Thursday, May 30, 2013

Caring About Boys

I had a good chat with a friend other other day (I feel like 'chatting' insinuates an online conversation, but if you didn't read it that way... it was an online conversation). 

She was typing up some word vomit about how she wishes (in a joking manner) she could make out with boys, no strings attached... as well as some other nonsense about how she takes relationship things too seriously...and then there was the complaints about men who are only looking for wives and don't pick up on the lack of interest, and then the statements about the men who are out of her reach and the frustration that ensues. It's the type of word vomit that makes me smile, because it's an unfiltered stream of consciousness that almost all girls partake in at some point in their singleness journey (sometimes on a daily basis). And in the end, we find ourselves often feeling the same way as she did: 

 Friend: debbie. why do i even care about this? this is all dumb.
 me:  because you are a girl. and you like men. 
 Friend:  touche. there are just so many other, more important things. 
like world hunger
and war
and natural disasters
and illiteracy
and a heck ton of people that need Jesus
 me:  sure
but, you can't ignore that you were created for THIS, too
and that it does affect you
and so let it affect you
just don't let it define you
don't let it dictate you
but don't ignore it, either

The conversation reminded me that sometimes we may be struggling with all the woes of singleness and too often we feel like it's not a valid struggle. So we undermine it. We ignore it. We make jokes about it. And then we cry into our pillows in the dark of the night, wrestling with the pain that seems so trivial to all the other junk that's going on in the world. We have no right to hurt, no right to struggle, no right to be conflicted over being single. At least, that's how it feels sometimes. And even beyond the 'right', we simply just feel like it's r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s. My mom fights through breast cancer and my brother grieves the loss of his child... and I'm sad about being single? How dare I... How could I...? 

But, I do. 

Like I told my friend, I think it's easy for us to forget that part of how we were created was for connection and intimacy with other humans. Remember how Eve was created because God determined it was not good for man to be alone? It would make sense, then, that when we are lacking in this area of our lives and it truly is a desire of our hearts... that it's going to affect us. 

So, let it affect you. 
Don't hide from it.
Don't pretend it's not there. 
Don't pretend that just because you're not up against starvation or death right now... that you don't have hurts and wounds. That you don't have more 'trivial' things that affect you and matter to you. You do. You probably always will... sometimes even when there's more 'major' stuff that you're dealing with.

Because relationships matter to us. They should matter to us. Which means that lack of relationships will also matter. 

But don't dwell in it. 
Don't let your singleness be the thing you find your identity in, the thing that ruins you, the thing that consumes your every thought and therefore your every action. 

Acknowledge that sometimes it sucks, cry about it, tell people you're struggling with it... but keep living life. Because no matter how much you want it, how much you may be created for it... there's something greater that you've ultimately been created for and you need to let that dictate your life, you need to let that define your existence, you need to let that be what drives you, motivates you, inspires you, and pushes you toward better. 

Caring about boys? Sure, it feels dumb and it can't be the number one priority in your life... but you still care, and you should care. It's okay

Just don't get carried away with it (and you know when you do). 
No guilt trips, no despair, no hopelessness. 

Because, even in light of all the pain in this world, there is still much to hope in. 
So let's keep hoping. And living. One day at a time. 

Your entries will remain anonymous

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sexual Temptress

I’ve been a temptress.

A sexual temptress.

It’s not something I'm proud to admit, but it’s something I think we need to talk about…and therefore honesty becomes crucial. Again.

It happens during those times in relationships when you’re pressing up against established physical boundaries…and although you know that he’s told you that it’s hard for him when you kiss him on the neck, or the ear, or the mouth, or when you wear certain clothes or say certain things—it doesn’t matter. You want to make out and so you’re going to make out.  You’ll pretty much do whatever it takes.

And so, because we women can be temptresses and often get what we want when we seduce and allure, we make out. But the second he does something he shouldn’t do… it’s the second we get angry, we accuse and we freak out about the fact that he went too far. It’s his fault… isn’t it?

He’s confused. ‘You were the one that wanted to make out…?’

‘Yes, but…not like that…’ sigh. He just doesn’t understand.

Now we’re fighting because we’re struggling physically, we have no self-control, we feel guilty, our relationship is impure, God is disappointed with us, we’re blaming each other, etc. etc. etc.

Has it ever happened to you?

I think we sometimes fail our men when it comes to the sexual aspect of our dating relationships. I think we fail our men because we don’t really understand them, we’re selfish, and we are impatient.

When a physical boundary is established in a dating relationship, I think there’s this important thing that’s revealed. An admittance of, “this is how far I feel is too far…this is what I'm unwilling to compromise on….this is what I value….this is what I how I want to remain pure”. I think honesty is essential in this conversation, and then I think a deep respect for the other person must follow. Because, we may not always have the same boundaries as our significant other. In this instance, one needs to be willing to adhere to the boundaries of the person who wants less physical intimacy, not pressure them into more.

Now, I'm not a guy so I can’t speak fully into this topic….but from what I understand, it’s easier for guys to go from 0 to 100. Meaning, when he says that kissing you makes him immediately want to rip your clothes off, he probably means it. So, when he says that he can’t kiss you, it means that he’s trying to honor you and knows what his body is and isn’t capable of.

To a girl, a kiss can often just be a kiss. It’s sweet, it’s simple, it’s a brush of the lips and very rarely does it instantaneously take your mind to the bedroom where the ‘unthinkable’ is done. So what’s the harm in a kiss?

So you kiss him, because you want to kiss and you’re perfectly in control…so he should be too. And as he’s trying to refrain from ripping your clothes off (like he told he’d want to do if you started kissing), you’re immediately angry at him for not being able to control himself with just a kiss.

Does it maybe seem unfair?

I think it’s unfair of us women to ask our men what arouses them sexually and then ignore it…and then get angry when they’re ‘too’ aroused. I think it’s unfair of us to ask our men what arouses them and then use it as a means to get what we want…

Because, sometimes we just want to make out…and so we’ll use the things he’s told us make him craaaazy, because we’ll get that quick and harmless makeout session. And then we’re ticked when it’s not what we were expecting/wanting.

We think we get to call the shots sexually.
We think we get to control it.
Maybe not consciously… but I think we do it more than we realize.

And in the end, I just think we’re unwilling to wait and be patient for an even greater intimacy that is possible for us. We think that the make out sessions will satisfy our cravings, but in reality we’re left either wanting more or left disappointed and angry that our man wanted more out of us then we were wanting initially.

It’s somewhat an issue of respect.
Will you respect him enough to abide by the boundaries you’ve established?
Will you respect yourself enough?

You’ve established the boundaries for a reason, right?
The more you tamper with the lines, the more you seduce, the more you flirt with the all the possibilities in the sexual realm… the more likely it is that you’ll fight, that you’ll feel disrespected, that you’ll feel unheard, that you’ll feel like one of you cares more abut purity than the other…which then leads into a thousand other conversations that can assault character, integrity, and a desire to follow Jesus.

It isn’t fair.  And I don’t think it’s how it ought to be.

Be cautious, dating friends.
It’s a vicious sexual world that we are all a part of and trying to sort through carefully.

Be men and women who respect each other deeply. Who love each other well. Who are willing to lay down your sexual desires for the sake of the other person. Your relationship isn’t about you getting to make out. You were never entitled to that. It is about honoring the other person and caring for them as you determine if lifelong compatibility is for you.

Be willing to make hard choices, be willing to make choices that aren’t always your favorite, be willing to make choices that sometimes make you feel like a child (because you recognize your lack of self-control and that you may need constant supervision, or something).

The purity is worth it.
The integrity is worth it.
The respect that you give each other is worth it.

And be willing to take the blame if it’s your fault if things get out of hand. Be willing to give grace. Be willing to receive mercy every morning.

This dance is confusing and challenging…but it’s possible.

Ladies- be willing to recognize that even when you don’t understand all the sexual tendencies of a man, you need to still respect them and honor what they’ve asked of you.

Don’t be the temptress, no matter how much you want to be wanted (or even feel like you need it—you don’t need it like this, especially not right now)… and help your man be the man of integrity and purity that he aspires to be. And men, same thing goes for you, too. Help her maintain the purity and integrity that she seeks after as well. It's a two-way street. Recognize that you're both sexual beings and you need to be on each other's side in this battle. 

There can be victory in this. 

Your entries will remain anonymous

Monday, May 27, 2013

One Decision

Sometimes decisions feel heavy.

That this one decision you make is going to determine the rest of your life, so you better not make the wrong one. 

And, sometimes, one decision can affect your entire life (like marriage...).

Decisions can often have consequences. And sometimes I'm so scared of the possible consequences that I feel paralyzed in making any sort of decision at all. I want to evaluate every possibility before I decide on something and, on some level, it's impossible to do.

No matter how many what-ifs I go through, no matter how many scenarios I play out, no matter how much I try to know as much as possible about deciding on something... I still feel in the dark as I'm forced to decide. I'm never really sure...

It's so easy to get caught up in believing there's always a 'right' decision to be made, and so we inherently fear making the 'wrong' decision. It's so easy to be consumed by the thought of choosing something and then being stuck in a place where you're wondering if you had chosen differently if it might have been better.

It's so easy to want the Lord to just tell you what the heck you should do.

But sometimes I wonder if we place too much weight on some decisions. That maybe these decisions don't make or break the plans God has for us. That maybe He is still able to accomplish His will in us and through us even when we aren't clear about the path we should be taking. Maybe it's not so much about the path that we take as it is about the person we are and are becoming as we walk down that path.

Maybe so much of the time we focus on what we're supposed to do that we forget what we're supposed to be. Maybe we're so caught up in figuring out what our calling is in terms of vocation and we lose sight of our calling to love, holiness, and proclaiming the goodness of God.

Maybe sometimes we get so frustrated and lost because we don't know what step is right, while all along the Lord is asking something much more simple out of us. Something much more basic.

Maybe He's saying, "I don't care what school you go to, what job you take, what house you live in, what car you drive, what city you make your home... what I care about is deeper than that. I care about your heart. I care about you loving me. I care about your obedience to me. I care about you loving others. I care about you placing others above yourself. I care about your desire for others to know me and your boldness to live out of that no matter where you are. I care about you making my name famous. I care about you. I care about you, even when you mess up, even when you run away, even when you're confused, even when you've given up. I'm still here. Through it all. Don't forget me. I love you."

How do we step out of the versions of ourselves that we feel others expect us to be and step more fully into the version of ourselves that God is calling us to be? 

How do we move away from feeling like it's necessary to be found successful in the eyes of the world and find contentment in the fact that we are moving toward being what God desires of us?

Can we aspire to greatness no matter what we do?
Can we aspire to greatness in who we are?
Can we not let the seemingly 'big-time' decisions over our futures be things that plague us, but rather things that move us toward knowing what it means to follow Him more?

Maybe there aren't always right or wrongs...
Maybe this one decision doesn't have to bear so much weight.
Maybe it doesn't matter.

Because maybe it isn't about what I do...
And maybe it's more about who I am... and who I am becoming.
And maybe what I do is part of that process...
But maybe it means that there's more freedom in choosing than I sometimes feel.

I want to dwell in that freedom.
And trust that, no matter the what, the Lord is refining who I am and what I do is solely a reflection of Him in me.

Your entries will remain anonymous

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Friend Zone

I've engaged in some funny conversations lately about 'The Friend Zone'.

You know...the area you enter into with someone of the opposite gender that ensures that you two will most likely never be more than just friends... at least right now. 

There's a lot of stuff to consider with this friend zone business. Sometimes we friend zone people temporarily, sometimes we friend zone them forever, sometimes we've only friend zoned them in our heads and they never know they're in the friend zone until you have awkward conversations because of miscommunications and misunderstandings. 

Temporary arrangements of the friend zone include, but are not limited to: 
  • Talking to them about your current crush/romantic interest. This sends a very clear message that you are into someone else and therefore not considering them a romantic option. 
  • Making statements like, 'If we're both 40 and still single, we should get married!' This back-up plan sends the message that you think that they are cool enough to possibly consider marrying, but you're not counting on/interested in/wanting anything currently. 
  • Implying that you're only capable of being best friends with the opposite gender over anything romantic. This may potentially reinforce the friend zone idea in their minds as they may consider you a safe person to befriend since you're 'used' to the male-female friendship. 
  • Referring to them constantly as friends, best friends, etc. Not the most damaging, but it can certainly insinuate that that's all you think of them as... While lots of great relationships stem from friendships, if you tend to focus on and emphasize the fact that you're friends, they may feel very much as though you're putting them in the friend zone. 
But, I'm not really here to talk about how to successfully friend zone someone (at least not in this post). I mostly want to focus on the fact that sometimes I think we friend zone people out of our own fears and insecurities... and sometimes we aren't even aware that we are doing it. 

I think there have been times in my life where I thought that if a guy was 'too cool' for me, that it was safer for me to somehow establish a friend zone because it freed me from getting my hopes that the 'impossible' might come true. It was safer to say things or do things that made it clear that I was only in this for friendship because I didn't want to (or didn't know how to) handle the feelings of rejection that might accompany his lack of interest in anything more. 

There were also times that surrounding circumstances made relationships with guys more complicated, and so setting up a friend zone early on seemed the best route to take. If we could establish that this relationship would only be a friendship, we wouldn't have to worry about who might get hurt by our intimacy or be responsible for our growing interest in each other beyond anything on a friend-level. The friend zone allowed for our friendship to excel without the confines of commitment. These, of course, are the friendships where all outsiders ask, 'So Debbie... is anything going on with you two?'...and, of course, the appropriate response is always, 'No way- we're just friends!' And you can say it with confidence because you've talked about it...but somewhere within you you still wonder, and maybe a part of you still hopes... 

Sometimes, on our crazier days, we may just friend zone people to see what kind of response we'll get. Do they friend zone us back? Or do they resist the friend zone? Do they even care or notice? 

How much can we over-analyze all of this?
Too much. 

I guess I just wonder how much we're all still playing games. Games that are birthed from a place of longing for connection. Games that surface because we're so terrified that we won't be accepted, wanted, desired for who we are. Games because we're unwilling to make commitments or call things what they actually are (essentially being honest about it). 

Do you friend zone people?
What's your motive?
Do you even realize you're doing it in the moment? 

Sometimes I think the friend zone can be a clear communicator that you're simply not interested in someone...and, if it's done well, I think that's okay. But, too often I think we friend zone because it's safer for us. It's easier for us. It means less risk and less rejection. Sometimes we use it as a safe way of flirting, of feeling connected, of forming bonds with someone without actually committing to anything--you may even call it using someone for intimacy/fun (because you've established that you're just friends, so now anything is okay, right?) 

I believe you can be friends with guys and leave the door open for the possibility of 'what could be'. And maybe that actually allows us to have healthier relationships with them. I just don't think we can friend zone all the guys in our lives and then be upset about the fact that we're still single.  Not to mention that it's super confusing for guys if we friend zone them and then change our minds down the road. Not to mention the fact that friend zoning someone and then still 'needing' them to fulfill your emotional voids can be damaging beyond what you may realize... 

And maybe we don't need to stress out or over-analyze whether or not we've been friend-zoned by someone, either. 

It is what it is. 
Be friends. But don't feel like you always need to attach labels and expectations and boundaries for what it can or can't be. 

Don't try to control the possibilities because you're scared and insecure. And don't use someone just because you're not getting what you think need in the way you think you need it. 

Let it be. 

Your entries will remain anonymous

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Risk.

Sometimes I hate taking risks.
But, sometimes it's necessary.

Especially if you ever really hope to get anywhere in life. Especially if you ever hope to follow dreams. Especially if you ever think that the outcome might very well be work the risk.

It's taken me a few months, but I've finally worked up the nerve. It's a simple enough step, really... but it requires some level of self-promotion that I truly struggle with.

But, here goes nothing:
I've established a Facebook page for this blog, hoping that by enabling anyone to 'like' my page that more and more readers will begin this journey with me.

I'd love for you to help me out. If you know of people who may benefit from or enjoy reading this blog, please invite them to also 'like' the page. This way when I write, my posts won't be limited solely to those who I am only 'friends' with on Facebook.

And now it's your turn to go do a little something out of your comfort zone. To take another step toward a dream. To put yourself out there. To chase after something you want.

To take a risk.

Always Second Chances Facebook Page

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I just really need to let him know that I'm praying for him.

Have you ever had the thought? Have you ever felt a sudden urge to intercede for someone, perhaps out of the blue, and then followed up by telling that person what you were doing?

While sometimes, sure, there's a benefit to telling someone else that we're praying for them... I've been wondering lately if that's something we do for ourselves more than the other person. Because, if we're being honest, the power of prayer isn't stemming from our letting the person know that we're praying for them... the power of prayer is the actual praying itself.

How many times have I told someone that for whatever reason that I felt like I needed to be praying for them, and then stopped praying for them? Probably too many, unfortunately. And how many times have I felt like I needed to be praying for someone, been diligent about doing so without ever letting them know, and then trusted that the Lord was going to move in His way and His time...even if I never saw the fruit of it?

Sometimes we convince ourselves that telling people we're praying for them is done because we want to encourage them. And sometimes that's true. But, I think there's often a hidden motive to it. A lot of the time it boosts are own esteem, or we use it as a way to show that we care about another person. Sometimes we use it as a way to get back in touch with someone. Sometimes we just think we're 'supposed' to let people know if we're praying for them.

I'm not saying letting them know is bad or wrong by any means...
I'd just encourage you to check your motives for it.
And I'd challenge you on if you're actually following up with the praying part or if you feel like you're good deed was accomplished simply by telling someone that you're praying for them.

Because, I'd be lying if I said I had never used the 'ol praying excuse as a means to talk to someone I had no other reason to talk to before...even if I really had felt like I needed to be praying for them. Sometimes I think some of the best things we can do (especially for the people that we've maybe fallen out of touch with...sometimes for good reasons) is simply do the praying part without ever letting them know.

If we truly believe that God is as powerful as we say He is, and if we believe that prayer is as important as we claim it to be... what might it look like if we prayed as much as we talked about praying?

And if we're going to tell someone that we're praying for them? Why don't we just pray for them instead? You know... like audibly pray with them, for them, in their presence? Why don't we, if distance separates us, send them written prayers that we're actually praying for them? Wouldn't that be more powerful than anything else?

I guess I just want to move from being a talker to more of a doer.
I want to pray.
Not just talk about what you need prayer for.
I want to pray for the people that are placed on my heart, not just tell them that I felt like I needed to be praying for them.

I want to be diligent in it.
Because prayer matters.
In ways that I can't even begin to comprehend...but I know that it does.

Will you join me in being a doer?
A pray-er?
A person who follows through on what we claim to believe?

Your entries will remain anonymous

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Do you ever feel like you're fighting with God in worship?

It's perhaps ironic. And, perhaps I should clarify that when I talk about 'worship' in this post, I'm going to be specifically talking about the times when you're singing songs to the Lord (because, let it be known that there are many, many times of worship that have nothing to do with singing).

So maybe you're in church, or at camp, or a conference, or some other scenario where they ask you to rise for worship. You stand up reluctantly, partially because you were quite comfortable in your seat and partially because your heart doesn't really feel ready to 'worship'.

The music begins, and most times (depending on where you are) the words either pop up on a screen, or else you are fumbling through a hymnal trying to get to the song before they actually start singing any words.

It doesn't really matter what the song is, because at this point you feel pretty disconnected. Maybe you've been struggling with something that you have yet to really sort through. Maybe you're feeling angry toward the Lord about something. Maybe you just feel apathetic. Maybe you're just tired of singing the same songs over and over again. Maybe you're too distracted by the off-key worship leader, or the out-of-rhythm drummer. Maybe the lights are too bright, or it is too early, or you feel like everyone is staring at you. Maybe everything feels too contrived, too forced, and you're too disengaged to offer anything that seems worthy of true worship.

Sometimes you sing along. Sometimes you even close your eyes, because you know that people who are really worshipping have to close their eyes when they do it. Sometimes you extend a hand because it's not too crazy but it definitely gives the impression that you're connected with God. Sometimes you just stand there and look around, silently judging other people. Sometimes you just feel numb. Sometimes the standing feels too overwhelming in the midst of your fatigue, so you collapse in your chair, put your face in your hands and try not to fall asleep. This way people might just think you're praying.

If you've been going to church for very long, you've probably mastered the art of how to look spiritual without actually feeling very spiritual. Or maybe that's just me. And honestly, some part of me has probably grown quite weary of attempting any facade and so now I'm content to just be exactly how I am during these times of worship.

It's not that I don't want to worship God...because I know that I am eternally thankful for I am a sinner who is saved by grace. But it's just that sometimes I don't want to worship God...because I'm still confused and have a limited understanding of things and I'm still a sinner, struggling to fully grasp what it means to be saved by grace.

It's confusing, right?
Maybe you know what I'm talking about.
The predicament sometimes makes me feel like I'm arguing with the Lord, especially in the times where I'm denying Him praise. Arguing because I'm resistant to being open to the Spirit moving, arguing because I'm frustrated by something, arguing because I'm not in the mood, arguing because I'm too caught up in something else and I don't want to switch gears, arguing because I feel uncomfortable or because I'm tired or bored.

But it usually seems that if I am willing to listen to the words (whether I'm singing them or not... because haven't a lot of us become pros at singing songs without really listening to what we're singing?) that God wins.

I'm reminded of what He has done for me, what He has saved me from, what hope I have in Him...and how very worthy He is of praise and adoration...and worship. Even when I don't feel like it.

We probably feel guilty a lot for not feeling like we want to worship God. And we probably feel like we are the people who honor God with our lips, but whose hearts are far from Him. Sometimes that is me. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't.

But God is kind.
And He redeems.
And He saves.
Even when I am far from Him. Even when I am unfaithful. Even when I'm a hypocrite who focuses more on the gaping distance that I feel between myself and the Lord than I do on His persistence in pursuing me, loving me...and most importantly: the fact that Christ died for me.

I'd love for us to be honest during these times of worship.
And even beyond that? I'd love for us to be open during these times.
Honest, in the fact that we aren't putting on some sort of mask or facade because we are so worried about what other people might think of us. Honest, in that we aren't so busy trying to do what we think we are 'supposed' to do, that we miss out on the rawness of these moments. And open in the fact that we are willing to allow the Lord to transform our hearts of stone and replace them with tender, beating ones that exist only to worship Him with our entire beings.

I guess I think the more willing we are to direct our reasons for disengaging and disconnecting from these times of worship to the Lord, the more able He is to really change our hearts, our perspective, our selfish ambitions.

The next time you're in this type of setting and you find yourself removed, judgmental, and arguing with the Lord? Be honest with Him about it.
And then be open for where He might take you, how He might move you, what He might ask of you. Listen to the words. Let them really register in your heart.

In the end, may we all recognize how at all times, in every season, no matter where we are at and what we are struggling with... that He is a God worthy of honor and praise. And may our hearts not be far from that.

Your entries will remain anonymous

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What am I?

I chopped my hair off a few years ago. And then I had an identity crisis.

Because when you have long hair and then suddenly you have short hair, your world changes. You meet people for the first time and know that their first impression of you is completely different than it might have been if they met you just the day before.

Any sophistication that I felt I may have had with my long hair was gone, and immediately I felt that I was supposed to be flirty and cute as I flung my new bob around.

Dramatic, right?
It was.
But I couldn't deny the fact that I felt a bit panicky about this aspect of my identity changing.

It reminds me that I connect myself to a lot of things that don't really matter. It's not just my hair. For a while it was my job. It's easy to get caught up in defining ourselves by the things we do or the image we portray. Maybe yours isn't the length of your hair.... but maybe it's something else?

And a lot of times I don't think we even really know what these things are until they are gone. The absence of these things in our lives makes us realize how much we identified ourselves by them, it makes us realize how much we clung to them as part of who we are.

I didn't realize how much I liked being a long-haired girl until I was suddenly a short-haired girl. I didn't realize how much I identified myself as an employee at my camp until I was no longer to make phone calls and say, 'Hi, this is Debbie with Camp Eagle...". Or when wearing Chacos didn't seem like appropriate attire for a job interview.

Sometimes the absence of these things send me reeling into the identity crisis.
If I'm not a student, what am I?
If I'm not a girlfriend, what am I?
If I'm not a counselor, what am I?
If I'm not a employee, what am I?
If I'm not an athlete, what am I?
If I'm not a musician, what am I?
If I'm not a sweatshirt-wearing, braid-adorning girl, what am I?

The list goes on.

I guess I want to be able to recognize that even when all that stuff is stripped away... that the core of who I am doesn't change. Even when I graduate, or switch jobs, or break up with someone, or chop off all my hair, or dress differently, or lose my voice, or break a leg... that I'm not lost in the midst of that.

Because those things aren't the things that define me.
There's more.
There's deeper.
There's a claim on my life that's never-changing.
A claim that reminds me that I'm chosen.

It's reassuring to me. It reminds me that I don't need to cling so desperately to the things that don't ultimately define me. I don't need to have an identity crisis when I lose them, or if circumstances change.

I hope it's reassuring to you, too.

Your entries will remain anonymous

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What's the Point?

I almost died the other day.

It was one of those times when you’re flying and the pilot comes over the intercom and says something like, “We’re going to be landing an hour early… there’s a funny smell in the cabin.”

An hour early? Sweet! We should have funny smells in the cabin more often if this is the result.
It’s not until a few minutes later when the stewardess is sweeping the cabin for trash and grows frantically impatient at a fellow flier (“Ma’am, hand over your trash immediately, this is an emergency!”) that you realize there may be something to worry about.

The plane lands faster than you’ve ever experienced before and upon the entry onto the runway, you notice several emergency vehicles with their lights flashing driving speedily toward your braking plane.

What the heck is happening?

Before you know it you’re best friends with the person next to you as you’ve just survived a potentially lethal situation.

Our emergency landing put us in a random city for a while as they assessed the plane, fixed the problem and loaded us back on, explaining about pops in the fuse box and smoke in the cockpit and compartments that had been shut down. But now, all is well, and we sail in our little capsule through the sky to our final destination.

My new best friend and I bonded over our love of the outdoors, our seemingly random reasons for our trips, our shared birthday, and (of course) our recent escape out of death's grip. 

We parted ways at the baggage claim, wishing each other well for the rest of our lives. While we had exchanged first names about two hours into our new friendship, there was no other identifying factors that might lead us to further communication.

The interaction has made me think a lot about my interactions with strangers… and how quickly I am to avoid interaction when it seems unnecessary or unlikely that we will ever see each other again. After all, what’s the point

Sure, I am often overly nice to the lady checking me out at the grocery store, or to the waitress taking my order in a restaurant… but very rarely am I willing to go beyond the social boundaries that exist between customer and employee. Very rarely am I wanting to take the time to address them, first and foremost, as people.

But what if brief interactions can change everything?
What if conversations with strangers on airplanes that you’ll never see again somehow inspire, challenge, or encourage?
What if people (especially as they serve you, wait on you, or just exist next to you) become more than just a means to your end?

What if we pause?
What if we got uncomfortable?
What if we invested and took the time to know about someone’s life and let them know about your life… even if you’ll never see them again?

Sometimes I think I fall under the trap of believing that true transformation and change can only result from long-term relationships over time. And sometimes that’s probably true.

But maybe the little things matter more than we think.
Maybe the strangers that we’ll never see again need us to speak up, to say something, to interact with them. And maybe the conversations aren’t especially enthralling or exciting. But maybe they matter.

I want to be more willing to have the conversations, even if I sometimes think, “What’s the point?

Because even if I never know the point…?
Maybe there still is one. 

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