On Being Human

I few weeks ago a colleague of mine wrote something in an email that has stuck with me.  She said, “Being human is not perfection. Being human is being.” I loved that, and it’s truth and simplicity has been on my heart ever since. Here’s why I think it’s so powerful:

It reminds me that I am not alone.

Her words were an important reminder me that everyone else feels it too—the pressure to keep pushing, keep striving, keep rushing. There’s this constant need to do more, be better, move faster, and we all feel that. We all struggle under the weight of that.

But that’s not what we were created to do.

Being human offers us the freedom to just be, to just rest in the promise that we already are exactly who we were created to be—children of God made in the image of God. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re totally off the hook. We’re still called to use our gifts and talents to do God’s work in the world and to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. But perfection is not the goal. Not even close.

I’m in Chicago this week for a conference on transformative churches.  A large part of the conference is dedicated to retreat—to rest, renewal, and solitude. In other words, just being.

As I go into this week, I’m thinking about this notion of being human. I’m choosing to allow myself to just be and to rest in the truth that I am already a beloved child of God. Because that is who I was created to be.

 

 

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Currently: September

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Reading: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I’ve been reading a lot of girly beach reads this summer, so a thriller/suspense novel is a nice change. It’s by the same author as Girl on the Train, and so far I’m really enjoying it!

Listening: Elysium/Love and War. My husband’s band released a new album recently, and (in my totally unbiased opinion) it’s wonderful. Give it a listen—The World is Alright is my favorite!

Planning: Lots of travel. I’m heading to Chicago and Nashville in the next couple weeks for work and taking my kiddos to camp. We also have a fun trip in the works for late November. Stay tuned!

Anticipating: Fall! I know it still feels like summer outside, but I’m getting excited for fall. As much as I love summer, I always look forward to fall. I love the cooler temps that allow for longer walks with Finley and dinners outside. I love football and changing colors and decorating with pumpkins. Plus, I’m just ready for a change in seasons. Bring it on, fall!

Praying: For Texas. The images coming out of Houston are heartbreaking, but the responses of so many volunteers who have gone there to help with clean up and rescue are pretty remarkable. There are some ideas of ways you can help or donate here.

From Grave to Groove

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The other night our youth minister shared a message in which he talked about the power of love. He referenced the U2 song Window in the Skies which talks about the beauty and wonder of what love can do in the world. I was struck by this particular line:

The grave is now a groove. 

For Christians, we’re familiar with the notion of love overcoming the grave. But something about hearing those particular words in this particular season is still resonating with me days later.

The Psalmist wrote, “You have turned my mourning to dancing” (Psalm 30:11).  In other words, God can turn our sadness into joy, our despair into hope, our grave into a groove.

Our world feels dark these days, and mourning seems to be the general state of things. There is a heaviness that is hard to shake. I’m thinking about Texas. I’m thinking about Charlottesville. I’m thinking about the refugee crisis. I’m thinking about all those who feel rejected, discriminated against, and marginalized. And it feels like too much.

Maybe you’ve felt it, too. Maybe you feel it on a more personal level. Maybe it’s an illness or the loss of a loved one that’s weighing on your heart. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s slowly breaking you. Maybe it’s the pressure to always do more, be more. Maybe you just feel tired.

It’s easy, these days, to feel like all there is and all there will be is mourning. But the story of God reminds us to look and remember what love can do. Love can change hearts, mend relationships, heal pain. Love is a force bigger than hate, and love doesn’t run out. Because of love the grave doesn’t get to have the last word.

From grave to groove. Look what love can do, indeed. Look what God can do.

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web. 

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Hey friends! It’s Friday, and I have a full weekend of work ahead of me. But we’ve also got some fun things planned, like a very special first birthday party for our sweet girl. There were a lot of important things on the internet this week, so I’m sharing some of the posts that have been particularly meaningful to me. Let’s love loud this weekend! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

Romania, Part 2

On Monday, I wrote about a mission trip I went on recently with my church. I shared some about the work we did, but I also have to share some photos from our sightseeing adventures. Romania is a really beautiful country—at times I felt like I was wondering the streets of Paris and at other times I felt like an extra in The Sound of Music. Enjoy!

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Romania, Part 1

During July, I had the privilege of going on a mission trip with my church to Romania.  While we were there, we worked with an organization called Project Ruth, which ministers primarily to the Roma people, or gypsies.  Project Ruth encompasses a wide range of projects and ministries, but on this particular trip we worked with their school.  Our team, along with a few other missionaries and translators, took a group of children from the school to a weeklong sleep away camp.  Throughout the week we led Bible Study, crafts, recreation, electives, and other fun activities like a talent show, campfire, and even a dance party. For the majority of the kids on the trip, that week was a once in a lifetime experience, and they had a BLAST! (So did we, of course.) And we fell in love with the kids. I mean, just look at these sweet faces…

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Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I’m reminded of two truths: the world is so much bigger than my view of the world, and God is so much bigger than my view of God. If we’re not careful, we can forget that. We start to imagine that the world is really just the way see it, the way we experience it. And we can turn God into our own small version of who we think he is, who we think he loves, and what we think he can do. But I watched these kids, whose world is so very different from my own, worship God with gladness and gratitude. I watched them embrace us and love us with abandon, even though we didn’t know one another or speak the same language. I watched as God worked in our hearts and theirs, changing us along the way.

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As I’ve read the stories and seen the images coming out of Charlottesville over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about Romania and these kids and love. Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the to the human heart than its opposite.”

In Romania, I was reminded of the truth of those words—that love indeed does come naturally. We didn’t speak the same language. We couldn’t share stories or jokes or even prayers. But we loved. And they taught me something about God’s love, too.

More than anything, I want to be a teacher of love today. I want to speak the truth boldly and denounce hatred clearly and loudly. I want to be an instrument of peace in the world. That’s my prayer for today.

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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Happy Friday! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week. We are officially in August, and I’m in fall mode preparing to kick off all the programs and ministries starting back up at church. This weekend I’m planning to hang out with Finley and get some things done around the house. Have a great weekend, friends! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…