Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Changing the Stories we Tell Ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves matter. The can change everything in how we see a situation.

The way we fill in the blanks about an interaction with someone can impact our relationship with them without them ever knowing what happened.

The videos we replay in our minds as determine why someone reacted the way they did can change all our future interactions with them and they'll never know what's driving the change.

We go through life with missing information, left to fill in the gaps. And we fill in those gaps based on our past experiences. Often, based on the worst of our past experiences.

It's how we're wired. When we don't have all the answers, we try to fill in the blanks. We tell ourselves stories to explain it all.

Often, these stories are dangerous. Because we don't usually assume the best about people in these stories; we assume the worst and react accordingly. In doing so, we can cause serious harm to relationships, or to ourselves.

I ended up in this place myself recently. I had an experience where the way I filled in the blanks in a way that was harmful to me. It wasn't so much that I damaged a relationship with someone else. But, I took what happened, and filled in the blanks in such a way that I wasn't worthy or adequate to be in the role I was in with this happened. I was heading down a dangerous path.

What if we learned to stop ourselves?

What if we started asking for more information so we could fill in those blanks accurately?

What if we started to change our thinking about others?

What if we started assuming people are doing the best they have with what they have, instead of the worst?

I believe that would change everything in our relationships with people. It will take courage to do so thought. It will require intentionally from us. We'll have to be intentional about stopping our usual thinking and changing it. We may even have to have the courage to ask for the missing information from people so we can fill in the blanks correctly.

But, I think it will be worth the cost.

In the situation I was in where I had filled in the blanks with the wrong information and was heading down a dangerous path, I had to make that choice. I had to choose to reach out to people who could help me change the story I was telling myself. It wasn't easy. Often, just admitting out loud the story we've been telling ourselves reveals how ridiculous it actually is. But, I knew I needed to, so that others could help me to write the story correctly. As hard as it was, in the end it was worth the cost.

Are you willing to start making this change?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Our Lives as Sacred Space

Sometimes when I'm looking for something to write about, I'm drawn to a post I wrote a while ago. That is the case this week. I was pointed back to a post I wrote three years ago about this time of year. Pointed back to it by the "On this Day" function on Facebook showing me things I've shared.

You can find the original post here.

I haven't edited or changed a whole lot this time. As I read it, I was struck by what was written - especially the quote that prompted the post.

Here's the post for today, with some more thoughts I've had since rereading this a couple of days ago.

"Though our bodies and souls may become ravaged, yet we continue to be God's temple - at times a temple in ruins, but a sacred space nonetheless." (Miroslav Volf)

This quote wouldn't leave my mind after I heard it a few days ago. Something about it wouldn't let go. I think because there is such incredible truth in it.

In the Old Testament the Temple was a sacred space. It was carefully built and cared for. It had a place of honour among God's people - Israel. When the Temple was in ruins after Israel had been in captivity, it was important enough that given the opportunity, they rebuilt the Temple. The Temple was God's dwelling place on earth.

We Are God's Dwelling Place

The New Testament tells us that we are now God's temple - that our bodies are the temple of God on earth. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit was coming for all believers (John 16) and would dwell in them. In Acts, we see the Holy Spirit coming on all the believers gathered before they are sent out. We are now God's dwelling place on earth.

Sometimes life on earth gets hard and things get messy. Our lives can feel like they are blowing up or crumbling around us. And that means our lives as God's temple can be in ruins.

The challenge comes in what we do when it seems like our lives are in ruins.

Will we run from God?

Or will we choose to worship God in the midst of the hard and messy times in our lives? 

Choosing to Worship

When we choose to worship God in the midst of the mess and ruins of our lives, then our lives are sacred space. Sacred space can occur everywhere we choose to worship God in the midst of whatever is going on.

It doesn't have to be a perfect place to be a sacred space. In fact, sometimes the most sacred of spaces is in the midst of the biggest messes or the hardest struggles we've ever faced. All because we choose to worship God in the midst of it.

What is the mess or hard time in your life right now?

Are you choosing to worship in the midst of it?

Where is the sacred space in your life right now? 

How is the rebuilding of the ruins work going?

"Though our bodies and souls may become ravaged, yet we continue to be God's temple - at times a temple in ruins, but a sacred space nonetheless." (Miroslav Volf)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Staring in the Face of the Brokenness of our World

It seems as Valentine's Day approaches each year, I end up writing something about singleness and/or what things are like around this time of year when relationships seem to be emphasized. I suppose in a way, this post is along those lines and in a way it's a bit different.

As this Valentine's Day approaches, I've been wrestling with a different question than usual. Usually it makes me wonder about relationships, why I'm still single when it's not my plan for now. But, this year, I'm thinking about different things.

In the last year or so, I've watched a few marriages of people in my life fall apart for various reasons. Whatever the reason for the marriage break-up, I've seen the pain and heartache left in the wake of that. And, it's changed the questions I have, the things I'm thinking about around Valentine's Day this year.

The hard question I've been wrestling with has become: why do I want to be married so much when I see the pain and heartache that comes when things don't go as planned? Why do I see marriage as something I still want in my life, when I'm watching so many marriages around me fall apart?

They're not easy questions to face. They're tough ones to wrestle with. And they can easily become depressing questions to reflect on.

The reality of it is that in these situations, we stare directly in the face of the brokenness of our world, and how far from God's plan we've wandered. That's not easy. It's not fun looking at brokenness that directly. We tend to run from it in so many situations.

So, how do I come to terms with the questions I've been asking lately? What do those questions mean for my life?

In the moments, I get caught up in thinking like that, I also have to remind myself of the many marriages around me that aren't falling apart and coming to an end. That changes my perspective on those questions. It doesn't change the reality of the brokenness in our world, but it reminds us that there is hope, that there is good in the midst of all the bad around us.

When I look at things that way, it doesn't make my dream of marriage one day seem like a dream I should try to avoid. It reminds me that dream is not hopeless, or one I should decide to leave behind. It reminds me that we live in a broken world, where things don't always happen according to God's plan.

And, in the meantime, I trust God with my future. I do what He has called me to do during this time in my life, with everything I have. That's what I can do right now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Constantly running
From one place to the next
No time to pause
No chance to catch your breath
Will I ever get to rest?

Always on to the next
Never stopping to really see
The people you are passing
Blind to need, to pain
Will I ever get to rest?

A calendar too full
No space to breath
No times for those you love
No time for laughter
Will I ever get to rest?

Slowing down
Making space to stop
Slowing down
Creating time to breath
Slowing down
Taking time to see

To people all around
What they're really saying
Walking alongside

Escaping from the busy-ness
Something we really need
A beautiful gift from God