recently that some friends and I have wrangled our husbands into taking dance lessons, and I’ve finally discovered why this has not been part of our life together up til now.  I’m not gonna sugar coat it.  I’m no Ginger Rogers, but John is truly bad.   I don’t understand it.  How can someone who’s so coordinated in so many other areas be so…not…in this area?  Sometimes we just have to stop trying because we’re laughing so hard.

It’s one thing to have a humility thrust upon you.  You make a mistake and have to apologize.  Like BP.  Or the captain of the cruise ship in Italy.  Or Lindsay Lohan.  You’re given a job to do and things don’t go well.  You’re humbled.

But to choose to step into a situation where you know you’re weak, vulnerable, open to ridicule?  That takes love.

Doing this together with some of our closest friends has led me to another conclusion.

We all need friends who will dance with us.  People with whom we feel safe enough to say “yes, we’ll join you” even when it makes us vulnerable, or it’s risky, or has the potential to be downright embarrassing.

These are the people who will always laugh along with you and defend you and pray for you and forgive you even when toes are getting stepped on or you’ve made a wrong turn and bumped into them.

These are the people you can call at midnight when your world seems to be falling apart, or you have exciting news.  You help them carry their lamps and wine glasses to their new home and they help fix your leaky faucet.

They’re the ones who show up with chicken soup when you’re sick and light sparklers with you on holidays and stand at the graveside with you when your dad dies.

They write notes to your kids and you take theirs sailing.  You’ve run out of gas together on vacation and you’ve prayed.  Wow, have you prayed.  Together and separately, through laughter and tears.

Waltz.  Jitter bug.  Fox trot.

They know all your weaknesses and how you miss the beat and can’t twirl, but they still love you.

These are our people and we’re theirs.

More than anything they have our back.  And we have theirs.  No matter what.

Like I said before, these humiliating dance lessons were a choice, but recently John has been in another situation that has required public apologies and explanations and some people have been really mad, and others have been really mean, but then…there are those we dance with.  Recently, after a hard experience, a friend gave John a hug, and later he found that this note had been slipped into his pocket.

If you don’t have friends who will dance with you, find them.  They’re out there.  And if you do have friends who dance with you, maybe remind them you’ve got their back (or their toes).

Who’s dancing with you?

holy experience

Awake My Soul

I’m not a hipster.  Not even close.  I’m always consulting with my daughters to make sure what I’m wearing doesn’t look like I’m the stereotypical un-cool homeschooled kid on the first day of public school.

So even though I know Mumford and Sons and love their song,“Awake my Soul”, I honestly didn’t think of it in choosing the domain for this blog until some of my hipster friends pointed it out.  It was what they thought of immediately.

I was thinking of Awake my Soul in an eyes-wide-open-aha-oh-I-almost missed-that-burning-bush way.  But whatever.  I totally missed the cultural reference right off the bat.

Last summer was a more embarassing miss.   One morning I was teaching at church.  It was very early.  (I want you to remember that).  I had to stand up in front of a room full of people.  When we were done and people were leaving, I walked outside and glanced down.  There were two different sandals on my feet.  I know you’re thinking, “What sane person doesn’t pay attention to the shoes they’re putting on?  Or look in a mirror!?”  It was dark, ok?  And to my credit (if there’s any credit to be gotten here), they were both brown sandals.

And then there was the day a couple of years ago I left the car running and locked my keys inside.  For an hour.  While I was at Starbucks.  Again, paying attention?  Maybe not so much.

Last confession.  When I was a junior in college (I KNOW you’re not gonna believe this but it’s absolutely true), I once put a cup of salt instead of a teaspoon into a recipe of lasagna.  Flake?  Mentally challenged cook?  A.D.D.?  You make the call, but clearly I wasn’t paying attention.

Why in the world would I share these humiliating experiences with you?

  • I’m telling my deepest darkest secrets so you will too.  Ok maybe not.  But I really do want to be authentic so you will see this as a safe place where you can be honest.  And I REALLY want you to know (in case there’s any doubt) how much I don’t have it together.
  •  I really love the philosophy we should take God seriously, but ourselves not so much.
  • These “misses” are minor, but how much am I missing the many significant ways that God wants to delight, convict, amaze, whisper to me each day in His desire to make me more like Him?

The refrain of the Mumford and Sons song says                                                                 Awake my soul                                                                                                                                    For you were made to meet your Maker                                                                                     And you were made to meet your Maker.

I think one of the ways we pay attention and meet our Maker is by encouraging each other – sharing our own experiences of seeing AND missing God.                      What about you?  

Have you ever made an embarrassing mistake because you weren’t paying attention?

What helps you pay attention to God’s work in your life? 

What discourages you from paying attention?