My First Service Retreat

I went on my first service retreat this weekend hosted by UChicago’s Catholic student group. About twenty students made the trek over to Our Lady of Angels mission on the west side (for those that don’t know, the site of the infamous 1959 school fire that killed 95 people). Catholics love their retreats, and I was glad to finally partake in one myself.

It was a short retreat, only an evening and morning, but I needed the space to refresh, recharge and refocus. Recently I’ve been a bit stressed over my thesis so this retreat was just the spiritually affirming experience that I needed. Friday night we had a time for Eucharistic adoration while journaling about our faith journeys, during which I wrote down this reflection:

Why am I Catholic?
-Peace. I found peace in the stillness before mass, the beauty of liturgy, the comforting atmosphere of the Blessed Sacrament.
-The intellectual tradition. I felt my faith and mind reconcile; it made sense, it had answers, though others may disagree.
-The joy. I met joyful Catholics, whose faith and life didn’t seem in conflict. They made me think , “This is what it means for faith to be seamlessly integrated into life.”
-The Eucharist. If it was real, how could I not want it?
-The authority. I needed authority in my life. I needed to know right from wrong.
-The freedom. The freedom of knowing right, a freedom that I don’t know how to explain. The freedom of knowing wrong, and always being able to ask for forgiveness, and receive a response. The freedom of knowing that when I ask for forgiveness something really does change in me.
-The saints. The true universality of our faith, that we are all bound in one body, and we share life in a way deeper than I can possibly understand.
-The accountability. I am challenged in my beliefs. The sense that faith is larger than me.
-The heart. The fact that service is at the front and center of what it means to be the Church.
-St. Augustine. An experience with a painting in an art gallery, that allowed me to see myself more clearly than I ever had before.
-I guess at the end of the day, I heard Jesus’ voice.

Post-adoration we split into small groups to share. In my group, a mixture of cradle Catholics and converts, we all felt led to share with each other about why we are Catholic. Everyone had a story; those I least expected had the most painful, and the most beautiful. The stories of changed lives brought by the light of hope, and of emerging from the other side of pain and suffering with faith moved us all. It amazed me that this collection of people from different walks of life, different backgrounds and different countries could be brought together so unexpectedly to reveal how much God had worked in each of our lives in ways so similar, so familiar. His hand that has comforted and guided me is the same hand that comforted and guided others through situations so far removed from my own experience.

The next morning commenced the service portion of our retreat. Up early for mass and breakfast, then it was time to get moving, preparing for the “mobile pantry.” The mobile pantry is an outdoor pantry the mission hosts each month, feeding about 250 families in the neighborhood. About 150 other volunteers and myself set out massive amounts of food, clothes, toys and housing supplies (we were also supposed to be giving away TVs but the truck broke down on the way there, so that will have to be saved for next time). We helped people bring groceries to their cars and homes, giving us the opportunity to chat for a bit. For the duration of the mobile pantry, volunteers took half hour shifts in prayer and adoration, praying for the community and the city. It was a COLD but beautiful morning. I think I was especially touched by all of the kid volunteers who were outside early on a frigid Saturday morning, uncomplaining and smiling.

Honestly, it was too short. Having a break from business as usual in a different setting really did wonders for my mental and emotional state. But what especially filled me was the community, and the acts of service.

I can’t thank the sisters of the mission enough for opening up their doors and providing such a welcoming space for us, and for being a haven in a city that I care deeply for.


Pre-Inauguration Jitters: A Tense Outlook, A Faithful Outlook

“Hope expressed without knowledge of and participation in grief is likely to be false hope that does not reach despair. …it is precisely those who know death most painfully who can speak hope most vigorously.” (Brueggemann, “Prophetic Imagination”)

One aspect of Christianity that I both love and hate is what I think of as the call to live life in tension.

The same faith that tells us to “mourn with those who mourn” is the same faith that admonishes all to “rejoice in the Lord always.” The same faith that caused Teresa of Avila to proclaim:

“Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices”

is the same faith of who Jesus cries, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The same faith that produced the fearsome non-violence of Martin Luther King Jr. produced the gruesome righteousness of Nat Turner. I’ve heard Christianity derided as too timid, too extreme, too pliable, too puritanical, too forgiving, too angry, too abstaining, too engaging, too strict and too loose.

Of course, man interprets religion himself, for his own ends. But, there’s also something to be said for a faith that places tension at the very center of its narrative: the tension of a God who chooses to be killed by his own creation. For most of us in modern America, we have no sense of how repulsive such an idea must have seemed to those hearing it for the first time. (Blasphemy! How can God be killed?) The site of this greatest injustice is yet the site of the greatest mercy on earth. From death comes life. Divinity made low that man may be lifted high.

Chesterton captures this central paradox of Christianity symbolically through the image of the cross: “The cross, though it has at its heart a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms forever without altering its shape. Because it has a paradox in its center it can grow without changing.” (Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”).

The substance of why this topic interests me involves how Christians interact with pain. Christianity is a faith that invites us to lament, but not despair. This is problematic for me for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that I struggle to separate these two ideas in my mind. Because I in large part interpret my faith through an intellectual lens, the fact that I cannot adequately understand the distinction tempts me to ignore it altogether.

What I have come to realize, though, is that while I remain intellectually unconvinced of the specific way a Christian should navigate between these two conditions, my heart feels the distinction in my own emotional reactions. I cannot adequately define what it means to lament without despairing, but I can recognize in myself when I have slipped from one condition to the other. This leads me to remind myself of two facts: 1) Faith cannot only be filtered through an intellectual perspective (my brain is not big enough to understand all that faith entails) and 2) I have to be careful when deciphering the reactions of others through my own intellectual lens. If I am not capable of fully understanding my own emotions, nor of understanding how to tread the line between lament and despair, then I am certainly not capable of fully grasping the nuances of someone else’s emotional responses to pain. Crucially, I am also not capable of fully appreciating the calculations that lead to joy directed toward the object of another’s despair.

In the aftermath of the presidential election I read many articles (and had conversations with many people) evaluating others’ emotional responses to the election. I primarily experienced these articles and conversations in Christian circles. On the one hand, I heard a crowd of people berating negative responses to election results, because “God is in control.” On the other hand, I also heard a crowd of people berating the detached response of “churchy” people as “insensitive” and “condescending.” I myself had my own opinion in these debates, and happily criticized the side that I disliked.

However, with some time and reflection I have had to admit that scripture and tradition speak in the affirmative of both responses, the lament and the constancy. The first part of this blog post points to the fact that Christianity contains both strands of thought, and in fact there are too many such examples to mention. Just as I struggle to reconcile a proper understanding of faith, pain and hope with my own emotional conformity to the ideal, so too I have to give space to others who also fall short of the ideal.

This, then, is another tension in Christianity. We do not want to hastily declare that all responses are good or equal; yet, we also do not want to paint the picture of a faith that is inhuman in its inability to cope with the spectrum of human emotions. Detaching oneself from hardship and suffering does not make a person more Christian; it does make one less human. It’s one thing to use Jesus as a pair of glasses to see the world more clearly, and another to use him like a drug to numb oneself to the world. We all, regardless of how we view the election, must reaffirm these tensions if we truly wish to see the world as Christ does, rather than deaden ourselves to those things we don’t wish to see.

This blog post does not really add to the post-election and pre-inauguration conversation, except to say that all who call ourselves Christian could stand to be more cognizant of the Christian call to embrace both lament and hope, and the call to humility when evaluating the reactions of others. How we strike that balance is an open question, but it will never be answered if we dismiss the tension itself.

One Step Forward, Twenty-Four Steps Back

“I’m going to Chicago to study war.”

The pronouncement coming from my mouth startled even me. I hadn’t thought of my impending move to begin a master’s in international relations at the University of Chicago in those terms before, but, I thought, isn’t that what I am doing?

The thought came as an evening of grilled salmon, wine, and friendship in an idyllic Princeton backyard was winding down. The setting was in sharp contrast to the topics of poverty and violence which had dominated our conversation.

Chicago brings a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions to mind; it always has. It’s where I was born, though not where I was raised. My parents wanted my siblings and I to grow up in New Jersey, for many good reasons.

In truth, I wasn’t really born in Chicago, but a few miles south. Growing up, “going to Chicago” was the phrase my siblings and I used to mean the city itself and the suburbs surrounding the south side, the area upon which spread the bulk of my father’s family.

When I think of Chicago, I think of family. I think of laughing harder than I ever have with any other group of people in my life. I think of music, the likes of which Jersey musicians can’t compare. I think of rap cyphers in parking lots, heated family arguments, and dancing. I think of Fox’s pizza, Giordano’s, Polish sausages, and Harold’s chicken. For some reason, I think of lightning bugs. I think of basketball, and the pride I feel for the amazing things my family has accomplished. I think of how proud my family is of me. I think of the church my uncle pastors, where we attended growing up whenever we visited the family.

I think of my cousin’s best friend, shot and killed in front of that church just moments after my cousin walked away. I think of how alienated I felt from my high school classmates in New Jersey when it happened. I think of my most recent trip to Chicago last fall, listening to a conversation among some family members about times they’ve been shot at or had guns pointed at them. I think of how middle class black families never completely escape the woes of the ghetto. I think of how the violence in Chicago is getting worse, and no one seems to have solutions. I think of the hard work my family does in the community to fight Chicago’s worst tendencies, and how it never seems to be enough.

I’m going to a city where people who look like me get shot every day, while I isolate myself in a protected bubble with people who don’t look like me, puzzling out the intricacies of what brings nations to the point of ordering the deaths of thousands. The enormity of the effect this could have on my soul was beginning to hit me, when my friend remarked, “It’s a good thing you’re a Christian. Be in church as often as possible.”

I might have slipped into dismayed brooding but for that remark. It made me realize that, though the University of Chicago is my dream school, though I’ve known for several years that I want to return to my “roots” and live with my Chicago family, there is a certain amount of emotional preparation I need to do along with my packing, and there is a certain amount of spiritual and emotional upkeep I will have to insist on while I’m there. While I’m studying wars and conflicts in countries far away, I won’t be able to block out what’s going on in the city around me. Whether that becomes a strength or a burden is entirely dependent on my approach.

Always clinging to the rock that is higher than I, I look forward to the challenges of the step to come.

John Donne and Putting Away Childish Things

Funny how we can initially read something with minimal impact on our lives, only to recall the words with great power later. Such was John Donne for me, that Anglican priest whose sensual and spiritual writings mark him chief of the metaphysical poets. During my freshman year of high school we read many of his later religious works. They did not make a huge impression on me at the time; and yet, they were not totally without affect, for something particularly in Holy Sonnet X and Meditation XVII caught my attention enough to burn a few choice phrases in my memory. As a fourteen year old reading his poetry I did not grasp the depth or truth of his words beyond a superficial level, but, out of every great work of classic poetry and literature that we read that year, Donne’s were the only words that I clearly remember now (I know, I know, sad).

What made me think of Donne? I haven’t thought of him since that year of high school English, until recently that is. Something made me recall his words with a potency that was almost breathtaking. Lines from poetry read ten years ago came to mind, and I felt an urge to reread his sonnets. So, I did. And what I found shocked me.

I found truth, a clarity of vision about the Body of Christ, death as merely a stepping stone, and other theological concepts that I had not expected to find. I found so much that I cannot imagine how I missed this gold mine as a teenager: how could I not hear the might of the words and ignore the ominous warning of, “Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee” as a Christian teenager? How could I take as a platitude, “No man is an island, entire of itself?” And how could I not hear the echoes of St. Paul in these words: “Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it.” Come to think of it, John Donne’s poetry should have shaken the security out of me, if I had been half as serious or knowledgeable about my faith as I imagined myself to be.

Much of adulthood for me has been discovering and rediscovering wisdom discovered by millions and billions of others before me. History might say to me “Been there, done that, already forgotten lessons you haven’t even learned yet.” And I would have to respond in the affirmative, that yes, I am merely rediscovering what should have been evident to me a long time ago, knowledge that while new to me is old to the world.

Putting away childish things, I seek truth now in the words I read.


I’m back! (cue James Brown voice)

It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve blogged; in fact, I haven’t blogged since graduating from college (woot woot!). After graduation I moved to Taiwan and worked for the year as an English teacher, as well as a missionary at a church. Now, I’m teaching English and trying to figure how to move forward in life.

Not long after moving to Taiwan, I started taking salsa lessons at a local dance school (shout out to Bailalo). Back in the states, I had friends who danced salsa; a couple of friends in particular always invited me to take classes and go out to salsa clubs with them, but I never did. I’m pretty shy by nature and do not enjoy having lots of attention on me, particularly when I am dancing. We’ll get back to that later.

When I saw the advertisement for bilingual salsa classes, I decided to grab the opportunity and sign up for classes. I wanted to improve my body movement, and I thought this would be a good way to. The social aspect of salsa had never crossed my mind, and it did not occur to me that there was a whole community of salsa/Latin dancers in Taipei. I certainly did not expect that I would come to love dancing as much as I did. In fact, from the very first class, I was hooked. Now, a little over a year later, I’m a regular at many salsa events in the city, and I generally dance at least twice a week.

Salsa classes opened the door to a world of Latin dance. Salsa, bachata, merengue, all of those songs that I used to kind of shuffle around to when they came on at parties in college suddenly make sense to me. But, I also got what I originally wanted from the lessons: improved body movement and decreased dancing insecurity. I still dance to the same hip hop and R&B songs that I would dance to in high school and college, but I no longer dance to them the same way. But what has shocked me more than anything is how much a desire to dance in church has been rekindled and ignited.

1 Corinthians 13:11 says “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” For me, many of my childish things have been wrapped up in insecurities and frankly caring too much about what people think of me.

I grew up in the church, in a family full of pastors, preachers, and ministers. Being a PK puts a peculiar kind of pressure on you, where people simultaneously expect you to be both perfect and a fallen, messed up rebel simply because of who your parents are. I’m not kidding, I literally had people tell me growing up “Pastor’s kids are always the worst behaved” at times, and at other times remind me that I was responsible for representing my family, God, and the church. Now, my point isn’t that I had a particularly troubling childhood: it was filled with ups and downs like any other. My point is that I absorbed these lessons a little too well, and by the time I went to college I was sick of it all.

Most people do not like to do things that they don’t excel in. It’s even harder to watch (many) others excel in something that you try and fail in. For me, dance was like this. Everyone could dance. Everyone. Except me. At least, that’s how it felt growing up. We had a good dance team at our church that most kids participated in at one time or another. Everyone else seemed to have a natural feel for how their bodies should move to the music, whereas mine seemed to jerk about awkwardly. It wasn’t any better at home, where family members could hold their own. I seemed to be the only one that couldn’t dance.

I’ve come to recognize over the last year that a lot (most) of that awkwardness was just insecurity. I can move, but weighted down by the burden of insecurities I could barely lift an arm. After years of hating dance, my parents finally let me quit the dance team when I was around 11 or 12. I continued to love dance but not dancing. I particularly loved to watch praise dance and hip hop. For years, I stayed in a limited box with my dancing. All throughout high school and most of college I never strayed too far from my little two step and a little hip movement. I briefly ventured into the world of choreographed kathak in college, which was fun, but I stopped when I felt like it was getting very difficult, and the other dancers seemed to be grasping it quicker than me.

So, that was it for me for 10 years or so. Until starting salsa classes, that is. By the time I got to college I was sick of my own insecurities, but also the role I had allowed the church to play in those insecurities, so I began the process of intentionally stripping those away. The process accelerated post-college, partially due to my innate love of dancing outweighing and conquering nerves that might have kept me from going out. This love of dancing that I’m discovering even has me wanting to dance in church again. I long to use dance to express my devotion to my Creator, although here in Taipei the options are limited. For now, I have my apartment for that 🙂

Dancing didn’t bring me freedom, but it did signal freedom.

Now, I dance.

Reflection on “He Wants It All” by foreverJONES

One of my proudest accomplishments this semester, and of my Swarthmore career, has been collaborating with other students for the publication of Swarthmore College’s first journal of Christian thought and discourse, Peripateo. Originally the dream of a friend of mine, with the help of many students it became a reality this past week. Last Wednesday we released a couple hundred print copies, as well as an online version of our journal.

Below is my article which was published in the first edition. If you are interested in seeing the online version of the whole journal (and you should because all of the pieces are great!!) click on this link. If you are interested in seeing other journals from the Augustine Collective, the collective of undergraduate Christian journals that we are a part of, click here.

Note: Because this piece was written for a college journal, it is a bit longer than a normal blog post.


More than Words: A Reflection on “He Wants It All” by foreverJONES

You can listen to the song here.

This is not an aspect of Christianity that Christians like to talk about. We mask it in more savory phrases like “giving your life to Christ.” We sing about it, read Bible verses about it, and even listen to sermons about it. But we are slow to talk about it, slower to give thought to its implications. I’m talking about, of course, the idea of human submission to God.

If I had paid more attention to the songs I sang growing up I might have realized sooner the depth and complexity of the concept of submission. Surrendering to God is more than a song, but for many years I did not allow the message to penetrate deeper than the words I sang. It was not until I was in college that I began to feel the full impact of these lyrics.

Music itself plays an important role in the way the Christian tradition promotes these ideas, and within the black church gospel music has developed its own unique style. I love gospel’s style; its riffs, runs, and big voices shaped so much of my childhood. For me, my faith and gospel music are so intertwined and connected that I cannot imagine what my faith would be like without the experience of the richness of gospel music. Still, for too long I allowed myself to enjoy the experience of gospel music without being captured by the truth of its words. Enthralled by the music, I did not learn to appreciate the message until much later.

By reflecting on the lyrics to one of my favorite gospel songs, “He Wants It All” by Forever Jones, I hope to pay homage to the music that played an important role in my spiritual formation and development. This is a song that I’ve consistently turned to since first hearing it some years ago. Its lyrics continue to have meaning for me, and are a constant reminder of how much God desires of me: He does not want a part of me, but rather all of who I am.

The song opens with a depiction of a God walking along the earth, crying out, searching for children who will love him completely—a striking image that echoes Jesus’ words in Luke 19:10¹  and those of the Apostle John in John 1:10-13.² What is particularly poignant about this image is that God is not remote, distant, or emotionless, but actively searching for those who would love Him. This is a God that chose to step into the world, to seek, and to do what it took to save those he created. Furthermore, God wants it all. All means all: our lives, thoughts, words, emotions, choices, dreams, education, relationships—everything. The Bible exhorts us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”³ and to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.”⁴ Our lives are to be presented to God as living sacrifices, meant to be continual abandonment of self to His will. With these words, God has laid claim to all we are.

The song gives no reason or basis for why God asks for so much, and assumes the ultimate goodness of God’s desire. But the truth and goodness of God’s request for everything, even for a Christian, is not obvious. In fact, I spent most of my life believing that God wanted little more of me than that I be happy. I’d sat in church my whole life singing lyrics such as “I surrender all,” and “I owe it all to You” countless times without giving further thought to the implications of those words. The message of surrender, submission even, had never truly, deeply penetrated my mind: I had completely missed one of the most central and key aspects of Christianity. It is a chilling thought: you can sing words about relinquishing your whole life to Christ, and even feel that you believe them, but when you examine your life you see that you really aren’t surrendering much at all.

For me, this process of examination really began after I entered Swarthmore. I first heard “He Wants It All” the summer after my freshman year of college, riding in the car with my parents listening to our favorite gospel station. The song’s lyrics did not immediately strike me; rather, it was the beauty of the music itself that first grabbed my attention. But as I heard the song a few more times over the summer I began to pay more attention to its words. That summer in general was instrumental in my spiritual development, as I began to ask myself what it meant to be a Christian and to develop a relationship with God independently of my parents’ faith. I questioned what it meant to call myself a Christian, and what it meant to say that I had “given” myself to Christ. In effect, I was beginning to take seriously the words of the song, that God in fact wanted more of me than I had previously been willing to give.

Though the theme of submission to God runs throughout scripture, in some sense these concepts seem so remote to life at Swarthmore, and certainly in the U.S. at large. We value independence, self-determination, and self-sufficiency. We are told and we tell others that when something wants all of us it’s a scam, cult, or just dangerous. When friends give too much of themselves in a relationship we worry about the toll it takes on their emotional health and social lives. All of these things make it hard for us to conceive of how a god could justly require all of a person’s life. And anyone who claims to be completely led by a god must surely be “naive” or “insane” not to recognize that “God wanting it all” is simply a proxy for your church or religion wanting it all from you.

But the beauty of God is that life with him is meant to be a reciprocal, loving relationship. He wants everything because He has first given everything, in creation, in sacrifice, in dedication. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”⁵ The action of love was first taken by God; we are not meant to make the first step in the relationship, because God has eternally taken those steps for us. The appropriate response to love is love, and as we give love, love is given back to us again. The proof? After telling us to seek first the Kingdom of God, the Bible promises that “all these things will be given to you as well.” ⁶ The reciprocity of the relationship is more than merely edifying for me; it is fulfilling in the most wonderful way, because it gives purpose to everything I do. Submitting to God’s will is not about giving up things in life; it is about allowing Him to take over and infuse life with purpose, and yes, to realign priorities.

It is with this understanding, then, that I began to let go of my “idols.” The word “idol” might bring celebrities to mind, the idols our culture reveres and emulates. But this song illuminates so much more than our misguided choice to idolize celebrities. My idols were those things that kept me from giving all of who I was to God, those things that I continue to look to over and above God in determining how I make decisions. Idols can take the form of the things in life that we love the most and mold our lives according to. They are the things that get in the way of us acknowledging God fully. Again, it goes back to our values. As an American I have been taught implicit and explicit lessons my whole life on what to order my life around, from family, to education, wealth, acceptance, etc. And while all of these things are good things, they all miss the point. God is, or should be, the point of what I aim for, while the rest are just points along the journey. When they become my main focus, then they become idols. And for most of my life my main focus was anything but God.

Whether religious or not, it is a useful exercise to examine our lives and to contemplate what exactly our actions point toward. Why do we do the things we do? What do our choices say about what we value? I think we all live more for our personal enjoyment than we choose to admit. Personally, for a long time I claimed to keep Christ “first” in my life, but in reality I had not learned that true submission does not place my personal enjoyment above all else. My personal enjoyment of life is fine, but should not be my main aim in living. Instead, submission to God should be a realigning of my life in such a way that my priorities become second to His. I have come to the conclusion that if the words I sing point towards God and surrendering to his will then surely other areas of my life should equally point in that direction as well. Of course, this is an ongoing process; I’m still growing and learning and falling short of my ideal.

From there, our next question should be, what should we be living for? What are those ideals outside of ourselves that are worth submitting to? For me, I found my answer in the words of this song, to love God with my whole heart and to serve him with my life. It was almost a relief: after giving so much of my time, emotional and mental energy, and money towards everything else in life, I finally figured out that is so much better to direct these things towards a relationship that gave purpose and fulfillment in return. I found that as I submitted to God I did not lose, but instead gained so much more.

End Notes:

1 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NIV)
2 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:10-13 (NIV)
3 Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
4 Romans 12:1 (NIV)
5 Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
6 Matthew 6:33 (NIV)


I’ve been stressing out a lot lately. Between an impending graduation, final papers, honors exams, and fundraising for my move to Taiwan in a couple of months I have been struggling not to feel overwhelmed. And I’ve been struggling trusting that God will bring me through, that I will do well on honors exams, raise the money I need to get to Taiwan, and succeed as an adult.

Today, I was having a conversation with a friend over dinner. As we discussed Jesus in Matthew, the multiple stories of Jesus feeding multitudes of people with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread was brought up. I made fun of the disciples, and even felt frustrated over them, that after watching Jesus miraculously feed the 5,000, they still worried the next time they did not have enough food for 4,000. How could they so easily forget what Jesus had once done right before their own eyes? And how could they forget the many other miracles they had witnessed Him perform?

It only took a second for it to hit me just how hypocritical it was of me to deride the disciples for something I do every day. Even though time and time again I’ve seen God come through and make a way where previously I thought none existed, I still continue to doubt Him. I’m happy that He performed the last miracle, but I’m far from confident that He’ll perform the next one.

So this is what I must work on during this (stressful) season: confidence that God will come through, and not living in stress that He won’t.

My song for this season: “Let Go” by DeWayne Woods