Feeding the Writer’s Mind

Typewriter_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorguefileHello, beautiful writer friends!

I’ve been thinking about the small steps we might take in our writing journey. The question of the day is this—What am I doing today that will feed my writer soul?

No idea what that might be? Sometimes we forget the building blocks of our writer souls, but I’ve got some ideas. Try some of these:

  • Read something today (learn about craft, storytelling, successful writing strategies; notice the signage around you; try reading an encouraging blog, thread, etc.).
  • Observe the characters surrounding you today (their appearance, mannerisms, obvious emotional states).
  • Observe the environment around you (notice the floor plan, decoration, building materials).
  • Listen closely to the casual dialog that surrounds you (vernacular, tone, communication styles, emotions conveyed).
  • Imagine telling a short story about the moment you’re sitting in right now (find the significance in the moment, even if it seems boring).

Just some thoughts for you today. Remember that you can always think like a writer, even when you’re not actively adding words to the count.

Thanks for stopping by. If you’re feeding your writer soul and mind in a fresh way, share what that is for you. We can all use the encouragement and fresh ideas! Comment below, share at the Facebook page or Tweet away!

~jennifer

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Believing God: Promises Kept

Blog Graphic_ Smoke (orange overlay)Hello, friends. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by to take a peek at what’s new in my little corner of cyberspace. This post is my attempt to share the speaking material I brought to a women’s event last week, though I’m not sure any of it exclusively pertains to women. I think you’ll see why.

The overarching theme for the night was settled: Becoming a Woman Who Walks with Jesus. When I began to think about “walking with Jesus,” I noodled what it might mean to walk with Him, and if there might be significance to the “what” and “how” of that.

My own story includes a sweet moment in time when a friend told me about the “relationship” part of Christianity. Through that conversation I knew Christianity was attending church, but I suspected it was also more than attending church. I knew it was knowing what the Bible said, but I secretly hoped it was also more than knowing what the Bible said.

Twenty-five years ago I didn’t know that being “saved” wasn’t the one-and-done prayer I prayed. I had no idea that life could still be hard after I prayed. And I really didn’t know how sweet that relationship with God could be.

Maybe that’s why, when I thought about this night, one word dominated my mind: Believe. The verses I trust Holy Spirit brought to mind almost immediately and very strongly were the ones about Abraham believing God.

Do you know those verses?

For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. Romans 4:3 CSB

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:18 NIV

So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness , and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23 CSB

Believing God
What was Abraham believing? He must be believing in the existence of God—and His good, loving heart
. He must have trusted the words he heard—the promises from God
. And he believed in the truth and permanence of both
. Ultimately, he trusted in God’s power to keep the promises.

Let’s talk about Promises…
A promise’s value and worth lies somewhere within the promise itself. Some are better than others. In the Bible some are for specific people (in a place or time). The promises are still good and reveal something to us today about the character and power of God. Some of the promises are for us today, and I think we should pay special attention to those.

Most importantly, a promise is nearly completely dependent upon the one making it! When someone speaks a promise but never makes good on it, we question their integrity or sanity, or both. (Or we question our own for believing the lies so many times, don’t we?)

These aren’t ordinary promises; they are God’s.

Is God a Promise Maker…and Keeper?
For me to trust any of God’s promises, I would want to see what’s true of His character first. If even one was broken, then trust in any of them would be altogether foolish. If God is even a little wishy-washy, I don’t want to trust Him. Period. Who would? Any list of promises I could compile might be full of half-truths, lies, or bait-and-switch moves, right?

So what does the Bible say?

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not man who changes his mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29

…in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, Titus 1:2

Joshua, who experienced the leadership of Moses, up-close-and-personal, testifies to the promises of God:

Not one good thing that ADONAI had spoken of to the household of Isra’el failed to happen; it all took place. Joshua 21:45 CJB

“Not one good thing.” Every one of the promises was fulfilled. Joshua would know (Numbers 11:28).

God was truthful in in Moses’ time, but what about now? Are the promises for a group of people in a land far away who are long dead and gone?

I’m thankful Paul writes

For however many promises God has made, they all find their “Yes” in connection with him; that is why it is through him that we say the “Amen” when we give glory to God. 21 Moreover, it is God who sets both us and you in firm union with the Messiah; he has anointed us, 22 put his seal on us, and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 CJB

God’s promise to Abraham
God’s foundational promise to Abraham was made in sacrifice and covenant. In Genesis 15 we notice the “blood path” covenant made. I see that the LORD walked through, but not Abraham. Long story short, only God could keep the promise being made. Making this kind of promise was saying “May it be to me—may I be torn apart and killed as the animals lining the path—if this covenant is broken.” The LORD makes this covenant and is saying, “If you (Abraham) break this covenant, may it be to me, not you.”

God’s Promise to Us
God’s foundational promise of love to us was made on a hill outside Jerusalem on an execution stake. Jesus, the God-man, at the cross is our covenant with God fulfilled.

For it is clear that He [Jesus] does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. Therefore He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:16-17

“May it be to Me…”
Jesus was beaten, torn apart, and killed. For us. That promise was kept.

God said, “I will…” We say, “I believe You” with our all our hearts when we give Him our lives!

We have been given an incredible gift at the cross. The payment for sin is death, and none of us could pay the debt to holy, perfect God. In His great love for us, God has given us a second gift.

The Promise to Help Us
Ultimately, God promised to rescue us, and He did at that execution stake. Yet we still live in this world, as messed up and distorted as it is. But it’s not the end. God promised those who love Jesus a “seal…a guarantee for the future,” Holy Spirit in us.

In our covenant with God, He waits for us ask the Father to show Himself and His love, to be near and present as our Daddy-God. He waits for us to choose Him, to ask Him to intervene, to ask Jesus to forgive and cover our sin, and to ask Holy Spirit to teach, lead, help us moment-by-moment. Out of that relationship with God, through Jesus—we live out of that and have the ability and desire to obey His wise and loving direction.

Friend, the promise of redemption is real, and it’s for everyone. Better yet, we can be sure it was made to us and kept! From Genesis to Revelation, the story is all about one single promise: our redemption.

That begins with an intimate moment with Jesus at the cross and continues every day until we see God face-to-face (when our redemption is complete).

“B-b-b-but, God…”
God makes and keeps promises. In faith on a good day, I can believe that. But I’m human and faith-challenged sometimes. Truthfully, I have a lot in common with “doubting Thomas” (John 20)
 and the desperate father of the boy controlled by a spirit (Mark 9). I can just hear my heart saying the same words—

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

I ask myself, How would I, or anyone, know I believe His promises? I answer that question differently today than at other times.

Some time ago, I thought listening and repeating truth equaled belief. Now I know truth informs belief, but believing God’s promises is more than that.

Trusting the words I read to be true begins to get at it. But want to be very clear I’m not talking about blind or misplaced faith in the words. Thankfully, as we look closely at Scripture, we can see that studying the whole of the Bible informs the whole of it. Authors agree across the distances of time and space.

Now, living like it’s true—thinking, speaking, and acting according to the belief—that’s when believing the promises has legs!

I find it helpful to remember these things:

God’s promises are written down in the Bible.
God’s character is revealed in the promises He makes and keeps.
His promises to me show His love for me.

What are God’s promises to me?
I’ve been on the hunt for some of God’s individual promises (in addition to the foundational two I fleshed out: the cross and the Spirit). I think I found two kinds of promises.

Some are what I might call “blanket promises” that are gifts.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a CSB

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 CSB

The grace and the good work are His to do. Blanket promises sound a little like these two, and they show the beautiful heart of God to us in the things we cannot earn or increase in any way. When you read Scripture, take a close look to see if there is a promise embedded in the passage you’re reading. Is it a gift to you from God?

Then there are the promises we participate in. These are some of my favorites because they speak to the relationship with Him that I desperately need and want to cultivate.

All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. Matthew 11:29 CSB

When I’m in relationship with God through Jesus, I can choose to learn God’s ways (and do them), as Jesus teaches and the Spirit empowers. Then I see there is the promise of rest. I don’t see striving or living up to some imagined expectation. I see relationship leading to a beautiful life.

For me, as one who often strives for so many things (including perfection), this promise of rest means more to me than many others. What does that rest mean to you? When you read, be on the lookout for opportunity to partner with God, knowing He infuses you with all you need.

One Final Thought…
What have we done to the Christianity and its Gospel? An old, broken, distorted view reigns until we understand the truth and reality of the Gospel (which is every redemptive promise God makes to us).

I’ve noticed a new theme when we discuss the Christian life: we do Christianity. We have an unspoken hope to attain some kind of spiritual maturity through the disciplines—all of which are beautiful gifts to cultivate our relationship with God, but are never the things by which we reach relationship with Him.

I’ve also seen a “one-and-done” mindset when it comes to being saved and

I might suggest that we believe God.

Is there a difference? What do you think?

Thanks for reading along. This is a good deal of my talk, with a few additions and minimal eliminations. I’d love to hear what you think!

Below you’ll find the discussion questions made available to the groups that night, too.

Enjoy!

Jennifer

 


Group Questions:

Do I believe God’s promises? Why or why not?

 

God, what are your promises? Which ones can I recall? (Make a list including promises you think you know and the ones you’ve found in Scripture.)

 

Which promises are for me? (List verses, so you can go back to them when you need to.)

 

Verses from tonight:
Abraham: Romans 4:3, 18; James 2:23
Truthful God: Numbers 23:19; Joshua 21:45; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2
Abrahamic Covenant: Genesis 15
God’s promises (Jesus and Holy Spirit): 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; Hebrews 2:16-17
“Blanket promises” or gifts: 2 Corinthians 12:9a; Philippians 1:6
Promises we participate in: Matthew 11:29

My One Word: Diligence

Some years I have taken the time to select a word I want to delve into a bit more. I want to grow personally, and having a word for the year has proven to bring my mind back to the “theme” fairly often in that year. Last year, I tried to spend time thinking about what life might look like with a heart of humility. This year I’ve settled on diligence.

I’ve got to be completely honest. This year’s word feels more challenging than the last. You see, I have a creative mind, and one of the beauties of that creativity is it’s paired with a “lively mental nature” (read: a wee bit of a focus and follow through problem). Some call it the “Oooooh, shiny!” part of life. Others call it the “Squirrel!” life.

If you’ve followed along, you know I’ve got projects going behind the scenes. I’m beginning the year with a speaking-teaching engagement mid-January. I have the honor of writing at a beautiful collaborative site with my friends (facetsoffaith.com). The writing ideas I have for my own blog clamor for attention. A little draft of an ebook waits in the wings closer to finished than I want to admit (admitting how close it is would probably mean it should’ve been done by now). I have another deeply-personal behemoth of a project that cries for attention (this one’s like eating an elephant one bite at a time). I’m negotiating another large editing project (that I’m really excited about!). I’ve been developing some new online educational course content in the Moodle-Collaborate environment (more slowly than I’d really like). My son needs to finish high school coursework. And then there’s this other little thing I wonder if my husband and I will pursue in the future.

*D-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eep breath!*

Truthfully, I’m a little overwhelmed at that paragraph up there. I think my heart rate just quickened by 15 bpm. Those are just the spinning plates that I know about right now. As 2018 rolls along new ideas, projects, and responsibilities will appear on the horizon more than a few times.

I think that’s why my word is diligence.

Sometimes I’d like to have more hours in the day. Isn’t that what most of us would say? What I think I really need is better use of the time in a day. I don’t know if this is true for you, but I’m a little surprised every time I tally my time. I don’t really want to know how much time I’m using on social media, but I need to be honest about it. I don’t really want to count the time spent on Celebrities: Where are They Now? and Royal Family Members Doing Royal Things and Dogs Doing Dog Things slideshows. (I’m not the only one that gets sucked in by those clicks, right?) And so—I thought diligence would be a great focus this year!

I took the time to create a “reminder” for me in my social media accounts. I’m pretty sure this is about the same as a sticky note. What do you think?

2018 TW Diligence

When distraction comes knocking, I’ll be the one refusing to answer the door! I’ll be trying different things to streamline my focus (by eliminating any distractions I can manage).

Do you take the time to select a word for the year? If so, I’d love to know what yours is. Share away!

~jennifer

Favorite Things: Faith

It’s always been my heart to write about the things that are closest to my heart. This is that. I love to write, and I love lots of other activities, but at the core of my identity is my faith. I hope you enjoy this share from my favorite collaborative project site with my dearest friends. Enjoy!

Original post located at facetsoffaith.com.


 

I labored over the topic of faith for this post. I’m not sure how to describe the seasons and my ever-growing understanding of faith, and there is good reason.

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1 CSB

Faith can be as easy as sitting in a chair, knowing it will hold the weight; but it can seem as complex as stepping out of the boat onto the waves driven by strong winds (Matthew 14:21-33). How are these two scenarios related? It’s the unknown factor in both. The chair may not hold me. I may not walk on the waves; I might even drown. I’ve yet to suffer a panic attack over a chair, but the waves…those could terrify me.

My faith has been like that. Simple chairs. Crashing waves.

Faith requires following through when we can’t see the path we’ll take or the destination.
My experience of faith is like that. When I first began to live with God, I was happy to trust Jesus with my laundry list of sins. It was long and ugly. It was obvious I had offended God with my decisions if I just looked at the “Big Ten” in Exodus 20. My Bible showed every kind of proof that Jesus could be trusted with my sin. Through trust in Jesus’ payment at the cross I could have peace with the holy, perfect God.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 CSB (emphasis mine)

But, could I trust the Father with my “somewhere out there eternity” and my life? Life decisions are tiny and moment-by-moment—and they are monumental every so often. Can He be trusted with everything? This is all about the waves!

At the crux of it are two straightforward, difficult decisions: trust Jesus with your sins at the cross for the saving of your life and trust Him with more and more life choices for the direction and course correction of your life.

Having only a vague idea where each decision may land but making the decision based in biblical truth anyway—that’s faith. For some, that’s embarking on an exciting adventure. For others, it’s a frightening look at the waves, wondering if they will bear the weight. Faith is like that.

Something you should know is that I can be happy in the land of obvious, easy black and white. In one season of life I thought my faith was like that: things should always fit neatly in the right-wrong or good-bad extreme categories. That feels easy when the discussion is about lying, stealing, and murder. It’s troubling when a beer, a tattoo, or junk food becomes the topic of conversation. I held strong, self-assured opinions, and I forced my perspectives and stark contrasts on others in that season. I’m not proud of it. That had little to do with biblical faith.

And then God did something new.

One of many beautiful, golden threads woven into the fabric of faith is grace. Someone pointed out graceless words flowing from my heart, and I was stunned. My black-white paradigm was often unloving and uncaring when I talked with others.

“As a Christian, you can’t do THAT! You’re sinning!”

I couldn’t argue with the evidence. I had once cherished the grace upon grace I read about in the Bible, but I began to overlook the lovely gracious words to focus on the hard, “no wiggle room” truth. In my eyes, the scales of truth and justice became much larger than the distant, old, wooden cross.

Faith decisions only came out of extremes, rather than asking the more important questions—What does God have to say about this for me? What true and loving thing does He say about this for the people of God?

That season was longer and sadder than I’d like to admit, but by God’s grace I was drawn back to the Word of God again. Out of that precious time came a little known place in the blogosphere: Fragrant Grace.

That’s when faith, truth, and grace intertwined. So precious!

Then a new season began to take hold—the season I’m waking to and discovering now.

Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27a

When I remember Jesus’ incredible, loving sacrifice on the cross, it starts to get real. I accept the benefits of the blood of Jesus and His name as my identity confidently now and forever. As a daughter of God something in my heart, mind, words, and actions starts to look different (even if it’s far from perfect). I’m not doing anything as if I earn points with God, but I do it because I love the One who assigned infinite value to my life by dying for me. I begin to want to live a life worthy of the God who saved me from myself and my sin. It’s a bit more bold and a little louder. Why? Because rightly placed and understood faith makes an eternal difference for me—and for every single soul on earth. And I’m not sure the unseen, private faith turns out to be any faith at all.

~j

We Need a Hero…

As I think about my life, I’m ever grateful for the hero in the story. When I was young, I watched The Adventures of Letterman on television. He was a cartoon, but he saved the day nonetheless!

Faster than a rolling ‘O’
Stronger than silent ‘E’
Able to leap capital ‘T’ in a single bound!
It’s a word, it’s a plan…it’s Letterman! (The Adventures of Letterman, The Electric Company. PBS. 1971-1977.)

A damsel in distress needs a hero, doesn’t she! How many times does the hero swoop in at just the right time to save the girl trapped in the villain’s dastardly plan? Thankfully, every time. And what kind of terrible villain was at work in my life? The worst enemy imaginable: the one who wants to see me destroyed— body, mind, and soul—forever. For-ev-er.

Once upon a time, I was a petite young lady looking to wake up and conquer each new day in some fresh way. Home life. School life. Social life. Life was all about me, and I had the ability to meet the challenges in creative ways. But the skills I used were entirely mine. There was no need to look for the hero in the story then. Oh, I did that when I was younger, but the hero never came. I was able to meet my own challenges and succeed well enough. Good enough. Smart enough. And—bonus!—a decent number of people liked me.

Isn’t that how most people handle the world? Is there any other way?

Maybe there is, but back then, I didn’t know any other way.

Speeding down the highway in a ’71 Pontiac Catalina in 1990, music blaring. Later speeding down the highway in an ’96 Chevette, music blaring. Queen of the road—my own road.

Something was happening, though, behind the curtain in the realm I couldn’t see.

All the pain. All the hurts. Some I chose, and some others recklessly dumped on me. I had to take it all somewhere. Without resolution, the wounds festered, cancerous to my soul. Where could a girl take the pain of life and know there could be healing? Tumbling through the villain’s cycle for my life, I stuffed the emotion until implosion or explosion. Then I started again. No release. I wreaked havoc on my own life, but targeted others as often as I could to lessen the pain.

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;  Isaiah 43:1-3a

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

My pain was real, and I acted out of that pain for years. But the God of the universe was willing to rescue me when I was still an angry, spiteful, pain-driven woman for so many years. Knowing I would hate Him (and any other male figure in society)…

He took the beating, the long walk to the hill carrying that crossbeam, and the nails in his hands and feet. The wood slivers shredded his skin as he rose to draw each breath and sunk to rest between. The spear pierced his side.

He didn’t have to endure that. Jesus was perfectly innocent and powerful enough to make things happen differently, if he wanted. He could have chosen to remain at a distance. He could have left me (and all of us) to the consequences and justice deserved. But love motivated every step to the cross. And love held him there.

We have no right to be even acknowledged, let alone in the presence of Holy God, in our sin-ravaged state.

But God…

Rescued.

Redeemed.

In relationship.

Thanks for reading along.

~j

Memories at the Bus Stop

I’ve been MIA for a bit, and I’m sad that’s the case. Since I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I thought I’d be a little more consistent with posts. (We’ll see how that shakes out in reality, but it’s a nice idea.) Here’s a little memory I was thinking about this week. I wonder how it will strike the reader…

 

Blue_divider

Every day of the school year my older sisters walked down the street to the corner where the yellow bus rumbled and roared up the hill, screeching to a stop. Sometimes Mommy and I walked down our street on warm, sunny days to watch them go. Sometimes we walked down the street just before the bus came in the afternoon.

“Soon you’ll get on the bus with your sisters.”

“I will? Ooooh, I want to ride the big bus!”

The bus was the biggest, loudest, yellowest thing I’d ever seen. I heard it long before I saw it. One stop at the bottom of the hill. Our stop at the top. A right turn to stop at the next corner, and two more before it chugged out of the neighborhood.

The next fall, my short legs dangled off the front seat behind the bus driver for the first time.

Blue_divider

For years, I waited at the top of the hill for a ride to school. What began with quick, happy skipping in the afternoon eased into a slow drag over the years in the early mornings. No one was in a hurry to get to the bus stop—unless the bus was roaring away to the next. Some years I waited with my older sisters. Eventually, the older kids in the neighborhood claimed one bus stop, and the younger ones were left to the others. Some years I waited with my friend, Lena, alone.

I was about ten or eleven, I think. One day in late November, we waited for the bus, bored. Someone had the brilliant idea of putting me on someone’s shoulders. I wasn’t up there long. I remember seeing the crumbly street rushing up to meet me, up close and personal. Ouch!

The pain was intense. My face throbbed, but the bus was roaring up the hill. No mirror to check my eye and cheek. No time to run home and clean up. Not even enough time to run across the street to Lena’s house. Falling on my face didn’t seem a like good excuse to go back to my house—even if whatever happened made others’ faces look a little horrified. It couldn’t be that big a deal, right? I ducked in the door, hustled up the steps, and slid into a seat, hiding between the tall seats. I only hoped no one would see my pain.

“Do you need to get off the bus and go home?” the driver asked.

“No.”

“Are you sure? You’re bleeding.”

“No, I’m going to school.”

The bus driver waited to give me a chance to change my mind, then reluctantly pulled away and around the corner.

If I went home there had to be a good reason. Never mind that I was never sure exactly what a good reason might be. My family cultivated tough kids who believed nothing should stop us from moving along. The mindset was different from some. Healing should happen. Maybe before the bus got to school….

Nope, I thought, as I looked in the girls’ bathroom mirror.

Most of my family was in a community theater play that winter: A Christmas Carol. Many weeks before I had belted “It’s a Small World” at the top of my lungs for my audition, and that led to a bit part as a Cratchit kid. Mr. Producer had a very serious look on his face when he saw me at rehearsal that evening after the bus stop incident. With two weeks before our first show, I might need an understudy to take over.

Everyone wanted to know what happened. The attention was just embarrassing. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Yes, I fell on my face! Yes, it hurts! I know it’s ugly!

Two weeks was enough time to heal. At least, it was enough time to allow stage makeup to hide the blemish that was left.


Thanks for reading along as I share bits here and there. I wonder—has anyone else has had something obviously go wrong but tried to pretend there was “nothing to see here”?

Have you done that?

As an adult, I can’t imagine it. Then, it was just the way to move through a day. Strange reasoning in the mind of a young child….

~j

Paradigm: the Shift

Worldview. It’s how I see, read, and understand my world. It’s the lenses I look through, and like most people, I don’t realize I’m wearing them. (Have you ever looked for your glasses, only to find them resting on your face where they belong?)

I have taught online classes for home educated high school students, and one of those classes has been a worldview course. It’s one of my favorites, not because I have the privilege of watching students come into their own a bit but because they learn there always exists something they don’t know yet.

Right now I’m pleasantly surprised to find that I don’t know everything there is to know. Again. That’s not new information, and I’m not so arrogant that I ever thought I knew everything—well, except for the teenage “disease” that seems to be an epidemic in that stage. It’s not that I was comfortable with everything I knew as much as I stopped thinking about it. I wasn’t examining my thoughts or their processes as often. I settled in my ways and the ways I thought about things. The people closest to me thought fairly similarly. I maintained a wider spectrum of social media friends to “stay in touch with the culture and reality.” I was happy with all of that.

Have you ever had someone ask a question that shook your paradigm (and maybe your worldview, too)? Maybe you remember the question well. My experience hasn’t been that exactly. No one question has ever rattled me.

In my experience it has been a slow exploration, and the questions come up in my own inner dialogue. While that can feel unsettling, it’s the most pleasant for me. I prefer to wrestle with my thoughts in private sometimes. (Have I mentioned I’m an introverted processor?) I’m still waiting for the idea “pieces” to fit together nicely, so it’s a messy process. I just enjoy the whole thing, though. After the initial surprise or shock of it, the thinking and the settling (even if it’s temporary) is fun for me.

Have you had this kind of shakeup happen in your worldview or paradigm? What was that like for you? How do you feel about the process?

~j