3/14/2018

Lemons, Lemons, Lemons.

3/14/2018

Hey you. Yeah, you.

Your negativity is boring az


I've been trying to find a way to say this in the kindest, most blogger-ly and gentle way. But the words just didn't come. 
I think we all know what it's like to feel that ugly part of ourselves rise up when we see something that we don't like, aren't comfortable with, or are a little challenged by. Seeing somebody soar or try something new can bring up all kinds of demons. 
When I first started blogging, and people realized I was taking it seriously (ie, not quitting after a few months, or hoping and working towards people actually reading it), I got all kinds of discouraging feedback.

You can't make a job out of that.
Oh, another Christian cliche. 
Isn't that a little ambitious?

And I'm not gonna lie to you, it stung. There's nothing quite like sharing a new passion with somebody and having it shut down immediately. I'm almost positive it's a well-known feeling. At this point in time - I'd tell them to eat my shorts. But back then, I would just nod, smile, and burst into tears. (Just kidding. I ONLY CRY IN PRIVATE, NERDS.) 
Seriously though - if you have an idea that you think is kick ass; I say DO IT. With GUSTO. Especially if there's a firm foundation of calling, thought, and passion behind it. When you hear people talking about things that they'd love to do, be the first person to encourage them. You might be the thing that gets them on their feet and shows them that they can accomplish so much more than they ever thought possible. Being that kind of motivator, supporter, and servant should be energizing you. Not making you feel nasty, jealous, and callous inside. 

I'm really fed up with turning a corner and hearing people whispering about so-and-so trying a new way of expressing themselves. I feel exhausted when I hear the body of Christ judging someone's past when they confess they feel called to working in ministry. I'm sick of ignoring poison-filled comments disguised as just being real, sister! or I love you, but I'm just looking out for you

If you come away with anything today, it should be this; DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO ENCOURAGE AND GUIDE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT IN LIFE - AND ON THE WORLD. 

There's a difference between advice and tearing-down. Being realistic doesn't always mean that's impossible. Let people enjoy things. Cultivate joy and excellence. Turning lemons into lemonade is exciting. Your negativity is boring. 

And hey - I'm still working on this. I'm trying to catch myself before I shut something down that I might not be comfortable with or that I, in my oh so infinite wisdom, don't think will work out. But I'm conscious of my impact. I'm in love with the idea that people can go beyond themselves and do something amazing. It's not too late to go to your friend and tell her you think she can do it. It's not too late to take that person aside and give them some encouragement. I believe in you. No more lemons. 

xoxo, Beth


3/06/2018

For When You Forget Why

3/06/2018

I recently volunteered at a young adults conference (Fluid) and it almost blew my mind how spiritually dry I felt coming into it. Contrary to every Christian camp pep-talk or youth group spiel you've ever heard - sometimes a spiritual high is the TLC you need to get back on track and open your heart up. A little wash in God's goodness and mercy, seeing what he's doing in the lives of others - and dare I say it - cool lights - get me really pumped up and energized. And at this point in time, I really, really need it.

I've been talking on the blog lately about losing track of my purpose - the why I do what I do. When you're involved in ministry (or really, if you genuinely love and want to serve any kind of human being at all), it's very easy to become familiar with the kind of numbness people feel when they're dedicating a lot of their time to helping others. Disappointment is something you know all too well. Heartbreak is common. The sleepless nights, the anxiousness, the effort that it takes to keep your eyes open and your heart wide - it can be crazymaking and devastating when kept up for a long time. It's really easy to tune out and just say what you need to say. Textbook answers that generally help but don't quite hit the nail on the head require less energy than speaking into an individual as an individual. And we all do it. Or - even worse - we take the time to care and minister and speak life into someone, and it makes no difference. As I said in my last post, loving people is really hard. Especially when you're weary, and they're the third person to have a crisis that day, and you feel like nobody is really, actually, hearing and valuing you. You get into a rhythm of service that's really just glorified puppeteering. And when I get to that spot, it eats me up a little inside.

I've been reading in II Corinthians, and I find myself relating to Paul's words.

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us! - II Corinthians 6:11-13

 The context of this plea comes after Paul is describing a lot of the difficulties and struggles that a lot of us know really, really well in ministry.


I don't know about you - but when I read this, I can feel it. I understand Paul's desperation. Why aren't my words making a difference to these people? Why isn't my heart enough? What more can I do before I fall off the edge? I may never have been beaten, put in prison, or faced angry mobs... but everything else? Sounds pretty familiar.

There's a lot in this chapter, but two of the things I'm trying to hold onto as I grow are that 1) God's power is continuously working in me, and 2) Even though my heart aches, I can still have joy. Neither of these are rocket science, or new information, for that matter. It might not be the revelation you were looking for. But every so often, I know that I need a bare-boned and simple reminder. I need to go back to the why of why I do what I do. I need to know that God hears me, God sees me, and I will be okay.

When you forget why you're doing it, let Paul's honesty wash over you. Nobody said it was easy. Anyone who says its comfortable is probably high as hell. Sometimes you have to push away the platitudes and get to the heart of the matter - we live close to death, but we are still alive. If you're in the same place I am, I would love to encourage you. Your faithfulness is not in vain. You are making a difference. You have everything you need.

If you need to talk to somebody who might know what it's like to be in the same spot, please reach out at purposeofgraceblog@gmail.com or send me a DM on my Instagram. You aren't alone.

xoxo, Beth