Category Archives: Community

Me Too.

About once a week my mom would come down stairs and find me sitting on our brown carpet basement floor, staring intently at the TV screen, N*64 controller in hand. “Did you clean your room?” was the usual question and a only half listening “mmhmm” would be the reply. I was not a very good liar, as all it took to prove my deceit would be for my mom to round the corner and stare through my open bedroom door and into my room. During the best of times it would only be slightly disheveled with some clothes on the floor. During the worst of times you could only see the carpet where I had blazed a trail to my bed and to my closet. The rest was a forest of clothes, books, and shoes.

“Kristin, clean your room now. I mean it.” She always meant it, but when she added the phrase to her verbal command I knew she was serious. I would scurry to save my Banjo-Kazooie game before my mom flicked off the light switch that controlled the outlet for the TV and N*64, a great design for a lamp, a terrible design when your a kid with a game that didn’t get saved in time.

After the game was properly saved I would trudge into my room and start cleaning. My parents were always impressed with how quickly I could actually get this done. With my clothes sorted, bed made, and shoes organized I could get back to saving Tootie from the evil witch.

After a while, I got pretty good at hiding my mess, and I got better at lying. I just did not have the energy to truly clean my room. I would take short cuts, shoving clothes into the drawers and throwing my shoes into the closet. My hiding, my lying, and my deceit went on for a while. Until one fateful day my mom came downstairs with a stack of folded clothes for me. “I was doing laundry, and I found these, like this, in your hamper.” My hiding was over. One of my most useful tricks, just throwing all of the clothes on the floor, dirty or not, into the hamper, had backfired. My mom did not appreciate me making her wash clothes that were just washed, but now smell like my dirty volleyball socks.

We try this tactic with a lot of things in our lives. We want the quick fix, the easy out. We do not want people to know how truly messy our lives get, but it is so hard to really clean them up. So we fake it, we hide it, we cram it into a corner of our lives that no one will see.

It can be hard to come clean and to share your spiritual messes. We are so worried that the neat freaks that we know will look into our closets and *tut tut* at us and our dirt.

Continue reading


Color Me Green

I read this blog post while reading through the World Race website and pondering about what it would be like to go on such a journey. Kacie Lester blogs at Color Me Captivated and she shared this story about learning to live in community. It is a lesson I desperately need to learn. We should all strive to say, “color me captivated”, but most days as envy sneaks in, I just find myself thinking, color me green.

instant coffee & not-so-instant-friendship

– posted on 10/10/2012 by Kacie Lester

I learned a lot about comparison last year while I was on the World Race.

Mainly that I needed to wage war against it. And, that my short-ish, rounder-than-Victoria’s-Secret-model-shaped figure, turn-a-shade-of-fire-engine-red-when-I’m-embarrassed face, and alarmingly loud laugh aren’t just beautiful in theory. They’re actually stunning.

And I had to learn this all while living with a beautiful woman who is in every way my physical opposite.

I was particularly upset one day early in the Race as I watched my beautiful teammate go about her day flawlessly – even her messy crying fits and bouts of insecurity were beautiful – and I often wondered how it could be possible at all that I could also be beautiful with my pale skin and boring hair and short (and admittedly thicker) frame.

I’m so different – I speak and think and act and look so vastly differently than this girl who is, in every sense of the word, beautiful.

I would ask myself constantly, “How can I also be beautiful when I’m nothing like this girl who embodies the word?”

From updates.theworldrace.org

I actually sat Stephanie down the week we met and I told her to her face that I probably wasn’t going to like her. She was too perfect and I was sure she knew it, and I cannot get along with conceited girls (which I figured she was, without a doubt).

Then I learned that she wanted to write, I wanted to write – she wanted to sing, I do sing – she used to dance, I used to dance – I paint, she likes to paint – I play guitar, she wanted to learn. Initially, I just saw my obvious inferiority to her, so I saw everything we had in common as threatened. She obviously looked better doing it, so I had to prove that I actually did it better. Competition stacked on top of comparison, and everything got bitter.

That battle with comparison wasn’t just a battle over me. The spirit that was bringing up fear and judgment towards her wasn’t just attacking me. It was attacking unity – the body, the bride of Christ.

It didn’t want me to feel equal to her, and it certainly didn’t want me to love her.

Envy, absolutely. But not love.

And I did not love her.

In fact, there was a night in Romania that I and my blonde, beautiful teammate walked up to our leaders separately, without having discussed it, and calmly informed them that our team simply would not work because we could not live together, and they need to change it. Please and thank you.

From updates.theworldrace.orgWe left Romania on the very same team we’d been on when we had arrived. Our eloquent leader had a brilliant (miserable sounding) idea: “Seeing as how you certainly aren’t being separated, you need to decide to love each other. Really love each other. Like, put effort into loving each other.” 

I won’t pretend I didn’t begin that endeavor with a “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” justification, but motivation being right or wrong, every other morning for a month I gave her a Nescafe 3-in-1 instant coffee packet.

The mornings I didn’t give her one, she gave one to me. There wasn’t coffee where we were living, so these coveted gifts were delicacies. We could have each just kept our own coffee, but giving and receiving it every morning meant sacrificing our treasures and our pride. And, slowly but surely, we learned to love each other over these tiny gifts.

From updates.theworldrace.org

Gift giving turned into praying for each other. As a wise woman (Stephanie) once said to me: “It’s impossible to not be on the same team as someone else when you’re praying for them.”

Praying for each other turned into delivering one another’s notes after we’d prayed, including a word of encouragement. Then we were loving each other – and loving each other well – as sisters and as friends.

Two months later, we were granted our long-gone wish and were put on separate teams to travel and serve with, and we didn’t have a chance to live together again for the remaining eight of our 11 months abroad. We arrived back in America at the end of the Race, and two months later, we became roommates.

From updates.theworldrace.orgNow that I know her heart, I see how often the enemy tries to tell her she’s ugly and awkward looking. The fact that she can look in the mirror as often as she does and see imperfection and ugliness in herself proves to me more than anything that the enemy exists. I ended up teaching her to play guitar and now we worship together in our adorable little Georgia apartment when the enemy tries to get in our business.

Comparison almost robbed me of one of my very dearest friends, simply because I didn’t know she was my very dear friend, yet. All I saw was all the ways we were starkly different, the ways I wanted to be like her, and wasn’t. And the very few ways she wanted to be like me and didn’t yet know how to be.

But the Lord calls us sisters. He calls us united by one body, one spirit, one hope. (Eph. 4:4)

He sees her as flawless – and he sees me as flawless.

My flawlessness doesn’t give her flaws, nor does her flawlessness negate mine. They don’t look the same – but that isn’t a truth that limits the definition of “flawless.” Rather, it infinitely expands the capacity and depth of the perfection of God.

Redemption is perfect in Christ. I am perfect in Christ. She is perfect in Christ.

Who are you competing with? Who do you feel is beneath you? Who are you trying to out-rank?

He or she could be your best friend, your next roommate, the loudest voice of truth in your life, or your very biggest fan. You just might not know it yet because an enemy who hates you is actively trying to change that reality.

Love intentionally. Pray. Encourage one another. And if you aren’t sure where to start, it might be time to start buying some instant coffee packets!