Hearing God’s Voice

Most often when God leads me it’s very subtle and I’m not aware it’s happening.  I’m jealous of the people who hear audible voices, have visions, dream dreams, who hear a consistent theme through songs, shows, conversations, etc.  I pray, I read my Bible I ask for advice, and then I make a good decision.  Every now and them I’m sure I need to say something or do something or I’m inspired to make a phone call or share my thoughts with a friend.  I’m always cautious to attribute this to God but often the fruit of these acts makes me think maybe it was from him.

Thankfully, I am not alone.

My friend, Michelle told me a story tonight.  On Sunday night she called her son into her room while she was folding laundry and asked about a friend of his whose mother is struggling with cancer.  She mentioned to her son how sad it would be if his friend’s mom passed away without having the opportunity to know Jesus and then asked if his friend’s family went to church anywhere. [pause:  Michelle has a huge heart, is very thoughtful and caring, she is committed to Jesus, but these kinds of words don’t usually come out of her mouth in this way]  When he said that he didn’t think so she suggested maybe he should invite him to youth group.  On Monday he invited his friend.  On Wednesday he went to youth group…and wanted to stay longer.  Tonight he came and served at a community outreach.  On Sunday he’s planning to come to church.

She said she knew where the words came from…the Holy Spirit…but that she’s not sure how because she didn’t hear God talking to her.  Still, she knew there was more to what she was saying than she would normally say herself.  She may not be sure how it happened, but she’s sure it did.

We ask for him to speak and lead, we obey when we’re sure it’s him and we make the best decisions we can along the way and are sometimes surprised when he leads without us realizing it.

Leading Blindly

Today I co-taught a pre-release class in a men’s prison.  It was the first class I have taught in prison.  It will not be the last.

It’s funny to me that a large part of the reason I am co-teaching this particular class is because my friend and co-teacher didn’t feel comfortable doing this new thing alone. She is extremely capable and will do great once she feels comfortable (and then we will follow our plan and I will abandon her).  I don’t feel particularly called to this class at this time, but I do feel called to empower others for ministry to the vulnerable so I know that I am exactly where I need to be.

And then I thought about the church services the team from my church lead at the county jail a couple months ago.  I had not set foot in the jail before planning the church service and leading my team of 8 to lead the inmates in worship and teaching. I didn’t know what it looked like, I just jumped in and pulled others along with me.

It’s not that I had no idea what I was doing.  I teach (college students) on a regular basis, I prepared and lead services for Celebrate Recovery for over a year, and through various recovery ministries I’ve met and befriended a large number of people with complicated backgrounds.  So, with the exception of the one guy on our jail ministry team who had been incarcerated previously, I am the most knowledgeable/experienced person on the team about our ministry context but I am by no means a seasoned pro and I’d still never lead a church service in a jail or taught in a prison until a couple months ago.

I love drawing people deeper into ministry, but I don’t particularly like leading blindly.  I’d rather know and understand the context and feel completely comfortable before slowly introducing others.  As a leader you don’t always have the luxury of knowing the road ahead or even understanding terrain you’re currently on.  So you learn as much as you can, pray as much as you can, and go where God guides.

Things I don’t like: June 24th Edition

I do not like when I’m planning to move on Friday and the home I’m moving to gets sold on Monday so I can’t really live there anymore.

I do not like the stress that kind of uncertainty brings to my home.

I do not like having a cold in June.

I do not like how much of a gloomy cloud I am to those around me.

do like how helpful and thoughtful and supportive my online community and church community have been and I like most of their suggestion.

do like funny TV shows that make me laugh and make everything seem a little better.

do like my friends who don’t feel the need to fix everything or make it seem alright.

I do not like being in this situation.

I do not like having to wait to see how this all works out.

But it will.  Because it always does.

a thesis pep talk

I am convinced that degrees are not awarded to the smartest people. While you do have to have some level of intelligence to get an advanced degree, intelligence is not enough. Advanced degrees are awarded to the people who are stupidly persistent and have chosen to make their degree a priority.

You have to be willing to get up every day and waste hours upon hours finding the right resources. You need to type letter after letter, word after word, and footnote after footnote. You have to edit and then edit again. Then edit again. You have to fight boredom and insecurity.   You have to have courage to cut entire sections that you’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into because those sections, while necessary for developing your thinking, are not necessary for developing your argument. You have to be willing to focus on things that don’t have immediately application for your everyday life. Even if you chose well enough to have a topic that does have real life application for you or others, it’s value is probably disproportionately low compared to the hours upon hours that you will spend reading, writing and wrestling with words, concepts and readers to get everything just right.

Then, not only will you be “graded” on your project based on whether people liked it or not, found it useful or not, but you will be literally graded on it. One person, or a few people, will determine if your project is good enough. Your peers, mentors, potential colleagues (I say potential because the quality of your project may determine if they’ll ever allow you to work along side them) will read, critique and judge your work and they will be judging you. And, unless you’re one of those people who are lucky enough to be overconfident, this is a terrifying place to be.

And so, I sit today, the day I have set aside to work on my thesis (my second draft is due in less than a week), paralyzed by the magnitude of what lays before me. As much as I tell myself I just need to pass, I just need to get this done, I just need to get this degree so I can move on, I want to do so well so badly. My desire to do well, my inability to judge the quality of my own work, and the fact that I really like approval and sometimes feel like a fraud is crushing me.

My ability to succeed in this venture seems to be based less on my actual intelligence and more on my ability to manage my emotions and my fear and my ability to be persistent when dealing with the overwhelming combination of big ideas and small formatting details and I do not want to deal with those things today; I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

I know I will graduate, I will finish this degree, I will complete my thesis and I will probably even make significant progress on it today. It’s hard to manage these emotions right now but I’ve done it before. I will do it again. And I will keep moving forward. I’ve submitted my graduation paperwork, I’ve got deadlines for turning in my thesis drafts and paying my grad fees. The end is in sight. And I will get there, not because I’m smarter than anyone one else but because I will stupidly persist and will keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get there.


What Does Health Look Like?

I like being productive and checking things off lists.  Lounging around and watching TV all day (unless I’m sick or so stressed out that I’m avoiding life) leaves me feeling very anxious and unhappy.  I used to think this need to accomplish things was inherently unhealthy and, while it certainly can be, I’m coming to believe that it is, more likely, inherently a good thing even if it is a good thing that can go bad quickly.

I know I struggle with overcommitment.  It’s one of the most damaging things in my life and relationships.  I’m learning how to set boundaries, evaluate opportunities and say, “no” to the wrong things so I can say, “yes!” to the right things.

And I now know when I’m unhealthy (I didn’t always know this.  I used to think “unhealthy” was normal).  I tend to overeat when I’m overcommitted and stressed so my weight goes up.  I tend to get frustrated when my husband isn’t supporting everything I’m doing and picking up all of my slack all of the time (because when I’m unhealthy, I think that’s his job). I wake up swearing.  Seriously, the first words in my internal dialog would make a lot of people blush–that’s actually one of the easiest indicators of unhealthiness to identify because it’s so obvious.

I am not as healthy as I want to be right now.  But because I don’t know what restorative rest looks like for someone who likes accomplishing things and because most things that contribute to health involve more committing, I feel stuck.  So before I try to figure out how to get healthy, I spent some time this weekend thinking about what healthy looks like for me.

Some of the things were obvious.  When I’m physically healthy, I weigh a “healthy” amount, I can jog a certain distance and I’m somewhat flexible.  Emotional/mental health was a little more challenging to figure out but this is what I came up with:

1) I wake up being thankful (not swearing).  This is not something I try to do, it’s just something that I notice happens when I’m healthy.  I literally wake up with my internal dialog listing off things that I’m thankful for.  Some of it’s serious and some is ridiculous, “Jesus, thank you for the blue flowers on my curtains, and that the last number I saw on the clock last night was 1:11 and that my daughter is healthy.  And thank you for m&m’s and that I like my job…” My early morning internal dialog is a window into my soul.

2) My expectations of my husband are drastically reduced (read: reasonable). He’s supportive and encouraging but I’m not expecting him to constantly be picking up the pieces that have dropped that I never should have been carrying in the first place.  Basically, I expect him to be a partner, not an enabler.  He will still pick up pieces occasionally, but his full time job is not cleaning up my mess.  I’m afraid you’re going to read this wrong.  I have one of the best husbands in the world (really, he’s great, ask anyone who knows him) and one of the things that makes him so great is that he sets healthy but flexible boundaries.  When I’m healthy I respect that he does this when I am unhealthy I do not.

3) I read blog posts and journal articles all the way through.  When I’m overwhelmed, I want to read, but can’t focus without getting agitated so I skim and don’t really engage with what I’m reading.  I know I’m doing better when I read something thoroughly then take time to chew on it.

4) I can journal.  If there’s too much going on I don’t know where to start and something within me blocks me from opening up the tidal waver that would come if I started writing. When I’m healthy, I can experience my emotions and process through things as they come, even if they’re not pleasant.

5) I want to (and have time to) be spontaneously creative. This can be expressed in a variety of ways: making fun food, writing, rearranging rooms, painting, creating with my daughter or…

6) I enjoy my relationships.  When I’m unhealthy I engage in relationships by choice, because I know it’s good for me and my friends and because I’m supposed to.  When I’m healthy I want to be with the people I love.

These are the indicators of health; they are not things I can do to become healthy.  And I can strive toward health…by not striving…which I’m not quite sure how to do yet.  But at least I have some idea of what I’m striving-not-striving toward so I will know when I get there.  Now I just need to figure out how to get there.

Pondering Patriarchy in the Primeval and Noahic Blessings

I’m playing with the idea that God’s blessing to Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:1 (which is a direct quote of his blessing to Adam and Eve in 1:28) is an indication that patriarchy has entered the picture when we don’t see it in the original design.  The blessing was originally given to humanity, “male and female” (1:27) and is now given to men (as representatives of their families?). Which begs the question, is God an active participant in patriarchy by addressing only Noah and his sons, by condescending to culture, or is just evidence of selective details written by an author steeped in patriarchy?

What do you think?

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On Receiving Charity in the Form of a Convertible


“I’m afraid to get my hair cut or go on a date with my husband,” I confided in a friend of mine. She smiled knowingly and laughed with me at the reality and absurdity of the situation.

Being the recipient of charity from within our church has been an awkward but important experience for me. Last week I found out that my car (the reliable car that I took out a small but manageable loan five months ago for my new job as a pastor at the church) is going to need about $2,000 in repairs. My husband and I have done a pretty good job at building up our emergency fund to $1,000 but $1,000 isn’t that useful when it’s only half of what we need.

Last Monday when I dropped the car off at the mechanic, he warned us that it might be a gasket issue. 8 hours later, when I picked it up, he confirmed that it was. I don’t really know what gaskets are, or what they do, but I know they’re critical for keeping your car running and not overheating and that they’re buried deep within in the engine and repairs cost about $1,800-2,000 because of labor.

And so I cried. I hate that I cried but that’s what I do with overwhelming car problems and, for me, most car problems are overwhelming. And then I prayed. I prayed really pious (and honest) prayers that God would be glorified in the midst of this crappiness and that he’d help us figure out what was next

Within an hour and a half of getting the news (and crying) the pastor in charge of benevolence at our church walked me out the church parking lot and showed me a car that had recently been donated to the church. It was a 2005 Sebring convertible (a maroon Michael Scott car). He said we could have it and that we could either use it or sell it and use the selling price to repair our Subaru. I thanked him, told him that I’d talk to my husband and let him know within the next day or two, tried to keep my emotions together and headed inside to another meeting.

Here are my honest thoughts about this process is no particular order.

1. It’s just not fun being the one who needs help. It’s not fun to be in your mid-thirties, to be relatively responsible with your money and still struggling with finances. My husband and I have both chosen careers that don’t pay well and don’t offer a strong hope of ever paying well. We’re not in poverty; we have everything we need (except, apparently, the ability to fix our car) and we’ve been getting better at building financial margin. It is disheartening when that financial margin is repeatedly exhausted with unexpected car repairs, medical bills and other financial surprises.

2. I’ve heard that if you can’t accept charity when you need it then you’re probably judging those you try to give charity to without realizing it. If I can dish it but I can’t take it then I’m probably a hypocrite. If I’m judging myself for needing and accepting help, I’m probably judging those I offer help to whether I realize it or not. This is one of the main reasons I believe I have to be okay with receiving this gracious gift of a car even though it makes me uncomfortable.

3. A convertible seems so over the top. The convertible is worth about the same as our (fixed) Subaru is but no one makes jokes about you being all rich and fancy with a 2003 Subaru Forrester. And we have already gotten (lovingly) teased about “upgrading” to a convertible and becoming snooty.

4. There are so many people who need money and a car more than I do. The worst was when we went to pick up the car and ran into a couple of friends. One had just been ripped off in a business transaction and had dropped about $1000 into his own car. The other had recently lost her job and has debt that she’s working to pay off. I don’t know if they needed it more than we did, but they certainly could have used it! Why should I get this blessing when so many other people are struggling to make ends meet? I think this is like survivor’s guilt…I’ll call it blessing guilt. I know that there will always be people better and worse off than more, more and less qualified than me, but it still feels awkward. I have not yet figured out how to reconcile this.

5. I’m afraid of being pitied (and/or judged). I’m a pastor at the church that gave us the car. I’m pretty sure everyone on staff knows that someone donated the Sebring to the church (we all saw it parked in the small parking lot for a week or two and wondered whose car it was) so if they see me driving it then they’ll know it was given to me. Then they’ll wonder why I got it and they’ll assume, rightly, that we were struggling financially and then they might pity us. And being pitied is not fun. They may not actually pity us or judge us because they’re awesome, nice people, but these are my fears. Because of these fears, I’m tempted to drive our ancient Volvo to work and let my husband drive the Sebring. But, let’s be honest, he probably won’t mind driving a convertible around for a little while.

6. I’m afraid of being watched and judged. I’m afraid someone will think, or say, “She just got her hair highlighted? Oh, my gosh, she needs to set her priorities straight. She’s clearly not poor if she can pay for that kind of pampering,” or “I just saw her post on Facebook that she went out to dinner with her husband and friends. It looked like a nice restaurant. Why does the church need to help her out?” I begin to feel like I have to justify how I’m in a bad enough financial situation that I can’t afford a $2,000 car repair but I can afford frivolous things. (I won’t even point out that spending the $25 I had in the budget for a night out would do almost nothing to close the $1,000 gap between what I have and what I need and that that $25 purchased a whole lot of sanity after a VERY busy and stressful week and that, yes, of course, we’re cutting back on expenses because our priority will be rebuilding the emergency fund and being prayerful about what we should do with the excess…or maybe I will begin to explain that because I feel like I need to justify myself, because I’m afraid of being judged).

7. I am Grateful. It took me a while to be grateful. The shock of a really expensive car repair and the frustration of dealing with car issues again had to be fully felt before I could appreciate the gracious gift that the car is to us. I was frustrated that there was a need for us to be given a car. But once that wore off, I was so grateful. I knew that God would take care of us, he always has, but to do so in such a big way in less than two hours? That’s a crazy good gift. On a related note, I’m afraid of people thinking that I’m not appropriately expressive about my gratitude.

8. Convertibles are fun. As showy as it feels to be driving around town with the top down it’s been so much fun. This weekend was unseasonable warm—sunny and mid to upper seventies—perfect convertible weather. It was super fun to drive around Art Prize with our friends, eating ice cream fully experiencing the night air.

Overall, I realize that being on the receiving end of charity brings up a lot of awkwardness and fear for me, which, I think, indicates that I struggle with pride. I’m committed to not live in this fear and to confess and repent of the pride and judgment, but I have to fight for this. I suspect many people on the receiving end of charity feel that way. I also know that owning my own neediness along with accepting the good gifts from God allows me to live a more free and untethered life. Sometimes it takes being “in need” to make us wrestle with our pride so we can come to a place of recognizing that we are not more than or less than others, that we are interdependent (God never meant for us to go it alone and he often mediates his good gifts and his grace through others), and that we all stand before God, and before each other, as equals.



When I introduce myself at Celebrate Recovery, I usually say something like, “Hello, my name is Jen. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with overcommitment and anxiety.”  Because that’s how we introduce ourselves at CR: our name, a statement that indicates our primary identity is found in our relationship with Jesus Christ and an indication of the particular issue or issues that we are struggling with or are finding victory over.

I started working with Celebrate Recovery because I wanted to help other people and, as part of the training all potential leaders have to work through a 12 Step Study.  That step study took my group over a year to complete and radically altered my inner world.  The issue I had chosen to focus on (my “hurt, habit or hang up” to use CR language) was overeating.  Pretty early into the process God revealed to me that overeating, like anxiety was a symptom of a deeper problem, overcommitment, which was itself a symptom of a more complicated problem of where I found my worth and how I determined my value.

Last night at Celebrate Recovery, Adam shared his testimony* that centered on the issue of perfectionism.  In his story, he shared how perfectionism had once served him well (as our addictions and unhealthy habits often do) by helping him to achieve in school and in relationships.  Excelling and the desire to excel are not inherently bad things; in fact, I think most of the time they are good things.  But like any good thing, it can be misused and can be come a tool of destruction in our lives and relationships.  As it did in Adam’s life and as it has in mine.

In the book, The Gifts of ImperfectionBrené Brown defines perfectionism as “the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.”  She also says, “Most perfectionists were raised being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule-following, people-pleasing, appearance, sports).  Somewhere along the way, we adopt this dangerous and debilitating belief system: I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it.  Please. Perform. Perfect.  Healthy striving is self-focused—How can I improve?  Perfectionism is other-focused—What will they think?””

So, from a young age we are trained to look to others to judge us and determine our worthiness.**  “What do they think?” becomes the standard by which our value is determined and perfectionism becomes our shield against pain as we strive to measure up to the judges in our lives.  As a result, we thrive in areas where we know there are clear standards for judgment and we try to be perfect, or at least better than everyone else in the areas where we know we can succeed.  We don’t need to be perfect in every area, as Adam pointed out, we just need to be perfect in some area. And we will sacrifice things that should not be sacrificed (important relationships, physical health, spiritual health) to pursue this perfection.

Brown points out that the opposite of living like this (shielding our brokenness with perfectionism or other destructive habits) is wholehearted living that is based on a sense of personal worth.  In what I’ve read of her work (which is only two books incompletely) she doesn’t attempt to explain where this sense of worth comes from, just that it exists in people who live wholeheartedly.

I believe that our individual worth is directly derived from God.  In Genesis 1 we see our value connected to God’s special creation of humanity in his image.  Every single person, no matter how broken or sinful, bears God’s image and so has inherent worth, value and dignity.

In his testimony last night, Adam described perfectionism as “needing people to judge me to feel okay,” and shared that part of his journey toward wholeness was realizing that God was the only judge he needed to worry about.  “God is a judge who judges on this curve called ‘grace.’”   It is not the place of other people to judge us and we are incompetent to judge ourselves.

When God judges us, he starts by determining that we are valuable.  And then he judges our works, not to earn merit or assess our value, but to help us see reality and to give us the chance to realign our heart and actions with his heart.

When I judge my value the same way God does, it enables me to face the world from a starting place of worthiness and gives me the freedom to pursue excellence without basing my value on it.  It allows me to be real and vulnerable without needing a shield to protect me from the judgment of others.

This is not to say that my interactions with others won’t shape how I feel about myself. We were designed for connection with others and our interaction with others affects and shapes us.  But this interaction needs to be tempered with truth.  And the truth is that my value is predetermined by God.  The truth is that it is okay to pursue excellence but that my worth isn’t determined by my achievement.  The truth is that God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  And based on this truth I can take one more step toward living a wholehearted life.

* Anonymity and confidentiality are part of the DNA of Celebrate Recovery (what’s said in the meeting stays in the meeting) unless permission is granted to share.  I received permission from Adam to share his quotes and parts of his story and my responses to them.

**For the record, I don’t blame the people who gave us approval or helped to foster these habits and belief systems in us.  I have learned that, often, our interactions with people and the situations we find ourselves in are only part of what shapes our experiences and our reality.  Our experiences are shaped by our inner world and our perceptions of what we experience.  Two people, placed in nearly identical situations may experience those situations radically differently because the lenses through which they filter things.  It’s why I sometimes tell people that even though my sister and I lived together growing up, we grew up in different homes with different families.  The way we processed the situations we were in as children have caused us to have had such radically different experiences in the same house that, to hear us describe our homes, you would likely think we think we grew up in different families in different homes.

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Can my Toddler be a Contributing Part of the Body of Christ?

My testimony usually involves something about how I “prayed the prayer” when I was four but I don’t remember that happening. I don’t remember becoming a Christians and I don’t remember a time before I was a Christian but I don’t doubt that I am a Christian now.

When the Bible talks about spiritual gifts, it talks about how all believers have them and how all believers need to be an active and contributing part of the body.  You need to be the best hand, eye, or whatever that God created you to be.

My understanding of spiritual gifts allows for any “natural” ability to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, as well as including the possibility of supernatural gifting.  I believe that God wants us to rely on him in our weakness but often uses us according to our strengths.  I believe our experiences and personalities often play a part in how God uses us. 

That said, I don’t think I was ever asked to be a contributing member of the body of Christ until I was in jr. high and I got to play with babies in the nursery.   In high school I taught Sunday School to my fellow teens once or twice.  But it’s not like I was asked or allowed to do those things because my leaders knew I was gifted or called.   It was more just that there was a need and I was available and responsible and so they let me do it.

I want more than that for my child. 

She’s only three now, but I want to be discovering and sharpening her strengths now.  I want her to grow up believing she has something personal and unique to offer.  If she’s compassionate, I want her to be begin thinking early about compassion from a theological perspective, I want her to see people with big hearts model setting big boundaries, I want her to know that she can and should reach out to those she sees who are hurting and to walk with her through the process of figuring out what that looks like for her.  If I see a tendency toward leadership I want to help her find ways to intentionally influence her peers and learn how to handle the responsibility of leadership, recognizing that leadership is not about her but about advancing God’s kingdom.  If she might be a good teacher, how can I develop her as a teacher, while she’s still a child?  

A few disclaimers: I don’t want to pigeon-hole her.  I know we all change and grow over time so it’s likely that I’ll seek to develop traits or characteristics that go nowhere or fan in to flame passions that are, in reality, fleeting.  I’m not suggesting we need kids to contribute in order to justify the effort we put into them or to balance the scales in any way.  I just want them to have the freedom to be who God has called them to be in the same way we seek to give adults that freedom.  And I want to give them that freedom now, not just when they’re all grown up.  I also know that God’s call on our lives and his desires for us vary depending on the seasons and circumstances in our lives, but if every part of the body is supposed to be an active part of the body, how do we help toddlers and preschoolers and elementary kids be hands, and eyes, and prophets and teachers and mercy-givers?

While I can think of a few parents who model this kind of intentionality with their kids, I have no idea what this looks like in reality for my own home or for the church.  And when I say “church” I mean the local body of believers and the programming that the local body does.   What kind of language can I use to help call out gifts in our children?  In what ways I can I be intentional to develop opportunities for kids not based on needs but based on strengths?  What in my own perception and biases needs to change in order to let kids be functioning part of the body? 

Thoughts, ideas?  I’ll take them.  I’m just beginning to think through what this looks like.

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Watering & Waiting

ImageSeveral years ago I had a little garden that consisted of five little pots on my porch step.

I planted the seeds with excitement and waited. 
And watered. 
And waited. 
And watered.  
And waited.

Finally, after a couple weeks, small green shoots poked their heads out of the soil.   Then they got taller and leaves appeared so I watered. 
And waited. 
And watered. 
And waited.

When I planted the garden, I thought it would take a few weeks until my plants had grown, filled out the pots and bloomed but it took a few months.  It did not happen as quickly as I hoped and, from day to day I saw little progress.
But I watered. 
And waited. 
And watered.  
And waited.

After several weeks, the shoots grew buds and, finally, they bloomed.  I did the right things (watering and waiting) even when I didn’t see a lot of progress. It took awhile but, eventually, my dirt pots became mini little gardens.  And my mini little gardens made me smile every time I would walk up the stairs to my front door.

I took pictures of the process because it symbolized the process of walking through so many difficult things in life.  Much like planting and waiting, there are many times when I’ve set a goal thinking it wouldn’t take long to get there and, in the midst of working toward the goal I felt like it was taking forever and I would never get to the end.

I’m in the midst of what seems like a never-ending journey toward finishing a graduate degree right now.  I’m writing a six-chapter paper and I’ve been working on the first two chapters for over a year.  Every time I sit down and research or write or edit and make some progress, I’m reminded of how much more progress needs to be made and it can be overwhelming.  Often, I want to quit.  It’s in these moments that I began to believe that people with graduate degrees (or, really, degrees or accomplishments of any kind) are not necessarily smarter (or better or stronger) than people who don’t, they just have just kept moving forward when others haven’t.  They just kept being faithful to the task, to the watering and the waiting, even when they didn’t see the progress.

So here’s to a new day.  Another word on the page.  Another series of edits.  Today I will choose to remember that if I keep doing the right things the plants will eventually, bloom and my thesis will eventually get done, even if it takes longer than I think it should.


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