my heart might be 3 sizes to small

Posted by Teen Bean

I'm getting ready to graduate from my master's program... starting to think about the work I can do... or maybe want to do is a
better way to say it.... What avenues do I go down... What are my real interest?

I've obviously been exposed to loads of incredible people over the last 3 years. And as I begin to face my future I wonder if my heart is really ready for it. how can you know what your heart can handle? As I sat around a friends dinner table to night and heard about what people dream of, where they want to go, who they want to be... I wondered... is my heart to small?

I've been interviewing some astounding community leaders, church planters, and all out amazing selfless people? When I finish these interview I'm amazing by how much people with passion can accomplish. Again I ask myself, is my heart to small?

The vulnerable, the unemployed, the forgotten, the wronged, the addicted, the underdeveloped, the annoying ... working in these types of context are going to brush me up against pain, stubbornness, hate, apathy, brokenness, hunger, theft, injustice, burn out... is my heart to small?

how does one grow their heart?


Posted by Teen Bean

been thinking on holiness. mostly because I am reading this book called "The Tangible Kingdom" by Hugh Halter. I definitely felt called out, when I read from this author how people can feel like becoming holy is simply a process of getting rid of all the "bad" stuff in your life... (*blush blush)

No drinking
No smoking
No premartial sex
No R- rated movies
No scandelous dancing... to be safe no dancing at all
No bowling... just to be safe etc...

What this author challenged me on was in realizing that holiness is a two sided coin.. and in fact when Jesus talked about it he more often mentioned the stuff we are suppose to do (like feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, fight for justice, be kind to our enemies, love those who hurt us, forgive, don't judge) more then he told people they had to shed their evil "skin" and stop being bad.

I think what was really powerful was how this author reminded me about a few things.

1. If the bible is "good news", i should not be tempted to share it in a way that makes people feel guilty, shameful, or down right bad.

2. holiness is a process of casting things off, but even more so it is a process about adding good things into our lives so that we can reflect Christ more.

3. the mystery of God is that the more good we add into our lives, naturally the less bad or sin can be there... thus simply being intentional about following Christ by doing what he did, can achieve what so many people are desperate for and no nasty check list of sins had to be completed

Basically I realized that if all I ever do is walk around telling people what they can not do that doesn't sound like very Good New. Even more so, one of the reasons people feel like they fail when they try to be more holy is because they focus more on "getting rid of their bad" and completely forget the important step of making sure that they are filling that space in them with all the "good" that God offers.

realizing holiness is a two-fold process really challenges me to not get so hung up on the times when my "bad" side comes through, but to just remember to be intentional about including the good practices of Christ... according to Hugh Halter (and even more so the bible) the more we infuse our life with the good ways of Christ the closer we will get to our Holy God and the more natural holiness becomes.

Note on Leadership

Posted by Teen Bean

Here are some of my notes from my Leadership class... we all are pretty much loving this course... it is overly American, so take it for what you will :D

1. Doing what I love to do + do it with the people I love = IMPACT!

2. Servant Leadership: Test of Leadership

A) Do those being served grow because of the communication and services you offer? Are you creating environments that encourage people to grow?

B) Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, antonymous, begin to shine, show impact

C) What is the larger impact? Do they show impact in the world? It’s not about results or numbers but bottom line if you are impacting people, they should be equally going out and impacting people. This is a perfect model of disciple ship.

3. A Leaders Role boils down to two things.

1. Its our job to tie the work of our people to the mission of our organization

2. is to get the resources to the people so they can do their job… this is not just getting material in money and tools, but also in removing barriers.

4. Be careful that you don’t let the idea of leadership go to your head. This is very easy to happen and to get hungry for things of this world.

prayer baby

Posted by Teen Bean

a class mate of mine just let us know that she is pregnant. She has had a hard time getting pregnant and it seems like such a miracle that she is carrying a baby in her tummy. I find myself thinking of her a lot and wanting this baby to be born so badly... i never realized how special babies being born were until I became close with someone that desperately wanted a baby but had a hard time getting pregnant.

another classmate and I went over and prayed with her over the weekend and it was such a magical and intense time. to some extent we are all holding our breath that this baby will have a birthday... but at the same time my friend is brilliantly just taking each day, one at a time, and trusting God...

if you have a moment to pray for my friend and her unborn baby... we all would so appreciated the support... we are hoping on a miracle! the baby is 12- weeks... the size of a lemon!

what is a story?

Posted by Teen Bean

As many of us have experienced tour guided walks or explorations, what makes them so magical is the guides ability to point out both the obvious and the easily missed landmarks and then, through words, explain their importance. Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche communities supported this value of words and stories when he stated “To name something is to bring it out of chaos, out of confusion, and to render it understandable” (p. 25, 1998). Later he went on and explained, “As we start to really get to know others, as we begin to listen to each other’s stories, things begin to change… We begin the movement from exclusion to inclusion, from fear to trust, from closedness to openness, from judgment and prejudice to forgiveness and understanding. It is a movement of the heart” (Vanier, p. 83, 1998).

This is the reason we humans find the process of story sharing so powerful. Stories invite both author and audience into a special personal relationship that connects our unique life experience in that shared moment. Stories are born not just through the pen of an author, but through the enchanting moment that author and audience meet and form an intentional relationship where both are involved in giving and receiving their hearts.

string ends so far apart

Posted by Teen Bean

so coming back to seattle has been a feeling I am getting used to; bittersweet. I love the blessings that surround me here: graduate school, community house, amazing job, good friends, city life, lovely church... its so wonderful...

at the same time its hard to be away from Steve when we are trying to start our life together, the impending doom of my visas, thesis, money, schedules, work, jet- lag... have left me for the last week very anxious, sleepless, frustrated, and apathetic.

one of the most inspirational things to happen was that my community house had a bit of conflict over the holiday season... from that we have started asking ourselves questions on how we can be more intentional. From that I got to spend time reflecting yesterday on a few ways to help encourage our house to do simple yet intentional thing in our life...

it was nice to just let all the crap filter away and just spend 20 min doing something i love which is talking and creatively thinking about prayer.

So, i am learning how when life starts getting carried away, it is good to just pause and take time to go back to doing what I love to remember why it is I do what maybe I don't completely love to do...

all the same stress still is weighing heavily...

love keeps no record of wrong...

Posted by Teen Bean

the longer I live in community the more I have learned a few things...

#1. Its normal. If you expect to join a community because you want to be excited every moment or get where the action is or be inspired, then you have another think coming. Don't get me wrong these things do happen in community, but they are meshed in with a slew of normal and quite boring days where you wake up going "what am I doing here and is it making any difference whatsoever?". Normal doesn't mean ineffective... it just mean you are normal!

#2. You can't reach all those lofty goals you set in one day. If you join a community expecting to instantly start achieving all those goals of 'reaching the lost', 'being actively involved in justice', 'having night long prayer sessions', or 'meeting all your neighbors' you are going to be sorely disappointed. there is a reason they say being in a community is a lifestyle commitment... its because it often takes a LIFE TIME to invest in theses very simple goals. The important thing to realize is not to get discouraged when you realize how many goals you haven't accomplished but to be inspired by the small ones that you have!

#3. No one is perfect. If you think joining a community means that all the people will completely 'get you' or all 'understand' community the way you do, then think again. Communication and relationship building is one of the longest processes I have ever experienced and it takes living 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a person before you will even BEGIN to scratch the surface of understanding who the people in your community are and what makes their hearts tick. Often what you experience first will be peoples flaws and failures. This doesn't mean that your community is failing. Far from it. When the flaws start coming out consider it pure joy that your community is in fact getting to the heart to the matter. Peoples hearts are generally wrapped around by lots of layers flaws in an effort to protect themselves from experience certain types of pain again... thats ok! Seeing pain and walking with someone who is hurting and or hurting themselves is a process of building up not tearing down. Also being in a community doesn't mean fixing broken peoples problems... it just means being with them... through everything. It means giving them the space to figure out how to be about healing and all you have to do it be there... don't try and fix people or you will get in the way of what community is about.

Remembering these things helps me daily live in the beautiful and highly messed up community I am a part of!

waking up

Posted by Teen Bean

so it was amazing to spend the last two weeks in the lovely country of England with my fiance Steve Lawton. I was so excited to see him in the airport i just melted. For the two weeks that i was there we found ourselves blessed over and over again visiting family, prayer communities, school centers, friends homes, and new cities... it was a speed through of reconnecting and discovering.

One really cool thing was just spending a chunk of our time in Colchester, which is the town Steve and I will hopefully live once we get married. Steve walked me around the city, hand in hand, to point out neighborhoods we could live in and areas of town that were important. It was so special to just dream with him a bit about what our lives will be like and the direction we are going.

Sense getting back I keep asking myself what was the biggest take away from my trip? Once i started thinking back to how the trip went, I think what was the best ever was simply how excited I was to wake up ever day I was there.

For those of you who know me, you know that mornings are not my favorite. I often liken waking up to experiences of horror, torture, or death. Normally I feel a sharp sting the instant my eye are forced to open and leave the warm, comfy dream world and coherently take in the "real world"...

But opposite to my normal wake up routine, over the last two weeks the shear joy I've had at waking up and bouncing out of bed was ridiculous and slightly creepy. Poor Steve dealt with the blunt end of my early morning wake up calls. But as I assess my trip, my biggest take away was, the excitement that shook me awake each morning.

So often I get wrapped up in the normal every day monotony of living and life that instead of waking up feeling excited about living, i feel drained and reluctance. It felt so good to remember what it feels like to be excited about living, about the possibilities of life, and the simple joy each day can have.

If only everyone could experience the blessing of what it feels like to wake up so alive, the world would be a much different place. I flew away from England yet again feeling overwhelmingly blessed and eager to return.

Missing My Stevie Muchly!