Tailspin

I’ve never been in a plane crash. I really don’t have any desire to. In all my flying and travels, I’ve hit rough turbulence (probably the worst was in the middle of the Pacific when our double-decker plane dropped several hundred feet in a second…in the middle of the night…yikes), but never have I been in a crash. I haven’t been in a tailspin either. Though I’ve been on some really sketchy planes, the sketchiest being when the crew at the airport had to put me on the luggage scale (along with the rest of my group) to make sure we could actually take off. Our backpacks came on a second flight.

But, based on the wonderful world of Hollywood and special effects, I can only imagine and assume what it may feel like. Tail spinning appears to be something that is incredibly hard to get out of if it’s not a controlled spin like at an airshow. It seems as though the only thing you may be focused on as the pilot isn’t the beautiful view from thousands of feet above the earth, but one main speck thousands of feet below that you seem to be heading towards at great speeds.

Like I said, I have never been in an actual tailspin in a plane. I’m thankful for that. But I have been in a spiritual, mental and emotional one before. And the feeling I described above, is exactly how I felt. Focused on one thing-how quickly the end is coming at me (and by “the end,” I mean the worse possible case scenario…ever). I couldn’t see beyond the horrible imagined end. There was nothing else, nothing left. That was it and it was coming fast.

This last one was a doozy. Yes, I have gotten in tailspins before. So, imagine if you will, I’m in the pilot seat. The plane is spinning around in circles. In my shock, or perhaps in my desperation, I am trying everything I can to right the plane, pull up, and level out. And I somehow can’t take my eyes off of the ground. Spinning, spinning, spinning. As my friend told me last week over coffee, I had lost all sense of objectivity. I could only see what was going on immediately around me. No job= no money=not paying bills= we will be homeless= my kids growing up deserting me= Iris leaving me= me alone with nothing.

Yep. That is a pretty clear, disastrous end. I was in a quick, out of control, downward spiral.

Here’s an important question, was any of that true? No, not even hinted at. We were all doing well. Yet, my focus was on the worst possible end, and I couldn’t see passed that. I was hyper anxious. So, what changed?

I surrendered.

I surrendered control. I surrendered control of the plane I couldn’t right. I surrendered the future that hadn’t yet happened. I surrendered the notion that I could pull myself out of it. I didn’t surrender to the situation. That is simply giving up and allowing the outside circumstances to destroy me. That is a form of escapism. No, I surrendered all this control to the the only One who has the ability to control it all. And literally, within an instant, I was righted, leveled, at peace and able to take in what was around me.

That’s not a pat-yourself-on-the-back, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps story. That’s a I-don’t-know-where-I’d-be-without-Christ kind of a story. The out of control spin was because I was trying to control it all, in my power, in my will, on my strength. Not God’s will. Not God’s strength. Not God’s power. And there is no way I could have ever done that on my own.  He is the only One who can bring peace, true peace. Peace that doesn’t make any sense to us at all because we have never experienced anything like it on earth,  kind of peace.

This is not the last tailspin I will be in in my life. I’m not naive. I know me well enough, and my Savior well enough to know that to be true. But my hope is that I won’t be so far gone as I was, nor have it last as long as it did.

Perhaps these words of journeying through, of wrestling with words in the Bible and real life experience can bring someone else hope. Perhaps it’s you. I don’t know. What I do know is that the more we are honest about real life, where faith and reality tend to collide it seems, the more we create space for healing of broken people. The more honest we are with how we’re feeling and experiencing, the more freedom we bring other people. People like me, and maybe people like you.

be blessed today

 

 

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The Opposite of Scarcity

I’m going to be honest, looking for a job when you’ve been gone overseas for a while, is hard. It’s hard to not take a “no” personally. It’s hard to not be discouraged. It’s hard to live in peace and confidence that God will work this all out, and to not give into fear. It’s hard to not live on a constant plane of anxiety or stress. And it’s hard to not continue to think of the “what ifs” that plague my mind.

The last two posts I have been talking about scarcity. Wrestling through what it means when we say “God’s got this, it will be ok.” And, wondering if that is really true. In the end, I do believe it is true. But I must be willing (and “willingness” is a huge word) to accept that what rock bottom or scarcity may mean to God may be much different than what I think. I must willing to accept that rock bottom may mean much more than losing a job or even becoming homeless. Becoming a refugee in the harshest sense, like Abraham or the Israelites under the direction of Moses or like the Christians under Nero, etc. Losing all that I hold dear…just like Job.

Brene Brown, whose work on shame is powerful, said “For me, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It’s enough…” We have a warped sense, at least in North America, that when we have scarcity God will come in and provide for us in an over the top, extreme way- the typical American rags to riches stories we so love. I do believe that happens, and God can chose to do what he desires. But what if His plan is to simply give us enough. Enough to know we are loved. Enough to know we are taken care of. Enough to be “ok” and to know that it is true that “God’s got this.” I have been the recipient of God doing off the wall crazy over the top things. And, I was reminded yesterday, that God also gives what I always need- enough.

Like I mentioned above, this process has been hard, difficult and stretching me beyond what I thought my capacity for trust was. Yesterday was a bad, crappy day. Thankfully, I was scheduled to go hang out with people I love and cherish. My good friend and I sat on his porch and talked. And though there was no job offer, though there was no “here’s a million dollars I had tucked away for you” type of gifts, what he said were words of peace and truth. What he said was enough. It was enough to re-center me to God’s truths and peace….and joy. It wasn’t over the top, but it was enough.

I wonder where God is providing enough for you today and maybe where you can’t see it because you’re waiting for the lavish indulgence. Let’s see where He is enough for us both today, together.

be blessed today

The Beginning of the Cycle

History tends to repeat itself. At least that’s how the saying goes. I have seen this in politics, family decisions and behaviors and even in “new” innovations. I think it’s true. We may not do exactly what has been done before, but it is usually something similar. It’s cyclical and different aspects of our lives have cycles to them.

I was talking with a good friend, Brenda, a few years ago and was lamenting about how in my walk with Christ, it seems that things I thought were done and forgiven continue to keep coming back up in my life. A struggle with this or a temptation to that. I was frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t ever get ahead. I was frustrated because it seemed like once I had victory over it, at some point it would come back. She asked more and more questions, simply allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me in my moment of frustration. For whatever reason, the picture of an onion is what came to my mind.

An onion (I wish there was something better than an onion). Like peeling an onion, God desires to continually uncover the depths of our fallen nature. In revealing them to us, we have a choice, either lean into God more or stop and stay at this level of dysfunction. If we do stop, it is usually because it’s either too hard to go any deeper or we’re too scared of the unknown of going deeper. Or both. However, in removing these layers and by moving inward, we are not only seeing the depths of our sin, we are also seeing the depths of God’s love, grace, mercy and holiness. Learning more about ourselves allows us in turn to learn more about God. Becoming more intimate with ourselves, allows us to become more intimate with Him.

When we have a community of people that is open and honest with each other about God removing their layers, we can also have intimacy with each other. But often times we’re too guarded, afraid of what others may think or say.  Intimacy with God requires intimacy with ourselves. I’ve met several people over the years who aren’t comfortable in their own skin and are afraid to go deep in the recesses of their hearts. Freedom comes when we dare to go to the darkest places and walk through the pain. Those dark recesses are no different than the seemingly open valleys of the shadow of death David writes about in Psalms. God will be present with us there as well as in those darkest places in our hearts.

Will you allow Him to shed light on them?

be blessed today

One Way to Work Through Your Fear…Especially Today

So, today is election day in America. I debated back and forth as to whether or not to even post today. My assumption was that no one will read this, eyes will be glued to the tv screen or scouring the interwebs for the latest updates and numbers as to who will be in the position to lead my passport country for the foreseeable future. Why? Because Wednesday will be a different place, a different world, a different day for many. A day untraveled nor experienced, of course, but one that may be much different than we would have expected a year ago. That can cause fear, concern and worry. None of which will add an hour to our lives…at least that’s what’s written in scripture.

I have learned these past few years that when I am in a place of worry and concern, there is something I can do that helps to take that fear away. More or less, the answer is Jesus. Ya, I know, that’s the answer for almost everything in this life. It sounds cliche. But, he’s not a cliche, but many use him as one. “Jesus”-not on ly does it sound cliche, it can also seem a distant, disconnected answer. Yes, also true, he is the God that we can interact with, engage with, and speak to in a personal way, but when we speak of him in these cliche ways, he becomes disconnected and “powerless.” Meaning, we view him not really able to do anything. But, I’m rabbit trailing.

Part of making him personal or perhaps acknowledging his presence and the fact that he is real, is showing gratitude. There are a lot of the things that go on in our lives on a daily basis. No matter whether we are living in our normal routine that we’ve done a thousand times or a new adventure, there are still several things a day to be grateful for. As we begin as a family to transition from Mongolia back to our passport country after 12 years of living overseas, we have had many things to be thankful for these recent days.

I was chatting with a friend of mine last week. When I began sharing about all the things and in all the ways we’ve seen God’s provision the past few weeks, he suggested that I start keeping a gratitude journal-simply writing down the things that have happened and why I’m grateful for it. I did this while in my 12 step groups, but haven’t kept up the practice.

I decided to give it a try, and guess what….this simple act of worship released a lot of stress, fear and worry. Being thankful for what we have amidst the fear and concern about the unknown future, releases a lot of our desire for control. Seeing on paper, or just vocalizing what God has done and is doing, helps us to see that God really will bring about his goodness no matter what. And come hell or high water, he is there. He has been there. And, he will be there right alongside us. Which is another thing we can write down in our gratitude journal.

As we Americans head into today’s voting booths and spend time praying about the future of our country (or as any of us head into today), we need to hold our “freedoms”  loosely knowing that if every one of them is gone and taken away, we still have much to be grateful for. This simple-in-theory-act holds no power, but acknowledges the power that God already possesses and releases to him any power we may think we have. In that, we have more to be thankful for-we don’t have to keep the world spinning, that’s his job, and we don’t have to worry about tomorrow, he’s got it.  May we all be blessed in acknowledging the fear that we sometimes live in, who we are and who he is. Acknowledging reality…living in true freedom.

be blessed today

 

Photo credit: discoveringfatherhood.com

 

Why Are You The Problem?

Life has a rhythm to it. There’s a cycle, a general flow that continues on with our with out us. God set these things in motion and they will continue so until He desires them to stop. The seasons, jet streams, the ocean currents, day and night, the orbit around the sun….they all have a consistent, faithful, periodicity about them. And so, we’ve adapted our lives to work in these intervals and time frames as well. We go about our normal routines and habits, continuing to move in some direction. We created systems to operate in, as fallen as they may be. We continue in this system. That is, until something disrupts the system.

We in the West especially, do not do well with disruptions to our “normal.” Sickness, a pipe bursting, a quick run to drop off the lunch at school that our child forgot, these disruptions can sometimes be small or massive, depending on who you are. Disruptions are things I’ve written before.  But this post is about something different. It’s not about something causing a disruption in your life. No, this post is far different. It’s about being the thing, being the person, who disrupts the system. Not for the sake of saying “screw you all, I’m gonna do what I want,” or for some sort of pride or selfish gain. No, disrupting the system because you have chosen health over dysfunction.

There’s a psychological term that became very impactful to me several years ago while taking a psychology class in grad school from an awesome professor. He was talking about dysfunctional families, for example. Often times, there is one child who will be acting out, acting oddly different than the rest of the family. In some cases, sadly, these behaviors are detrimental to the well being of the child. In other cases, the behavior is actually good, but because it is sssoooooo different than how the family operates, it looks as though the child is the one with the dysfunction. This child is called the “Identified Patient.” Psychologists began to notice this type of situation happening time and time again and realized it had nothing to do with the child, really. It had everything to do with the dysfunction of the family.

Today, we can see this same type of situation in families. But it doesn’t just stop there. Churches, businesses, organizations, schools…anything with a group of people, we can see this very same scenario played out. And it is sad, because often times those in the middle of their dysfunction, cannot see that they are the ones being dysfunctional. I have seen people, Identified Patients,  torn apart from the raw sinful dysfunction around them. Iris and I have walked through that very same type of situation as well. For those of us that follow Christ, really for anyone, we always have a choice whether or not to engage with the dysfunction or not. The alternative option may not be a good option either, but we always have a choice. We also have a choice to continue on in playing the game, enabling the dysfunction and communicating to those involved that this type of behavior is ok. Or, we can chose where God is leading us, which is never to play the game of enabling dysfunction.

This road that God leads us down is not easy. Remember the 12 Steps and what we see in scripture? Often times hardship is the pathway to peace. One of the clearest times Iris and I walked through this, we had several people tell us that we should abandon ship, jump out before it continues to get worse. And, yes, I believe there is a time for that. But we continued to follow God’s leading into it because He hadn’t yet released us from that. Was it hard? Yes. Did it feel shitty, hurtful and at times, hopeless? Yep. It did. But we also had people, deep people, people who understood pain, who understood the suffering of Christ, people who have walked continue to walk that road of hardship, who patiently sat and listen. They are there even now,  to encourage us to keep Christ center, no matter what, to trust in Him and to not care what others think or what rumors they may say, but to simply (how hard “simply” can be) stay the course. These are the voices we listen to and staye a tune because those are the voices of the Spirit speaking.

Yes, in some cases the identified patient needs to examine themselves and see why they are acting in a way that is detrimental or harmful to themselves. But if you are living a life of Christ, trying to do the right thing, making amends when need be and owning your own stuff, please be encouraged by this-God is there amidst the cloud and fog. He is there. I have been there, and I’m sure I’ll be in the midst of that again.

When we begin to life a live of health, spiritual health, in a system that is dysfunctional all twisted and warped by the fallen world we live in, it disrupts the way things have always been. People who have grown quite accustomed to the dysfunction, learned how to play the game, moved in and set up shop there, do not like to be disrupted. And sometimes the uncomfortability of the disruption comes at you full force.

Christ was a disruption. He was living a life of true spiritual health in every way. When those attacked him out of their own dysfunction and hurt, he simply showed grace, love and Truth. Eventually, this got him killed. Yes. But not even the gates of hell could stand against him…not even in death. If He truly cares for the flowers in the meadow, or the birds each day, how much more will he be there in the fog? How much more will he rescue us? Reach out and find people who speak, breathe Truth into you, and lean onto them. Trust in Him, and I know how hard that is.  May you not lose heart, may you be a person of peace who God uses to bring Christ to a broken system and a broken world, and may we all accept what God has laid before us as the pathway to peace.  That’s my prayer for you…and myself today.

be blessed today

Photo Credit: http://www.borongaja.com

I have more advantage, allowance, authority, benefit, concession, entitlement, exemption, freedom, immunity,license, opportunity, prerogative and right than you do…and why repentance is a daily need for me.

I write a lot about self awareness, understanding the wake that we leave, discerning how we are experienced by others so that we may more healthily engage with the world around us. Why? So that we can be enlivened by  who we are in Christ. This brings freedom from the world in which we live and equips us to not only continue on this course of understanding but breathe life into others. Jesus is the life. Jesus is this freedom. But, I must admit, that there are things that I am still unaware of. Let me share how….

Many of you who read my blog know me. Be it from college, working together or the town I grew up. But there are still many who have no idea anything about me except for the profile pic on WordPress, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. A blurb here and there, but that’s it. No more. Let me give a brief description. I’m white. Born of German and English decent, white is the color of my skin. I come from a small, very small “village.” Our town has only one stop light, and in the town proper, only 3,000 people. I grew up on a farm, about four miles from that stop light. Our closest neighbors were about a half mile away…all white. I’m an American. Born and raised, one family line came over from Europe just after the Mayflower. The other line came in hopes of a better life away from what Germany was becoming in the 1920’s. I’m also male. And not just any male, a 6’6″ (198cm) male. So I tend to tower over most people, especially in the past two countries I’ve called home, let alone my passport country. To some of you, that may seem normal and hardly noteworthy. But to others, that may cause a bit of anxiety or perhaps, a small amount of fear. Believe me, I’m a little used to it. When I was growing up, if I got too close to some babies, they would begin to cry at the large tower looming over them. But that was babies, not adults. And that was simply about my height, not about anything else. Some of you may have that fear or anxiety for entirely different reasons than just my height.

As I’ve grown in both age and understanding of self, I’ve come to realize that perhaps there is something different about me. Not that my situation is unique by any means. There are several, hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of people very similar to me and my situation. But, there is something about me that I can’t see and have only come to realize in recent years.

You see all those descriptors bring up fear, turmoil, anxiety to various people for various reasons when I walk into different situations. Why? Because I possess a certain privilege that most people in this world don’t have. I have a voice, that millions around the world don’t have because it is oppressed to some degree or another.

Let me take my incredible spouse for example. I take up a massive amount of emotional space in our relationship. So much so, that she has to “shout” in order to be heard. Does she literally have to shout? No, but she does need to become more vocal and more blunt at times. I get self focused and therefore others have to become “louder” in order for me to take notice. When I get emotionally involved, I get animated. Animated for a person who is 5’5″ is one thing. But when you’re 6″6″ tall, animation gets big…and ugly.  When I start to talk with my hands, which happens often, because I’m so large, it can look as though I am super animated, but I’m not. Relatively speaking that is. Because of my height I tend to overlook others, literally. My quiet is shouting to those around me, and that can cause people to “cower” in the corner.    I’m a man, so therefore I am the bread winner. I am the one who has the job while it is assumed her job is keeping the kids and home at bay, right? How far form the truth is that?

When I looked up “privilege” in a thesaurus, these where the strongest synonyms: advantage, allowance, authority, benefit, concession, entitlement, exemption, freedom, immunity, license, opportunity, prerogative and right. Those words, in this context, are powerful and strong…….. and oppressive.

The country in which I currently live is not used to seeing people of a different skin color, so I am stared at quite a bit. Which is uncomfortable. However, because of this color, I am allowed to enter buildings, guarded neighborhoods, off limit spaces no questions asked because it is assumed that because I’m white, I must be important…more valuable than others who are from this country. Because of my passport, there are many countries around the world that I may travel to freely, without a visa or background check simply because of where I am from. When other foreigners inquire of me of what it takes to visit America I can’t help them because we do have strict visa requirements…especially for 3rd world countries.

I see this, now, on a daily basis, where as before growing up, it never occurred to me. Not once did I ever question why certain things just happened for me, until recent years. David E. Fitch posted recently “The 1st thing a white person should say (or confess) concerning white privilege is “uh, I don’t see it” and then ask “Can you help me?

So, I have learned to learn. I have learned that I do not have all the answers, that I don’t know or understand why it will be harder for my daughter in this world than for my two sons. I’ve learned that I need to try, as hard as I can, to understand what life were like if I was shorter, if I was darker, if I was from a country whose currency is so valueless it’s not even traded in the world market. I have learned to learn what I am, so that I can show who I am better. I need to learn what it’s like to be the “other,” so that I may better understand myself in Christ. So that I may understand the areas I don’t understand and repent for what my life has blinded me to. Did God make me a large, white American as a mistake? NO! But it doesn’t mean that because of this I don’t have anything to repent for. I do, and learning that every day, is what God is asking of me…of all of us.

And this is where my heart sinks as I watch the lack of dialogue about what is going on from NFL players refusing to stand for a national anthems to people being banned for wearing too much clothing on the beach, to wars being raged that are hardly talked about on international media.

And again my heart sinks.

Brene Brown writes, “I’ve learned enough about privilege to know that we’re at our most dangerous when we think we’ve learned everything we need to know about it. That’s when you stop paying attention to injustice.

There are so many loud voices out there today that are shouting things back and forth, that we as the Church don’t need to shout. As the Church, we don’t need to be the loudest voice in the world today….no, we need to be the constant voice of today. We need to be the constant voice of love, compassion, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control, hope, faithfulness, joy and peace even when chaos is running amuck. My prayer is that we will stop shouting, and starting speaking truth. That we will become the Constant Voice that spoke the world into existence. That we will live the Word that became flesh. That we will breathe life into those around us as life was breathed into some dust and earth so many years ago. And that we will be the voice of peace. Let us be the bearers of peace, dear Jesus. Amen.

be blessed today

 

 Image credit: http://www.pexels.com

Are You Allowing Your Heart To Speak?

The radio just isn’t something I listen to. I mean the actual radio, as in tuning into a certain channel for the morning show, or Oldies, Jazz, Top 40, etc. Partly because here it’s too hard to try to understand in my limited Mongolian. Even in Russia, where we lived for 11 years and were both fluent in Russian, it was a strain. Just not enjoyable. I do purchase a ton of music though. My song list of 3,067 songs (I know, not many compared to most) is pretty eclectic to say the least.  There are songs I simply enjoy as they bring back memories, or simply transport me to another place. There are other songs that are simply there as an intro, a prelude, to another song I enjoy. Some are for running, cycling and working out, and others are for relaxing and sleeping. It just depends.

And then there are the songs. Not just the songs but the songs. They move me to tears, especially as of late, but perhaps not why you may think. One song is a classical song. No words, no lyrics, no voice. Simply just instruments that for whatever reason, usher in something that is a “peace that passes all my earthly understanding” and gives me a sense of hope. I listen to it over and over again, and if a symphony or orchestra is playing it too quickly, I just won’t listen unless it is played in the correct tempo. Perhaps I’m a little too picky 🙂

The other song, sometimes played right after the one I mentioned above, is a loud electric indie song that I play over and over fairly loudly. It has lyrics, but the lyrics are not what draw me to tears. Though I sing them, yelling them at times, it’s not the words that I’m drawn to. It’s the emotion-it’s the intensity. The emotion of the song is what brings out the sometimes guttural cries from my heart. It’s the emotion and intensity of the music that brings me to tears the past two years because it’s as if my heart is crying out with just as much intensity.

Why? Why cry? Why is my heart shouting out with such intensity, such passion?

Grief.

Two years ago, we were gong through a fog, a time of confusion, a journey through the forest with no clear picture of where the path was. God was leading us away from Russia, we knew that. But what we didn’t know was where God was leading us to. It was before we knew God was leading us to Mongolia. But since we knew God was leading us away, it was a time of grieving what we were losing. I, of course, didn’t really have a full grasp on what I was feeling. I went to our intimate church body one night, and during the time we were singing songs to God, my heart began to cry out in these deep, moans and yelling. Tears were streaming down my face, yet I couldn’t explain where this was coming from or why. Even though I am an emotional guy, it still didn’t make sense.

Processing this with Iris and my spiritual director, both people whom have experienced/experience deep grief, they both believe that’s what that expression was….a grieving heart. My grieving heart. It was grieving the goodbyes, the “what will no longer be” moments and things that we were leaving. My heart had been in mourning, and was trying to make it’s voice heard. It needed to grieve, it needed to be heard and not suppressed. In order for my heart to grieve, it had to speak up, yell, shout….groan deep from within so that I could finally notice it was even there, and then I could allow it to grieve.

Because of this, I’m learning to allow my heart to grieve more often. There have been some changes that I have been walking through recently (future posts, I’m promise) that are bringing about loses in my life that I am grieving. Life is a series of starts and endings, constants and losses. In my mind, when we left Russia, the loss was over, everything else is too small to grieve. And I’m here to tell you that this is a lie. It’s not true. All losses are losses. And all losses need to be grieved. Going from needing to be swaddled up to being able to walk; being at home most of the day with our parents to heading off to school; even from siting on our parents lap while they read us a book to us going off by ourselves to read on our own-these are all things we became accustomed to that turn into losses. And it’s ok, it’s just a part of life. Some of us are better at engaging with the losses than others. Suppression of the losses, however, is never good. That causes us to miss something, to lose something. And that “something”? That, that is celebration.

In his book, The Needs of the Heart, Chip Dodd writes, “…If we can grieve well, we will live euphorically. Euphoria means to bear life well. If we can love in the midst of knowing that we can lose this person or this passion, what a treasured experience the daily life with the beloved is. Every day we choose them, knowing that our time on the earth is limited, no matter what. Every day we can find gratitude to be with them. And then when they are gone, we know that we were fully present while life was happening. The only way to be present with the beloved is to be able to live in the midst of grief and celebration. Not only do we need to grieve, we also need to the opportunity to grieve.

But grieving isn’t just about losing someone. It could be losing that job, or moving to another town. You’re losing things that you’ve known, grew comfortable in, things that you enjoyed. Not that you won’t find things similar again, you probably will, but you wont have those things that you had before.

Michael Phelps, the world’s greatest and most decorated Olympian athlete proved how capable he was in his final Olympic appearance this past August in Rio. In an interview I watched of him he said “I knew this was the last one…the last time getting in the pool, the last time putting on a suit, the last time getting into the cool down pool.” He said “that’s why I was more emotional in these games than in London [four years prior].” Here, he was able to engage in the losses, the “lasts,” the “never more will be’s.” I  have incredible respect for him because of the gold medals, but I have even more respect for him because he is willing to go to the hard places that many don’t go-engaging in the grief. Because of this, he was able to celebrate his victories, accomplishments, prizes and he was able to show gratitude for all that he learned in the process. That is celebration as God intended.

I believe one reason why this election year has been so divisive between followers of Jesus is because many of us don’t know how to engage with grief. We all know that this country has changed from what it was when we were younger. It doesn’t matter whether this is your first election or your 18th (making you at least 90 years old), things have changed. We also know that things will be different after this November, and we are having a hard time grieving our losses. Losses aren’t bad, per se, if we engage in them. When we engage them,  we grow by learning a lot about ourselves, each other and God. But we must engage our grief.

Engaging in our grief is what allows us to celebrate. It allows us to become more gracious people, more thankful people, more honest people and more vulnerable people. Not just towards each other, but towards ourselves and towards Christ.

As I engage with grief of losses more these coming days, will you join me in engaging with yours as well? Perhaps in a month or so, I’ll be able to write about those things I have been able to celebrate. It would be wonderful if you could also write about your celebrations also. I’ll be asking for those things at some point on here, but for now, let’s walk the hard road of engaging our grief and letting our hearts speak out, maybe for the first time. Let’s take that first step together……

be blessed today…..and in those hard days to come

 

Photo Credit Here