Stress Magnet

I figured out a few years ago that I carry my stress in my jaw. It’s an ache that comes from constant jaw-clenching, and it’s my body’s way of telling me to lighten up or take a break. And it’s been talking to me a lot lately.

The problem is, I don’t have enough going wrong to warrant that kind of constant tension in my jaw. I make stress when there is none, or at least when there is very little.

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Hiking in mountains

Mountains of Decisions, part 3

Prologue from part 1 and part 2:

I am not a hiker. And though I appreciate the beauty of green and flowering things from behind the glass of a window, I’m not even really that fond of being outdoors. So I was surprised to discover that the image that came to me year after year as an analogy to describe my life, was a mountain. Complete with hiking trails.

The last time the mountain imagery came to mind I was at a major crossroads in my life instead of my ministry. Well, it had something to do with my ministry in that I was considering leaving it.

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Crumpled paper

Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

Several months ago I put my car up for sale on Craigslist. I’m on the cautious side when it comes to posting my contact information online, so when I created the listing I decided not to include my name, phone number, or personal email address. Craigslist has a “reply” button which forwards messages to the seller’s personal email account. That would work just fine for me.

Apparently not for my first potential customer. I received an angry email accusing me of leaving out my personal contact information from the ad itself because I was just trying to scam people, that I was not actually planning on selling the car, and that I would not even do him the courtesy of replying to his inquiry. He must have been burned by Craigslist scammers in the past.

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A tall glass of water


I was talking with a girlfriend a few months back about her and my tendency to give so much to others that we forget to take care of ourselves. It is a self-neglect that many (though certainly not all) women are plagued with. While we’re busy taking care of everyone else, some of us ask very little in return (some people, like our pre-adult children, would be inappropriate to ask), and it can lead to a lot of burn-out, frustration, and bitterness. Especially if we’ve not learned to a) express our needs in a mature healthy way, and b) take care of our needs ourselves instead of wait for what may never come from the people we love.

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Girl wearing mask

Taking Off My Mask

I grew up always trying to fade into the background. In high school I was voted (on an open ballot) as the 2nd-most shy person in the whole school. I was surprised that that many people knew my name! It made me realize that other people actually did see me despite my efforts for them not to, and that they had perceptions of who I was based on my quietness.

I didn’t like it. Being called stoic and shy made me seem unfriendly, unsociable, uninterested in the world and the people around me. The label didn’t really fit me—I had a solid group of friends I hung out with during and after school. I could act silly and laugh louder than any of them. The fact was, I was very social once I was comfortable with someone or a group of someones. The word shy was just what people who didn’t know me called me. I needed a new label.

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