We don’t serve a halfhearted God.

“But if you can look back during your rumble and see that you didn’t hold back — that you were all in — you will feel very different than someone who didn’t fully show up. You may have to deal with the failure, but you won’t have to wrestle with the same level of shame that we experience when our efforts were halfhearted.” // Brené Brown

Jesus, I come to you this morning knowing I cannot do this on my own. I come to you in a pile of mess and frustration and straight up brokenness because I decided to follow the desire that made me feel good for a moment. May this be the year I learn my boundaries with people, romantically and in friendships where I learn to carry burdens. Jesus, only you can truly bind and heal and fix what is broken. That was never meant to be my job. But the good news is that your efforts are not halfhearted. 

I’ve been praying for a whole lot of wisdom and a whole lot of strength. If I had to make the typical grocery list of prayers, those 2 are at the top. I have a newfound desperation for Jesus. Knees-to-the-floor, tears-in-my-eyes desperation for Jesus, but it is the best thing.


If you know me, you know my strong distaste for periods of transition. I would say hate, but it’s really just one of those things that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and a weird, twisted feeling in my heart. And I think during these periods of change, things that go wrong weigh 100 times more than they would usually weigh, so when I’m a minute late, the world starts closing in, and when a conversation doesn’t go the way I thought it would, my insides start to crumble and I overanalyze every word I said in those few minutes. Moral of the story: it’s harder to show myself grace. And I felt the sting of that last night. I’m the type of person that has to lay out everything for the following day because it helps me feel infinitely more prepared for life. So there I was, trying to pick out an outfit for church. One outfit. For church. One day of my life. And I probably went through at least 10 different outfits, and with each dress I took off, the more discontent I started to feel. I didn’t like the way the clothes hung over my hips. I didn’t like the discomfort I felt when I looked at myself in the mirror. It was like going deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole of self-loathing. So I finally just pulled out a dress, hung it out for this morning, and crawled into my bed.

Warning: when you begin to pray and ask God to call out the brokenness in you, He’s going to be faithful in doing that. So I immediately had the Scripture come to mind that says:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:25-30 ESV

O you of little faith. Hi. That’s me. Now this moment was a great one, but do you think I felt completely put back together when I sat and read this? Absolutely not. BUT it did remind me of the dependency I have on God, which has been happening so often lately. He is not halfhearted in His attempts to reach us. He is not cryptic or secretive, but He is intimate. He is not halfhearted in His giving of grace.


We also get to serve a God who isn’t indifferent. Friends, if I could share what I think is the #1 destroyer of relationships, it’s apathy. Man oh man. I feel nothing towards you. It’s not as bad as it looks. It’s not as bad as you feel it is. This is apathetic and belittles the feelings you feel and the hurt welling within you. Feel the hurt and sit in the pain and understand that the way you feel matters. We don’t let our emotions guide us, by any means, but we also don’t push down and move on. And the people who don’t understand that, walk. You should be allowed to feel the things deep inside of you, and you should not let people belittle your pain or tell you it doesn’t feel as bad as you think it is. That’s condescending, so call it out and keep walking. Harsh? Maybe. Currently learning a lot about this? Yes. You get to learn how to stay and navigate these things, but you also get to learn what toxic looks like and begin to trim it out of your life. And there is no shame in that.

So this past week looked wild. Periods of transition are not my jam, but this week was a gift. I tried to soak in each moment: having our first church service with a ton of new faces and some fellowship with old faces, new beginnings, cooking dinner, doing laundry, learning forgiveness, walking to class, long runs in 90 degree heat, reading for media law and creative writing, sitting on our dorm room floor, talking about pain, serving ice cream to freshmen for First Year Service Day, journaling, getting to embrace the people who hurt, sipping coffee slower. I took it all in. This week had its ups and downs, but I’ve got people who wrap their arms around me and let me cry a little and eat some sweets and sing songs about Jesus and be super grateful. That’s the treasure, these little moments tucked in the shadows of each day. Jesus is in these moments.

Jesus, may your voice be louder than the lies. I want to be fiercely committed to You.

Among all the prayers for wisdom and peace and strength against indifference and periods of transition, this one sits at the top. Jesus, may your voice be louder than the lies. I want to love every day. I want to listen to His voice on repeat and see Him in EVERYTHING. I want to be seeking Him and looking for Him every single day. What am I going to love about today? What are you going to love about today?

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“Just because the sun comes up everyday doesn’t mean it’s going to look the same ever.” // Annie Downs

The safe space.

I don’t sleep in. Hear me when I say this. I don’t like wasting hours of sunlight. But how fitting is it that at the last house church of the summer, my boss gave a talk on rest, and today I managed to wake up at 11AM, and that was only because of an alarm I thought I wouldn’t need but set just for kicks and giggles? I think my body was saying, “Hey! Slow down. Take a Vitamin C. Make yourself some breakfast, and sip your coffee slowly.” SO with that, here we are. I’ve managed to crawl out of bed, turn on the coffee, and let my fingers find the keys because I woke up with billions of thoughts running through my mind. This past week. Man. It’s been a wild one, but we also live with a wild God, so this just goes to show.

I think my loudest prayer to God in the last couple weeks has been, “Prepare my heart for whatever is coming next, and I will follow You in that,” (and that’s a fantastic prayer, don’t get me wrong) but I think the quietest prayer I’ve prayed has been, “God, help,” when it should’ve been the loudest. These past couple weeks, I’ve learned what it means to be authentic with people without giving all of yourself to someone, and I think that lesson holds a lot of weight. I learned that I overshare not because I have so many brilliant things to say, but that by telling you every detail in a story or every detail of my day, I’m able to hold onto how I really feel about the darkest parts of me and I get to keep those for myself. But I also do that to God. I thank Him incessantly (which, again, is still a very good thing), but I don’t know how to come to Him and tell Him about what’s happened that hurts or what I don’t like or how frustrating it is to be so vulnerable with people and have it cave in so quickly (even though He already knows all of these things, the relationship deepens when communication happens on my end). So I keep holding on to the deepest parts of me and store them up and keep telling you everything about how I picked out this one journal from a cute bookstore because surely I can distract you with my words. But 1. The deeper parts of us have been set in a safe space with God (a super wise person told me those words, and I’ve been letting myself sit in that for a while), and 2. We don’t get to distract God like this. Or maybe if I say enough words, it’ll click for us and you’ll know me. That’s a huge desire woven into the core of who I am, and I think of who you are too: we want to be known. 


If you’re like me, you’re sitting there imagining your safe space with God (and if you’re not like me, just pretend and keep on following). Mine has fresh coffee and a big, comfy couch I get to sink into at the end of the day so I can effectively pour my heart out to God. Every word I get to speak to Him is like writing with a fine point pen on a nice, new sheet of a clean journal, because that’s the best feeling and it’s a feeling of newness. He creates a space of peace and comfort for us in Him, and He surrounds us with songs of deliverance. He knows us in ways that we don’t know ourselves and that is a gift, friends.

I have been continually reminded that I cannot do things on my own strength, and I think this is the first time that’s ever hit me this hard. We require God’s strength for everything we do. We cannot create our own peace or love, but we must operate out of the Lord’s strength to see those things fully. Thank You that I am hidden in You. Whenever the days are difficult and the world is pressing in on all sides, I will dwell in the shelter of Your sweetness. In the midst of this internship with LifeCast (read more about my experience as a student at LifeCast here), I read a devotion on Identity in Christ written by one of my beautiful friends. “This position of sitting with the pigs, hungry and covered in dirt; hiding in the bushes, shaking in the fear, this is how well we can meet our needs apart from Christ and this is who we were apart from Christ. We were slaves to coping mechanisms for the lack, hurt, and shame we felt, whether it be an eating disorder, pornography addiction, perfectionism, unhealthy relationships, etc.”

Slaves to coping mechanisms. That is so accurate. Something that ties into this that we talked about at house church last night was this idea of the Sabbath and how free people get a break, so when we take that rest, we are glorifying God because He has freed us. Slaves don’t get a day off, so that’s exactly what we exemplify when we decide to power through all 7 days, 24 hours, week after week. We don’t need to live a life that’s constantly about pain management and coping mechanisms when the price has been paid for us and we get to walk in that reassurance of freedom.


When the night is holding onto me, God is holding on.

Because I can know and feel so intensely that God is doing a good thing, I have heard the lies louder than anything else. You are unqualified. You are unworthy. You are not beautiful. Why would your words matter? Why would God use you? And that’s when it’s happening. I’ve heard it described as Day 39, when you know you feel the pain and the weight so intensely, but tomorrow could be Day 40, the day when God shows up in an undeniable way. So when the night is holding onto me, I know that God is holding on with more strength and fervor and without ceasing. I want to be able to fully trust Him in all the parts of my life. I want to create a space for Him for the rest of the days of my life. I don’t want to live out of my own expectations of create my own provisions because that is exhausting. It’s like you’re in a tug-o-war match with God and you know He’s always going to win, but that’s the most beautiful submission, to set down the rope and run into His arms.

I want to be so overwhelmed by the glory of God that nothing else can seem to outweigh the thoughts of Him and overwhelm me. I’ve been reading a book called A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, and it’s a book about living your life in the art you were created for, and the friend who lent it to me knew that it would have an impact on the way I navigated my days (so I thank her a ton for that). And I know what you’re thinking: Jenna, I am not an artistic person. THAT’S OKAY!! Because what I’m talking about has to do with the way you wake up and walk through your days, and we all do that. One of the things she says is, “He comes into us, then out of us, in a million little ways.” She talks about how no matter our profession or the classes we’re taking or the people we’re around or the chores we’re doing, we get to do them all for the glory of God. If that doesn’t make you slow down and think about all the things you do in a day, I’m not sure what will. It’s made me acknowledge and appreciate every detail in day that God sets into motion. How beautiful is that? That we have a God who designs our days and in turn, we get to glorify Him with all that we do! I love that reminder as we approach a new school year. I get to love the people around me well because God loves me so well that He knows every detail about me and handcrafts my days.

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So when you’re walking into this next week and you’re wondering if today will be good or bad, I’m going to choose good and I hope you do too. The moment my feet hit the floor, I remembered my intense hunger and thirst and desire for Jesus, and how He has invited me into this day. What a gift. Ask Him for the joy, ask Him to help you pull the chains off, ask Him into this walk we get to do. Recognize the safe space. And sit with Him. Dance with Him. Eat with Him. Sing to Him. Be with God today. And how beautiful that He gives us community to remind us that we are never alone. We get to be with Him, and we are reassured that we’ll never walk alone. What a promise: that He holds onto us and provides for us and that we will never be alone.

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Sincerely zealous.

A few nights ago, I sat in the passenger seat of a dear friend’s cars, the same passenger seat I sat in 6 months ago while I cried out of desperation and questioned the goodness of God and His love, but this time I sat in the passenger seat and held her hand and cried because of the fire inside my heart and the reassurance that God is GOOD and LOVING and that is something to celebrate. I love that God places me in the same places to show me His goodness and steadfastness in my world that’s constantly changing every time I take a breath. Like, I wanted to roll down the window and set off a confetti gun and sing painfully loudly because OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL. I want to scream that from the roofs of Ford. He is GOOD and He is in it for the long haul. We could learn a thing or two from Him about loving earnestly.

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serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous

   

Love your people.

   

Love them with everything in you.

  

This is a post for my people.

   

You are so deeply loved.

And I hope I spend every day of my life showing you that.

Thank you for loving me too.


I woke up this morning feeling completely unworthy and unqualified. This doesn’t happen everyday. But today it did. I always imagine being elsewhere and imagine how much better it will be, and how much better I will be as a person, when I get there. But I call God my Father, which means I’m completely qualified and worthy for anything I’m encountering, especially the things that catch me off guard because He already knows. And I know it’s really easy for me to sit here and say that, but it’s another thing to believe it deep down to your core. That would mean that I…I can’t even imagine, really. I don’t know what that would mean for me or what that would look like. I imagine it would look a lot like freedom, which I’ve tasted. A little bit. Or maybe I haven’t. I don’t know.

I feel God tugging my stubborn heart back into ministry. That’s what Perry and I were talking about when I started crying in that passenger seat, the happy tears and the confetti gun. I think God has knit my heart for some sort of ministry. I just don’t know what exactly. I don’t know if that looks like a future pastoral role or seminary or public relations for a church or making videos of refugees or giving a voice to the stories of God’s people. But it’s something I’m willing to look into now. I don’t know. I just know when I sing the words,

So take courage my heart;
Stay steadfast my soul.
He’s in the waiting.
He’s in the waiting.
Hold onto your hope,
as your triumph unfolds.
He’s never failing.
He’s never failing.
And You who hold the stars,
who call them each by name,
will surely keep Your promise to me,
that I will rise in Your Victory
,

there’s a reason I cripple and cry. I feel God slowly making my heart come undone. Coming undone in the courage He’s steeped my life in. All from Him. Not so much like ripping scales off of the dragon to make him a boy again, but slowly reassuring me that this is my calling and this is who I am. I’ve been created to reassure children of God that they are WORTHY OF TAKING UP SPACE. That is one thing He is teaching me right now. I am worthy of inhabiting the space. I am worthy of walking with my head up. This was the summer I learned to say what needed to be said and start walking without looking at the ground. This was the summer I started to learn to stop being small. Being small doesn’t serve His Kingdom.

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” // Anne Lamott

Stir our affections for You, oh God.

There was a time a while ago when I was stupidly joyful , in the best way possible, like it would’ve blown your mind. I was completely captivated by who God is and who He says I am. I remember writing one time, “He also calls us all the things He calls Jesus. Pure. Holy. Blameless. Righteous. And THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL. It makes me want to run a marathon and dance in the rain and shout it from the rooftops.” Y,all, I wanted to RUN A MARATHON because of my God. And I am delighted to say, those are the same feelings I have right now that make my heart beat out of my chest and send me over the moon. THIS is the stuff of joy. I want to know intimacy with Him. I want to be completely immersed in Him.

When we live in close-knit community and continue to focus only on the way we feel about certain things and allow those feelings to lead us in navigating living in this community, it can be a trainwreck. In my last post, I addressed that love being a choice, especially when it comes to your friends and the community we live in. I talked about the way that love is not a feeling and we don’t qualify love by gauging our feelings as warm or cold, but we get to qualify love by embodying the image of God that we were created in and making His Kingdom more and more of a reality in the moments we all get to share in here on earth.

I want to be so filled with God that every part of my life pours out praise to God and every facet of the gifts He has given me glorify Him completely.

May the days of my life be a display of the goodness of the Holy Spirit.

When I was off of social media for two weeks (a couple weeks back; do this and you won’t regret it), I got to appreciate the beautiful things around me, in my presence right now and not long for the things I thought were beautiful in someone else’s life. It made me present. It cultivated gratitude. And I don’t want to lose that.

So this may have been completely scatterbrained, but it just goes to show you how much He can teach and jam-pack love and goodness into our lives.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” // PSALM 139:16

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” // PSALM 16:6

CURRENTLY I’M… #4

Loving: People.

Learning: About the history of the Church. How to disciple people. How to become a minimalist (on the good days). How to receive grace. And how to do live sound. I LOVE IT. My detail-oriented, logistics-craving brain is being fueled right now.

Reading: Prince Caspian + Wild and Free + Acts (+ a commentary on Acts).

Eating: Blueberries + dried mango + Kind bars.

Excited about: INTERNSHIPS + Community Impact Teams focusing on Identity in Christ. Honestly, just this school year. Correction: life. Im excited about lifeLike, find me some confetti and some pink party hats, and let’s get this celebration started.

Needing: Jesus. Every minute. Every day. Dependency is actually the greatest. And probably another cup of coffee, depending on when you’re reading this.

Thinking about: Everything all at once all the time. Boundaries. The sweetness of the Holy Spirit. Lots of feelings.

Thankful for: my people. Through the awkward and messy and celebratory and joyful and sorrowful. They are here, and they keep showing me how near God is. They make me want to throw a party and write thank you notes every day of my life.

Listening to: The new NEEDTOBREATHE album and it. is. fire. “Testify” and “Let’s Stay Home Tonight” are personal favorites. Also, Hillsong’s Of Dirt and Grace album is phenomenal. Also, more Audrey Assad (“Breaking You”) and some old Grey’s Anatomy soundtracks. And some Luke Bryan. So really I’m all over the place and just feel a lot of joy from singing at the top of my lungs.

So stay awesome and love every minute of this Monday. Maybe throw a little dance party. Buy some more thank you notes. Drink the extra cup of coffee. Maybe have dessert for breakfast. You deserve it. Also, thank Jesus. Happy Monday.

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