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Security and Surrender in the Traffic Lanes of Life

When I lived in Manila, I learned very quickly that some of the things that appeared the same were actually very, very different.  I could tell you some pretty funny and embarrassing stories, but let me just give you a few examples:

Pets: it seems most everyone in the US has a pet: cats, dogs, and small rodents are all popular choices.  People in Manila had pets too -- but their dogs were guard dogs, the rodents weren't invited or named, and cats were kept around to dispose of the rodents... the only real "pet" people kept in the same way we keep cats and dogs were CHICKENS.  It wasn't uncommon to board public transportation and have people bringing chickens on and off with them.  Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Spaghetti -- same name for the same concept in both places.  In the US, this is a SAVORY dish of tomatoes, meat, and noodles.  In Manila, it's SWEET -- like a dessert.  Definitely a shock to one's palate when you order it without knowing the differen…
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Believe You Belong

Do you believe that you belong?

I mean, when you look at your life: your social circles, your co-workers, the daily grind that you live -- do you fit in?  Or, when you wake up every day, do you constantly think through questions like,

What will so-and-so think?
What if I make this person mad?
Were they just talking about me?  Did I do something wrong?
Should I tell so-and-so about this situation or would it hurt our friendship?
I couldn't tell the whole truth -- they'd never welcome me back if they really knew...

Honestly, I've spent more years of my life trying to fit in than I care to admit.  I believed lies that said I had to look a certain way, act a certain way, be friends with these people, go to that school, know whose opinion matters, achieve X Y and Z in life... and what I've learned is that this list is endless.  There will always be more people to impress, more things to learn, more opinions to honor.

When I was in 5th grade, I remember being so sick of bein…

Faith, Hope, Love

One benefit of being a young professional who lives alone is that I have a lot of time to think. I mean, really sit and process and ask questions about bigger things than just "what's for dinner?"  Don't get me wrong -- I have hobbies, but sometimes an idea just comes to me that requires a bit more pondering.  Here are the questions I'm wrestling with this week:

Where does hope come from?  How does hope interact with faith?  And where is love in all of this?

When people talk about hope, often it's in a positive way.  We sometimes use it as a synonym for faith, but I think the two are different.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, "FAITH is confidence in what we HOPE for and assurance about what we do not see."  So, hope has to come before faith otherwise faith would be directionless, but where does it come from?  And, is it possible for hope to be a bad thing?  Like, what about when people say, "Oh, don't get your hopes up" or "we were o…

Already Beloved, Not Yet Pursued

Friends -- for what it's worth, this is as much for me as it may be for anyone else.  Not an expert, just an introvert with some thoughts...

The longer and deeper I come to know Jesus, the more truth I see to the phrase "already but not yet."  In the world of theology, we use this phrase to talk about how Jesus has already come to earth, but God is not yet finished revealing Himself to us.  Someday, Jesus will come back and everything will be known and seen for what it is in the eyes of God.  But for now, we live in an awkward in-between: already knowing more is coming, but not yet experiencing it.

On Valentine's Day, many of us live the "already but not yet" reality relationally: already dating, not yet engaged; already engaged, not yet married; already married, not yet parents; already parents, not yet sleeping through the night. ;)  There's always a next step -- always something more, always something missing.

But for those of us spending today feeli…

Faith vs Fear

Do you ever feel like sometimes a word or song is following you?  Everywhere you go, it pops up in conversations, on the radio, in emails, and in most cases there's no link between the sources.  Over the last year, the words faith and trust have been in front of me in countless places.  Usually when this happens, it's God's way of trying to get my attention.  Often, it leads to one particular moment where everything connects and I see why that word or song was important.

This year, trust -- or the practice of good faith -- is something God and I have been walking and talking about.  I've decided trust is a superpower... I don't know where it comes from but when it's present in a relationship, amazing things happen that were never possible before.  I am fortunate to have an unprecedented number of really good and trust-filled friendships in my life at the moment and every one of them is causing me to wonder why trust is so hard to just have.  Why aren't we m…