Figuring out God’s will for my life

girl in sun

About a month ago, I found myself at a retreat/formational program about discernment with 70+ strangers in Kansas City. All of the other attendees were either college students, 50+ adults with children, grandchildren, and spouses, or consecrated religious women and priests. At first, I was overwhelmed by the fact there was no one else present who was in my same stage of life. This feeling of isolation quickly turned to freedom from comparison and distraction, allowing me to enter more fully into the experience Jesus was crafting.  I came into the week with a litany of questions to “discern”. This list included but was not limited to: Am I supposed to continue living in College Station?  Should I move to Washington DC or Denver? (I’m a sucker for mountains and museums) Am I called to marriage or single life? How long do we think it might take to answer question […]

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When am I ever going to be good enough?

water well

A few weeks back I found a new song on my Spotify Discover Weekly while jogging around the park.  The music was peppy enough at first and the lyrics straightforward and catchy. However, when the chorus came, I found myself a bit haunted by its repeated questions: When am I ever gonna be good enough, for anyone? When am I ever gonna be good enough, for anything?  They’re all ten thousand steps ahead of me Everything I’ll never be When am I ever gonna be good enough? I am a pretty driven person. I have always been motivated to pursue the highest and best. For most of my life this has manifested itself in school and sports. Now as a young adult, I see this in my professional aspirations, personal drive to always be learning and growing, and internalized pressure to keep up with my peers in terms of life […]

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Here I Am

mountains

The stories of Genesis have filled my quiet times as of late. The complexity of these narratives never fails to leave me a bit speechless. How do I begin unpacking the historical context, characters, theology, geography, and original Hebrew definitions while channeling the Holy Spirit to see what I am to learn about God in order to increase my love of Him? A strategy I have employed and have found to be effective is to identify and cling to the simple, revealed truths. I encountered one of these simple but profoundly important truths the other day in Genesis 22. Many would argue that this chapter is one of the most important Old Testament chapters regarding salvation history. It is the chapter when Abraham exhibits a radical humble obedience through his willingness to sacrifice his promised son Isaac when asked to do so by the Lord. In the story, Isaac is […]

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The Paradox of Powerlessness

flowers rocks

This year has been a season of longing – longing for normalcy and longing for a return of routines, activities, and hangouts. Some of these longings are simple and easy to persevere through – longing to stand in a crowd at your favorite band’s concert, longing to go to the grocery store without being armed with Clorox wipes, or longing for the start of the college football season. Others are rooted in more sensitive and desperate parts of our hearts – longing to be surrounded by a life-giving community, longing for employment that feels meaningful and worthwhile, longing for a new relationship or healing in a current one.  In many ways, our whole lives are a series of thirsts that culminate in the ultimate thirst for Christ. The reality is, this thirst is unlikely to be fully quenched this side of heaven. With that in mind, how can we carry […]

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Safety: An Unexpected Idol

Narnia

Safety has been on my mind lately – perhaps yours as well. At every turn, safety becomes one of the first criteria I use to make a decision. Should I go into this store? Should I spend time with this person? Should I go home and visit my family? Should I stop to get gas here or wait until I am closer to home? Should I lick this envelope to close it or use water? Should I shake hands with this person I am meeting the first time? Ridiculous as it sounds, these are real dialogues taking place in my brain lately. Decisions that were once completely subconscious in nature have become loaded ethical choices.  It is exhausting to have to look at everything, and most everyone, as a threat to my safety. But, as my brain shrewdly counters, it is prudent. It is wise to be careful. I need […]

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Jesus is not surprised by our weakness

“Without me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5 This simple line of scripture has felt relevant over, and over, and over again since March 16th.  Lacking Control – COVID-19 Edition Like most of you, my life has been put on hold, turned sideways, and restarted again on a much slower setting in the three weeks since COVID-19 became a growing reality across the world. My quarantine began a bit sooner than most, as out-of-state travel over spring break led me to make the decision to self-isolate before the shelter-in-place orders were widespread across my city, county, and state.  During the first week of this self-isolation, my mind was whirring with fear for myself, my family who I’d travelled with, my roommates who had also travelled over spring break, and our country at large. Every cough at the dinner table was met with widened eyes, multiple yawns in a row equated […]

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Isn’t it exciting to see what God is going to do?

The start of the new year always brings an onslaught of emotion and reflection for me. My birthday falls on December 30th, so as the world turns another year older, I do as well. To be frank, as of late this event has failed to yield an overwhelming amount of contentment and gratitude in my heart. Instead, the combination of the new year and my birthday feels as though I am being given a double-dosage of “these are all of the things you thought would have happened by now but haven’t.” THE PLACE I FIND MYSELF I just turned 26. If you went back and asked younger Claire, by the age of 26 I would be married or at least in a serious relationship. I would have lived in a major city, out of state, or even out of the country. I might have started a company or at least […]

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Praying with His Name

I have been thinking about names lately.  Working at one of the largest public universities in the country, I have learned a lot of names since starting my job. In any given week, there are likely to be 400-500 students whose name I am paid to know walking through the halls of the building I work in. One of my favorite parts of my day is walking around, passing students in the hall, and saying hello- calling them by name; asking how they are. I do it primarily because I know how striking it is to me when I hear someone say my name.  “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” ― Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” I read this book when I was a sophomore in college. A “classic” in the business world. The title always felt a little off-putting to […]

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Material Girl in a Material World

“Cause we are living In a material world And I am [not] a material girl” Right?????? Growing up, singing this song alongside Madonna on the radio always felt like a great irony. Material girl? Not me. I wore basketball shorts to school many days (Girls athletics was first period and there was a dress code for knee-length shorts. You would have made the same decision!) I grew up in a world where my two shirts from American Eagle were Christmas presents from friends and anything branded with Abercrombie & Fitch or Limited Too was more likely to have come from a hand-me-down box than a store. Now, I’d like to add some qualifiers. I had vastly more than what I needed growing up. My mother was more than willing to splurge a little on an outfit I loved or wanted for a special event. I got a new pair of […]

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The Geology of Our Hearts

“Why must holy places be dark places?” C.S. Lewis’ “Til We Have Faces” Let’s start here: I consider myself to be a fairly self-aware individual. I can tell you my five values I use as a framework for decision making in my daily life. I can tell you my strengths and shortcomings, virtues and sin struggles, and hopes and despairs. I can tell you my personality type and how it shows itself in work, relationships, and spirituality. I can tell you specific examples of life experiences that have shaped the beautiful parts of my heart as well as my wounds. And yet, when my spiritual director posed the following question to me last week about my prayer life, I didn’t even know where to start. “Claire, what is the geology of your heart?” Some context: I felt as though I’d hit a wall in my prayer. For a few days, […]

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