Monday, August 12, 2013

feeling 12

Sometimes I'm convinced life is a bad imitation of middle school.  I had one of those moments this week where I felt like I was the awkward girl in a Mean Girls movie.  So I've been channeling my awesomely awkward middle school self that shrinks away in shame whenever that happens and giving her a little extra love.  She convinced me to buy the latest Taylor Swift album.  Judge away.  I won't be able to hear you anyway because my middle school self is singing off key and dancing around the house.  Three cheers for learning to take myself much less seriously.

  I've been reading this book lately.  Go buy it.  Now.

In fact, you can go buy it here.  Seriously.  Buy it and then keep reading.

Read this.

Notice my great little earmark labeled blog.  Yep.  I'm a nerd.  I've been photographing pages and sending the pics to friends, posting them on Facebook, and pulling out the book and showing it to pretty much everyone I meet.  I'm going to have considerably fewer friends in the future.

But seriously.  This book is like the manual to the last 17 years of my walk with Christ that I needed but didn't have.  And it's not even a religious book.

On the page prior to the one above, she goes into the difference between the Greek words for happiness and joy.  Happiness connotes the freedom of the wealthy from the cares of everyday life.  Joy is defined as the culmination of being that comes with virtue and wisdom; Joy is the most difficult of virtues to achieve.  Now reread he page above with those definitions.

Mind blowing.

The connections between joy, vulnerability, gratitude, and courage are so obvious.  At least in hindsight.  But being vulnerable and grateful means facing our fears of failure, scarcity, not fitting in, and not finding certainty.  Maybe that's what Jesus means when he says you have to lose your life to find it. My last seventeen years have been an exercise in losing control over my life, and I'm in love with what I'm finding.

A friend of mine in Chicago runs these great workshops called Fear Experiment. I love the premise of getting strangers together to push through their fears.  It is amazing how leaning into and embracing your fear can be transformative.  The past few years have forced me through a number of personal fear experiments I would never have chosen, but lately I've embarked on a few of my own fear experiments just to see what happens.  I'm sure I'll write more about those as I learn from them, but for now I'll just leave you wondering what they are.  

In a previous blog I talked about the tender shoots of joy beginning to poke up out of the soil, but I was greatly mistaken.  Joy, when it takes off, is nothing like the tulips poking out in the spring ready to whither at the first hint of frost.  No, joy is like that %#@&! virginia creeper that springs up everywhere and seems to live off air.  Once rooted, it can be clipped and trimmed by the mean girls, but never eradicated.

So bring on the cheesy middle school songs and my awkward middle school self and ridicule all you want.  I won't care because I'll be the one dancing.


  1. These are good, good words Wendy. May the joy continue to flood over you as you just let it all go and embrace who and where you are. I likewise am trying to give myself the grace to do the same.

  2. I am not so secretly hoping that I'm to blame for you buying this book. ;) Love you, friend.

  3. Oh my goodness I love this. Needed this read tonight. Fear is indeed strangely transforming- as is embracing one's inner-middle-schooler.