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.


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.

[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.

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.

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?

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

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.


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.

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!

[#write31days] Day 28 Set Yourself Boundaries

Welcome to Day 28 of #write31days! 
For more information check out the series’ page

Okay people, it’s time to face our worst enemy. The one person we can’t get away from. Ourselves.
How do we take care of ourselves and set the needed boundaries?

Listen to Your Body
The reason why so many people suffer from burnouts and lacking boundaries is because these ‘illnesses’ are unseen for a long time.
We know we’ll be coming down with a flu when our throat starts itching and our nose running.
We know we’re seriously hurt when we feel pain or see blood.
How do we know that our soul is hurting? 
It often takes a long time for us to notice that something’s wrong, so we need to take our body serious. Our outside mirrors what is inside, the good and the bad.
So listen to what it has to tell you.
And then take action.

Whenever I get up in the morning (most of the time it’s way too early) I always look forward to going back to bed at night.
Sleep is one of the best inventions ever. 17d No better cure for heavy legs or a headache.
No better way to rest.
No better resource to restore the energy I need every day.
So don’t cheat yourself out of these precious hours of sleep. Don’t survive on five or six hours when you could really use eight. A rested body will get you through a busy day; it will be a good foundation for your restless soul and mind. 

A body can’t survive on nothing. We need sustenance to keep going, we need regular exercise to keep in shape.
When life gets stressful we cut things. Less appointments, less time for everything. And somehow we never have enough time to eat, so we either don’t eat at all or stuff ourselves with junk food because it’s available.
We’re not supposed to survive on junk. Eating is more than stuffing ourselves with food, it is taking care of ourselves and treating ourselves by picking and preparing what we eat.

Especially in the last two years I discovered how much I love cooking. Trying out new recipes with new spices or crazy looking ingredients. There are amazing flavors out there and it would be sad to just stay within the ordinary.
Most of all, though, I love cooking for and with people. Creating something new together and sharing more than a meal. We share life and a bit of ourselves. We’re all stuffed afterwards – with food, with joy, with hope, with beautiful friendship.

Fill Up Your Account

Taking care of yourself is more than food and sleep. Life and its challenges withdraws from our account day in and day out, so we need to make sure we fill up our account.
Even though our calendars might be full already, we need to make sure that not all of these appointments only withdraw from our account. Balance them out with appointments that deposit something in our account. 


Make appointments to have coffee with a friend once a week.
Some time when you can share what’s going on, what you struggle with, assure each other that you don’t walk alone.

Take an hour for a walk in the woods and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Go to the gym or for a run to get some stress relief in the midst of all the thinking you’ve got to do.
Make sure you book your vacation and don’t just let it go by.

Don’t be afraid to explore new things, get to know yourself a bit better. Find out what fills up your account, even if it’s unusual. Pick up a new hobby or revive an old one. Don’t settle until you find something that gives you rest. True rest for your mind, body, soul and spirit.

Don’t Fight Alone 
It’s never easy breaking out of old habits and establishing new ones. Some statistics say it takes three weeks of practice to do something new. These weeks can be tough and we often give up because we feel we’re all alone out there.
But we’re not.
If you decide to set boundaries and take better care of yourself, make sure to take people with you. Ask friends to walk with you, encourage you, pray for you.
Maybe you’ll even find some others who have gone through similar things, learn from their experiences. Meet others with the same challenges to exchange ideas and uplift each other.
Be accountable to others. Allow them to ask how things are going and challenge you to keep going. They are not there not control or punish you, but isn’t it nice to have cheerladers along the way as you start this new journey? 🙂

Take a look at your schedule. Do you have appointments in there that will deposit something into your account or only withdrawals? Is there anything you could do to find more rest for yourself? 
I dare you to explore something new this week, no matter how small it may be. Cook a new recipe, invite some friends over and experience the blessing of fellowship. 

[#write31days] Day 26 Boundaries with Friends

Welcome to Day 26 of #write31days! 

For more information check out the series’ page

Every day we meet new people. Every day we connect with long lost people. Some of them are acquaintances, others are supposed to become friends. How do we make good friends and how do we set appropriate boundaries?

Stop Chasing
I am a people person. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I love seeing them thrive. I am a giver. I like to invest in others through talking, texting, writing, meeting…
Until last year.
I was so exhausted from my life and investing all the time that I just had to stop. For once I needed others to invest in me. This often didn’t happen and many friendships shattered at this T-junction. I tried to keep going, keep investing, keep hoping for others to show up.
I beat myself up, I whined and complained about friends who never called. I sent out emails and texts and then pitied myself when I got nothing in return. It led to nothing but disappointment, self-questioning, and emptiness.
Most of all, I overlooked the people who did come alongside me. Texts I did not appreciate, invites I did not accept, help I did not take – because I was too busy chasing the attention of the wrong people.
Don’t chase the wrong people. Instead of complaining about what (or who) you don’t have, focus on those you do have.
Be bold enough to let those go who don’t respond. Don’t force something that’s not supposed to be. Cut ties that will only lead to emptiness and disappointment.


Open your eyes to the ones who really care about you and not just your presents. Be grateful for them and accept their help.

Rather Few than Many 
As much as Facebook tries to tell us that the more ‘friends’ you have the better – few are actually better than many.
You simply can’t invest in everyone. Keeping up with many people takes a lot of time, emotions, and energy. You’ll just get lost in too many stories, questions, and problems and won’t have time to just share life together. Having fifty friends won’t fill your life, but actually leave you empty and exhausted. 

Sometimes we have to say NO to friends. They are adults and can’t drop all their problems off to us. Yes, friends help each other out and care. But bearing each other does not mean taking over each other’s lives. Sometimes friendship can also mean telling some hard truths.
The older I get the more I realize the benefit from choosing my friends. I don’t have many, but those I have I really want to make an effort. Really listen, really care, really invest. This takes time and energy. But I know it’s worth it because I know they’ll do the same in return.

What Is a Friend?
I have talked to quite a few people about this topic and we often ended up at the same question: What actually makes a friend? What do we expect from our friends and how can we be better friends?
We meet lots of people every day, but not everyone will become our friend. With some people we connect for a while, but very few are meant to get close to us.


This does not happen just like that. It takes an effort on both sides. 
No matter what you expect of others as friends – we have to start being good friends ourselves.
Friends are there for you. Just you, not your work, your contribution, your effort.
Friends are honest; they are willing to go deeper. Not all at once, but step by step. They are bold enough to let you in on their mess and don’t turn their backs when they’ve seen yours.
Friends can take a NO. No matter how much we like each other we also need some time to withdraw and recharge.

Setting boundaries with friends is tough because we’re often afraid to lose them. But what if it helps us to make our own expectations clear and refine the friendships we’re actually supposed to have?

Think about the friends you have. Do you chase the wrong people? Do you appreciate the ones who invest in you? Do you need to make a decision to be a good friend to few? 

[#write31days] Day 21 Keep Your Balance

Welcome to Day 21 of #write31days! 
For more information check out the series’ page

In the last twenty days we have covered what boundaries are, boundary problems we can have, and some of the lies we believe about boundaries. Now we tackle the last third of the month and will take a closer look at how we can set healthy boundaries in various areas of our lives.

As I have practiced setting a few more boundaries in my life during the last year I have found one image particularly helpful. It somehow serves as an analogy on your boundary journey.

Your Life Is Like a Bank Account

21dImagine your life is a bank account.You can put money in, money that will help you buy food, pay your rent, go on vacation, buy gifts for others…

In a similar way, you can ‘put money’ in your life. Things that get you through the day, that motivate you, that strengthen you. People who encourage and challenge you, who walk with you, support you.

This can look different for everyone.
I love sleep. Every morning when I get out of bed I am already excited to go back to bed at night. Sleep is a wonderful thing, it recharges your body with energy, cures sickness, and just feels good. 🙂 So I need a lot of it.
I love people. Having conversations over coffee or dinner are my favorites. Listening to their stories of what God is doing in their lives makes me excited and immensly grateful to share in His great story. Asking questions and getting challenging answers pushes me forward in my growth journey.
And I love serving others, investing my time and thoughts into their lives, giving advice and seeing someone thrive is a blessing you can’t get anywhere else. Giving someone the gift of your time or an unexpected surprise is an even greater gift to me.
But I also like to withdraw. Sometimes I just want to be alone with nothing much going on. I just want to be and remind myself that I don’t always have to do.
I need music in my life. If I don’t listen to it somewhere you’ll definitely hear me humming a tune. Sitting down at the piano and playing just for fun helps me express my feelings. Sometimes it’s soft melodies, sometimes it sounds more like I’m beating the poor thing.
I love to read. Diving into a thick novel and into a completely different world created by a genius human being. I need God’s word reverberating in my life and soul as I take a walk or simply go about my day. Knowing His presence won’t ever leave me fills me with peace beyond understanding.

Doing these things, being with these people ‘puts money’ into my life account. They refresh me, restore me, build me up, keep me going forward. 21b

In order to buy food and clothes and pay rent and whatnot, you need to withdraw money from your bank account. This is a natural thing, we do it every day.
Unless we live in a cave all by ourselves without a job and any human interaction, living life withdraws something from our life account.
It takes our physical energy to go to work and run around all day. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. But you definitely know you’ve done your days work when you fall into bed at night with heavy feet. 
It takes our mental energy to plan our days and weeks and make time for everything. Of course there are things like work and meetings and church. Appointments we can’t really cancel. And of course, there are friends we want to meet, go to the gym, do another hobby…But do we plan time for yourself? Do we actually pencil ‘relax and do nothing’ into your calendar? Do we try to go to bed early and have enough sleep every night or do we stay up because there’s always more to do?
21aIt takes our emotional energy to engage with people. As I said earlier, I am a people person. And yet, somewhere in the last two years I have learned that it’s hard work to be with people.
Getting to know them and asking the small talk question is hard.
Waiting patiently until they are willing to go deeper is exhausting. Listening carefully to someone while your mind is tempted to drift off is a tough discipline to manage.
Investing in people and relationships means giving away your time, your thoughts, your love – a bit of yourself. 

Putting money in and withdrawing money from our bank account is a natural thing, we do it all the time. And normally, we don’t really think about it.
Until there’s nothing left.
Someone who has no money in his account will dread a visit to the bank because he can’t take anything out. Someone who doesn’t care and goes way over his limit will eventually drown in debt.

Giving away our energy and receiving some along the way is also a natural thing. Normally, we don’t really think about it.
Until our account is out of balance.
When we take more from others than we’re supposed to, we’ll get too comfortable, proud, and content with ourselves. Our account is about to burst and no one will share our blessings. 21cWhen we withdraw more than we have, give away more time, thought, and energy than we actually have, we will break down and eventually be bankrupt. In psychological terms, you call this a burnout. 
This is the time to set boundaries.

Think about your own ‘life account’. What are the things and people that ‘put money’ in? What are the things and people that ‘withdraw money’? Is your life balanced or are you heading towards bankruptcy?