Strength & Song

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2 (ESV)

I’ve always considered myself to be a strong person. I like to be independent, to help other people, to listen to their problems and be the one with the answers. But the flip side of that independence is that I struggle to rely on people, to accept help, to let other people listen to my problems and be the ones with the answers.

That habit is hard to break now that it’s established and I often find myself relating to God that way. I only come to Him with problems I’ve already solved. I tend ask Him what He wants me to do instead of bringing Him my broken pieces.

I laid awake in bed for most of the night last night. I was worrying and planning about a situation in my life. This morning, when I woke up an hour late (after less than 4 hours of sleep), I came across this verse as I was contemplating how last night could’ve been different.

Would last night have been different if I had let Him be my strength and my song?

Also, what does that even mean??

The Lord God is my strength… In order to be your strength, someone has to know where you are weak. He has to be the one I turn to before I try to comfort myself or plan my way out of my problems. I have to be intentional about bringing Him my pieces, my questions, my weakness.

The Lord God is my song…. When a song gets stuck in your head, you find yourself singing without realizing it. You just become aware in moments that you were humming “Party in the USA” under your breath (no? Just me? Ok cool). So to have the Lord be my song means that He has to become so ingrained in me that my subconscious sings His words.

So if He is my strength and my song, that means He’s the thing that I both consciously and subconsciously return to. He becomes my salvation, and not just my salvation for after I die; but my salvation in the nights that I can’t sleep because I’m worried about money and the days that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. He becomes my salvation for my dark and lonely times and for the times where I think my problems are small enough to handle by myself.

But reaching that point isn’t something that just happens.

He IS my salvation, but He also has to BECOME my salvation through time and practice on my part.

Before He can be the song that is stuck in my head, He has to be the words I repeat through through my tears at 4am.

Strength & Song

Determination and Shiny Things

I’m really tired of having every blog post I write be about how I haven’t written one in like a week.

You’d think I would have learned by now. I tend to get overly excited and obsessed with new ideas (like writing a blog post every day for a month!) and then about a week in it loses it’s excitement and I move on to other things (like writing poetic responses to my favorite songs).

I try really hard to keep myself on track… but I get lost in my excitement of new things.

Yesterday at church, we hosted Ps David Gilpin from Hope City, UK. In his sermon, he talked about the four temperaments (it’s a personality test that traces all the way back to Ancient Greece… Which is why the names are so funny). I’d taken it once before, but I remember being more concerned with what I thought I SHOULD be instead of what I actually was that my results were skewed.

Anyway, I’m Sanguine, which is the fun, social, excitable personality. As I was reading about it, one of the characteristics is that we jump quickly into exciting things and then fall out of them just as quickly when they become un-exciting.

I’m a firm believer in personality tests. I’m an ENFP, a 7 on the Enneagram, and (now) a Sanguine.

But I also believe that those tests aren’t an excuse to just let ourselves run wild in whatever our tendencies are just because our personality dictates it.

Those two beliefs often put me at odds with myself. Because how can I be excited about who I am while also trying to change it?

I’ve forced myself into a lot of situations and tendencies (such as an obsession with following the rules and being on time…) because I was trying to “correct” what I thought was wrong with me.

But last night, in one of the most freeing messages about salvation and holiness I’ve ever heard, Ps Gilpin said,

“Don’t throw away who you are in an attempt to become holy.”


I’d never thought about it like that before. I know we are supposed to become more like Christ, but I always associated that with becoming less like myself.

He said that the things we love and who we are doesn’t need to change, it just has to be unattached from selfish desires and reattached to God.

I’ve got a lot to mull over after last night, but in the mean time, I’m going to attempt to keep writing blog posts… But I can’t guarantee it’ll be every day.

Determination and Shiny Things

Counting Palm Trees

There are days that the darkness feels unbeatable.

Strings of days where I hide behind blankets and books

until I forget that I am even hiding;

until I convince myself that I am resting

and that the tiredness I feel isn’t actually sadness.

I’ve become so good at being sad,

 at pretending that it is something else,

at not wanting to admit that it exists.

Listening to other people’s problems so

I don’t have to hear my own.

But I am done hiding!

I’m done inviting sadness into my bed

and wrapping it with blankets so it feels comfortable.

Sadness grows stronger with the shades drawn,

so I’ll open my windows wide

and let the sunshine in.

I will go outside and count the palm trees

or drink a cup of coffee.

I will reach out with shaking hands and ask for help,

even if my request is drowned in tears;

or is scribbled on a post it note

because I’m too afraid to say it out loud;

or if it comes out with no feelings at all.

I will not let the numbness inside of me

swallow up the steps I am trying to take.

Because, someday, those steps will lead me

out of this darkness.

They will lead me to a place where I don’t have to

count palm trees just to keep the darkness at bay.

But for now, I will find my spot of sunshine,

I will make my bed so I don’t have an excuse

to crawl right back in.

I will not hide my sadness,

Because I cannot escape it alone.

And if I hide it,

The ones who can help me will never know.

Counting Palm Trees

holiday weekends and not working

It’s been 3 days since I lasted posted…and I promised us every day. This last weekend has been a bit crazy between birthday celebrations, my internship, church, an unplanned beach trip, and some unexpected conversations I needed to have. I didn’t make time for writing over the past few days and now I’m so sunburned that all I can think about is the pain like hot needles that is happening in my body. I just didn’t want to go a 4th day without writing something. I don’t regret the choices I made this weekend (except for maybe the part where I was laying in the sun for 6 hours yesterday), I’m still learning how to stick to something, how to have discipline, and (clearly) how to apply sunscreen. So, for now, I’m going to go back to sobbing quietly into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I’ll talk to you tomorrow for real.



holiday weekends and not working

Some Musings On Why I Write

I’ve often wondered why I write. Why is that the thing that draws me? For some it’s singing or dancing or becoming a character in a story. For others, it’s numbers or architecture or chemistry.

The poet Sarah Kay gave a Ted Talk in which she talked about how sh writes poetry because that is the way she works things out; if she has a question or an issue, she writes a poem. That made me curious, especially after my blog post about not knowing how to ask risky questions, if there there a way I like to work out the answers in my life.

Jedediah Jenkins said that he loves the feeling of “seeing a passage in which the author has articulated something I know to be true but have never seen in words” and he writes because he wants others to have that feeling.

I’m very much an external processor, although I only recently recognized this. I process ideas very well by talking with people. However, if I’m processing emotions, I like to be left alone. For a long time, I thought that meant I was an introvert and/or and internal processor.

So I attempted to keep it all inside of myself, I tried to sort through my thoughts. But I got lost in my head so quickly. I got distracted or simply overwhelmed by the incongruity of my thoughts that I would just give up.

But that doesn’t happen when I write things out. When I put things down on paper, I am able to make sense of them. I can ask my journal things that I could never bring up in conversation and I can use a pen to work out my feelings until they seem able to fit back into my soul.

I think that’s why writing is simultaneously so terrifying and thrilling for me. It’s because when you see a piece of my writing, you see parts of myself that I wouldn’t show you in real life. You get to see my questions and my answers. Even if it’s been edited and made more coherent (unlike the messes that I’m writing at 11pm several nights in a row), you are still seeing my raw edges.

To know myself like that and to share that experiemce with someone else… That is why I love writing.

Some Musings On Why I Write

Gratitude In The Mess

I had the hardest time writing this today… Not because I didn’t want to be vulnerable or because I was struggling with a specific topic. My mind was just drawing a blank. I even googled “personal essay prompts” just to get an idea of what people write about when they post blogs. I found list upon list, but nothing really spoke to me. I tried listening to music, but I gave up after finding a playlist that sounded like a dying transformer.

So instead of trying to be inspiring or deep or whatever I feel like I’m supposed to be on her, I’m just going to tell you about my day and see if that goes somewhere.

This morning, I drank a delicious iced lavender latte at Civil Coffee in Highland Park while talking about spiritual gifts with my pastor.

For lunch, I ate a subway sandwich, even though I’m supposed to be gluten free. It wasn’t even that good… I’m not sure why I did that.

This afternoon, I stared at a wall while trying to be creative. That’s probably not the way to go about being creative and I should seriously rethink my strategy.

This evening, I hung out with the group of people I choose to call my family. It was ALL IN TEAM NIGHT for C3LA. It’s basically just a celebration of how cool our community is and I love it. I always feel so full of love when I leave, even if I came with a bad attitude.

I have so many feelings coming out of today:

Happy because my day was filled with people.

Annoyed because I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

Upset because I wasn’t intentional with my eating choices.

A bit anxious because … rent.

Inspired by my leaders and the people I serve with.

But mostly… Today, I feel grateful.

I was reminded today that the last two years of my career wasn’t the norm. Most people don’t graduate and start at the job I started at. And even if it’s not where I wanted to end up, I shouldn’t discount the experience.

I look around at the people I love and I’m so grateful for them. Not everyone has a community like the one I’m part of.

I may have been annoyed because I stared at the wall for an hour or anxious because I had to pay my rent, but it was while pursuing something I love and it was the wall in my Los Angeles apartment – a dream I love, in a home I love, in a city I’ve wanted to live in my entire life.

I ate gluten today even though I told myself I wasn’t going to, but I’m healthy enough that it doesn’t effect me immediately.

In a lot of ways, today was a bit of a mess. But there is always something to be grateful for, even in the mess.

What moments in your life today are you grateful for?



Gratitude In The Mess

Courageous Questions

I’ve always prided myself on my curiosity. I incessantly google everything. I explore new places. I read all the time. I ask very intentional questions of people (I literally own a book with the title 4000 QUESTIONS TO GET TO KNOW ANYONE AND EVERYONE).

That means I’m curious, right?

I always thought it did, but I’ve been noticing a pattern in my life recently. I rarely ask questions that pose risk to me. I will ask everyone questions about themselves and their experiences, but I don’t ask questions that pertain to me or my dreams. I struggle to ask people I admire how they got to where they did. In my writing, I usually only write things that I have an answer to. I usually don’t write about parts of my life if I’m still in the middle of the process. I try to convince myself and others that I have the process figured out (and even if I don’t that I CAN figure it out without anyone’s help).

I guess I have this idea in my brain that I have to have all the answers; which means I can’t have any questions.

But admitting that I don’t have (and don’t have to!) have all the answers takes vulnerability, courage, and a willingness to give up control.

I like to control the narrative. If I don’t control it, the questions I ask could lead me to places out of my depth and out of my skill level. But places like that aren’t bad. In fact, they’re usually only dangerous to my ego. If I keep trying to control my narrative and if I don’t take any risks for the sake of curiosity, my narrative remains extremely narrow.

Next time we see each other, let’s ask each other courageous questions!

Now, excuse me while I go google how to cultivate curiosity.



Courageous Questions