grace. grace. and more grace.

Image credit: j-w-Ju-ITc1Cc0w-unsplash

This word keeps coming back to me. G R A C E.

If you look up the word in a dictionary, grace has a number of varied definitions. These are not the idea I have in mind.

  • Simple elegance or refinement of movement – “She moves with grace.”

  • The extended time given for a payment – “You have a one week grace period.”

  • A short prayer before or after a meal – “He said the grace.”

  • A formal title for a duke, duchess, or archbishop – “May I introduce Your Grace, the Archbishop.”

However, another definition of grace is “courteous goodwill” or “an attractively polite manner of behaving”. Followers of Jesus know grace as the free and undeserved favor we receive from God. We are encouraged to offer that favor to others also. 

This idea of goodwill and favor is what keeps showing up in my conversations.

I am continually aware of the desperate need
for grace, for myself and others.

FOR MYSELF

Despite my deep desire to forget that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we are still there. It is still affecting many of our daily choices, opportunities, interactions, and thoughts, yet I often forget that I cannot hope to feel, act, and perform in the ways I did pre-COVID. I get upset with myself for any lack of energy, pervading discouragement, or items that I have not crossed off my to-do list.

That kind of negative self-view and even self-judgment or self-condemnation does nothing positive to help me. It only robs me of the little energy I have, increases my discouragement, and causes my to-do list to appear more unmanageable than before.

I want to treat myself with goodwill and favor.
Deserved or not, I need GRACE.

FOR OTHERS

Generally, we’ve become quite the certain-we-are-right, quick-to-judge-others, critical-of-anyone-different, angry, downright-cruel people these days. These negative attitudes and views of others are all too evident in every media platform available. I’ve experienced it in-person at stores and restaurants and from drivers on the streets.

I’ve also noticed it in my own heart. 

Before I take time to ask questions or get to know someone’s story, I judge their intentions and their actions. Before I know their background, their present or past struggles, their personality, values, or feelings, I offer my opinion, my excuses, my fury, and my criticism.

Those reactions are not helpful to others. They rarely need my ideas; they already know the right things to do. They do not want my excuses; they’d prefer my humble apology and willingness to listen. They certainly do not desire my anger or my critique. They need compassion and love.

I want to treat others with goodwill and favor.
Deserved or not, they need GRACE.

What will help me behave politely and kindly to myself? Grace.

What encourages me to treat others in a way that is attractive to them? Grace.

When do you most need to give yourself favor? What helps you offer goodwill to others?

raising monarchs, rising hope

Life hasn’t been easy these past days, months, year.

Much of my routine, lifestyle, and plans have turned upside down. Fears and discouragement invaded my emotional space uninvited. Working from home became the new normal.

Thankfully, after we made it through the awkward adjustments, working from home brought some positive changes to my life. The lack of commute provided more opportunities to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and pick up a few new hobbies.

Growing and savoring herbs from my patio garden and raising monarch butterflies have brought needed refreshment to my soul.

I received life-nurturing energy from learning, experiencing something new with others, contributing to the health of our world, helping to bring about new life, and being overwhelmed by the awe of God’s creation that I could not begin to comprehend.

No matter the trials, pain, sadness, divisions, and challenges of our world today, there is also goodness, joy, and hope. There is much we can do and change, in ourselves first, and then in the world around us.

Although I cannot control all the bad and the ugly in our world,
neither do I control the good.

I am a participant in this crazy world. I do what I can, what I am called to do each day. I pray. But, it doesn’t all depend on me. Ultimately, I trust and I rest in the One is who greater than I am.

Hoping this incredible natural beauty brings you hope and peace today.

What has brought you energy and life during these crazy times?

afraid of failure?

These crazy days have required all of us to adapt in more ways than we ever imagined. We are changing the ways we work, study, shop, travel, play, and interact with each other. However, when we attempt something in a new way, we often feel incompetent, inadequate, and a fear of failure due to our lack of experience.

I don’t like to fail.

At work, we talk a lot about establishing a culture where people feel free to fail. We want people to feel free to innovate and create and attempt things they have never tried before. Disappointingly, despite the desire and communications, we struggle to develop that kind of culture. As I’ve thought about this, I’ve decided that I cannot blame the organization or the leaders for the lack of freedom to fail.  

Failure carries a lot of negative weight.

A quick google search connects the word failure to others like mistakes, quitter, and lack of persistence, conviction, or discipline. Failure is also associated with a lack of thorough planning, fully thinking-it-through, or enough hard work.

With those negative implications, failure will never look appealing or acceptable. No matter how much freedom someone offers me, I do not want to fail.

On the other hand, I can iterate. I can attempt something, evaluate how it went, make corrections or adjustments, and then try again. That is not the same as failure. 

To iterate is simply to repeat. Iterative design involves three steps: formulate, test, evaluate. An iterative process gets closer to the desired result by repeating the effort with necessary improvements. And typically, the more iterations, the better the eventual outcome.

Iteration is positive, progressive, and steps toward the goal. 

Now when I think about trying something new, I think of it as an iteration. There is no pressure or expectation for getting it perfect the first time; it’s a first pass, an experiment. I anticipate evaluating, getting feedback, making changes, and improving the process. That feels like freedom. 

Words are powerful. Maybe changing our message from “free to fail” to “free to iterate” will lighten the load for some people. It might take away the fear of stepping up, leaning in, speaking out, creating, trying something. It could foster new ideas and unheard-of-before ways of doing things that provide answers to our challenges.

If not, I’m willing to iterate and try something else. 

How do you encourage innovation? What frees you to try new things?

 

don’t waste the crisis

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Photo credit: Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

It is inevitable. No way to escape it. No place to get away from it all. We are living through a world and life-changing global pandemic, the likes of which we have never seen before.

So, what do we do now?

I’ve spent a lot of time – inside – considering and how to avoid the virus. I’ve practiced healthy habits to survive the shutdown changes and emotional cost of the pandemic.

Recently, I’ve wanted more. Instead of thinking about what has been so awful and limiting about living through these crazy times, on those rare days when I have a little bit of extra emotional energy, I want to focus on the positive.

What has been positive about this global crisis?

What new things have I learned about myself and my relationships that I don’t want to forget or I don’t want to lose?

  • Self-awareness is power. I know better how I react under fear and limitations. I know my triggers and what to do when discouragement or hopelessness shows up. This new knowledge is gold. Well, not as pretty as gold, but precious all the same.
  • Relationships that have endured through trials are more transparent, honest, and empathetic. I’ve had more profound and real conversations with people about our impact on each other and how to compromise to make unexpected circumstances work for us. I can ask for help (on a rare occasion). These interactions reflect growth for me and are worth celebrating.
  • My concern for others has increased. I have taken more initiative with neighbors to ask how they are and if they need anything. This is easier because we are all at home and outside more often. I’ve made more phone calls, sent more notes, prayed more. I do not want to lose this.

What have I learned about my work style?

  • Life-giving work gives me purpose. Younger generations get a bad rap for caring more about the meaning and contribution of a job than the earning power or status. I think I am more like that than I realized. Mostly, I have liked working from home. I enjoy the freedom of not dressing up and no commute. I can still get work done that matters, sometimes more. I am wondering how these truths can factor into my future work.
  • I like learning. Zoom. Innovative strategies. New options for in-person traditions. Pivots to thinking, doing, structures, procedures. We CAN change and sometimes much faster than we thought. When we return to normal(?), I don’t want to lose my openness to trying something new.

What new positive habits have I incorporated as part of my life patterns?

  • More exercise and sleep. My phone and watch trend data say I have slept more hours on average compared to last year. My walking miles are also up. No commute has given me a bit more margin. How can I keep this up as the days go on?
  • I’ve discovered some new hobbies. Not only has my reading increased, but we play more games as a family. I’m growing a few scraggly herbs on my back patio and inviting monarch butterflies to my flowering milkweed in a small grassy patch in the front. Somehow the weight and drain of the pandemic made refreshing activities essential rather than optional. I think they’ve always been essential. I just wasn’t aware like I am now.
  • We spend less on non-essentials. We eat better and healthier at home (except for the occasional junk-comfort foods). We buy online from a curated list of needed items rather than window shopping or impulse buying as we wander leisurely through a store. We have more money to invest in worthy causes, needs, issues, and people.

I didn’t think about this list before I started, and I now know I could continue writing for much longer than you would want to read. I’m encouraged by that. I’ll stop now and let you consider your “I don’t want to waste” list.

What have you found positive in this crisis that you don’t want to waste?

wading through weariness

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Image Credit: Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

I took a wonderful vacation week with my family. We spent most of the time outdoors in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The minimal phone and internet contact refreshed my soul.

When I came home, I was grumpy for days. At first, I couldn’t figure out why when the time away had been so restful. Then I recognized reality had hit me hard as soon as I walked back in the door.

Illness and lonely deaths. Financial struggles. Storms and disasters. Injustice and hatred. Uncertainties. Limitations.

Anger. Discouragement. Fear. Desperation. Depression. The emotions wear me down.

So, I went back to thinking about perseverance, resilience, how to survive thrive in these crazy times. I went back – again – to some of the basics and am attempting to live them out. Maybe they will help you too.

  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
    Eat healthy foods. Drink plenty of water. Exercise. Sleep enough. 
    I know. I know. We get tired of hearing this, but these elements are proven powerful for our well-being. It is a constant battle, but anything we can do to strengthen these habits will help us get through the hard times. It’s true.
  • ACCEPT THE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
    We are living through a never-before, stress-filled event that impacts every area of our lives. There are no quick cures and no easy answers. Recognize the emotions stirred up are real and valid and unpredictable and continuous. They WILL accompany us. There is no reason to layer self-criticism, shame, or condemnation on top of what is already a heavy burden.

Whatever amount of acceptance for human messiness (impatience, blahs, lack of productivity, weight gain) you have given yourself – it is not enough! ~ Juliet Funt


  • SHARE HONESTLY 
    Safe and trusted friends and family can be an essential source of comfort, encouragement, and motivation when we can’t come up with those ourselves. It takes humility and courage to admit that we aren’t doing well and need help, but I have received enthusiastic, willing, even grateful-for-being-asked responses. Don’t isolate or hide your problems. We need each other.
  • PRAY AND JOURNAL
    I’ve learned to start each day with my hands open and a simple prayer asking God to show me what He wants me to do that day. I’m not great at it, but journaling (thoughts, day’s happenings, gratefulness) also has a way of giving me perspective and purpose in dreary days.
  • TAKE TIME FOR THINGS YOU LOVE
    For me, this means getting outdoors – getting glimpses of God’s unique animal and plant creations near our home. I’ve also taken up small-space gardening – herbs, tomatoes, and butterfly-attracting flowers. It does not have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Small amounts of joy give energy to combat weariness.
  • LEAVE SOME SPACE
    As we go along, we learn how this new normal is affecting us. Back-to-back Zoom meetings are exhausting – we need less screen time, breaks between sessions, and Zoom-free days. Remember, we cannot do all things. Each “yes” to one thing is a “no” to something else. Say “yes” and “no” thoughtfully and intentionally.

I know the pandemic and its effects are dragging on longer than we anticipated. The weariness of the continual stressors drags us down. I write this for myself and with a hopeful prayer that it will give you lift for the days ahead.

If you feel comfortable, please let me know in the comments how you are doing. And if you have another helpful reminder for us, please share that too. 

the three-quarter principle

4 drinks

Images: Alice Pasqual, Carolyn V, Mazniha Mohd Ali, Jack Carter – Unsplash

I come from a family of five children. I’ve served in people-focused work for most of my life. It didn’t take me long to figure out that other people are very different from me.

I’m not proud to admit that for a lot of those years, the varied preferences, opinions, and ways of doing things often caused me frustration, irritation, impatience, and at times, a critical demand that others yielded to what I wanted.

In college, I was exposed to my first personality assessment and began to grow in my self-awareness. Later, as part of my job and my work in leadership development, I have used a lot of those tools. I have gained further insights into my personality, my learning and work styles, and some of my core motivations. And I’ve learned about others also.

Not everyone is just like me.

Some assessments are quite complex and differentiate a multitude of variations with subtle and scaled distinctions. The most simplistic assessments usually group people into four quadrants.

From those assessments, my eyes opened to the fact that, across that four-quadrant diagonal, some individuals would strongly desire or appreciate ways of doing things that were the complete opposite of my values and perspective. 

In a simple four-quadrant model,
my preferences only occupy one-fourth of the possibilities.

In other words, when I get to do things my way, three-fourths of the other people in the room are likely giving up their preferred option. 

This realization has helped me to consider life through a new filter. Instead of entering a situation and hoping that I enjoy everything about the experience, I am learning to be satisfied if I enjoy twenty-five percent. I now recognize that the other seventy-five percent of the experience – that would not have been my preference – has been quite enjoyable for the other people there.

This consideration has changed the way I think about almost everything. I do not want my selfishness to rob others of their opportunity for satisfaction. When I enter a life or work setting, I try to remember that it is not all about me. When I humbly desire that other participants feel comfortable and enjoy their experience also, then my twenty-five percent satisfaction rate becomes less a complaint and more a success.

Today, I say that if I like the majority of what is happening around me, then I am missing out – missing out on the richness of voices and ideas and options that complement and challenge mine. I am missing out on creative, relevant, and necessary thoughts, timings, and styles that I would not discover by myself. I miss out on the full beautify and uniqueness of God’s wisdom and design.

I am so much less without the other seventy-five percent. I am not willing to miss out on that richness, even if it means a bit of discomfort for me.

What helps you welcome diversity in your life? 

en esto a largo plazo

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Image credit: David Marcu on Unsplash

Abre la cuidad. Ciérrela otra vez. Usa una máscara. El virus COVID es una broma.

No importa lo que creamos al respecto, no cabe duda de que el COVID-19 ha cambiado nuestras vidas para siempre. Continúa afectando nuestra existencia diaria y nuestros planes para el futuro. Incluso aún si no estamos dispuestos a hacer ajustes en la vida personal, el virus inevitablemente afectará a nuestra familia y a los amigos en su salud (física, emocional, mental), seguridad laboral, acceso a viajar, celebraciones o en algún otro aspecto. Es inevitable.

Mi familia y los amigos han sufrido de muchas maneras y me he sentido preocupada, triste, frustrada, aislada, limitada y muchas emociones más durante los últimos meses.

Esto no terminará pronto.

Entonces, ¿qué hacemos ahora? ¿Cómo nos preparamos para la nueva realidad? ¿Cómo encontramos fuerza para los efectos – emocionales, físicas, relacionales, espirituales – de esta pandemia a largo plazo?

CUIDADO PERSONAL

Esta es la primera área que muchos expertos mencionan. Reconozco la necesidad de volver a estos conceptos básicos una y otra vez. Beber agua suficiente. Comer menos comida rápida. Salir afuera. Hacer ejercicio. Dormir suficiente. De vez en cuando, hacer algo especial que disfrutes. Orar.

Nuestros cuerpos no funcionan bajo el estrés por mucho tiempo sin pagar el precio. No podemos correr este maratón con la salud física, los pensamientos claros y los procesos creativos necesarios sin una nutrición y los cuidados adecuados.

RELACIONES

Tampoco estamos creados para vivir solos. Nos necesitamos unos a los otros, tanto por el amor, el consuelo, el disfrutar de actividades juntos, etc., como también para que nos enseñen, nos exponan a diferentes perspectivas, nos desafien y nos muestren la esencia completa de Dios. No podemos rodearnos solo de aquellos que son similares a nosotros o perdemos partes esenciales de la imagen completa de la humanidad.

Estos son días perfectos para abrir nuestras mentes con humildad, respeto y auténtidad y también expandir nuestras conversaciones para incluir diferentes perspectivas, fuentes de información y opiniones. Necesitamos una diversidad de ideas excelentes para construir juntos las mejoras y los cambios que requiere nuestro mundo futuro.

HACER UNA CONTRIBUCIÓN POSITIVA

Muchos necesitan ayuda hoy. En todo el mundo, muchos niños tienen hambre y carecen de agua limpia. Las víctimas del tráfico humano y los falsamente acusados ​​esperan la libertad. Los desastres naturales y las corporaciones poco éticas causan estragos en nuestro medio ambiente. La violencia roba vidas inocentes. La gente muere sin perdón y sin esperanza eterna.

Mucho que hacer. Tantos lugares donde las personas compasivas, enérgicas, sacrificadas y comprometidas pueden marcar la diferencia mediante el uso de sus habilidades, recursos financieros, trabajo en red, sean cuales sean los dones que tienen para ofrecer.

Cuando no sabemos qué hacer, podemos hacer preguntas. Podemos investigar. Podemos aprender. Podemos unirnos si tenemos miedo de actuar solos. Incluso cuando no tenemos mucho, cada poco que ofrecemos es una bendición.

Estamos en esto a largo plazo. No te canses. No te rindas. Necesitamos estar lo más saludables posible para que también podamos amar y apoyar a los demás en el camino.

¿Cómo te mantienes bien y estable durante estos tiempos difíciles?¿Cómo estás ayudando a los demás?

in this for the long haul

mountain run david-marcu-8TJbrQGKFyU-unsplash

Image credit: David Marcu on Unsplash

Open up. Close down. Wear a mask. COVID is a joke.

No matter what we believe about all of it, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our lives forever. It continues to affect our daily existence and our future planning. Even if we are unwilling to make personal life adjustments, the virus will inevitably impact our family and our friends in their health (physical, emotional, mental), job security, travel, celebrations, or in some other aspect. It is unavoidable.

My family and friends have suffered in numerous ways, and I have felt worried, sad, frustrated, isolated, limited, and so many more emotions during the last months.

This won’t be over any time soon.

So what do we do now? How do we prepare for the new reality? How do we find strength – emotional, physical, relational, spiritual – for the long-term effects of this pandemic?

SELF-CARE

This is the first area many experts mention. I recognize the need to come back to these basics again and again. Drink enough water. Eat less junk. Go outside. Exercise. Get enough good hours of sleep. Do a little something special you enjoy every so often. Pray.

Our bodies do not function for long periods under stress without paying the price. We cannot run this marathon with necessary physical health, clear thoughts, and creative processes without proper nutrition and care.

RELATIONSHIPS

We are also not created to live alone. We need each other – both for love, comfort, enjoying activities together, etc., and also to teach us, expose us to different ways, challenge us, and display to us the full essence of God. We cannot surround ourselves only with those who are like us, or we miss essential parts of the full image of humanity.

These are perfect days to humbly, respectfully, and authentically open our minds and expand our conversations to include many different perspectives, sources of information, and opinions. We need a diversity of excellent ideas to build together towards improvements and pivots for our future world.

MAKE A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION

Many require help today. All over the globe, children are hungry and lack clean water. Trafficking victims and falsely accused await freedom. Natural disasters and unethical corporations wreak havoc on our environment. Violence steals innocent lives. People die without forgiveness and eternal hope.

So much to do. So many places where compassionate, energetic, sacrificial, committed people can make a difference by using their skills, financial resources, networking – whatever gifts they have to offer.

When we don’t know what to do, we can ask questions. We can research. We can learn. We can join together if we are fearful of acting alone. Even when we do not have much, every little bit we offer is a blessing.

We are in this for the long haul. Don’t get weary. Don’t give up. We need to be as healthy as we can be so that we can also love and support others along the way. 

How are you staying well and grounded during these trying times? How are you helping others?

searching for “both-and”

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El Capitan, Yosemite National Park – Photo credit: Riccardo Oliva – Unsplash

The other day my team was considering options that could help our co-workers all around the world continue to grow in authentic and dynamic faith, endure and persevere in times of suffering, and learn and thrive in community. As I listened and evaluated the suggestions, all I could think to say was… “Yes. And yes. And yes. And yes”.

It turns out we could likely use all of those options. Each particular need might vary depending on the situation, the personality, the timing, etc., but realistically, so many of the ideas were helpful and valid and worth offering. We didn’t need to eliminate one for the other. If we implement a variety of options, it will benefit more people.

After spending several weeks heart-broken and discouraged by the vast, complex, emotionally-charged challenges facing our world today, reflecting on that exercise has given me some hope. 

I am reminded today that most things are not “either-or” situations.

We are not playing a zero-sum game.

One doesn’t have to lose for others to win. We achieve more when we find “win-win” options. There is undisputed power in teamwork and shared best practices and collaboration involving a diversity of opinions and experiences and skills. We are amazingly creative, innovative, capable, productive people – when we work together.

I watched two documentaries this weekend about Eliud Kipchoge, who has run a previously-considered-impossible sub-two-hour marathon time, and Alex Honnold, who free-solo-climbed (no ropes or protective gear!) the 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Both incredibly inspirational triumphs of human accomplishment.

Although they achieved individual feats, neither of the two extraordinary athletes I learned about this week succeeded alone. They both had mentors, friends, and abundant input from others with unique ideas and specialties. 

Their stories have moved me from agonizingly searching for one correct answer or one side to join, to breathing more deeply and feeling more encouraged as I view possibilities from the “both-and” perspective.

I believe we can care for each other, find cures, and survive with resilience – if we learn with and from each other, rather than judging and attacking before listening. We can correct our mistakes, forgive each other, and find better solutions – if we do it together, rather than separating ourselves into rival camps who cannot speak to each other civilly.

Rather than arguing that one solution inevitably rules out another, I am beginning the search for how to answer with “Yes. And yes. And yes”. I am not looking for 100% agreement – we’ll never have that. We will most likely need many of the options presented and some still-unknown-to-us-today combinations or inventions.

I am working hard to listen respectfully to many differing opinions and push through the anger, disrespect, and unilateral demands to identify the valid, helpful elements of truth in each perspective. This is not easy to do. Putting aside my selfishness, self-defense, fears, and hurts to listen intentionally, admit my errors, and change is very difficult work, but I believe it is an essential effort.

I am praying that many other people will offer their willing, compassionate hearts and humble, teachable minds to work together for “both-and” solutions and hope. Maybe you are one of those people.

How do you sort through disparate ideas? What helps you discover “both-and” possibilities?

it’s complicated

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Image Credit: Steve Johnson on Unsplash

With Father’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot these past few days. I remember that he gave me a love for the outdoors and classical music, a deeply engrained hard-work ethic, and some infamous, not-always-healthy but stuck-in-my-head, life mottos like: “If you want it done right, do it yourself”. I also remember him saying often, especially near the end of his life, “It’s complicated”.

Back in the day, when he said “It’s complicated”, I would roll my eyes and oh-so-smartly think he was just making an excuse for not doing what I hoped he would do.

I’m afraid it has been too easy for me to judge others
before I have walked in their shoes.

I’ve noticed lately that I now say, “It’s complicated” all. the. time.

Life really is complicated.

And complex. And messy. And so much more nuanced and interwoven and painful and tangled than I ever imagined. If I didn’t know it before, the last few months of COVID-19 world implications and the newly ignited and overdue topic of racial inequality have made the complications run unstoppable through my head and my heart.

No matter what opinion or idea or suggestion or demand that surfaces, there is always a passionately presented contrary perspective. For some of those issues, whether it has to do with social isolation or correcting injustices, I have a clear conviction and satisfactory action steps in my mind.

On the other hand, there are so many topics, plans, and “We need to do this!” answers to our problems that feel not as simplistic as they appear in the heat of the moment. And I struggle with the complexity. One approach that will help some people would end up hurting others. One budget adjustment would benefit part of the community but compound problems in another area. People are created in the image of God, defined by much more than their mistakes, and somehow also accountable for harms that they inflict, even without the intent. It’s complicated.

I have recently experienced (again) that I still carry emotional baggage from my childhood that shows up uninvited into my present tense interactions with the people I love – and causes them pain. I have no desire to do that. I hope that I have grown past that, but it still happens. 

I work hard to communicate clearly, lovingly, and with empathy and grace to others, but I continue to hurt people’s feelings and cause misunderstandings. Although I want to exemplify asking powerful questions and demonstrating sincere curiosity for others, I too often end up pushing for my agenda, speaking my opinion as if it were firm and factual, and talking over others before they can say what they think. I wish I didn’t do that, but I do.

And so I continue to admit my mistakes, my selfishness, my immaturities, and my gaps and ask for forgiveness and grace from others. I keep leaning into difficult conversations and asking questions – some good ones, some that show my ignorance – with a willing attempt to sort through the “It’s complicated” to find some real solutions to deep problems. And as I hope to receive grace from others for my obvious imperfections, I press on to offer that same grace and love to others, no matter their point of view or contrary idea or even their expressed anger and displeasure with me. My Dad was right.

It’s complicated. 

Relationships, systems, history… they are complicated. And it’s worth it for us to care well for others and ourselves. To speak and act with kindness. To work together to fix things that are messed up. To bring hope to our shared future. To be Jesus’ light of love to others. Hatred, bullying, hurt-for-hurt is not the way. It’s not easy, but courageously pursuing truth and healing – with love – is our only option. 


What are some things you do to handle this complicated life of ours?