We Weren’t Made To Fit In; We Were Made To Fit Together

We Weren’t Made To Fit In; We Were Made To Fit Together

You weren’t made to fit in somewhere - you were made to fit together with someones. 

Pull up a chair and open your mouth and I’ll bet everything I have that we’ll find a source of connection, of togetherness.

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Do Through The Doubt

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doubting in faith

"Well that is just stupid."

"I should cancel this entire project."

"The people who ordered this book are going to be so disappointed when they get it."

"Pretty sure God didn't actually tell me to do this. I'm probably just an insane person."

"I'm definitely wasting my time."

"Gah, you need more."

"Gah, you need less."

"Aren't you so sick of yourself?"

"What are you doing? All this work for basically nothing? Seriously, get a job. "

"This is the worst thing you've ever written, ever."

***

I'm putting my little "Capturing Thoughts" book together today - hoping to have a proof to show you all soon - and these are actual thoughts I heard floating through my mind while working.

I cannot remember one time where God has said move and I have been able to move without opposition and without doubt.

But I also can't remember a time where God has said move and it hasn't been 100% worth it.

So when these thoughts floated on through I gave them a brief nod and kept working.

I said a little something to myself each time and moved on.

I said something about how I'm 80% sure this is what God asked of me and, honestly, 80% is pretty good. It's enough to do this work.

It's enough to pour myself out on these pages.

It's enough to bear the soul wrenching, ego ripping parts of writing and sharing.

It's enough to bear the tedious, monotonous parts too.

Especially when I'm 100% sure He will work through this book for His glory - 100% sure He'll work through it for my good.

I'm going to do through the doubt.

Because I'm 100% sure it will be worth it.

 

Grateful For My Anxiety

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It’s funny how one day I can be in a state of near- full surrender, of kingdom-mindedness, of eternal focus, and the next day I can be a tightly wound ball of anxiety with my eyes fixated on the temporal and my thoughts magnifying what isn’t going my way.

I’m working on a collection of short meditations on anxiety right now. They are the things I say to myself and to others - and the things I think God says to us - when we are rolling in the muck of it. But as I write these down, as I contemplate the anxiety monster, I find myself incredibly grateful.

The knot in my stomach, the tsunami of thoughts, the tightness in my chest, the trembling limbs - they light up the cockpit of my life and remind me, painfully, to get out of the pilot’s seat.

In this way, the anxiety is a gift. For me it is a clear heads up to get my head up.

It still sucks. I don’t love it. At its best it is mildly aggravating, 
at its worst it is soul crushing. It’s a monster we won’t be bothered with on the other side of eternity.

But I’m grateful for the way it has taught me to shift focus.

For how it teaches me surrender.

For how it won’t let me be the pilot - how as soon as I take control of the cockpit it wakes up and sounds every alarm.

I don’t love it, but I’m grateful.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

THIS IS AN EXCERT FROM MY BOOK CAPTURING THOUGHTS AVAILABLE HERE

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He Spoke And The Universe Appeared: Let Me Introduce You To My Good, Good, God.

Photo by   Rakicevic Nenad   from   Pexels

He spoke and the universe appeared. Full stop. He spoke. He said a word.

And everything in this natural world appeared. Everything you’ve ever seen, felt, heard is here because He simply spoke it into existence.

Imagine speaking and watching as what you spoke appeared. Imagine willing something into existence. It is almost unfathomable to me.

Yet, almost daily, I find myself telling my God - my God who spoke a word and saw the universe appear - I find myself telling Him how something should be done, where He should interfere, where He should move.

Me.

Telling Him.

It’s ludicrous.

But the best part of the whole thing is this -

God doesn’t squash me or punish me or wave me off with a “How dare you!”

He tucks me under His arm and whispers “I got this,” and He reminds me who He is and what He can do and He lifts my chin and pulls my shoulders back and he calls me “daughter.”

He loves me.

Let me introduce you to my uncontrollable,

unshakeable,

unrelenting,

undeniable God.

He is good.

He is mine.

I am His.

I'm Not a Statue, I'm a Voice in a Microphone: Loving Jesus When You're a Mess

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"I don't really want to be here - in this body, in this place. I don't really want to be here, looking out from behind this face.”

These are the opening lyrics to a song I wrote when I was about 13. I was miserable. I was desperate. I hated being alive. And I hid those feelings from everyone.

I didn't know God then, but I'm sure I would have hidden from Him too.

Even though I know we are all broken, even though I know it is our flaws and our need that pushes us toward God, even thought I know it is my imperfections and my mess that will be a microphone for the Gospel - even though, I still hide the mess when I'm in the middle of it.

I often wait until I've already dealt with something before I talk to any of my people about it. I don't let them see the raw, aching, gut wrenching part - the part where I doubt and I wrestle - I wait until it's over.

And it's not that I leave those parts out of the story I tell, it's that I'm keeping my people out of those parts of the story. I'll tell them all about it - when it's over, when it's wrapped up a bit, when I feel like I have a handle on it - but too often I leave them out of the messy middle.

Too often I leave God out of the messy middle.

And with depression and anxiety - this can literally kill us.

When I leave God out of the messy middle, I inevitably arrive here - "I don't really want to be here - in this body, in this place."

I arrive in my familiar hidey hole, surrounded by anger and cynicism and angst, curled up in a little ball, breathing quietly, hoping no one will find me here, wishing I would turn to dust.

In the messy middle of anxiety, there are whispers. The whispers say you wouldn't be here if you REALLY knew God, or alternatively, you wouldn't be here if God is REAL.

Those whispers are lying.

I don't need to mend myself for God to be with me. He is near the broken.

I don't need to peel my own self off the floor - He saves the crushed.

I'm NOT a monument - I'm NOT a shiny, beautiful, unmoving sculpture pointing people to Him.

I'm a voice in a microphone - flawed and raw, a living, breathing, messy testament to His redemptive power.

Shame and hiding and pretending and white washing - these pave my road to more brokenness.

he is near the broken saves the crushed

Honesty, vulnerability, laying it down on the altar - these pave my road to redemption, these will amplify the good news of the Gospel, these will be the microphone for my voice.

And I will lift my voice. From the messy middle, if I have to, I will lift my voice. I will tell the good news. As long as I have breath, I will speak into this microphone. I will whisper prayers for the ears who hear. I will spend myself for this worthy cause - for the glory of God, for adding to the Kingdom population, for you.

Quit Striving

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I think the only striving and effort in the Christian faith is striving to know God more - to seek Him and Love Him and know Him more each day. To crawl continuously toward Him. To sit at His feet. To know His word, His will.

In knowing Him more, we are the salt who does not loose it's flavor. Salt does not try to be salty, it doesn't strive toward more saltiness - it just is. And those who encounter it know it is salty - no proclamation needed.

If we shine with the light of Christ it is because He is in us. The light does not come from trying super hard to be righteous and generous and faithful - it simply shines because we know Him and He is in us. 

It would have to be actively hidden to not be seen.

A list of accomplishments, notches on a belt, strings of good deeds, piles of avoided sin - these flow naturally and unmeasured from a soul filled with His light.

But if I do to get God, if I make my lists and notches and piles my focus, if I plaster myself with light rather than simply being light, I do nothing more than paint another layer of whitewash on a tomb.

Taking A Second To Say Wow

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I’m taking a second to say WOW.
To say THANK YOU.
To say I CANT WAIT TO SEE ETERNITY.

I’ve been ruminating this last week on pain - the news cycle brings word of big, nasty, disastrous pain and closer to home is the somehow more real to me pain of friends losing pieces of their hearts.

And I want to say “oh death, where is your sting?” And I want to mean it, but to be honest I can see the sting right now. It is right in our faces sometimes and it’s worse than a sting - it’s a throat punch, it’s suffocating, it’s gutting. **
So I’m taking a second to say WOW - to look around and find a reminder God is real and good and alive. Something that makes my soul do a little flip and sends a chill up my spine and forces a puff of air from my lungs because WOW.

I’m taking a moment to say THANK YOU - to replay those ways He proved His love last week, last month, last year, last decade. I’m saying thank you for life and for purpose and for contentment.

I’m saying I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE ETERNITY as a way to remind myself it is coming - to remind myself mourning is not forever.


God is awesome. Life is short. This isn’t home. So I raise unclenched, reaching hands toward heaven and say WOW & THANK YOU & I CANNOT WAIT.

Dear Graduates:

Dear Graduates on stevieswift.com

Dear Graduates:

 I hope you will forget a lot of what you’ve learned so far.

I hope you will forget how to stand in line in response to a bell, how to go somewhere someone else told you to be simply because they said so, how to sit quietly and idly and wait for a clock to tick a certain number of times before you rush into the things that give you life.

I hope you forget to raise your hand to speak and to create three drafts before you share what you write, because sometimes you need to speak that thing on your heart without permission and without editing. Sometimes you need to get it out and sometimes it’s someone else who needs it in – whatever it is, I hope you say it.

I hope you forget how to read for an answer to prove you’ve read and I hope you find words that feed your soul. And instead of committing them to memory, I hope you let them roll around and shake you up and find a permanent place in your heart.

I hope you forget to respond to someone else’s bells and whistles and timetables for your day, for you life. Because everyone can’t fit on the same train and go to the same place at the same time. This big wide world has room for us all, but your short little life doesn’t have room to take in the whole world, and what a waste if you become another one of Pavlov’s dogs responding to commands until you shrivel.

But most importantly . . .

forget what they told you about God

I hope you forget a lot of what they have told you about God, because the only thing they, and me, can do is point you toward Him or point you away from Him. You have to meet Him yourself, you have to come face to face with Him yourself, your soul has to have that moment where it is enraptured by the reality that is God, where you can’t not worship. 

If you have had this, keep chasing Him and following Him and seeking Him, but if you haven’t, don’t stop seeking until you have it. It is the most important thing you can do in this life. And that is an understatement because He IS life, He is breath and beauty and the fire inside of you and the most purposeful, only purposeful, thing you could ever chase.