Your Fears Are Punks.

Yesterday, at the Storyline Conference in Chicago, I got permission to slip off some little handcuffs I didn’t know I was wearing.

For four years, I’ve gotten up every morning (well, ok most of them) before the sun and studied the Bible for hours. This is just about the only arrow in my quiver. Most of the time, if I hit the mark on a tricky target it’s because of that.

But I realized, I’ve made a law out of it.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/strandloper/

Photo Credit Steve Crane

Somewhere along the line, I came to believe if don’t read and study everyday, in exactly that way, God will reject me. The light he gave me will go out and the word will slip from my mind like soap down the drain, and quite frankly, I’m afraid of that.

But as I watched the orange leaves flutter to the ground, and considered the orderly march of creation through its seasons, I felt the spirit say, “Why do you think studying and praying is holier than writing and praying? Isn’t it all the same thing? Use that time in the morning to write.”

And with that, I got a little bit free. Free to worship him differently – using what he gave me, to do what he told me. No lies. No fear. Just grace.

This may sound like such a simple thing, and like all great truth, it is. As a child of God, I am completely free to move into new seasons without remorse or fear, just as the leaves do in fall. The process is in fact necessary to keep me nimble, humble and growing.

Plus, I already know this is right because the place where God speaks clearest, the Holy Spirit moves quickest and my own words surprise me the most is right here, in front of a glowing blue screen, in the dark, talking to you.

So that’s where we’re headed.

Creating something beautiful that doesn’t exist yet, requires freedom and stillness and courage, but that can’t happen if we’re terrified to step across lines either we’ve drawn or others have drawn for us. Remember, where the law of the Lord is there is liberty.

Or as Bob Goff put it earlier today.

“Your fears are punks. Give them the boot.”

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Why We’re Better Together

Welcome NiceLaughter bubbling out of a room full of women is my favorite sound. Especially when, two hours before, they didn’t know each other.

At Love Dinner #10 last night, one woman made a comment about God opening doors for us. But lately, she said, hers feel like a trap door to a slide. Everyone died laughing. Each of those gorgeous women sitting in my living room, sipping coffee, or cross-legged on the floor poaching blackberries from the fruit salad, know that feeling. Articulating it makes us allies.

Everybody brought something hard to the table last night and then we prayed. We’ve learned that fueling up together readies us to get back out in the world and do what Jesus said: Love God and love each other. We’ve also learned that the second command doesn’t work right without the first.

Luckily, once you get to know Jesus, it’s easy to love Him.

When Jesus is in your midst, it’s like listening to the best piece of music you’ve ever heard, while drinking a glass of wine and watching the sunset turn the mountains pink.

All that goodness, all that grandeur is at once overwhelming and still somehow incomplete. That’s why we jump up and run into the house looking for someone to share it with. Then when we stand shoulder to shoulder on the deck, in a moment of unscripted silence, just gazing at it, absorbing it together, that’s when it’s finally perfect.

That’s the magic of Jesus + us, and the purpose of Love Dinner. To be so overcome by the dazzling presence of Jesus, that we run brimming and sparkling, back out into our broken, sad world saying “Come quick. You have to see this.”


Want to Quit Your Job? It’s Thursday.

New York Times Bestselling Author Bob Goff is famous for saying, “Quit something on Thursday. Maybe even your job.”

Bob believes that in order to make space for things you want, you have to clear out some things you don’t – even big things. So at his Love Does Conference in Seattle last year, I took him up on it.

“All right Bob,” I said, and quit my job, with my new BFF Lisa Long standing by.

The Culprits.

The Goff Unemployment Index rises by two.

I heard from that raven haired beauty Lisa Long today, AND GUESS WHAT SHE DID?

She quit her job…And it’s not even Thursday. Now, Lisa didn’t exactly work at the mall, she’s had a very big job for the last 22 years, so quitting was no small thing. But I’ve never heard her more excited.

“I have so much joy today and now I’m like Ok Jesus, whatever. I’m ready.”

Try praying like that some time.

Here’s the fun part.

This wasn’t a whim, Lisa’s been considering it for a while. Yesterday¬†morning she got up early to pray it over and wound up watching a couple of videos Bob posts. This was one of them. It’s 30 seconds. Watch it!

Six hours later, I posted the same video on my Facebook page and she saw it – again. Then she picked up the phone, called a meeting and pulled the chocks like a boss.

It’s not that Lisa isn’t scared, she is, but because she believes the Kingdom of God is a way of being in this world, right now, she is brimming with hope about what is next, and I CAN NOT WAIT….(How about a big white ship? hint hint.)

If you choose to live in the Kingdom of God – and by the way Bob would say, you’re not just invited, you’re welcome – it’s ok to reject coincidence. It’s ok, when people who love you post on Facebook things you’re already thinking, to believe that may just be God saying,

“Let go baby. I’ve got this. I’ve got plans for you.”¬† Jeremiah 29:11

Without the confidence I gained from reading Jeremiah 29:11 a thousand times, I wouldn’t have had the guts to quit selling insurance. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have gone to Zambia, which led me to Mercy Ships, and nine out ten people agree, bandaging the feet of lepers in West Africa is more interesting than selling insurance.

So, where do you need to pull the chocks and who are you trusting to help you?

Bob’s pal author Don Miller put it like this at the Love Does Conference:

“Are you being too careful? Is it robbing the Kingdom of God of something? We don’t want you to be careful anymore.”

Happy Thursday.