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Who Will Stop You? An Invitation to Transformation this Advent

It's the season of Advent. The four weeks before Christmas are set aside for joyful preparation and waiting for the birth of love into our world in a new way. I was reminded yesterday that Jesus comes into our hearts and lives in our past, present and future. It got me thinking about how I want new love to be born in my past. The painful moments that have shaped me and left a trail of unhealthy patterns behind them.

Then I spent a moment thinking about this uncomfortable truth from my time deep in anxiety and panic attacks: Others may kind of know what I was experiencing, but at the end of the day, only I knew how it felt and how much I wanted it go away. And that I was the only one who could stop the charade and choose to get help. I still remember the day I decided enough was enough. It was time to shine a light on my fear and learn why I was so scared. The journey to become more myself started the day I was finally honest about my pain. And instead of treating the symptoms, it…
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Why You Can't Wait Anymore for An Invitation to Lead Differently

Remember high school homecoming dance season? I recall nervously waiting for someone to ask me to what felt like the most important social gathering of my entire life. Fifteen-year-old girls don’t skimp when it comes to high drama. We over exaggerate with the best of them. My inner critic was on overdrive. “No one’s going to ask you. The couple guys you think are cute are definitely going to ask those other girls. Who are you to think someone wants to dance with you?”

Rough, huh?

When you're fifteen, you don’t know those voices aren’t true. Those voices keep you frozen. You stay small, hoping no one will notice you. You reel in your joy like a fish on the end of the line.

One year I decided this waiting and worry and self doubt was silly so I invited a friend. He said yes. We met at our high school gym the night of homecoming, we awkwardly danced and I rushed to the bathroom afterwards to talk with my friends. We giggled and swapped stories of embarrassing moments.

It was not a n…

A Perfectionist's Prayer

God, I see you coming
To love me
Comfort me
Challenge me

But first, give me a minute,
I must clean up
All these things about me
That I don’t like

My home needs to be clean
Before you arrive

Plus, I’m sure there are things
I haven’t realized yet
Or can’t see
Or am denying
That I should fix
Before you arrive

Just to be sure
That I deserve your love
Your grace
Your attention

Because surely you wouldn’t
Want to visit me
In my mess

Give me a minute
While I grab my broom

Seriously, God
This business about you working
In my weakness
Is ridiculous

A Manifesto For a Palms Up Leader

This is for any leader in our world who's tired of cultures of fear, control, distrust, cynicism, isolation, unhealthy competition, status quo and fear of failure. Let's keep shifting our cultures together toward something more beautiful, more compelling and much more effective.

A Manifesto For a Palms Up Leader

We show up.
When it’s convenient and when it’s difficult.
We willingly place ourselves in brave spaces so others can feel brave too.
We know grace and love will rise in moments of vulnerability and honesty.

We choose to unclench our fists from our proven strategies and past successes.
We relax our tense shoulders and release control of outcomes.
We open our palms to the sky in tentative courage
So that wisdom and plans and joy can enter, then leave and enter again.

We take care of ourselves first so we can care for others.
We don’t just say that. We actually do it.
We shut down our computers and phones and step away to rest and play.
Our families know our hugs, feelings and l…

Where The Waters Meet: A Different Way to Engage Conflict

My family and I got to visit Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands last weekend. Somehow, we lucked into the best October weather the Pacific Northwest ever sees. We assumed it would rain the whole time but we got beautiful sunny warm weather. Our family visited Spencer Spit State Park for a few hours and I stumbled upon a pretty cool little spot. This piece of land juts out into the water and almost touches another island. I was able to stand at the end and watch two sets of waves meet. They were flowing opposite directions. I couldn't believe how peaceful and quiet the moment was. Here's a video of it.

As we all continue to figure out how to navigate a world with such polarities and extremes, may new ways of engaging conflict rise to meet us.
Where The Waters Meet

There is a place where one set of waves meet another
You would think they would crash into each other
with their own momentum and route and movement
But they don’t 

Instead, the peaceful energy of one wave
mixes with th…

Let's Talk about the Grief of Growth

In high school, I was a part of a group of people who changed my life. In those teenage days where feelings change by the minute and our insecurity screams, it was pure gift to have a group of people where everyone felt safe to figure out who they were. We worked hard to make sure everyone felt included. No one was was going to feel left out on my watch. No one.

This kind of home base enabled me to dream big dreams, help others and start to see a vision for what's possible in communities like this.

The downside to this group is that it grew. At least it felt like a downside some days. We had so much fun being friends, laughing and hanging out together. We were happy to have new people join us, but if we were really honest, we loved our group the way it was. So sometimes we didn't invite everyone to everything. There were Friday night hangouts where not everyone was invited. I remember feeling the tension at a young age.

My heart beats for including everyone who wants to belon…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…