Wanting to be Liked

I want you to like me. Yes, you. Whoever you are. I really, really want you to like me.

I want you to like me so badly that I may avoid giving you bad news because I’m afraid. Afraid of your response causing you to not like me, to get mad at me or think I’ve misled you in some way. Even if I’m confident that this bad news is not at all my fault.

The more I like you, the more afraid I am that I’m going to let you down.

This plays out in my friendships, my work relationships and in interactions with prospective client families at work.

Maybe you think I need thicker skin, I probably do. Maybe you think I’m insecure, I may be. But, here’s the thing I’m realizing — if my identity is in how people perceive me and my goal is to be liked, I’m going to live and die according to what people think.


As I’ve been walking through John with a friend of mine, we ask every week, “What does this passage say about man?” Each time we’re reminded that it’s easy to sit back and think we would do differently, but that maybe we aren’t so different.

“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God” (John 12: 42-43).

The “they” that John is talking about is the crowd. This specific crowd, it is documented, saw “so many signs” performed by Jesus in their presence. But they were afraid of the fallout of acknowledging their faith in Christ.

I’m not so different from the crowd. In wanting people to like me, I’m seeking after that human praise. In running from giving bad news, I’m demonstrating my fear of man.

It’s not all bad to be likable. After all, kindness, compassion and empathy are Christ-like qualities. But when being likable by people is my primary goal, my identity becomes what others think of me and not what God says to be true of me.

So often I’ll think, “I wish I didn’t care so much.” But John’s words about the crowd reflect that it isn’t that simple.

There’s a line in a Taylor Swift song, “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes,” that applies here. Stick with me for just a minute. We can’t put a band-aid on a serious wound, we have got to get to the root of the issue.

Asking for a thicker skin would simply be a band-aid in the greater issue of my identity. I need to want praise from God more than human praise. I need to value God’s view of me over man’s view of me. I don’t need a new list of goals; the core of my identity needs to shift.

So if I can’t just put a band-aid on or add this to my to-do list, how can I move forward?

  • Notice and acknowledge the behavior.
  • Repent and ask for forgiveness from the Lord. Truly, I wouldn’t see lasting change without confessing that the old/current way that I’m acting is wrong.
  • Pray for guidance and that the Holy Spirit would direct me moment by moment and day by day. When I gave my life to Christ at eighteen, I was given a new heart, but the rest of my life will be learning how to live in light of it. This being a Christian thing is a process.

Monday Lovin’: The Podcast Edition

Words are my love language. Reading them, listening to them, writing them and speaking them out-loud. I can’t seem to get enough of them. I listened to my first podcast about two years ago, and it’s been game over since then. Especially when I’m in the car or on a walk, it brings me joy to listen to other people talk.

In honor of NPR’s #trypod, I’m sharing my favorite podcasts. You’ll see very quickly what my interests are just by learning which podcasts I enjoy listening to.

Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour is my most recent favorite. Jamie Ivey interviews a different Christian woman each week for one hour. They talk about serious and light-hearted topics. I appreciate that Jamie is willing to get to the root of a person’s story. It’s been super fun to hear the voices of some of my favorite authors and creators. All of the women have incredible stories to tell and insights that I’ve loved hearing. I haven’t listened to episode that I didn’t enjoy yet, but there are several episodes that I’ve absolutely loved: Heather Avis, Rebekah Lyons, Ann Voskamp, all of the episodes with Jessica Honegger, and any and all episodes with Jen Hatmaker. 

Sorta Awesome was the first podcast that I ever listened to. I listened to the first six episodes on a road trip, and it was like my gateway drug to podcasts. Megan Tietz hosts weekly and then there’s a rotation of co-hosts. Some episodes are themed, others are lists, but even themes that I’m not particularly interested in are still loads of fun to listen to. Frequent topics of conversation are books, beauty tips, Myers Briggs and pop culture. My favorite episode is the one on friendship.

The West Wing Weekly delights me! The West Wing is my all-time favorite television show, and I’ve binge watched it at least three times now, so when Josh Malina announced that he would be hosting a podcast that talked about The West Wing episode by episode, I did a happy dance. In recapping the first two seasons of the podcast, they’ve had the BEST guests, including Rob Lowe (!!), Aaron Sorokin, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff.

NPR Politics Podcast became a favorite of mine during the election season, but I can’t seem to quit it. So much happens each week in politics, and keeping up with it each day is a little bit much with everything else I have going on, so I appreciate listening to the weekly round-up podcast on Fridays for everything that I may have missed.

There are obviously other podcasts that I’ve enjoyed listening to, but these are my weekly listens. What podcasts are you listening to?

Monday Lovin’

It’s been a while since I did a Weekend Wrap-up or shared what I’m loving lately. A car accident and then a couple quiet weekends will do that, but there are some things I’m really excited about, so here we go with a Monday Lovin’.

  1. I cannot say enough good things about Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word. Guys, it’s SO GOOD! Women at my church have been sharing about it for years, but I’m just now getting to read it with my friend Katie. We read a chapter a week, discuss it and apply its concepts to some verses in Ephesians. It’s easy to read, but full of applicable stories and practical tools.
  2. I’ve got two recipes that I’ve enjoyed making this winter, and have made them both in the past several weeks. Pesto Caprese Chicken in Foil and Tabasco Braised Chicken with Chickpeas are both AMAZING! I make the Tabasco Braised Chicken with spinach instead of kale because I like it better. The bonus of both of these recipes is how few dishes you need to use… as in, JUST ONE!
  3. This fall, a friend of mine did a make-up fundraiser for MLJ Adoptions. I fell in love with the make up products, and have recently decided to sell Younique myself. I’m so very excited for all the opportunities and hope that my friends will enjoy some of my favorite products, too. I can’t say enough good things about the bronzer, foundation, concealer, mascara, eye liner and lip stains – although you can’t go wrong with anything!
  4. My clean, organized desk. No lie, I couldn’t even see my desk on Saturday morning under the paperwork stacked on top of it. New health insurance, car insurance details and a new car all combined into a hot, hot mess. I took time filing, organizing and purging to make it look as good as new!
  5. Swap ’til you Drop is this week at Harvest North Indy! If you’re in the Indianapolis area and wanting to add a couple new pieces of clothing to your closet for the spring, stop by on Saturday. If you’ve got some clothes to get rid of, we’d love to take them off your hands. Clothing drop off is at the church all week from 9-4 and the event itself is Saturday from 10AM-1PM. Excited is an understatement!

Here’s to hoping that this week is the last week of winter here in Indiana! Happy Monday, friends!

Cars, Contentment & Capability

I was in a bad car accident at the beginning of February. I was driving to a friend’s house from babysitting when a driver ran a red light, t-boned a car that then hit me. Honestly, it happened so fast that I didn’t have time to be afraid. Had it not been for the pictures, I don’t know if I would have even been able to comprehend what happened.

Let’s just say that the month February was a doozy. The initial soreness from being in a car accident, saying goodbye to the first car that was ever mine in a tow yard, the hassle of dealing with car insurance, the bank, GAP insurance to buying a new car that wasn’t planned.

But in the midst of the unplanned, unexpected and unfortunate, were some life lessons begging to be learned. These two specifically are thematic for what God has been trying to teach me for years.

Be content with what you’ve got. Two things about me: one, I loved my Honda CR-V; it was a faithful car, got great gas mileage. It’s the car I drove when I moved to Indianapolis, and I’m very sentimental about that season of my life. I put a lot of miles on it, but it was beloved. Two, even though I loved my CR-V, I thought I was certain about what my next car would be – a Toyota Highlander. Enter the chance to get a new car, albeit sooner than planned, but nevertheless, a the opportunity was there.

But guess what? I ended up buying the exact same car. Why I bothered test driving a second Highlander after I spent the first test drive comparing it to the CR-V and telling the salesman all the ways the CR-V was better is still beyond me. We’ll blame it on being way overwhelmed that week. I ended up being so confident in purchasing another Honda CR-V that the sales guy actually asked me if I was sent from Honda Corporate to educate them on why people should buy the car.

God used this car buying experience to guide me in learning how to be content with what He’s given me.

I’m capable of doing even what scares me. I always assumed that the next time I bought a car, I’d be married. You know what they say about assumptions. But here’s the thing, it all happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to wallow in my timeline being so different than everyone else’s or cry about singleness. I simply kept moving forward.

I handled the car insurance claim and got my rental car covered for a couple of extra days, simply because I asked.

I called car dealerships, explained my situation and asked to test drive cars.

I made a chart to calculate what the difference in cost in gas would be in the Highlander vs. the CR-V over the course of a year.

I negotiated monthly car payments based on what my budget told me I could afford.

I navigated the GAP insurance process, which is exactly what I wanted to do after my first insurance claim was closed, was to open another one. 

And I did it all by myself. Maybe because I’m a little bit stubborn, but also because as I kept getting things done, I realized I was more than capable of doing the next thing, too.

I surely don’t want another car I drive to ever be totaled, but I am so thankful for the unexpected lessons learned along the way. God doesn’t waste our experiences, not for one moment.

Leaning Into the “More”

I spend a lot of my days wondering if there’s more to be had. More than my daily and weekly routines. More chances to advocate. More meaningful relationships. More opportunities to usher in the Kingdom come. Deeper community with my people. More ways to serve. More ways to grow or live into my calling.

Maybe it’s the dreamer in me who can’t be fully satisfied in what today has to offer.

Maybe it’s the encourager in me who wants to coax everyone to a more connected, meaningful life.

Maybe it’s wanderlust or discontentment or just plain desire.

Whatever it is, instead of running from it, I want to lean into it, and see it as a growth opportunity. I’m a little bit afraid that if I ignore the push towards more, I’ll become numb to it. It’s one thing to say I want to lean in, and take the opportunity to grow, but it’s another to actually do it. The feelings themselves can feel overwhelming if I don’t have some direction to give them.

So, I’ve stolen some questions from leaders over time to guide reflection and hopefully lead me to a more meaningful life. It may be helpful to pause right here and say, I don’t believe that a more meaningful life need to be a fuller, bigger, busier life. If anything, I believe the opposite. I believe that it’s our everyday, ordinary lives where the goodness lives, but that if we’re not careful, we can live on autopilot and forget the abundance that surrounds us.

I recently finished reading Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way, and I loved parts and skimmed other parts. I did end the book hanging onto this quote, “What if living the abundant life isn’t about having better stories to share but about living a story that that lets others live better? What if the goal isn’t to experience more of the world but for more of the world to experience more?” I just keep saying, “YES!” I want to help others find their more in Jesus! I don’t want to live the abundant life if my friends, neighbors and people across the globe can’t have it too. So here’s where I starting with myself and with those who are closest to me. (Sorry in advance for those who will hear these questions from me this year.)

These questions may lead to a 180 degree turn, but more likely, and it’s my hope that they’ll lead you (and me) deeper into who you are and who God has created you to be.

What words do you want people to use to describe you?

If these aren’t words you would use to describe yourself now, what has to change?

What breaks your heart?

What are you doing about it?

When do you feel most like yourself?

What are you most passionate about? If this question is hard to answer, think about the last time you got excited about something or couldn’t stop talking – that’s usually an indication that you’re passionate about it.

What are some tangible steps you can take to make the most of your one life?


2017 – Create

Have you ever tried to update something that was already good? Maybe it was a habit. Or a recipe. Or a friendship.

For me, making something good even better is possibly one of the hardest things.

As 2017 settles in, we’ve been updating some documents and marketing materials in our office. My boss and I have looked at each other many times at a loss for how to make it better. Because it was already good.

So, several times in the last week, we’ve made a radical decision. We’ve grabbed blank pieces of paper and started new.

It’s made all the difference.

My word for 2017 is create, rooted in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created…” To be made in the image of God is to reflect His creativity. To create habits, relationships and products that give glory to a Creator God.

Last year was full of so much good for me. But, as I reflect, i’m realizing how much it was also full of grief. Not of a person or even of a relationships, but of my life looking like everyone else’s.

Before you tell me how good I have it, or how much I have to be thankful for, or that I’m still young, please hear me say, “I know.”

I know that the relationships and experiences I have are only because of a faithful, all knowing God. But remember that just as the Christian life is rooted in contentment and gratitude, it’s also rooted in longing.

I sobbed guilty tears in 2016 because I couldn’t understand why in the midst of all the good, it didn’t always feel “right.” I’d guess that I wasn’t the only one.

Maybe it was influenced by weddings and houses and babies, but I also think it’s the reality of the Christian life. The world is not as it should be, and we feel it every day. Some days it’s a dull ache. Other days it’s an aching pain. It’s always going to be there to some degree, some seasons more than others. It’s a mark of the Christian life to long for the Kingdom come.

As the year has started, I’ve found myself thinking about Psalm 51, too, when David after he blows it big time – by committing adultery and then having the husband murdered – says, “Create a pure heart in me, O LORD…” I’m reminded in both Psalm 51 and Genesis 1 that it’s God who does the creating. From either nothing or something in desperate need or renewal, it’s God who does the work.

So as 2017 begins, I’m thinking of that blank piece of paper. And it’s overwhelming to be honest. A blank piece of paper doesn’t have structure or words or even a story yet. I’ve had to fight the urge to create the same thing, just changing a couple words and updating the photos. Fighting for something brand new though, it’s worth the effort. 

I’ll keep thinking of that blank piece of paper. I’ll think of a Creator God who made something out of nothing. I’ll think of what it means to create a life in the midst of the longing.

I can’t create a life based on someone else’s.

I can’t create a life based on how it is, and then alter it to make it how I want it to be.

I have to start new. I have to let God create in and through me.

Best Books – The 2016 Edition

I read a lot of books this year! At least forty-four, if I’m tracking it correctly. When I’m trying to learn or lean into change, my default is to read and talk about all of it. As 2016 brought shifts in our country, I tried my best to lean into the shifts in myself – my thinking, my beliefs and my habits. I’m thankful that words help communicate, that words allow us to learn about the experiences of others and that words can encourage growth in us, if we let them.

Maybe you’ve got some money burning a hole in your pocket and you’re looking for some recommendations. Or, reading more in 2017 is a goal of yours. I’d love to share some of the best books I read this year… maybe they’ll be some of your favorites, too.

  1. A Woman’s Place, by Katelyn Beaty: I’ve spent the last three years, or even maybe longer, trying to navigate this tension between women and work. The language is tricky, and the feelings are even trickier. While Beaty doesn’t solve any problems, she does wade into the tension and provide clarity into why issues surrounding women and work are so complex. And she does so with stories, data and scripture. It’s not just for women who work outside the home, either; the author affirms all the work that women do.
  2. Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance: There are a lot of reasons why I loved this book. A majority of the story takes place less than twenty miles from here I grew up. It’s one of the most well-written and insightful books I’ve read in a long time. The stories that Vance tells about his life and his relatives have left me wondering how I had never heard them before. The proximity to my own adolescence was next door, but also millions of miles away. Reading Hillbilly Elegy reminded me why I love to read; reading takes you to a whole new place and gives you new perspectives that you may never have experienced on your own.
  3. Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist: A book by Shauna on my list of favorite books of the year is no surprise. All five of her books sit on my shelf of favorites. She’s my favorite author. Present Over Perfect, with it’s vulnerability and insights is a must read for women. I read it and gave three as gifts immediately.
  4. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This is the only book on my list that is fiction… you could say that I don’t read a lot of fiction, but this is THAT good! I was challenged by the narrator’s stories on what it looks like and feels like to be African in America, as she immigrates from Nigeria, and struggles to define her identity in an American context.
  5. Good Faith (and UnChristian) both by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons: I read UnChristian this spring, and felt so late to the party. Oh my goodness, the way that Kinnaman and Lyons used data to tell the story of what’s going on in American Christianity was phenomenal. Thankfully, I didn’t need to wait long for the second book, as it came out this summer. My vacation group read Good Faith for a book club discussion while we were all together in July and it was a great book to discuss with likeminded friends. Either book stands alone, but Good Faith definitely builds on the ideas that UnChristian explores and provides meaningful application.
  6. What’s Best Next, by Matt Perman: I don’t know if I would have selected this book for myself, but it was given to me and it was SO GOOD! The author tackles productivity through a Gospel-lens, and even though it sounds a little bit boring, I promise you that it’s not! After giving the reading a Biblical case for productivity, He then walks the read step by step in some very practical application steps, starting with a big picture vision and ending with how to schedule your weeks and days. I highly recommend this book to my Christian friends in corporate America, who want to make a difference, but struggle to know how to do it. The author gives a great framework for how ambition and productivity are crucial for building the Kingdom of God.
  7. Living Into Community, by Christine Pohl: Pohl’s research and application of living in community is probably one of the deepest I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot on community. The book is divided into four different practices of community, and I was challenged to begin incorporating some of her language and ideas into my relationships both inside and outside of the church.
  8. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander: I’ve long been a fan of book about race. I guess I’m weird like that, but it always made my sociology classes fun and not boring. For anyone who read and enjoyed Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, this book is the next step. With fewer stories, but a deeper dive into the policies that have lead to mass incarceration, you’ll feel helpless, but better understand the complexities of our justice system. img_8146

Weekend Wrap-Up

Most years December hits and I spend most of the month feeling like I’m not quite there yet. There are Christmas gifts to buy or plans to be made or work Christmas cards to mail. Then, instead of actually focusing my energy on accomplishing the tasks, I spend mental energy feeling guilty.

For some reason this year is different.

I could say that it’s because I bought Christmas present earlier, or because I’ve been more organized, or maybe I’m more self-aware, so I built better margins into my day, but the truth is, I don’t know what’s been different.

I’m so thankful for the difference because of a weekend like this weekend. We hosted our annual holiday party – Christmas at the Bungalow – on Saturday and then Sunday was bookended with church activities. I could be all there, fully present, looking for the opportunities, because I had the energy and capacity to be engaged.


Fifty people filled our house for the party on Saturday night. This is my fourth Christmas in Indianapolis, and all three of my roommates have been here for several years, too. We love seeing our house full of new and old friends!

If you’re looking for a drink to serve at a holiday party, look no further than this Cranberry Vanilla Mimosa. It hit the spot!

Every church should do two things during the Christmas season: a photo booth in the lobby and Christmas caroling through neighborhoods. Both have made our church feel much smaller, more like a family, this year.


I consistently babysit the same family, and have been able to really get to know the kids. It’s so fun to build a relationship with them and see their unique personalities. We took our pictures in the photo booth on Sunday morning, and it was a reminder of the ways we can build friendships that span years. That’s the Body of Christ! That’s the family of God!


Later in the day, my small group joined another small group for Christmas Caroling. We went door to door in a neighborhood where members of our church live. We started the evening with snacks and yummy food before bundling up and heading out. I loved watching members of my church interact with their neighbors, and it was also such a good opportunity to spend time with one another. Truly, it was so, so fun!

I’m thankful for a memorable weekend with friends I love!



What I’m Reading

I read A LOT in the first nine months of the year. A LOT. Mostly books. My reading has slowed down this fall as life has gotten busier, but I’m still reading. Now, it’s mostly articles and some books.

I recently finished Gospel in Life by Timothy Keller, A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans and Living Into Community by Christine Pohl. I loved Pohl’s biblical commentary on important practices in community and Keller’s small group curriculum in Gospel in Life was fantastic. I was pretty indifferent to Evans’ commentary on what it looks like to live out the Bible literally for a full year.

  • I could read about women in the church for forever. I’m fascianted about them on both the surface level and on a deeper level. Jen Hatmaker, who I’m a long-time fan of has recently caused some controversy. Right away Matt Walsh basically called her a heretic. But, I’m appreciated a lot of the thoughtful commentary that I’ve read from The Gospel Coalition since. However, this Christianity Today piece is my favorite that I’ve read. The Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker is a fantastic look at what else is going on that led to her rise in populatity. The author clearly articulates some of my own experiences with being a woman in the church. It’s a great, great read!
  • Ann Voskamp’s Invitation to Prevent Orphans is a beautiful piece. I’ve read One Thousand Gifts, read her blog and heard her speak at the Christian Alliance for Orphan’s Summit in Orlando this past year. This blog was written based on her talk about how adoption draws our eyes towards our adoption by God into His family.
  • The Creative Life: Insights for INTP’s, INFP’s, ENTP’s and ENFP’s, by By Dr. A.J. Drenth was an encouraging read for this ENFP. I’ve found in my adult life, that creativity is crucial to my own thriving, but it’s harder than I would have thought.
  • Are you ready for the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life? Because I am! My whole house is ready — we started this summer with the series and were able to get the whole way through it (it helped hat two of the three of us had already seen it). If you’re trying to prepare yourself, here’s a Gilmore Guide to get yourself in the mood!
  • Maybe it’s surface level and basic, but I really enjoyed this EveryGirl article about 13 Easy Things You Can Do to Reduce Stress and Lead a Less Hectic Life. A lot of the practices are habits I’ve already adopted, and guess what? They were key in changing the speed of my life.

I’ve got a couple new books in the mail: A Woman’s Place, by Katelyn Beaty; Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance, Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation and Fear, by Scott Sauls, and The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy, by Tim Keller. I can’t wait to dive into these very different books!

Weekend Wrap-Up

I think we can all agree that we’re ready for a new week. As much I love the weekends, I also like a fresh start on Monday morning.

It was a FULL weekend! Some of my favorite things – time with the best kids, a run in perfect weather, Friendsgiving, good conversations, great food, and amazing worship.  This week I’m continuing the celebrations that happened this weekend.

  1. I LOVE traditions! This weekend we had our Second Annual Friendsgiving and it was AWESOME! I love the intentional time to be thankful with some of my favorite friends.
  2. It’s finally puffer vest season! Many of my friends love fall, specifically the summer to fall change in seasons. Real life, I LOVE the fall to winter season change. The frost on the ground (I don’t enjoy it on my car), the shorter days, the smell of the air, candles burning, the excuse to drink more coffee and tea, and warmer clothes. With the need for warmer clothes comes PUFFER VESTS! I have an addiction… and it’s not secret, but it’s very real. There are weeks during November and December that I wear a puffer vest at least three days to work. No lie. They look great with sweatshirts, sweaters, long sleeved t-shirts, button ups, blouses and sometimes even dresses. Looking for a recommendation? I LOVE J.Crew and J.Crew Factory’s puffer vests; they’re nice and warm without being too bulky. 
  3. Spontaneous donuts from Jack’s Donuts. It takes me way back to college and late night trips to Cresent Donut, and it was a great stop on the way back from Sunday Night’s Worship Night at Harvest’s Anderson location. After you’ve spent two hours with kids, donuts are a necessity!img_7896
  4. Saturday night I babysat one of my favorite families. I babysit frequently enough that I’ve really gotten to know some family dynamics and build fun relationships with their children. Last time, we started writing a story. At first there were eye rolls, but by the end, all three kids were into it. We didn’t get a chance to finish it, so this weekend we picked right up where we left off. Spending time with kids reminds me of the importance of imagination. It can be hard to encourage your brain to think creatively, but its so importance. I firmly believe the world is changed by imaginative ideas… and it can start with blank pieces of paper and dreaming around a kitchen table.

I’m thankful for a new week that begins today! Happy Monday!