Deciding to live vulnerable with God
* A little ending that fits on almost any word to increase its cool factor.
Deciding to live vulnerable with God
* A little ending that fits on almost any word to increase its cool factor.
My local paper, the Washington Post, just ran a story with the title “Why are young adults the loneliest generation in America?” Besides a recounting of the latest research (all of America came across as lonely) the answer that was offered is that young adults prioritize activities that achieve goals, not meaningful connection. So much to say about this but I will summarize with this: This is the fruit of turning our tweens and teen years into overachieving accomplishments and not finding the time in the schedules to simply play and be with friends. My job in my life is a youth pastor for over 35 years. I’ve seen this not-healthy trend up close. From a survey by Match.com of over 5,500 singles of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life: 57% of Millennials say they are lonely. Another interesting stat: 65% also don’t find dating advice useful. Oh dear. That’s not good for me. I’m going to give you advice–that I believe is useful. (Source.) I’m sorry that you are lonely. But I also don’t find you diseased. I don’t find you as having something wrong with you. Loneliness is normal. And it sucks too. But you won’t only […]
When you hustle for your perfect life, you still don’t feel like enough. So you start wearing a mask. Those of you wearing masks right now know exactly what I’m saying. With your mask you get this painful truth: only your mask receives love. Maybe you made it to the “in group” but no one still really knows you—or really loves you. You still feel like you are not enough. You are probably making decisions that you right now have regrets over as you are still keeping up your hustle to stay in the “in group.” Feelings of not enough, feelings of regret, feelings of shame, feelings like you can never get off this path you are on are holding this mask up to your face. At times you feel suffocated. But you can’t leave your house without this mask. You don’t remember any other way of life. Here’s a true and sad list for you. It comes from this recommended book The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall. The cool part of the book is it is part allegory or parable. It starts with this story of a man having to make a choice of which […]
Whew. It is a good thing I married a giver. Before I was married I did 15 years single as a full-time minister. I was not about to give up this call on my life to get married. This was always a major factor in deciding who I would date. Every guy who asked me out got a chance but he always had to understand that I was called into full-time ministry and I was not budging. Many guys bailed quickly. Many guys tried to be persuasive—whom I now see as takers. And then there is John. He never wavered on this non-negotiable I had. I married him. Twenty-three years later I read about this dating truth about takers and givers. I see John in a whole new light yet again. I am grateful to God yet again for bringing John into my life. John, whom I thought for so long was not my type, has never wavered in his support of me as a full-time minister and has been a catalyst for growing my online presence. He believes in me and my calling. He has made my world bigger. As a youth minister I am still in relationship with […]
“Perfectionism says, ‘It’s not enough.’ Gratitude says, ‘It’s more than enough.’ “Perfectionism says, ‘I’m lacking.’ Gratitude says, ‘I’m living in abundance.’ “Perfectionism says, ‘God is holding out on me.’ Gratitude says, ‘God is good and gracious.’ “Perfectionism says, ‘I must try harder and go farther.’ Gratitude says, ‘I will be fully present in this moment.’” Which one are you? Which one are you really you? That bit of inspiration comes from the book, You’re Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth. This inspiration reminds us yet again how much perfectionism is a hustle. Full of insecurity. You keep hustling for your worthiness? Plus it messes with your mind. It messes with your relationships. It messes with your understanding of who God is. Jesus told a parable about this hustle. It’s one you may have read lots of times and never saw this hustle before. That’s because this hustle of perfectionism is hard to see; feels like the right response to improve the outcome of our lives; and is built on lumping everyone into “the others” so that you can feel like you are enough. True, right? Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own […]
Consider this like a guest post. This is a section pulled from this book which I’ve been talking about and quoting from quite a bit. This book is The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas. Get it. Read it. This is just one section from one chapter but it spoke to me enough to give it its own blog post and then a follow up blog post and probably also linked back to in future blog posts. This is a Brave Dating practice type of blog post. A marriage of ministry is a marital partnership. Two givers geometrically increase their ability to give. A giver married to a taker gets depleted and tired, which is why you want to find someone who knows how to love and give. Such an ideal isn’t selfish; it’s wise. If you marry a taker, you’ll compromise your own ability to love others outside the marriage. The sad reality is, some people are givers and some people are takers. Givers don’t always mind being in a relationship with a taker because they like to give; it brings them joy. But there are times when the giver needs to receive. Let’s say the giver gets really sick, […]
I know so many people struggle extending forgiveness to those who have wounded them for this one reason: they believe that forgiving someone let’s them off the hook and fear then that they are free to do the bad behavior again. Nothing about forgiveness says you are to put yourself in harm’s way to be wounded again. Nothing about forgiveness says you are to put yourself in the victim role again to this person who harmed you. Nothing about forgiveness says that you are to “forgive and forget.” Please read more about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is a brave behavior. From Dr. Brene’ Brown’s research (which I quote oh so much), she found that, “Forgiveness is not forgetting or walking away from accountability or condoning a hurtful act; it’s the process of taking back and healing our lives so we can truly live.” –Rising Strong, p. 152 Forgiveness can change the trajectory of your life. Which means you are more able to put boundaries on your relationships, particularly that one relationship who has made a victim out of you. That relationship is badly in need of boundaries. Then you are free to go forth and live a braver life. […]
“I feel like a part of my soul has loved you since the beginning of everything. Maybe we’re from the same star.” ― Emery Allen Oh sheesh. The mystical magic of love. That is not real. This was just one of many beautiful yet sappy quotes on finding your soul mate. Then I went to Wikipedia to find the origin of soul mate. How interesting. And how reverse to what the soul mate has become. It all begins with Plato. Plato has Aristophanes present a story about soulmates. Aristophanes states that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces. He continues that there were three genders: man, woman and the “Androgynous”, each with two sets of genitalia with the Androgynous having both male and female genitalia. The men were children of the sun, the women were children of the earth and the Androgynous were children of the moon, which was born of the sun and earth. It is said that humans had great strength at the time and threatened to conquer the gods. The gods were then faced with the prospect of destroying the humans with lightning as they had done with the […]
I miss you. I have missed you since you were in 9th grade. So many life landmarks I’ve missed of yours, and I wanted to be there. I really enjoyed lunch with you last week. It was good to see you. But I didn’t feel comfortable saying that to you, because our walls are up pretty high. We no longer can be vulnerable to each other. There are so many things I wish I could have said to you. I enjoyed hearing the story about the boy who looked like a good possibility and ended up not being trustworthy. It is a big deal that he was a disappointment. I wanted to share that, I wanted to share in your disappointment. It’s a big deal! But I couldn’t. Your life is really tough right now. I want to walk through this season with you. Get deep into this mud with you. But I could see from our lunch that I am not one of the voices you want to hear right now. You did ask for the lunch assuming maybe hoping that I could help you find your way back but very early in our conversation you accused me of […]
Back in 2015 I published this blog with this brave and true statement that I believe there are good men out there. Two-plus years later I still strongly believe this and am feeling the urgency to repost it because some of you may need this brave hope. Here it is again. I don’t even feel the need to update this other than adding the last one on the list because this is what I still believe to my core. ___________________ I know lots of really great women. Women who are worthy of a love for a lifetime and are making the right decisions to have that. But I don’t know enough worthy men to set them up with. I’m on their teams and I believe in them so much that I wish I could introduce them to some really good men. Because I believe there are lots of really good men out there. The lack of really good men that I know to introduce them too I believe simply comes down to the fact that I am a woman and have these close relationships with good women. I still believe that these really good men are out there, just not […]
All through this week, comparison culture has reared its ugly head in the people I care for (in my job) over and over again. So allow me to educate on a mass level: If someone is super successful before the age of 21, they are lucky or a Slytherin. If someone is settled into a career by their mid-20’s, they are probably a practical-minded person who completed a practical student and career path (nursing, engineering, computers, that stuff). If someone is successful by their mid-20’s in a creative career, go back to number 1. If someone is successful by their 30’s in a dreamy work situation, they likely worked their asses off for it, and knew what they wanted. If they changed careers, it will still take awhile to both stability and passion work. Unless they have that gross luck thing. Or switched to a more practical career. Most people are NOT lucky. Most people have to work their asses off. For a long time. Before they get anywhere in a career (I.E. any person who is in their licensure process to be a counselor). Privilege is a part of this luck thing I named. Next off, no one is […]
Brenda has been teaching the messages of Bravester for over 25 years. She is available to come to your group event. People have found her vulnerability and storytelling mixed with the Bible to be inspirational and life changing.
“You have had a significant influence on how I view brokenness, forgiveness, and the role God plays through all of that through a very difficult time in my life. Since that year at CRC, I have taken significant steps to getting bitterness out of my heart… You have had a significant impact on my life. I really do not think I would be the woman I am today if it were not for the lessons you taught me. You are a strong instrument of God and his word.” –Sara, former camp counselor and now inner-city missionary
Brenda can be joined by her husband John. They have a back-and-forth dialog that mixes in John’s beautifully written music. John is also available to lead worship for the event.
From Brenda’s 35 years of youth ministry experience, she has become a Brave Dating Coach. She has a lot of good things to say to help her many grown teens be coached into marriage. She is also available to teach on these many good things for your group event.