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Plenty

September 12, 2022 | Comments Off on Plenty

I often show up to work afraid. Afraid that the products and resources I develop will be overlooked in a market with so many amazing offerings. Today’s passage helped me to see the source of my fear: I’m operating with a scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset says that there’s not room enough for me and what I create in this world. Too many other brilliant people and products are already taking up space in the market. John the Baptist didn’t operate with a scarcity mindset. When he found himself baptizing in the same place as Jesus, he didn’t mind “because there was plenty of water” (John 3:23). He didn’t see himself in competition with Jesus. He saw himself in cooperation with Jesus. Plenty of people needed to be baptized that day. Another short phrase in this passage reinforces this theme of plenty, of abundance. The Apostle John who authored the gospel wrote, “God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34). I think John the Baptist knew this. I think this truth helped fuel his confidence to baptize with freedom instead of fear. His job was to show up and do the work of pointing people to Jesus. The rest–the outcome …

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Flourishing

September 1, 2022 | Comments Off on Flourishing
Flourishing flower

This article was written for Made to Flourish and first appeared on madetoflourish.org in 2019. The article is no longer available on that site. Can we talk about the F-word? Not the four-letter one. The eleven-letter one. Flourishing. I hear this F-word fairly often in Christian contexts. In a Sunday school class, we considered what needed to change in our church so people from marginalized groups could flourish there. The phrase “human flourishing” came up once or twice at a women-and-ministry conference I recently attended. And though I have not done the work to prove it, I venture that some form of “flourish” appears in the majority of books and articles written about faith and work. Sometimes I wonder if Christians use “flourishing” like a fifth grader uses the actual F-word — without complete knowledge of what it means. What happens when my version of human flourishing differs from yours? What if some of us envision the American Dream while others envision living simply with joy and contentment? Without shared meaning, those of us pursuing human flourishing might actually be working toward different goals. I cannot recall ever coming across a definition of flourishing. Because I love Scripture and like …

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Sink, Swim, or Float

June 11, 2021 | Comments Off on Sink, Swim, or Float

God sent me a raft, but I didn’t lay on it. Instead, I stretched my arms across the middle, kept the rest of my body in the water, and started kicking. Because that’s what you do when someone sends a raft to save you, right? You hold on and start kicking because you’ve got to get yourself to shore.

The Raft

June 7, 2021 | Comments Off on The Raft

God sent me a raft–a red raft (at least that’s how I envision it). It’s one of those inflatable rafts that’s a little bit translucent so that you can see the water below it and the sun reflecting off of it at the same time; one that’s just long enough so that your feet caress the water when you stretch out on it; one that’s just wide enough that you don’t struggle to keep your balance if a wave rolls under you. My raft came in the heat of summer when I was swimming hard to get somewhere. I had been applying for full-time jobs for months. By my count, I completed nine applications in a span of two months. Eight of them required much more than a resume. If cover-letter fatigue is real, I had it.  Most of my applications went to their eternal rest in some Human Resources database. (I have zero confidence that anyone actually keeps my application on file in case I happen to be a fit for another position. Once I hit submit, I’m more often than not at the mercy of an algorithm and not an image-bearer.)  But then I received an email that …

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I’m Listening

January 20, 2020 | Comments Off on I’m Listening

“Look carefully and listen slowly and pay attention.” Twice the LORD gave Ezekiel these instructions when showing him the plans for rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. The Lord has not called me–at least not as far as I can discern–to start measuring the lengths of walls. But I believe he has called me–has called all of us–to be people who rebuild, restore, and repair what is broken in the world around us. And it’s that very call that motivates me to lean in close–to “look carefully, listen closely and give attention”–so that I do not miss his directions for me or misconstrue what he has to say. I believe he has called me–has called all of us–to be people who rebuild, restore, and repair what is broken in the world around us. In particular, I’m leaning in to listen to what he would say to me about my engagement with social media. For nearly a decade I have wrestled with the concept of platform-building. I’ve had editor-friends offer me theological rationales for it. I have a sense of the market trends that would seem to make it necessary. I have been told that I don’t have to be a standout …

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Resources for pursuing inner peace

January 6, 2020 | Comments Off on Resources for pursuing inner peace

In December, I wrote an article for Made to Flourish about how pursuing peace on earth must begin with pursuing peace within our own souls. But I didn’t offer many concrete ways to start the journey. Yes, I suggested that this inner work should be done in community. Yes, taking a cue from Bonhoeffer, I suggested that confession could be a good first step. Some of us may need to find a counselor or spiritual director to help with the work. But here are a few resources that might help you do this hard work (again, in community with others). The first three books, while they may mention faith or spirituality, do not integrate the inner work they prescribe within any particular faith tradition. The latter three books are distinctly Christian. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. We use this as a textbook in a class that I teach, and my students love how it helps them think through how they respond to situations and engage with others. Every time I revisit it, I take away something new or am reminded of something to continue to work on. I think it’s a great entry point for …

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