Our Business

He said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.
He said, “Let the earth bring forth crops and flowers and trees”, and the earth was suddenly green.
He said, “Let there be animals of all kinds”, and all the big and small animals started populating the earth.
He said, “Let there be”, and it came into being.
God’s business is to create. Continue reading “Our Business”

Of Losing and Finding

In the last few years I had to deal with loss quite a bit.
I saw friends losing loved ones, and having nothing but pain leaves you speechless.
I lost relationships I thought I could count on, leaving me disappointed and disillusioned.
I moved and traveled to places, leaving me with a deafening feeling of not belonging anywhere.
I transitioned from university into work life and never imagined this change would impact me so much.
I am losing, or rather rediscovering, my faith and sometimes I feel like walking alone on a wide open sea.  Continue reading “Of Losing and Finding”

[Five Minute Friday] Share

The last year hasn’t been easy for me.
I transitioned into work life and had a lot of growing up to do. There were a lot of firsts and I had a lot to learn.

There were a lot of highs. 

 
Like when a class went really well and I actually had fun with my students.
Like when planning becomes easier and inspiration comes when you need it the most.
Like when students and colleagues are no longer strangers.
Like when I discovered that I am still myself despite all the changes.

Of course, there were also a lot of lows.
Like the pile of work that never seems to end.
Like the looming deadlines that weigh so heavy on my shoulders.
Like the few hours of sleep and the tired legs – a constant reminder how exhausted I am.
Like the expectations others and myself have.
Like the worry that I won’t pass exams and won’t get a job afterwards.
Like the fear of what comes next.

Life is a cycle of ups and downs, highs and lows.
On this journey we are not alone.
In all the craziness I am beyond grateful to have traveling companions.
People who are in the same situation and know what I truly mean when I say I’m stressed.
People who can chip in their advice because they’ve got amazing expertise and turn my twisted thoughts into something logical.
People who cheer me on and understand when not everything goes my way.

They don’t solve my problems.
They just can’t.

But they are willing to share a piece of my life, my thoughts, my heart.
They are just there.
They remind me that this is not the end.
That there is more.
That there is someone who is always there, always ready to share in all of our joys and sorrows.

Who are your traveling companions? 
May you have people who journey with you.
Who don’t make everything better, but who are willing to share a bit of your life and point you to the things that really matter.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

 

When Quiet Is the Last Thing I Should Be

A few Fridays ago the prompt for the weekly link-up was quiet. I did write something on it, but it wasn’t my first draft. What ended up on the blog were not the thoughts I had initially when I pondered the prompt a bit.

My first ideas did not seem right at that time, but they have spooked around in my head for a while now and I feel like I have to share them, too. So here are some unscripted thoughts about me no longer wanting to be quiet.


I am a quiet person and very often that’s okay.

But lately I’ve been thinking that sometimes it’s maybe the last thing I should be.

With all the stress and busyness of life going on at the moment I find myself really out of touch with the news.
I scroll down newsfeeds and take in the headlines, but I can’t talk in depth about what’s really going on. There’s thousands upon thousands of refugees coming into the country each month, and I am just overwhelmed with everything that could or should be done.

I want to educate myself and break out of the quietness, but I am often too busy (and sometimes also lazy) to really do it.

With all the hills and valleys I’ve journeyed through in the last year my faith has changed quite a bit. It has grown and the process is not done yet.
I often find myself alone and unable to connect with what I used to call church culture. I don’t want to be awkward and weird, but I also can’t pretend to belong somewhere where I don’t feel right.

This is a challenge when you’re a worship leader and often have no idea what you’re supposed to do up on that stage.
I want to evolve and grow my roots deeper into God, but I am often too afraid to share this with the people I’m supposed to lead.

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With all the growing up I’ve had to do in the last two years I often reached my limits. I just couldn’t go on anymore and had to learn that I need help. People who were allowed to see my messy apartment and to hear my confused thoughts. Places where I was allowed to just be and not accomplish anything. Friends who helped me to process out loud and discover a rhythm, rest and beauty again.
I want to grow in community and friendship, but I am often too ashamed to open up and let people in.

The world is not changed by people keeping quiet.

Things in our lives, in our world, in our churches won’t take a turn for the better if we don’t muster up the courage to share our struggles and doubts. Places can’t even begin to change if we don’t shed light on what went wrong in the first place. Hearts can’t be transformed if we don’t fight for new life and intimacy with all the hope and strength that’s left in us.

Here’s to change.
Here’s to speaking up and sharing myself.
Boldy.

[Five Minute Friday] Quiet

Have we met?
We might have met on a conference or congress. We might have met in church. We might have connected through the lovely Five Minute Friday community. We might have run into each other somewhere around the globe.

People often say, “The first impression counts”, and I sometimes wonder what people think when they meet me.

The one who’s always up on some stage.
The talker.
The people person.
The networker.
The leader.

I don’t mind being called that, this is who I am.
But I sometimes wonder how many people know the other side of me.
The side that’s not up on some stage or leading someone.

I sometimes call myself an extro-introvert.
I actually like the quiet.

photo-1442504028989-ab58b5f29a4aAs much as I love meeting people and coaching them to discover their potential and the beauty around them I want to connect on a deeper level.

As much as I love sharing about things I’ve learned I want to hear.

As much as I sometimes need to get out and seek the crowds I want to appreciate the quiet.

I want to appreciate you.
I value words.

Your words.

Your story you so boldly share and allow me to hear.
That piece of your heart you decide to give away and allow me witness.
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The quiet is a safe space where people are ready to open up and connect on a deeper level.
The quiet is a sanctuary where the noises of the world are not allowed to penetrate this peaceful atmosphere.
The quiet is the place where we slow down enough to listen, really listen to each other. Where we sit still and wait.
Where we open up our empty hands and hearts and whisper, “Lord, here we are. Speak.”

 Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

[Five Minute Friday] Present

You know why I love language? Because it gives you treasures to dig up and discover. Meanings you haven’t thought of before. Things that make you wonder and smile.

Present.
A noun talking about the time right here and right now.
Yesterday is past and we can’t do anything to change it. We don’t have to forget about it, but we’re not supposed to let it haunt us into today.
Tomorrow is the future and we can’t predict what will happen. Even our best laid plans can be thrown over within seconds.

All we have is right now.

A day of 24 wonderful hours – time to sleep and rest our head after a busy day, time to work and be productive, time to talk to friends and invest in their lives, time to eat and enjoy, time to waste with regretting the past or worrying about the future.

What will you do with your present?

Present.
A noun talking about the gifts we give and receive.
We think of colorful wrapping paper, glittery surfaces and children’s birthday parties.

There’s more.

Presents are the sunrise in the early morning hours, the deep breaths that remind you that you’re alive (still!).
The smell of coffee, the joke of a colleague, the hug of a friend, the warm bed at night.
The conversation that stirs your mind and touches your heart.
The soft whisper of God encouraging you if you’re quiet enough to listen.

 What presents have you been given this week?

Be here today. Live in the present and discover its many little presents.

Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

[#write31days] Day 31 Two Years Later

Welcome to Day 31 of #write31days! You have made it to the end, congratulations! And thank you for reading along. 
For more information check out the series’ page
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A day in my life October 2015.
It’s been about two years since I started looking at boundaries and practicing them in my life. Many things have changed since then.
I have graduated from university and started my first real job. It’s been a crazy time of transition, saying goodbye to old lifestyles, habits – but also welcoming new tasks and challenges.
I am still busy and I didn’t just stop everything I was doing.

And yet I feel more balanced.

When I started my new job I didn’t know how exhausted I would be, so I canceled all my usual obligations. It was a bit risky stepping back from so many positions, but instead of accusations and neglect I received encouragement and help.
This was really good because starting a job (well, the first one ever) is a major transition, like being uprooted from your natural habitat and replanted into completely unknown ground. These were some tough first months.
After a few months into the job I felt like I had more of a grip on everything and I could slowly add other things to my life. Step by step I rediscovered life.
Coffee with a friend.
An afternoon in the gym.
Dinner with a bunch of people.
Staying up longer than 9 pm (if you get up at 5 every morning this is a big deal!).
A weekend away.
Setting boundaries is not about stopping life all together. It is letting go of the many nuisances and energy drainers to make space and time for life, real life.

I have become more vulnerable.
These last two years saw a few goodbyes to friends and idealized memories of the past. This was definitely a challenge accompanied by tears, loneliness and despair; and I’m not saying I’m all over it yet.
But it was also a process of refinement and immense blessing.
People have come through in unexpected ways. I received free meals, a place to stay, a space to cry, a silent hug.
People prayed when I couldn’t, they encouraged me when I had run out of words, they told me to stop when my mind was stuck in worries.
I have learned to speak my mind more and not fight every battle on my own. At first it felt like ripping out part of my soul and pouring it onto paper; now it’s more like processing out loud and inviting others into my mess. And I am incredibly blessed by people who are willing to stay and listen.

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I have become more selective.
It’s not about how many meetings I attend or how much work I do.
I still get lots of emails from people asking to me help out, join this or that committee. I check every one of them. Think about them, discuss it with others. Listen into myself for my real motivation to do it. Often I hear a NO and lately, I’ve become better at actually saying NO.

It’s not about how many friends I have.
It’s not about the many.
I rather want to find the few that are really worth investing in. These rare friendships that will last longer than a move or a change of lifestyle or opinion. These beautiful connections that go deeper than accomplishments and gifts.
There are not that many out there and it might take a long time to build and refine these friendships. But the journey I have started has been good so far.

I have become more courageous.
Building deep connections is always a two-way street and sometimes you have to make the first step. I have learned to share more of myself. Not with everyone, but with the right people. Giving away a bit of myself has helped them to open up as well.
I have made interesting and often surprising connections when I shared. Some of my thoughts end up on this blog and I’ve gotten really great responses, often from people I don’t even know personally. Life is journeying together and it’s great to travel together.31b

I have become more intentional.
Do less, but dig deeper.
I don’t cram as much work into a day as I used to; instead I learned to appreciate an hour of doing nothing or a full day of rest.
I value community and actively seek it, even though it sometimes means stepping out of my comfortzone.

Sunday has become my favorite day of the week.
It is no longer a day of work and worry, it is Sabbath. A day to do nothing or something restorative.
A day when I sleep in and enjoy breakfast.

31a
A day when I read a book, not for work, just for pleasure.

A day when I spend time with my coloring book, letting my
creative side take me to some new place.

 

A day when I listen to a sermon while walking through the woods, allowing the Lord to speak to me in some new way.
A day when I go on culinary adventures with my roommate and we enjoy new recipes or unusual ingredients.

A day when I celebrate life together with others.

Setting boundaries is a journey and I am not even close to finishing. I guess we’ll never be. But I keep on going and growing and thriving.
And I hope you will, too.

What have you learned in the course of this month? Have you made any changes? Have you experienced new blessings!
I would love to hear from you and your experiences during this challenge in the comments below!