November '17 Reflections


1. Listening to this podcast as I continue to think through and research the Enneagram.  It has been so helpful as I grow in and re-learn self-awareness as well as helping me understand the people around me better and how to care for them well. 
2. Seeing a movie this Friday with my new sibs. Cheers to Dollarama candy, movie theatre popcorn and comedy movies with quality people. 
3. Reading No Silver Bullets by Daniel Im with my staff team and loving the insights that He is bringing to the table. I highly recommend this for anyone in any type of full-time Christian vocational ministry. 
4. Learning that relationships are not like they are in the movies and how watching all those romance movies actually gave me unrealistic expectations for relationship. Praise God for the older couple that mentors us and has walked alongside us - grounding us in reality and in the Gospel.
5. Wanting Bows and Arrows coffee beans. 10/10 Recommend these beans. 
6. Following Lore Wilbert and Jackie Hill Perry on Instagram. These women have learnt to live in the tension of speaking Truth in love (from what I have seen in the captions, read in Lore's blog and heard in Jackie's talks) and I want to learn that too. 
7. Thinking through what it actually means to do community well. Does it mean being vulnerable with everyone? Are there different layers to it? I would love to hear some of your thoughts!
8. Feeling ready for our staff retreat coming up next week! Grateful for the chance to work with an organization that cares well for its staff. 
9. Loving  this blog post by Lore Wilbert Ferguson on engaging with technology. I find that social media and Netflix offer too many readily available opportunities to disengage from aspects of life that are painful or uncomfortable or joyous and that I need to fight to be present today more and more. 
10. Looking forward to  this new adventure B and I are starting as we prepare for marriage! 

October '17 Reflections

  1. Listening to podcasts a lot more in these recent weeks. This one and this one are my current favourites. And these albums by Sandra McCracken!      
  2. Seeing the world in a different way because of the chance to begin to see it through B's eyes. 
  3. Reading the Harry Potter series and I'm currently on book 5 (Order of Phoenix). JK. Rowling is an incredible writer and has absolute mastery in weaving story lines and creating new worlds. I am so excited to keep reading these books!
  4. Learning to fight against lies and fears using God's Word. 
  5. Wanting to go back to Victoria and visit my best friend and her family. 
  6. Thinking through how easy it is to get sidetracked by meaningless things in this life.    
  7. Feeling sick. #fluseason
  8. Loving  Lore WIlbert's blog Sayable. This, this and this are some blog posts that I have loved.  
  9. Looking forward to next summer and celebrating with various people I know as they step into new covenant with their loves, pledging to have and to hold by God's grace until death do them part. 

Guest Reflections: Erin

I have the privilege of being surrounded by some really cool people who have brilliant ideas, engage with incredible people and come across interesting things that more of the world needs to know about. So this series is a space for that.
World, meet Erin.

1. Listening to Apple Music. The best investment in my day-to-day. Love the “Radio” channels including Christian Hits, Classical, and Pure Country.

2. Seeing the grace of God as I begin trauma therapy. He’s bringing me into a season of life where I can dig deeper and invest in my long term health and relationships. God knows my needs and reveals layers of pain to lead me into his healing and restoration.

3. Reading anything by Elisabeth Elliot (currently “Quest for Love”). Diving into Hebrews in my quiet times, and reading Nancy Drew mysteries before bed - I’m collecting the original yellow hardbacks.

4. Learning how much God likes me and enjoys spending time with me. I am not a burden to him and am free to draw close into his presence. Deep rest is found there.

5. Wanting dairy free pumpkin pie - if anyone can make me some I’ll trade some tea and good conversation! Also, mint chocolate chip coconut ice cream (dairy free) - if you find it hit me up!

6. Following Kelle Hampton and her family on her blog Enjoying The Small Things and on Instagram - I love her honesty and humour. She inspires me to write.

7. Thinking through the long term potential and fruitfulness of healthy friendships with guys. The stress of “who likes who” doesn’t really matter long term. Pressing pause on the drama button, and entrusting the direction of my friendships to God.

8. Feeling optimistic about this new school year after a summer of transition (moving + new job role). Feel holistically healthy for the first time in a long while.

9. Loving the beginning of all seasons when things feel new and nostalgic. Ready to be done with summer for another year and eagerly embracing all things fall.

10. Looking forward to season 11 of Heartland (on CBC). It’s my favourite show: a family drama with horses - could tv get any better?! Also season 2 of The Crown on Netflix this winter.

Erin is an incredible writer and writes posts on various platforms including the P2C students blog, The Gospel Coalition - Canada blog and her own personal blog! You can check out some of her latest work here, here and here

For Freedom Christ set us Free

Annie Downs introduced me to the Enneagram a couple of months ago but it wasn't until yesterday that I actually put in effort into giving it a deeper look. Oh the joys of procrastination. 

I'm a 2 on the Enneagram scale, or " The Helper" as this website put it. 

Empathetic. Sincere. Warm-hearted. Friendly. Generous. Self-Sacrificing. My face broke into a smile, my head nodding in agreement as I read about the strengths of a type 2. I am all these things I thought to myself. 

I think I definitely do these things well, I mused as I glanced over them again.

We can discuss my self-righteous prideful thoughts more in person but yes I am now acutely aware of how prideful I sounded. 

The beauty of the Enneagram, though, is that it provides a summary of both the strengths and the weaknesses of the different personality types. 

Flatterer. People-pleaser ( Definitely the president of that club ). Can sometimes do things for people in order to feel needed. Struggles with pride ( the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach began to form ), self-deception, limited sense of self ( Pfffft! I definitely know who I am. Sometimes... ), tendency to manipulate others in order to have their own emotional needs met ( No! There is no way I do that. Is there? Do I do that? ). Has a tendency to get over-involved in other people's lives. Struggles with the idea that love has to be earned. 

This often results in an unhealthy inauthenticity in many of their relationships.

And just like that, the Enneagram laid bare my deepest fears, struggles and desires before me. 

My fear of being unwanted and unworthy of love.

My deep desire to be loved unconditionally.

My efforts to earn that love from the people around me. 

My stomach twisted into uncomfortable knots as I read and re-read about my personality type and thought back through instances where I'd seen these characteristics play out in overt or covert ways. I could feel my mind and heart begin to sink into a self-depreciating black hole of over analysis and emotional recycling and knew that although these characteristics were things that I had seen be evident in my life, I desperately needed Truth to be spoken. 

Unhealthy patterns were evident in my life and that needed to change. But this type of change had to happen beyond the surface - my deep heart issues have to be dealt with and only God can do that. 

What does the Gospel say to this Lord? I whispered desperately this morning. 

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts and we were by nature children under wrath as others were also. BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift - not from works so that no one can boast.
— Ephesians 2:1-9


Undeserved favor. 

To my desire for unconditional love, the Gospel of Jesus Christ says that God seeing and knowing my brokenness and the depravity of my soul CHOSE to still pursue relationship with me. Jesus humbly took on human form, giving up the glories of heaven for earth - taking the punishment that I so rightly deserved by dying on the cross. He was righteous. I was unrighteous. He then rose from the death rendering death and sin powerless and consequently giving new life to all who believe in Him.  My choice to accept and see Jesus as my Lord and my Saviour means that the righteousness of Christ has been placed on me. God's wrath is satisfied and I am called into fellowship with Him. Though unworthy of this wildly extravagant mercy, it was lavished on me. Extravagant love was given to me! I did not earn it; I definitely could not earn it. It was a gift freely given without any expectations or conditions! 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that I do not need to present a certain image in order to earn the affections of God. He knows me fully and yet still loves me deeply. I have especially felt this pressure to present a certain image since becoming a missionary and working in full - time Christian ministry. Whether internally or externally applied, I have felt the pressure to be a 'good Christian' and present a certain perfect image to the world.  As though Christians are not broken people in need of grace. As though I do not have an individual personality, likes or dislikes, hard days and rough moods. 

While I am called to be kind, loving, compassionate and gentle with others - and the Holy Spirit is continually refining me so that this fruit is produced in my life, I do not need to be alter or change my personality in order to make myself more likeable. I do not need to fit in with the people around me in order to be considered worthy or deserving of their affection. I do not need to perform in order to have a hold of their attention. In Christ, I am secure. 

I am FREE!

For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to the yoke of slavery.
— Galatians 5:1

Christ has set me free to live free!

I can love others without putting expectations on them to fulfill my desire to be loved.  

I can serve the people around me without wanting glory or affirmation of their affection for me. 

I can build healthy relationships with people without depending on them to be my source of worth and love. 

There is no need to be vulnerable and open with every single person that I meet, creating a false sense of security through facilitating false weak intimacy. 

I don't need to adapt my personality or my opinions to suite the people around me. 

My worth is not based on what people think about me. 

Christ has set me Free. 

But this freedom is not to be misused. 

For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbour as yourself.
— Galatians 5:13-14

The strengths and relational capacity that God has given me as an Enneagram 2 are to be used to the glory of God and for the good of the people around me. Empathy. Sincerity. Warm-heartedness. Friendliness. Generosity. Self-Sacrifice. These are all good qualities but what I keep forgetting is that I can only live these out well if I live them out of the overflow of my relationship with God. 

I struggle with rejoicing and mourning well with the people God puts in my life - afraid to fully get into the depth of life with people because of the cost it will have.  

I don't always want to be kind or patient or gentle or generous and most times I massively fail at this.  

There are a lot of times when I don't want to be intentional or put effort into my friendships. 

And dying to my own expectations and pride and self-righteousness is HARD. 

But God. 

God who is rich in mercy and abounding in love has made me alive in Christ; made me a new creation in Christ; raised me to new life in Christ; continues to increase my capacity to love deeply like Christ; puts to death my sinful nature and conforms me to the likeness of Christ. 

And oh how often I forget this. 

How desperately I need to remember this truth when I am tempted to fall into the trap of trying to earn love, trying to please people, trying to be good enough, trying to be found worthy of affection and effort and intention. 

Full known yet deeply loved. 

Raised to new life in Christ. 

Given the gift of salvation by grace through faith, not because of anything I have done or could do. 

What joy! 

What Freedom!