Where feet may fail

G:

I’ve been listening to that latest Hillsong song a lot. You know the one. The one that goes on somewhere between 8-12 minutes. And everyone that’s singing is Australian.

OK, it’s the one about oceans and feet failing and being called to step out upon the waters into the great unknown.

I’m a good hour and a half drive from the Atlantic right now, but I feel like you have me ready to jump onto some mighty waves before the ocean reaches optimal summer temperature.

And I’m nervous.

And I’m not ready.

So instead I worry. I worry about taking the wrong step, hopping onto the wrong wave, feet failing. Sinking. Sinking into the great unknown. Where there are probably sharks.

But just like the song says, You are there in the unknown:

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown

Where feet may fail

And there I find you in the mystery

In oceans deep my faith will stand

My faith is like my arm muscles. They don’t become strong unless I put them to use. My faith isn’t going to get stronger if I’m sitting in the safety of the boat. My faith becomes stronger when I actually listen to the call to get out of the boat and step onto the waters.

You didn’t let Peter drown. I know you won’t let me either.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surround me

You’ve never failed

And you won’t stop now

Help me choose not to waste a single hour of my life worrying about the mystery of my life, because it’s not a mystery to you.

My great unknown is your great known.

So lead me. Call me out from the boat and onto the waters. Wherever that may be. Whatever the temperature. (Preferably with Flipper not Jaws.)

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever you would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Your child,

m

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4 Social Skills Social Media Has Killed

sent from my iphone

Life as a resident assistant in college would have been a lot easier if I could have texted my female resident, “I know there’s a guy in your room after visitation hours.” It would have saved me a lot of hassle from knocking on her door, coaxing a confession out of her, and then weaseling my way into her room to find him hiding in the closet behind her laundry basket.

Then again, I would have never learned how to confront situations and resolve conflict well.

In a culture where we have more screen time than face time, we’re more worried about cultivating the art of our dinner than the art of our interpersonal skills. As a result, our social media outlets are killing four major social skills:

1. Confrontation

Let’s face it—nobody enjoys confrontation. It’s uncomfortable, unnerving, and sometimes unpleasant. But Jesus didn’t call us to run away from conflict—he called us to speak the truth in love. And instead of speaking the truth in love in person, we pull up his/her Facebook page, type a message, and hit send. We hide behind the comfort of a social media wall to protect us from the awkwardness of uncomfortable face-to-face conversations. So we miss out on an opportunity for a dialogue that allows us to approach, discuss, and resolve an interpersonal issue and grow in the skill of speaking the truth in love to our neighbor.

2. Quality time

Think back to your last dinner date with a friend. Was your phone out on the table the whole time? Was your Facebook status updated to: “Grabbing some grub with Katie at Chipotle”? Did your burrito with a side of chips and guacamole become the objects of an Instagram collage? How many times did you refresh your inbox for notifications on all the likes and comments from your Facebook status? We have become so accustomed to a world of constant stimulation, we can’t seem to stop and focus on one sole activity at a time—quality time with a friend. Instead of being content with a friend’s company, we are consumed with the need to know what’s happening with all our other friends on our News Feed. If we aren’t distracted by what’s happening outside the moment, we’re too busy distracting ourselves from the moment by trying to capture it on social media.

3. Conversation

Today our thumbs get more exercise than our vocal chords. Like a premise for a dystopian novel, our generation has almost forgotten how to speak because we’re too busy typing. We’re guilty of texting instead of talking over coffee and Facebook chatting instead of conversing on the phone. It’s as if we’ve sacrificed the art of conversation for the art of convenience. We’d much rather have three-hour text conversations than face-to-face ones. Texting and Facebook chatting allow us to step away and take time to think and respond, while talking in person allows us to cultivate our skill of asking, listening, and responding in the moment.

4. Written Communication

I receive a lot of e-mails for my day job that always end in “Sent from my iPhone.” I’ve had people leave off the “o” in “Hello” along with all forms of punctuation and capitalization. We could make Auto Correct the scapegoat for a multitude of grammatical sins, but we really have ourselves to blame. In a world of 140 characters or less and abbreviations for “laughing out loud,” we’ve forgotten how to write an e-mail, spell, and clearly articulate ourselves well and professionally. We become dependent on spell check to fix our errors. We think e-mails are acceptable without any capitalization or punctuation or signing our names at the bottom. Our written skills have become like our texting skills—short, sweet, and prone to auto corrected error.

I wonder what would have happened if Jesus would have just mass texted all his teachings, Facebook posted all his parables, and started a blog with pictures of all his miracles, before and after. “Follow me by putting in your e-mail address!”

I’m thinking it wouldn’t have had the same impact as his face-to-face ministry.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PEETA MELLARK

(Because Catching Fire just came out on DVD)

Like food poisoning, my love for you came on suddenly and without forewarning.

There I was sitting in a crowded theatre of tween girls and I found myself squealing in decibels I’ve only believed to be in a gerbil’s register.

My mind quickly replayed Catching Fire staring me, in a side braid and cargo pants:

(I’m practicing my archery skills in the backyard on some soda cans I’ve lined up on a fence. I  shoot. Miss. Hit a stray cat that happens to be walking by. It shrieks, dies. My depth perception and prescription are clearly far worse than Katniss’. YOU appear.)

 YOU: It’s almost time to go. The lady with the hair the color of cotton candy is here. Her dress is made out of butterflies.

(You stare out into the woods to avoid eye contact. I notice you are carrying a bag of freshly baked cookies.)

ME AS KATNISS: I love a man that brings me baked goods.

(You continue to avoid eye contact. I clear my throat, put down my bow, walk over to you.)

ME AS KATNISS: We’re going to have to continue to act like we’re in love.

(You turn, look at me. I can see in your eyes that you weren’t pretending the first time and are hurt that you thought I was.)

ME AS KATNISS: But I won’t be acting anymore.

PEETA: But what about that other guy who is actually significantly taller than me and used to date Miley Cyrus?

ME AT KATNISS: I want to be the hummus to your Peeta.

(You give me a cookie. I eat it. You look at me. I look at you. My insides melt like a popsicle in the Sahara. Then we run away and start an underground bakery in another district.)

You should know—surely you must know—I would never, ever, date anyone shorter than me.

But yet here you are, 5’6 and I’m 5’10 and we’ll make it work.

As long as you keep bringing me baked goods WE’LL MAKE IT WORK.

cookies me volunteer

Until the next movie comes out and/or I finally read the third book to figure out what finally happens to you,

m

PS. I may or may not have a torrid relationship history with fictional characters.

Because ‘seriousness’ isn’t a fruit of the Spirit

G:

I’ve realized two things lately:

1)     This blog has become more stale than a loaf of bread three months past its expiration date

2)     Christians are way too serious

seriousness

I can blame my busyness for my blog’s dryness, but what excuse do Christians have?

We can’t blame it on our expiration dates.

For a people that have been redeemed through a sacrificial act of extravagant love, we seem to be walking around like our puppy keeps getting run over by a truck every single day.

I’m not sure if You can feel the chill all the way up there in the clouds, but it’s pretty cold down here.

If the “Frozen Chosen” were a brand of popsicles, it would probably be a lot cooler than what they actually are.

My friend went to a Christian concert the other day and told me that the band, in an effort to get everyone to loosen up and enjoy themselves, said: “We’re going to have fun tonight because seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit. Joy is.”

I know it was written on the stone tablets, “Thou shall not steal,” but I’m totally stealing that saying.

Somehow we’ve forgotten the joy. The laughter. The happiness.

Yes, there is a time and season for everything. “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecc 3:4). But we seem to be forgetting to laugh and dance.

We seem to be forgetting that seriousness isn’t a fruit of the spirit.

Like a spiritual fortune cookie, Solomon sums it up well in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I’m not sure what’s crushing our spirits as Christians. The world. Money. Jobs. Relationships. Suffering. Depression. Illness. I’m sure it’s a list that rivals an exhaustive phone book of New York City.

And I’m sure our joy-less spirits are drying up our bones.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped being a stale people and started being the ones that displayed joy amongst love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Turns out laughter may be the best medicine after all.

Your goofball,

m