For Our Neighbors

It’s here! Christmas time is among us (Though for many of you it began as soon as your Jack-o-lantern went out). I really love this season, not simply for all the cold air and the smell of cinnamon that seemingly is everywhere (how does that even happen?). I love it because it’s a season of caring, at least for me it always has been. Christmas has never been a specific day for me. My family was in Wisconsin so we would celebrate several Christmas days, but what I learned is that Christmas is so much more than the day (or about a creepy man who reverse robs you), it was about giving back. Reaching out and being intentional with others. I really love giving gifts, not big expensive and crazy things, simply things that are meaningful. Last year though, my mom executed this perfectly. She gave my dad, sister, my brother-in-law, Danielle, and myself gifts that really spoke to me. They weren’t insane or wild, simply intentional gifts that poured into us. That got me thinking about this Christmas season, and what I want to do this month. I want to talk about intentionality. I want to talk about being purposeful with the people around us, because we are called to love our neighbors.

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The Power Of Family

It’s finally that time! Thanksgiving week is upon us (unless you read this early here!). Hopefully this means that you are enjoying the time and not stressing out, but let’s be real you probably are. Distant relatives might be coming over and that stresses you out. Maybe you have been stuck making the food (get some of the lazy ones to help out, yo!). You may be super anxious about the political debates that may happen. You might be killing yourself trying to have the Norman Rockwell image of thanksgiving dinner. Hold up. This doesn’t really sound like a “holiday,” it seems kinda like a nightmare. I want to pull the plug on the idea of having a picture-perfect Thanksgiving. Even though you may see tons of Instagram pictures of a feast, you don’t see the picture of the dishes to make the meal, the family arguments before and after the picture was taken. You don’t see the bathroom struggle later, the baby throw up on a tired mom, or the awkward comment that uncle four times removed made about you name it. I want to cut through the fake-ness, I want to look at what thanksgiving should be all about, and I want to look at the power of family.

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Misfit Culture

“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

1 Corinthians 12:24-26

I’ve been thinking a lot about people recently. Not in a sense of, oh yeah there are other people around me, but more of the fact that there are so many different people all around me. We live in a world where we can have many hobbies, come from different walks of life, and lived through all kinds of events. We are different people that crave community. No one likes to be alone, and no one likes to feel pushed away, yet recently in the climate of our culture we grow secluded and push others based on stupid differences. I have been wanting to write about misfits in community since I did the Misfit series a couple months back, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to say it. Then this past week, a couple of events sparked the words and God spoke to me about some things that are vital in the upcoming season for all of us.

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Claim Your Identity

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity recently. Who we are. What makes us the individuals that we are. I just took a long series about being a misfit and what that means, but during the time of writing that series, I’ve been struggling with my identity. Where do I belong and what is my place? These have been questions running through my head. It’s difficult to understand that you are different, yet wonder who you truly are. At the same time, I know who I am, we all do. God tells us that he has made us in his image, so our identity is that we are children of the king, why then is it so hard to accept our identity? I have breakfast with my dad each week, and one morning I was telling him that I felt this way. That I was struggling with who I truly am, and because of that, my mind was trying to convince me that I shouldn’t expect anything big from God. I think many of us feel that way. We don’t “feel” special, even when people say we are, we start to feel like we are worthless rather than worthy. The thing is, feelings can be wrong, God isn’t. My dad told me that I should look in scripture and write out verses that claim who I am in Christ. I honestly blew it off, but then decided to sit down and write. Ephesians 2:10, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Timothy 1:7, and Galatians 3:26 were all verses I found and wrote down in my bullet journal because they tell me who I am (Look em up, and write em down). After all of these my cynical brain kicked in, and started giving me doubt, then I read 1 Corinthians 3:16 which is so perfect in the way it spoke to my doubt. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”

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Misfit: Live in Community

I’ve really loved doing this series the past few weeks. I felt like God wanted me to speak to the misfits like me, people who feel like they don’t fit in, but have been made with purpose unlike anything else. I started writing it when I was dealing with my own fears and thoughts about feeling like I didn’t fit in with people. During this time, I felt like God wanted me to start reading through the first couple of books in the new testament, primarily focusing on the misfits that surrounded Jesus. What I saw was how people who never fit in were used, and they ushered in the church and spreading the gospel. It is quite an amazing thing to see, and it culminated in this last post which I am writing now. I want to talk about being a misfit in community with other misfits. The thing that’s hard about feeling like you don’t fit in, is the fact that many of us stop there and begin to believe there’s no place for us. The truth is, we can come together as misfits and be in community together, because when we do this, we become the church.

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Misfit: Different and Pivotal

One of the hardest things I find in life is that when we feel like an outsider, we feel like that makes us unimportant. For a majority of my life I have thought like this, that because I wasn’t like the average dude, I was somehow less important. I think for many of us this becomes the way we view our lives. We see the lives others are living and ask ourselves why can’t we have that kind of story, why everything for everyone else seems to be so easy. We look at our lives and the choices we’ve made and wonder if we can ever make a difference, if our stories will ever leave a mark on the world around us. So many of us have made mistakes, don’t fit into the norms of the people around us, and we can feel like we are unimportant to creating an impact. I’m here to say that this is so not true, the enemy wants to twist your mind and make you believe that you aren’t important. You are important. Your life has value. The thing we must always remember is that God made you in his image, meaning that he is calling you to something greater. While you may be feeling like a misfit, this means that you are different and that you are pivotal to the greater picture.

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Misfit: Learning the Power of Never Fitting in

I think many of us at one time or another have felt like an outsider. We find ourselves in seasons where we feel like we’re on our own, that we don’t have that community that we all so desperately need. We want to be the main character of our story, yet we feel like we fade into the background. That’s the feelings we get as a misfit, a person set apart from others. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a misfit. Recently graduated from university, on the hunt for ministry positions, and making it by working with an after-school program. I find myself in a transition period, and that can be hard. I feel God calling me to something more, and more and more I feel that Greensboro is not my end destination. It becomes a not very fun cycle to get into, to feel like you are called for more and that God has a plan, yet it doesn’t seem similar to those around you. In an age of social media, we see updates from those around us, giving us the idea that everyone has it all together and that you become the outsider because you don’t have your goals realized yet. As I have been feeling these feelings and thinking about what it means, God has reminded me of misfits from the bible. God used people who didn’t fit in to do a great work. I think he wants to use you too.

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