Tag: Brene Brown

Soul Food for a Fall Weekend

This has been a week of joy-filled experiences and rich, soul-strengthening conversations with dear friends, here in MN and in D.C.  where we traveled for a World Vision board meeting.

Today I am overwhelmed at the wonder of God and His sustaining presence even when the world is in a bad way. I’ve been doing a study of Job using the First 5 app which I highly recommend. (You can do any of their previous studies too.) Maybe my tiny dose of optimism is partially the result of this verse:

“I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Job 42:1-3

And few other things to share this week:

Made me laugh…

A creative idea from my friend Kathy Burleson who leads Community Bible Study leaders…

She filled this to-go cup with tea, hot chocolate, and other goodies for under $2 a piece. Such a fun, visual reminder of the importance of soul care. I don’t want to just look at this as a gimmick, but truly sit at Jesus’ feet before anything else.

A quote I like…

 

What I’m reading…

My friends and I went to hear Brené last week when she was in town at the beginning of her book tour on Braving the Wilderness, and I have been thinking about her words ever since. It was a powerful evening – what an effective communicator! She addresses how “sorted” and divisive our culture has become.  Although some reviewers dislike some of the political overtones, I thought it was particularly timely and convicting.

I feel there are really valuable insights in this book. My only note to those who are considering reading this is that it is not a “Christian” book and I took issue with Brown where she seems to orient everything in reference to self, not God.

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world.” Brené Brown

Lastly, one of my go-to Fall recipes…

Carrot Bars

4  eggs well beaten

2 cups sugar

2 ts. soda

2 ts. cinnamon

1 ts. salt

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I know, I know…and yes, you can try cutting it down, but I can’t guarantee results)

2 1/2 cups flour

3 small (4 1/2 oz. jars of baby food carrots

I spray pam on a jelly roll pan and pour the batter in. Bake @350 for 20-30 minutes.

You can frost with canned frosting, but scratch is easy and so much better:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese

2 ts. vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

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How do we Change the Story of Racism in America?

I vividly remember the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. April 4th, 1968.  Not because I was horrified. Because it interrupted my t.v. program.

My younger brothers and I were watching T.V. in the small den at the back of our suburban house when our program was interrupted by the news. We were ticked! What in the world could be more important than Bozo’s Circus? As we goofed around, loudly moaned and complained about Walter Cronkite, my mother stepped in front of the T.V. With tears running down her face. She spoke to the three of us who were shaken to see our mom so impassioned, her voice raised in anger.

“STOP IT! RIGHT NOW! A great man who has been courageously fighting for everyone in America to be treated with dignity has been shot! This is a terrible day for our country and we need to pay attention!”

I haven’t posted any thoughts on the recent events in Charlottesville, or the angry, divisive rhetoric in our country because frankly, anything I write seems too little, and in my mind, too obvious…too easy. After all, who am I, as a white, privileged American, to think I have  anything helpful to say??

My thought process goes, “Writing something on social media is empty courage. What will it accomplish? It will only be read by those who agree with me. And I can’t possibly have any tiny understanding of the situation.”

Talk is cheap, right?

But then I am reminded by my friend Todd, of the MLK quote, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

Privilege means we have the freedom NOT to think about this if we don’t want to. But if we turn away,  we participate in the sin of indifference. Privilege when it comes to race, is unearned access and the freedom to ignore what is uncomfortable. I don’t want that to be me.

“The stories we own…we get to write the ending. We as a country need to own the story of white supremacy.” Brené Brown

In order to own this story, we need to start somewhere. Here are a few of my ideas. Please add your own in the comments!

  • Build relationships

This can be a challenge because most of us live in our homogenous bubbles. For John and I it has meant reaching out and building a relationship with a local Imam, Asad Zaman. Recently, when a mosque here in the twin cities was bombed, it was John who our friend reached out to be the voice of a peacemaker to Christians at a subsequent rally.

The question I keep asking myself is “Where can I be involved in a community with people different than me?”

  • Read up – here are a few resources that have been helpful to me.

The Sin of Indifference  – an article by Ruth Hayley Barton

Small Great Things – a novel by Jodi Picoult about an African American nurse and a white supremacist father whose child dies in her care. This book helped me better understand white privilege.

Just Mercy – I’m halfway through this book that is accurately described as “A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.”

  • Choose humility. Listen, and listen more to the oppressed. Listen longer than is comfortable.

 

  • Name it. Yes, there are situations that are a matter of perspective. There are times to agree to disagree, but when anyone, created in the image of God, is abused, is treated with anything less than the utmost respect, is the victim of injustice and hate, it must be named as evil. Unacceptable. Period.

“I want a white nationalist to feel uncomfortable in my church. I want him to feel like ”’Ooh, this is not a place where I can express white supremacy freely. Where I know it’s looked upon as sin and not looked upon as just a political difference.’” – LeCrae

  • Pray

Here’s a place to start.

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”

I know my understanding is woefully limited. I confess I have often avoided the uncomfortable conversations that are necessary for healing. I acknowledge I have benefitted from white privilege in many ways I’m sure I’m ignorant of. I ask forgiveness from my brothers and sisters of other races. I want to do better.

These are just a few of my thoughts. What would you add?

 

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Is the Story You’re Telling Yourself True?

Confession: I haven’t been a raving Brené Brown fan. I like Brené Brown’s material on vulnerability, but I don’t love it. It hasn’t been revolutionary for me, probably because I’m too open as it is. I don’t need any encouragement in that area.

However, last month at the Global Leadership Summit, she spoke and I wished so much that John had been sitting next to me so I could elbow him about every other word she said. (Never mind that he would have been elbowing me too.) The material, from her new book Rising Strong, was painfully relevant.

According to her, “Our brain is wired to make up a story to explain every difficult human interaction—whether it’s true or not. That story helps us interpret the discomfort by protecting our ego and self-image.” Continue reading

5 Questions About…Disappointment with God

Conrad family-40Emily and her husband Steve are dear friends of ours. I had the delight of working with Steve in ministry and traveling with him in Congo before he knew Emily.  Then, John and I had the privilege of performing their wedding ceremony together!  This remarkable young couple inspire me with their faith and authenticity.  It’s an honor to walk alongside them on their journey!  I asked Emily 5 Questionsbecause I knew she’d be honest and reflect from a heart seeking God.

1.  Over the past year and a half you’ve had an experience that has been deeply painful and disappointing.  Can you describe what happened?

In early 2013, my husband and I got the green light to travel to Congo to meet and pick up the little girl and little boy that we were in the process of adopting. We had spent 13 months previously preparing our home and our family for the addition of 2 more little ones, a little girl 18 months old and a boy 2 ½ years old. Although we knew it would be crazy to have 4 little kids in our home, we felt that adoption was always supposed to be a part of our family’s story and felt that it was a desire that God had placed in our hearts.

We had been prepared for the fact that the little boy we were adopting might be a little older than what we had originally been told, perhaps 6-9 months, however, when we met him in Congo he was clearly at least 6 ½ and was a very angry, emotionally fraught child, quite prone to physically aggressive outbursts. Continue reading

Learning to Live Fearlessly (guest post)

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Sarah Wineland (on the left, with her sister in this picture) is one of my delightfully brave friends.  Actually she was Maggie and Katy’s friend first, but they have generously shared her with me :)!  I asked her to guest post on this Fearless Friday.  Enjoy!

My first brave moment came when I was 13 at a summer camp.  We were whitewater rafting and had stopped at a large jumping rock. Being the timid, quiet child that I was, I didn’t want to jump. A counselor encouraged me to “just try it,” and the experience was exhilarating and indelibly life-changing.  I suddenly realized I couldn’t let fear keep me from experiencing a full life.  Life was meant to be lived vibrantly, and safety wasn’t necessarily the best route. I decided to live more daringly and face my fears head-on.   (Residual effects of this decision have included: eating various bugs, learning to be vulnerable, taking more chances, living in several countries, taking a job doing maintenance on septic tanks, climbing the Grand Teton, and leading worship.)

In my adult life, I haven’t always succeeded at living fearlessly.  I tend to be risk-averse and a people-pleaser, at times avoiding conflict.  Back in December, a friend of mine insisted that I watch this TED talk about vulnerability by Brene Brown, and it sparked something in my brain.  Like my summer camp experience, it reminded me that I live too fearfully, too timidly, in my approach to the world and other people. I needed to find strength to jump off of those proverbial rocks into the river.  So I determined that 2013 would be my year of living fearlessly.  I would aim to do something that scared me at least once a week, with the hope that fearlessness would become a lifestyle.

It started with the little things.   Continue reading

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