Reasons You Don’t Suck at Life {Part Two}

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been living in the wake of a lot of crazy circumstances the past few weeks, and I’ve begun to believe that I absolutely suck at life.

Have you ever made gigantic, exciting life plans, and watched them crumble as some of your relationships crumble on the side?

Me too.

To combat these lies, I’ve decided to think about what is good and true, and place my belief in those things instead.

So here you have a couple of other reasons on my list of why you and me and the whole Oak Tree doesn’t suck:

3. You Were “Laid-off” From Your Job, and Aren’t Sure How to Bounce Back.

This one can feel extra tricky, because we all handle trials and curve-balls differently. Maybe you didn’t see it coming; maybe you were packed and ready. Maybe you have an entire family to provide for, or maybe it’s just you and your dog {or cat, for those of you who “prefer an animal who doesn’t make eye contact”}. Either way, being “let-go” can sting and cause ripple effects of bitterness and confusion. Even if you were told your severance was due to budget-cuts, you can’t help but wonder if it had even one smidgen to do with your performance {or apparent lack-there-of}. And then, OH THEN, you’re told to go market yourself, get back in the game, and beautify your resumé and cover letters, only to figure-out you’re under-qualified and don’t fit the bill for most jobs. This whole process can feel a lot like running on a hamster wheel, only to find yourself back where you began, restless and bludgeoned by society. But we don’t live like the Mayans and Aztecs and Egyptians, in a world where trade and barter-systems sustain the economy. No, the bottom line is we live within the effects of commerce, and therefore, we have to earn money through work to sustain ourselves. Throughout this humbling {and sometimes even humiliating} process, however, I’ve been hit up-side the head with the fact that it’s ultimately God who sustains us, and unless we submit to His greater plan and authority for our lives, we’ll just keep running in circles. I can’t tell you there’s a sure-fire way to go-about this, but there are many helpful tips and tricks that will contribute to your success; there are people who have gone before you who have words of wisdom to offer, and a whole slew of us who have been laid-off at some point or another, too. You don’t suck–work is how we spend 1/3 of our lives, and very few people have only ever had one job. It’s a rough process, so learn to be patient with yourself. {And in the meantime, I’d love to help you edit your resumé and clearly define your credentials and skill sets. Seriously. I’m a writer, an editor, and I love to help my people out, so just shoot me an email:}

hard work


4. Relationships Are Tough and Awkward and Take Effort.
I met some of my closest friends in college, people who called me into greatness and helped break down the walls I had erected around my fragile heart; since then, though, we’ve all moved in out and on with life, making roots all over. I then traveled the world for nearly a year with about forty people, and came face-to-face with my ugliness and their ugliness and all of the ugliness; my gosh, people can be ugly. But those people became family, challenging me and believing in me more than I ever thought possible. I even went on to work for a large missions organization, where I thought my colleagues would simply be maintained work-relationships and nothing more; but what’s blossomed in the last year has been an unexpected surprise of being surrounded by some of the most inspiring creative geniuses I know, people who have taught me the tricks of our trade, and who have given me deadlines to meet, all while getting to know my story and my past–you can’t say that about a lot of organizations, so to say I feel “blessed” is an understatement. But throughout the journey, friendships have faded a bit, and some have ceased to exist entirely. Some of us realized we believed entirely different things about life and love and people, and we simply couldn’t make the pieces fit. Others of us never confronted the big, fat elephant that was always in the room by seeking out resolve through difficult conversations. And even more recently, I’ve felt caught in the middle of a few friend “groups” that don’t quite see eye-to-eye, feeling like I should choose sides, because remaining neutral feels both dangerous and apathetic. Yet the more I press into the idea of community and what Jesus had to say about it in scripture, the more I’m learning He had twelve disciples for a reason–twelve main dudes to pour into and extract from. These were all people He chose on purpose, people He asked His Father about, and people He pursued whole-heartedly, but who also reciprocated His efforts. They fought with one another, ate meals together, they were enveloped in ministry together, and some even died together. Unlike Jesus, I so often try to compartmentalize my life rather than letting it flow organically. I try to force friendships that just aren’t, or I choose not to fight for the ones that are—because that is messy, and I don’t appreciate messy things. At the end of the day, we could all be better friends, and maybe we should compartmentalize certain friend-groups or commonalities. If we say we meant to call, but never call, our actions speak louder than our words. It’s challenging, and I never feel like I write enough letters to send via snail-mail, or allow myself to be a shoulder when people need to cry {again…the messy thing}; I even decline phone calls because I know the conversation that may ensue could be utterly exhausting. But I know I’m not alone in this, and neither are you. We don’t suck, we’re just human. Yet we’re made in Christ’s image, so day-by-day, hour-by-hour, as we set our minds on things above, our relationships will begin to look like things above, and the Heavenlies will come down and dwell in our midst, causing blinding reflections of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and self-control, which is the very kind of person {and friend, sister, and daughter} I aspire to be.

FRANCE-10126, France, 1989



So, please, take all of these thoughts and suggestions like a grain of salt, because I am in process just like you. But know you don’t suck, because praise God, you’re actually human and fallible and faulty. You’re imperfect, and you’re a mess, and I am too. Yet when we *“stop expecting people to be perfect, we can like them for who they are.” Apply that truth to yourself, and pick out the things you like {& LOVE!} Don’t forget entirely about the things that need work and edifying, but don’t dwell on them either.

What are some ways you’re working on doing you better, while not believing the lie that you are less-than?
Leave your comments below.


Reasons You Don’t Suck at Life {Part One}

The night before last, I asked Jesus to be sure to wake me up the next morning, ready to jump into everything on my “to-do” list with a bold excitement. I remember saying, “…but seriously, mister; do whatever you can to get me out of bed.”

And oh, Jesus tried.–He really did.

A tree-limb fell and hit my window, but I hardly flinched. There were alarm clocks going off I honestly don’t remember setting, but I incessantly hit “snooze” on each of them until they finally gave up, I think. And there was some pesky little morning bird who seemingly mocked me with its zealous spirit of chirping over the day. By the end of these annoyances, I could almost hear Jesus say, “Alright, kid…this is where free-will comes in.” After that, it took nearly every ounce of strength I had to roll over, place both feet sloppily on the ground, and bend my knees to rise and greet the day. The phrase “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” smacked me on the forehead, {and because my bed is practically against a window, I have no choice: there is really only one side of the bed I can get out of}. Sure, it was a Monday, but the day hadn’t even begun, and I was already defeated.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever choose to intentionally start your week off on the right “foot”, full-steam-ahead, ambition and courage tucked in your pockets, only to completely fail? 

Yeah, me too. 

I’m actually currently living in the wake of those circumstances, and it’s been pretty rough.
But in the process, God has been tugging on my heart, reminding me I am dearly beloved, and He wants me to remind you of that, too. If you’re still reading this, it could be because we’re in the same boat, not knowing which direction to raise our sails or where to cast our anchors.

So I’ve set my agenda down.
Turned off my cell-phone {it’s liberating…I dare you to try it}.
And compiled a short list of affirmations of how we don’t suck at life & why what you’re doing may or may not be working:

1. Don’t Sleep When You’re Dead. Sleep Now.
If you’ve been one to believe the phrase “You can sleep when you’re dead”, it’s probably because it’s been engrained in you by someone who didn’t actually know how to rest. And I’m not just talking about a physical rest, consisting of REM and 8 full-hours, as prescribed by doctors. No, I’m referring to the rest that happens when we get with the Lord and hang out in His presence for a while. In western culture, this is especially difficult; but it’s also imperative. Research suggests people who know when to put down their iPhones {or don’t even bring them to bed to begin with} are happier, healthier, and living longer, with less chronic disease and ailments. If you’ve been given the guilt-trip for being a “grandma” and going to bed before 10 PM, set that guilt down right now, because you don’t suck–you’re actually wiser than the rest. I love how Graham Cooke puts it: “We need rest not just to practice the presence of God internally, but to guard against the negativity of the enemy and the negativity of other people. We need rest because we are a company of people that have set our hearts on changing the atmosphere around us.”




2. It’s Only March, and your New Year’s Resolutions {& Lenten Oaths} Were Thrown Out with Yesterday’s Garbage.
I’m not sure why this is, but we love to set ourselves up for failure. We create unrealistic expectations of ourselves, raising ridiculous standards that simply don’t fit into the current infrastructure of our lives. These things we profess to give-up should be sacrificial…meaning the thought of going without them should sting a bit. But the truth is if we don’t ask God what we need to “give-up” or resolve to do first, really waiting on His answer and for His guidance, we’re probably going to end-up striving in vain. If you’ve gained 10 pounds instead of shedding them, and felt drawn to the TV remote and your March Madness bracket, even after you said you wouldn’t participate and obsess, you’re not alone in that, and you don’t suck. Next time, though, if you resolve to do one thing, be revolutionary, and build a team of like-minded people around you to help. Write out your aspirations in BIG, bold letters where you can see them daily, and invite some of your sacred people into that season of fasting or aiming to really help hold you to your word. Simply put, we were given other people for a reason: we weren’t meant to do life alone.



And we’re in it together.
And life doesn’t have to feel like a perpetual Monday.
And bravery through the downpour of conflicts will win every time, resulting in a healthier, more whole you.

{…To Be Continued…}


So, what lessons will you take away?
And what other ways are you learning you don’t actually suck {because there are many…}? Leave your comments below.