We’ve all experienced moments of feeling like our pain is being “put into perspective” when other people’s pain is exposed to us. Whether it comes from witnessing horrible tragedies on the news or in walking with our friends through unimaginable circumstances, you’ve probably, like me, sighed in the heaviness of it all and thought something along the lines of “man, the stuff I go through is so petty in comparison to this.”
Every day we tread into unknown territory hoping to catch a glimpse of what is and what’s to come. We spend tireless hours trying to ensure our success or predict how our stories will unfold, and while ambitions indeed help us move forward, we cannot control what we will encounter. We don’t always know what will or won’t happen for us. But I think if we keep moving forward in hope and letting God surprise us along the way, this whole messy-long-beautiful-hike ends up being worth it.
You can seek and receive advice, read up and listen in, pray for guidance—and all these things surely help. But your choices are uniquely yours. And spoiler alert: even when you avoid making a choice, you are making a choice. Probably a bad one. So in order to really develop our true identities and giftings, we have to learn to face the unknown and make choices that don’t fit inside the formulas and “right-or-wrong” mentality we’re taught to cling to as children.
I think we have a lot to learn from trees. I don’t say start with that to segue into some sort of environmentalist stand, I just think it’s true. It seems like there are few things, if any, that God hasn’t planted around us to teach us something good about who he is.
We all need activities that require our presence and time in order to enjoy them, that remind us we aren’t slaves to unanswered emails or texts, to remind us there’s something beautiful to be said about the moments we share in the absence of high action but in presence of good company.
In all the rushing and working ahead, we’re often left exhausted and uninspired. The effort to save time becomes soul sucking and we become a lot more like machines and lot less like the available people we’re trying to become. Next time you find yourself taking a shortcut, buying in bulk or rushing through life, ask what it’s going to afford you. Are you really going to use that saved time as accountability to do something life giving or are you just piling more on and wearing yourself out?
Vulnerability is a hot topic right now, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Not only have I realized I have a lot to work on, but I’ve become more aware and thankful for the people in my life who model vulnerability well. But I’ve also learned there are people who model vulnerability poorly. Here’s what I mean..
I want people to know my friend Carolyn is amazing at her job, but more than that, I want people to know the stuff inside her that makes her a great friend. The stuff that makes you want to stand by her at a party, in hopes that her thoughtful observations and quick wit rub might off on you. Let’s stop introducing the people we love based solely on what they do, who they cash their checks from, or what’s on their twitter profiles. Let’s instead start reminding them of who they are.
Last week I made the trek to visit my niece and nephews in Oregon. Piper, the oldest, turned 5 years old not too long ago and much like I was at her age, she’s fearless. One afternoon, we were playing the infamous airplane game, in which I lay on my back and balance Piper on my feet while she “flies.” I was holding onto her hands to keep her from losing balance and falling when she looked down at me and said, “Aunt Cadence, don’t hold my hand! I like scary things.”
When we stay so distracted that we lose sight of others, forgetting to pay attention to their needs, or are no longer looking to see where God’s at in our lives, we hurt. We hurt ourselves and we hurt other people, often the people we care about most.