Where do you want to go? And how are you going to get there?


Let’s look at your life as a journey. On this journey, let’s say you have a car. Your car is the thing that gets you from point A to point B. Only one person can drive your car. Someone has to turn the car on, put their foot on the gas, and turn the steering wheel. But if we aren’t the ones driving, if we aren’t the ones steering our lives, who is?


If you aren’t driving your car, someone else will. Someone else will dictate the decisions you make, where you go, and where you end up. Sometimes we let our culture drive, sometimes our family, sometimes our friends, and sometimes we let complete strangers drive.


The benefit of letting someone else drive your car is that it is then their fault if you end up in a ditch somewhere or in a car accident. You are free from being responsible for your life. The downside is that you then have no control over where you are going.


In order to be unlocked, you need to acknowledge and accept control and responsibility for your life. This can be a really scary process. We tend not to want to feel the full weight of responsibility and choice. It can also be uncomfortable when we start to take control. Similar to how it feels to learn how to drive for the first time. Taking ownership and responsibility for our own actions and the effects of those actions is something that people run away from for most of their lives. 


This process can be painful, you might make a lot of wrong turns, but you will also find an adventure that is beyond your wildest dreams. You will get to participate with God in a way you have never experienced before. You will go beyond what you thought was possible, you will heal in ways you weren’t expecting, you will meet people you didn’t anticipate meeting. 

When you take control of your life, the world becomes a thing to love, explore, and serve. And it becomes so much more fun.


Not only that, you become powerful. We don’t always believe that God wants us to be powerful. We want to be the meek, humble Christians who turn the other cheek—which is true. We want to be loving and kind. But Love is also fierce. Love fights and fights hard. Love is powerful, motivating, and defeats darkness.


Powerful people change the world. Powerful people engage in their lives with a level of intentionality and intensity that is brought out by love, purpose, and passion.

Jesus' Lawyer

“Jesus doesn’t want you to be His lawyer. For two reasons: you stink at it and He doesn’t need you”— Bob Goff


In our world that relies on debates, arguments, and rhetoric to decide who will be the head of our country, we sometimes think that we need to do this for God too. We think we need to argue, debate, and out-smart the people around us who disagree with us. If we win, then it feels like God wins and we have put Him on the throne. 


The reality is much simpler, God did not call us to debate and win arguments to prove that He is the best, most gracious, most loving being (even though He is)—He called us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Unlike in the political climate of today—where if you lose a debate, you lose power— God is not reliant on you winning. He has already won. He has called us to BE love. To be His ambassadors, to be like Him. 


You are going to encounter so many people who think differently than you and you probably think they are dead wrong on a lot of things (and they might very well be wrong). But winning a debate means that you out-smarted or had more information or were willing to talk the loudest or that you were right. Winning a debate, normally, doesn’t bring love to the person sitting across from you. More than likely, it actually puts a divider between you and that person. Bob Goff says, “People don’t grow where they are informed, they grow where they are accepted.” If it is more important that you are right than it is that the person across from you feels loved, than you have proven that you’re smart but you have not proven God’s love. 


In a world that is yelling very loudly, with a world in chaos, what if Christian’s were known for their peace, their love, their acceptance? What if we were known as those who loved well, even if we completely disagreed with someone? What if we became a haven, a safe space, a loving space for all people? What if we revealed Jesus in all that we did?


What if we were listening and loving in world that was yelling and hating?


Through the Mud

Have you ever had to walk through a muddy field? There was no way around it, no other way you could go, you had to walk through this muddy, squishy, wet field that might very well claim a shoe or two? You spend the whole time looking down at the mud, carefully planting one foot after the other, doing your best to find the least gross path, and trying very hard not to fall. You might even step slowly to try to minimize the amount of mud and water that gets splashed on your clothes.  

We do this in our lives too. When life gets messy, overwhelming, chaotic, or downright gross, we keep looking down at all the mess, muck, and mire. Because, if we don’t, we will for sure make a wrong step, fall down, or lose a shoe. Sometimes though, we spend so much time looking down that we end up walking into even muddier field or going in circles or going in the complete opposite direction that we need to go in. We so badly want to get out of the mud with as little causalities as possible that we don’t think we have time to stop and look up.

We can get so consumed with looking down that we don’t even know how we ended up knee deep in mud and very much lost. As God walks with us through the mud, He asks us to pause, to breath, to take a moment. And to look up. When we look up, we see that the mud does end, that there is dry land, a warm shower, and clean clothes on the other side. We can see that where we are going is better than what we left behind. When we look up, we can see the promises of God. When we look up, we can see God Himself wading through the mud, offering His hand, offering direction, and never forsaking us.

Sunshine & Joy

As February comes to an end, you might find that you are craving sunshine on a deep level. If you are anywhere close to Cincinnati, you might be just a little sick of all the cold, gross days we have been having. On top of the annoyance of dreary days, a lack of sunshine tends to lead to a lack in Vitamin D, which has been associated with higher levels of stress, depression, weight gain, and heart diseases.

Not only are we mentally done with the cold and the clouds, our bodies are starting to crave the warmth and sunshine of spring. And when we get it, our whole moods can lift, we feel more energized, happier, and ready to engage with life. We might even want to care for our bodies better, be around people we care about, maybe even clean our houses!

The same way our bodies, minds, and even emotions crave sunshine, our souls crave joy. Without laughter, without joy, without fun, it’s like we are living in an endless dreary winter (always winter and never Christmas, for you C.S. Lewis fans). We can survive, sure, but it just feels like surviving. We can still go to work, still eat food, still sleep, still hang out with people, still do almost everything. But without joy, we feel a deep lack.

Joy is the sunshine of emotions. It radiates through people and out of people. It lifts our spirits and adds energy to everything we are doing. It provides perspective and makes us feel full. When we are filled with joy or have joyful moments, the world gets a little brighter and we feel lighter.

Joy can be experienced in a wide array of ways—sitting in your favorite chair, drinking a cup of coffee; laughing at a joke one of your friends made; listening to a little kid talk about their day; experiencing your dog’s extreme happiness whenever you return home; reading a book with words that fill your soul; listening to music that’s so good you can’t help but smile and tear up a little. Everyone find’s joy in different things, but we all experience joy.

It’s these small, or big, moments that change something inside of us. Sometimes, it might even feel like these bursts of joy show us what life should be, what Heaven might be like, what is possible for us to experience. Joy grounds us in a life that is beautiful and gives us hope for our future.

And what is wild about all of this is that God feels joy for you!

God delights over you, like a Father delights over His children, like the Sun loves the flower, like the Sea embracing the shore. God’s joy for you stretches beyond the Heavens. It is so vast that He sings over you.

Not only do you get to experience sunshine and joy, you are also the vessel that brings it: you bring sunshine into the world. You bring sunshine to God’s heart.


Engaging with God is a lot like breathing.

The more anxious, stressed, worried, or even excited we become, the shallower our physical breath becomes. It speeds up so we don’t breathe as deeply and our heart rate increases. This is important to note because sometimes we walk around for weeks without completely filling up our lungs. We don’t take in the air that sustains us. That means that our bodies aren’t resting.

Sometimes, just changing how deeply we are breathing can help us fall asleep at night, have peace and courage in chaotic situations, and feel more capable of sustaining our daily lives.

Similarly, we sometimes walk around breathing God in but only with shallow breaths—just enough to keep us alive. But we are still anxious, afraid, and tired. Breathing God in has some of the same effects of just breathing deeply: more peace, better sleep, more courage. And just as simple and as quickly as we can take deep breaths, we can breathe God in.

We can turn our attention and our spirits to Him, to connect without agenda—to just say, “God, you’re good. Thank you for loving me.” We can express gratitude, love, and wonder in that small, deep breath. We can feel the Creator of the Universe.

We can breathe deeply.

Who Are You?

How do you know who you are? Most of the time, we look at our own actions and thoughts and the reactions of those around us to tell us who we are. Sometimes we take personality tests, look at the grades we got in school, look at promotions we’ve gotten at work, take into account the things we’ve accomplished or ask close friends and family to help us put language to who we think we are. But there is still a deeper question that doesn’t seem to get answered no matter who we ask. Who am I and am I enough?


We all have a bit of imposter syndrome, walking around feeling like we have fooled everyone into thinking we are capable, accomplished, not terrible human beings. No analysis from a test or a description from a loved one seems to really hit at what we want to know: who are we and is it enough?


We crave to be seen and to be known fully. And yet we are scared about what someone might think about us if we actually let them see who we are. We are afraid that at our core, we are not enough—and we aren’t sure that our hearts could take knowing for sure that we don’t measure up, that we are lacking. 


Timothy Keller has an amazing quote on this:

      “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. “

When we don’t know who we are, when we are starting to doubt that we are worth being seen and known, we can go straight to the only being in existence who knows all the nooks, crannies, messy corners of who you are. We can sit in God’s presence and ask Him, “Who am I?” And through the breath in the wind, through the silence in the night sky, through the rumble of rain, through the details in your finger prints, through the clouds that cover the sun, through the thump-thump of your own heart, throughout all things created, made, delighted over, and sustained by the God of the Universe—through all of these, you can hear the whisper of the truth being song over and over again: you are loved. 


Different Kinds of Pain

The last couple of weeks we have been talking about being uncomfortable and how change requires at least a little bit of discomfort. Something we want to call out is that discomfort is a type of pain. It is telling your body, mind, and spirit that you are working hard at something, that you are doing something differently. 


There are several types of pain, we will focus on 2 of them: the pain of growth and the pain of injury. Pain is a form of information. It is telling us something. Most of the time, pain tells us to stop what we are doing because it hurts or is uncomfortable. Sometimes, the answer is to do whatever you are doing anyway, despite the pain. Sometimes, the answer is to stop and heal.


Look at the different kinds of pain we feel in our bodies. We feel pain when we work out or change our diets. It is uncomfortable and might actually physically hurt. Running a mile for the first time hurts in your lungs, your legs, your whole body. Quitting sugar might lead to headaches and/or irritability as you detox. These are okay kinds of pain. This pain is pure information that something uncomfortable is happening in your body. It is okay that it’s uncomfortable.


Now, the other kind of pain, the pain of injury, is different. This is the difference between running further than you have before and breaking a leg—pain in the same area (legs), different kind of pain. The pain of injury requires different things. You should not keep running or even walking on a broken leg until it is healed enough to do so. 


This is the same in our lives as well. We need to learn the difference between growing pain and injury pains. Growing pains require grit and perseverance to keep going. Injury pains require rest, asking for help, and being willing to heal. Pains of growth mean “keep going,” pains of injury mean “STOP”. 


When you are feeling pain, uncomfortableness, or even exhaustion, ask yourself, “What kind of pain am I experiencing?”




Being Uncomfortable

Last week, we talked about needing to exert energy and be uncomfortable in order for change to occur. Our lives want to keep us in a state of comfort and ease, doing the things we have always done. But doing this doesn’t move us forward. To change our lives, we actually have to change.


The lie we tend to believe is that comfort breeds happiness. If we have no discomfort, if we are never challenged or have to fight for something or if things are always easy, then (and only then) will we be truly joyful. 


This is not the case. For whatever reason, human beings thrive off of the fight, thrive off of challenges, thrive off of growth. Growth only occurs when you are in a position that requires you to grow. These places are not always pleasant at the beginning but are almost always worth it in the end.


It is not comfortable to start working out, to get up earlier, to read your Bible, to talk to someone you don’t know, to love people you don’t like, to give up your own time and resources for others. But in those moments of discomfort, where we are afraid or uncomfortable or annoyed or tired, in those moments, we grow.


Through this growth, we become stronger, more courageous, and, oddly enough, filled with more joy

God did not call us to live a life of ease. We weren’t made for it. We were made to be warriors, fighters, and people who are deeply loving those around us. Now, we were also made to be peaceful and to be content in all things. There is a tension between having peace in all circumstances and letting yourself be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable does not mean putting your physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional health at risk. 


Being uncomfortable is being willing to grow when staying as you were would be much easier. The downside of staying exactly as you are now is that, in a year from now or 5 years from now or 10 years from now, you will be exactly where you are today. 


Lean into the discomfort, lean into the fight, lean into what God has called you into. For just a little discomfort you can receive bucketful’s of joy.


Anytime we want to make a change, we need at least a slight shift in direction and in the equilibrium of our lives. We need extra energy exerted to change the direction we have been going. 


This is uncomfortable. Human beings like to keep things balanced and to keep things as they have been—comfortable, same, usual, and normal. Similar to the First Law of Physics—an object in motion will stay in motion unless otherwise acted upon—we will stay going in the same direction unless something or someone changes that direction. That something or someone can be us. We can choose to change our own trajectory.  


To change the current direction we are going in, we need a little extra push, extra energy, extra umph to change. Sometimes we think if we think about it hard enough, the change will miraculously happen, which, unfortunately, is not that case. 


When you are looking at the next phase of your journey, looking at the shifts you want to see in your life, keep in mind that change is uncomfortable. Your life will fight at least a little bit against the change. It is uncomfortable.


And that is okay. Just because something is uncomfortable or difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t good. This change will take energy at the beginning. Sometimes we think right changes are the easy ones, the ones where we don’t have to do anything or exert any energy and that feel good all the time. Those aren’t always the right decisions.


Jesus has called us to do difficult things. To be courageous and bold, to be willing to risk the comfort of what has been for the joy of what is to come. Change does not happen from thought and good intentions alone. Change requires action. Change requires being uncomfortable. Change requires energy. 


The dreams God has for your life are worth you being a little uncomfortable. 



Caring for the Physical

How much does your physical environment affect you? How much does your physical body affect you?

Sometimes, as Christians, we can focus completely on the spiritual aspect of our relationship with God. We focus on the internal mechanisms like our souls, our emotions, our thoughts. These are great things to focus on! They are the heart and breath of who we are.

But what is amazing about how human beings were created is that every part of us affects almost every other part of our being. Our emotional health affects our physical, relational, spiritual, and financial health, for example. Just think about the decisions you make when you are happy and joyful versus the decisions you make when you are angry, sad, or grumpy.

In a similar way, the physical things in our lives massively impact our internal mechanisms. How our bodies feel and operate, and what our physical space looks like affects our minds and emotions. How chaotic or balanced our daily schedules are, how clean or disorganized our houses are, how much water we drink in a day, how many hours we sleep a night, how messy our rooms are—all of these can have massive impacts on our emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Psychologists have found that having a cluttered office or room can increase anxiety. They have found that people sleep better in clean rooms. People are less stressed when they are working out and eating better.

 Sometimes the answer to a cloudy, enraged, grumpy, tired, or overwhelmed mind isn’t to only pray more, sometimes the answer is to clean your room, go for a run, eat a good meal, organize your schedule. God has gifted us with bodies and with a world that we live in. By stewarding those things well, we can connect deeper with ourselves, with God, and with others as well.


Baby Steps

“The impact created by a change in your habits is similar to the effect of shifting the route of an airplane by just a few degrees. Imagine you are flying from Los Angeles to New York City. If a pilot leaving from LAX adjusts the heading just 3.5 degrees south, you will land in Washington, D.C., instead of New York” – Atomic Habits by James Clear

 Whenever the new year rolls around, we tend to get very excited about the big, massive, life altering changes we are going to make. We are finally going to get those six pack abs we always wanted, finally get that car, finally not going to be late for work, finally eat healthy. We are finally going to be the perfect version of ourselves.

 We get out hopes so high, and then, almost inevitably, we crash. We just can’t seem to find the motivation to do the 180 degree turn we’ve wanted to do. So we don’t turn at all, we don’t take any step forward.

 One of the biggest lies that we believe is that in order for a step or change to matter, it must be a big, massive, leap forward. Fortunately for us, this just isn’t true. Our lives are the compilations of all the small, daily decisions and actions we go about making. Who we are, what we become, and what we have been are all based on the small things we do every day.

 God has never asked for perfect people. God has asked for people who are willing to say “yes” daily. Who are willing to make the tough, tiny decisions that no one sees. The “yes” to waking up 30 minutes earlier, the “yes” to only eating 1 cookie instead of 5, the “yes” to reaching out to a close friend when you’re feeling alone. These small “yes’s” compile together into a lifetime of moving into what God has called you into.

 What can you say “yes” to this year? What is a small action that you can put into your day that gets you closer to your goal? How can you be courageous today? How can you love more tomorrow?

It's Messy: Advance Anyway

A blog by Andy Mason – December 27 2018 – Heaven in Business

We have a bunch of mess around us at the moment. People mess. Process mess. Property mess. Nothing that could end in prison or questions of character. Just messy life stuff; hurting people, growing pains, delays, and internal stretch marks as I am continually faced with my own fears, inadequacies, and uncertainties. So what do we do?

More and more I’m simply hearing God say advance. Period. He doesn’t say wait til you are perfect. Or wait til you are prepared. Or wait til the people are ready. He simply says, “Advance”. Shine. Step up. Stand out. Speak up.

But won’t the mess become more obvious? Advance anyway, cleaning as you go.

But what about the hurting family member? Advance softly, staying close.

But what about the imperfect system and process that is already stretched? Adjust it as you advance.

But what about all the screaming internal fears of failure and inadequacy and uncertainty that will only seem to scream louder as we expand in greater measure? Advance anyway. I AM with you.

What does Wisdom say?

I read the ancient book of wisdom (Pro 14:4):

The only clean stable is an empty stable.

So if you want the work of an ox and to enjoy the abundant harvest,

You’ll have a mess or two to clean up.

With increase comes mess. Its inevitable. HOWEVER, staying where you are is also mess – maybe smaller like rat mess compared to ox mess…

SO would you rather have mess with abundance or mess with mediocrity? Or have you so reduced your life to safety that there is no mess at all…. kind of like a sterilized morgue.

With life comes mess. Loud mess. Get over it. Get used to it. Get moving.

Advance when it feels awkward and embarrassing.

Advance when it feels messy and unclean.

Advance when you feel inadequate and overwhelmed.

Simply advance.

A Word from Dr. King:

Here’s some words from a hero of mine. Be encouraged this morning that regardless of what you are in, keep advancing.

“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.”

“You may be thirty-eight years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer.

You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or your are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house. So you refuse to take the stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at thirty-eight as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice

Don’t ever think that you’re by yourself. Go on to jail if necessary, but you never go alone.

Take  a stand for that which is right, and the world may misunderstand you, and criticize you. But you never go alone, for somewhere I read that one with God is a majority. And God has a way of transforming a minority into a majority.

Walk with Him this morning and believe in Him and do what is right, and He’ll be with you even until the consummation of the ages.

Yes, I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roll. I’ve felt sin breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul, but I heard the voice of Jesus saying, still to fight on. He promised never to leave me alone.

No, never alone.

No, never alone.”

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Sermon at Ebenezer, November 5, 1967. Died April 4, 1968.

The Sacred Breath

Then the Lord God formed a man and woman from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being—Genesis 2:7

 It is interesting how little and simultaneously how much the human brain can remember and hold. Sometimes we forget where we put our keys when we get home and yet, sometimes we can remember the exact thing a teacher said to us 15 years ago. Sometimes we remember that God loves us and sometimes we forget.

Sometimes we remember that our hearts beat because God breathed, sometimes we forget.

 Sometimes we remember that the eternal, sacred breath of God is in each person we encounter. And sometimes? Sometimes we forget.

Every human that you interact with is a living, breathing, loved, adored, and eternal being. When we engage with other people, our souls are colliding with an infinite being who was molded and knit together by the Author of time, the Creator of bones and blood and DNA.

We forget the sacredness of ourselves. And we forget the sacredness of others. The fact that we even get to interact and collide with a being who can love, laugh, cry, break, hurt and be hurt, create new things, and constant grow is astounding. The fact that we get to connect with others’ spirits which are so like our own and yet so unbelievably different is mind blowing.

Take time to remember today; remember that the others that you engage with are sacred. Remember that you are sacred.

And you are sacred, they are sacred, because of the Love that was breathed into human lungs at the beginning of time and the Love that is being breathed into your lungs right now.  

Your Calling

Have you ever met someone who just seemed to have it all together? They seemed like they were doing exactly what they were put on this earth to do? Maybe they’re making a ton of money or saving hundreds of orphans or changing the way we use technology. Whatever it is, we look at people who are doing amazing things and we want to be like them.

Some of this is good! These people are inspiring. They make us want to be bigger, better, more energized versions of ourselves. The issue comes when we start trying to take on their calling as our own. We are not only inspired by them and perhaps want to do what they do, we want to BE them. We then strive for the life they have or we secretly long for it, constantly dissatisfied with our current lives. We end up spending so much time and energy and resources on a calling that is not ours, it is someone else’s.

 When we try to take someone’s calling as our own, we end dissatisfied and bitter. We wonder why everything isn’t working out for us like it worked out for them. We wonder why this is so much harder, things aren’t lining up, and we keep hitting closed doors.

 Each person has been given a certain set of skills and certain amounts of strength to do different things. One person’s calling might be, metaphorically, scaling mountains. Because that is their calling, they have certain tools in their backpack that makes them more likely to succeed. Another person’s calling might be to create an oasis in the desert. In their backpack are vastly different tools than the tools in the mountain climber’s.

 This is not to say that we cannot gain skills that we need to do many different things, because we can and we need to! What we want, though, is to walk into what God has called us into. When we are aligned with the journey that God has called us on, we will find joy, grace, passion, and knowledge available to us that is mostly absent when we are trying to live someone else’s life.

Lean In

Can you imagine a week without fear of rejection or worry? Just, completely without anxiety or being nervous? You weren’t afraid of whether someone would reject you, that you would be judged, or that you wouldn’t do a good job. You weren’t afraid to lean into something.

When we lean in, we have to be willing to fall flat on our faces if something doesn’t catch us. We have to be willing to lean in, even if the person, company, or whatever doesn’t lean back. The problem is that when we put ourselves in that vulnerable position, there is no guarantee that we will come out without bumps and bruises. Unfortunately, nothing and no one is obligated or required to lean into us, to lean back.

When we risk that vulnerability, we are risking hurt and pain for something much greater. We are risking falling on our faces and getting some bruises for the chance of something wonderful: love, connection, belonging. We risk getting hurt because the pain of isolation is far worse than the pain of falling a few times. And the reward is so sweet that the pain becomes a simple bump in the road. Vulnerability and authenticity are vital for connection, for intimacy, for relationships.

The absolutely brilliant thing about God though, is that, no matter how many times we lean in or lean out, He is always leaning in ten times harder. There is no risk of rejection or judgment. There is no chance of us leaning in, of us being vulnerable, and falling flat on our faces. Because He also takes two steps towards us when we take one. Now, this might not always look like how we want it. It is not pain free or without us making mistakes along the way. But the thing that our hearts long for, that unconditional love, is available to us.

So available to us that all we have to do is lean just a little, just a tiny baby step forward into connection with God, and we become washed in a never-ending river of love, peace, and joy.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Sometimes we get the absolute honor and privilege of feeling close to God’s heart. We can hear His voice, we can feel Him near, and we can rest in His presence. And sometimes, we have the heartbreaking experience of feeling nothing— of not know where He is, what He is saying, or where He rests.

In those moments, we can feel abandoned and alone. A God that is never supposed to leave us or forsake us feels like He has, in fact, done both. We can become afraid, angry, despondent, or even filled with shame. Either God has abandoned us or we are doing something wrong.

Though cliché, the best approach to these moments where God feels so far is faith. There is a waiting, steady element to faith. It is the belief that even in darkness, even when we are blind and cannot see, even when the waves crash into our boats or fire is all around us, even when we are lost, alone, and broken, even when the world feels formless and void: God is.  

Faith makes the intentional decision to stay steady. It decides to remain on course, to keep walking, to follow, even when the path is unclear. It chooses to say “yes” even when it is terrified and doesn’t know what saying “yes” looks like. Faith wavers, trips, falls, and gets broken, and faith continues on.

In moments when the Lord does not feel near or doubt has found its resting place in your mind, have courage, dear heart. The “I am that I am” is more than an emotion, more than how you felt yesterday, today, or will feel tomorrow. Experiencing His closeness and nearness is so sweet, so wonderful, so dear. Even when He feels like He could not be farther away, He is still near, still close, still the one who breathes life into your lungs, the one who causes your heart to beat, the one who holds the stars in the sky and the waters in the depth. He is.

Let's Fail a Little

“There is no such thing as failure, only feedback”—Robert Allen, author of The Four Maps of Happy Successful People

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to get things done, and those who don’t want to make mistakes.”—John Maxwell, author, speaker, and pastor
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”—Elbert Hubbard, writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:12-14
As we think about this new year and about creating adventure in our lives, we also must think about the main thing that gets in our way: fear of failure. Nothing stops us in our tracks like the chance that we might not succeed and that we might do so in some great fiery explosion of embarrassment and failure. This fear is so great and so paralyzing that many of us keep are dreams hidden deep inside ourselves.  
They seem safe there, where no one can touch them, attack them, or change them. These dreams feel like living things; precious, breathing beings. They feel like extensions of who we are. So, the stakes are high. 
Failure becomes something to fear because it feels like failure would kill us. But in reality, failing is not the deathblow. It might hurt like someone punched you in the stomach but it is not the end. It’s not the end of your idea, your hope, or your dream. 
Failure is only feedback. It is an indicator to do something differently, to learn something new, to improve in some way. Failure tells you what NOT to do— which is just as valuable as knowing exactly what you should do. Failure is simply valuable information, though it might sting a bit (or a lot). 

God did not call us to be timid, weak people. We are called to be brave, bold, and passionate. That means moving past fear of failure, that means moving past failure itself, and moving to a place of determination. Failing now on something you care about will get you farther than doing nothing or waiting for the perfect moment. If you wait till it’s perfect, you’ve waited too long. Move past fear. Mess up a little bit or a lot. Learn. Grow. And just watch, you might amaze yourself.

The Witheos Team

Sacred Ground

In the Holy Temple of Israel, there was a veil that separated people from the immense presence of God that rested in the Holy of Holies—the most sacred and innermost place in the temple. When Jesus died and conquered sin and death, the veil was physically and spiritually torn. When that happened, the presences of God rushed into the world— giving us access to that very presence.

 Now, His kingdom, His presence, His being constantly surrounds us. It is in the air we breathe, the floor we walk on, the blood in our veins. This is a hard thing to visualize, let alone experience. It is hard to feel the sacred in the monotony of the day to day. We can forget that we walk on sacred ground, we can forget the sacredness of humanity, that God breathed life into our lungs.

His presence can feel distant and cold. We have a hard time imagining that God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob could be walking around in our offices, our homes, our schools. It is difficult to even partially begin to think that the presence of the God who divided the seas, healed the leper and created humanity, could be near us—colliding the sacred with the mundane.

 And yet, He is. We can see His breath in the stirring of the trees, His tenderness is the hug of a friend, His creativity in the fissures in mountains, His joyfulness in the laughter of loved ones. We can breathe His presence into our lungs. He sits, rests, lives in the small moments of sacredness, the achingly tiny moments of holiness: between the cells in your skin, between your heart beats, amongst tears, amongst friends. God sits, rests, lives in the sacred, small moments of profound love that causes all of earth and heaven to continue existing.

Sunshine People

Why do we love sunshine so much? What is it about the rays of the sun hitting our skin that we crave? What is it about light and warmth that is so alluring to us? We crave it so much that we can become sick from the lack of it (Vitamin D deficiencies, Seasonal Affective Disorder). After days of clouds and rain and cold, most people when the sun finally hits their face, they close their eyes and just breath. We sit by pools, by beaches, in lawn chairs, and on decks to get just a taste of the sun. We want to just be in it.

People have a way of being sunshine to us too. They tend to be the ones who smile often, ask us how we are, sit with us, whose very presence is comforting and energizing. They tend to be the ones who love well. And we crave their presence as much as we crave the sun. You can be having a terrible, no-good, rotten day and one kind word, one hug, one smile can turn that day around. When we are surrounded by sunshine people, the world can be falling apart and yet we feel some degree of warmth, safety, and contentedness.

We want to be around these kinds of people but how do we find them? Because sometimes it feels like we are surrounded by the human equivalents of a thunderstorm or of a cold, dreary day or one of those gross days that it’s just a bit too cold and wet to do anything. And when we mostly encounter cloudy days, we become discouraged and desperate. It would be nice if that answer was that all the sunny people were at this one bakery just off the highway and all you have to do is walk in, tell the hostess you are looking for some sun, and they’ll direct you to the nearest and best sunshine person. Fortunately, the answer is much simpler than that and unfortunately, much more difficult. You find sunshine by being sunny yourself.

By being the sun for others, by providing love and joy and kindness to those around you, you attract more sunshine. You help other people become light, warm, and full so that they can do that for others. Sometimes you are lucky, and you stumble upon the human version of a gorgeous sunny day. But most of the time, the sunniest people want to be around sunshine people too.

So, how do you become sunshine? In order to be overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, you have to get to the source of those things, the source of the sunshine: the sun itself. You have to be filled by the truest version of all of those things, the purest version of love, you have to be around God. You have to connect to His heart, His word, His being.

We always want to be nearer to people who love us, who speak kind and true things, who are loyal, gentle, who accept us as we are and yet hope for better things for us, who want good things for us and put good things in our lives. And in the deepest parts of us, our souls long to be near the very source and center of those things. We long for the nearness of the Sun, for the closeness of the presence of God.


Have you ever felt foggy, tired, or confused because you haven’t had enough to eat? Or maybe sleep? Or even because it’s rainy outside? There are so many reasons why we can feel foggy.

When we feel foggy, we can’t think clearly, don’t have any energy, or motivation. We might be bored, easily annoyed, dissatisfied, and confused. When we feel this way, it is hard to get anything done or to feel like we are moving in a direction. This feeling can last a couple of hours or days or even weeks. And it’s miserable.

This fogginess can happen for several reasons. To figure out what that is, here is an important question to ask: are you hungry? What we mean by that is, are you feeding all the parts of you that need to be fed? Are you feeding your heart, soul, mind, and body? 

Feeding your heart looks like getting around the people or activities that you love. These are the things that bring you joy. Grab coffee with your best friend, play a game with your children, go on a fun date with your significant other, play with a puppy or kitten, watch your favorite movie, see a play or a concert.

Feeding your soul is all about hanging out with and being in the presence of God. Whether that is through meditation, prayer, worship, or a walk in the woods, be around the Creator. Let Him satisfy and fulfill your soul.

Feed your mind with things that are good, right, true, and beautiful. Fill your mind with things that are interesting, challenging to your brain, and inspiring. Watch a TedTalk, read a good book, talk with an expert about something you don’t know a lot about.

Lastly, feed your body. This literally means feed it. Eat good foods that your body needs. Fruits, veggies, meats. Avoid things with lots of sugar, fried foods, or too much bread. Make sure you are getting between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Drink way more water than you think you need to. Exercise or be active. Go for a walk, jog, or run. Lift some weights, play some sort of sport. Move your body. It craves it.

By feeding these basic needs of your heart, soul, mind, and body, you can clear you mind to delve deep into life and figure out what you want to do or where you want to go. When your heart is full, your soul is satisfied, your mind is activated, and your body is fed, you will see immediate results.