To The Broken Ones: Don’t Let Shame Strangle You

To the Broken Ones

She sat across from me, clutching the coffee mug tightly in her hands. This was supposed to be a normal conversation in a café, yet quickly became anything but. As her words and then tears began to trickle and then gush out, I quickly came to sit beside her, letting the torrential rain of hurt and grief flow out. When the storm had slowed, she looked at me with broken eyes. Her hurt is not mine to share, but her words then and a hundred others’ could have been paraphrased thus: “I’m not even worthy anymore. I have to be perfect, to be so good, and I failed. I’m broken forever.”

Those words cut me.

I wanted to weep and scream and fight those words. Even now, I still tremble and my throat tightens at the remembering. I hate them. The choices that led to them, the beliefs that fed those conclusions to her, and the ravages they had done to her. This was my friend, and she was being destroyed. Shame was strangling her life away, and not only metaphorically. She had been pierced, so deeply wounded, and I hated that she had done it and I hated that she had been told to just throw a Band-Aid over it and I hated that she was dying inside because of it. If I could have physically walked up to her shame and thrown myself punching at it, I would have. My soul screamed and grieved at the brokenness of it all.

And the worst part is, she’s not the only one. Different words, different girls, but I’ve heard so many echoing the same conclusion. I’ve messed up. That’s it. I’m not good enough anymore, and I can never go back. Everyone, God included, is disappointed with me. I can’t go to Him after what I’ve done.

And I want to scream, No, no, no, and do something drastic, anything to take away this hurt from them. But I can’t. You can’t fight something that’s not physical. Continue reading

The Olympics and the Single Moment

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One moment. Everything hangs upon it.

My family has been watching the Olympics together this week, tensing as a figure skater gets tossed several feet into the air until she lands safely again, holding our breath as the hockey player takes the shot, cheering as the skier lands that fantastical flip. It’s incredible the feats these athletes can do. But what’s even more impressive is the labor these athletes have put into their sport.

They’ve trained since they were ten. They’ve given all their attention to this one thing. They lift those weights, just one more time, so that they can get here. They hit that alarm, just one more time, so that they can get here. Thousands of pushups and crunches, and hundreds of thousands of hours out on the snow, out on the ice — they dedicate the whole of their lives to training.

And yet some of them only compete for 38 seconds. That’s the whole of their race, that’s  how long their track is.

But for many more, the outcome is decided in one single moment. Continue reading

Don’t Instagram Your Godliness

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This should come as no surprise to anyone, but at risk of repeating the obvious: We’re living in the internet age. We communicate through emojis, learn through videos, and keep up through pictures. We have surmounted the limitations of space, breaking her hold on us, as we can communicate just as easily with those who live across the country as with those who live across the street. But we’re not just inhabitants of the internet age. We’re Christian inhabitants of the internet age.

And we want our online identity to reflect that. We ask ourselves “If someone looked solely at my profile, would they think I’m a Christian?”

So we saturate our online selves with spirituality. We post inspirational verses edited over sunrise stock-photos. We share the coffee-and-Jesus picture. We tweet a quote from today’s devotional; we make sure we pray a nice, theological, long prayer in our group. And everyone can see very well how much we love Jesus and what good Christians we are.

Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong for us to share online so others can see our good works.

Jesus is. Continue reading

This Isn’t Safe: TCB post

I was recently asked to join the Top Christian Book’s Writing Team, and I’m privileged and excited to share my first post with them with you. Check it out!

“Don’t you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion — the lion, the great lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan… “Is he – quite safe?”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver… “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

I think often we echo Susan, asking if our God is harmless. Because we would like a Coke-Machine God. We can insert our prayers and good deeds, and ding! He spits out a comfy 9-to-5 job, a comfy white-picket house, and even a comfy Mercedes-Benz if we’re really spiritual. We want a talisman Jesus. We can sit Him up on our car dashboard for when we want a favor or a free parking spot, and aha! He lays out a road of good fortune. We want a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Lord. We can walk along our own merry way, but if we happen upon some hard times, someone’s sick, or a job is lost; we can pay attention to Him and whoosh! He shoos away all our troubles, just like the ending of all those Hallmark movies.

We’d like just a nice, beneficial God. He’s comfortable, easy, and safe.

But a God who decimates our comfort zones, who desecrates our personal idols, who demands our entire being? No. Thank. You.

Read the rest here.

Think Fully, Love Fully, Live Fully (Summit Ministries Thoughts)

Think Fully

Uncertainty. Fear. Confusion.

Those seem to be the words defining this generation. We are vividly, violently passionate about our beliefs — but uncertain about what those beliefs are. We claim ideas on which to live our lives, but don’t even check to see if those pieces fit together. We are indeed a generation divided — our hearts and our minds, our logic and our beliefs, our words and our actions, our truth and our love — our questions and the truth are seemly separated by so great an ocean that we haven’t even bothered to get our feet wet.

Just look at what passes for truth all about us. Continue reading

Warning: Church Kids

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WARNING: Church kids, you may be in grave danger.

In fact, if you were raised in a Christian family, if you were always taken to church, or even if you were homeschooled all your life; your risk for this calamity is exponentially greater.

Because you may have bought into the Idea. That perverse, wrong, dangerous idea that lays its gentle hands over your eyes, whispering sweet assurances into your ear, as it pushes you closer and closer toward the foreboding cliff.

And no, this idea doesn’t have to do with relationships. It doesn’t have to do with schooling. It has nothing to do with your dress, your work choices, or even your vote.

No, this idea has to do with your eternity.

Because you may believe that you have “caught Christianity.” Continue reading