Absolutely Positively Definitely Maybe


“That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens” (Romans 8:18-21, The Message).

Such a great moment in the movie. I’ve actually owned Definitely, Maybe for a while and just now got around to watching it (one of the few perks of being without a job).

I love that line because it reminds me so much of God and the Story He is writing. And I do so love stories, especially when they’re well-told and have happy endings.

I know that ultimately God’s Story is about God, as it should be, but one of the very happy side effects is you and me finding redemption and freedom and abundant life. Because of God’s Story, you and I have a Story that we get to share. Because of God’s Story, we know that our Story will always have a happy ending because God has written it already. I read the last page of the book and I know that it’s good.

It’s hard to remember that when the Story seems headed for tragedy or when the current chapter seems like it will never end and circumstances will never change or get better. It’s hard to see that happy ending when you’re wondering how you’ll pay the bills or make your struggling marriage work or find that job that makes you come alive.

As I’ve learned in reading books, you don’t put down the book when the characters run into hard times. You keep going with the hope that those struggles will lead to something better. As Corrie Ten Boom says, you don’t jump off the train when it goes through a dark tunnel. You trust the Engineer to get you through.

I don’t want to be that guy who says things like, “Hold on, it will get better” or “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or discouragement, bumper sticker quotes don’t really do the trick.

You need to know that God is still faithful to His promises. You need to know that the same Jesus who conquered death and the grave can conquer your circumstances. You need to know that He will finish what He started in you because He said He would.

That’s a happy ending.


Reminders for When That Mid-Life Crisis Hits


Maybe it will hit in the middle of the night.

Maybe you’ll wake up and wonder where your life has gone and what you’ve done with it.

Maybe you’ll have that pounding in your chest and that overwhelming anxiety, scared that you’ve wasted your one and only life up to this point.

Maybe, just maybe, you feel like it’s too late to make anything of yourself and that you’re doomed to mediocrity.

Remember this: not everything that pops into your head is from you. The father of lies can be incredibly sneaky about pushing little fabrications into your mind about your identity and your purpose.

If you let him, he’ll have you believing that you have no purpose or worth. That your life doesn’t matter. That it’s too late to change and become who you might have been, that best self you always dreamed you might be.

Let your Abba Father speak truth over you. Hear Him call you Beloved, not out of anything you’ve done to earn special merit or out of any outstanding character traits that you possess, but simply because you are His.

Let your Abba Father remind you that you have supreme worth because you are created in the image of God and because Jesus paid the ultimate price for your redemption.

That’s what counts in the end.

Not salary.

Not titles.

Not awards.

Not accolades.

But simply living out of being the Beloved of your Abba and letting that love define who you are and what you do. If you end up with everything you could possibly want, everything the world says you need, and miss out on God, you have nothing. But if you end up with God and nothing else, you will have found everything that truly matters in the end.

Just think about that for a while.



You Are Not: A Reminder

I’m about to repeat myself. Again.

I find I keep returning to the same themes in my writing over and over, probably because I keep needing to hear them over and over. Here’s one more reminder for the road.

You are not your worst fears about yourself– that you’re essentially unemployable and that you will never find out what you’re good at and be able to make a living with it.

You are not your spotty employment background or your so-so credit score or your monumental mistakes in the past.

You are not your history of relationship failures (or your history of failure of relationships).

You are not your failed marriages or your broken relationships with your parents (or children).

You are not who you were and you are not yet who you will be.

You are the Beloved of your Abba Father, the apple of His eye.

You are Forgiven, with a blank slate as clean as if there were never any bad marks on it.

You are a child of the One True King, despite your questionable family history and your own long list of personal quirks.

You are exactly where God wants you to be and He knows where you are and where He’s taking you. And trust me, you will get there one day.


For When You’re Feeling Anxious


It’s February. And unless you’re living in Hawaii with all those palm trees and beaches, it’s cold.

My feelings on cold weather go something like this: if it’s gonna be this cold, it might as well snow, or what’s the point?

Maybe you’re feeling more than just cold. Maybe you’re feeling anxious or stressed.

Perhaps you’re out of a job and wondering how that big stack of bills is going to get paid. Or where they money is going to come from to put gas in the car. Or food on the table.

Maybe you’re still single and wondering when (or even if) that special someone will ever come along.

Maybe you’re children don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore and you don’t know how to get through to them anymore.

Maybe it’s just a combination of a million little things all rolled up into one big case of anxiety.

Don’t you know that Jesus didn’t come to bring your peace?

He came to be your peace. He is after all the Prince of Peace.

That’s what all of us who are overwhelmed with worry and stress need to remember. Jesus may not take away all those things that cause anxiety, but He promises to walk with us through every trial, every tribulation, and every dark valley.

Jesus has already overcome whatever you’re afraid of. Nothing can touch you apart from God’s permission. And absolutely nothing can come between you and the love of your Abba Father.

Sometimes, you need medicine to make those anxieties go away. That doesn’t make you less spiritual. It just means your brain needs a little help to function normally.

I love the line from that movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Everything will be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Struggle for Authenticity


I was deeply saddened when I read of the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the best character actors around. I like many of you was shocked to find out that drugs, and more specifically heroin, were the culprit for his demise.

I thought, “Why in the world would a guy as successful and talented as that need to medicate with drugs? What could possibly be so bad about his life?”

Then I read a blog or two about him that opened my eyes. I’ll do my best to simplify what I read there without plagiarizing anything or anyone.

Sometimes, character actors can lose themselves in their roles. They almost literally become the characters they’re portraying. Which is all well and good until it comes time to be yourself again.

I wonder if Philip had forgotten how to live in his own skin as himself? Or maybe he didn’t like who he was and preferred to live as someone else?

I know like so many addicts, he probably at some point chose the drug, but after a while it stopped being a choice. Unless the drug was the one who chose him.

I’m sure he hated the drug that he craved at the same time. Maybe he felt he was too far gone to save, too deep in his addiction to find a way out. Maybe he didn’t feel like he could let anyone into his battle with drugs and felt like he had to fight alone.

I’m speculating a lot here.

But I do know this. Jesus came to set the captives free.

He came for the addict. He came for the self-abuser. He came for those who don’t like what they see in the mirror and who don’t like themselves very much.

I’m not going to speculate as to whether Mr. Hoffman knew Jesus or not. Many believers get just as caught up in addictions and have just as many character flaws as anyone else.

I will say that God is close to the broken-hearted and those who are crushed in spirit. He’s near to those who cry out of desperation and deep need.

If you’re trapped in addiction, get help. Don’t fight your demons alone. And know that God is the champion of the downtrodden and distraught, the losers and underdogs, those who just can’t get their messes cleaned up or their lives figured out.

Last of all, remember that it’s only by the grace of God that it’s not you or me lying dead in a bathroom with a heroin-filled needle stuck in our arms. Only the grace of God keeps any of us alive and wakes us up in the morning.

Yeah, I still love the grace of God.

When You Grow Up


I’m sure you’ve been asked this inevitable question at some point in your formative years. At some point in grade school or high school or college, someone asked you this:

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

There’s a few things wrong with that question.

First, some people take longer than others to find that supreme calling. Some are well past grown up and still haven’t decided what they want to be yet.

Second, the likelihood these days is that you won’t spend 30-40 years in one job at one place. You’ll more than likely have several jobs and more than a few careers. Anymore, people change jobs every 2 years and most will change careers at least once.

You are not defined by what you do for a living or how much you make at your job. No matter what society or your friends or your family tells you.

You are defined not by what you do or who you are but by Whose you are. If you belong to Jesus, that’s how you’re defined from now on.

Your identity doesn’t crumble when you get laid off or (perish the thought) fired. Your identity rests securely in the person of Jesus.

You are Forgiven, Paid For, Forgiven, Child of God, and (my personal favorite) Beloved. You could probably think of a few more names associated with being in Christ.

So on those nights when you don’t feel particularly special or like you matter, remember Jesus paid the ultimate price for you because He believed that you were worth it.

Waiting and Praying Through


“Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice? Mark My words: God will intervene fast with vindication. But here’s the question: when the Son of Man comes, will He find anyone who still has faith? (Luke 18:6-8)

Something Aaron Bryant said tonight at Kairos really caught my attention. He said something to the effect of “If God granted you that one big thing you’ve been praying for at that very moment you asked for it, what would happen? Would you be ready for it?”

If God gave you that hot-looking guy or gal, how would that turn out? Would that relationship implode because you weren’t emotionally ready for such a relationship? Would getting that career you asked for cause your family relationships to suffer because of the extra work hours and responsibility?

I know one of God’s best gifts to me has been not giving me what I asked for that I thought I had to have right then and there. For one, what I asked for was stupid and for two, I wasn’t near ready for it.

That girl that I was certain God should bless me with as a wife? I can’t even remember her name. All I know is that our marriage would have been one big hot mess.

According to one wise church member, God has four answers to my prayers: 1) “Yes”, 2) “No”, 3) “Maybe”, and 4) “Are you kidding me?”.

I know you could never imagine God saying that last one. But think of some of the things you’ve prayed for. I can think of times when I prayed for my team to win a game or another team to lose. I can think of a time or two when I prayed for a really attractive girl to be attracted to me. Probably we’ve all prayed that the whole bag of Oreos we ate in one setting would turn to muscle and not fat.

God sometimes makes us wait for what we pray for so we can see if what we’ve asked for is something we want or something we need. Like praying for a Porsche versus praying for reliable transportation.

Right now, my prayer is that God does whatever it takes to conform me into the image of Jesus. That people come away from me having met Jesus, even if they don’t remember my name. That I can be the best me that God made me to be.

And if you don’t remember anything else, remember to keep on praying and don’t give up. Ever.

Blog #1,161


I still write these blogs as reminders to myself of how good God’s been to me. I am so very forgetful and prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love, prone to return to broken cisterns of doubt and fear.

I write about grace so much because I love it so much, and I love it so much because I’ve needed it and found it at just the right times. Left to myself, I can very clingy and needy, very co-dependent, and self-absorbed. I am an approval-addict. An affirmation junkie.

But that grace of God found me. And it did not leave me where it found me. I found that Jesus’ amazing love for me makes me loveable. I discovered that it’s more than okay for me to be myself. It’s the best form of worship I can offer. Just me loving being me. Me refusing to be conformed to what everybody else says I should be, to what the media tells me I need to be to matter.


I will never stop telling the story of how Eucharisteo forged my miracle, how a lifestyle of joy and gratitude and thanksgiving opened my eyes to manifold blessings and allowed me to open closed fists to receive more of God’s riches.

I am blessed. Even if I never have a six-figure salary. Even if I am ever more the friend and never the love interest, the guy girls want to marry. Even if I never get another blessing or another visible reminder of God’s presence.

Here’s to 1,000 more posts to remind forgetful me of how good my life is and how great God is. Here’s to all of you who keep encouraging me, challenging me, and blessing me in ways I will never be able to repay.

Thank you.


Another Bonfire and More Eucharisteo


My community group met at a friend’s house for a bonfire. This wasn’t quite like the last one. I felt like a bit of a fifth wheel (or in this case, a seventh wheel).

I’m not blaming anybody but myself. I was tired and not feeling particularly Tookish. For those who have a life and haven’t read everything Tolkien has ever written at least ten times, it means my social butterfly side was dormant and my awkward caterpillar side was in charge.

I left early and ended up at Blue Coast Burrito. The girl who worked there complimented me on my I Am Second bracelet and that led to a good conversation. It turns out she is a missionary with Mobilizing Students and is looking to go live overseas in the next year or two.

It was a God-moment. Eucharisteo at work. If I had gone to Bar-B-Cutie’s (like I very nearly did), I would have missed this moment. If I had stayed at the bonfire, I would have not met Jenny, whose fervor for her calling blessed me.

God has a funny way of turning off nights into new adventures. I’m learning in my walk of faith to expect the unexpected and to be certain that God is always working around me, even on random Friday nights in October.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing this time tomorrow or where I’ll be. I know the same God who showed up tonight will be there and I know it will be another good night.


Grace Notes on a Thursday Night


As I type these words, I have one extremely sleepy therapist curled up in my lap. I can feel my blood pressure dropping and my stress melting away. It’s almost like I’m living inside a Norman Rockwell painting.

I visited my favorite place on earth again. Downtown Franklin for me is almost like leaving Middle Tennessee and entering Middle Earth. If Middle Earth had amazing frozen yogurt and talking crosswalks.

I saw two of my favorite friends down there and ate at McCreary’s Irish Pub yet again. I felt like a senior adult eating at 4:30 pm, but I didn’t have to wait and I was able to sit outside and people-watch while I ate.

I really think the way to slow down your life is to be intentionally thankful for each moment, grateful for each frame of your fleeting life, and to seek joy where you are. Once you start looking for them, you’ll be amazed at how plentiful the blessings are. How numerous the little joys are that quietly intrude on your day.

Sometimes, you have to put down the iPhone and the iPad and the MacBookPro and live in the moment. Actually be present in your life to the people and places around you.


I find that my gratitude increases my awareness of grace and my need for it and my capacity to both receive and give it. Everything I have and everything I am that’s worth anything at all is grace, including possessions, people, health, education, and (as hard as it is for me to admit) even the faith to believe in the promises of Jesus.

I say take time to bless those people behind the counter. I went back into Sweet CeCe’s after I finished my divine Southern Sweet Velvet yogurt and told the girl working there that they always did such a great job and made me feel welcome every time I went in there. I’m sure plenty of people probably complained or took out their frustrations on her, so I felt she needed at least one positive and encouraging word that day.

Even if it’s only a smile, you can change a person’s world. And as I’ve said before, to change one person’s world is to change the world.

Gee, I do so love grace.