• Engage

    This is Your Brain…On Stress

    Those who grew up in the 80’s can’t forget this gem of a PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9XY8Nrs0A While the war on drugs continues to rage on, another battle happens almost every day in traffic jams, breakrooms, and around dinner tables: the battle within the brain as it deals with stress. According to the American Psychological Association, the stress situation in America is “chronic.” That’s putting it mildly. Many would say modern-day Americans are the most collectively stressed-out population in history. Could we really be worse off than our ancestors, who dealt with things like tribal wars, natural disasters, and animal predators? Several MD’s answer that question with a resounding ‘yes.' Their reasons merit another…

  • Engage

    Burned Out on God: The Secret Struggle of A Seminary Student

    Working with students has been one of the deepest joys of my life. This month, I am pleased to feature guest blogger Katie Rawlston, who shares from the heart about her journey through student burnout. “Katie, what do you do for fun?” The blank expression on my face revealed that I had no immediate answer. In a meeting I had requested with Dr. Michelle Pokorny, assistant director for Spiritual Formation (at DTS), I had zero words. As a sixth-year student in the Th.M. program and still twenty-plus hours from graduating, I only knew I had a problem: burnout. I also knew I needed help navigating the solution. I had neglected…

  • Engage

    That Time I Burned Out and Almost Moved to Tahiti

    “I’m worried about you.” My friend’s voice was soft, but her tone was intense. Much like my life felt. Intense. “You’ve lost the ability to relax. You’re totally stressed. You’re physically present but emotionally out of it.” Internally, I began my usual round of excuses. It’s just a season. Life will slow down after XYZ…I’ll show them I can handle it all… But deep down, I knew there was no ‘after,’ no ‘season’ with a definite end. Running myself to the ground had become my practice, my way of life. Now that way of life was impacting others. I could no longer continue this path and expect to maintain any…

  • Engage

    Giving Thanks for Everything

    Today, some of us will gather around festive tables, eating our fill of roasted turkey, whipped potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, and so we pause today to celebrate —to give thanks—for a year filled with beautiful and hard things. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Perhaps there’s a chair at our table sitting empty this year. There’s a longing within us that a smile can’t dull. Maybe there’s financial stress that the holidays only highlight. A festive tablescape and full stomach may make us feel good for a moment, but they cannot fix the hurts and heartaches that we often carry with us…

  • Engage

    Teaching our Kids about Pain, Suffering, and Hope

    “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” It's a popular mantra we recite to children in our churches. And it's true.  One of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids is that God is good and gracious—it's the heart of the gospel, the anchor of our faith, and what sets our beliefs apart from other world religions.  But there's more to what we believe. And sometimes we miss it until we walk through pain and suffering and are forced to confront the fact that Christianity isn't easy. Walking with God, in the most complete sense, certainly involves struggles and even loss.  I remember being faced…

  • Engage

    The Simple Life

    Our American culture makes it quite difficult to live a simple life. Simplifying our lives doesn’t automatically come from living without money. It’s more about living with focus and without so much busyness. We can live on a farm or in poverty and have cluttered lives. What is at the heart of a simple life? Why are we so frazzled and exhausted? Jesus calls us to simplify our lives by seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (Mt. 6:33). We prioritize living out the character and actions of Christ that bring his kingdom light to our world. That focus puts all else into perspective so that we make wise decisions.…

  • Engage

    Afraid of the Woman in the Mirror

    You tug at the corner of your eyes, smushing them upward then pulling them down. “Who is that?” You wonder to yourself as you gaze into the mirror.  Maybe it's the dark circles betraying an illness that caught you by surprise. Maybe it's the fine lines, telling the story of stress and toil. Maybe it's the weary look in your eyes begging for sleep.  Before you can answer, you snap your head and look away, unwilling to gaze any longer.  Have you ever been there?  Recently I had one of my own mirror moments. And as much as I've tried to forget it, I can't.  Such glimpses force us to…

  • Engage

    This is Your Brain…On Stress

    Those who grew up in the 80’s can’t forget this gem of a Public Service Announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9XY8Nrs0A While the war on drugs continues to rage on, another battle happens almost every day in traffic jams, breakrooms, and around dinner tables: the battle within the brain as it deals with stress. According to the American Psychological Association, the stress situation in America is “chronic.” That’s putting it mildly. Many would say modern-day Americans are the most collectively stressed-out population in history.

  • Heartprints

    “I’m Ok, I’m Just a Little Overwhelmed!” and Other Clever Lies

      “The enemy will discourage us by overwhelming us.” I wish I could remember who said this!! I know it was at a conference; and, I remember screaming in my mind…YES, THIS IS SO TRUE!! As someone who runs more efficiently when in a mild state of stress, I have always considered being overwhelmed as a natural byproduct of my inability to control my “yeses.” A mismanagement, if you will, of the power of stress similar to overdosing. Did you know that overwhelmed literally means to defeat completely? I didn’t. I though it was a more casual and light-hearted term for being a bit stressed. “I’m ok. I’m just a…

  • Engage

    When You’re Feeling Stressed about this Election

    “Why are you concerned about this presidential primary?” I ask.   “Because," a friend said over dinner, "someone I don't trust may gain control of our military might, our nuclear codes–someone who seems easily offended and vengeful.”   “Because," another said, "I’m afraid I’m losing my homeland. It’s changing right under my feet.”   “I wonder,” said another, “what are people thinking?! They don’t appear to care about issues and substance. They seem charmed by the personality of a Pied Piper.”   Yesterday I was speaking to another friend who confided that it was getting to the point where she didn’t even want to let her thoughts go to the…