bad-advice-about-boldness

A couple months ago, I was asked to share my thoughts on what it means to be bold. For hours on end, I sat at my computer, writing draft after draft about what boldness might be. I knew I had been asked for my thoughts because my peers who chose me believe I’m bold, but it felt like every description I came up with missed the point.I thought, what is boldness, anyway? Is it standing against something/someone? Is it a reaction to an external force? Can boldness be subtle, or does it have to stand out in the crowd? Is boldness always an action or can it be a state of mind? I had no idea, and dictionaries sure weren’t helping.But then, just a couple days before I was supposed to have my thoughts ready, I received some of the worst advice about boldness I’ve ever heard. Thankfully, it was also the exact advice I needed to hear.In an open discussion about how church leaders can know when it’s time to confront controversial topics within their congregations (such as the full-inclusion of women), I was told, “Sometimes, it’s easier…

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Remember God.

Just Beneath the Brokenness.

I’ve had a difficult relationship with social media lately. As much as I want to see what my friends are up to, it seems like everyone is arguing or posting about the latest sad/baffling/revolting/divisive event. There is so much darkness, and even those who are trying to talk about the light do it in a way that doesn’t promote much hope. We tear down the false gods, we critique un-Christian behavior, and we forget to mention alternative ways of living. In the midst of our disapproval, disgust, and despair, we have forgotten we are the voice of hope.Of course, it’s important to enter into discussions about what’s happening in our world. It’s important to call bad practices into the light where people can see them for what they are. Christians should be a voice demanding justice. Saying enough is enough. Condemning false representations of our faith.But I just don’t think it’s enough to point out that which is broken. We also have to uncover the potential for restoration that lies just beneath the surface.One of the beliefs I prioritize most in my own life is the…

Lighten Burdens.

Pushing On Without a Plan.

On April 29th, I graduated from college. After four years of stress, frustration, joy, excitement, inquiry, and much, much more, I – along with 178 of my peers – completed my undergraduate degree. Together, we put a period (okay, maybe it was more like exclamation point) at the end of one chapter of our lives and began another. Some, like Brian, had a job in their field waiting for them on the other side.A few, like Donna, prepared to begin grad school almost immediately.Maybe others, like me, walked across the stage feeling like they were already letting people down. Let me explain . . . For four years, I was the only woman in my major. I am one of the few women who have received an award at Johnson specifically for excellent preaching. I received encouragement that many women in my field at other universities never hear. Just a week before graduation, I was voted “Most Likely to Take Over the World” by my fellow seniors.At nearly every step along the way, I was told big things are expected from me. But when I walked across the stage on April 29th, I knew that exactly zero percent of the job I…

Remember God., Values.

Remember God.

This post is the sixth (and final) in a series about my five core values.If you missed the first few posts, you can find them here!As part of our worship, my church takes what we call Common Meal (you may know it as Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist) every week. Each time, we take a small piece of bread – representative of Christ’s body broken for us – and dip it in juice – representative of his blood spilled for us.I think a lot of people probably wonder why the church has this practice. I mean, really, is there anything less appealing than the idea of eating the body and drinking the blood of another person? No, no there is not. It’s odd, to say the least.But, trust me, it is also so, so good.We eat and drink, not to be faux-canibalists, but to remember how the death and resurrection of Jesus changed everything. To remember that the brokenness of the world does not win. To remember that Jesus taught us a new way to live, a fuller way to live, a way to live that heals our world.The practice empowers us…

Confront Brokenness., Values.

Confronting Brokenness.

This post is the fifth in a seriesabout my core values here at Pure & Simple.If you missed the first four posts, you can find them here! I am a firm believer in looking for the bright side in all things. No matter how bad the situation, I’m always looking to find the positive perspective. When I don’t get my way, when I long for a different outcome, when everything seems to be crumbling, I find comfort in figuring out how goodness will come from a bad situation.Jacob will readily admit he doesn’t understand this about me. In fact, not too long ago, we realized he thought I live in a fantasy world where everything is rosy and I thought he lives in a version of the world that was all doom all the time.Turns out, we were both wrong.My bias toward finding the bright side in no way means that I refuse to acknowledge the brokenness around me. On the contrary, I fight so hard to see the positive side because I am painfully aware of the brokenness surrounding us.But I also know fighting the brokenness of the world…

Empower Imago Dei., Values.

Empower Imago Dei.

This post is the fourth in a series about the five core valuesthat form the foundation of everything I do at Pure & Simple.If you missed the first three posts, read them here and here and here! A few months ago, I came home with this tattoo on my left forearm. It is the Hebrew word “ezer.”It’s kind of an ironic tattoo, really, because this word is most often used to describe Eve as Adam’s helper. For my entire life, that’s how I heard Eve described. A helper. An assistant. A support system. A mother. A wife. Calm. Gentle. Quiet. I assume her laugh was airy and light.Meanwhile, you can hear my laugh from a mile away. I spend most of my time at either end of the emotional spectrum, and rarely linger around calm. I forget that I’m a full-bodied person and don’t do gentleness well. Quiet isn’t my style.If you’ve been around here before, you know that I have had a hard time reconciling my personality with the characteristics I have always thought a nice, Christian woman is supposed to possess.But then, a…

Lighten Burdens., Values.

Lighten Burdens.

This post is the third in a series about the five core valuesthat form the foundation of everything I do at Pure & Simple.If you missed the first two posts, read them here and here!When I think about what it means to be successful as a blogger, it’s incredibly tempting to say that success means reaching a certain number of views or having a lot of people know my name. It’s tempting to become wrapped up in shallow versions of success that don’t really matter.I want to be about so much more than shallow success here, because I know it will never matter if people know my name but do not know that I am for them.I want my success to be based on being one of your biggest fans – each and every one of you. I want you to hear my voice yelling in the bleachers for YOU as loudly as I can, encouraging you to keep going, to finish strong, and to never give up on what matters.Part of that includes being willing to have honest conversations, like I talked about last week. Another part is doing what I…