Honest, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

Honest, ramblings

the leaves always CHANGE

Today, I was standing in church during worship and I had this moment where I felt like myself.I don’t know how to describe it really.
In that moment it didn’t matter who was around me or what I was doing, I just knew who I was-all the way to my toes.

I’ve been playing around with being called Meghan these days. It’s not a big deal, I’m not going to make people call me Meghan or Meg, they can call me whatever they want.

There was a few years there that being called Meghan brought me a feeling I didn’t like. It brought me a feeling of years of insecurity and sadness and depression.

My debit card obviously says Meghan so places that I frequent; a coffee shop, a bar, people call me Meghan.

So when people ask if I am Meg or Meghan I say yes. Both/and. 

And it got me thinking:

Do we give people the space to discover who they are because it seems like they should know?
It’s funny to me that as we grow we are called to make so many decisions without knowing even a percent of the information out there. And that’s fine, discernment, intuition, and going with your gut are incredibly important.

But what if when you turned 18 someone handed you a piece of paper and you had to write out all of the food you liked. 

And whatever you left off that list you could never eat again.

But then sometimes in your mid-twenties your taste buds change and you are suddenly eating food you never thought.

But wait, you aren’t because at 18 you decided what foods you’d eat for the rest of your life.

We have to do that a lot. From colleges in new cities that become homes to college majors, to first jobs that we find ourselves in ten years later. 

We don’t give people space to discover MORE of who they are.

People are fearful of changing their minds, even once.

Yes, there are people that abuse it. They change and bounce all over the place leaving others in the wake of their change and “discovery”. The people who’s resumes look like a not-so-greatest hit album. The single-in a relationship-single- consistently in your Facebook timeline.

But, because of those, the ones who have things happening in their lives and stories that cause them to be in constant motion, the majority of us sit in fear of grabbing onto something new about ourselves.

I will be the first to say that my conversation views have molded and changed immensely in the last 3 years. That things I believed and thought were “right” in college are very different now. That I’ve realized my viewpoints were based in fear and not love.

As silly as this is, my style is immensely different. I’ve walked into a few stores recently and realized that not only do I not want to wear clothes from stores I’ve purchased clothes in for years, but also I simply don’t understand them.

When I claimed Meg four years ago on the world race, it was like I was drawing a firm permanent line in the timeline of my life.

I know it means something right now. That I’ve been introducing myself as Meghan. That I’ve been allowing that piece of me to sink into this part of the story.

That I’ve been trying to give myself space to realize my story, my life is ever evolving.

So, when I started on this train of thought this morning in church, which coincided with the first message on story, I realized that not only was I not giving myself consistent space and grace to evolve and move and change, I wasn’t giving the people in my life that space either.

It would be like me telling the leaves on the trees that they have to grow back exactly as they did before. That even though a part of them was dying and changing, that they had chosen that path so they had to keep going on it.

If I ever haven’t given you space in your story to find something new, I sincerely, sincerely apologize. You don’t need that from someone else since I’m pretty positive you already give enough of that doubt and lack of grace to yourself.

I’m trying to decide what this in me. Who I am separate from my life as a teacher of tiny humans.

But, I feel something I’m supposed to grab onto is right in front of me. And it’s scary because the world has already told me that this is who I am.

I am Meg and I am Meghan.

Let’s choose this week, to be who we are, and give ourselves the ability to keep being and changing.

Let’s not miss something new, because we’ve decided we have no place for newness.

Honest

please stop calling my singleness brave 

A friend sent me a blog to read last week that was a letter to single Christian women.

I’m going to be honest, I almost didn’t read it.

But I thought, maybe this one won’t tell me that when I least expect it the “right one” will come along.

Maybe it won’t tell me my singleness is brave.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

I have been, for the past couple of days, trying to figure out why I get so up in arms when I read these blogs or books or hear podcasts on the topic.

But I guess, what it is, is that I am only not ok with being single in the moments where I feel like my singleness is a disease. And, if I am being honest, when I read those very lovely, well-meaning blogs about “being brave” and listing a lot of rules for being single, I feel less whole than I should.

When I get told to “live in spite of” I feel as if there is something wrong with having lived without thinking of the fact that I am single.

And it’s funny because I know that this isn’t just a single-married person thing, it’s a kids-no kids, run of the mill job-dream job thing. I get that.

But today, for me, it’s a single person thing. Specifically, a single Christian woman thing.

Being single in the church is not easy.

Sometimes it seems as if we are standing on one side of the street waiting to cross over. Staring at the party on the other side where couples do couple things and get to minister together and have a partner in crime and go to marriage classes and double date.

Then, there are all of us singles. Male and female, watching, living life.

Just on the opposite side of the street.

It’s quiet on this side.

Trying our best to not be defined by something that most in our culture define as being “not quite there”.

So what do we do?

We read the blogs and books and we listen to the podcasts and we join the small groups.

And we don’t feel better.

There are over 2,000 books on Amazon when you type the words “single Christian woman”.

2,000.

That’s a lot of words and thoughts and ideas and advice that people have given and put out into the world.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We are meant to learn from each other’s stories. And take pieces for ourself and figure it all out as we go.

But just like married humans can never fully be prepared for every possible emotion and feeling they will have in that phase of life, us single humans can say the same thing.

Because we could be single the rest of our lives.

I could be a single Christian woman for the rest of my life.

And it won’t mean I am brave. I’m brave for many reasons, and one of them is not for being single.

I am grateful for those around me in relationships that I trust. That I can talk to about these things.

But most of them will never know what it is to be a 32 year old Christian single woman and all of the connotations that brings. I am talking about contemplating owning a home by myself, being an island of a human making decisions by myself and pondering about the moral implications and qualms I have about sex outside of being married.

And I wouldn’t know right know what it’s like to manage a budget with two people in my late twenties or make decisions as a whole or decide on birth control or no birth control.
Neither thing is lesser.

Neither thing is brave.

It’s life.

Let’s save brave for actually brave things.

Let’s encourage people in the paths of life they ARE going down, not where they are lacking, or moreso where we BELIEVE they are lacking.

Let’s not create story for poeple.

Or give them false hope.

Because spoiler alert: I don’t neccesarily want to be single.

But I am choosing to keep walking out my life as who I am.

And that’s not brave.

It’s just exactly who I am.

A mimosa-drinking, tiny human wrangling, story-telling, cake-baking human.

Not brave. Just me.

washington whimsy

so, I can store the suitcase?

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel the urge to write because normally what follows it is the unbelievably annoying nagging feeling that I cannot give up until I put words to a page that aren’t backspaced or deleted.

Writing is something that comes so naturally to me when my brain is working in the proper creative way that it is supposed too; but then again when I just let my mind and fingers directly colliding with each other with the middleman of an outline I find that I get the truest words out.

I’ve been in Bellingham for 13 days now. Thursday starts week 3. And I don’t think–outside of emails– I’ve written anything. A friend asked me today what I needed prayer for in this transition and I said “a creative space”.

But I realized a little later, after cooking dinner and folding clothes that I need to start realizing that I create all the time. That just by my spirit being in this place it is a “creative space”.

It’s difficult to realize that sometimes. It’s difficult to realize that our presence in a room brings something to it, that who we are changes the atmosphere. I think that it has been the most difficult for me in this place because for the first time in about 3 years I technically do have ownership over a place. My name is on a lease.

That’s a hard thing to wrap my mind around. That this place, that I wake up in and come back after work, this place that has already been flooded with Holy Spirit and laughter and food and joy, is mine.

I’ve missed that. I’ve missed laying my head down in a place that I can call my own. I’ve missed feeling ownership over a place.

And I think all of those things is why it took me a moment to realize that I’m no longer in a place where I am preparing to leave.

We move through our high school, college and post college life mostly preparing to move. Preparing to change schools, go to grad school, get a raise. We are so quick to get out of a season and go to the next.

I’ve always grab the phrase that was spoken to me so many times by the wise Betsy “present over perfect”, but now the hit me because in all honesty there is nothing my mind is grappling with outside the everyday (family, friends, work, etc.).

I’m not preparing to leave.

I’m just living.

Living in my own space, with my people.

LIVING.

That’s a big word, that has rolled around in my head more then I’d care to admit.

I think I had forgotten how to just live.

Bellingham is different then any other place I’ve ever laid my head for an extended period of time.

And that’s wonderful.

And I think it’s perfect for me to begin to live in this way, in this place, as who I know I am to be.

I’ll never forget the first time I met someone who would end up being a college roommate of mine. I was in the elevators in Catalina Hall during music camp and I gleefully introduced myself to Deanna. Because I had chosen to be outgoing and put a new foot forward.

But here, I don’t have to put a new foot forward.

I just have to put myself.

This has been a ramble, an attempt to hit the things that have been circling in my mind.

Bellingham is good.

I’m realizing it’s for me. I’m choosing to live.

And I’m me.

That’s all.

royal family kids camp, stateside, To dream

playing haman: be your own sparkle tape

{As you know from my last blog I was up in the mountains of southern California last week at Royal Family Kids Camp.}

The Saturday before we left for camp I got a phone call from the drama coordinator, who happens to be one of my cheerleaders in life, Michele. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind being in the drama that year.

Sure! I’d love to be a part of the wonderfully, wacky group of people who put on the drama.

Who would I be playing?

Haman.

If you don’t know the story of Esther all you need to know is that Haman was Hitler before Hitler existed. He wanted to kill all the Jews and then at the end of the story he was hung in the gallows. (if you prefer the veggie tales version he is sent to the island of perpetual tickling.)

Now the being in the drama was fine. I was in theater in high school and have no problem making a fool of myself in front of kids. So, what was I actually worried about?

It may sound dumb but I was worried I was going to be booed.

In the past I’ve watched the person playing the “evil” character get booed through the week.

So I started in early. All day Monday before the kids met Haman I told the them that I would be playing a man who made really bad choices and I made them agree they would still be my friend.

(Ok ok I may have resorted to bribery with scrapbook tape and stickers)

Guess what? I didn’t get booed.

The kids came up to me and had conversations about what was going to happen to Haman, the choices he made, how tantrums don’t solve anything. On the off chance a kid called me Haman, I would look at them shocked and ask if I was wearing a wig. Most of the time they’d giggle and say no then call me Miss Meg (and ask me for some sparkle tape).

My 5 day stint as Haman made me think of all the times in life where I was freaked out about what COULD happen. Like this week, last year, I was afraid to go to Spain for so many reasons.

One main one was “what if they don’t like me?”. Which, like being afraid of being booed was so very dumb. People I loved, and who loved me were already there waiting to hug me when I got off the plane.

But like my sparkle tape to the kids I took “precautions” when I got to Spain.

I did. I volunteered for things and was overly helpful.

For so long I thought the value I brought was ONLY by what I did.

But of course, when it came down to it none of THAT really mattered. I remember the week of reunion when I had been there a mere 6 weeks Kellen came up to me and told me I was appreciated (and what he may not know is I lost it promptly after). It hit me hard that I had barely been there- and that people were seeing ME, not the role I was attempting to play.

I forget that who I am is someone who is capable of being appreciated and loved. Who I was last week was still a person who the kids knew loved them. So even IF they would have booed me they would still know I loved them. (Though I stand by the fact the sparkle tape DEFINITELY helped.)

I believe it’s one of those deeply rooted human lies that we each have: that we aren’t enough without the things that we can bring to the table. And I believe that singular thing can cause us to NOT bring what we really have. I believe it causes us to bring THINGS not HEART.

It causes us to SET things on the table and not SIT at the table.

Playing Haman was hilarious. I got to spend my nights at camp with some hysterical people and I got to use gifts that have been long buried. I could have said no to playing Haman, because I was a wee bit worried, but that would have been silly.

I shook hands to an agreement to do the thing in Washington back in October, sitting in front of El Ultimo Mono. And that handshake agreement is officially in real life. In now time. There is a cute little yellow house waiting for me with a roommate whom I adore to the moon and back.

And all of those lies that I’m not enough, that I have nothing to bring, that I’m going to fail, they’ve all made rounds in my head.

We can’t be afraid to just sit at the table. We can’t be afraid to bring what we deem nothing to a table that seems bursting with everyone else’s gifts and talents.

It’s ourselves that matter. It’s what is innately in us. We don’t have to bring anything extra. Sure, you can if you want too but it’s not necessary.

And at the table you are surrounded by people who won’t let you be scared off by some silly little lie that you aren’t enough. Or that someone is going to boo you, or not see who you actually are outside of the job you work to pay the bills.

Show up and open your mouth in spite of what people may think and see what happens. Show up even if you think you might get booed because of a way you used to be in the past. Show up even if you think that someone ELSE may deem you unqualified.

Show up not to PROVE you are enough but to ACKNOWLEDGE that you know that you are.

Don’t bring sparkle tape to the table- be your own sparkle tape.

Honest, stateside

untitled honesty on friendship

I was the kid in junior high that sat by herself and read a book at lunch and I was completely fine with that.

I had friends that I hung out with in high school, girls who were in the same AP classes as me and my after school time was taken up in the little theater rehearsing for whatever play was going on at the time. The people I still keep in touch with are those ones, the ones who I spent hours at a time with painting sets and rehearsing lines.

I moved away for college and made friends there. I chose to be a little more outgoing. I was in choir so I was plopped right into a group of 50 women who I wandered southern California with on weekends. I lived with 3 other women who I laughed, danced and with whom I made seemingly bad decisions.

What I am trying to say is I have always HAD friends.

The last two years have been community on high. I participated in an 11 month mission trip where day in and day out I was with the same people. Then I went to a 6 month leadership academy in Spain where I lived in a house with other interns and sat around a dinner table every night.

And it was those moments, those ones where I had to live in these communities where I realized something about most of the friendships I’ve had in my life:

I don’t always 100% believe that I am someone’s first choice. That I would be anyone’s first phone call. And because of that I hold friends at an arms length. I don’t expect anything from people.

There is a small group of people who I do believe, now, that I am the first choice.

But I don’t go into most friendships believing that. I don’t go into friendships believing that I me, in who I am, is enough. That I don’t need to do some tricks to get someone to like me.

And isn’t it that feeling that makes us post the pretty, filtered pictured on instagram, or edit statuses until they are just perfect explaining the best of our days?

I’m not saying to post depressing things or “my life is the worst” statuses like when were teenagers and had instant message and would make roses out of an @ sign.

What I am saying is we need to stop believing that we have to wrap ourselves in pretty pink paper. Something Shauna Niequist says in her book Bittersweet hits home for me.

“I’ve spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough they won’t leave, and fearing that it’s a matter of time before they figure me out and go.”

That’s how I’ve felt a lot of my life. That I wasn’t enough. That I didn’t merit the first phone call. That I’m not a first choice.

And that is a sucky way to live.

We need to choose not to live that way. This isn’t about comparison or something that someone else is doing. This is me, and my perception about other’s action.

And the knowledge that I am not going to be everyone’s first choice, but I am on a handful of people’s speed dials.

It comes down to the realization that I don’t need to be liked by everyone. It comes down to being myself and knowing that as long as I am that it is enough.

We need to stop believing that we need to be something other than who we are. It’s something I’m obviously still working out and walking through and figuring out what to do when the lies hit.

And thankful, I have those friends to remind me who I am when I forget.

Spain g42, To dream

this is weird to say NOT in Spain

I have wanted to write a blog to share about some decisions I made while in Spain. I was grateful to be in a space of people for 6 months that I could easily sit across coffee tables from and talk through my though processes and talk through what God was teaching and they were there literally at the exact moment a decision was made.

I was in this bubble in the guise of a village in southern Spain and now I’m not there anymore.

And now, I feel like I’ve tried, to the best of my ability, to explain what I learned and what I am doing next. I’m wishing I could just deposit all the conversations and presentations that were done and had onto this space because it explained it so well.

So now, I’m just sitting here staring at my screen and trying to telepathically put words onto it. I just want people to know.

I want people to know that in August I’m moving with my friend Patty to Bellingham, Washington.

I want people to know that for the next few years we are going to working our butts off, because we are going to start something.

And that something is a bookstore.

It sounds so simple. A bookstore.

But here’s the thing.

It’s not JUST a bookstore.

It’s a gathering place. A place for creative people to sit around a table and do life together. A place where the spirit of all of the creative writers and thinkers fill the book shelves. Where local artists put their work on the walls. A place for people to be known and to become who they are in whatever way that looks like. A place to dream and become more of who you are.

So yes, it’s a bookstore. But it’s also a kitchen table for people to sit at and a home for people to come too.

So that’s what I’ve been trying to tell people in 1 minute conversations. Trying to explain my heart, and trying to focus on the why and the what.

And of course there are a lot of questions that have been asked when I start this conversation.

The hands down most asked question is this:

Why Bellingham?

When we were deciding where to move and where to do this thing Patty drew us a map of the states. It had 6 or 7 dots on it. We took that list and started to see if there was community, jobs, if there was creativity.

And then Bellingham got added after meeting a smattering of people from there.

It’s creative. There’s community and a church we know we can walk into with trust.

It’s near a good handful of our friends.

(Yes, it’s rainy and I’m from California)

So we are going to go in August get jobs, become involved, open our home and as Patty so eloquently says:

We are going to do the damn thing.

(I’m only at about 500 words or so right now and I could keep talking.)

I could tell you how much I feel believed in to do this thing. How we have people behind us, praying for us, spurring us on.

I could tell you about the passion I felt inside speaking about this place, this home.

I could tell you all these things. All these good, good things that fill my heart with hope and joy.

I have so many words that I don’t exactly know how to splash across the page.

So I want to ask you to ask me.

Ask me questions;

ask me about Spain and Washington.

 Ask me about the spirit that is now in me.

I’ll answer. I will sit across a table or a Skype screen.

And I’ll share.

So that’s it.

That is what I’m preparing for; that’s a piece of what Spain brought me too.

Thank you to those who knew. To those of you who supported us and pushed us to make the decisions we were a bit scared of.

Thank you.

Let’s do this.

hope is a verb, To dream

hit replay: of a different spirit

(I’ve come to a realization that finishing g42 is finishing a season that was started 3 years ago when I heard a message at church and took it as my cue to jump. And as I will be sharing what’s next soon and where this season of 3 years has brought me; I wanted to share the original recap from the sermon I heard at Rockharbor church 3 years ago this month. It restored a spirit inside of me that I didn’t even know was there. To hear the message this is a recap of click here)

As written on January 1, 2012:

I feel like I have had a lot of “standing on a precipice” moments in my life.
One of the clearest is when at the end of my junior year in college I got elected to be the president of my fifty member University Women’s choir.

I don’t think I have ever been so afraid in my life. I was racked with doubt for the entirety of the summer. There was no possible way I should have been put in that position. I wasn’t a leader, I wasn’t perfect, I didn’t know how to lead a team of officers.

I was so wrong for the job.

When the time came to start I somehow got through Music camp, giving my devotion. Leading a team of wild and crazy freshman. But after the first rehearsal of our choir I went and cried.

It was too much for me. I couldn’t be an example. I couldn’t fight battles for these women in my choir. I couldn’t do it.

The giants were just to big for me. Just like they were for the Israelite leaders who went to look at the Promised land. They saw the milk, the honey. But they saw the giants that were smack-dab in this land that God had given them.

And that was all they really saw. Sure, they brought back the fruit, they told of the amazing land.

Then there was a really big BUT. They spoke of the giants. Of the fact that there was no possible way they could take the land.

Even though it was theirs for the taking because God had ordained it to be so.

They in that moment forgot they had a God bigger than the giants. They had a God bigger than absolutely anything and He had PROMISED them this land.

They had a God that had done so many miracles just to get them to the place where they were.

But one look at giants and all was forgotten. One word spoken of failure, loss and the people wanted to turn around and run back to Egypt.

This is the God that brought them OUT of Egypt and they were choosing to run back instead of jumping into this adventure, this life that God had given them. The Israelites didn’t stop to listen to Caleb and Joshua. These two men standing together REMEMBERING that God brought them out of Egypt. The people were choosing to run back to Egypt

How often to we choose to run back to Egypt?

How often do I choose to run back to Egypt?

Too many times to count.

In those moments when looking forward is like looking into a mine field. I was positive I was going to step on EVERY single mine. I had forgotten what God had already brought me through. Even in those first 3 years in college He had brought me through a close friend dying, through living away from home for the first time, through my first season of depression. He had made me stronger.

I promptly forgot that when I saw the giants.

But God stopped to show me I was stronger. He caused me to look down at my feet and make the move to stand with those who remembered that He would be there always. No matter what. That He would jump with us because He knew better.

I was still terrified most of the year. I was afraid most of the time that I wasn’t being a good influence to the 25 freshman girls in my choir. That I wasn’t leading the amazing friends I had in that group well. But looking back I know it was all ok because God was there each time to jump with me.

That ended up being one the most growing, amazing, refreshing, terrifying times of my life.

And now as this new year comes to being I need to remember that year. I need to remember how God brought me through that. I need to remember how God brought me out of Egypt.

Because I am on a precipice again and need to jump.

And I am terrified of those giants in the Promised Land.

But I am choosing to stand with Caleb and Joshua. To remember that our God can do anything. That He is telling me to jump.

I am choosing to live this year of a different spirit.
I am choosing to jump out and face the giants.

spain

scrape the chairs

(my cover photo for this blog is in honor of the 70th birthday of Andrew Shearman. He’s the founder and vision caster of this place and I am so grateful for the works he put in motion, the table he created and the love he pours every day into those who follow him.)

Last week, on my second to last day of class, I went to Maria’s to write. When Patty and I find ourselves there to do work at the same time we normally sit at separate tables.

But on days when we start class at ten we end up in the bakery at the same time as the rush of moms getting coffee after they drop their kids at school and at the same time as this group of runners piles itself slowly into a corner.

There isn’t a lot of room at Maria’s. Five round tables with about 3 chairs each. And with the cold wind outside no one dares occupy the tables scattered outside the doorway.

So as it gets more and more crowded and the tables get filled one of us will take notice and will choose to move and make room.

I moved this time. I got up and made room and came to sit at the table with Patty. We rearranged it, moved the poinsettia and the napkin holder.

We made room and I sat at the table.

(From the pounding of my heart as I wrote that sentence, I know that there is more.)

I made room. And then I sat at the table.

When I first got here in July I didn’t think there was room for me. And it wasn’t in a negative way (most of the time), I just didn’t think that this was my table. I didn’t believe I fit.

I was ok with sitting away from everything, watching people continually come back and sit and see how it supernaturally expanded.

And even though I wasn’t sitting there; I was so blessed by watching people come back from all over the world and sit without a care who they were next too.

I saw the peace that came when people set their feet back in this place.

The weariness that was shaken off.

The weariness that was shaken off by coming home.

I remember this one moment in college, it was my freshman year and my two roommates and I were dubbed “the mean girls”. Anyway, the three of us and a friend went to a floor event at a restaurant. We walked and the table all of the others were sitting at was full, and no one moved or lifted a finger to find a seat.

So we sat down at another table.

About three minutes later more girls from the floor poured through the door.

And everyone moved.

We watched in awe of the fact that literally every person around the table moved.They made room.

And now as I sit and think about that moment I realized something:

Did I really WANT to sit at that table?

Probably not.

If I would have, I would have made room for myself.

Moved back a chair and set myself down.

I began to, at some point, make room for myself at tables in Spain.

It took me awhile.

I didn’t want to make room for myself. I was that one who had walked through the door last. I was the one who didn’t know where the extra chairs were.

But somewhere along the way I realized that all it takes is me scraping some chair legs on the floor and someone will help.

This table is filled with a whole lot of family. It’s a place that I didn’t have to work to sit at but I had to WANT to sit at. It’s filled with people I trust, people who have wisdom and authority. People who love beyond condition.

Here’s my challenge, my advice, a piece of love: Find a table; find a group of people; find a family who shares your DNA, scrape some chair legs and have a seat.

It will be a place of love and of change if you allow it.

I found my table, my tribe, here in Spain. I am sad to leave them, but I know I will always have a seat.

hope is a verb, Spain g42

don’t drink my coffee

Due to the fact that my friend Santiago has a countdown to traveling to see his girlfriend that happens to fall on the same day that I leave Spain for the states I know exactly how many days I have left.

But I’m going to pretend I don’t.

Let’s just say I don’t have a lot of time left here and I’ve realized something very, very important:

I have some SERIOUS giants to slay in the next (insert how many days I have left here).

I guess I should go back.

January 2012. The first sermon of the new year was about the giants in the promised land and how Joshua & Caleb were “of a different spirit”. That was my, “Oh crap. I need to quit my job. I need to move on to the next. I need to jump” sermon.

And that was not the last time I’ve heard that message over the last 2.5 years. It peppered talks on the World Race and now here in Spain it’s laced into most week’s topics. Being of a different spirit. Stepping into the river and taking what’s mine.

The last 2.5 years in my life have been wilderness years. They’ve been full of adventure, provision, wisdom and an immense amount of preparation.

At this very moment I’m standing on the edge of the river bed and I can see the Promised Land.

It’s terrifying.

And I think part of me has already touched the water. I might be standing ankle deep. And I can see these giants.

From far away they look scary. Gnashing teeth and fierce eyes. They are ready to kick me down and tell me that I’m not meant for greatness. That the land isn’t mine. That I’ve survived on garlic and onions and I should keep it that way.

They have names written across their chest.

Unworthiness. Lack of trust. Invisibility. Independent. Stubborn. Burden.

These words scream at me daily.

These words need to go to hell.

These words are “fundamental truths” in my life. They pepper the foundation of who I am. They are the scope of which I view myself. They are words from which I’m able to emotionally detach myself. I pretend//act like, they don’t effect me in anyway. I’m able to get beyond them, but in reality they are still there.

May I repeat?

These words need to go to hell.

I don’t want to live cowering in the shallow end of the river not walking the rest of the way to the Promise Land because these giants are kicking back and drinking my good coffee in the place I belong while I sit sipping instant coffee.

I don’t want to leave Spain with these giants still in front of me. Now, I’m not saying once I slay all these giants my promised land won’t be have hardship or hurt or I won’t struggle with lies.

But I won’t struggle with THOSE lies anymore.

They are going to find a final resting place in the south of Spain.

That’s what I’m going to be doing these next several weeks.

Continuing the process of choosing to slay giants because I’m choosing to see and claim my promise land.

 Two and half years ago I realized I wanted to be of a different spirit.

And today, sitting in a cafe, drinking my good coffee, I choose to make that decision again.