What Fear Does To Us.

I'm tired of people spreading fear.

All the fear mongering is exhausting.

Fear mongering - the action of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue.

For someone who has anxiety and fights against being motivated by fear on a daily basis, I don't need others bringing my attention to what else I need to be scared of.

Seeing so much rhetoric being rooted in fear just makes me tired. It makes me wonder why we so easily buy into it. It definitely makes me question Christians swift bout of amnesia about that whole "perfect love casts out fear" idea.

We so easily forget that the Bible we say we believe in also says things like, "God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I don't think we look very loving or of sound mind these days.

Because if you claim to follow Jesus, fear should never be your motivating factor. To buy into the mantra "make America safe again" is buying into fear, it's allowing people in power to trump the truth that we should know (pun intended)...being motivated by fear is not living or loving.

This Is What Fear Does to Us...

It shuts us down. It paralyzes us. It makes us clench our fists instead of open our hands.

It makes us build walls and slam doors instead of making room at the table and remembering that everyone belongs. It ramps up our privilege and American exceptionalism to say, "Yeah...we deserve the best. We worked for this. We are entitled to this and no one else is."

Fear moves us towards hate, towards lines in the sand against us and them, and towards pointing fingers. It moves us towards crossing the street when someone in need is hurt.

Fear loves this idea of other. It drives us away from each other. It gives a reason for why we don't have to love others the way we love ourselves because "they are not like us."

Fear removes personhood and humanity from people. Fear strips our ability to see the image of God in every person we come in contact with. You can't truly believe everyone deserves to have their dignity affirmed if you're so caught up in being scared of the other that you won't engage with them.

It's easy to buy into fear. It's easy to get swept up in group think and think the way everyone else does. But are we really called to live an easy life?

Nothing easy is usually worth doing. It's a lot harder to go against the grain, to love our enemies, to stand up for the poor and live a life that Jesus modeled.

Fear creates reactions and responses in us that basically go against everything Jesus talked about.

Fear makes us collapse into ourselves and look inward instead of outward. It cuts us off from generosity and empathy.

There's no room for light to shine when fear is involved. Fear smothers the light and makes sure everything stays cloaked in darkness and shadows.

Outsmart Fear

It's easy for me to talk about fear because I fight against that smothering feeling every day.

The world needs us to be smarter than the fear mongers. It needs us to remember we are global citizens and to think creatively for solutions that humanize people rather than dehumanize them.

When we are consumed by fear there is no room for love. There is no room for relationship or listening or grace. Fear escalates into hate and we aren't supposed to be people of hate.

If you claim to follow Jesus, we need to remember that our only job is to love. And building walls and supporting any action that marginalizes a people group doesn't look like love to me.

The very people Jesus says to pay attention to are the very people that are getting shamed, blamed, and bullied and when that happens that doesn't look like any kind of gospel I'm familiar with.

I don't intend for this to be a political post, but it's hard for it not to be when that's where a lot of fear mongering is coming from. But I've also heard pastors preach fear from the pulpit and you hear it from the media every day. The people that try to tell you you're not safe are often times the ones trying to make you afraid of something in the first place.

Instilling fear in people is a great way to control and manipulate - so unfortunately it can come from anyone in a position of power.

All politics aside and just for the sake of humanity really...regardless of who you identify with politically, remember that our identity isn't in Republican or Democrat, American or not American, documented or undocumented or fill in the blank...we need to be working towards a WORLD that is about loving each other, creating space for things to be the way they should be - where there is room for everyone, where justice prevails, where grace and mercy triumph and where there is love, love and more love.

I desire to see a world where fear doesn't prevail because love does. Love drives out fear.



A letter to my younger self.


Life is hard. That's normal and it's okay. Trying to figure out why it's hard isn't really worth it. Just know that things that are hard are usually worth it. Life is worth it.

Your thoughts and feelings may not always match what people say you should think or feel. Your goals and desires may not look like how others define success.

You may see things reflected in the world around you or in the church about how women should be and it makes you scratch your head because you and many of the women you know don't fit in those boxes. Constantly, you'll hear, you should, you should, you should ... but you don't have to listen to it.

That urge you have to shrink down in your seat, to cross your arms, to hunch over, to withdraw to the corner or apologize for taking up space is going to be there, but you don't have to listen to it.

That immediate response you have to apologize when someone bumps into you or when you stumble over your words will be on the tip of your tongue, but you don't have to say it.

You don't have to be anything or check off the should boxes.  You never have to make yourself small. You never have to apologize for taking up space.

You were meant to live big. To live into your gifts and into your strengths. When people stay true to themselves and live into who they were created to be...that's big and that's powerful.

You carry a lot of shame and that makes you feel small.

Shame knows no boundaries. It eats at our souls and constantly makes us believe we're not enough. But we don't have to listen to it.

Shame makes us believe something is wrong with us. That we are wrong. That we can't be who we are. But that's a lie.

Shame flourishes in the dark. It whispers that no one will understand, that we can't admit to this and we're the only one.

That's bullshit.

We are meant to be who we are.We are meant to take up space. We are not meant to be silent. We are meant to speak our truth.

So who should you be?

You should be you. Your full self with all of the messiness, anxiety, joy, love, anger, sadness, craziness, humor and personality that makes you, you.

You are powerful.

You are strong.

You are enough.

You can do hard things.

You can be brave.

So be who you are and by doing that you'll help others find the freedom and confidence to do the same.

Letter to my younger self

We're all connected.

There’s a lot of division around us these days…it’s an election year so I guess that’s to be expected. But it's about more than just politics.

What is most striking to me with all the debates, with all the finger pointing, with all the hate and fear and talk of shutting down our borders is that we’ve forgotten to see the humanity in people. Finger pointing, fear mongering and exclusion create space for the humanity of people to be erased.

We should never seek to erase people. We should never forget each other.

I think in pictures most of the time. When I think of the world and humanity, I have always pictured all of us connected. It’s like there’s a thin string connecting each of us to one another.

All beautifully different, but still connected. We need to look past what makes us call someone “other” and see the humanity in one another. We need to recognize that we are not separate.

Richard Rohr says,

A saint sees things in their connectedness. They don't see everything as separate. It's all one. What you do to your neighbor, you do to yourself and how you love yourself is how you love your neighbor. How you love God is how you love yourself and how you love yourself is how you love God. It's all one. How you do anything is how you do everything.

It's like we've forgotten that we're supposed to love one another. For too long we’ve dehumanized people. For too long we’ve put some lives over other’s lives. For too long we’ve promoted a message that some people, whether it’s because of where they live, where they were born, what color their skin is, what their occupation is or how much money they have, they are more important than another.

This way of thinking has become engrained in our systems, in our actions, in the words we say, in the way we treat each other, in the way we vote, the policies we support and sometimes even the things we preach.

For too long we have forgotten to truly see each other and to see how we are all connected.

I believe God created each and every single person. And therefore, they deserve to be seen. They deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I know I don’t always do this well, so I’m asking God to help me see.

Help me see how we are all connected. Remind me that we belong to one another. Help me recognize that we each have the image of God stamped on us.

Richard Rohr goes on to say,

Faith is recognizing things in their deepest meaning. To be a person of faith means to see people as inherently connected to God and connected to yourself and therefore they must be worthy of love and dignity.

To me, when I see that connection between myself and someone else things make more sense and become clear. It makes sense why we would want to welcome the stranger. It leads to a deeper understanding of why we need to declare Black Lives Matter. It helps us see that people don't deserve to be treated less than and that the table is big enough for everyone.

We begin to see the error in exclusivity and that any kind of theology or policy that dehumanizes or marginalizes people is not truth.

We begin to recognize that string that connects each of us to one another.

This is my prayer for myself and for you today...

May we seek to be saints who see our connectedness. Who do not forget about each other.

May we have the courage to speak out against the systems, the actions and the policies that seek to erase and dehumanize people.

May we seek to be people of faith that see the world more deeply and realize that how we do anything is how we do everything.

May we seek to affirm the dignity in every person we meet.

May we move from just seeing others to recognizing the image of God represented in them.



We're all connected.

To live from our scars.


On the palm of my left hand, under my thumb, lives a scar. You can barely see it, but whenever I notice it I remember how I got it. My brother and I were little and we made a fort outside with old fencing as the barrier. My brother decided the way to get in was to jump over the fence. Because I wanted to do everything he did, I ran after him and took the leap. I didn't quite make it and my hand landed right on a spoke of the fence. There was blood, tears, a wound, but then healing and eventually a scar.

I recently heard Nadia Bolz-Weber speak and she made a statement that has stayed with me.

"When I preach, I preach from my scars, not my wounds."

When we preach or write or communicate in general, it can be easy to do it from our wounds. It's fresh, we're fired up, someone says something that triggers that wave of pain. Or we speak from that place where we haven't quite experienced healing.

It's okay that those places exist.

But do we live out of those places? Are we living from our wounds or our scars?

Think of your life like a water pitcher.  All the water inside is your life, your energy, your love. This sustains you and you can pour it out to others. At the bottom of the pitcher are rocks. When we're wounded the rocks float around in the water. There's a chance we could pour some of our rocks into someone else's pitcher.

When we've been wounded, it's easy to stay there. It's easy to not confront the hurt in order to heal. Hurt people, hurt people. People who live from their wounds, wound other people.

So how do we live from our scars instead of our wounds? Everyone is different with what that looks like, but I will tell you this. Everyone has wounds. Everyone.

Wounds can't turn into scars without healing and healing isn't easy. In order to get those rocks in the water pitcher to settle permanently on the bottom so they're there, but not being poured out into others, we've gotta heal.

How do we live from our scars rather than our wounds-

When we live from our scars,  it's not ignoring the wound or the pain, rather it's acknowledging that it's there and is a part of us. It just doesn't dictate the way we live, the way we treat people, the way we communicate or the way we make decisions.

While I can't speak for what healing looks like for everyone, there are things I do that help me live from my scars rather than my wounds.

  1. Counseling. Sometimes it's hard/impossible to walk through healing alone. Having someone to walk alongside you through that journey who has the skills and ability to hold up a mirror, to listen, or to affirm is priceless.
  2. Time. I don't think the saying "time heals all wounds" is necessarily true. Time may heal all wounds, but the scar is still there. It's always going to be a part of you, but it doesn't have to define you. Do we take the time to walk through the hard things, to feel the grief, to lament what we need to lament, to not be okay in order to experience the healing?
  3. Writing. I write to process and it's very clear the writings that originate from my wounds. Those are the ones most people will never see. For me it's writing, for others it's dancing or singing or running, whatever makes you feel most alive and helps you process. Figure that out and do that.
  4. Self-care. The previous things mentioned are all ways I practice self-care and without them I would be lost. We need to realize that we must invest in ourselves if we truly want to invest in others. Remember the water pitcher? Doing the work of healing allows our wounds to turn into scars and settle to the bottom of the pitcher. Practicing self-care, engaging in life-giving practices and relationships allow life, energy and love to pour into our lives. When we do this our pitcher will overflow and we'll have what it takes to pour into others. Self-care allows us to love others and interact with them out of the overflow of our own life. It allows us to not pour our rocks into their water pitcher.

Everyone has blood, everyone has tears, everyone has wounds and everyone has scars. While one size doesn't fit all I do believe everyone is meant to experience freedom and healing so they don't live from their wounds, but from their scars.

I want myself and others to live healthy and thriving lives where we're able to come alive. We can't do that without doing the hard work of healing. This hard work leads towards wholeness.

Healing is hard, but it's worth it.

Living from our scars rather than our wounds is hard, but it's worth it.



For the last six months a common question I've asked myself is this:

What lies need to be uprooted today?

I'm realizing the more work I do to work towards wholeness the more I have to come face to face with my own unhealthiness, with the lies I've always believed and the parts of me I would rather not focus on. It's not always enough to just acknowledge these've gotta roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel and do the work to uproot them.

Author Sarah Bessey tells a story about how her family moved to a new house and they kept noticing patches of grass dying and mold growing. They would dig that part up and plant more, but it would just happen again. Come to find out from an old neighbor, a tree used to grow in the yard and after it was cut down the stump was left underground. It was killing the grass above. The grass couldn't grow in a healthy way until the whole tree stump was uprooted.

I think this is how lies work in our life. Even if we know they're there, they're still going to be destructive unless we do the work to uproot them.

At some point we believed that we would never be good enough so every day we seek and strive to show that we are.

At some point we believed that we weren't pretty enough so we live every day avoiding mirrors or buying the next thing that will make us look better.

At some point we believed that we always had to be strong so we live every day pushing away any weakness that comes up and putting on a happy face.

At some point we believed that one life matters more than another whether that's because of a difference in skin color, socioeconomic status, birthplace, sexuality or religion so we live every day thankful we're not like "them".

At some point we believed that there's not enough for everyone, that scarcity is the way so we live every day making sure we get what's ours.

At some point we believed that in order for me to belong someone else can't so we live every day glancing side to side, trying to stay relevant and not finish last.

At some point we believed that life is black and white and there's a set of rules to live by so we live every day in shame if we don't stay on the "right" side.

The lies could go on and on. These lies make us live in fear, they make us live in shame, they make us think we're not enough and the more time that goes on the deeper they take root.

It's not good enough to just know they're there. We have to uproot these lies that have grown deep into our souls.

My prayer every day is that God would uproot the lies that have taken root in my soul and that freedom and truth would bloom in their place. It's hard work, but it's the best work.

Uprooting these lies and replacing them with truth allows growth to happen. With the lies cleared out, the truths can be planted and actually take root.

So instead...

We believe we are enough and live every day ceasing the striving and resting in our God-breathed worth.

We believe we are beautiful and live every day in confidence that we don't have to meet any beauty standards, but we're beautiful because we are who we are.

We believe that no one can be strong all the time and live every day knowing it's okay to be weak sometimes.

We believe not one life matters more than another and live every day disarming any talk of "other" and do our part in writing a better story.

We believe that there could be enough for everyone and live every day looking for abundance and how to live with open hands.

We believe that we all belong, we belong to each other and live every day connecting instead of comparing and realizing where I am is not where you are and that's okay.

We believe that in life there are a whole lot of shades of grey and live every day ripping up our checklist, saying goodbye to shame and living into freedom.

Can you see the new, fresh sprout growing? Can you see the new life that comes when we uproot the lies that poison our souls?

Don't get me wrong, it is hard, hard work, but it's the most rewarding work.

It's soul work. It's "your Kingdom come your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven work." It's wholeness work. It's worth it work.

uproot the lies that have taken root in my soul and that freedom and truth would bloom in their place

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