Posts Tagged ‘Vocation’

So Far: My First Blogiversary

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I can’t believe that it has already been a year since I started blogging here at Living Faith! What’s even more astounding is how many folks have come along for the adventure!

I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started my blog. I never could have guessed where it would bring me in one short year, but I’m sure glad I’m here!

At first when I seriously considered starting a blog it was for the sake of staying connected with people after they hear me speak. As a “freelance” speaker & preacher I meet people in various locations and I wanted a way to maintain a presence in people’s lives after the speaking events or worship services.

But once I started the blog, then it began to take on a life of its own and I’ve done relatively little speaking & preaching compared to what I had hoped. So the blog itself became an entry-point for connections.

And then there were more and more connections through the blog!

Even people from my small town, people from my own church began getting to know me more deeply on the blog before hearing much from me live and in person or up front from a pulpit.

And then the other opportunities started coming along, some highlights of which were joining the staff at Life & Liberty, and getting my first real writing contract! Then a bunch of preaching and speaking opportunities came all at once in December which was cool.

My depression–which kept me from writing for so long–has tried to hold me back even since I started this blog. It has been particularly bad since December. I am getting help though, so that’s a good thing. And I am not letting it stop me from writing!

The biggest way I am combatting the depression is by trying to get more and more clarity about what I want to do with the blog and with my writing in general. I figure if this blogging & writing stuff is taking off for me, I want to be crystal clear about my purpose in it all.

I am particularly excited about the new series about “Receiving Others as Gifts” that I announced last Friday. It is exactly the kind of thing I need to be about with my writing and fits beautifully with my life message. I hope you will follow that series each week and let me know how it resonates with you.

This is for keeps now people. I am really, really, really doing this writing thing, and I look forward to many more blogiversaries! Thanks for being with me in this!

Starting a New Year Presently

present

Over the past few years I’ve noticed bloggers doing this thing where they pick a word for their year. I don’t totally know how it is supposed to work, and since I was doing well just to start this thing part-way into last year, I didn’t worry about picking a word. I just needed to start.

But this year, I wanted to pick a word. Well, it’s not so much that I wanted to pick a word as that God kept laying this one idea on my heart–over and over. So, I wanted to put a word to it for 2014.

The idea that God has been nudging me toward has come with a number of different words: “showing up,” being “incarnational,” and such like.

Basically, my natural inclination is to retreat. When I’m super stressed out, I probably need a good stretch of solitude to right myself.

I don’t withdraw to avoid conflict. In fact, I’m surprisingly comfortable navigating interpersonal rifts and engaging opposing viewpoints.

But I do like to escape into my inner-world. I have a super-active thought-life that doesn’t slow down–ever. In my previous post titled Why I Love Conferences Even Though I’m an Introvert (click the title to read that post), I explained, “I can be in a crowd of people and be totally withdrawn into my own thought-world.”

I don’t consciously try to shut people out, but this natural inclination to retreat does mean that I have to consciously make myself get out, reach out, and be connected to others.

At first when we moved to this super rural community I was a little troubled by the fact that there wasn’t a paying job for me way out here in the Texas countryside. As time has gone on, what I have found is that this easy country life has been a great opportunity to do the writing that I have wanted to do. And the preaching & speaking opportunities have come just often enough that I can bring in a little income for my family.

All the same, this country life has made it easier than ever in my life to retreat to a fault. And my dear husband is so supportive of my writing and preaching and speaking that he lets me retreat whenever I need to. This is great when I need it, but not great when I am needed elsewhere.

So the big challenge for me is pushing myself to get outside of myself more despite how easy it is to retreat. With that, my word for 2014 is…

Present

I’ve never been very big on New Year’s Resolutions–mostly because making resolutions all-of-a-suddenly, out of nowhere seems like a recipe for failure. But this word, this idea of being present has come from quite some time of reflection and I am indeed resolved to work at it in 2014.

Some specific ways I want to live this out are:

  • Getting up & ready by X time everyday, so I can be ready for unexpected opportunities to be present with others.
  • Putting events on my personal calendar as soon as I learn of them so I can make sure to be present at events that are too easy to forget without planning for them.
  • Writing on the blog 1-2 original posts each week so I can continue to cultivate a consistent online presence.

This is new territory for me in choosing a word and making resolutions. But New Year’s is generally an upswing for me as my birthday falls on the third day of each new year (yes today). So, I am optimistic about my resolve to live into this intentionality of presence. Pluswhich, somehow 2013 was the best year of my life so far, so I want to be fully present for whatever 2014 might bring.

This post is part of the January 2014 Synchroblog: New Beginnings. See what other Synchroblog contributors are saying about their New Beginnings:

Paths as Yet Untrod

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Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrod, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Lutheran Book of Worship

I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had quite a bit of transition in my life as a pastor’s wife–we’re in our fourth state in 18 years of marriage. And yet…I would have to say that the transition I’m in right now is every bit as big as a cross-country move even though I’m not literally going anywhere.

But man, am I going places!

If you had told me a year ago that I would have a blog that I actually had the guts to write on 2-3 times per week, I would have laughed. I tried blogging years ago and it scared me to near-silence to be so exposed online.

If you had told me a year ago that I would be a regular contributor at somebody’s podcast, I would not have believed you. Actually, I would have had to ask you to define a podcast.

But I want to be out there now. When I was so scared to use my voice in years past, those were some of my darkest years–made all the darker by not talking about what was going on.

I’ve written before about my desire to be a writer and a speaker. Yes, I know I said I wanted to be “great” too–you’ll be proud of me to know that I’m getting over myself about all that quite a bit.

The dream to write & speak is still there, only I stopped trying to get ahead of myself so much.

I’m taking this season of writing on the blog, guest-blogging, and other writing opportunties, this season of podcasting, preaching here and there, and guest-speaking at small gatherings to continue to hone my voice, develop my craft, and most of all to discern my core message.

I don’t know where all of this is going–as the prayer above says, these are ventures whose end I can’t see and paths which I have not trod. But I don’t have to know where it’s all going to say “yes” to this bit right now.

I truly appreciate each of you who read and encourage me. Thanks for being with me as I use this place to try different styles, play with ideas, and share my heart about life in general.

My Interview with Sarah Bessey about Jesus Feminist

In my last post I mentioned my friend Sarah Bessey and her new book, called Jesus Feminist. I recently had the opportunity to interview Sarah about the book for Life & Liberty!

>>>Click here to listen to the interview.<<<

Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist

Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist

I’ve known Sarah Bessey for more than a decade, since before either of us had kids, before she had her blog and waaaay before she signed a two-book deal with Howard Books. But a decade is a long time and now here we are with her having just released Jesus
Feminist
, her first book.

As an old friend I am super excited for Sarah getting a book published. And as a woman of God, I resonate with the particulars of this book. I read an e-version of the book from Net Galley and was moved deeply by the beautiful vision that Sarah casts for the mutuality that is possible among God’s people.

Sarah coined the term “Jesus Feminist” and it boils down to the idea that being a follower of Jesus has led to an understanding that women are people too. My own study of scripture affirms this conviction as Jesus and the gospels routinely lift up women.

I credit Sarah with helping me see feminism in a positive light. You can read more about why I identify as a “Jesus feminist” in my previous post titled, I’m a Jesus Feminist Because I Don’t Have to Be One.

Jesus-Feminist-CoverSarah lives in Canada (her homeland) with her husband Brian and their three “tinies.” She’s a non-denominational charismatic and just overflows with the love of Jesus in every aspect of her life.

Sarah calls herself “a liberal to the conservative and a conservative to the liberal” and she often takes what she refers to as “the third way” on difficult issues. Her writing–on her blog (sarahbessey.com) and in the book–is both poetic and prophetic.

It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it for anyone who cares about the church and the movement of God in our world. This book would also be ideal for a group study or a retreat. Click the book cover to learn more about the book and to order yours from the Life & Liberty Amazon store.

Disclaimer: Links in this post will take you to the Amazon store at Life & Liberty, an online magazine where I am a contributor. Any purchase you make there will help support our work at Life & Liberty.

When I Grow Up

When I was four years old I had it all figured out about what I was going to be when I grew up. It was a no-fail, four-part plan. I was going to be:

  1. A Nurse: I wanted to be a nurse because my mom was a nurse and she is my hero. I wanted to show others the love and care that she showed me.
  2. A Teacher: I wanted to be a teacher because teachers are nice and they read to you.
  3. A Cowgirl: I wanted to be a cowgirl, because, well, the hat and boots.
  4. A Mom: I wanted to be a mom because as a kid I was pretty wise to the fact that kids are pretty great people to have around and I wanted lots of them.
What about you? What plans did you have for your life when you were a kid?