fbpx
Three Ways to Nurture Kind Curiosity Towards Yourself

Three Ways to Nurture Kind Curiosity Towards Yourself

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

The other day I was storming around our house like a bull in a china shop. Everything the kids did annoyed me. I had so many internal quips going it was hard to even keep up with the string of negativity in my head. I was frustrated with the whole world. 

Finally I stopped, right in the middle of the living room, and, out loud, asked What is wrong? Why am I feeling like this?”

Stopping to ask this gave me the space to breath – the distance from my own internal rumblings to gauge the situation and realize I was letting stress from another area of my life color my interactions with my family. It wasn’t the people around me I was frustrated with, I was frustrated at the anxiety I felt about a situation I couldn’t control. And this realization and quiet gave me the opportunity to pray briefly for God’s help in letting go of my anxiety. From there, the day was better.

Curiousity helps us ask the hard questions.

Asking ourselves “What’s wrong?” might seem like an obvious question, but how often do we skip the obvious questions when dealing with ourselves? It’s hard to grow personally without these answers, and yet we don’t seek them out. It’s also hard to grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord if we don’t even know what’s going on inside ourselves.

I have found that stopping to be curious about my own feelings has been a powerful tool in deepening my relationship with Christ, just like in the story above. When I am more clear on what I am feeling and why, I am better able to articulate to our Lord in prayer what it is that I am struggling with and what it is that I am seeking His help with. It’s not because He doesn’t know unless I tell Him, it’s because I don’t know unless I tell him. 

Without curiosity, I likely a.) wouldn’t have prayed at all in my agitated state or b.) prayed for everyone to leave me alone indefinitely, neither of which would have helped the situation. 

Here are three excellent ways to cultivate curiosity towards your own feelings – good and bad – and open new doors of connection with those around you and our Lord himself.

1. Stop and ask “What is going on here?” 

This is what I did in the living room that day, and I didn’t know the answer right away. But stopping to ask the question predisposed me to begin seeking an answer. I combed back over the day in my head, thinking of the things that of happened and how they had made me feel. Eventually I was able to pinpoint an event that had sent me off on my tirade. It was something small but it made me feel very anxious, and it sent me off on a path of frustration until I stopped the cycle by asking why.

2. Develop a writing habit. 

What this looks like in your own life is highly personal. Some people like to journal every morning, some every night, some irregularly whenever the fancy strikes them. But I think that it is deeply important to regularly translate words from our head through our hands in writing. Whether you write long hand or on a computer or laptop, the effort of putting words to the things swirling around your head can help you make connections and investigate your own feelings. You may want to treat journaling itself as a prayer, offering your thoughts to God as you think them and write them, or you may want to use journaling as an opportunity to get clear on what’s in your mind for yourself before taking some concentrated time with God to discuss what came up.

3. Talk to the people who know you best.

The people that love you the most typically are not the ones who are hardest on you, although I know there are exceptions. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably hardest on yourself. But, the people that know you and love you best may understand you more than you understand yourself sometimes. There have been many times when I haven’t been clear on the source of my own feelings when my husband has been able to help me gain clarity by pointing out patterns in my behavior that I am not even aware of myself. 

A loving outside perspective can be very valuable in recognizing the large broad stroke patterns we fall into, especially when they are played out over long periods of time that may be hard for us to observe all at once in ourselves. Having this conversation with someone that you love is also a wonderful opportunity to embrace vulnerability and choose hope and growth over comfort. 

The Gift of Self Awareness

Self-awareness, gained through curiousity, is an excellent tool in the fight against disordered self reliance. Disordered self reliance, unlike an appropriate amount of personal responsibility and desire to maintain oneself healthfully as a person, is based on the idea that we can save ourselves. This is just not the truth. 

Self awareness is valuable to combat this because when we truly become aware of our faults, feelings, and triggers our need for God becomes abundantly clear. These are the things that we hold humbly in our hands when we come to God in prayer, offering the worst of ourselves to him that loves our whole selves unconditionally. God wants us to give him our weakness because in doing so we truly surrender to him allowing his strength to shine through.

It can be a lovely thing to be weak. It is so countercultural, but embracing our weakness is one of the most beautiful paths to deeper relationship with God. For myself seeing my own brokenness with unclouded eyes has given me the opportunity to grow in freedom and love for God. Knowing my weakness allows me to feel free because the illusion that my strength should sustain me is gone. It is just clearly impossible. And that realization is a wonderful gift.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!


The Good Gardener: Conversations of Curiosity with God

The Good Gardener: Conversations of Curiosity with God

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

Over the last seven years of our marriage, my husband has become a true gardener. When we were engaged he made a new friend who began teaching him about flowers, trees, and planting gardens, and over the last seven years together my husband has grown more and more independent in his gardening ability. 

In front of our front porch there is a small brick patio with two chairs and a fire pit surrounded by a little semi circle brick wall and flower bed. 

This year the flower bed is perfect. 

My husband planned it meticulously mixing annuals and perennials, colors and heights to create a symphonic garden. The result is beautiful, the most lovely place in our yard to sit and read a book or watch our children draw on the driveway with chalk.

I like that despite the fact that English is such a prolific language we use the same word to talk about plants growing as we do to talk about people growing. I think that paralell can lead us to something valuable about how to think about our identity. 

Like I said, my husband arranged all the plants in that flower bed to work together in harmony – some are tall, some are short, some are just greenery and some are flowers. But they are all necessary to create the whole that executes his vision.

I believe that is the way it is with us as people too. We are each our own kind of plant – short or tall, flowering or evergreen. We are created to grow in a certain way into a certain kind.

And then of course in this analogy, the gardener is God. He plans us where he desires us to grow so that, in harmony with the other parts of the body of Christ, our fellow brothers and sisters, we may simultaneously bloom into a garden of the Gardeners design. 

It is specifically our differences that execute the vision.

So what does this have to do with our identity? Well, simply put, I think it means that we need to nurture the belief that we are indeed exactly the right kind of plant for exactly where we are planted. If we doubt where we are we are asking the wrong question. 

So often we doubt where we are and who we are, feeling out of place and either ill-suited for the mission or discouraged by the fact that our mission is not as large or flowery as someone else’s.

This is a struggle that we can invite Christ into. 

He is the good Gardener. He planted you with intention and intelligence. He crafted you into the kind of plant that you are, not by accident but by design. So when we doubt those very aspects of our placement is it not natural to seek the input of the one who put us there? 

When a child has a question, what do they do? They ask why. They seek the answer.

So why do we allow ourselves to be consumed with doubt and fretting when we could simply ask the one who planted us to help us see the logic of it all.

God will likely not send us a billboard with all the information spelled out for us. But I think it’s very likely that he will gently and consistently reveal the nature of our placement if we ask.

I think that this is an integral part of healing our identity – having these “Why” conversations with God from a place of curiosity and not anger. When we go to God while trusting his wisdom as the good gardener, our “Why?” becomes a hopeful question and not an accusation. The sub text is not “ What in the world were you thinking?“ but “Can you help me see what you were thinking?”

This subtle difference in approaching God opens the door of our heart to him in a powerful way. When we start from a place of trust, even when we don’t see the logic yet, we give God the freedom to speak to us in powerful ways because we are disposed to receiving it.

We also open ourselves to much greater peace and calm in the meantime, even if the answer hasn’t come yet. Operating from this place of right generosity with God soothes our very souls.

There is a place for you. And trusting in that, even when you can’t see it, is one of your most powerful tools to grow in relationship with the Creator, the Gardener, who made that place for you.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!


Fiat: An Open Yes to God

Fiat: An Open Yes to God

This “Fiat” print is free in our subscriber library this month only. Join here or, if you are already a member, login here.

We say yes to Him.

The world we live in leads us to believe that we have a lot of power over our destiny once we just decide what we want. Mood boards and meditation and visualizing have all enforced the belief that we call the shots and determine our story–and I think sometimes we approach prayer that way, too. We know what we want and how to get it, and we ask God to give it to us.

God can I have a baby? Yes or no.

God am I called to be married? Yes or no.

God should I take this job? Yes or no.

Mary’s “yes” to God’s call to be the mother of Christ has so many powerful layers, but the one that resonates with me again and again is not what she said yes to, but that she was ready to say yes at all. Mary probably didn’t grow up asking God if one day He would choose her to carry the Christ if He decided to take on human flesh. But when the time came for her to accept that mission, she was still ready. Her plan wasn’t to raise the Christ child. Her plan was to say yes to whatever God asked of her.

Is that how we approach saying “yes”? Or do we only say yes to the ideas and desires we have premeditate. It’s easy to put God into a lamp that we rub when we are ready to hear the yes we’ve been waiting for, and then say it was our calling all long.

This tricks us into believing that God says yes to us. But to live our mission, it is us that must say yes to Him.

Mary exemplified that so well. Even without knowing the specifics of what God was going to ask of her, Mary lived her life cultivating a willing spirit, so that when she heard God ask something of her, she would recognize his voice and say yes to whatever it asked.

This is our call too, which Mary tells us at the occasion of Jesus’s first miracle. She turns to the other men and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Mary doesn’t say, “Ask him what he wants, then decide if you are willing or able to help.” By giving us a clear direction to do whatever he tells us, Mary invites each of us to say yes to whatever Jesus asks.

Saying yes fully means saying no fully, too.

But it’s uncomfortable to say no. As empowered as we feel when we say yes to things, we often feel just as guilty when we say no. The evil one uses this against us in ways that even seem  honorable in intention. He capitalizes on our desire to help people and uses it to turn us into people doing a lot of things with only a little love, instead of what we are really called to, which is, as Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta puts it, to do small things with great love. As a result, we have calendars and days piled up high with volunteer opportunities and charities and meetings and Bible studies that seem like a good use of our time. But they don’t serve what the Lord is asking us.

When you say no, a powerful thing happens. You step aside and invite someone else to live out their call. You embrace what you’ve been asked to do and you do it well.

We are each asked different things. In chapter 10 of Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew quotes Jesus as saying to the disciples: “Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.” (Mt 10: 11-13).

This strikes me every time I hear or read it because sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough. There are people out there who have said yes to amazing calls to serve in impoverished areas or teach at low income schools or tend to the sick in hospitals or nursing homes. I work in corporate America as a writer; what real change am I making? But when I read this, I remember that the “worthy persons” Jesus is referring to had a very important job too: their “yes” was to invite strangers into their homes and have a place for them to sleep and food for them to eat. They furthered the mission of Jesus by allowing the disciples on foot to rest and recharge.

We all have a specific and individual call that God wrote on our hearts before we were even conceived. Let us ask for the courage and openness of Mary that when we hear His call, we say yes. And when we do, God will rejoice because in accepting our call, others will have the freedom to accept theirs too.

Shop our new

Two Powerful Prayers for A Growth-Filled Lent

Two Powerful Prayers for A Growth-Filled Lent

It’s here, and it always seems like it comes so much earlier than it should.

It’s Ash Wednesday. 

Usually I am scrambling to try and figure out what to do for Lent, but this year it was clear to me about a month ago: I was going to add these two prayers to my daily routine.

These prayers are the Forgiveness Prayer and the Litany of Humility.

God has made it very clear to me in the last few months that pride, hurt, and vanity are among the biggest of my personal Goliaths at the moment and these are prayers built to vanquish them. If those are struggles of yours as well these prayers can be tremendous means of grace and healing, perfect for the humbling, growing season of Lent.

I have made printable versions of each of these prayers for you and they are available free without reservation, no sign up required. The grace of these prayers is for everyone.

Download the Forgiveness Prayer here.

Download the Litany of Humility here.

I will keep you in my prayers this Lent. God bless.

 

Prayer Habits for a Fruitful Easter Season (+ a Free Daily Prayer Guide!)

Prayer Habits for a Fruitful Easter Season (+ a Free Daily Prayer Guide!)

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Prayer Habits for a Fruitful Easter Season (+ a Free Daily Prayer Guide!)

 

Happy Easter! I hope you had a truly wonderful day!

I loved getting to spend time with my little family. My kids are just getting to the age where hunting for eggs can become more of a hunt and less of a “stumble over.”

So Lent is very focused, typically, when it comes to how we grow in faith (no shame if this wasn’t your year for that though – I’m right there with you!) but what happens after it’s over? So often I have spent Lent gutting it out, simply “surviving” my small sacrifice and waiting to collapse back into it at 12:01am on Easter Sunday. And then any progress tends to kind of just, well, stop.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe you all are awesome at growing through Easter. Please tell me your secrets if you are!

So this year I decided I wanted to change that. I want my Easter season to be even more focused on Christ than Lent was for me this year. And then I’m going to work on growing in Ordinary Time, and then even more in Advent, and more at Christmas, and that seems to me to be a cycle that could result in some real change. We don’t have liturgical seasons so that we can only “focus” twice a year and just go with the flow the rest of time. We have seasons so that we can have cycles of growing, just like plants. There are times that are more restful, times that the growth is intense, but it is all a part of a life cycle.

So here’s the super simple thing I am going to do this Easter season: I am going to fill out this daily prayer guide, every day, and pray these prayers while kneeling, focusing on Christ, and not doing anything else.

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Daily Prayer Guide

There is a daily offering, gratitude, petitions, and a personal litany of saints. There is structure to keep me grounded with a mix of pre-written and personal prayers. It will remind me to reach out to the saints that keep trying to remind me they exist and want to help me (Time I really started talking to you, right St. Teresa of Avila?)

Easy, right? I know it should be, but I struggle a lot with focus. My mind is busy, distracted, unfocused. And just doing this small thing will probably be more of a challenge than I want to admit.

For those of you interested in logistics, I am going to print the daily prayer guide once, laminate it, and then use a dry erase marker so I can reuse the same sheet over and over. It would also work to put it in a frame and use it as if it were laminated, but I know I am going to want to have it in my hands as I pray.

Want to join me? I would love that. And you know what? If strong, regular daily prayer hasn’t been happening for you (even with all the good intentions in the world) maybe this can turn the tide, and then that relationship you nurture in daily prayer can absolutely go on to revolutionize your life.

About 5 months ago my husband and I started sitting down every day for 10 minutes of uninterrupted conversation. We have always had a pretty good marriage. But you guys – it’s INCREDIBLE now. We didn’t even really feel like there was something wrong before if we went a day without really communicating and now we can’t deal with it if we don’t get our time. And that’s our relationship with God too. It’s just like a friendship or a marriage. You put in the time, and the growth can blow you away.

If this is way too elementary for you, awesome. Find your thing to do to help keep pushing the growth. God wants to keep growing with you. How do I know? You’re still breathing, so you’re not done yet.

 

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Daily Prayer Guide

How do you pray every day? Let me know in the comments!

Recycling Your Sorrows – Some Thoughts on Redemptive Suffering

Recycling Your Sorrows – Some Thoughts on Redemptive Suffering

Pink Salt Riot Blog // Recycling Your Sorrows - Some Thoughts on Redemptive Suffering

I have news for you:

God doesn’t “will” suffering. It’s not “God’s plan.”

Say what? So all those people saying everything bad that’s happening is “God’s will” or “God’s plan” are confused?

Yes. Yes they are. Very confused. And if you’re one of those people, please, in humility learn why that’s not the truth. (Links to resources in the next paragraph)

God doesn’t will for us to suffer. He does allow it though, but that’s not the same thing. (Want to learn more about this? Start here – He explains it so much better than I could. Still want more? This is longer, but so, so helpful. Literally changed my life.)

God assures us that, though suffering is not His will, He is capable of working in and through suffering, and we see this most clearly, especially today, on the Cross.

You have suffered. I know you have. I have too. We all have.

So what can we do with our suffering? It happens, we can’t avoid it, so what do we do with it?

If you’ve spent any time around here you know how I feel about recycling. (Spoiler alert: I love it.)

So what if we tried to recycle our suffering?

Weird idea? Maybe. But really it’s just a different way to talk about “redemptive suffering” – an idea as old as the Cross itself.

Suffering can mean something. Suffering can serve a purpose. We can offer our suffering to God and say, “Please, take this. Use this. Make something out of this mess that seems like it should just be thrown away.”

And you know what? He does.

You can give him tears, broken hearts, broken bones, shattered trust. He’ll take dysfunctional families, hopeless situations, all the physical pain and spiritual turmoil we can muster. He’ll take it all and it comes with a promise – if you give it, He will use it. Will you get to see the final product? Maybe not here. Maybe not in your lifetime. But someday, yes. If you go meet Him, I firmly believe He will show you.

Even if you know nothing about God, looking around at the world you cannot help but see that He is an artist. He is a creator. A master of form and design. Go to the zoo, a garden, look at your children or best friend. And yet He does all his work with inferior, finite, unwieldy resources. He is the God that takes the absence of the sun and uses it has an opportunity for a sunset. He fashions each human face, the depths of the sea.

And that’s why I think the recycling metaphor is especially fitting. Recycling has connotations of using materials that are essentially worthless on their own and turning them into something of value. And for people that struggle with the idea of redemptive suffering, I think that comparison may be illuminating.

It’s something to think about the next time you suffer. It does not need to be without meaning. It is not without purpose. Suffering can help you to know Him better and it can help others to as well.

Think of our God, a God of creation, a God of victory from a cross, a God of recycled sorrows.

His arms are open. He will take what you give Him. And with the discerning eye of an artist He will begin to use it all. And in that, find peace.

God bless you this Good Friday and always. Know you are in my prayers.